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Beginner eyepieces for planetary?


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If you scope is the 1200 focal length version then the 5mm (x240) may be pushing it too far in the conditions would have to be very good to be able to offer you decent views. You say you have a 2x barlow so assuming it is a decent one you can make good use of both this and a new eyepiece.

Here is my idea to help you make the best of a sub £100 spend. A 15mm will give you a native x80 which is a great middle of the range power and also a barlow'd x160. 160 is a very good power for your scope as it will offer good planetary views/magnification and at the same time is more forgiving when conditions are not quite as good as you might hope for.

Also your barlow will take the stock 25mm to 12.5mm /x 96 which is also a good and useable middle range eyepiece.

Personally the stock 10mm is not brilliant and I would look to replace this when possible. A 12mm BST (yes I realise this overlaps the 25mm barlowed) would give native x100 but a barlowed x200.

Between the three eyepiece above (25,15 & 12) you would hit low power (25=x48) and middle + high power (15 = 80/B160) and (12=100/B200)

One could argue the above idea has gaps but astronomers are always looking for gaps in their eyepiece collection so they can buy another 🤣

It is always a personal thing and others will have their own choices but in absence of a budget this is my idea to cover your bases for under a £100.

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The 150P is a great planetary scope. A 5mm would give you x240; on a good night that would be fine. Barlowing that would be a waste - x480 is too much for my 300mm!

A 12mm Barlowed would be your best bet. x200 is good enough to see all the planetary detail the 150 has to offer. The BST's have a good reputation and you won't go far wrong with them

Which Barlow is it you have?

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2 hours ago, Mr Spock said:

The 150P is a great planetary scope. A 5mm would give you x240; on a good night that would be fine. Barlowing that would be a waste - x480 is too much for my 300mm!

A 12mm Barlowed would be your best bet. x200 is good enough to see all the planetary detail the 150 has to offer. The BST's have a good reputation and you won't go far wrong with them

Which Barlow is it you have?

Although I have a 200p I agree with this and it’s my experience too. On a good night last year I got some excellent views of Jupiter and Saturn. But it had to be a good night. Saturn more so as it can take a little more magnification.

I’ve also had great success on the planets  with a 2x Barlow on the 12mm BST. More than the 5mm alone. And as I sometimes view wearing glasses I find that using a Barlow gives better eye relief. My daughter prefers wearing glasses so this is another good reason. 

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I would think hard about saving up some money and going with a variable eyepiece.  There are numerous 8mm to 24mm eyepeices out there at different price points.  It is definitely worth a thought

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19 minutes ago, Mike Q said:

I would think hard about saving up some money and going with a variable eyepiece.  There are numerous 8mm to 24mm eyepeices out there at different price points.  It is definitely worth a thought

I did think about this, OVL do a 27-9 zoom which would go very well with the barlow too

Edited by bomberbaz
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For a single eyepiece, which the Barlow can still be useful for, I'd choose a 12mm from the BST range. Gives you x100 without Barlow and x200 with. I also would think of a zoom for planetary, because of the ability to dial-in the ideal magnification for the prevailing conditions. The penalty for the zoom being more frequent nudging thanks to a narrower FOV.

Edited by wulfrun
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24 minutes ago, bomberbaz said:

I did think about this, OVL do a 27-9 zoom which would go very well with the barlow too

I have had the chance to compare the Celestron, Orion and Baader 8 to 24s.  The Celestron is a hundred dollar eyepiece, the Orion is a 200 dollar eyepiece and the Baader is a 300 dollar eyepiece.  Price is directly related to quality and performance in this case.  I will say I preferred the way the variable twist feature works on the Orion to the Baader, which is why I bought that one, but the Baader did have the edge in light transmission

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On 12/06/2022 at 14:54, Mike Q said:

I have had the chance to compare the Celestron, Orion and Baader 8 to 24s.  The Celestron is a hundred dollar eyepiece, the Orion is a 200 dollar eyepiece and the Baader is a 300 dollar eyepiece.  Price is directly related to quality and performance in this case.  I will say I preferred the way the variable twist feature works on the Orion to the Baader, which is why I bought that one, but the Baader did have the edge in light transmission

I’ve had the opportunity to test the Baader 8-24 mm and the Stellalyra 8-24 mm - the latter I think is the same as the Orion Pro Lanthanum zoom equivalent. I’ve also tested a budget SvBony SV135 7-21mm The most refined and satisfying variable twist action was in the most expensive Baader - no doubt there. The SvBony and the SL both had a slightly “scratchy” feel to the zoom rotation action but these may have just been my sample units. All these options suffer from narrower FOV at the longer focal  lengths, but the value of them to achieve the correct magnification level on planets, the moon or even nebulae is well worth it. I think that more experienced observers than I would appreciate the incremental optical performance quality of the Baader, but frankly for most, the SL with it’s lanthanum glass and CA control,  and even the SvBony would be a decent addition to their collections. They are convenient and intuitive to use. 

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4 minutes ago, Astro_Dad said:

I’ve had the opportunity to test the Baader 8-24 mm and the Stellalyra 8-24 mm - the latter I think is the same as the Orion Pro Lanthanum zoom equivalent. I’ve also tested a budget SvBony SV135 7-21mm The most refined and satisfying variable twist action was in the most expensive Baader - no doubt there. The SvBony and the SL both had a slightly “scratchy” feel to the zoom rotation action but these may have just been my sample units. All these options suffer from narrower FOV at the longer focal  lengths, but the value of them to achieve the correct magnification level on planets, the moon or even nebulae is well worth it. I think that more experienced observers than I would appreciate the incremental optical performance quality of the Baader, but frankly for most, the SL with it’s lanthanum glass and CA control,  and even the SvBony would be a decent addition to their collections. They are convenient and intuitive to use. 

Yeah the Stellalyra and the Orion Pro Lanth are the same eyepiece.  I didn't notice any scratchiness in my adjustment.  Just a smooth twist through the power settings. It is a heavier twist then the Baader and doesn't have the stops, which I actually prefer.  At any rate either of them is a fine addition to any eyepiece collection

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I also have a 6" Dob and most nights last year, my skies couldn't handle 10mm. I tried the TMB 7mm and it was a complete no-go. I had better luck with a 25mm plossl and 2x barlow. Since then I've purchased a good quality 19mm, and have a 25mm Xcel on the way. That should cover a good range for most nights. I'd like to get a zoom but not sure I want to splurge on the Baader. The Celestron is $52 on ebay or aliexpress. The Orion zoom was mentioned above and this is the first I've heard of it so might check it out. 

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I do have the budget SvBony SV135 7-21mm and although the FOV is a bit of a pain (my daughter doesn’t get on with it at all) I find that the contrast a bit poor. And for planets you obviously really need that. The BST StarGuiders that I own are far better in that respect. But of course it’s a budget zoom, so I’m sure that the non-budget zooms are much better. 

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@PeterStudz Absolutely correct.
I have 3 zoom eyepieces. A Baader Mk3 and two lower cost.
Yes performance reflects the ££ spent.
I haven't tried the SvBony zoom. But don't plan on selling the Baader.
As it is a Mk3, you can see I have had it for some time.
HTH, David.

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13 hours ago, McQ said:

I also have a 6" Dob and most nights last year, my skies couldn't handle 10mm. I tried the TMB 7mm and it was a complete no-go. I had better luck with a 25mm plossl and 2x barlow. Since then I've purchased a good quality 19mm, and have a 25mm Xcel on the way. That should cover a good range for most nights. I'd like to get a zoom but not sure I want to splurge on the Baader. The Celestron is $52 on ebay or aliexpress. The Orion zoom was mentioned above and this is the first I've heard of it so might check it out. 

The higher quality Orion as noted above is essentially the same as the SL version from FLO and very similar price. Haven’t compared shipping charges though (as the Orion will ship from the US?)

https://uk.telescope.com/mobileProduct/Orion-8-24mm-Pro-Lanthanum-Zoom-Eyepiece/131522.uts?keyword=Zoom
 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/stellalyra-eyepieces/stellalyra-8-24mm-1-25-inch-lanthanum-zoom-eyepiece.html
 

The Baader is £88 or so more - most of the expertise here will confirm it is better quality (one of the best available it seems) but perhaps unless you have a lot of observing experience may not be as noticeable a step up from the SL/Orion as say from the SvBony - which is good for the price but clearly a different beast. The Baader has better AFOV also. I’ve seen good reports of the Celestron zoom but don’t have first hand experience. Speaking to long time experienced users though it’s clear the Baader is in a different league here. 

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13 hours ago, McQ said:

I also have a 6" Dob and most nights last year, my skies couldn't handle 10mm. I tried the TMB 7mm and it was a complete no-go. I had better luck with a 25mm plossl and 2x barlow. Since then I've purchased a good quality 19mm, and have a 25mm Xcel on the way. That should cover a good range for most nights. I'd like to get a zoom but not sure I want to splurge on the Baader. The Celestron is $52 on ebay or aliexpress. The Orion zoom was mentioned above and this is the first I've heard of it so might check it out. 

10mm eyepiece should be fine in your 6” Dobsonian especially if it’s a half decent eyepiece. If your focal length is 1200mm then that’s only 120x. Have you checked the collimation? This magnification isn’t really high enough for seeing to badly affect the image 

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2 hours ago, bosun21 said:

10mm eyepiece should be fine in your 6” Dobsonian especially if it’s a half decent eyepiece. If your focal length is 1200mm then that’s only 120x. Have you checked the collimation? This magnification isn’t really high enough for seeing to badly affect the image 

I recently collimated because it was a little out but haven't had an opportunity to view anything at higher power. Hopefully it's better. Also, that was from home and not a dark site. 

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7 minutes ago, McQ said:

I recently collimated because it was a little out but haven't had an opportunity to view anything at higher power. Hopefully it's better. Also, that was from home and not a dark site. 

Hopefully it will be better for you. I am in bortle 6 at home and with my 8” Dobsonian it can view at 120x without issue. Your 6” would be affected less than my 8” by seeing conditions.  The 10mm that comes with the telescope though?? The less said the better.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Astro_Dad said:

The higher quality Orion as noted above is essentially the same as the SL version from FLO and very similar price. Haven’t compared shipping charges though (as the Orion will ship from the US?)

https://uk.telescope.com/mobileProduct/Orion-8-24mm-Pro-Lanthanum-Zoom-Eyepiece/131522.uts?keyword=Zoom
 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/stellalyra-eyepieces/stellalyra-8-24mm-1-25-inch-lanthanum-zoom-eyepiece.html
 

The Baader is £88 or so more - most of the expertise here will confirm it is better quality (one of the best available it seems) but perhaps unless you have a lot of observing experience may not be as noticeable a step up from the SL/Orion as say from the SvBony - which is good for the price but clearly a different beast. The Baader has better AFOV also. I’ve seen good reports of the Celestron zoom but don’t have first hand experience. Speaking to long time experienced users though it’s clear the Baader is in a different league here. 

Where the Baader beats the Orion/SL is in light transmission.  The image is better, no one here will argue that.  Is it a lot better, not enough to make me wish I had spent the additional hundred dollars on one.  One thing about these Lanthanum eyepieces that are being sold by Orion/FLO, they are made by Long Perng in Taiwan, and I have recently purchased a 20mm in this line.  The quality of these eyepieces should not be underestimated.  They are very good eyepieces and if they had a famous name attached to them people would be calling them the next big thing.  At any rate you can't go wrong with either of the Orion/SL or the Baader.

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Allow me to throw one more zoom into the mix: the OVL Hyperflex. Like most zooms, it suffers from low AFOV at low mags, but I use mine almost exclusively at 7.2mm to bridge the gap between  a Pentax XW 5mil and  a Morpheus 12.5mm, a job it does so well that it loses nothing in comparison. I will eventually be getting a 6.5 Morpheus but I'll definitely be keeping the OVL.

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Hi @ddm4313 and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

Many years ago I was totally against using a zoom e/p, (excluding the TeleVue 3-6mm Nagler zoom). That soon changed when I purchased a ‘cheap’ 7-21mm zoom. It gives me options to see how something will appear before purchasing an e/p of a fixed/primary focal length.

If I intend to travel anywhere away from home, I make sure that I have my zoom and a few fixed/primary e/p’s to help keep the weight down.

Should you go down the zoom e/p path, I would recommend the Baader 8-24mm zoom. Though I do not own one, I have tried a Mk III or IV and was impressed with it in my 're-modded' ETX105 and TV Range r. They do come up for sale here on SGL and/or other amateur astronomy forums.

Edited by Philip R
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Having started out with a Dob, I soon realised just how fast things moved and in particular when you used more powerful eyepieces. That's when I switched to the Baader zoom. A zoom is a great move for a Dob as the speed that you can change magnification is far better than switching eyepieces and as such it's far easier to keep the target in view. I have never used any other zoom so cannot offer a comparison, but for visual it's definitely my goto every time. 

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  • 1 month later...

I have the BHZ and the Pentax XL. However, I was quite impressed by the Orion/SvBony 7-21mm. I don't know who the OEM is (somewhere in China obviously lol).

ReGK8cOm.jpg

These are identical and can be used in a binoviewer. At 21mm the FOV is a bit restrictive, but they Barlow well and have excellent acuity and colour separation that belies their retail price. The SvBony is usually cheaper than the Orion.

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