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Your opinion on a top end eyepiece please...


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One year on and I still only have the Celestron E-Lux 40mm plossl that came with my CGE1100 as well as an E-Lux 25mm, a Revelation Astro x2.5 Barlow and a dismal 12mm reticle eyepiece.

Having read of the wonderfully immersive quality of upmarket eyepieces, but not having had the chance to look through one, is there a demonstration-class obvious choice for me if I want to buy my first one?

I'm probably keen to steer clear of the very top flight brand names, assuming that there are more mainstream manufaturers (Celestron, Meade, WO) who sell these premium eyepieces but without the terribly bent brandname/VFM curve.

As I said, I have an f10 C11 and I wear glasses. I would prefer a 2" eyepiece (assuming there's a clear benefit). Im a keen visual user mainly interested in planetary, doubles, variables and planetary nebulae.

Can any of you Lounge forum inmates help steer me to the obvious choices?

I have about £200 to spend.

Is there a UK retailer with a particular expertise in eyepieces that I should seek out?

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With your F/10 scope you do not need to go for the very "top flight brand names" as you call them because your focal ratio is fairly forgiving on eyepieces. As you wear glasses I think you will enjoy an eyepiece with a 70 degree field of view rather than the ultra-wide 80-100 degree field of view ones as the eye relief with the latter types tends to be shorter, ie: you have to push you eye closer to the eyepiece top to see the full field of view.

In your post you say "...assuming that there are more mainstream manufaturers (Celestron, Meade, WO) who sell these premium eyepieces but without the terribly bent brandname/VFM curve...". While the companies you list do have some very good eyepieces in their ranges they are not quite in the same league as the Tele Vue and Pentax products IMHO but, as I've already said, in slow focal ratio scopes that's not a critical issue.

Whether you need a 2" eyepiece or not depends on the focal length you decide to go for. Up to 25mm the 2" format is not really needed and there are some really nice 1.25" eyepieces of that focal length and shorter available - the Hyperions (already mentioned) are an example of that.

If you want a longer focal length eyepiece (say 30mm or) then there is lots of choice in your price bracket. I recently tried a Skywatcher Aero ED 30mm eyepiece which worked very well indeed in my F/6.5 scope so it should be superb in your F/10 !. It's eye relief was reasonable and it give a 68 degree field of view (same as the Hyperions) so it's pretty immersive.

Hope that helps - you will get loads of opinions on this one I expect :D

John

Skywatcher - Skywatcher Aero ED SWA 2" eyepieces

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Almost anything would be an improvement on the E-lux 40mm Plossl - it's pretty dismal.

My "every day" DSO eyepieces are Meade series 5000 Super Plossls, which are mid priced. The 60 degree field is plenty wide enough for me, they're better optically than the similarly priced super (68 degree +) & ultra wide designs, the coatings are good enough to give clean images, they're neutrally tinged unlike the Televue range and they're certainly good enough for f/10 SCTs. (They work pretty well in my f/7 triplet refractor too).

For planets I prefer the smaller field of the Baader Genuine Orthos (similarly priced), the ortho design has less internal reflection therefore more contrast than a Plossl and is much better than the "top end" multi element wide field types.

If you really want to see what an excellent eyepiece is like (in all respects except wide field), at a star party find someone with a TMB or (better still) Zeiss monocentric. Then you'll know why the second hand price of these gems (sadly no longer in production) exceeds the price of Televue Ethos.

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....For planets I prefer the smaller field of the Baader Genuine Orthos (similarly priced), the ortho design has less internal reflection therefore more contrast than a Plossl and is much better than the "top end" multi element wide field types.

If you really want to see what an excellent eyepiece is like (in all respects except wide field), at a star party find someone with a TMB or (better still) Zeiss monocentric....

All good stuff but unfortunately these designs all have pretty short eye relief which will make them difficult to use when wearing glasses surely ?.

John

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these designs all have pretty short eye relief which will make them difficult to use when wearing glasses surely ?.

Eye relief of a monocentric is about 0.85f, an orthoscopic about 0.8f. That's more than Plossls though not as much, I'll grant you, as a complex long eye relief type.

However it should be a moot point ... you don't need to wear glasses for spherical correction (just adjust the focus a bit) and when the exit pupil is small (as it will be when working at high powers, which is what these eyepiece types excel at) you're very unlikely to need them for astigmatism either.

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Eye relief of a monocentric is about 0.85f, an orthoscopic about 0.8f. That's more than Plossls though not as much, I'll grant you, as a complex long eye relief type.

However it should be a moot point ... you don't need to wear glasses for spherical correction (just adjust the focus a bit) and when the exit pupil is small (as it will be when working at high powers, which is what these eyepiece types excel at) you're very unlikely to need them for astigmatism either.

But if you do prefer to wear glasses when observing, then the Monocentrics and Othoscopics are not good choices, regardless of their other qualities.

John

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I'd second the Meade 5000 plossls for use in SCT's. I'm very pleased with mine - all aquired s/h at very reasonable prices - you can get a whole set for well under the price of a single Ethos! Eye relief on the longer focal lengths is reasonably generous, but I don't wear glasses for observing. The 5.5mm is a little short on eye relief but better than my Meade 4000 6.4mm. However, the 9mm with a barlow is eminently usable. I use them in my short focus fracs and they work pretty well in those too - the 32mm 2" giving very pleasing views in my M90. Thumbs up overall.

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I have 9mm Meade 9000 and along with a few other 9mm's this one really does offer crisp and well contrasted views. However for definition the UO Ortho's has it nailed but with a narrower FOV. I also have Baader Hyperion 9mm and it's much wider FOV is nice to see but on reflection I do not think it has the image quality of the Meade when push comes to shove.

I would second a couple of views already expressed that the SKywatcher Nirvana's / William Optics UWANS are a brilliant chunk of glass to peer into and whilst not Nagler - they do shock and surprise !

Also, with and F10 'scope you are not asking too much of the EP in terms of edge correction so you might well get away with lesser EP's compared to people with faster scopes where the cone of light has a much steeper angle.

BTW - the Baaders are good EP's when all is said and done.

Happy hunting !

Steve

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as always, many thanks for your help.

Just by way of a postscript to this discussion, I had a Skywatcher Panaview 2" 38mm and an Antares Speer-Waler 1.25" 9.4mm delivered in the post from Rother valley optics this morning. The rationale was that the Skywatcher offered the 'immersive' view I was after, and the Antares was the planetary eyepiece I needed which was suited to the fact that I'm viewing from the centre of London on a C11. At f10 and 2800mm, a 9.44mm EP wasn't an overmagnification given the horrible skies here.

Naturally, as a mark of respect for my newly arrived eyepieces, the Gods have contrived to spite me with full cloud cover, but I'll spite them back and wheel out all 200lbs of the CGE1100 so that I can peer at the cloudbase with my new toys.

Cheers,

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The speers-walers are interesting eyepieces - and ultra-wide field of view (same as a Nagler if I recall) plus decent eyerelief. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.

John

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Something that is rarely mentioned in the eyepiece discussion is that most of us use a diagonal of some sort

Please don't forget these things make a heck of a difference as well

They IMHO can and do wreck all that money spent on the nice new eyepiece

Steve

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Steve,

Ironically, while I squinted through the giveaway Celestron E-Lux plossls for nine months, I did upgrade to a 2" William Optics quartz diagonal and I've just received my Moonlite SCT focusser. As soon as these damned clouds clear for a minute, I'm looking forward to my 70 degree FoV initiation. I've even carried out the alignment (in a gap in the clouds earlier) with mu 25mm E-Lux EP, so my big 'wow!' moment beckons...

Cheers,

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Naturally, as a mark of respect for my newly arrived eyepieces, the Gods have contrived to spite me with full cloud cover

Conversely, I've watched the forecast closely for the last three days, and since all reports were for tonight to be cloud-covered, I decided to leave all obs-ing gear in stasis, cracked-open a fine vintage, and am in the process of getting somewhat borked. Naturally, it is now crystal-clear outside. However, I will not give it the pleasure of watching me frantically un-stasing my gear while consuming oodles of water to try and flush the alco-fluid from my bod, because that'll just make the Cumulous accumulate in spite.

:D

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