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Richard136

King of the zooms

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After some advice on a zoom for my Altair 70 ED travel scope. Also for use in my 110 refactor.

Baader seem very much up there, in price at least, but I read good things about the HyperFlex. Is the Baader worth the extra? Who is king of the zooms?

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Proably the Leica Vario zoom as it should be at the price. ££££££

https://www.apm-telescopes.de/en/eyepieces/eyepieces-spotting-scopes/leica-zoom-eyepiece-vario-25x-50x-asph.

I fpund the TS and Hyperflex zooms (same eyepiece) nearly as good as the Baader. Not a lot in it really.

Edited by johninderby
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The Leica ASPH is really good as is the Zeiss Vario D I believe. I've owned the Leica and it is really top notch optically.

Of the more affordable zooms the Baader does pretty well although not quite as well as good quality fixed focal length eyepieces.

I currently use a 7.2 - 21.5 zoom (same as the Hyperflex and TS ones I believe) quite often and that does well too, especially with a Baader 2.25x barlow as a high power zoom.

Then we have the little gems from Tele Vue, the Nagler 3-6mm zoom and 2-4mm zoom (latter out of production). They are excellent tools for exploring the high and very high magnification ranges.

Edit: I've just remembered the Pentax XL 8-24mm which has a good reputation as well.

 

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Interesting.

There's a host of them to fit spotting scopes, e.g. Swarovski. Not sure how they'd perform or even fit in some cases.

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The TS zoom is usually the first eyepiece I use then switch to a regular eyepiece. 

Surprisigly good for the money. 👍🏻

Some spotting scope zooms work well but others are horrible for night time observing. The Pentax XF zoom is one of the finest solar Ha eyepieces I’ve ever used but rubbish for regular observing.

Edited by johninderby

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1 minute ago, Richard136 said:

Interesting.

There's a host of them to fit spotting scopes, e.g. Swarovski. Not sure how they'd perform or even fit in some cases.

Custom adapters are available for some zooms so that they fit a 1.25 inch or 2 inch astro fitting.

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Read some reviews on CN comparing the Leica , Zeiss and Swarovski zooms and the Leica and Zeiss were equally liked but the  Swarovski came out in third place as it wasn’t as comfortable to use with eye placement being the main  problem and a warmer tone.

If I win the lottery I’ll have to get all three and compare. 😁😁😁

Edited by johninderby
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2 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Read some reviews on CN comparing the Leica , Zeiss and Swarovski zooms and the Leica and Zeiss were equally liked but the  Swarovski came out in third place as it wasn’t as comfortable to use with eye placement being the main  problem and a warmer tone.

If I win the lottery I’ll have to get all three and compare. 😁😁😁

Haha.

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Pentax XL Zoom: very nice build, very nice views. Relatively heavy and bulky, but no more so than many other very nice eyepieces (I've switched to more compact types).

Baader Mk IV Zoom: nice build quality, to my eyes the views are just about as nice as the Pentax at less weight and bulk. I've kept this one.

HyperFlex Zoom: the most compact and lightest of the "mid-length" zooms I've tried. Build quality is less posh, but solid enough and the views are good. Excellent value; after comparison I kept the Baader but only for its more posh feel.

TeleVue Nagler Zoom: at 3-6 mm, limited to use for high magnification, but so amazingly useful and fun, premium quality, compact powerhouse. I also own the 2-4 mm version, now no longer in production.

Between the Baader and the HyperFlex, I'm inclined to say that the price differential gives you more additional build quality than actual additional optical performance. If you like your eyepieces light and compact, the HyperFlex will serve you well - surprisingly so, with a Q Barlow for higher mags. If your OCD is of the touchy-feely variety, you may enjoy the Baader more.

Good luck, and enjoy! :happy11:

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I have a pre 2009 Pentax zoom - said to be a SMC XW 8-24 mm zoom , nitrogen filled.

I use it for solar observing - no issues.

 

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