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Although I don't really need a zoom eyepiece I've played with the idea of getting one, on and off, for a while now and on on an impulse I've bought this Altair LER 8-24 zoom second hand via ABS. Its a 9 element eyepiece and as you would expect its a bit of  a lump but not quite as heavy as I expected.  The zoom action is pretty smooth 24mm down to 12mm then it tends to stiffen a tad going down to 8mm although its inconsistent on that, perhaps temperature related? Optically I tried it out terrestrially in the ED100 and it was quite impressive though doing a quick comparison with a couple of  fixed focal length EPs I would not say it was better, but I really wasn't expecting that. Last night, conditions were nothing special with a lot of thin cloud flowing around producing "milky" viewing, but I gave it a shot. Predictably results were mixed. Mars so bright showed as a bright orange disc with perhaps just a hint of the polar cap; Jupiter, quite low but equatorial  bands  visible but with no real detail; Saturn was better and though I willed the Cassini Division to suggest itself,  it didn't but that was probably asking too much. What I found surprising was that playing around with magnifications and the quality of the view was that I often thought I was at a higher magnification than what I was when I looked at the barrel markings on the EP. Perhaps this is the value of a zoom in that you can go for what is best directly through the eyepiece as opposed to what you think should work. Anyway, its early days, but so far I'm happy.

Altair Zoom 1a.jpg

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The 8-24mm zooms are good fun aren't they Ian. I was having a gander with my Baader zoom this evening with my Celestron C4R and despite some very dodgy seeing I was very pleased also to see some vague details on Mars, some faint equatorial bands on Jupiter and on Saturn I thought I could just make out the Cassini Division. I also tried it on Omega Centauri but lack of aperture just didn't allow me to see much more than a fuzzy blob.

I've been partnering my zoom with my 2x Barlow and it gives tremendous views. I had a look to see what FL I was on when getting the best views of Saturn and it was on 12mm, which equates to 6mm. Maybe a high quality 6mm fixed EP with a wide FOV is on the cards next. 😀

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I've owned a few zooms over the years but not the one featured here so it's interesting to read about it :smiley:

I'm currently finding a little 7.2mm - 21.5mm zoom very useful, especially when combined with the Baader Q-Turret 2.25x barlow to make it a high power 3.2mm - 9.55mm zoom :smiley:

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Thanks for those encouraging words Geoff. I never quite think of observing as "fun", perhaps too still, to quiet, but perhaps yes "fun" certainly adds another dimension to the process. Interesting to read of your session too. I have a 7mm (82 degree) Skywatcher Nirvana, which of course I didn't take out with me (!) as I was just playing around (having fun) with my new acquisition, that would have been interesting. The Nirvana is a cracking EP,  I think I've posted some time ago, somewhere on here, that for me  a 68 degree fov was plenty for me, well I have to confess that the 7mm 82mm porthole is surprisingly manageable. Unfortunately I don't think you can get a 6mm in that EP type.

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1 minute ago, John said:

I've owned a few zooms over the years but not the one featured here so it's interesting to read about it :smiley:

I'm currently finding a little 7.2mm - 21.5mm zoom very useful, especially when combined with the Baader Q-Turret 2.25x barlow to make it a high power 3.2mm - 9.55mm zoom :smiley:

Yes I've read your interesting report about that John. I came very close to clicking on Baader barlow but then got distracted. One for another day.

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Zooms are so much easier than swapping out the EP every few mins. I have 8-24 Badder Mk II.

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Seben are not known for quality optical instruments, but they seem to have gotten it right with their 8-24mm zoom. Its a fraction of the cost of Badder.

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2 hours ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Seben are not known for quality optical instruments, but they seem to have gotten it right with their 8-24mm zoom. Its a fraction of the cost of Badder.

Long Perng is the manufacturer.  It's most likely this one:

13278447216mjaf1.jpg

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6 hours ago, Louis D said:

Long Perng is the manufacturer.  It's most likely this one:

13278447216mjaf1.jpg

The Altair Astro zoom the thread is about is Long Perng.

The Seben zoom Luke skywatcher mentioned is probably the Barsta standard 8-24mm zoom and the one John has is the Barsta "Super High Quality Zoom". 

http://www.barsta.com/show_hdr.php?xname=MDA8V11&dname=OPFOR71&xpos=14

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17 hours ago, Louis D said:

Long Perng is the manufacturer.  It's most likely this one:

13278447216mjaf1.jpg

Yes that's the one. They do a  a  "Lanthanum" version of this which has different lens configuration and I think is marketed under the Primaluce banner. I've come across some reference to it at iceinspace as being the same as a Williams Optics zoom, (clearly not the Zoom ii which is different altogether), but I have my doubts about that. It is clearly the same as the Omegon LE Super Zoom 8-24mm which seems to be discontinued but sold for a hefty £224, however I like the Omegon description:

 

" Omegon Super LE eyepieces - The high quality zoom eyepiece

One eyepiece with a range of magnifications - provided by the Omegon Super LE zoom eyepiece. But what distinguishes it from other zoom eyepieces is the optical quality. It provides a range of 8 -24mm at extremely high contrast - which is why it belongs to the Omegon Super LE eyepiece family. A pearl among zoom eyepieces!"

A pearl among zoom eyepieces? I think their marketing man was having a good day. 

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34 minutes ago, Alfian said:

A pearl among zoom eyepieces? I think their marketing man was having a good day.

I was thinking "Who would want to try to look through a pearl?"  Perhaps diamond would have been better.  I know what they were going for (finding a pearl in an oyster is special), but the analogy ends there.

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13 hours ago, Ricochet said:

The Altair Astro zoom the thread is about is Long Perng.

The Seben zoom Luke skywatcher mentioned is probably the Barsta standard 8-24mm zoom and the one John has is the Barsta "Super High Quality Zoom". 

http://www.barsta.com/show_hdr.php?xname=MDA8V11&dname=OPFOR71&xpos=14

Yep, thats the one. The standard 1.25" 8-24mm.

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13 hours ago, Ricochet said:

.... John has is the Barsta "Super High Quality Zoom". 

http://www.barsta.com/show_hdr.php?xname=MDA8V11&dname=OPFOR71&xpos=14

Yes, thats the one. William Optics and Lunt branded versions shown in that link. Also available in TS, Skywatcher, Opticstar and other brandings, at widely varying prices !

My version was jut £55.00 delivered from Germany :thumbright:

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I got a second hand mk4 zoom specifically to save some time on short mid week sessions and to pack smaller when on holiday.

At first I was disappointed as it was not a match for my SLVs in quality terms, particularly due to off axis field curvature at longer focal lengths, bit I stuck with it and actually it gets a lot of use on merit, being much less hassle and on planets/doubles where off axis doesn't matternso much the ability to tune the magnification is winning.

I have a 1.5x Barlow and a 2.5x Powermate to provide different magnification ranges which work well.

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10 hours ago, John said:

My version was jut £55.00 delivered from Germany :thumbright:

Absolute bargain, no wonder they sold out of the entire shipment so quickly.

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On 10/08/2018 at 00:17, LukeSkywatcher said:

Seben are not known for quality optical instruments, but they seem to have gotten it right with their 8-24mm zoom. Its a fraction of the cost of Badder.

Yes. Both, the Seben 8-24 zoom and the Baader Hyperion zoom 8-24 Mk III are my most used eyepieces; the Seben with the smaller grab-and-go scopes at f/5, and the Hyperion with the 18" f/4.5 - and it can even cope with the f/4 aperture ratio of the 8" Hofheim traveldob (not so the Seben). Very good allrounders with remarkably good and sharp optics, and a decent AFoV (apparent field of vision) at higher mags. When it comes down to tease out very faint or low contrast objects or structures, I switch to the Orthos anyway.

Stephan

Edited by Nyctimene
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