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Eyepiece Deliberations


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Just now, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

however those cheaper units like BSTs don't spoil the observing experience at all.

just seen an 8mm up for sale . I have just purchased an EP from another SGL member ( Baader 17mm ) so when it arrives i expect to hide my sub par poor EPs in a drawer lol

 

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22 hours ago, Zermelo said:

I'm still wondering about this.

It seems to me that there are perhaps five possible responses/causes to an improvement in quality somewhere in the light train:

(a) a noticeable improvement in the image, even to a novice

(b) no change discerned, because the improvement is still "masked" by other limiting hardware

(c) no change discerned, because the observer's eyesight has deteriorated beyond the point at which the change can be registered (OK, you could include the eyesight biomechanisms under "hardware" above)

(d) no change discerned because the observing conditions set an upper limit on the quality of the image (though obviously this could be varied with changes in location and time, so can be excluded)

(e) no change discerned, because the experience/"brain training" of the observer is insufficient to detect the (possibly subtle) change

and obviously if some change is detected, it might still be the case that its degree varies with observer experience and acuity.

Since most of my learning about observing has happened since the onset of COVID, and hence has happened either virtually (from these hallowed pages) or by solo experience, then I've not had the chance to, for example, swap in my observing neighbour's Delos into my budget scope and see if I can notice any difference.

So at the moment I'm unsure of the point at which improvements to equipment become undetectable to me, because of my less-than-perfect eyesight. I might already have reached it, or it might be some way off. When I took part in the that last light pollution survey ("how many stars can you see in Orion?") I got to about a dozen, while the six-year-old girl down the road claimed 30!

First point :  6 year olds lie. There, I said it. They also count in ways unknown to arithmetic , especially when trying to win at something (classic hide & seek 'one, two , three, four, seven, banana,  eleventy three,  twenty - thirty, a hundred ! Coming, ready or not' )

I'm an eyepiece sceptic, and have slowly and rather cheaply worked my way from the stock skywatcher 10 & 25mm offerings via a first cautious test with a £20 ish 17mm plossl. Would it be an improvement to my eyes in my 'scope or not ? If not, it would be an extra focal length between the 10 and 25mm , so no real risk of wasting money.

The evidence of my eyes was ... yep, that's far better. Added a 32mm plossl, read about eye relief, decided against an 8mm plossl , went for a BST , yep, that's another step up . Convinced by the BSTs , I bought more, and like them all except the 25mm in the f5 dob. However the acknowledged worthwhile further steps up from the 25mm BST (or the somewhat similar32mm Plossl) were too expensive for me to contemplate new. (and out of stock even if I could ...) Luckily I managed to pounce on a very nice second hand 24mm recently, and it has made my low power views as good as I expect them to ever be.

Then I thought , well, I use a mid range 15/17/18mm sort of ep in the dob more than anything else, I wonder if the Nirvana's 82 degree view is something I'd appreciate. Oh dear, it is. :evil4:

Heather

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53 minutes ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

just seen an 8mm up for sale . I have just purchased an EP from another SGL member ( Baader 17mm ) so when it arrives i expect to hide my sub par poor EPs in a drawer lol

 

The 8mm is often regarded as one of the best in the range. I'm not in a rush to sell mine. I have been searching three years now for a suitable 4mm eyepiece and the after owning three different types/brands costing £20-70 the £115 Vixen 4mm SLV immediately hit the spot. The planetary view was so obviously brighter and clearer than the previous units with more detail apparent to. The same with the Altair 24mm UFF. Using that compared to a couple of previous 25mm eyepieces and a 32mm plossl was like I'd used some magic eyedrops. All the other mid range eyepieces I listed earlier in the thread are doing the job fine, but owning a quality high power and low power eyepiece seemed to make sense when balancing budget vs optical quality.

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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5 hours ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

just seen an 8mm up for sale . I have just purchased an EP from another SGL member ( Baader 17mm ) so when it arrives i expect to hide my sub par poor EPs in a drawer lol

 

I'm really hoping that the Baader you refer to is the 17.5mm Morpheus 😁 I maaay have mentioned (multiple times in multiple threads to anyone who will listen) that it is my favourite eyepiece! If so, you will definitely not be disappointed. The views in your 72ED will be be stunning - almost identical to my ZS73 (I think you have also owned one... or two 😂).

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5 hours ago, Tiny Clanger said:

  6 year olds lie. There, I said it.

Actually, now that I think about it, she may have said forty, not thirty. She does have a vivid imagination, but she is very serious about her numbers. I think a side - by - side test might be in order.

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5 hours ago, Tiny Clanger said:

First point :  6 year olds lie. There, I said it. They also count in ways unknown to arithmetic , especially when trying to win at something (classic hide & seek 'one, two , three, four, seven, banana,  eleventy three,  twenty - thirty, a hundred ! Coming, ready or not' )

I'm an eyepiece sceptic, and have slowly and rather cheaply worked my way from the stock skywatcher 10 & 25mm offerings via a first cautious test with a £20 ish 17mm plossl. Would it be an improvement to my eyes in my 'scope or not ? If not, it would be an extra focal length between the 10 and 25mm , so no real risk of wasting money.

The evidence of my eyes was ... yep, that's far better. Added a 32mm plossl, read about eye relief, decided against an 8mm plossl , went for a BST , yep, that's another step up . Convinced by the BSTs , I bought more, and like them all except the 25mm in the f5 dob. However the acknowledged worthwhile further steps up from the 25mm BST (or the somewhat similar32mm Plossl) were too expensive for me to contemplate new. (and out of stock even if I could ...) Luckily I managed to pounce on a very nice second hand 24mm recently, and it has made my low power views as good as I expect them to ever be.

Then I thought , well, I use a mid range 15/17/18mm sort of ep in the dob more than anything else, I wonder if the Nirvana's 82 degree view is something I'd appreciate. Oh dear, it is. :evil4:

Heather

I think a lot of astro gear, in particular the things with glass in them, follow something akin to the law of diminishing returns - or what I like to refer to as the "last 5% rule". Audio equipment also follows this rule.

Somewhere in the middle of the quality/cost scale you get a lot of bang for your buck and really see the difference between the low-end and medium to medium-high end, but the differences I think become smaller right at the top five to ten percent.

It's not to say that you don't see those differences, in the ultra high end, because you do usually get what you pay for in astro gear - but it is certainly where you'll spend a huge wad of cash chasing what might end up being a pretty marginal increase. It's just then a question of where to draw the line.

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2 hours ago, badhex said:

I think a lot of astro gear, in particular the things with glass in them, follow something akin to the law of diminishing returns - or what I like to refer to as the "last 5% rule". Audio equipment also follows this rule.

Somewhere in the middle of the quality/cost scale you get a lot of bang for your buck and really see the difference between the low-end and medium to medium-high end, but the differences I think become smaller right at the top five to ten percent.

It's not to say that you don't see those differences, in the ultra high end, because you do usually get what you pay for in astro gear - but it is certainly where you'll spend a huge wad of cash chasing what might end up being a pretty marginal increase. It's just then a question of where to draw the line.

I think you're right.

Something else I've read and tend to agree with is that once you're using reasonable mid-range eyepieces, you'll usually see more of a difference by spending money on a bigger or better scope than you would upgrading your eyepiece collection.

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4 minutes ago, Andrew_B said:

I think you're right.

Something else I've read and tend to agree with is that once you're using reasonable mid-range eyepieces, you'll usually see more of a difference by spending money on a bigger or better scope than you would upgrading your eyepiece collection.

I've been giving this 'how to improve my views' a lot of thought recently, and it seems to me that the most cost effective major upgrade I can possibly do next is not a bigger 'scope, or better eyepieces, but trips to darker skies to make the best use of what I already have.

Heather

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1 minute ago, Tiny Clanger said:

I've been giving this 'how to improve my views' a lot of thought recently, and it seems to me that the most cost effective major upgrade I can possibly do next is not a bigger 'scope, or better eyepieces, but trips to darker skies to make the best use of what I already have.

Heather

I originally started this hobby back in the 90's when I lived under Bortle 5 skies. I eventually ended up in a flat in a Bortle 7 area and gave up. 

In the last few years I've moved to a pretty rural location and am enjoying Bortle 4 skies now. It was enough to get me motivated to get started again. Moving house was, for me, a much bigger upgrade than any eyepiece or scope. So much so that I didn't even feel motivated enough to have any kit for years..

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12 hours ago, Bridgehouse said:

I originally started this hobby back in the 90's when I lived under Bortle 5 skies. I eventually ended up in a flat in a Bortle 7 area and gave up. 

In the last few years I've moved to a pretty rural location and am enjoying Bortle 4 skies now. It was enough to get me motivated to get started again. Moving house was, for me, a much bigger upgrade than any eyepiece or scope. So much so that I didn't even feel motivated enough to have any kit for years..

Reminds me of a thread a while back asking "What is the best accessory you bought..?". My reply, "A tent.". 😀

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