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IB20

Planetary eyepiece recommendation, possibly...

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I've always enjoyed spending time on the planets and I've been really enjoying viewing Mars in between the appalling weather, on the occasions it's been clear I've had some really nice views with my BST starguiders. I can see albedo features and the SPC, last night I could see white mists/clouds over the northern pole for the first time with the 8mm and 15mm 2 x barlowed. The 12mm barlowed was giving me really pleasant views last night and a few weeks before the opposition the 5mm gave occasional glimpses of good viewing. I picked up a 2x televue barlow and it has been a real treat, a definite improvement from the celestron omni I had. 

So it got me thinking, with Jupiter and Saturn due to be higher in the sky next year, should I save and invest in a real premium planetary eyepiece? My scope is a 200P skyliner dob so it's 1200mm, f/5.91 and from my experience the EP sweet spot seems to be around 8-6mm on the planets. Can I improve the performance of this scope for planetary viewing with a higher quality EP? I'd prefer to focus on an increase in contrast and sharpness over sweeping wide fields. If anyone could advise or make any recommendations I'd be very grateful!

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Are you OK with short eye relief ?

If so abbe orthoscopics such as the Fujuyama HD orthos provide pretty fine planetary views. A 6mm and a 5mm would be good focal lenghts. The Ohi abbe orthos are almost certainly the same as the Fujiyama:

https://okularum.eu/Genuine-Abbe-Orthoscopic-Eyepiece-6mm

If you want longer eye relief then I found the Vixen SLV 6mm provided almost identical performance to the Baader Genuine Ortho / Fujiyama HD ortho:

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/217971-vixen-slv-eyepiece-report-6mm-12mm-and-20mm/

Or you can push the boat out further and think about the Tele Vue DeLite's which are gaining an excellent reputation as high power yet comfortable to use eyepieces.

Lots of choice around !

 

 

Edited by John
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I found I was getting the most detail on the planets this year using my binoviewers with a pair of microscope eyepieces and a Meade 140 Barlow nose piece.  The planets were so bright that I couldn't really see good details without having to filter them down.  This was completely unnecessary with two eyes viewing at once.  That, and my brain was able to pick out finer details using two eyes, especially if I bumped my scope and allowed my brain's motion detection circuitry to kick in while it settled.

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49 minutes ago, John said:

Are you OK with short eye relief ?

If so abbe orthoscopics such as the Fujuyama HD orthos provide pretty fine planetary views. A 6mm and a 5mm would be good focal lenghts. The Ohi FD orthos are almost certainly the same as the Fujiyama:

https://okularum.eu/Genuine-Abbe-Orthoscopic-Eyepiece-6mm

If you want longer eye relief then I found the Vixen SLV 6mm provided almost identical performance to the Baader Genuine Ortho / Fujiyama HD ortho:

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/217971-vixen-slv-eyepiece-report-6mm-12mm-and-20mm/

Or you can push the boat out further and think about the Tele Vue DeLite's which are gaining an excellent reputation as high power yet comfortable to use eyepieces.

Lots of choice around !

 

 

Thanks John. I haven't ever used a really short eye relief EP, I don't think I'd get on with that short however and having just turned 40 and expect my eyesight will only be going in one direction! I hadn't looked at the Vixens, they do seem to get solid reviews and seem to tick all the boxes so maybe worth more of a thought. I have researched the Delites however and some of my thought process is about securing a real top end EP that will last me throughout the hobby. I do see myself at some point in the future buying a quality refractor too and I'm sure the TVs would work exceptionally well in one of these.

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17 minutes ago, IB20 said:

Thanks John. I haven't ever used a really short eye relief EP, I don't think I'd get on with that short however and having just turned 40 and expect my eyesight will only be going in one direction! I hadn't looked at the Vixens, they do seem to get solid reviews and seem to tick all the boxes so maybe worth more of a thought. I have researched the Delites however and some of my thought process is about securing a real top end EP that will last me throughout the hobby. I do see myself at some point in the future buying a quality refractor too and I'm sure the TVs would work exceptionally well in one of these.

I think the very best planetary eyepieces that are around these days and obtainable are probably the Takahashi TOE's and the Vixen HR's. The latter are just coming to the end of their production unfortunately but the former are available at around £290 apiece:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/takahashi-eyepieces/takahashi-toe-eyepieces.html

The Tele Vue DeLites are not far of the performance of these though, from what I've read.

The best planetary eyepiece that I have ever owned and used was the TMB Supermonocentric 5mm. I compared this over a number of weeks with a University Optics HD ortho 5mm (very similar to the Fujiyama / Baader Genuine / Ohi orthos that I've already mentioned) and I found that I could find slight improvements in the presentation of subtle features on Jupiter with the TMB Supermonocentric on the couple of nights when I had the very best seeing conditions. On the more ordinary nights I could not see any differences. The TMB Supermonocentric is considered one of the top tier planetary eyepieces. In the end though I decided that it's very small field of view (30 degrees), tiny eye lens and short eye relief made observing rather hard work. 

These days I'm happy with Pentax XW's and a Nagler 2-4mm zoom as my best planetary eyepieces :smiley:

 

 

 

5mmeps.jpg

Edited by John
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7 minutes ago, John said:

I think the very best planetary eyepieces that are around these days and obtainable are probably the Takahashi TOE's and the Vixen HR's. The latter are just coming to the end of their production unfortunately but the former are available at around £290 apiece:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/takahashi-eyepieces/takahashi-toe-eyepieces.html

The Tele Vue DeLites are not far of the performance of these though, from what I've read.

The best planetary eyepiece that I have ever owned and used was the TMB Supermonocentric 5mm. I compared this over a number of weeks with a University Optics HD ortho 5mm (very similar to the Fujiyama / Baader Genuine / Ohi orthos that I've already mentioned) and I found that I could find slight improvements in the presentation of subtle features on Jupiter with the TMB Supermonocentric on the couple of nights when I had the very best seeing conditions. On the more ordinary nights I could not see any differences. The TMB Supermonocentric is considered one of the top tier planetary eyepieces. In the end though I decided that it's very small field of view (30 degrees), tiny eye lens and short eye relief made observing rather hard work. 

These days I'm happy with Pentax XW's and a Nagler 2-4mm zoom as my best planetary eyepieces :smiley:

 

 

 

5mmeps.jpg

Yikes, that small eye lens is making me tired just thinking about looking through it! I hadn't thought about a zoom, are there mid-mag zoom lenses that might be more suited to my current scope? I've been out tonight and the viewing is nowhere near what it was yesterday so I've spent a large portion of my viewing time just swapping EPs and filters. 

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32 minutes ago, Louis D said:

I found I was getting the most detail on the planets this year using my binoviewers with a pair of microscope eyepieces and a Meade 140 Barlow nose piece.  The planets were so bright that I couldn't really see good details without having to filter them down.  This was completely unnecessary with two eyes viewing at once.  That, and my brain was able to pick out finer details using two eyes, especially if I bumped my scope and allowed my brain's motion detection circuitry to kick in while it settled.

I know very little about binoviewer set-ups, I'll admit. Maybe a silly question but are they used with reflectors? 

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16 minutes ago, IB20 said:

Yikes, that small eye lens is making me tired just thinking about looking through it! I hadn't thought about a zoom, are there mid-mag zoom lenses that might be more suited to my current scope? I've been out tonight and the viewing is nowhere near what it was yesterday so I've spent a large portion of my viewing time just swapping EPs and filters. 

I use the Nagler zoom a lot. It is not quite as good as a top notch ortho but pretty good the zoom function is very valuable for finding the "goldilocks" magnification for a target under the conditions that pertain.

Tele Vue do a 3mm-6mm version which is still available but of course has the Tele Vue type price tag :rolleyes2:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/tele-vue-eyepieces/tele-vue-3-6mm-nagler-50-degree-zoom-eyepiece.html

It's less expensive than buying 3 premium fixed focal length high power eyepieces though !

 

 

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Plus 1 for orthos.  I’ve found the 6.5mm Morpheus to be excellent on Moon and planets. Relatively wide field, easy eye relief and not crazy expensive. In this sort of range, I also use the Pentax XW 5 and 7mm, the Tak 6mm ortho, the Tak TOE 4mm and the Vixen HR 3.4.  They’re all, IMO, superb eyepieces that differ more in feel and character than objective quality. I’ve been using and comparing them all on Mars lately in my 140mm f7 apo; the 6.5 Morpheus definitely belongs. 
 

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+ 1 for orthos- the BCOs don’t take too much saving for and may be worth a shot. I don’t know how your current eps compare to Nirvanas but the other night I leant a BCO to a friend who’s  only been doing this a while and has some Nirvanas and he was blown away by the image in comparison. Worth a shot! My eyes are 10years older than yours and i really need reading glasses but don’t have an issue with them- different if you need glasses for astigmatism etc of course! Also +1 for XWs- they’re probably not as good as the HRs and TOEs and maybe not quite as colour free as orthos but they’re very very good and super comfortable to stare at planets for hours with :)

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2 hours ago, IB20 said:

I know very little about binoviewer set-ups, I'll admit. Maybe a silly question but are they used with reflectors? 

With a Barlow/GPC/OCS/OCA, you can reach focus even in a Newtonian with a binoviewer.  I'd start with an entry level binoviewer and see if the GPC(s) it ships with work for your setup.  The ones that came with my Arcturus unit were terrible, so I found a vintage Meade 140 APO 2x Barlow based on online recommendations.  The nose piece with the optics is threaded such that it can be screwed onto the end of the binoviewer nose piece just like a filter.  It yields 3x in this usage.  Thus, 15mm to 26mm eyepieces work well for planetary work.  I also tried a recently acquired Parks Gold Series 2x Barlow (same as Celestron Ultima and Orion Shorty-Plus), and it worked just as well by inserting the binoviewer directly into it.

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9 hours ago, John said:

I think the very best planetary eyepieces that are around these days and obtainable are probably the Takahashi TOE's and the Vixen HR's. The latter are just coming to the end of their production unfortunately but the former are available at around £290 apiece:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/takahashi-eyepieces/takahashi-toe-eyepieces.html

The Tele Vue DeLites are not far of the performance of these though, from what I've read.

The best planetary eyepiece that I have ever owned and used was the TMB Supermonocentric 5mm. I compared this over a number of weeks with a University Optics HD ortho 5mm (very similar to the Fujiyama / Baader Genuine / Ohi orthos that I've already mentioned) and I found that I could find slight improvements in the presentation of subtle features on Jupiter with the TMB Supermonocentric on the couple of nights when I had the very best seeing conditions. On the more ordinary nights I could not see any differences. The TMB Supermonocentric is considered one of the top tier planetary eyepieces. In the end though I decided that it's very small field of view (30 degrees), tiny eye lens and short eye relief made observing rather hard work. 

These days I'm happy with Pentax XW's and a Nagler 2-4mm zoom as my best planetary eyepieces :smiley:

 

 

 

5mmeps.jpg

I think the TOE is more comfortable on the eye, still very detailed. Where as the HR you need to get just right to be rewarded with every fine detail. The HR shows warts and all.  I would not say one is better then the other, just given a different high resolution view of the target. I need more viewing to come up with subtle differences and no pesky jet stream...

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What if I were to get a low cost and risk 10mm BCO, which would lend itself to being barlowed to 5mm presumably with increased eye relief? 

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1 hour ago, IB20 said:

What if I were to get a low cost and risk 10mm BCO, which would lend itself to being barlowed to 5mm presumably with increased eye relief? 

Great idea i think- if you decide you don’t like it you won’t lose too much passing it on 👍 They have slightly wider afov than normal orthos but that comes with a slight loss of sharpness at the field stop so don’t scrutinise the edges too much. But the middle is very sharp and neutral coloured- maybe a little cold or so it seems compared to other eps. I’ve grown to really like mine :)

Mark

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2 hours ago, IB20 said:

What if I were to get a low cost and risk 10mm BCO, which would lend itself to being barlowed to 5mm presumably with increased eye relief? 

Thats a good plan but you need a good quality barlow to ensure that you don't introduce some unwanted aberrations.

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3 hours ago, John said:

Thats a good plan but you need a good quality barlow to ensure that you don't introduce some unwanted aberrations.

What is good say under £150 is a question, the HR and TOE start at £220.

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@IB20
I used a 7mm Pentax XW in my Skyliner 200P Dob giving x171, 20mm eye relief and 70’ field of view - expensive but very comfortable and sharp.

 

Edited by dweller25
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57 minutes ago, Deadlake said:

What is good say under £150 is a question, the HR and TOE start at £220.

Vixen SLV - £104

Explore Scientific 82’ - £120

Edited by dweller25
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My 10 BCO competes (very well) with some eyepieces costing 8x more... it barlows extremely well and with the VIP will take super high mag. I'm not really fond of the 6mm BCO, just me.

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23 minutes ago, jetstream said:

My 10 BCO competes (very well) with some eyepieces costing 8x more... it barlows extremely well and with the VIP will take super high mag. I'm not really fond of the 6mm BCO, just me.

This is great to hear. I’m very tempted by the BCO 10mm and it should work well with my TV Barlow.

Is there a particular reason you don’t get on with the 6mm? 

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I managed to get hold of a second hand vixen LV 7mm, right in the middle of your sweet spot.. narrow at 50deg.. but a bargain second hand value.. and 20mm eye relief makes it easy to use..  I love mine..

Second hand 7mm delite would be about your £150ish.. 

Explore scientific do a 6.5mm 52 deg at £58 might be an option..

Just a few thoughts..

Ta

Fozzie

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Just now, Fozzie said:

I managed to get hold of a second hand vixen LV 7mm, right in the middle of your sweet spot.. narrow at 50deg.. but a bargain second hand value.. and 20mm eye relief makes it easy to use..  I love mine..

One of the rarest since that focal length was dropped for the NLV and SLV lines.  Double check that it doesn't have a 45 degree field of view.  9mm was the lowest focal length with a 50 degree view to the best of my recollection.

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1 minute ago, Louis D said:

One of the rarest since that focal length was dropped for the NLV and SLV lines.  Double check that it doesn't have a 45 degree field of view.  9mm was the lowest focal length with a 50 degree view to the best of my recollection.

Oh yeah 45deg... can't say I'd noticed in use but stand corrected.. still a great EP though..

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7 hours ago, IB20 said:

What if I were to get a low cost and risk 10mm BCO, which would lend itself to being barlowed to 5mm presumably with increased eye relief? 

Why even metion risk? There's no risk in buying 10mm BCO since it's great on its own. If you don't mind shorter eye relief and 50 or so degrees then it's a given. I'm yet to find anything in 10mm that is better and I searched and still am :D - SLV, XW, Nagler(11mm), 9mm TAO, Ultrascopic 10mm - to my eyes are no better than BCO in the center. I don't search for flaws though and am not concerned about 'edges' as I only observe planets and double stars at the moment. 10mm BCO also pairs great with Baader barlow 2.25x giving 4.4mm. 

A set of BCOs is really a great set to have. I have it as a base line of eyepieces and then just buy, try and sell other eyepieces as I go. These stayed the longest as they are just so good, light. 18mm and 10mm + 2.25x barlow in the pocket and off I go...

 

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1 hour ago, heliumstar said:

A set of BCOs is really a great set to have. I have it as a base line of eyepieces and then just buy, try and sell other eyepieces as I go. These stayed the longest as they are just so good, light. 18mm and 10mm + 2.25x barlow in the pocket and off I go...

+1, the BCO eyepieces really are excellent value for money and really sharp.

I have bino pairs of the 10mm and 18mm  that I use in my binoviewers when solar or lunar observing and just one 6mm as whilst it's an excellent mono viewing eyepiece it gives too much magnification with binoviewers for me.

If I'm off out for a quick grab and go session then the set of 3x BCOs along with a low power finder eyepiece (Celestron Onmni 32mm plossl) and a 2x Barlow are all I take.

The eye relief is a bit short on the 6mm but my 45 year old eyes still find all 3 comfortable to use and they are really nice and sharp.

Really excellent value and regularly show up used for about £25-£30.  All of mine were used and were probably my cheapest eyepiece purchases.

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