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Stu

Some alternatives to Ethos and Panoptic widefield eyepieces

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Having downsized to exclusively 1.25" eyepieces for financial reasons, I found myself missing widefield views. Recent price hikes mean the Ethos range are well out of reach, so I looked into alternatives.

First up on my budget list was Burgess Optical TMB 40mm 68 degree afov. I purchased this used last year and it is a very nice, relatively compact and lightweight eyepiece. In comparison with the grenade that is a 41mm Panoptic it is positively slender!

I've yet to use this under a dark sky where it would excel, but so far have used it to get a decent fov in my C925 from home and have been pleased with the results. I found this comparison with a 41mm Panoptic on line which makes interesting reading. I would be surprised if the differences were as marked as is described here. The description of a flat field also puzzles me, I understand it to be related to field curvature i.e. Where the focus point is consistent across the field, rather than related to increased magnification towards the edge. Any thoughts?

http://ejamison.net/equipment_reviews6.html

Next up on my list was a used 20mm Explore Scientific 100 degree. Last night was the first time that I had a good chance to use it, and I was pleasantly surprised. Looking at a variety of old favourites such as M45, the Double Cluster and other OCs such as M36, M44 etc, the contrast was impressive, sky background dark and star shapes consistent across the field. I guess the Tak at f7.4 is not a tough test, but these objects certainly looked great even under skies that were at best mag 19.35 on the trusty SQM.

Finally, I could not resist a new 30mm ES 82 degree. This has yet to have much of a run out except from the back garden, but I have every expectation that it will deliver good results. Hopefully I will get away camping to Dorset or Devon camping for a week or two this summer.

Effectively the 20, 30 and 40 go head to head with the 21mm Ethos, 31mm Nagler and 41mm Panoptic. It is curious why There is a 1mm difference in focal length across all of these eyepieces, given that the ES at least are pretty much direct copies I don't understand why they would differ? I'm sure that ultimately the Ethos range will have an edge under good conditions and in faster scopes, but for the moment I am content with what I have. I need to sort some foam for a case to put them in to add to the Show Us Your Eyepiece Case thread :).

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Good thread Stu. You'll need a suitcase to carry that lot.

From your list, I had / have the ES 100° 20mm, 82° 30mm and 24mm, Ethos 21mm. All good and reccommended for the right scope.

The Ethos did have slightly better contrast than the than the ES 100°. Both show good control of glare and field curvature, great at f4.7 and f7.5, gets a bit more noticable at F4 with a Paracorr. However, the price differential is madness for the minor gain in fast scopes (given my, not uncommon, budgetary limitations). The ES 82° 30mm is masive and performed well, but the field can get a wee bit too curvy at times. Weirdly, this gave great views in twilight. Can't work out why??

If, I had to choose one for normal speed scopes (say between my f4.7 and f7.5), and normal guy budget, it would be the ES 82° 24mm. Yes, it is a compromise. But you don't get the feelin of the designs being stretched to the limit, just lovely relaxed wide field viewing. I'll get another one at some stage, but haven't tried a Panoptic 24mm yet..........

Paul

 

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3 hours ago, Stu said:

I would be surprised if the differences were as marked as is described here. The description of a flat field also puzzles me, I understand it to be related to field curvature i.e. Where the focus point is consistent across the field, rather than related to increased magnification towards the edge. Any thoughts?

http://ejamison.net/equipment_reviews6.html

 

.......

It is curious why There is a 1mm difference in focal length across all of these eyepieces, given that the ES at least are pretty much direct copies I don't understand why they would differ? I'm sure that ultimately the Ethos range will have an edge under good conditions and in faster scopes, but for the moment I am content with what I have. I need to sort some foam for a case to put them in to add to the Show Us Your Eyepiece Case thread :).

I think that he used the word "field curvature" to decribe distortion causeing some confusions. If we replace the word with correct one "distortion", or more specifically, pincushion distortion, then his description makes much better sense, like egged shape Sun in the edge (the effect of pincushion), or orthoscopic view of Paragon (it has some AMD, but the slight flatened Sun in the edge is not as obvious as egg-shape with pinchshion)

As to focal lengthes of  ES 100°, my wild guess is that they might have the plan for 25mm 100° very earlier on, therfore 14mm and 20mm in the middle.

Edited by YKSE
typo correciton
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Is that Burgess TMB 40mm 68 deg the Paragon? I had that and was foolish enough to sell it. OK, it did not see as much use after I got the Nagler 31T5, but I started to miss it enough to buy a Vixen LVW 42mm as replacement. It is good optically but not nearly as comfortable as the Paragon

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Stu,

I would have to conceed that you are probably correct though I prefer TeleVue for different reasons. Yes they are a little better at the edges than all the ones from ExSc and Meade i have tested in different scopes and as small as it is I am happy with the knowledge I have about as good as you can buy. For me though the main reason is that it will always be much cheaper to strip someone else work and copy it, it goes on too much in my view but stopping it is another thing. You will note I am sure where ExSc have had to do all the research and design work, like in the 25mm the 9mm 120 dge and so on the price is much higher, this is the main reason I buy TV. I also wonder why the extra 1mm, maybe they go to 11 like in Spinal Tap.

If I was on a budget though it would be Meades and ExSc

 

alan.

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3 minutes ago, alan potts said:

maybe they go to 11 like in Spinal Tap

"Maybe"?

:happy11:

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I personally don't see any problem with going for makes that weren't first to market. Without it, markets suffer. I work in any area that is fiercely competitive. I don't particularly like it, but its the way of the world and brings about competition and progression.

I use ExSc eyepieces mostly. I've used and owned (and still do)  a number of TV naglers and very fine EPs they are too. I've directly compared against some ExSc and subsequently sold some Naglers as I could discern no difference. I use the ExSc 100* range, and although have never used the Ethos range, I have read sufficient reviews to satisfy myself that I am happy not to spend that amount of money for a potential small increase in performance.

I personally couldn't justify the difference in price with the difference of performance, if any, in my scopes (F5 and F4.5)

Maybe if I had lots more disposable income, curiosity might overcome me and I'd take a punt though :icon_biggrin:

I changed the tyres in my car from run flat to non runflat in an effort to improve ride. Did it? Hard to tell, but I regularly tell myself it does. If anyone needs me, I'm in hiding :icon_biggrin:

 

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1 hour ago, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

Is that Burgess TMB 40mm 68 deg the Paragon? I had that and was foolish enough to sell it. OK, it did not see as much use after I got the Nagler 31T5, but I started to miss it enough to buy a Vixen LVW 42mm as replacement. It is good optically but not nearly as comfortable as the Paragon

Yes, it is the Paragon. Seems very nice to me, and surprising how they managed to keep it so small!

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3 minutes ago, Stu said:

Yes, it is the Paragon. Seems very nice to me, and surprising how they managed to keep it so small!

It is amazingly light, and has almost no distortion over the 68 deg FOV (in fact, it has "Orthoscopic Super Wide" engraved on the barrel, and quite correctly so), and almost no kidney beaning. It is very easy for inexperienced users. The Vixen I have now is certainly good, and may have a touch flatter field, but it is certainly not as comfortable, and has a lot of distortion

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4 minutes ago, Bart said:

I personally don't see any problem with going for makes that weren't first to market. Without it, markets suffer. I work in any area that is fiercely competitive. I don't particularly like it, but its the way of the world and brings about competition and progression.

I use ExSc eyepieces mostly. I've used and owned (and still do)  a number of TV naglers and very fine EPs they are too. I've directly compared against some ExSc and subsequently sold some Naglers as I could discern no difference. I use the ExSc 100* range, and although have never used the Ethos range, I have read sufficient reviews to satisfy myself that I am happy not to spend that amount of money for a potential small increase in performance.

I personally couldn't justify the difference in price with the difference of performance, if any, in my scopes (F5 and F4.5)

Maybe if I had lots more disposable income, curiosity might overcome me and I'd take a punt though :icon_biggrin:

I changed the tyres in my car from run flat to non runflat in an effort to improve ride. Did it? Hard to tell, but I regularly tell myself it does. If anyone needs me, I'm in hiding :icon_biggrin:

 

Funny :):)

I used to stick exclusively with Televue and at one point had a wonderful array of eyepieces. The 21e and 31n were fabulous for dark site observing but I used to find they got far less use at home, and then I switched from a collection of Delos and Pentax XW to a Leica Zoom which was so much easier to use for planetary and high power observing. I find the Leica is fabulous on axis, perhaps a little ragged at the edges but I prefer to view my planets on axis anyway.

Finances currently dictate that ES and Burgess Optical are what is within my reach so that is what I will happily use. When I become a multi-millionaire (which is clearly in my 5 year plan ;) ) then Ethos and Leica will return to the fold, just because I like the brand. I suspect the difference would be small under the skies I get to observe under, but I like to have the best I can justify at the time.

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Nice report Stu. I am thinking of getting a widefield eyepiece for my 120ED and this post has been most helpful.

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Interesting piece Stu.

Of the ones you mention, I've owned the ES 20mm / 100 and the TMB Paragon 40mm in the guise of the Aero ED 40mm which I think has the same optics. The Paragon / Aero ED design is pretty lightweight for a 2" widefield eyepiece. Very nice performance as well, until you get faster than around F/6 and then some astigmatism shows, but not much. I've often mentioned that moving from the ES 20 / 100 to the Ethos 21 was expensive for the very tiny performance improvement and thats still my opinion. A ~20mm 100 is a great eyepiece for DSO hunting nights I think - you can find that single eyepiece is all you need as you move from target to target.

On the specs differences, I reckon some manufacturers "round up" focal length and AFoV sometimes to suit themselves. The William Optics XWA 101 degree 9mm is a good example - it's exactly the same eyepiece as the Myriad 9mm 100 as far as I could see.

With recent price increases to Tele Vue ranges It's good that there are very worthy alternatives for a more reasonable outlay. Otherwise I could see that many would simply decide that they can simply do without wide, ultra wide and hyper wide views which would be a shame because IMHO they do provide very appealing views.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by John
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I've got the 24mm 82 deg, which I really like, and have been debating if I need (?) the 30mm too - the 24 gave me over 2degrees FOV in my f/5, but now that I've got an f/6 It's about 1.6 deg; the 30 give me back my 2deg view.

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Stu as you know I have sold quite a bit of kit in the last 12 months. My current scopes are the Revelation 12" f/5 Dob and the Orion VX8 f4.5 Newt. I once own the 8mm, 13mm and 21mm Ethos and I switched to the ES 82 range because of the balancing of the VX8.

Several months ago I bought the 20mm Myraid and the 9mm Myraid and I think they are excellent EPs for the money. The price of these EPs has really come down - £179 for the 20mm and £159 for the 9mm. Using these 100 degree EPs made me appreciate the view in the 12" Dob so I bought a 13mm Ethos S/H.

I still have the ES 82 range in 4.7mm, 6.7mm, 11mm and finally a 24mm ES 68.

I have thought about the ES 82 in either 24mm or 30mm but as yet no decision in that direction.

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Interesting Stu, and everyone else ☺️   Particularly interested in Marks view on the Myriad eyepieces.  My favourite eyepieces are my 82° WO/Nirvana UWANs, followed by my 24 Pan and nagler 13. A wide field higher mag is probably my next purchase, but not at ethos prices!! So nice to hear about and discuss alternatives ?

Helen

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1 hour ago, John said:

A ~20mm 100 is a great eyepiece for DSO hunting nights I think - you can find that single eyepiece is all you need as you move from target to target.

After a while that's pretty much what I found John :) 

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2 hours ago, alan potts said:

Stu,

I would have to conceed that you are probably correct though I prefer TeleVue for different reasons. Yes they are a little better at the edges than all the ones from ExSc and Meade i have tested in different scopes and as small as it is I am happy with the knowledge I have about as good as you can buy. For me though the main reason is that it will always be much cheaper to strip someone else work and copy it, it goes on too much in my view but stopping it is another thing. You will note I am sure where ExSc have had to do all the research and design work, like in the 25mm the 9mm 120 dge and so on the price is much higher, this is the main reason I buy TV. I also wonder why the extra 1mm, maybe they go to 11 like in Spinal Tap.

If I was on a budget though it would be Meades and ExSc

 

alan.

I did think about the 25mm 100 degree but the reviews I found on it really weren't good. I guess that's why TV don't do one, its to difficult to get it right.

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58 minutes ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

Stu as you know I have sold quite a bit of kit in the last 12 months. My current scopes are the Revelation 12" f/5 Dob and the Orion VX8 f4.5 Newt. I once own the 8mm, 13mm and 21mm Ethos and I switched to the ES 82 range because of the balancing of the VX8.

Several months ago I bought the 20mm Myraid and the 9mm Myraid and I think they are excellent EPs for the money. The price of these EPs has really come down - £179 for the 20mm and £159 for the 9mm. Using these 100 degree EPs made me appreciate the view in the 12" Dob so I bought a 13mm Ethos S/H.

I still have the ES 82 range in 4.7mm, 6.7mm, 11mm and finally a 24mm ES 68.

I have thought about the ES 82 in either 24mm or 30mm but as yet no decision in that direction.

Thanks Mark. I know you have been happy since moving over so that was certainly a reassurance that it was a safe bet :)

I've not tried the Myriads, they do sound like interesting alternatives. I guess having the 20mm there may not be a gap for the 24mm 82 degree? But the 30mm perhaps?

I love my little 24mm Panoptic, it often spends most time in the Tak focuser when I'm travelling light. I recommended on of the sale 24mm 68 degree eyepieces on the Bresser site to a friend at the club and he is very happy with it, great value at the sale price when they do it.

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Crikey, I seem to have crept over 14,000 posts! Scary ;) 

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49 minutes ago, Stu said:

Crikey, I seem to have crept over 14,000 posts! Scary ;) 

Nah, just chatty.

:happy11:

EDIT: But always worthwhile!

Edited by iPeace

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48 minutes ago, Stu said:

Crikey, I seem to have crept over 14,000 posts! Scary ;) 

It's amazing how they mount up :icon_biggrin:

Keep up the good work :thumbright:

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Hi, I bought the 28mm 68°. In my 200mm f6 I believe it's the right compromise in term of exit pupil and aFOV. The 24mm 82° would have proceduce a too smaller exit pupil, the 34mm 68° a too larger one and the 30mm 82° was simply too much expensive.

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Just posted this on the Eyepiece Cases thread, but here so you don't miss it :) 

IMG_8861.JPG

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Looks much better then a case full of green stuff :) 

Owned both ExSc you have now and they are superb,you will not see much difference between them and Ethos.As for other alternatives,i would strongly suggest to have a look at the APM`s new HDC 100 degree eye pieces.I tested the whole group of them and boy they are good.Markus did a sterling job on those.Shame they are a tad too high mags for my binos,but in cyclops mode i truly enjoyed them.

I will have to post up my new case contains,just waiting on one ore eye piece to arrive and i will do so.

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