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Rob Sellent

EP Type Choices

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Avoiding the issue of budget for a moment, given your eyepiece case's current state what have been the deciding factors for you of choosing one eyepiece type over another?

Do you have a particular favourite type of eyepiece you tend to use for Moon and planets and another type for DSOs  or does a particular range of eyepieces dominate your eyepiece case? For example, a run of DeLites, XWs, or UWANs? Do you also enjoy using Barlows, Powermates or Zooms and if so, on what occassions?

Finally, are there any eyepieces types on your wish list for 2020?

 

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Hi

I particularly like DeLite eyepieces and they have specifically become a favourite for Lunar and Planetary observing. I also like to use a XW5mm in-between DeLite eyepieces; on my wish list for 2020 will be a XW3.5mm. For DSO's I mostly enjoy low power wide field and like to experiment with exit pupil size, recently introducing a 41mm Panoptic to use on extended objects of low surface brightness at dark sky locations. My eyepiece case had long since become full, some chunky e.p's are kept in Neoprene Lens Pouches. Personal preference is to use incremental focal lengths rather than such as a Barlow / Powermate.

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I like hyperwides for nebula, starfields and as a finder. For the moon and planets orthos, good zooms and good widefields such as Delos, XW and Delite work well. For galaxies those same widefields and orthos tick the boxes for me.

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I also like using widefields for starfields open clusters, as well as the Moon & planets (TV zoom for detail)

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I like the widest fields possible generally and also I like those fields to be well corrected right across. These have proved to be expensive preferences !

I have a set of hyper wide eyepieces that I used in 2 inch mode with my 12 inch dobsonian. I have another set of 1.25 inch eyepieces which tend to get used in my refractors and these are 68 -72 degree AFoV eyepieces plus a Nagler 2-4mm zoom, which has just a 50 degree field of course but is a potent little gem of an eyepiece. Ethos dominate the hyper-wide set (4 of those) and Pentax XW's the 1.25" set (4 of those as well). Overall I currently have 17 eyepieces with the Tele Vue brand making up over half of those.

I also have a lower cost 30mm 2 inch wide field, a mid-range zoom and a barlow which I use as a travel / lightweight / outreach set.

I'd like to try the new Tele Vue Apollo 11 sometime but I'm not going to fork out £1,000 plus to buy one !

I'd also like to try the 12.5mm Docter and Nikon Nav HW eyepieces but won't loose any sleep if that does not come about - I might like them too much :smiley:

I don't have any plossls or orthos currently.

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I have quite a mix bag of eyepieces really. But from the outset I tried to buy the best quality I could afford. Therefore I decided on well known manufacture's and the highest quality optics I could buy for my £. The reason I did this was I was lucky enough to purchase two great scopes in the form of the 14" OOuk 1/10 Dob and a lovely SW120 ed equinox. I really wanted to get the best out of these quality scopes. And therefore I did not want any weak links in the optical chain. Due to budget restraints I did go for used eyepieces. But I have no complaints in going down this path. As I have managed to purchase some top tier eyepieces that will complement my scopes. Over the years I have built up from BGO orthos( love these in the frac) . The TV Nagler 20mm and Pentax XW range from the 3.5 XW up to the 10XW  Pentax. These work so well in the Dob and Frac , just so universal, an Ortho optical performance but great eye relief and increase fov. I am pleased to say I am more than content for around a year now with the scopes and eyepieces that I have manage to acquire. So at this moment in time my eyepiece case is set to stay as it is. Great quality that has been acquired on a budget 

 

 

 

 

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For use with my f4-5 dobs . Wide at the long end. Either 20mm(ish) 100° or 24mm 82°. Then TV Delos 14,10,8,6mm. 
If cash was no object, a set of Ethos would do nicely. Sadly this is not the case. Hence the stepping down to 72° fov on all but the longest eyepiece. I’d rather have a highest quality narrower view than a compromised wider view.

Paul

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9 hours ago, Rob Sellent said:

Avoiding the issue of budget for a moment, given your eyepiece case's current state what have been the deciding factors for you of choosing one eyepiece type over another?

Budget, first and foremost, it's inescapable for me! :D

And then I save and ask for things for b'days and xmas. ;)

And then, 20 years later, I have what is in my sig! :)

Currently (5 years or more in the making and not finished yet), I am investing in 82° EPs for the added FOV and nudge factor.

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Budget is also a huge factor for me, and so far, EPs that I like the most are ES - 82 and 68 lines. Deciding factor is somewhere between sharpness and ease of use in sense of eye placement/relief.

While not the most comfortable EPs out there - these are certainly sharpest EPs (ES82 11mm) that I've tried.

I've yet to try out 5.5mm 62 degrees from ES and I'm hoping it will be equally sharp. Ergonomics of it are fine according to simple - "hold it against white wall and check how difficult it is to see field stop" test.

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I have bought a motley selection of makes depending on the budget I had at the time but have always tried to spend more on shorter FL’s as generally they require the better optics in order to make the most of the higher magnifications they offer. 
 

I particularly like my two Explore Scientific MaxVisions. I have a 16mm 1.25” and 24mm 2”, the latter in particular giving really sharp wide views. My Vixen 2.4mm planetary is also a killer but needs a decent scope to get the most out of it. 
 

I am quite happy searching out secondhand bargains as well as the ‘giant killers’. My 12mm BST gets a lot of use for example. 
 

Basically I decide on what FL I want then find a good EP in that range. Make and model are secondary :)

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Except at the highest powers, sufficient eye relief to use while wearing eyeglasses is the primary deciding factor for eyepiece choice.  Secondarily, I like wide apparent fields of view.  Not necessarily ultra-wide (~80 to 90 degrees) or hyper-wide (~90 to 120 degrees), just "super" wide (~65 to 80 degrees) is usually good enough for my tastes in observing.  Third, I demand low levels of edge astigmatism and field curvature since I use undriven mounts which means I have to observe objects while they drift from edge to edge.

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In my manual 15" f4.5 dob, I have been seduced by wide field: 31T5 / 17E / 10E / 8E / 6E.

I use these for all targets - DSOs, planets and lunar - for better or for worse ;)  I know there may be more optimal planetary EPs, or even deeper EPs for DSOs, but I've had my best ever views with them.

I really notice the fov change going back to my 13 & 7mm Naglers/ 24mm Panoptic/ 15mm plossl.  Personally, i really like the wide vista.

I thought I was completely done buying EPs, but I did pick up a 7-21mm TS zoom EP this year which is handy for my 50mm Lunt, as well as for my H130p 'travelscope' (performs well / very convenient).

I'm done now - no more astro purchases!!!

...except for maybe a Hb filter; and a filter slide; and.............. 😏

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My favorite eyepieces are dependent on the object and scope type. My favorite objects from home are the Moon and the planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Mars). When I'm in south of France at a dark site, then I observe DSO objects, galaxies, globular clusters, planetary nebulae.  

 

My favorite eyepieces in order for the Moon with FS-102NSV, Sky-90, TEC-140:

- Tak LE 30, Nikon NAV HW 17, Pentax XW 20-3.5, Ethos 13, Pentax XO 5.1-2.5, Vixen HR 2

My favorite binoviewer eyepieces for the Moon with FS-102NSV:

- Zeiss ZAO II 16, Tak LE 30, Panoptic 24

 

My favorite eyepieces for the planets with FS-102NSV and Sky-90: 

- Pentax XO 5.1, Tak LE 5-7.5 , XW 5

 

My favorite eyepieces for DSO objects with 16" dobson:

-  Nikon NAV HW 17, at a distant Ethos 13mm

 

If I had to make a choice that I can keep only 3 eyepieces it would be:

- Nikon NAV HW 17, Zeiss ZAO II 16, Pentax XO 5.1

 

 

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On 17/12/2019 at 02:38, Rob Sellent said:

Avoiding the issue of budget for a moment, given your eyepiece case's current state what have been the deciding factors for you of choosing one eyepiece type over another?

Do you have a particular favourite type of eyepiece you tend to use for Moon and planets and another type for DSOs  or does a particular range of eyepieces dominate your eyepiece case? For example, a run of DeLites, XWs, or UWANs? Do you also enjoy using Barlows, Powermates or Zooms and if so, on what occasions?

Finally, are there any eyepieces types on your wish list for 2020?

 

It's usually about the true field rather than the apparent field.

I use mostly Ethos eyepieces on my scope with a 1826mm focal length and mostly Delite eyepieces on my scope with a 714mm focal length.  100-110° yields adequate true fields on the longer scope

and 62° yields adequately-wide true fields with the 714mm focal length scope.  I have 8 eyepieces for the long scope (and that's enough) and 12 for the short scope (and that's too many).

Recently, I've been experimenting with eyepieces, and i guess the #1 thing that immediately disqualifies an eyepiece for me is astigmatism in the outer field.  #2 is if it has barrel distortion or noticeable angular magnification distortion.

 Pretty much every eyepiece is sharp enough on axis.  It's keeping that sharpness to the edge that separates the wheat from the chaff.

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I used to have only Televue but now have none. Pentax XW's were my favourite for a long time, but even they gave way to more simple designs. I now use Masuyama clone pairs ranging from 35mm to 7.5mm in a binoviewer and they are exquisite. For high power high definition I use Vixen HR eyepieces, while Baader Morpheus are my choice for wider field viewing.

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I used to have a very nice set of Televue Ethos. Nagler and Delos eyepieces, plus a couple of Pentax XWs. Mainly for budget reasons these got sold on, and I used and enjoyed a Leica ASPH zoom for a while with Baader VIP Barlow.

I now have a kind of poor man' version of John's setup. A full set of BGOs plus a 3 to 6 Nagler Zoom and 24mm Panoptic make an ideal travel setup, whilst I have a 12.5mm Docter, APM 20mm 100 degree, ES 30mm 82 degree and a clone 40mm 68 degree to make up a motley 2" collection. Actually I find the performance very acceptable given the significant price difference, and without doing side by side comparisons I don't really remember what I'm missing! One day finances may allow the TV/Pentax to make a return, but I'm pretty content with what I've got now. I also binoview with 25mm Orthos and a Baader Mark IV biniviewer which is excellent for solar, lunar and planetary observing.

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What hasn’t been mentioned much is comfort of use. If eye placement is problematic or eye cups odd shapes, it really takes away from the whole viewing experience. For me the ergonomics of the Delos line hit the right spot (haven’t tried the comparable Pentax range). Even the celebrated Ethos 21mm needs you to virtually climb inside it to get the full 100° wow effect.

Paul

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Thank you all for such great replies. Its interesting to see what you guys are using and how your eyepiece set ups are in a good state of flux and evolution.

The secondhand astronomy market being so poor in Spain and so tricky either to buy or sell decent used gear, I tend to drift towards the dictum, 'Buy once, cry once.' I also try to buy eyepieces that are recognised as working well without any aberration or distortion in any focal ratio scope be it an f/4, f/5, f/6 or what have you. I've found that scopes come and go, but eyepieces more often stay.

Like Stu, I have a full set of BGOs. Optically they are outstanding and I used to use them all the time but now I'm older I find them a little tiring to use over extended periods. I also have 24mm and 19mm Panoptics, 14mm and 10mm Delos and Mark IV zooms for binoviewing.

I don't have any comfortable, wide field of view, high power eyepieces. For many years I was quite content with just using a Barlow or BGO but perhaps for 2020, I'll keep a look out for a higher power Delos or DeLite and then I think I'll call it a day.

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My favourite one is the docter 12.5mm with Baader push fix adapter to make it 2", nearly parfocal to my other eyepieces, and attachable to the Baader VIP via T2 connection.

Generally I prefer 70-80 Deg AFOV EPs, with 15-20mm eye relief, large top lens, and weighing around 500-600g.

In my dob I use only 2" eyepiece (very similar weight). In the Tak, both 2" and 1.25", depending on what I feel. 

Oh I also love zoom eyepieces. I have two: one in 2" mode for the dobson and one in 1.25" mode for the refractors.

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I bought most of my eyepieces new. If you wait long enough one can find used eyepieces as well. 
I would love to try the docter 12.5mm. I haven’t seen one used.
What I like about the XW is they are like Swiss knife, they perform well, it doesn’t get fogged, which is very important to me, they are comfortable, and they can be used with glasses.

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Most of my eyepieces (all but 3 I think) were bought pre-owned over a period of 2-3 years. I doubt that could have afforded to buy them all new :dontknow:

The used astro equipment market (certainly in the UK anyway) means that you can buy a decent eyepiece, try it for a while and then, if it does not quite suit you, sell it on for more or less what you paid less perhaps the postage charges.

With eyepiece choice being so personal (as this thread demonstrates) it is great that the used market is so active.

 

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I have had most of the eyepieces for years. The Eyepieces that didn’t work for me was the Tak Abbe ortho, I tried 12.5, 9, 6mm. They are for sure sharp, but the eye relief and the color representation didn’t work for me. I do love the Tak LE’s, love the color representation of these eyepieces. I foolishly traded a Zeiss ZAO 10, I compared the ZAO 10 with the Tak Abbe 9, the scope was FS-102, the color rendering of Zeiss was vibrant, there was a pop. Side by side the colors of the Tak Abbe looked flat. 

Edited by Stardust1
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4 hours ago, Stardust1 said:

I would love to try the docter 12.5mm

Another very sharp eyepiece in the centre of the FOV is the 25.1-6.7mm Zeiss zoom. It is great in slowish newts and excellent in refractors across the whole field. It maintains incredible centre sharpness in my f4.8 and I'm working on its use with the Paracorr at at both f4.8 and f4.1.

@Piero has extensive experience with this set up. Then there are the lowest scatter eyepieces I've seen, the Vixen Hr's.

I also find the Tak abbes VG but not the best, the Zeiss zoom is sharper IMHO. I differ from you with regard to Tak LE's- my 12.5mm does not excel in any area at all.

 

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Thanks Gerry! Do you mean this Zeiss zoom:

https://www.idealo.de/preisvergleich/OffersOfProduct/812353_-okular-vario-d-15-45x-20-60x-zeiss.html

I have never tried the Zeiss zoom, would love to try it. The focal length is great. What is the FOV across the range? I assume you would need an 1.25" adapter. Is the Zeiss zoom sharper then the Leica 25-50x WW?

I have at the moment a pair of Tak LE 30 and one LE 7,5. I loved the LE 5 as well, but couldn't justify keeping it as I had already the XW 5, XO 5. The LE 5 sample that I had was sharper then XW 5 sample.

 

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16 minutes ago, Stardust1 said:

Thanks Gerry! Do you mean this Zeiss zoom:

https://www.idealo.de/preisvergleich/OffersOfProduct/812353_-okular-vario-d-15-45x-20-60x-zeiss.html

I have never tried the Zeiss zoom, would love to try it. The focal length is great. What is the FOV across the range? I assume you would need an 1.25" adapter. Is the Zeiss zoom sharper then the Leica 25-50x WW?

I have at the moment a pair of Tak LE 30 and one LE 7,5. I loved the LE 5 as well, but couldn't justify keeping it as I had already the XW 5, XO 5. The LE 5 sample that I had was sharper then XW 5 sample.

 

I couldn't get the site going as its in German but I think it is. Its a narrow, ortho like FOV and responds very well to the Baader VIP barlow.  Zeiss sells expensive adapters but Piero and I run Baader adapters that are focus point friendly.

I have the Leica Asph zoom- its a warmer tone with a wider FOV and is VG but with a bit of EOFB. It is really sharp but I feel the Zeiss works better for me. The Leica seems a bit less sensitive to f ratio IMHO.

I'll have to go look at the zoom to see if its the one your referring to. I always wanted to try the fixed fl 12.5mm Zeiss as well... and a 5mm XO!

Some of my very best planetary/lunar views have been with the ZZ. To my eyes there might be a bit of sharpness fall off at the low end of the zoom/barlow- but this was at over 500x on the moon... my seeing here can support 762x using the 2.4mm Vixen HR and my 15" dob- and razor sharp. It could be the conditions affecting the ZZ at the high end, not really sure.

Regardless, the views through the ZZ are stunning- maybe @Piero can chime in.

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