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StellaLyra 80° 20mm 2" eyepiece - first light report.


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@FLO were kind enough to lend me this example of the new 80° range for testing, and tonight was my first opportunity to try it properly.

Scopes: Skywatcher Heritage Flextube 150p dob (f/5); StellaLyra 200mm dob (f/6). In practice, the small differences in focal length and image size/mag made very little difference, so the comments below refer to both.

Conditions: clear interspersed with high thin cloud. Seeing and transparency both quite good during the clear spells. Views slightly washed out by a gibbous moon.

EPs used for comparison: Vixen NPL 30mm, Pentax XW 14mm.

Build quality: the SL is solid and heavy (it's a 2"") and is not in any way cheap-looking or plasticky. The heft in the hand gives confidence without being unwieldy. Weight is 553g. The metal top is covered with a non-slip hard rubber grip.

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The eyecup is a hard rubber twist up and down affair and works well - it will even unscrew completely if that's what you want. This leaves an M50 thread, making it possible to attach a DSLR camera. The inset lens and raised eyecap edges rob the EP of a about 4mm of eye relief, but that still leaves a healthy 16mm or so - I had no problem with ER but didn't use the eyecup.

Viewing. This is a 20mm 80° EP, so its strengths should be in a wide FOV, and so it proved. The SL was capable of a similar FOV as my 30mm Vixen NPL, but obviously with a higher mag ( Vixen 40x, SL 60x).

What impressed me most was the EOF accuracy. Until now, my (cheap) Vixen NPL was my favourite low-mag EP, with sharp stars and lovely views, but the SL blew it away! I could hardly believe how good the SL was right up to the field stop. I'd never really liked very wide FOV EPs before, but this is a peach. There was no sign of edge of field aberrations or brightening: a real (overused metaphor) spacewalk experience. Stars were as good off-axis as on.

I looked at the moon first. The wide FOV just framed it and the image was crisp and clear. Neither the Vixen nor Pentax improved on the sharpness and contrast, though of course the 14mm Pentax image was larger.

As the high cloud kept coming and going, I decided to focus on the familiar: Orion and the Pleiades. M42 was perfectly framed, with obvious nebulosity but a Trapezium showing only three stars in these conditions at 60x. The wide FOV made it possible to see both the nebula and Sigma Orionis at the same time, though that doesn't flatter either target!  Sigma O. showed a clear three out of four stars and Struve 761 all three, so, encouraged, I turned to Mintaka, where the companion star was obvious. It goes without saying that the main function of an EP like this is not splitting doubles, but it's nice to know that, within limits, it can.

The Pleiades were gorgeous, with the wide FOV meaning that most of the cluster was on view.

The high cloud then came over in quantity, curtailing the session, but I think I'd seen enough to make initial judgements. In future sessions, I'd love to see what the SL makes of other nebulae, galaxies, etc.

Conclusions: In another thread, I reported on the StellaLyra 68° EP, which acquitted itself very well against more expensive glass. I expected the 80° to be much the same with a wider FOV. However, it turned out to be a much more accomplished EP than that.

It shares the sensitivity of the 68° to eye placement (not eye relief) - the Pentax was more comfortable to look through, but the SL's on-  and off-axis images were extremely good. Looking "into the corners" was a rewarding experience rather than a trial, as in many wide FOV EPs.

StellaLyra (Long Perng) are to be congratulated for this product, in my opinion. If the rest of the range are of similar quality, I think they're on to a winner. Obviously, the price, £219, takes it into some serious competition, but it seems to me to be as good as the best and better than many. It only has the brand reputation of the best to overcome.

Sincere thanks to @FLO for entrusting me with this sample for review. I have no connection with SL, FLO or any astro company and therefore no axe to grind and no reason not to be impartial.

 

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Edited by cajen2
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A thorough review for few objects and less than ideal conditions. Be sure to report back when you've bagged some more targets - these EPs sound very good indeed. Nice one Cajen 👍

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Nice detailed review you have done Cajun. I will have to look into maybe trying one myself, as I was looking at getting several of the Pentax XW range. I will wait for you to try a few more targets and see what you find. I could save a few pounds into the bargain 

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7 hours ago, bosun21 said:

Nice detailed review you have done Cajun. I will have to look into maybe trying one myself, as I was looking at getting several of the Pentax XW range. I will wait for you to try a few more targets and see what you find. I could save a few pounds into the bargain 

Thanks for that. I'm not here to tell you the SL is better than a Pentax (very few EPs are!), but it has a significantly wider FOV in which the image is true right to the edge. I don't think you'd be disappointed....

 

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38 minutes ago, Carl Au said:

Sounds promising for the rest of the range. 

One question for FLO; is there going to be a 28/30/32 mm added to the set at some point 

To be honest, I'm not sure you'd have much use for one if you had the 20mm. The FOV is very wide on that.

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1 hour ago, Carl Au said:

Sounds promising for the rest of the range. 

One question for FLO; is there going to be a 28/30/32 mm added to the set at some point 

Long Perng shows 3 1.25" at 4, 6, 9mm and 2 2" at 14 and 20.

Edited by Mike Q
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I have been looking at these eyepieces for a little bit now.  I am attaching a section of a post that was made a while back.  Did you notice anything that was mentioned?

Screenshot_20220314-055612.png

Edited by Mike Q
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4 minutes ago, Mike Q said:

I have been looking at these eyepieces for a little bit now.  Some people have reported when you unscrew the cover and look into it you can see a shiny metal ring around the outside.  The manufacturer said there were still a couple bugs to work out.  Any sign of that or has that been cleared up?

No, no shiny metal ring, though there is a matt black one:

 

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Presumably modified in case of internal reflections. I can state positively that there were no reflections / light scatter when I was using it.

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1 minute ago, cajen2 said:

No, no shiny metal ring, though there is a matt black one:

 

IMG_20220314_095454.thumb.jpg.07bfe92a15dcc33394fe168897da0545.jpg

Presumably modified in case of internal reflections. I can state positively that there were no reflections / light scatter when I was using it.

I edited the post with better info and you nailed what I was asking about.  Looks like they have resolved the issues of earlier models.

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I'd heard about the supposed EOFB (which apparently only some people have seen) and so was careful to search for it, but not a trace.

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It will be a minute before I order the 2 inch model.  On this side of the pond they are 300 dollars a pop.  Thank you for the review, it was very well done and provided a lot of information that I was waiting to see.  It would be nice to see a direct comparison vs the higher end eyepieces and see how they stack up.  Please forgive my ignorance but I don't know the name Vixen and over here Pentax was known for rifle scopes and cameras.

Edited by Mike Q
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3 minutes ago, Mike Q said:

It will be a minute before I the 2 inch models.  On this side of the pond they are 300 dollars a pop.  Thank you for the review, it was very well done and provided a lot of information that I was waiting to see.  It would be nice to see a direct comparison vs the higher end eyepieces and see how they stack up.

Don't quite understand the first sentence (typo?). Thanks for the appreciation. Yes, I too would like to see it up against its best price competitors, though few are better than Pentax XWs!

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1 minute ago, cajen2 said:

Don't quite understand the first sentence (typo?). Thanks for the appreciation. Yes, I too would like to see it up against its best price competitors, though few are better than Pentax XWs!

Yeah....that is a typo.  It will be a minute (a while) before I order one.  On this side of the pond Pentax used to sell rifle scopes and cameras....I have not seen their name in many years until I got into astronomy.  Please keep us informed on how it does on better nights.  Thank you again.

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If you've never tried a Pentax XW, see if you can beg, borrow or steal one: they're great EPs. I have a 14 and 5mm and love them. Images are sharp and the EP is extremely forgiving on eye relief and placement. They haven't got the immersive FOV of the SL, though!

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12 hours ago, cajen2 said:


Sincere thanks to @FLO for entrusting me with this sample for review. I have no connection with SL, FLO or any astro company and therefore no axe to grind and no reason not to be impartial.
 

Thank-you for sharing your views on this eyepiece 🙂 

2 hours ago, Carl Au said:

Sounds promising for the rest of the range. 

One question for FLO; is there going to be a 28/30/32 mm added to the set at some point 

We don't know but if the manufacture (Long Perng in Taiwan) does then we will definitely stock it. 

27 minutes ago, cajen2 said:

I'd heard about the supposed EOFB (which apparently only some people have seen) and so was careful to search for it, but not a trace.

It is good to hear you confirm this important detail. 

Eyepieces, like telescopes, evolve over time (the StellaLyra series are sourced 2022 onwards). 

Steve

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Like I said Pentax isn't a big name over here anymore, but I have a friend who has an extensive eyepiece collection and I will see if he has any.  He is more of a Explore Scientific kind of guy.  All my eyepeices are Long Perngs, with Orion's branding on them.  You see people running them down all the time, but I have zero complaints with any of them, especially since they are in my price range lol.

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2 minutes ago, FLO said:

Thank-you for sharing your views on this eyepiece 🙂 

We don't know but if the manufacture (Long Perng in Taiwan) does then we will definitely stock it. 

It is good to hear you confirm this important detail 

Eyepieces, like telescopes, evolve over time (the StellaLyra series are sourced 2022 onwards). 

Steve

According to their website the offer 3 1.25s and 2 2 inch models.  Kudos to FLO for offering these.

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Mike Q said:

Like I said Pentax isn't a big name over here anymore, but I have a friend who has an extensive eyepiece collection and I will see if he has any.  He is more of a Explore Scientific kind of guy.  All my eyepeices are Long Perngs, with Orion's branding on them.  You see people running them down all the time, but I have zero complaints with any of them, especially since they are in my price range lol.

I've had a look through an ES 82° and while it was  good, I'd much prefer the Pentax ( or the SL!).

 

Edited by cajen2
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1 hour ago, Mike Q said:

 Please forgive my ignorance but I don't know the name Vixen and over here Pentax was known for rifle scopes and cameras.

Sorry, didn't see your edit. I'm amazed Vixen isn't well known in the US of A. They're a long-established Japanese company with a sound history in manufacturing scopes (especially refractors), mounts and EPs. Many people on here are Vixen scope fanboys! 😄

Their eyepieces are also well known for their quality and value for money. The NPL range are very superior Plossl designs for not much money at all. The SLVs also give excellent views for their price. Both ranges share a rather narrow FOV as their only real disadvantage for the price.

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I am on the Cloudy Nights forum as well, I don't think I have seen their name more then a couple of times.  We see TV, ES and Baader way more often.  With that said....we are just a little bit different on this side of the pond.

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9 minutes ago, Mike Q said:

I am on the Cloudy Nights forum as well, I don't think I have seen their name more then a couple of times.  We see TV, ES and Baader way more often.  With that said....we are just a little bit different on this side of the pond.

Amazing. Just start a thread on here entitled "Vixen. Any good?" and watch the fur fly. Not everyone's cup of tea ( or in your case, coffee 😄) but there are many dedicated followers.

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