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Baader Hyperion Zoom - 8-24mm - review @ f/5 w/o CC

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A lot has been said about this nice zoom everywhere online, so obviously I was very eager to get my hands on one.

The most important thing that should be stated right from the start is that I am using it in a 12" DOB at f/5 without a coma corrector. If used in a different telescope, at a different focal ratio or with a CC, the performance of the zoom may be radically different. So whatever conclusions I make, are strictly for my telescope and my use case.

Physical Build

What can I say. It is truly a well thought out, well designed, well-constructed eyepiece. I especially love the top where you can turn the eye shield in or out depending on the changing exit pupil. But SVBony Zoom (the pricier 7-21mm) already has this, so it is not unique to Baader.

The weight is OK for my taste , just the right weight. I also like the modular approach with an adjustable adapter for either 1.25 or 2". I love using my eyepieces in a 2" mode.

The changing of focal lengths is very satisfying with a nice click/stop action. Truly a pleasure to work with it.

Long story short, it is an excellent eyepiece in this area. This is where most of the money has clearly went in building this eyepiece.


Long story short, I remember reading Ernest calling the Hyperion Zoom a mediocre optical eyepiece in a premium package, marketing and barrel. This is exactly my feeling as well from using it at f/5 without a CC.

Everything is relative however, you may say you get what you pay for? Maybe, or maybe not. I was absolutely shocked that my AngelEyes 14mm which cost me 83$ performed better in every way than the Baader Zoom.. with an AFOV of 65 degrees. Of course, a fixed eyepiece should be better.. but not a fixed eyepiece that is almost 200$ cheaper.

So what is the problem? 

The Angel Eyes is sharper on-axis. To be fair, this is an exceptionally sharp eyepiece. I am talking Plossl levels of sharpness. This to me is much more important than edge astigmatism as the center is where the action is. The Baader Hyperion is a little bit less sharpt, but not by much. 

The edges are also quite a let down. The astigmatism at the edges compared to the AngelEyes 14mm is roughly double. That is quite a lot and very visible. I thought the AngelEyes 14mm (click for review) was a bad eyepiece, now I have easily reconsidered that opinion. It was bad compared to the SkyRover 30mm , but it is an absolute winner compared to the Baader Zoom.

On the other hand, if I compare it to my SVBony 7-21mm zoom that costs 50$, there is no contest.

The SVBony is notable less sharp on axis and has astigmatism towards the edges as well, only his edges are already at 56 degrees, more like 50 degrees around the 9-11mm focal length. Here the Baader wins hands down.

Another bad point I see with the Zoom is that dust can get inside. At 24mm I can clearly see a small hair like dust particle which is clearly visible against strong light. It disappears when I increase the FL to 16 and higher. Which is fine as I mainly use the Zoom from 12 to 8, which will see less use as I am getting the MaxVision 11mm these days. I tried cleaning it but didn't quite make it as the dust is somewhere in the upper portion which I am hesitant to open. 


In my case, the situation is simple:

The Baader is not worth the 275$ asking price NEW. It is however OK buying it used for about 190$. I made the right call to wait for it for a month to show up on the local marketplace. It is very re-sellable, so it makes for a risk-free choice to buy it new.. try it out.. and sell it with minimal loss if it doesn't reach your expectations.

Even though a Zoom is not my most used or primary eyepiece, I do love having a Zoom in my now minimalistic collection for many reasons. It brings comfort, quickness, ability to optimize magnification for certain objects or simply have fun on the moon.

With this being said. I am keeping the Baader Zoom for the time being and will probably be selling the SVBony Zoom.
As I needed to put together the bottom portion after cleaning I did manage to find on this forum the design. As can be seen, it is a mid tier design so it makes sense it can't compete with the AngelEyes 14mm which has more fixed lenses.

As can be read pretty much everywhere. The main value of a Zoom is comfort and convenience. Fixed eyepieces (even mid budget) remain the king if optical performance is priority. 



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It's not unusual to find particles inside the Baader Zoom.

Your last line says it all: "Fixed eyepieces (even mid budget) remain the king if optical performance is priority. "

It's the reason I don't own a zoom, even the Leica.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Don Pensack said:

It's not unusual to find particles inside the Baader Zoom.

Your last line says it all: "Fixed eyepieces (even mid budget) remain the king if optical performance is priority. "

It's the reason I don't own a zoom, even the Leica.

It is going away.. I am selling it back on the second hand market even if I lose a bit. I just find it hard to justify the 190$ I spent on it.

I just ordered the SV191 new for 68$. A lot better deal and it is very similar to the Baader.. a friend has it. I may end up keeping this one as a secondary eyepiece and sell the smaller zoom as well.



Edited by AstralFields
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