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Which Nagler?

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I was thinking about a second hand Nagler 3-6mm zoom lens as my high power lens. Despite generally being told to avoid zoom lenses, the Nagler Zoom does seem to be well liked by several on here. But it tends to sell for around £200 second hand and only has a 50 degree apparant FOV - and for that price I could get a brand new Nagler 3.5mm with the full 82 degrees.

The FOV with a Nagler 3.5mm lens is almost the same as the Nagler zoom at 6mm (and much more than when it is set at 3mm), as is maximum magnification. What would I loose by having a higher magnification image of the same thing, but with a much wider field of view? Which of the two would you buy (if I could find a second hand 3.5mm, it would be easy - I'd get that).

Nagler Zoom Mag 83.3 - 166.7 FOV 0.58 - 0.30 deg

Nagler 3.5mm Mag 142.9 FOV 0.55 deg

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Without any hesitation at all I would go for the fixed focal length version. The field and sense of involvement are amazing. (I have a 4.8 wihch I use generally in an instrument with a fl of 980mm. Sometimes I use in in a shorter instrument as well.)

It is thrilling.


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The zoom's an oddity, some like it (including me) but it's not a Nagler in the usual sense. Advantages are that it allows you to find maximum usable power for a particular night with just one eyepiece, but eye relief and FOV are limited.

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if I was asking me, I'd would (and did!) go for the zoom rather than the 'normal' Nagler as the zoom gives me 267-533x in my scopes. but given the scope you are using I'd also agree that the fixed 3.5mm would serve you better. the disadvantage is you will no doubt need at least one more to cover other magnifications.

eye relief if you don't wear specs, is really not an issue with the zoom, it feels more than 10mm to me, maybe as it has a flat eye lens. I love mine although it's mainly just a moon EP in my scopes apart from those 'special nights' we hear of and never get :(

all that said, I will never be selling mine - it's truly awesome.

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The Nagler zooms are excellent eyepieces but their field of view is 50 degrees rather than the 82 degrees of the fixed focal length Nagler's. They are very good for high power viewing and their eye relief is more comfortable than an orthoscopic or plossl of that focal length.

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