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Skywatcher SP Plossl lenses


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Hi guys,

I can't find any definite advice on this: I'm thinking that more money = better equipment, but I don't want to spend a bomb. Are the Skywatcher SP Plossl eyepieces any good? I'm thinking about getting a 6.3 mm in conjunction with a Tal 2x to go with my Skywatcher 130P.

Can I expect decent results with this stuff (the scope on its own with the stock lenses is great) or do I need to be spending more?

Cheers for the help!

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Stock eps tend to be fine until you have looked through a really good ep, then you notice the difference.

IMO if you are happy with the SPs then go with it, they won't cost you a fortune, and you will probably be quite happy with them. But be prepared that when you have had a look through a (for example) Pentax, you will start feeling dissatisfied with them and want to upgrade.

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So in your opinion, what's the best thing you gain from having better eyepieces? Clarity? Brightness? Field of view?....

All those things ;)

The confidence that the eyepiece is showing you the maximum that the scope is capable of giving on any particular occasion.

Bu realistically, as the prices rise, the gains get smaller, but are still there if you are really fussy and have deep enough pockets !.

Expensive eyepieces are not obligatory though - most of us have had a lot of fun with low cost ones as well :)

Edited by John
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Depending on the design you will gain a larger FOV, perhaps better eye relief, certainly a better corrected eyepiece with a sharper image off axis, perhaps a smidge brighter.

Due to budget problems i'm currently rediscovering the joys of Plossl ownership. I have a range of various brands. I have a Series 500 6.3mm Super Plossl (probably the same as the Skywatcher) and it gives a nice view. Not the most comfortable eyepiece to use, lacking any real eye relief but it is quite sharp in the center and has good light throughput.

I've made good use of the Scopes'n'skies Astroboot to bolster my flagging eyepiece collection. For £25 (inc delivery) i added two of the very highly regarded Celestron Silvertop Plossls and a 15mm Orthoscopic. All turned up brand new boxed and sealed, which was a surprise to say the least.

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Cool this is great help, thanks very much!

So if I were to get a slightly better (yet still affordable) EP that's under 7 mm, what should I be looking at? Are the Sky-watcher Ultrawides better or worse? I'm trying to crank up the magnification a bit on Saturn!

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Can't really comment on the SW UW eps, but (and please don't think I am being patronising here) magnification is not everything. If you double the magnification, the same light is spread out over an area 4x as great and so what you see is only 1/4 as bright. What is the aperture of your scope? A 7mm ep with a 2x barlow on a 6" f10 scope is over 425x and our skies just will not take that (with very rare exceptions).

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Yep i agree, don't go overboard with the magnification. I have the 6mm Ultrawide and it works very well with my 200P giving 200x dead. It's a great magnifaction most nights of the year but sometimes even that's too much.

A 5mm should be fine with the 130P. That gives 130x and well within the limits of the scope. I really have no idea of what the 130P is capable of though. I have looked through one at 162x using a 4mm Plossl and it showed a sharp detailed view of Jupiter.

One of the TMB Planetary eyepieces are extremely nice for £50. A very good quality eyepiece for a reasonable sum. They have a 60deg apparent field, long eye relief, adjustable eye shield and extremely well corrected. You can buy a range of these from Modern Astronomy.

Edited by russ
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Oh I agree! It's just that at the moment the max magnification I can get is 65x and I can feel that this telescope has potential (compared to the cheapo refractor I had before) so would like to push it up to 100x and see how it looks.

It's a 130 mm aperture with a 650 mm focal length (so f/5).

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At 65x it will be like a sports car being held back 60mph, dying to put it's foot down. Even taking a very pessimistic 25x per inch, that's still 125x for your scope. But like i said, i've seen a 130P performing beautifully at 162x. And Saturn looks glorious at 100x upwards. The 6mm will give you 108x but i still think that is holding the scope back. The 5mm gives 130x which is more like it.

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I've ended up spending more on eyepieces then the scope + mount. Why? Well, for years I used Plössl and orthoscopic eyepieces. At short focal lengths the eye relief was brutal, so I decided to buy a Vixen NLV 4mm with 20mm eye relief, at £95 -woah! Suddenly detail popped out of planets I never knew was possible. Only 45° field, but it beats the pants off everything else I've used for planetary work.

Since then I've realised you do get what you pay for and a decent scope can be significantly compromised by average eyepieces.

A good Newt is easy and cheap to make, good eyepieces are not. So it may seem like poor value to have an eyepiece which costs more than your OTA, but in reality you will feel the benefit.

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The 130 should take 5mm easy enough. Personally I find the eyerelief on small plossls a pain. I had a 4mm and a 6mm with my 130 and never really used the 4mm which was just a bit too much. It might have settled under better skies.

Dont forget as you boost the magnifaction you also boost the wobbles in the atmosphere. I had some good views of Saturn at 6mm though.

TAL Barlows are reckined to be the best available for the cash. I havent used one myself but have a few TAL EPs which are superb for the money.

Skywatcher SP eyepieces. I tested out a 26mm Skywatcher Super Plossl and a 32mm and compared them with a Celestron E-Lux in 25mm and a TAL (Series 2) in 25mm and also a Vixen NPL in 30mm.

All of them worked well. The Vixen to my eyeballs seems to give the best view with best contrast while the Sky-Watcher SPs had the most solid feel.

I think for low cost EPs you wouldnt be disappointed but as the man said once you look through better quality EPs your never happy ever after and the costs just go up and up and up - my EPs probably cost 3x what the scope costs and theres never any end in sight.

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I remember reading in a magazine years ago that you should budget at least 50% of the cost of your scope again for eyepieces. I thought this crazy at the time but now think thats a bit on the mean side !.

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  • 4 years later...

Always remember the main characteristics of your telescope! Long focus instruments, either mainly refractors, cassegrains and maksutovs, are quite tolerant in relation to eyepiece qualty. I have a 76.2mm f/16.4 vintage refractor and, although good eyepieces give better images, the telescope originals Huygens-Mittenzwey (HM 0.965") still give excellent images compared to Plössls and TMB Planetaries (1.25"). Although these new eyepieces give better images, surely nothing justifies to throw away my HM eyepieces.  Indeed, even considering that my HM 6mm 0.965" (208x in my scope) is inferior to the TMB 6mm 1.25" (less field, less eye relief and so on), in terms of sharpness I'd give a 9 over ten to the TMB and perhaps a 7 to 8 to the HM, which certainly is not bad for a Huygenian eyepiece.

Recently I bought an used generic 6mm Plössl, just for testing... and to be honest, there's no big difference between this one I bought and the old HM 6mm.  AGAIN, this is not an absolute rule. For example, the old Celestron OMNI Plössl series is a good one for lonf focus scopes, I have a 9mm Plössl and is quite sharp.

There are bad eyepieces, but also good ones even if they are not fancy multi-element models, it depends a lot on your telescope. A good old Huygens may perform, quite well or even better than many current generic eyepieces around. Now that everything is mass produced @ China, qualty dropped considerably. Proof? Old vintage achromats made in Japan and USA! Now, if you own a fast refractor or reflector (f/4 or f/5) then, I'm sorry to say it, be prepared to open your wallet because these fast scopes will ONLY tollerate very good eyepieces, and these, are expensive!

That's another reason I love long focus refractors! :laugh:
Clear skies for us all!

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.... Now that everything is mass produced @ China, qualty dropped considerably. Proof? Old vintage achromats made in Japan and USA! .....

Thats just not the case in my experience. The Chinese are capable of producing top class optics today and regularly do so.

I have some of the Japanese HM eyepieces that came with my 1960's Japanese made F/13.3 60mm refractor and they are not good quality whatever way you look at (or through) them. Put a modern ortho or plossl in that scope and the performance is much improved.

Decent quality plossls and orthoscopics are not expensive and work very well in fast scopes. It is when you want wide or ultra-wide fields of view in such scopes that things can get expensive.

Long focus refractors are great but a 4" F/15 gets hard to mount steadily and a 6" F/12 much more so. I know this because I have such a beast !

Other than that, I agree with you 100%  :smiley:

Not sure it's worth reviving a 4 year old thread over this though :undecided:

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