Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

stargazine_ep3_banner.thumb.jpg.5533fb830ae914798f4dbbdd2c8a5853.jpg

Dave1

Takahashi Abbe Orthoscopic eyepieces

Recommended Posts

On 19/03/2018 at 01:59, mikeDnight said:

Are you talking yourself into buying a set Dave? :happy7:

I find it interesting how some people seem to love the eye lens in the longer focal lengths being set down inside the eyepiece body while others, myself included, hate it that way. I'm sure the Tak ortho's are excellent, but for them to be better optically than the Fujiyama's and not as good as the TMB Super Monocentric's seems to me to be a very fine line to straddle. Perhaps the chunkier engineered body and the fact that they are relatively expensive compared to other ortho's, and they are made for Takahashi, has some psychological impact? That's not to say i wouldnt mind owning a set! What puts me off buying pricey Tak's for mono use is that I've seen the TMB Super Mono's consistently beaten by a mile, by cheap as chips, 365 Astronomy 16.8mm Abbe Orthoscopics and a revelation binoviewer, with X2 SW delux barlow. What a game changer!  I think the only mono eyepieces I have a mild craving for are the Astro Physics Planetaries. By "mild craving" I mean I'd sell my wife and kids for a set!

A friend and I have had the opportunity to compare, here in Vancouver, BC  a TMB Mono and Fujiyama 7mm eyepieces together exercising a fine refractor.  At first look through the TMB was extremely impressive, sharp, contrasty, resolution very high.

Comparing and dropping in the Fujiyama was equally impressive with similar results. passing back in forth between the two eyepieces scrutinizing every bit of detail went on for a lengthy time whereby, we both concluded the Fujiyama was equally good and real bang for the buck. The only discerning difference we could ascertain was the TMB had a slight increase in MAG hence producing a slightly larger image and transparency appeared to have an edge,, (light throughput). Which we both found odd yet surprising.

IMO I found the Fujiyama to be every bit as good as the TMB Monocentric. Is the TMB worth more ? yes sure it is, a slight gain in performance but, at twice the price. You decide,  I'd be very happy with the Fujiyama !

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old thread but maybe it still has some mileage in it ?

Sometime back I used to own a 5mm TMB Supermonocentric and a University Optics HD 5mm Abbe Ortho. I compared their planetary performance at some length over a number of sessions and concluded that most of the time the optical performance of the two was pretty much identical. During the time comparing them I had 2 sessions where the seeing conditions were very good. During those sessions I noticed that the TMB Supermonocentric delivered a little more contrast on the surface features of Jupiter and Saturn and that the most subtle features were just a little easier to spot with that eyepiece. These differences were only visible under the best observing conditions though and were subtle. 

Personally I felt that the smaller apparent field of view of the Supermonocentric made observing with it hard work (not that the 5mm UO HD ortho was exactly a relaxing eyepiece to use either :rolleyes2:) so I didnt hang on to the TMB for too long. It was probably the best planetary eyepiece in pure performance terms that I've owned and used by a small margin though.

These days I'm happy and more comfortable using a 5mm Pentax XW in this niche :smiley:

image.png.ba08bad879da2aecbbdcbaab7ab70182.png

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the planets and the Moon 5mm is my most used eyepiece. For comfort, no question about it, the XW 5mm hands down. When you want the extra pop and detail, one needs to get a little uncomfortable and reach for the XO 5.1mm. The XO is an amazing eyepiece, no eyepiece that I have tried comes close to the XO 5.1mm. The only eyepiece that was close to the XO 2.5mm was the Vixen HR 2.4mm. I haven't tried the Tak TOE, I'm waiting for a 4mm.  Still the XO 2.5mm had a tiny more contrast compared to the HR 2.4mm with a FS-102NSV. The HR is more comfortable in use then XO, so there is a trade off.

I tried three different focal lengths of the Tak Abbe, 12.5, 9, 6mm. These eyepieces didn't gave me the satisfaction to keep them around. They are not cheap, but they are also not that expensive compared to a ZAO. A few years ago I compared the Tak Abbe 9mm and a ZAO 10mm with my FS-102NSV. Among the objects that I observed was Saturn. The ZAO was a little sharper and the colors was more vibrant. The Tak abbe colors was more muted. The differences are small, but noticeable in a side by side test.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Such a pity that the Pentax XO's have been discontinued. The 2.5mm pops up occasionally on the used market but I have not seen the 5.1mm for sale for ages now.

My other high power tool is a Nagler 2-4mm zoom. Not quite in the HD ortho / Supermono league but very good for a variable focal length eyepiece and having that "instant tweak" capability has proved very useful on a number of occasions.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt this one will ever run out of mileage 🙂. I’ve used the UO orthos, some of the shorter BGOs, the odd Fujiyama and all of the BCOs and now have the Taks 6, 9 and 12.5, the last two in pairs for binoviewing.  The UOs were too long ago to compare with. My recollection of the BGOs is, like that of other users, very positive. I had a 6mm that I really liked for its good contrast and sharpness, so, naturally, I sold it ... why do we do this?! 🤔. I think the BCOs are great value but, speaking personally, not quite as good and I don’t like their feel and construction. The current Taks, in my view, are comfortably as good as any of the above and are the best high quality ortho option now available and, like all the Tak stuff I’ve experienced (I have the 4mm TOE) of unsurpassed overall quality and build. 

That said, I’ve read over and over and over again and thereafter ad infinitum about the legendary magical qualities of the true ZAOs and how they outshine each and every ortho made since. And this from people well qualified to make the assessment.  Why is it that with the continuing progress in coating technology etc, this is still the case?  I know about ‘polish’ etc but Televue eyepieces, for example, don’t exactly have the finish of a frosted bathroom window.  The ZAOs were made, I believe, about 25 years ago. Unless we’re to settle for vague romanticised explanations about ‘the lens maker’s art’ and the like, their objective qualities are presumably analysable and quantifiable.  What’s stopping equal quality from being produced and on offer now? 

Edited by JTEC
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ZAOs were made, I believe, about 25 years ago. Unless we’re to settle for vague romanticised explanations about ‘the lens maker’s art’ and the like, their objective qualities are presumably analysable and quantifiable.  What’s stopping equal quality from being produced and on offer now? 

I suspect this comment from above contains more than a grain of truth. I've never looked through a ZAO ortho which probably rightly disqualifies my opinion, but I have had professionally assessed several newtonian mirrors made by famous names of yore. In fact I've got a shedful of them... the results are never bad, but are often very average by today's production standards. But somehow the myths linger on. In this case the real and considerable achievement of the old  manufacturers was to get good results with simple test equipment without letting any lemons through. But time, and production techniques, move on. I've no doubt Zeiss were/ are extremely good indeed, but others will see the example and copy, and innovate in turn. 

Maybe the real question lies in the words analysable and quantifiable. Is it possible to design an objective and repeatable test, say by eyepiece projection on to a CCD camera from a standard image, that will allow scatter and contrast to be compared? There is a similar thing (MTF = modulation transfer function) for camera lenses. 

 

Edited by rl
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have looked through a ZAO ortho (a 6mm ZAO II I seem to recall). I can't really make any assessment of its performance though because it turned out that the scope we were using (a 4 inch F/15 refractor) was itself somewhat out of collimation :rolleyes2:

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was no side to my question 😊.  I’ve never seen a review that says something like ‘The ZAOs performed well but were bested at all focal lengths by the Super Star-Munchers’.  The reputation of the ZAOs as The Best appears unassailable and is upheld by people who should know and are in a position to make expert comparisons. I’m not - I’ve never looked through one - but I’m happy to accept the consensus of the clued up people who have.

But we’re not talking about a Stradivarius or an art-work by Picasso.  These are objects built to a formula from metal and glass with a whiff of something or other for coatings, etc.  They contain no magic, only carefully selected materials and excellence of form and manufacture. And yet, while there have been advances in eyepiece technology in the 25 years or so since the ZAOs were made, they have reportedly not been equalled let alone surpassed. So, my question boils down to: ‘Why not’?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Louis D said:

Of course, an even older Zeiss line, their professional observatory monocentrics, are thought to be even better than either their commercial monocentrics or their much later ZAOs by at least one dedicated observer/collector.

Oh crikey 😐 ... now vanishingly rare, presumably.  Bet there are a few forgotten in dusty attics.  But not on eBay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, JTEC said:

What’s stopping equal quality from being produced and on offer now? 

My guess is cost and limited market. I wonder how fast the ZAOII's sold at the time of offering? or the Super monos? I think Ludes had the Supermonos hanging around for a fair bit.

Question to all- would any of us pay $600-$700 USD or more for one new ZAOII level ortho?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the 4mm and 5mm Supermonos. While they were indeed great optically they proved to be unusable due to the virtually zero eye relief. Just so uncomfortable to use I sold them on after a couple of months. 

Edited by johninderby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, jetstream said:

My guess is cost and limited market. I wonder how fast the ZAOII's sold at the time of offering? or the Super monos? I think Ludes had the Supermonos hanging around for a fair bit.

Question to all- would any of us pay $600-$700 USD or more for one new ZAOII level ortho?

Markus did commission a 3rd run of the Supermonos I remember. The longer focal lengths didn't sell too well as I recall. When I owned my 5mm TMB Supermono (2nd run) they changed hands for around £100 apiece having been originally retailed at around £200 each. Production runs were quite low volume and I understand that the German manufacturer used Zeiss production techniques and expertise.

I guess Vixen had a crack at this market niche with their HR Planetaries and a bit later Takahashi with their TOE's. Both really creditable efforts from the reports I've read. Yet to actually try one myself though.

Is there a market today for an "ultimate" range of planetary / high power eyepieces though with uncompromised performance in exchange for a small field of view, tight eye relief and probably a £400-£500 price tag ?. Don't really know to be honest :icon_scratch:

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, John said:

Markus did commission a 3rd run of the Supermonos I remember. The longer focal lengths didn't sell too well as I recall. When I owned my 5mm TMB Supermono (2nd run) they chaange hands for around £100 apiece having been originally retailed at around £200 each.

I guess Vixen had a crack at this market niche with their HR Planetaries and a bit later Takahashi with their TOE's. Both really creditable efforts from the reports I've read. Yet to actually try one myself though.

The Vixen HR's are a steal of a deal IMHO. Well documented and tested as well. In reality I think Pentax might be our hope for some new top tier orthos after seeing their renewed interest in the 30mm and 40mm XW.

It would sure be nice.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, jetstream said:

..... In reality I think Pentax might be our hope for some new top tier orthos after seeing their renewed interest in the 30mm and 40mm XW.

It would sure be nice.

Well the 2 inch XW's have come back so why not the XO's and with a couple more focal lengths ?

Definitely a "top tier" planetary eyepiece from all I've read about them :smiley:

"Dear Santa ........"

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd really like to see Vixen increase their HR range. The ones I've used have been truly superb, and surprisingly comfortable. I haven't yet tried the TOE's but read that they are from the same manufacturer that made the Fujiyama's, but Tak have effectively ended the Fujiyama ortho flow.  Apparently they did the same with the Masuyama clones, so they could use that design for their LE's. Luckily the pseudo Masuyama's come up for sale secondhand from time to time at rediculously low prices, and are every bit as good as the Tak equivalents. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, John said:

Well the 2 inch XW's have come back so why not the XO's and with a couple more focal lengths ?

Definitely a "top tier" planetary eyepiece from all I've read about them :smiley:

"Dear Santa ........"

And the XP 3.8, please 🙂

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, John said:

Markus did commission a 3rd run of the Supermonos I remember

Maybe we could get FLO to commission a run of XO's with Pentax? through pre orders?

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, jetstream said:

Maybe we could get FLO to commission a run of XO's with Pentax? through pre orders?

Sign me up 🙂

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 23/12/2019 at 09:28, JTEC said:

I doubt this one will ever run out of mileage 🙂. I’ve used the UO orthos, some of the shorter BGOs, the odd Fujiyama and all of the BCOs and now have the Taks 6, 9 and 12.5, the last two in pairs for binoviewing.  The UOs were too long ago to compare with. My recollection of the BGOs is, like that of other users, very positive. I had a 6mm that I really liked for its good contrast and sharpness, so, naturally, I sold it ... why do we do this?! 🤔. I think the BCOs are great value but, speaking personally, not quite as good and I don’t like their feel and construction. The current Taks, in my view, are comfortably as good as any of the above and are the best high quality ortho option now available and, like all the Tak stuff I’ve experienced (I have the 4mm TOE) of unsurpassed overall quality and build. 

That said, I’ve read over and over and over again and thereafter ad infinitum about the legendary magical qualities of the true ZAOs and how they outshine each and every ortho made since. And this from people well qualified to make the assessment.  Why is it that with the continuing progress in coating technology etc, this is still the case?  I know about ‘polish’ etc but Televue eyepieces, for example, don’t exactly have the finish of a frosted bathroom window.  The ZAOs were made, I believe, about 25 years ago. Unless we’re to settle for vague romanticised explanations about ‘the lens maker’s art’ and the like, their objective qualities are presumably analysable and quantifiable.  What’s stopping equal quality from being produced and on offer now? 

As I understand it, at least compared with the TMB and Fujiyama the TMB mono is a cemented triplet all 3 lenses are cemented together. The Fujiyama too is a triplet where 2 lenses are  cemented followed by a non-cemented singlet.

From personal experience each of these designs imo appear to bring out unique attributes to the view,  the scratch & dig or material composition is something all together different. Of course the higher the polish, the more $$$$$ !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the pleasure of owning a Vixen HR 3.4mm for a short time. It was a lovely eyepiece and I only wished the planets had been placed in the UK so I could have checked out Jupiter etc with it in my FS128.

I do hope to get another at some point when circumstances allow. I did get to try it on some doubles and had my best ever view of the double double with it - low light scattering, great contrast and very tight airy disks. 

The 3.4mm is the only one of practical use to me in my Tak (Focal length 1040mm)..it would be great if they made a couple of longer focal lengths, perhaps a 4.5-5mm and a 6mmwould do nicely!👍

Dave

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. My point was really prompted by hearing the ZAOs consistently lauded as unmatched by any current production eyepiece and wondering why, with the advances we’ve seen with glass, coatings, etc, this was still the case. For example, in his review of 24-26mm eyepieces, Bill Paolini gives the ZAOs straight ‘A’s for contrast/resolution/transmission on a range of solar system and deep sky targets, with no other eyepiece, including many respected ones, coming even close.  And his view appears to be shared by many other similarly expert observers who know what they’re talking about.

Granted, there are subjective as well as objective differences due to design, materials, production quality, etc, between eyepieces that lead to subtle (or sometimes gross) differences in observer experience, not to mention matters of individual preference that further cloud (oops! bad word!😖) the issue. But the ascendancy of the ZAOs - in terms of the package of observer experience that they reportedly gave - still goes pretty much unchallenged.

It can’t be the case that with current technology it is no longer possible to produce such character and quality.  So it must be that the will - or, realistically, the market - is considered to be no longer there. Or maybe all that polishing is soooooo expensive.  Or we are being pushed by marketing to favour optical tours de force like the Ethos series over pure ‘classical’ excellence.  Hmmm ... can of worms detected ... most of my eyepieces are Ethos, Delos or otherwise by Televue, by the way, and I think they’re outstanding. But I’ll just note that the 21mm Ethos is currently priced at £816 and, knowing that not everyone wants or even likes 100*, query why a structurally much simpler eyepiece of ZAO quality could not be made and sold for considerably less.

 

 

 

Edited by JTEC
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@JTEC, you might want to read up on CN's Denis's take on various premium Zeiss microscope eyepieces when used for astronomy.  Many of them rival the ZAOs in quality.  I have a feeling this is where Zeiss is targeting their production capacity due to higher volumes and profit margins.

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/511907-review-carl-zeiss-premium-microscope-eyepieces-on-telescopes/

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Louis D said:

@JTEC, you might want to read up on CN's Denis's take on various premium Zeiss microscope eyepieces when used for astronomy.  Many of them rival the ZAOs in quality.  I have a feeling this is where Zeiss is targeting their production capacity due to higher volumes and profit margins.

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/511907-review-carl-zeiss-premium-microscope-eyepieces-on-telescopes/

Thanks Louis! Will do. 

John E

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 31/12/2019 at 15:31, JTEC said:

Yes. My point was really prompted by hearing the ZAOs consistently lauded as unmatched by any current production eyepiece and wondering why, with the advances we’ve seen with glass, coatings, etc, this was still the case. For example, in his review of 24-26mm eyepieces, Bill Paolini gives the ZAOs straight ‘A’s for contrast/resolution/transmission on a range of solar system and deep sky targets, with no other eyepiece, including many respected ones, coming even close.  And his view appears to be shared by many other similarly expert observers who know what they’re talking about.

Granted, there are subjective as well as objective differences due to design, materials, production quality, etc, between eyepieces that lead to subtle (or sometimes gross) differences in observer experience, not to mention matters of individual preference that further cloud (oops! bad word!😖) the issue. But the ascendancy of the ZAOs - in terms of the package of observer experience that they reportedly gave - still goes pretty much unchallenged.

It can’t be the case that with current technology it is no longer possible to produce such character and quality.  So it must be that the will - or, realistically, the market - is considered to be no longer there. Or maybe all that polishing is soooooo expensive.  Or we are being pushed by marketing to favour optical tours de force like the Ethos series over pure ‘classical’ excellence.  Hmmm ... can of worms detected ... most of my eyepieces are Ethos, Delos or otherwise by Televue, by the way, and I think they’re outstanding. But I’ll just note that the 21mm Ethos is currently priced at £816 and, knowing that not everyone wants or even likes 100*, query why a structurally much simpler eyepiece of ZAO quality could not be made and sold for considerably less.

 

 

 

I agree with  much of your thoughts on it. I too have TV eye pieces; Pans, Ethos, Radians and love them however, I don't believe it s all that simple when your going into small FL. I mean look at camera lenses, crazy expensive multiple elements.

I don't  know the answer but I do know this we, or I should say a friend has an old, over 120 year old 75mm lens doublet, if I (recall correctly) Conrady Made by Watson & Sons Brass tube long F15 before coatings, the views looking at the moon were stunning.  We routinely took it up to 700x even 800x though at 650x it was excellent !  The telescope was called Century.  Now how's this possible ? Granted its not an oil spaced triplet of modern times but I will say this, It must have been a passion of its time for there were no aberrations that we could detect through this lens and perhaps modern day coatings robs the underlying achievement of what it was meant to do on such an old lens. Can they do that today ! I will add that the sweet spot on this old beauty is between 500x - 650x Amazing for something some damn old.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.