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davyludo

Replacing my X-cel LX 5mm

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I currently own three eyepiece from the Celestron X-cel LX range: 5mm, 9mm and 25mm.

Loved the 25mm, so bought a 9mm. Loved that so bought a 5mm. Didn't love that as much!

The first 5mm got returned as it had noticeable black spots all over the glass (appeared to be on the inside). Second one was much better so kept that, however after about a year I noticed that it had started to develop some black spots/flecks on it as well.

So I decided to do something really stupid.....I took it apart. Even though all the advice on here said not to open it...I decided I knew better. Well, I didn't! DON'T DO IT! Listen to all of the nice, sensible people on SGL.

At first I made it sooooo much worse. Then I bought baader wonder fluid and tried again. This time it looked a lot better, but to be honest...I think I've killed the poor wee guy. It's not a joy to use like the other two I've got, I actually really dislike using it because the fluff/spots/scratches are so distracting. 

Decided to take a punt on the BST 3.2mm (to give me ~150x). I don't know why, but I was kind of expecting it not to be great after my experience with the x-cel 5mm. I think I just assumed that higher power eye pieces would show up imperfections more easily. I was totally wrong, the higher power BST 3.2mm is absolutely flawless in comparison to how I remember x-cel 5mm (even when it was new). I now realise that I was never happy with the quality of the 5mm, but I was new to astronomy and didn't know what to expect.

Needless to say, my xcel 5mm is getting replaced with a BST 5mm! I'm also looking for something to go between my 25mm and 9mm....that'll now probably be a BST as well.

I assume it's the black paint inside the eyepiece that starts to flake off after time - considering my 9mm was perfect, but after 2 years is starting to show some slight black spots (especially when used with barlow). So far I've just knocked it on my hand and moved the flecks of paint to the side.

Hopefully the BST eyepieces age better because to be honest, I'm a bit disappointed in the quality of the x-cel lx range. Although I still love my 25mm and have read that the BST 25mm is the weakest link. Maybe the x-cel 5mm is the weakest link in the Celestron range?

I have read quite a few mixed reviews about the x-cels (both older and new LX version) and I'd be interested to see if anyone else has had a similar experience.

 

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I had the same problem with a 7mm and yes i did the same as you, these ep`s dont like being opened up and cleaned, heard about a chap with an 18mm same problem 

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Hi! I don't have a Celestron X-cel LX, but i do have BST 5mm and Meade 5000 HD-60 6,5mm! They are realy great eyepieces! The Meade is much more expensive from the BST, but realy they are so similar performing so i can't tell wich one is better! Conclusion - The BST is realy great budget eyepiece!

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Yeah I'd read about the 7mm not being great either - because I was actually tempted to get it at one point and decided against it. Interesting about the 18mm though.

I've not come across anything that mentions the BST ones suffering from similar issues. They seem to be quite consistent, from what I've read anyway. Would be good to hear from BST users about any quality issues that arise after a year or two.

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2 minutes ago, mitkog87 said:

Hi! I don't have a Celestron X-cel LX, but i do have BST 5mm and Meade 5000 HD-60 6,5mm! They are realy great eyepieces! The Meade is much more expensive from the BST, but realy they are so similar performing so i can't tell wich one is better! Conclusion - The BST is realy great budget eyepiece!

That's really good to know - I think I might move to BST for my decent budget eye pieces from now on. 

Out of interest - how long have you owned the BST for? 

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I own my 5mm BST from almost a year! And my 6,5 mm Meade 5000 HD-60 from 2-3 months longer! :)

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20 minutes ago, mitkog87 said:

I own my 5mm BST from almost a year! And my 6,5 mm Meade 5000 HD-60 from 2-3 months longer! :)

Any change in quality or views since you've had it? Or just a consistent good performer?

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Never had any problems with my X-cels and I have been using them for more than 3 years. I have the 9, 7, and 5 mm and use thenm for planetary and solar observing and have found them very good. I think there must be a bad batch out there. Perhaps just the luck of the draw.

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38 minutes ago, davyludo said:

Any change in quality or views since you've had it? Or just a consistent good performer?

No! Or at least i can't find any change! Everything is as they were out of the boxes!

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5 minutes ago, laudropb said:

Never had any problems with my X-cels and I have been using them for more than 3 years. I have the 9, 7, and 5 mm and use thenm for planetary and solar observing and have found them very good. I think there must be a bad batch out there. Perhaps just the luck of the draw.

Probably! I know that they are very similar to the Meade 5000 HD-60 series!

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17 minutes ago, laudropb said:

Never had any problems with my X-cels and I have been using them for more than 3 years. I have the 9, 7, and 5 mm and use thenm for planetary and solar observing and have found them very good. I think there must be a bad batch out there. Perhaps just the luck of the draw.

That's good to know. I assume that solar viewing would really show if there were any spots or flecks present? I certainly notice marks more when using on brighter targets. 

It's a shame because I really liked them when I first got them....just feel like issues with the 5mm (having had 2 bad ones) has put me off a bit. But seeing as they both came from the same supplier - it could possibly just be a batch thing. 

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The BST 15mm was voted best of the same priced eyepieces in Sky At Night magazine.

20150308_124848_Richtone(HDR).jpg

20150308_125217_Richtone(HDR).jpg

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4 hours ago, nightfisher said:

I had the same problem with a 7mm and yes i did the same as you, these ep`s dont like being opened up and cleaned, heard about a chap with an 18mm same problem 

I did the same with a 25mm X-Cell LX. It was never the same again :rolleyes2:

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27 minutes ago, John said:

I did the same with a 25mm X-Cell LX. It was never the same again :rolleyes2:

Well at least I'm not the only one then! Don't feel quite as daft now that I know others have done the same :blush:

Lesson learnt... for now :tongue2:

Another lesson... baader wonder fluid is awesome!

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6 hours ago, davyludo said:

I'm a bit disappointed in the quality of the x-cel lx range

Having never tried them (x-cel's - though it was a wish sometime back to assess them against my BST's)  I can't  really compare their performance or build quality, however fault wise with the BST's, I have only had two issues?
One felt gritty when raising the eye-cup, returned, replaced, sorted!
One eye-cup did not rise, just rotated, but gripped a little tighter, freed the over torque! works flawlessly since.

I don't have a BST that I do not like, although the 3.2mm is really pushing the limit on my f/6 Skyliner, and to be honest, most sessions end with the 8mm  & 12mm  BST and the 32mm Panaview close by, with all other eyepieces left rolling around in the case? I'll use all the eyepieces available in order to find the one that's best suited  on the night, one of them will satisfy from the four brand-types in my signature.

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I too opened the 5mm xcel lx to remove particles inside and ruined it instantly. My 25mm and 18mm are ok so far, they are good eyepieces. 

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Although I still love my 25mm and have read that the BST 25mm is the weakest link

Try one first if you can, to say something is the "weakest link" can be misleading. If the other BST's operated at 98% and the 25mm "only" made 95% BUT a 25mm X-Cel only made 90% the the "weakest" BST is still better then the X-Cel. Notice that they say "weakest" but cannot recall people saying "bad".

Also a long (ish) focal length wide(ish) eyepiece tends to have difficulties, usually edge definition, ES 82's stop a long way short of 25mm (14mm).

Will askwhat purpose you want a 5mm for - it tends to be planets and the one drawback of the BST's I have found is the step from 5mm to 8mm, little too big so I added a 6mm to fill in. That way I have 5, 6, 8 available to me.

I have, and to an extent still am, debating the Vixen SLV's in 4mm, 5mm and 6mm to use for the shorter focal lengths and so have a part set of short ones.

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12 hours ago, davyludo said:

I'm also looking for something to go between my 25mm and 9mm....that'll now probably be a BST as well.

You could push the boat a wee bit and go for the SLV 15mm.  Narrower field but nice EP.

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1 hour ago, Alfian said:

You could push the boat a wee bit and go for the SLV 15mm.  Narrower field but nice EP.

I read about the SLV eye pieces in the past - seem to be a really decent sub £100 EP. To be honest, when I first looked I was a bit naive and decided I didn't like narrower fov because I didn't get on with plossls...having recently tried a wee comparison again, I now realise it's the eye relief I can't deal with. I also liked wider fov at the start because I found it easier to hop around.

Thanks for reminding me about the SLV range - I'll have a wee ponder and consider them again :icon_scratch:

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This sounds like a hard sell job but FLO have them on offer at the moment that makes the SLV  a good buy. Mind you, I got mine 2nd hand which was an even better buy!

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37 minutes ago, davyludo said:

I didn't get on with plossls...having recently tried a wee comparison again, I now realise it's the eye relief I can't deal with. I also liked wider fov at the start because I found it easier to hop around.

Same here. I wanted from the outset to buy a Plössl set, and the first one's I tried were the venerable TeleVue's but the eye-relief was so short and with the windy conditions that night (watery eyes) the test failed and I discounted them, just not comfortable. I also desired a Plössl that went down to 6mm, but not possible in Tele Vue format.The original set I desired was designed by Meade, but then came along the Revelations!

I had subsequently purchased more Tele Vue Plössl's with longer focal lengths, but still favour the Revelations, and for now, that set is complete, minus the 42mm. The Tele Vue's gone too. 

As for wide views, I also delved into the Delos at 72° afov, but I'm more than happy viewing with 60°afov.
If I had to rid anything today? I would be left with the Full set of Starguiders, my 6mm SPL and the 32mm Panaview, and the Revelations, should I need a tighter view, but surprisingly, I find them (Revelations) comfortable to use,  they provide me  more power than the Tele Vue, more afov, and about the same eye-relief. So possibly the loss of two SPL's, maybe keep the 12mm SPL over the 6mm, but I still want a dedicated 6mm for my scope. maybe I should have kept the 6mm Delos? for some folk yes, but there's nothing wrong with the William SPL's

Sometimes though, its good to go back and re-assess!

Edited by Charic
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5 hours ago, Charic said:

Same here. I wanted from the outset to buy a Plössl set, and the first one's I tried were the venerable TeleVue's but the eye-relief was so short and with the windy conditions that night (watery eyes) the test failed and I discounted them, just not comfortable. I also desired a Plössl that went down to 6mm, but not possible in Tele Vue format.The original set I desired was designed by Meade, but then came along the Revelations!...

 

If you don't like the eye relief of a plossl at 8mm you really won't like it at 6mm - with the plossl design (whoever makes it) the eye relief is always around 80% of the focal length.

Thank goodness there are longer eye relief designs with good optical quality (such as the WO SPL and Vixen SLV) at shorter focal lengths these days :smiley:

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20 hours ago, wookie1965 said:

The BST 15mm was voted best of the same priced eyepieces in Sky At Night magazine.

20150308_124848_Richtone(HDR).jpg

20150308_125217_Richtone(HDR).jpg

I've tried the 15mm Astro Tech Paradigm in the 15mm FL in a 10" reflector, (basically the same OEM EP). Not pretty around the edges, although in this comparo in the magazine, it went against others that will be far worse, I can see why it was rated better. Only thing I did like was the eye relief.

Edited by TheLookingGlass

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22 minutes ago, TheLookingGlass said:

.........Not pretty around the edges........

I used to think it was better to avoid eyepieces that got worse towards the edge, but what we need to remember is that much of the aberration is inherent, caused by the design of the telescopes objective, not caused by the eyepiece itself. Just about any eyepiece in any scope should be great on axis, and even the best eyepieces can suffer at their edges, if correction is not applied ahead of the eyepiece on the faster scopes. 

I don't suffer coma on my scope? its probably there, but because I don't bother looking for it, its not an issue! I track constantly on axis, its something I just do, its natural.
No doubt I'd notice coma if I let my targets  drift, or when photographing, but otherwise, its not an issue for me at present. 

Edited by Charic
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If the 10" reflector was a Skywatcher it's likely to be F/4.7 and coma from the primary mirror will be noticable in the outer field of wide angle eyepieces. Charic's F/6 will show much less coma, probably to the extent where it's simply not an issue and the predominant issue (if present) would be astigmatism from a low cost wide angle eyepiece. I've use the 18, 12 and 8mm BST Starguiders in my F/5.3 12" dobsonian and found them pretty decent in terms of edge correction. Not perfect but pretty acceptable. Some eyepiece ranges have stronger and weaker focal lengths and that might be the case with BST Starguiders ?.

 

 

Edited by John

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