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


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As I said in the review, my Vixen NPL 30mm was my go-to EP for low mag views. Now I suppose I'll have shell out for a SL at over four times the price. Sigh.....

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Apparently, Vixen are distributed by ES in the States and they seem to have no stock, and therefore I suppose, a low profile.

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Thanks for the write-up, @cajen2.

Did you happen to pop it onto the scales at all?  I can't see a weight in the specs.
I'm asking for a friend with a mount that he's already pushed beyond its capacity.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Zermelo said:

Thanks for the write-up, @cajen2.

Did you happen to pop it onto the scales at all?  I can't see a weight in the specs.
I'm asking for a friend with a mount that he's already pushed beyond its capacity.

553g without lens caps, Z.

Edit: thanks for reminding me; I'll put that on the original post.

Edited by cajen2
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17 minutes ago, Mike Q said:

Yeah I have seen them, don't have anything that uses that kind of stuff in my dob world.  

Ah, my Heritage Flextube dob has a Vixen dovetail, so that it can be taken off the dob mount and used on a tripod, if the feeling takes you.

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6 minutes ago, cajen2 said:

553g without lens caps, Z.

Weight wise, that puts it squarely between its two nearest LER competitors that I own, the 22mm AT AF70 (Omegon Redline SW, etc.) at 494g and the 22mm TV NT4 at 680g.  There's also the 20mm Pentax XW at 365g, but it suffers from field curvature, so I've never bothered with it.  The 22mm Vixen LVW comes up short in AFOV at 65 degrees.  I suppose I could include the 20mm APM XWA HDC which reportedly yields about 70 degrees AFOV with eyeglasses.  It weighs 680g, so basically the same as the NT4.  Since the Astro Tech version costs $250 right now, it's a very close competitor price wise as well ($12 more once VAT is subtracted).  The 17mm ES-92 has a field stop nearly as large as the 22mm AF70, so it could also be included in a LER comparison.

Any other 70 to 85 degree LER eyepieces in the 20mm to 22mm range?  I keep hoping ES will release a 23mm ES-92, but that seems highly unlikely now.  There's the 21mm Ethos, but paying that much for at most 70 degrees AFOV with eyeglasses seems like a total waste of money.

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1 hour ago, cajen2 said:

Ah, my Heritage Flextube dob has a Vixen dovetail, so that it can be taken off the dob mount and used on a tripod, if the feeling takes you.

Mine has a dovetail, but it is what came on the scope.  Anything I buy from Orion to mount on my scope will have to correct match to fit it.  

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In the US, the Vixen distributor was not that promotional, and he recently retired.

Explore Scientific in the US has become the current distributor of Vixen in the US (!).

 

Vixen was slowly making inroads in the US eyepiece market, but when the SSWs and HRs were discontinued it seriously reduced their market share, since those were the most popular Vixens.

Vixen never did well with the NPL and SLV here because they cost significantly more than the ubiquitous Chinese eyepieces for $10-$50 and have narrow fields.

With very good 60° eyepieces in the $50-$65 range, hardly anyone even looks at 50° eyepieces unless they say "Orthoscopic" on the side, and each year the number of those reduces.

There is also a significant, and growing, problem with grey market sales here (Chinese retailers/factories selling directly to consumers, bypassing tariffs and importer+dealer profit margins),

which means customers can pick up some famous Chinese brands for 50% less than US prices.

I'm not sure what we'll do about that.

 

Since the '80s, Vixen has had very little presence in the US market, despite having a 75% share (I've been told) of the Japanese market.

Despite nearly zero advertising, Pentax has done better in the US, despite the parent company, Ricoh, only thinking of the telescope market as a small add-on to their sport optics market share.

 

It's interesting the differences between the US and UK markets.

Don

 

 

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7 hours ago, Louis D said:

Weight wise, that puts it squarely between its two nearest LER competitors that I own, the 22mm AT AF70 (Omegon Redline SW, etc.) at 494g and the 22mm TV NT4 at 680g.  There's also the 20mm Pentax XW at 365g, but it suffers from field curvature, so I've never bothered with it.  The 22mm Vixen LVW comes up short in AFOV at 65 degrees.  I suppose I could include the 20mm APM XWA HDC which reportedly yields about 70 degrees AFOV with eyeglasses.  It weighs 680g, so basically the same as the NT4.  Since the Astro Tech version costs $250 right now, it's a very close competitor price wise as well ($12 more once VAT is subtracted).  The 17mm ES-92 has a field stop nearly as large as the 22mm AF70, so it could also be included in a LER comparison.

Any other 70 to 85 degree LER eyepieces in the 20mm to 22mm range?  I keep hoping ES will release a 23mm ES-92, but that seems highly unlikely now.  There's the 21mm Ethos, but paying that much for at most 70 degrees AFOV with eyeglasses seems like a total waste of money.

You can download a 2022 guide to all eyepieces here:

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/813708-2022-eyepiece-buyers-guide/?p=11746324

Everyone keeps mentioning the Vixen LVW, but I don't think most people realize they were discontinued around 15 years ago.  There can't be that many used ones around by now.

But 70-85° with long eye relief in 20-22mm?

StellaLyra 80° 20mm

Orion LHD 80° 20mm

TeleVue Nagler T4 22mm

Pentax XW 20mm

Omegon Redline 22mm (also know as Telescope Service Expanse, Tecnosky SWA, Astromania SWA), and the (now gone) AT AF70 and Olivon 70 and Arcturus 70 and Celestron Ultima LX

There may be others, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.

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4 minutes ago, Don Pensack said:

Everyone keeps mentioning the Vixen LVW, but I don't think most people realize they were discontinued around 15 years ago.  There can't be that many used ones around by now.

As my fruitless search for a 5mm will testify! Though there is someone on ebay selling almost a full set (missing the 3.5mm)

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20 minutes ago, Don Pensack said:

You can download a 2022 guide to all eyepieces here:

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/813708-2022-eyepiece-buyers-guide/?p=11746324

Everyone keeps mentioning the Vixen LVW, but I don't think most people realize they were discontinued around 15 years ago.  There can't be that many used ones around by now.

But 70-85° with long eye relief in 20-22mm?

StellaLyra 80° 20mm

Orion LHD 80° 20mm

TeleVue Nagler T4 22mm

Pentax XW 20mm

Omegon Redline 22mm (also know as Telescope Service Expanse, Tecnosky SWA, Astromania SWA), and the (now gone) AT AF70 and Olivon 70 and Arcturus 70 and Celestron Ultima LX

There may be others, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.

If you were referring to me, I was quite aware of your comprehensive guide.

I'm perfectly aware that the LVWs were discontinued years ago, but if you put out a wanted ad on US astro classifieds and offer $300 or so for a used one, quite a few offers will inevitably turn up.  I took a pass on them in the late 90s after comparing them to the Pentax XLs and liking the latter better.  Perhaps I should have gotten the 22mm LVW back in the day, but it was (and still is) a focal length I rarely use.

You pretty much repeated my list of 20mm to 22mm eyepieces if you exclude rebrandings of the same eyepieces.  The only other one I though about including was the 22mm Oberwerk since it is uniquely 1.25" and 70°, but typically are only sold in pairs except for their recent remainder sale of the previous version on ebay.

Edited by Louis D
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1 hour ago, cajen2 said:

I note that Pentax XWs have had a recent price hike. Now £299 for many focal lengths.

Unfortunately, yes. Pentax increased their prices 1st march. We had existing stock so was able to delay applying the increases for two weeks. 

We have set what we think are sensible retail prices, based on the new trade price list, but it'll be a while before prices settle. We'll check competition in a week or two then adjust if necessary. 

To be fair to Pentax, they haven't increased prices for a loooong time. 

Steve 

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2 hours ago, FLO said:

Unfortunately, yes. Pentax increased their prices 1st march. We had existing stock so was able to delay applying the increases for two weeks. 

We have set what we think are sensible retail prices, based on the new trade price list, but it'll be a while before prices settle. We'll check competition in a week or two then adjust if necessary. 

To be fair to Pentax, they haven't increased prices for a loooong time. 

Steve 

So will the 3.5 and 30mm go up later? If so, folks, get in and buy them before it's too late! 😄

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1 minute ago, cajen2 said:

So will the 3.5 and 30mm go up later? If so, folks, get in and buy them before it's too late! 😄

They already have. If you shop around you might find a retailer with pre-increase stock. 

HTH, 

Steve 

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Glad I stocked up when they had their offer before chrimbo! Was just the incentive I needed to add them to my collection. Great eyepieces.

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20 hours ago, Don Pensack said:

Everyone keeps mentioning the Vixen LVW, but I don't think most people realize they were discontinued around 15 years ago.  There can't be that many used ones around by now.

Not so..in the UK they were readily available as recently as 2016/17..

Vixen LVW Eyepieces https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/270614-vixen-lvw-eyepieces/

There are plenty of used ones in circulation over here..it's just that they are so good, hardly anyone ever sells one now!

Great eyepiece range👍

Dave

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4 hours ago, FLO said:

We had existing stock so was able to delay applying the increases for two weeks. 

4 hours ago, FLO said:

We have set what we think are sensible retail prices

 

Steve, have you ever thought of expanding into petrol retailing? You might have some takers at the moment.

 

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Posted (edited)

Ok, report number 2 on the StellaLyra 80° 20mm EP. I had the chance to have an extended view tonight but chose relatively few targets. As I said before, there's no point in evaluating an 80° 20mm EP on its ability to split, say, Sirius...🤔😄so I looked for something which would suit its qualities. I came up with the open cluster M41 in Canis Major. The SL gives 60x mag in my scope, and the cluster is interesting, with a wide range of star types and magnitudes. I loved once again the huge FOV and looking 'into the corners' to spot stars right at the edge of the stop. In view of recent posts on Newtonian / EP coma, I was careful to check for that, but the EP is so well corrected that stars at the edge of the FOV were indistinguishable from those on axis.

I double checked this with the Pleiades. If ever a target was made for an eyepiece, this was it! Superb view.

Had a look around a few more targets, like Ursa Major and Cassiopeia, but I was getting frozen by now so packed up.

Ok, so this EP is not a famous name, but if it had been made by one of the top-reputation companies, I honestly think everyone would be raving about it.

Edited by cajen2
Typo
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