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Ships and Stars

APM/Lunt HDC XWAs 9mm/13mm/20mm

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Posted (edited)

Finally received these 20mm/13mm/9mm APM/Lunt XWA 100 degree beauties after a major revamp of my eyepiece collection. The XWAs should be excellent in both my dobs, but particularly for watching DSOs float past in my undriven 300p flextube.

I think at last I have achieved my 'as good as it gets' set of eyepieces on a reasonable budget - 'reasonable' being a relative term of course.

I've had the 20mm Lunt for a couple of weeks now, but have only used it once, and that was on lunar. It was exceptionally good I thought, with little ground between it and the 21mm Ethos after repeatedly swapping eyepieces back and forth for about an hour (literally). 

The 21 Ethos seemed to snap to focus a bit easier and it felt like there was more than 1mm of difference in magnification and overall FOV to the 21E's advantage, maybe more like the APM was 19mm and not 20mm, but I am truly splitting hairs here. I've not tried either one head to head on DSOs, but have read good things. The Lunt 20mm is considerably lighter though and of course there is cost...

My EP collection now stands at:

  • 3x Lunt/APM XWAs
  • Revelation 42mm 65 deg 'finder' or super-widefield EP ('giant squid' exit pupil at f4 notwithstanding)
  • Baader 31mm Aspheric 
  • Baader 17.5mm Morpheus 
  • Baader 10mm Classic Ortho (on the way) 

I also have a few pairs of inexpensive plossls, but those are of course for my binoviewers.

Hopefully I have my bases covered now on affordable EPs. After the Leica zoom's wide-angle FOV, I am spoiled in the zoom dept, so I probably won't bother with another zoom, unless a Leica WW ASPH falls into my lap. 

The cost of all this was high - it meant selling my beloved 21mm & 13mm Ethosesss (ok, Ethoi) and my equally beloved Leica WW ASPH zoom, all of which are truly brilliant in my book, but as much as I stumble around on dark observing sites far away from home, I always felt fairly nervous using these super-expensive EPs due to potential damage or dropping/leaving one onsite (ouch!!) under early morning fatigue after an all-night observing session. Highly unlikely, but so is dropping a wallet full of cash. It does happen.

Does anyone have their mid-range/budget EPs they have settled down happily with over the years?

 

APM Lunt XWA.jpg

Edited by Ships and Stars
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That is a fine looking trio.

l’m rebuilding my eyepiece collection after  some financial excitement decimated my old Green & Black case. Have been wondering about going the APM route.....

Looking forward to the observing reports.

Paul

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Interesting report of some fine eyepieces :smiley:

I'm happy with my Ethos's now. I have tried a few other 100 degree eyepieces and many others but not the APM / Lunts. It's possible that they have the same optics as the Myriad 100's though in which case I have tried them :smiley:

I also tried the Leica ASPH zoom for a while but, unlike some, I didn't really take to that, nice though it was.

It took me about 6 months to decide that I slightly preferred the Pentax XW 5mm and 3.5mm to the Ethos SX 4.7 and 3.7 so I've not held onto all the Ethos's that I've had. Also tried the 17mm for a while but found it a focal length that I didn't use much.

I do the vast majority of my observing at home though. If I braved the wilds as much as you do I guess I might think about a lower cost "field set" to avoid risking the pricier ones.

Glad you have a set which you are happy with now :smiley:

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'd like to have kept the Ethos @John, but my main worry was damaging one, plus it freed up some money for other items, bit of a hard call in the end. If I observed mainly from home, I'd probably have kept them.

The 17mm Ethos always intrigued me, I've read comments it gave more contrast/darker skies then the 21mm due to the increased mag, but still retained a fairly wide FOV, though I guess the 21E is still king of the hill, so to speak.

I'm afraid to try either of the Delos/Pentax XW line now in case I find I prefer them and have to start over! 🤣 Admittedly it's fun to test out different equipment though, and I would like to try either if I am observing with someone who has some.

I think I'm on track now, but there's a gap between 20 & 31mm, so perhaps I'll find an excuse to buy one more....

 

 

Edited by Ships and Stars
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38 minutes ago, Paul73 said:

That is a fine looking trio.

l’m rebuilding my eyepiece collection after  some financial excitement decimated my old Green & Black case. Have been wondering about going the APM route.....

Looking forward to the observing reports.

Paul

Thanks Paul, took some head scratching, but after my 13mm Ethos went, it got easier. After using the 20mm Lunt, I have high expectations for the 13mm and 9mm, though the 20mm will see  the majority of use. Shall report back, hopefully soon!

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I find I skip happily from 31 to 21 and then to 13mm or sometimes even straight to 8mm with my 12 inch dob. That's why the 17mm Ethos didn't get much use. I still have the ES 92 / 17mm but I expect that I'll move that on in due course. Great eyepiece but like the 17mm Ethos, not used enough to justify having it.

I don't use the 31mm anywhere near as much as the 21mm Ethos really. My skies have a bit of light pollution so the higher magnification gives a darker background sky.

Its good to actually try these things out if you can. What suits one person might not suit another :smiley:

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3 minutes ago, Ships and Stars said:

... I'm afraid to try either of the Delos/Pentax XW line now in case I ...

I was going to keep out of this, being a Delos man myself, but oops too late I couldn’t resist!

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1 hour ago, Ships and Stars said:

Finally received these 20mm/13mm/9mm APM/Lunt XWA 100 degree beauties after a major revamp of my eyepiece collection. The XWAs should be excellent in both my dobs, but particularly for watching DSOs float past in my undriven 300p flextube.

Excellent!

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, John said:

I find I skip happily from 31 to 21 and then to 13mm or sometimes even straight to 8mm with my 12 inch dob. That's why the 17mm Ethos didn't get much use. I still have the ES 92 / 17mm but I expect that I'll move that on in due course. Great eyepiece but like the 17mm Ethos, not used enough to justify having it.

I don't use the 31mm anywhere near as much as the 21mm Ethos really. My skies have a bit of light pollution so the higher magnification gives a darker background sky.

Its good to actually try these things out if you can. What suits one person might not suit another :smiley:

True John, my 17.5 Morpheus gets a fair bit of use, but mainly because I don't have a 2" UHC or Hb filter. The 31mm is good for widefield and star clusters I suppose, though that hasn't seen a great deal of use lately. The 42mm was an fairly inexpensive impulse purchase, but can be a fun ep just cruising around for a casual look. I guess it and the 31mm have very similar overall FOV though, as I think the true fov on the revelation is a wee bit less than advertised. 

Hoping to give the APMs a good run here soon, especially curious what the 13mm and 9mm show in the denser areas of galaxies. 

Hope to report back soon on these.

PS the 17/92 is well regarded also! 

Edited by Ships and Stars
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3 minutes ago, Ships and Stars said:

Hope to report back soon on these.

I'm interested in how many galaxies you see in UMa starting with NGC 3998 in your 300mm dob with the 13mm Lunt.

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46 minutes ago, jetstream said:

Excellent!

I'm really curious to see how the 9mm does hunting galaxies, and whether or not it's a bit too much mag for most nights. It might work better in the 300p since that's less mag and more nudging around to track small objects. Might be good for PN too?

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, jetstream said:

I'm interested in how many galaxies you see in UMa starting with NGC 3998 in your 300mm dob with the 13mm Lunt.

It will be a challenge as I mainly use that one (300p) from home, but it's a good benchmark and rewarding in a way to finds DSOs from home. Best SQM-L reading at the ranch (a very small ranch, haha) so far was 20.3, was hoping for better! I'll take the 300p out again soon though, a fun scope, quick to set up and easy to steer. I actually saw the flame nebula from home in the 300p one night, but conditions were pretty good with comparatively ink black skies for home. That was December I think. 3998 will go on the must try to see list!

Edited by Ships and Stars
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Sorry Gerry, meant to say I use the 300p more from home, not the 13mm. Need to watch my careless use of pronouns, haha.

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10 minutes ago, Ships and Stars said:

I'm really curious to see how the 9mm does hunting galaxies, and whether or not it's a bit too much mag for most nights. It might work better in the 300p since that's less mag and more nudging around to track small objects. Might be good for PN too?

Yes, but more mag might be needed on some PN's as well as Hickson 55 and some Arps. These eyepieces will work well for you. Question : does seeing play a role for some extended objects such as PN and some galaxies?

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, jetstream said:

Yes, but more mag might be needed on some PN's as well as Hickson 55 and some Arps. These eyepieces will work well for you. Question : does seeing play a role for some extended objects such as PN and some galaxies?

When I had my 9mm Delite, I did use it a few times on PN and a handful of times 2xbarlowed even (think that gave 444x in the 500p). It gave decent views, despite the really high mag for UK skies and greatly increased darkening (the exit pupil must have been pretty small at 444x). 

Regarding seeing, do you mean seeing vs transparency for PN and fainter galaxies? I haven't given that much thought to be honest? Since picking up the Unihedron, I suppose I will be able to investigate the overall conditions a bit more, though. I never felt confident enough yet with NELM estimates, too many personal variables such as dark adaptation, level of experience, etc. I might have misunderstood the question though, still a rookie overall ;)  

Might be off track, with seeing though, I guess a stable sky would help reveal a really faint galaxy that otherwise might be mistaken for an equally faint star? I suppose at the challenging end of observing, both factors are needed to make a positive ID?

Edited by Ships and Stars
add more ramblings and musings

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I find the 8mm Ethos fantastic for observing globular clusters. With my 12 dob (199x) the views of the brighter globs can be similar to the images of them.

I'm sure the 9mm APM will deliver similar glorious globular views for you :smiley:

 

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I was messing about with Stellarium (no idea why I'm wide awake tonight) and came up with these simulated eyepiece views on NGC3998 with the 13mm vs the 9mm.

I see it has an estimated surface brightness of 13.1 mag, sounds like just finding it for me will be a challenge! If I do find it, I'll work out from there and try to ID any others. 

Slide1.JPG

Slide2.JPG

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2 hours ago, Ships and Stars said:

Regarding seeing, do you mean seeing vs transparency for PN and fainter galaxies?

Not seeing vs transparency but seeing itself seems to play a role in observing these small faint PN's and objects like Hickson 55 as we have to use such high mag on some of them. In this sense some small faint galaxy galaxy cores espc the "round" ones and also small PN's can benefit from good seeing-but- VG transparency is also needed IMHO. These rare nights of good seeing and great transparency really open up the skies. I have tried the seemingly impossible Einsteins Cross numerous times but I need a night of very dark skies with great seeing and top transparency.

Observing some of the PN's I mentioned in previous posts can be seen with almost unlimited mag but the detail I describe  is seeing and therefore mag limited. You are going to benefit from the 10BCO and I'm curious how the 9mm Lunt compares. Uma is a great testing ground.

Eagerly waiting reports!

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Posted (edited)

I have the 9mm 20mm Myriad and 13mm Ethos I do find the Ethos a bit crisper than the Myriads 

Edited by garryblueboy
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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, garryblueboy said:

I have the 9mm 20mm Myriad and 13mm Ethos I do find the Ethos a bit crisper than the Myriads 

I haven't been able to use the APMs much since I bought them, but had a few sessions and am very happy with them. The 21E will be missed though! I had a 13mm Ethos but only used it a few times, should have given it more of a run before I sold it...

If I ever have a home obsy, I'll return to the Ethos! I'd like to change the eyecup on the 20mm, it seems to hold my eye a bit far away when up, and when down there's too much eye relief, but a minor niggle.

What do you think of the Delos vs the Ethos?

Edited by Ships and Stars

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The extra ° of the Ethos is nice but the Delos as an all rounder is a great compromise  I also love the the Panoptics especially in a Dob the 35mm is great spent several hours last night at the eyepiece just wandering around I would love to replace myriads with the Ethos but cost wise even secondhand is not really cost effective 

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31 minutes ago, Ships and Stars said:

..... I'd like to change the eyecup on the 20mm, it seems to hold my eye a bit far away when up, and when down there's too much eye relief, but a minor niggle.

 

I have a similar issue with the eyecup on the ES 17mm 92 but more than a niggle - I'm not finding it as comfortable as my Ethos's. I've read that the ES 92's are great for those who wear glasses when observing and they are really well corrected eyepieces though.

90% of that session last night was with the 21mm Ethos in the 12 inch dob.

 

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3 hours ago, John said:

I have a similar issue with the eyecup on the ES 17mm 92 but more than a niggle - I'm not finding it as comfortable as my Ethos's. I've read that the ES 92's are great for those who wear glasses when observing and they are really well corrected eyepieces though.

90% of that session last night was with the 21mm Ethos in the 12 inch dob.

 

I could see that.  It is quite tall with a large radius, so it might push you eye up too high and off center because it hits the bridge of your nose before you're centered within it.  Both are non-issues for me since I observe with glasses and the eye cup is folded down.

Everyone who talks about observing with a hood to block stray light in lieu of eye cups has never tried observing under Texas summer skies where it can be 90°F+ and 80% humidity.  I would start dripping sweat all over my eyepieces and scope trying to use a hood in the summer (which stretches from late April to mid October).  We're expected to hit 90°F by Wednesday here for goodness sake!  I often use a large box fan blowing on high perpendicular to the scope across me to keep myself cooler and to blow away biting insects.

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