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The quest for the perfect eyepiece collection


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After much thought I have decided to venture on the quest for the perfect eyepiece collection for my Megrez 80/480 Triplet.

The Megrez never stops amazing me. On good evenings it seems to punch well above its weight. The portability of it enables me to be set up in minutes. I have enjoyed views of planets, nebula and galaxies alike. I have also dabbled with imaging through it on the Astrotrac.

For me this is as close to the perfect scope I have come to in the three years I have enjoyed this hobby.

As everyone knows, a good telescope is only half of the optical system This has been more apparent to me since the Megrez. I have owned a wide range of scopes over the years but I have never invested an equivalent amount on the eyepieces.

I guess it’s a bit like buying a HIFI system, you spend all your money on a great CD player, amp and speakers then wire the thing up with bell wire... a bit of a false economy on reflection.

With this in mind I have, this week started a quest of my own: to find the best eyepiece range for my Megrez. My journey will start with my current range and hopefully end with, what will to me represent the best I can obtain for my budget. I would love some of your thoughts; comments and suggestions as I add subtract, swap, beg, borrow and steal. Forget the last one.

This is my current range.

Baader Genuine Orthoscopic 5,6,7,9,18mm

SWA 20mm Plossl

I’m thinking with an 80mm aperture I need to keep the magnification to under X190

It is also worth remembering that I use the Megrez on a fixed tripod so the wide field will give me the extra time when the objects drift across the FOV. This is an issue with the 40* Ortho’s

I think I would like to include a barlow of some description to increase the range further.

Working on this basis I think I am looking for eyepieces around the following focal length, 7,9,13, 25mm this will give me magnification of 68X, 53X, 37X and 20X respectively. With a X2 barlow they will give me 170X, 132X, 92X, 40X. This should cover all my needs nicely.

Today I have taken delivery of the first change to my setup, a TeleVue 13mm Ethos.

Having read the reviews this seems a good place to begin.

With the Megrez it will provide a magnification of around X37 and with the massive 100* apparent FOV it should make for an interesting start.

Lee.

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I would be tempted to save over a few years and add to your 13E

I would go:

28 UWAN

17E

13E

6E

TV 2" Big Barlow

This in my eyes would be the perfect collection.

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With my Vixen ED102SS, an F/6.5 scope, I use:

Nagler T5 31mm

Nagler T4 22mm

Ethos 13mm

Nagler T6 9mm

Nagler T6 7mm

Nagler T6 5mm

Nagler T6 3.5mm

I have contemplated getting a Powermate 2x and dispensing with the 3.5mm and 5mm Naglers and may do so some day. I've no complaints about this set so far :)

John

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The perfect eyepiece collection never happens ... or when it does, you then go and change the 'scope :)

My been there, got T-shirt advice is to try everything you can lay your hands on. Although eyepieces lend themselves nicely to spreadsheets full of magnifications, exit pupils and TFOVs, the human eye doesn't and my experience is that sometimes, despite being perfect on paper, an eyepiece won't work for you. You've just got to try them out under the stars for yourself - local societies help, or the used market makes it not too hard on the pocket as you can usually buy, try and sell for not much more than the cost of postage.

Also don't assume you must have ultrawides, especially at shorter focal lengths. Looking at John's line-up I know we'll disagree slightly here, but at focal lengths below about 10mm I prefer the 70-degree AFOV Pentax XWs to the ultrawide Naglers (although I did like the 5T6 a lot), the tone, sharpness and clarity of the XWs for me are more important than the additional field of view of the Naglers (although i'd agree that, with the Dob, the 5XW requires a fair bit of 'nudging' to keep the target in the FOV). For me widefield eyepieces become more important at longer focal lengths.

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FWIW though, my "starter for 10" money-no-object for the 80/480 would probably be

2-4mm Nagler zoom (perfect high-power eyepiece for this 'scope)

5mm Pentax XW

8mm Ethos

13mm Ethos

28mm UWAN/26mm Nagler T5 (low power, sweep the summer-night milky way eyepiece)

The zoom will give you a good lunar/planetary/double star eyepiece with a lot of flexibility in focal length, the 5XW a good highish power eyepiece then you're into the Ethos pair for medium and medium-low viewing. Finally the big widefield will be superb for the rich summer sky. Not a cheap lineup, but will perform superbly.

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Thanks for all the input so far. :)

The following are defiantly on my hit list to try:

2-4mm Nagler zoom

5mm Pentax XW

Nagler T6 5mm

7mm UWAN

Nagler T6 9mm

28mm UWAN

26mm Nagler T5

TV 2" Big Barlow

Having had a brief opportunity last night to try the E13, I am of a mind that this eyepiece will form not only the start but also the reference point for the rest of my collection.

Ben, you are spot on with your comments about purchasing second hand. It would seem that the better known eyepieces seem to level out (Price wise) second hand. The Ethos was purchased this way and I am confident that if I ever sold it, it would return a similar value to the purchase price.

There’s not much that hasn’t already been said about the Ethos 13mm, so I won’t harp on about it too much. I can say that it does not disappoint. This is the most I have ever spent on an eyepiece and I must admit that I was a little nervous when I slipped it into the diagonal. Moving from the 18mm Ortho to the E13 was like taking off a blindfold, endless stars as far as the eye can see. It was like looking at the sky, naked eye with X39 vision. Detail in Saturn stood out as well and with moments of steady seeing 4-5 moons were clearly visible, and at times I could just make out the separation of the tilted rings. M13 was also the best I have ever seen it. So easy to find in the 100* AFOV no findescope required.

As you can imagine I am very happy with the initial results with the E13. I would love to be in a position to purchase the 8mm version next but this will have to wait for a while.

I do have my eye on a 7mm UWAN next. So watch this space.

post-13372-133877369317_thumb.jpg

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That's not a bad set you have there, although I would question whether the difference among 5, 6, 7, & 9 is worth buying all those eps. I would have stopped with the 5 and 9, and the 18.

I like to raise my magnification in 50% increments. I have found this works well, whether achieved with the help of a barlow, or with the eps themselves. The set shown in my signature pretty well achieves this, although there is a gap where you would expect a 17mm ep. I have thouoght about filling this in, but I don't miss it.

My kit works for both my Newt and my refractor. I am thinking of getting a 30 and a 40mm Erfle for the refractor. Not quite 50% increments, but they will also work with the Dob I am building.

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OK, So far I have managed to sell all but one of the Baader ortho's. This has provided some money to move to the next step of finding my ideal collection.

I have found some bits and pieces advertised on the usual sites and so far my new collection looks like this:

Baader GO 18mm

TeleVue Ethos 13mm

William Optics UWAN 7mm (On it's way)

Televue 2" X2 Imagemate (On it's way)

This should provide the following magnifications:

18mm = X27 (X53 with Powermate)

13mm = X37 (X74 with Powermate)

7mm = X69 (X137 with Powermate)

I’ll post my thoughts when they arrive.

Lee.

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"I guess it’s a bit like buying a HIFI system, you spend all your money on a great CD player, amp and speakers then wire the thing up with bell wire... a bit of a false economy on reflection"

HiFi ? CD ? :icon_rolleyes:

Surely you meant: "spend all your money on a turntable..."

;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, the UWAN 7mm finnally arrived today and with the 2" Powermate & Ethos 13 it looks like a good line-up.

Just need the clear weather so I can start the testing...

Televue Ethos 13mm

Televue 2" X2 Powermate

Baader Genuine Orthoscopic 18mm

William Optics UWAN 7mm

Lee.

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Thats a really nice set Lee :)

I'll be interesting to hear how it goes with the Powermate and the Ethos 13 - I'm thinking of going down that route myself as I'm hooked on the Ethos views but can't afford a 2nd Ethos just now.

John

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  • 2 months later...

Having had some good opportunities to use the UWAN 7mm I can tell you that it did not disappoint.

It’s quite a size as you can see in the previous posts. But I like the fact that it has a weighty feel. The twist up eye cup is a great touch and has a great quality feel about it.

During use I have found that as you get to the edge of the field the sharpness drops off but I would say that 85% of the field is sharp with the other 15% gradually reducing in quality up to the edge where there is a little colour when viewing the moon.

In the Megrez it seems to give a neutral colour and the sky appears a velvet black. The field of view is very impressive at 82-Deg. I can fit the full moon (Several times over) and enjoy X69 magnification the detail is immense.

I can’t help feeling that the 13mm Ethos with the X2 TV Barlow makes the 7mm a little redundant in my setup.

This may seem obvious, but my concerns that the extra glass when used with the Barlow would affect contrast over the stand alone UWAN 7mm were unfounded.

The positively massive FOV of the Televue combo is hard to beat.

I believe if I did not have the Ethos this EP would be a keeper. It looks and acts the part in every way you would imagine it to. It is a very good eyepiece.

I have now sold the 7mm UWAN and have a Baader Hyperion 8mm on the way.

I have also acquired a Pentax 28XL for wide field visual.

I post some thoughts when the weather improves.

Lee.

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