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Curious about Zoom lenses.


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I once had a Zoom lens. It had a very narrow field of view. I did not enjoy using it for that reason.

Since then I have read people's accounts of their use. These reports were quite favourable. Perhaps something like an 8mm to 24mm would be useful.

What brand of Zoom eyepiece would people recommend I wonder.

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I have five Zooms in my collection, which now I've written it down sounds a little extreme, but here is my justification. Baader Mk III x1 Baader Mk IV x2 Lunt 7.2 - 21.5mm x1 - A £40 b

I have one of these: And one of these: I like them both and use them frequently. They probably get more use than the other eyepieces I have because they are so flexible. I've

I seem to have collected 1 Celestron, 1 Seben, 1 Vixen, 2 Baader lll, 1 TV 3-6  and 1 Leica.     🙂

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The Baader has good reviews however as you say they do get narrower (a relative term) the lower the mag, I think 8mm is around 68 degrees, 24mm  is around 50ish. From my understanding though most of the zooms tend to narrow. You can compensate that with a wider set ep of 24 or a 28 or 32 depending what your aims are. It also has a 2" adaptor if that suits you.

Quality wise with the Baader Hyperion, for me its fantastic, although mines an f10 sp quite forgiving. Zooms are a lot of fun compared with set peices, the abiity to "zoom" in itself makes it a great choice being able to scan and zoom straight in there and then is highly underated. It works great imo for either planetry or general star hopping. Its nice to stick it in the holder and a little bit of focussing rather than fiddling back and forth with your eye peices in the dark, especially when you start adding filters or barlows ect. Highly recommend.

They seem to go used for £140-150 on the usual sites.  more expensive than some, but sometimes they are the only peice used in a session.

Edited by DeathWarpedUp
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The Hyperflex zooms are rather good and also not expensive. I have one of the  7.2mm-21.5mm , actualy the TS version, but the same. Also available under the Lunt brand at a silly high price.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/search/for/hyperflex/

The Baader zoom is very good and slightly better but a lot more expensive and having used both not a huge difference in performance.

Edited by johninderby
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I love my Televue Nagler zoom 3-6mm. Yes it has got a narrow field of view but I don’t mind that as I usually use it for viewing the planets . It’s very convenient for trying different magnifications, depending on the conditions, without swapping eyepieces. It’s also very good quality if a bit pricey (best found secondhand) 

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Bizarrely I wrote this on another thread this morning, so sorry for repeating myself....😀 I love my Baader Zoom and though they are quite expensive, you could look at a Mark 111 rather than a Mark 1V, The only difference between the two is that the Mark 1V is lighter, optically they are the same so the Mark 111 will be cheaper. They are good fun, especially on double stars, great to zoom in and watch the star split

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My mate uses the Celestron 8 to 24 zoom and loves it so I have just ordered one off EBay for £70 so not much to pay out and try it , it has a very good reviews and eBay is so much cheaper than Amazon at £159

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I have five Zooms in my collection, which now I've written it down sounds a little extreme, but here is my justification.

Baader Mk III x1

Baader Mk IV x2

Lunt 7.2 - 21.5mm x1 - A £40 bargain from an SGL star party

Nagler 3 - 6mm x1

The Baader Mk III has a crack in one of the internal elements (since I carelessly dropped it) and it tends to get used when I do H-alpha solar outreach for convenience as the fault proves useful for "Pointing" out proms and features to the public (an added benefit, though it still smarts to think that I dropped it and caused the crack).

The two Baader Mk IVs are in each housed in a flight case with the two OTAs that get regularly taken out to dark sites or used for outreach as it means there are less things for me to fiddle around with or lose in the dark, and means that aside from the flight case, mount and power supply I don't have to worry about picking up anything else when I go out in a hurry.  I did get the second one recently to make a pair for solar binoviewing but I haven't got around to putting them to binoviewer use yet.

The Lunt Zoom, equivalent to the one linked to above, is in the flight case with my ZS66 for the reason stated above and gets used mostly for WL Solar.

Nagler 3 - 6 is a luxury item that I thought wouldn't see a lot of use, but it is probably my most used zoom as it is useful for splitting tight doubles.

The quality of the Baader Mk III and Mk IV is fine, though all of them tend to rattle and I find the Click-Stops quite subtle.  The AFOV is narrower at the 24mm end and as previously mentioned gets wider as you zoom in, but I don't find that bothers me too much, the Lunt/Hyperflex/TS is the same.

The Nagler Zoom is, as you'd expect very high quality and very heavy for its size.  The elements are housed in a long nosepiece so you do have to be careful as there is the possibility of it hitting the prism in a prism diagonal, but this is a fantastic EP as many other users attest to.

For me, its all about the convenience of a zoom and not needing to take another case full of eyepieces out when I make the effort to go to a dark sky site, though I do tend to also take a 32mm Panaview (70 degree AFOV) with me to give me sweeping vistas. 

The quality of the modern zooms is good, but a compromise is the variable AFOV, which you will need to decide whether or not you can live with.  Personally I can live with this and I love the convenience and ability to fine tune magnification that Zooms give you, but looking at the above, I think that I might have a zoom problem as I really didn't realise I'd accumulated so many.

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1 hour ago, AdeKing said:

I have five Zooms in my collection, which now I've written it down sounds a little extreme, but here is my justification.

Baader Mk III x1

Baader Mk IV x2

Lunt 7.2 - 21.5mm x1 - A £40 bargain from an SGL star party

Nagler 3 - 6mm x1

The Baader Mk III has a crack in one of the internal elements (since I carelessly dropped it) and it tends to get used when I do H-alpha solar outreach for convenience as the fault proves useful for "Pointing" out proms and features to the public (an added benefit, though it still smarts to think that I dropped it and caused the crack).

The two Baader Mk IVs are in each housed in a flight case with the two OTAs that get regularly taken out to dark sites or used for outreach as it means there are less things for me to fiddle around with or lose in the dark, and means that aside from the flight case, mount and power supply I don't have to worry about picking up anything else when I go out in a hurry.  I did get the second one recently to make a pair for solar binoviewing but I haven't got around to putting them to binoviewer use yet.

The Lunt Zoom, equivalent to the one linked to above, is in the flight case with my ZS66 for the reason stated above and gets used mostly for WL Solar.

Nagler 3 - 6 is a luxury item that I thought wouldn't see a lot of use, but it is probably my most used zoom as it is useful for splitting tight doubles.

The quality of the Baader Mk III and Mk IV is fine, though all of them tend to rattle and I find the Click-Stops quite subtle.  The AFOV is narrower at the 24mm end and as previously mentioned gets wider as you zoom in, but I don't find that bothers me too much, the Lunt/Hyperflex/TS is the same.

The Nagler Zoom is, as you'd expect very high quality and very heavy for its size.  The elements are housed in a long nosepiece so you do have to be careful as there is the possibility of it hitting the prism in a prism diagonal, but this is a fantastic EP as many other users attest to.

For me, its all about the convenience of a zoom and not needing to take another case full of eyepieces out when I make the effort to go to a dark sky site, though I do tend to also take a 32mm Panaview (70 degree AFOV) with me to give me sweeping vistas. 

The quality of the modern zooms is good, but a compromise is the variable AFOV, which you will need to decide whether or not you can live with.  Personally I can live with this and I love the convenience and ability to fine tune magnification that Zooms give you, but looking at the above, I think that I might have a zoom problem as I really didn't realise I'd accumulated so many.

Are these on 2' or 1.25" barrels?

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I have one of these:

orbzoom01.JPG.dbf4e97c260835b37dfdc1b3c1c21f00.JPG

And one of these:

eps01101603.JPG.ac797d4c0667140081c09a9d9628ee78.JPG

I like them both and use them frequently. They probably get more use than the other eyepieces I have because they are so flexible.

I've also owned a few of the Baader zooms (a Mk II and a couple of Mk III's) one of the low cost Skywatcher 8-24's and the very expensive Leica 8.9mm - 17.8mm ASPH zoom.

I would not want a zoom as my only eyepiece but I've certainly found that they are very useful to have in the astro "tool box" :smiley:

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On 07/07/2020 at 13:43, sputniksteve said:

Are these on 2' or 1.25" barrels?

I use the Baader Zooms as 1.25", they are 1.25" natively but come with a 2" nosepiece as well.

The Televue and Lunt are 1.25" also.

On 07/07/2020 at 14:30, Grumpy Martian said:

 Ade's  post is great. On the strength of his collection, dare I start a "Show us your Zoom lens" post?😜👀

It was a real shock when I realised how many I'd accumulated, these things just creep up on you.

23 minutes ago, JeremyS said:

Nice write up @AdeKing

Thanks @JeremyS

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23 minutes ago, John said:

I have one of these:

orbzoom01.JPG.dbf4e97c260835b37dfdc1b3c1c21f00.JPG

And one of these:

eps01101603.JPG.ac797d4c0667140081c09a9d9628ee78.JPG

I like them both and use them frequently. They probably get more use than the other eyepieces I have because they are so flexible.

I've also owned a few of the Baader zooms (a Mk II and a couple of Mk III's) one of the low cost Skywatcher 8-24's and the very expensive Leica 8.9mm - 17.8mm ASPH zoom.

I would not want a zoom as my only eyepiece but I've certainly found that they are very useful to have in the astro "tool box" :smiley:

John, is that first one a Hyperflex??...I was looking at one on FLO and looks really good for the price!!....added it to my wishlist!!

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On 07/07/2020 at 12:36, AdeKing said:

I have five Zooms in my collection, which now I've written it down sounds a little extreme, but here is my justification.

Baader Mk III x1

Baader Mk IV x2

Lunt 7.2 - 21.5mm x1 - A £40 bargain from an SGL star party

Nagler 3 - 6mm x1

The Baader Mk III has a crack in one of the internal elements (since I carelessly dropped it) and it tends to get used when I do H-alpha solar outreach for convenience as the fault proves useful for "Pointing" out proms and features to the public (an added benefit, though it still smarts to think that I dropped it and caused the crack).

The two Baader Mk IVs are in each housed in a flight case with the two OTAs that get regularly taken out to dark sites or used for outreach as it means there are less things for me to fiddle around with or lose in the dark, and means that aside from the flight case, mount and power supply I don't have to worry about picking up anything else when I go out in a hurry.  I did get the second one recently to make a pair for solar binoviewing but I haven't got around to putting them to binoviewer use yet.

The Lunt Zoom, equivalent to the one linked to above, is in the flight case with my ZS66 for the reason stated above and gets used mostly for WL Solar.

Nagler 3 - 6 is a luxury item that I thought wouldn't see a lot of use, but it is probably my most used zoom as it is useful for splitting tight doubles.

The quality of the Baader Mk III and Mk IV is fine, though all of them tend to rattle and I find the Click-Stops quite subtle.  The AFOV is narrower at the 24mm end and as previously mentioned gets wider as you zoom in, but I don't find that bothers me too much, the Lunt/Hyperflex/TS is the same.

The Nagler Zoom is, as you'd expect very high quality and very heavy for its size.  The elements are housed in a long nosepiece so you do have to be careful as there is the possibility of it hitting the prism in a prism diagonal, but this is a fantastic EP as many other users attest to.

For me, its all about the convenience of a zoom and not needing to take another case full of eyepieces out when I make the effort to go to a dark sky site, though I do tend to also take a 32mm Panaview (70 degree AFOV) with me to give me sweeping vistas. 

The quality of the modern zooms is good, but a compromise is the variable AFOV, which you will need to decide whether or not you can live with.  Personally I can live with this and I love the convenience and ability to fine tune magnification that Zooms give you, but looking at the above, I think that I might have a zoom problem as I really didn't realise I'd accumulated so many.

Your secret is safe with us, Ade. 
Therapy is available, of course 🙂

 

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36 minutes ago, Jiggy 67 said:

John, is that first one a Hyperflex??...I was looking at one on FLO and looks really good for the price!!....added it to my wishlist!!

It's the same but under different branding. This zoom is available under quite a few branding and at quite varying prices !

I picked the lowest cost that I could find because I was not sure how it would be but I've been pleasantly surprised.

 

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I borrowed the Baader 8-24 MklV zoom at the end of February [2020] for about
an hour from one of my local astro. society members and found it to be very good.

I have the TeleVue 3-6mm Nagler zoom, as below, (not my image)... 

984830843_Nagler3-6ZOOM_1.jpg.ce7c1d3dcad2a2bbe19117c21851c528.jpg1796048829_Nagler3-6ZOOM_2.jpg.772d8701180b66081cb9bb5835768fa5.jpg<--- £389.00GBP

 

...and this AstroBoot 'unknown' 7-21mm, (my image).

PIC040.JPG.c540c892498ad1b5e850bed6a457d246.JPG<--- £17.99GBP

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I have the OVL Hyperflex 7.2-21 zoom and love it for H Alpha, I was gettin a bit fed up with the lunt ha scope using other eyepieces with poppin one in and another out trying to get optimum viewing or just simply changing view to scan around when I decided to get the zoom but haven't looked back since.

I have not used any other zoom eyepieces but this one is built well, very smooth in use and has good ER.

It makes a huge difference to the HA viewing allowing me to relax at the eyepiece (when the clouds clear) and now HA is a pleasurable experience rather than a annoying faff.

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