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John

Happy Coincidence

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A while back I bought a relatively low cost zoom eyepiece, mostly to use with the Lunt 50 Ha scope that I had then and also for use with my white light setups when combined with the Lunt Herschel Wedge. The eyepiece I bought was identical to the Skywatcher Hyperflex 7.2mm - 21.5mm zoom, except mine was engraved with the branding Orbinar. Here is the Skywatcher version:

20239.JPG.c5cd0bde1409743f2ae6f12f8d667284.JPG

And here is my version:

orbzoom01.JPG.3aae4c559df35c75e2b85e65155ee74c.JPG

Personally I think it's likely that this is the same zoom that is sold under the Lunt branding but with a couple of cosmetic changes.

My little zoom did a good job on solar observing and was a decent though not outstanding nighttime performer as well. Good for a quick look to check the seeing conditions, grab and go observing etc.

What has come as a surprise, and a nice one at that, is how the zoom performs when combined with a Baader Q-Turret 2.25x barlow which I acquired shortly after I got the zoom.

When combined with the barlow the zoom has effective focal lengths ranging from 9.55mm to 3.2mm. This covers the whole range of high to very high power viewing with my scopes but it's the optical performance of the pairing that has impressed the most.

Over the past few months I've been able to compare the zoom/barlow with Pentax XW's, my Nagler 2-4mm zoom, and recently some nice "classic" Circle-T orthoscopics. Although the zoom/barlow looses out in apparent field of view to the Pentax's I've been very challenged to actually see any optical performance deficiencies against any of my more expensive and specilised eyepieces.

Comparison targets have included Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, the Moon and many double stars. As well as the high quality of image sharpness and contrast, light scatter and ghosting is very well controlled in the zoom/barlow, for what must be a 7 - 8 element optical system. Certainly as good as the Nagler zoom and Pentax XW's. It's possible that the orthos show just a touch less scatter around the bright planets but it is a marginal difference and you have to switch directly between eyepieces to detect it.

This evening I have the zoom/barlow combination in use observing Jupiter with my 130mm F/9.2 triplet refractor and the views are really, really good :smiley:

A few of other "plusses" for the zoom/barlow combination are:

- Comfortable eyerelief across the zoom range - the barlow lifts the eye relief a few mm but the twist up eyecup of the zoom is able to cope with that.

- The instant ability to fine tune the magnification to suit target and conditions. A traditional zoom benefit of course :thumbright:

- A flat, undistorted field of view. I can let the target drift right across to the field stop and it stays crisp and well defined to the edge and planetary disks maintain their shape right across as well. No "egg shapes" at the field stop.

I'm finding increasingly that the zoom/barlow combo is becoming my "go to" tool for high power observing remaining in the scope for hours rather than just acting as a pathfinder for the more expensive items in my eyepiece cases.

Taken individually I feel that the zoom and the Baader barlow are good at what they do, with the barlow being a quality optic as are the Classic orthos in that range. It seems that the qualities of the barlow somehow allow the zoom to up it's game when they are combined. Thats been a nice, rewarding surprise :smiley:

Together the zoom and barlow cost me a bit under £120.00 bought new. This is turning out to be quite a bargain for such a versatile tool. A happy coincidence indeed :thumbright:

Its nice also to report on really good performance that does not cost the earth to acquire.

zoombarlow.thumb.JPG.9879ce3aeeec55ce53943ecf60104349.JPG

 

 

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Interesting John, and as you say great that a relatively inexpensive combo gives such good views ?   I might try the Q Turret barlow with my Pentax zoom, which is also great for solar but less good in th dark!

Helen

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That is the exact same eyepiece I use in my Lunt. Do you believe that Barlow will benefit me with my 150 Mak?

i sometimes would like to push a bit further than my 10mm on lunar especially.

73B3B886-1780-4CBE-9EC5-C45E7A201035.jpeg

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It looks very similar, doesn't it ?

I would assume that the longer end of the focal length range, when the barlow is used, would be of use with your mak but not the shorter ones unless the conditions are really good and 500x plus looks like it might be useful (very rarely in the UK).

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Yes that is true, unless the atmosphere disappears I wont be needing 500x lol but at the longer end it would be nice to have that power.

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14 hours ago, John said:

As well as the high quality of image sharpness and contrast, light scatter and ghosting is very well controlled in the zoom/barlow, for what must be a 7 - 8 element optical system

Which of these features do you find not so well controlled in the zoom by itself? I know from experience that adding a barlow and effectively increasing the f ratio that the eyepiece "sees" can lead to an improvement in terms of aberrations/distortions but is there anything else?

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2 hours ago, Ricochet said:

Which of these features do you find not so well controlled in the zoom by itself? I know from experience that adding a barlow and effectively increasing the f ratio that the eyepiece "sees" can lead to an improvement in terms of aberrations/distortions but is there anything else?

By itself the zoom works fine but at the 24mm end the AFoV narrows to 40 degrees which I find constraining. Funnily enough, the relatively narrow AFoV at higher powers (ie: when the barlow is in use) does not bother me at all. 

I think the zoom is a good zoom, probably on par with the Baader zoom but with a smaller AFoV across the range, on it's own but I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it performs combined with the Baader barlow. Perhaps I should not have been so surprised :dontknow:

I did have the mighty Leica ASPH zoom last year and combined that with the Baader VIP barlow to get high powers but somehow that combination, which has a great following and reputation, did not quite "do it" for me. Possibly the bulk and length of the pairing, which is much, much more than my current zoom/barlow combo, was off putting ?

Looking at the fit and finish of the 7.2 - 21.5 zoom I reckon it comes from the same manufacturer as the UWAN / Nivana's and the Myriad eyepieces. So it should be of decent quality :smiley:

 

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Thanks for that review John, thinking now is it worth spending all that extra cash on a premium zoom ?

As a matter of interest is it the same as the Opticstar XL 7.2 - 21.5 zoom?  and have you tried it in your FC 100?

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18 minutes ago, jock1958 said:

Thanks for that review John, thinking now is it worth spending all that extra cash on a premium zoom ?

As a matter of interest is it the same as the Opticstar XL 7.2 - 21.5 zoom?  and have you tried it in your FC 100?

I think the Opticstar is another clone of the same eyepiece, as is this:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4651_HR-Planetary-Zoom-Okular-7-2---21-5mm---1-25----7-Elemente.html

The prices for what seems to be the same item do vary considerably with Opticstar being at the more reasonable end of the scale.

The zoom + barlow combination works very well in my FC100DL.

 

 

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22 hours ago, John said:

I'm finding increasingly that the zoom/barlow combo is becoming my "go to" tool for high power observing remaining in the scope for hours rather than just acting as a pathfinder for the more expensive items in my eyepiece cases.

As you know, I'm also a fan of the zoom/barlow combo for high power observing. If matched properly, they can work really well together. 

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2 hours ago, iPeace said:

This is all I need to know. :happy11:

And, therefore ....... ? :smiley:

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12 minutes ago, John said:

And, therefore ....... ? :smiley:

Well, I couldn't resist placing an order for this little combo. :grin: The only thing I don't look forward to is the absence of a compression ring in the barlow, but if it's good enough for you, I'm game. :happy7:

I've got lots of short stuff to compare it with; Naglers, Nagler Zooms, XWs, HRs, DeLites, Baader Zoom. I'm already pondering how the Baader Zoom will compare in combination with the same barlow, or indeed with its "own" barlow (which I don't - yet - own)...

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I foresee a spike in sales :)

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1 minute ago, iPeace said:

Well, I couldn't resist placing an order for this little combo. :grin: The only thing I don't look forward to is the absence of a compression ring in the barlow, but if it's good enough for you, I'm game. :happy7:

I've got lots of short stuff to compare it with; Naglers, Nagler Zooms, XWs, HRs, DeLites, Baader Zoom. I'm already pondering how the Baader Zoom will compare in combination with the same barlow, or indeed with its "own" barlow (which I don't - yet - own)...

I hope you enjoy it Mike :smiley:

I'll be glad to have another opinion on this pairing - sometimes, when you observe on your own a lot, you do start to wonder if you are seeing things differently to other people :icon_scratch:

 

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8 minutes ago, Stu said:

I foresee a spike in sales :)

You beat me to it it, I was thinking the same thing! I was about to order Baader 2.25x barlow anyway so I better be quick before stocks fall.

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3 minutes ago, John said:

I hope you enjoy it Mike :smiley:

I'll be glad to have another opinion on this pairing - sometimes, when you observe on your own a lot, you do start to wonder if you are seeing things differently to other people :icon_scratch:

 

You clearly like yours - been going on about it for a while now - and can be trusted to have really tried to find what's not to like. And this is such an unexpected thing, contrary to so much I've read and come to assume about eyepieces - even if it eventually doesn't work as well for me, it's still too much fun to pass up.  :happy1:

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DSC_1911.thumb.JPG.895fd2a2d3914026552a2b0529d8b0b0.JPG

The set has arrived...seeking a way around depending on the Q's single locking screw and lack of compression ring, I've cobbled some other spare Baader bits into the assembly pictured in the middle (the original tube is at left). Into this impromptu assembly I've screwed the Q's actual barlow bit. Seems to work fine. :happy11:

It's passed the chimney test. I like it already, but hoping for a session tonight. Maybe the barlow will make an extra effort out of appreciation for its new posh suit. :icon_biggrin:

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Good stuff Mike :smiley:

I just use the barlows set screw "as is" with the zoom. The zoom was not expensive so I'm not bothered by a light few barrel marks.

As long as the new configuration keeps the barlow to eyepiece field lens distance the same, the barlow will still give 2.25x amplification.

 

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4 minutes ago, John said:

As long as the new configuration keeps the barlow to eyepiece field lens distance the same, the barlow will still give 2.25x amplification. 

So what if it's a bit closer or further? Different amplification? Does further away mean more amplification, or less?

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1 minute ago, iPeace said:

So what if it's a bit closer or further? Different amplification? Does further away mean more amplification, or less?

Yep, the greater the distance (over standard) the more amplification you get.

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3 minutes ago, iPeace said:

So what if it's a bit closer or further? Different amplification? Does further away mean more amplification, or less?

If it's further away, a little more amplification, a little closer, a little less. The precise effects depend on the focal length of the barlow lens which I don't actually know for the Baader Q-Turret.

The Baader VIP barlow use is all about varying the distance in this way.

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1 minute ago, Stu said:

Yep, the greater the distance (over standard) the more amplification you get.

Cool. That must mean I can use the focusing eyepiece holder to get more mag. ?

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4 minutes ago, iPeace said:

Cool. That must mean I can use the focusing eyepiece holder to get more mag. ?

This thread has some good info about the Baader VIP which might be of interest, same principles apply to other Barlow.

 

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I bought this Baader 2.25X barlow a few years ago mainly to use with binoviewers (this pair was later sold). However, I have used it with many EPs especially my TeleVue 8-24mm zoom and the results have been very good. In fact I have been so pleased with this barlow I never considered upgrading it.

10 days ago I bought some William Optics binoviewers to use with my Heritage 130P and the 12" Revelation Dob. Using the 20mm EPs in the Dob together with the Baader barlow the amount of detail that I obtained viewing Jupiter was incredible. Its a pity there is no filter thread in the bottom but you can overcome this by other means.

So in conclusion another satisfied owner of the Baader 2.25X barlow

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