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parallaxerr

EP advice for planetary - do I go ortho?

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Ok so I've got the scope I wanted for planetary work, the Equinox 120. Thinking in advance to Mars & Jupiter opposition in a few months I'm weighing up EP options.

The only problem is I totally blew my budget buying the scope and the misses is due to drop baby #2 so is going on maternity leave meaning I'll be paying all the bills! You can see what's coming, I want the best EP in the world for cheap! :rolleyes2:

Seriously though, I may not even need any new EP's, that's what I'm here to ask. Here's the deal: I currently have ES82°s in 6.7, 8.8 & 11mm and a x1.5 screw on barlow. It was a Celestron Omni x2 barlow but I got rid of the tube as it didn't have a compression ring and I didn't want to mar the barrels, it actually does a good job and I haven't noticed it induce any colour or abberations. With these EPs and barlow, I have a respectable number of mags available for planetary work and I could add the 4.7mm to the collection to negate the requirement for the barlow at circa x200mag. But what's got me thinking about dedicated planetary pieces is the amount of glass in the ES82°s, is it too much.

My initial thought was to pick up a pair of Vixen SLVs at 4&5mm. I've owned longer FL SLVs and rated them highly for transmission and colour, but in hindsight I recall some ghosting on Jupiter when used with the C8. I've also had Altair Astro LERs (ubiquitous Long Perng) which impressed me at the time but they were my first fixed FL EPs after the Baader zoom I started out with, so may not cut the mustard now that I'm getting more critical. Plus there's only 5&6mm in those so I'd need to barlow the 6mm on good nights.

Now then, orthos....To sum up what I've read they're excellent for planetary contrast and detail, but not the nicest to use with respect to eye relief and positioning. But the thing is they can be had for about £50 a piece. I've found these for sale in the FLs I want:

http://ensoptical.co.uk/circle-t-4mm-orthoscopic-eyepiece

http://ensoptical.co.uk/astro-hutech-4mm-1.25-inch-orthoscopice-

http://ensoptical.co.uk/celestron-5mm-ortho

http://ensoptical.co.uk/circle-v-5mm-orthoscopic-eyepiece

I've done my usual and put the numbers in a spreadsheet, so here's what the addition of the 4.7mm ES82°, 4&5mm orthos or a x2 barlow could add to my current line up. Green is what I already have at my disposal.

image.png.da11799f25c7c42751052ed3ade72903.png

So what do we think, are the ES82°s good enough for serious planetary detail? Would the addition of the ES82° 4.7mm and/or a x2barlow be of any use or should I get some orthos?

Edited by parallaxerr

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Jon the ES will be more comfortable in use than the Orthoscopic.

Depends on how you feel about welding your eyeball to the eye piece.

I know what you refer to as ghosting with the SLV as I found that when lunar observing.

Good luck with arrival number 2.

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3 minutes ago, Alan White said:

Jon the ES will be more comfortable in use than the Orthoscopic.

Depends on how you feel about welding your eyeball to the eye piece.

I know what you refer to as ghosting with the SLV as I found that when lunar observing.

Good luck with arrival number 2.

Yes I've experienced the eye relief issues with a short FL Plossl, I think I got used to it in the end but I did suffer eye strain last year after extended observations of Jupiter so...........?

This may all be academic if #2 is a bad sleeper. #1 was good by 8 weeks, so fingers crossed for the same!

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I have a 4mm HD ortho (same as the Fujiyama / Astro Hutch). I do use it with my ED120 but it's a challenging eyepiece to use because of the tiny eye lens and short (3mm) eye relief. I usually prefer the Nagler 2-4mm zoom which has a much larger eye lens and 10mm of eye relief and is pretty much on par with the ortho optically. At 5mm I use the Pentax XW 5mm which again compares well to a 5mm ortho with much, much more viewing comfort.

Can't fault the orthos for optical performance at a low price (they are probably as good as it gets for this) but I do find that some eye comfort helps with relaxed observing and when my eye is relaxed I seem to see a little more :icon_biggrin:

The ES 82's are pretty good so it's all about whether you are willing to trade a little in optical performance (which you might only see on nights of very good seeing) against the comfort and tracking ease of the 82's :icon_scratch:

I've only used the SLV down to 6mm which I found an excellent alternative to the Baader Genuine Ortho 6mm (compared the 2 over several nights).

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Just now, parallaxerr said:

Yes I've experienced the eye relief issues with a short FL Plossl, I think I got used to it in the end but I did suffer eye strain last year after extended observations of Jupiter so...........?

This may all be academic if #2 is a bad sleeper. #1 was good by 8 weeks, so fingers crossed for the same!

I would go the ES route for comfort alone in the Budget band you are working in.

I have just bought a used televue nagler zoom 3-6 for the same use as you, but that was £205.

I was tempted for an ES 82 myself.

As to children sleeping, good luck with that one.

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If money are a concern, I'd keep what you already have. Otherwise s/h Vixen SLVs.

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One futher thought - the Nirvana / UWAN 4mm is a great high power eyepiece with an 82 degree AFoV and 12mm of eye relief :wink:

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5 minutes ago, John said:

The ES 82's are pretty good so it's all about whether you are willing to trade a little in optical performance (which you might only see on nights of very good seeing) against the comfort and tracking ease of the 82's :icon_scratch:

That pretty much answers the question I think John. Sounds like the orthos offer a small performance gain, only on good nights, for a lot of hassle.

 

3 minutes ago, John said:

the Nirvana / UWAN 4mm is a great high power eyepiece

I'll look into that. 4mm is about where I want to be and the ES's don't quite get there, closest is the 8.8mm with x2 barlow. I wonder if the jump from x204 (x2 8.8mm) to x225 (4mm) would be noticeable/beneficial?

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In terms of magnification 2x8.8mm Vs 4mm will be rather similar. In terms of optical quality, it depends on the barlow you use. 

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22 minutes ago, Piero said:

In terms of magnification 2x8.8mm Vs 4mm will be rather similar. In terms of optical quality, it depends on the barlow you use. 

Good point. Could be a case of decent barlow vs specific eyepiece.

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I have a fairly good selection of orthos, mainly BGO's from Baader and they do give great views. The good thing about them is it doesn't cost the earth to own a few, unless we are talking of a rare few extreme high quality ones like Zeiss and supermono's. I guess like others I have to be in the mood for them as short F/L's are not easy on the eye. Like John I do tend to many times take the easier, and in my case the 3-6mm TeleVue zoom, way out.  However for the price of this you can buy a few orthos new.

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Hello Jon,

It may be worth bearing in mind that both planerts are not going to be very high in the sky for a few years now so views will not be great.

I am expecting to use x150-180 on Jupiter and x200-240 on Mars in my 128mm refractor - if the sky lets me !

I moved from Orthos to Pentax XW's - same detail/contrast in the XW's as the Othos but much more of a comfortable/relaxed view - that's important to me when at high powers waiting for the best moments.

Edited by dweller25
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Jon, what are still around are Vixen LVW eps in 5mm and 3.5mm focal lengths, check out ebay for pre-owned.

More than £50 sure, but 20mm eye relief, 65 deg AFOV and very near Pentax XW optical quality.

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Vixen SLV is probably your best value option. Comfortable, great contrast and cheap. You are looking at a planet. Why pay for 82°?

I’ve never been a big fan of Barlows. I do use them on zooms, but rarely on fixed length eyepieces. They seem like a compromise and the good ones aren’t that cheap.

Paul

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Seeing will have a more dramatic effect on the views and detail than the eyepiece chosen over the next few years for planets. I'd not overly worry and buy a decent barlow (maybe used TV 2x?) to complement what you have.

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I have the 120ed equinox also , so good choice👍

 

If you are looking for high quality Optics ,with sharpness and clarity of far more expensive eyepieces, but on the cheap. Then it has to be an Ortho. The Ortho money is spent on the quality of the eyepiece glass and not wide field or getting eyerelief. You have the likes of the  quality Fujiyama which are similar to the late great BGO in quality(Second hand around£50). There is also the BGO replacement, the Badder Classic Ortho which come up second hand around the £35 .The Ortho is the best bang for buck eyepiece out there IMO ,if you can live with the narrow fov and eyerelief.

Also to consider is the SLV , I have the Japanese version of this the predecessor NLV. It is very very close in sharpness to quality Ortho performance in optical sharpness. But it is better in FOV and around 18mm eyerelief. Just a very nice eyepiece in comfort to use in comparison to an Ortho.

I have compared my NLV 4mm to a 4mm Ortho  . In optical sharpness and clarity very little to choose between them. But in fov and especially comfort then the NLV is in a different league, so comfortable to use for extended periods at the eyepiece.

I hope this helps 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Paul73 said:

Vixen SLV is probably your best value option. Comfortable, great contrast and cheap. You are looking at a planet. Why pay for 82°?

Paul

I couldn’t agree more..... great eyepieces 😀 I have the 5mm for this very reason, including Lunar observations.

Edited by Pig
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Eyepieces do make a difference, but echoing what Moonshane said in an earlier post, the biggest factor with planetary observing is how stable the atmosphere is. Other factors include a cooled and collimated telescope, planet as high in elevation as possible, being patient and waiting for the (usually rare) moment of best seeing, avoid viewing over a nearby warm building........

Ed.

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Orthos & Plossls are great for planetary observing, and if the eye relief of the shorter focal lengths is problematic, then use longer focal lengths with a barlow. I've not used ES eyepieces so can't comment on their performance for planetary use, though I'd be surprised if they weren't good performers. The 4mm Nirvana which is no longer in production, but is still being offered by some vendors, is an amazing eyepiece for observing Saturn, and has an 82° field sharp to the edge.

The original Vixen Lanthanum (LV) eyepieces are excellent for planetary and come up second hand regularly pretty cheap. TMB Planetaries & their clones are good performers and are not overly expensive. Televue Plossls are among some of the best I've used, but I'd try to buy second hand as they are around the £100 mark new.

Most eyepieces today are pretty good and if you're not careful you can end up chasing your tail in search of what you already have. If however you want one or two really great planetary eyepieces that will give a lifetime of pleasure, then a 5mm and 3.5mm Pentax XW would be a hard act to beat. Ideal for your 120ED! :icon_cyclops_ani:

 

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1 hour ago, mikeDnight said:

Orthos & Plossls are great for planetary observing, and if the eye relief of the shorter focal lengths is problematic, then use longer focal lengths with a barlow. I've not used ES eyepieces so can't comment on their performance for planetary use, though I'd be surprised if they weren't good performers. The 4mm Nirvana which is no longer in production, but is still being offered by some vendors, is an amazing eyepiece for observing Saturn, and has an 82° field sharp to the edge.

The original Vixen Lanthanum (LV) eyepieces are excellent for planetary and come up second hand regularly pretty cheap. TMB Planetaries & their clones are good performers and are not overly expensive. Televue Plossls are among some of the best I've used, but I'd try to buy second hand as they are around the £100 mark new.

Most eyepieces today are pretty good and if you're not careful you can end up chasing your tail in search of what you already have. If however you want one or two really great planetary eyepieces that will give a lifetime of pleasure, then a 5mm and 3.5mm Pentax XW would be a hard act to beat. Ideal for your 120ED! :icon_cyclops_ani:

 

I sold all the LV eye pieces I advertised in the SGL classifieds and a SLV too. I kept my 9mm as it gives 100x for the Equinoxes.

Pentax XWs are pricey. FLO sell a 8mm XF. But Vixen LVW are great too, still 8mm, 5mm and 3.5mm on ebay. All the old LVs have gone for the present.

FLO are selling SLVs at a reasonable price, having Googled around. Shame they are not sold in a set like some other makes.

 

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1 hour ago, 25585 said:

I sold all the LV eye pieces I advertised in the SGL classifieds and a SLV too. I kept my 9mm as it gives 100x for the Equinoxes.

Pentax XWs are pricey. FLO sell a 8mm XF. But Vixen LVW are great too, still 8mm, 5mm and 3.5mm on ebay. All the old LVs have gone for the present.

FLO are selling SLVs at a reasonable price, having Googled around. Shame they are not sold in a set like some other makes.

 

Have you tried, or considered using a binoviewer? If you are happy with binoviewers you can use some long fl eyepieces to obtain a large image scale, if a x2 barlow is screwed to its nose piece. Binoviewing somehow seems to ease the effects of atmospheric turbulence, and when eye separation and individual eyepieces are focused, can offer a very relaxed way of planetary and lunar viewing. And simple, cheap eyepieces perform like the finest super mono's at a fraction of the cost!

 

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4 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

Have you tried, or considered using a binoviewer? If you are happy with binoviewers you can use some long fl eyepieces to obtain a large image scale, if a x2 barlow is screwed to its nose piece. Binoviewing somehow seems to ease the effects of atmospheric turbulence, and when eye separation and individual eyepieces are focused, can offer a very relaxed way of planetary and lunar viewing. And simple, cheap eyepieces perform like the finest super mono's at a fraction of the cost!

The best planetary views I had were achieved using the Zeiss zoom 20-75x + Baader VIP barlow. I don't know how they compare against a TMB smc, but I know they are better than SLV, Delos, BCO, and Nagler T6. That combo works very well with the Tak. :) 

Considering the advancement of technology Vixen has reached with their HR line (decent eye relief with Pentax XO performance), I predict that in the next few years we will see some stunning eyepieces in the 8mm-3mm f.l. range. Looking forward to it! 

Edited by Piero
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