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Eyepiece overhaul


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I've built up a fairly decent (in my opinion) set of 1.25" plossl eyepieces over the years from various brands, was outside yesterday and it never bothered me before having to take my glasses off to view but I think now I want to have longer eye relief eyepieces, but also decent fov, without breaking the bank. The only eyepiece I could see which allowed me to view with glasses on was the Vixen npl 30mm.

For reference Ive got various eyepieces from BST, ES, Meade UWA, WO Swan, TV, Celestron XCEL LX. Viewing through a Z61 or C6.

I like the FOV the meade and the WO provide, 82 and 72 respectively.

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The Orion Expanse clones by Svbony and others are a budget option and have decent eye relief, and they work very well with slower scopes. Fov is about 66-68 degrees, eye relief is about 16-17mm. I can use mine with glasses.

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2 hours ago, rwilkey said:

For the price, in my opinion the 16mm eye relief you get on BST Starguiders is around the best you could expect to get, though others views may vary.

From my measurements, only the 25mm BST has enough eye relief to use with eyeglasses.  The rest have about 12mm of usable eye relief due to 3mm to 4mm of eye lens recession below the eye cup.  Simply pulling off the eye cup doesn't help much because there's a rigid plastic barrel it rides on that is difficult to remove.


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Anyone have any thoughts on the OVL Nirvana's? I've got an ES 6.7 82 Deg, but that also needs glasses off viewing for me, I'd assume the Nirvana's are the same.

Edited by Elp
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1 hour ago, Elp said:

Anyone have any thoughts on the OVL Nirvana's?

A certain Vulcan might be commenting.


I love the Nirvana 16mm.   The 4mm not quite as much, it sometimes seems to suffer a bit in iffy conditions.

But I don't wear glasses.

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The BST Starguiders will show a reduced FOV with eyeglasses in the 3.2mm to 18mm focal lengths, so not exactly unusable with eyeglasses.

The original Vixen LV line did provide a full 18mm to 20mm of usable eye relief with the eye cup folded down.  However, they only showed 50° above 9mm and 45° from 7mm on down.  Used, these can be picked up for about $75 each in the US market, but I have no idea about the Euro/UK market.  They have premium levels of lens polish, correction, and multi-coatings.

The Vixen NLV and then SLV lines replaced them, but substituted a twist-up plastic eye cup that robs several millimeters of eye relief even when fully down.

There were various LER eyepieces from Long Perng with 55° FOV that were sold under various brandings.  Each reportedly was usable with eyeglasses and had decent correction.  The Starguiders more or less drove them out of the market about a decade ago.  You still might find them used.  Don't overpay for them.  They are optically comparable to the Starguiders.

On a budget, you could try the various Planetary eyepieces that started out as TMB Planetary II eyepieces.  They are of variable quality because it seems multiple factories are making them.  They also have about 12mm of usable eye relief and 58 degree FOVs similar to the BST Starguiders, but have many more focal lengths available below 10mm where Plossl eye relief gets really short.

The Celestron XCel-LX are supposed to be optically similar to the Meade HD-60 (discontinued) and are still available new.  I don't know how much usable eye relief their eye cup design yields, however.

There's also the Omegon Redline and siblings under other brandings.  The 22mm is excellent (2 inch only), the 17mm is decent, and the rest are meh.  The eye cup does not fold down, so it has to be completely unscrewed and removed for use with eyeglasses.  Being M43 threaded, the Morpheus eye cup can be threaded onto it instead and be folded down.

FLO has their StellaLyra 68° and 80° lines.  The 14mm and 20mm 80° are widely regarded as excellent (2 inch only).  However, the eye cup has to be completely screwed off to use them with eyeglasses.  Not much has been reported on the rest of the members of these lines.

The Pentax XL line was excellent and is available used in the US for under $200 each.  They had 18mm to 20mm of usable eye relief with a 65° FOV that was very well corrected.  Again, premium polish and coatings.

The Vixen LVW line also had a 65° AFOV, but a bit tighter eye relief in my experience, so I went with the Pentax XLs back in the day.  Again, available used for under $200 each in the US with premium levels of polish, correction, and coatings.

Beyond that, if you have the budget (as much as a beginner telescope or more per eyepiece), the Pentax XW, Baader Morpheus, and Tele Vue Delos and Delite lines are excellent choices.  Nikon's NAV-SW are also good, but have not been adopted very widely by amateur astronomers.  The TV Nagler Type 4 eyepieces (only 12mm is 1.25") are just usable with eyeglasses.  The APM Hi-FW is excellent with eyeglasses as are the Explore Scientific 92° line (2 inch only).

Edited by Louis D
Forgot to add Vixen LVW line
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I've got the Xcel LX 12mm, you need to remove glasses to use it. Optically it is excellent however, even for hydrogen alpha solar viewing which a lot of plossls fall over with.

I've been thinking whether the Morpheus or XWs are worth it (the Delos and delite are too expensive, the TV plossls aren't the best to use in my opinion also even though they are arguably the sharpest), maybe I need to get rid of a few as a lot I have are duplicates covered by barlowing and just get say a good 10mm or 12mm.

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You could try and track down some hd-60s.  I believe meade UK has some of the focal lengths available.  Bit more expensive but very well regarded for the price.

Personally when I've tried to use my BST 8mm with my glasses and the eyecup on I've found it not so nice.  Still crisp but much narrower.  Not for me.  I do find I get better views in general without my glasses though, even with my 32mm Plossl which is absolutely delightful with glasses on

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So spring for a couple Morpheus eyepieces.  Maybe buy one at a time.

I have the entire set and the 4.5mm has the least eye relief, but it's still usable with glasses on with a bit of pressure of the glasses against the rubber.

This is one example of spend more/get more.  I'm an ocularholic, but I could be happy with them for the rest of my life.

Since the OP is OK with 50° eyepieces, Vixen SLVs could be OK, and there are a LOT of focal lengths available.

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37 minutes ago, Louis D said:

Someone over on CN in this thread noticed that a seller on AliExpress seems to have the entire line of Meade HD-60s available for a very good price for each focal length.

I spotted that also but didn't want to suggest it as it is unconfirmed.

That being said, I'm probably going to risk it for a biscuit.  I might pick up the 25 or 18mm myself.  You spoke very highly of them and your yard stick photos from the comparison shows the difference between them and the starguiders.

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6 hours ago, Zermelo said:

The 4mm not quite as much, it sometimes seems to suffer a bit in iffy conditions.

Don't all EPs? :D

I have the 4mm and 7mm Nirvanas and like them a lot, but don't wear glasses to observe either.

Edited by bingevader
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27 minutes ago, bingevader said:

Don't all EPs? :D

Yes, I should have said that it seems to react more than others to indifferent conditions, and I've found it to be a bit unpredictable in that respect. When it's good, it's very pleasant to use.

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