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Makro

Pentax XL 8-24mm Zoom

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Hi,

Has any one used the Pentax XL 8-24mm zoom? Couldn't find any posts on this in the forum? I am looking at buying it so any reviews would be helpful

Many thanks

p.s. would be looking to use it with a Skywatcher 12" dob.

p.p.s. I am very new to the hobby, but wanted to see if i could save money (and also fiddling around!) with different eyepeices by getting a good general purpose zoom.

Appreciative of any useful information on this topic

 

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

There are users of that eyepiece on the forum. Here is a thread from a little while back:

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/275524-first-light-review-pentax-smc-8-24-zoom-eyepiece/

Other candidates are the Baader 8-24mm zoom which gets a lot of plaudits on forums, rightfully so.

Currently one of my most used eyepieces is a 7.2mm - 21.5mm zoom which also works very well with a barlow lens to give a high power zoom facility:

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/317641-happy-coincidence/

With my 12 inch dob I tend to use fixed focal length ultra-wide angle eyepieces more often but the zoom does get used in that scope as well. Most zooms have quite a narrow field of view at the longer focal length which widens as the focal length shortens so some folks like a low power / wider angle eyepiece as well as the zoom in their eyepiece case.

 

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You might also perform a google search against Cloudy Nights for the Pentax XL (SMC) zoom.  Apparently, it's good, but not great like the Leica and Zeiss spotting scope zooms.  I personally like the Celestron Regal or Olivon spotting scope eyepiece.  If you're in the US, MASILMW sells Olivon blems with the magnification numbers reversed for $65 shipped to the CONUS.  They're a major step up from the basic 8-24mm zooms from Celestron/Meade/Zhumell/etc. for about the same money.

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Posted (edited)

The Pentax is a great zoom eyepiece, as good or better in build as a Leica which I have also owned (but not nearly as wide a field as the Leica).

If you think of the Pentax more as an 8-20mm range in practical terms, and add a decent 22mm to 30mm wide field fixed length eyepiece for low power, you might not need any others.

If you want to go higher magnification than the 8mm can give you, just add a decent 2x Barlow lens such as Baader Q or Baader Hyperion zoom and you will find you have a very good high power 4-12mm zoom as well.

Contrast, sharpness and colour rendition are as good as the Pentax XL/XF fixed ranges, but with a less wide FOV.

Hope that helps☺

Dave

 

Edited by F15Rules
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To all who responded , many thanks!! I thought the forum software was going to auto notify me of responses so didn't check in. Apologies for the tardiness of my reply to the thread...

Having had a look at the links you guys gave me, I am definitely thinking I will try out the Skywatcher Hyperflex 7.2mm - 21.5mm / Barlow option. Looks like for the money a perfectly decent EP and certainly a lot cheaper than the Pentax (though i'm sure from the links the Pentax is a very good piece of kit ..!!  But if I can do it on a shoe string then I will since the telescope it self wasn't cheap...

John would you say the Baader Q-Turret 2.25x barlow was an essential part of the 'Happy Coincidence' ! ...? I currently have the following barlow: Seben 3x ED Barlow Lens FMC Apochromat Full Metal 1.25" BA3 which i got just after buying the telescope.  I assume I would need to use the money saved by buying the Hyperflex and get my self a better barlow as well. Just wondering if the Baader Q 2.25x was a must or if i could vary this.  Also, just wondering as i understand it the 'q-turret' it self is the swivelling eyepeice carousel, and i assume that is not required for using the Baader barlow you mentioned. 

Many thanks again

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3 minutes ago, Makro said:

John would you say the Baader Q-Turret 2.25x barlow was an essential part of the 'Happy Coincidence' ! ...? I currently have the following barlow: Seben 3x ED Barlow Lens FMC Apochromat Full Metal 1.25" BA3 which i got just after buying the telescope.  I assume I would need to use the money saved by buying the Hyperflex and get my self a better barlow as well. Just wondering if the Baader Q 2.25x was a must or if i could vary this.  Also, just wondering as i understand it the 'q-turret' it self is the swivelling eyepeice carousel, and i assume that is not required for using the Baader barlow you mentioned. 

Many thanks again

I've not used another barlow with that zoom so I don't know how well another would do. The Baader Q-Turret is quite an inexpensive barlow for it's quality - around £40 new and perhaps £25-£30 if bought used.

On the zoom itself, it's available under a few brandings and I'm not sure that Skywatcher is the lowest cost. The Opticstar version seems reasonably priced to me:

http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astronomy/Astro-Accessories-Telescopes-Opticstar.asp?p=0_10_5_1_8_330

You don't need to use the eyepiece turret to use the Q-turret barlow.

 

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Many years ago, my friends and I compared the XL Zoom in a Pentax 80mm ED spotting scope with 3 focal lengths of Pentax XW eyepieces in the same scope.

We discovered:

--the images were a LOT brighter in the separate eyepieces, even matching focal lengths

--the images were a lot sharper in the separate eyepieces

--the field curvature of the zoom was more than the separate eyepieces

--the sharpness of the separate eyepieces was superior to the zoom.

With the zoom, the spotting scope was just average.  With the separate eyepieces, it was up there with Leica, Swarovski, and Zeiss in terms of performance.

After what we saw, I can no longer recommend the XL (SMC) Zoom.  Certainly it is a lot less expensive than a Leica, but it is more than the Baader, which I rate to be a better zoom.

 

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