Being as there have been MANY questions on various different
forums as of late regarding these eyepieces, I figured I’d post my thoughts
and experience with these as I just purchased, what I feel is, a nice line
of inexpensive oculars for use in a variety of applications.
A quick note that I have NO affiliations or interests with Owl
Services or Cloudy Nights & purchased these eyepieces through normal channels.
The Method to the Madness:
A while back I spoke with Tom (owner of Owl Services) regarding
his line of GSO eyepieces. At the prices they were offering these oculars
to the public, I simply figured there had to be something wrong with them.
They were either optically flawed or cosmetically flawed in some way. Boy,
was I wrong. I’ll get into that in a minute. First I want to detail
some reasons for my purchase and decision too get the eyepieces I did.
Before making this purchase, I basically only used 3 eyepieces.
A Meade SWA 24.5mm, Meade SWA 13.8mm, & a Meade UWA 6.7mm, all of which
provided me with EXCELLENT views. I currently have been using my Meade AR-5
refractor to do all of my observing with. It has a decent focal length of
f/9.3 (see Review in “Refractor Forum”)… While observing
a few weeks back at my clubs dark sky site, a friend let me use his 2”
TV 55mm Plossl to view M31 & the Double Cluster in Perseus, along with
a few other nice wide field objects. Now, if you’ve never viewed a nice
wide-field target in a long focal length refractor with a quality wide-field
eyepiece, you don’t know what you’re missing! I was absolutely
beside myself as to what you can see, especially at the edge of FOV. This
was the deciding factor, as I instantly became an enthusiast of wide-field
So, I began looking on the net for some inexpensive wide-field
eyepieces. This is where Owl Services came into the picture. They offer a
wide selection of 1.25” eyepieces & about 5 or 6 - 2.00” selections.
I decided to purchase the following:
2.00” 42mm SuperView - 5 elements (65 deg FOV)
2.00” 30mm SuperView - 5 elements (70 deg FOV)
2.00” 26mm SuperWide Kellner - 3 elements (62 deg FOV)
1.25” 20mm SuperView - 5 elements (67 deg FOV)
1.25” 15mm SuperView - 5 elements (65 deg FOV)
1.25” 9mm KnightOwl MC Plossl - 4 elements (52 deg FOV)
1.25” 6mm KnightOwl MC Plossl - 4 elements (52 deg FOV)
1.25” 4mm KnightOwl MC Plossl - 4 elements (52 deg FOV)
Please understand, if you have a fast scope, I don’t think
the 2” SV’s will benefit you. I believe people who will get most
out of these eyepieces are those who owns scopes with a f/7 or slower. Anything
faster than f/7, and the edges tend to distort and get all fuzzy. This applies
to the 26mm Kellner as well.
Now, as we all know, there are some important factors when buying
eyepieces. You have to consider quality, both optically & esthetically.
Reputation is a consideration for some, but the MOST important factor for
me is price. Everyone out there is looking for the best “bang for the
buck”. Kind of an oxymoron of sorts. Cheap/Quality eyepieces…
definitely fits the bill for an oxymoron to me. Well… I believe I found
some. I paid a total of $260 shipped for EVERYTHING above. That’s about
the price of a decent Nagler or Panoptic, probably even cheaper than most.
Arrival & Inspection:
Now for you newbies out there, us seasoned amateurs will tell
you that to this day, we STILL get all giddy when new toys arrive. So when
family members & friends see you literally panting in anticipation of
opening the parcel, don’t think you’re weird or alone in this
matter. Personally, I go completely bonkers. My eyes are sore from bugging
out of my head and my cheeks hurt from the constant grinning of the “new
toy” phenomenon. Anyway, I digress.
I opened the box and found everything packed very snug &
securely. The 2” eyepieces were packaged similarly to TV packaging.
Black box style & appropriate labeling on each. But also there were 3
empty HUGE bolt style cases for these things. And yes, the 2” eyepieces
are BIG! The 1.25” were packaged similarly, but no bolt cases. They
did have the top & bottom eyepiece caps that the big 2” do NOT have
Kind of odd, but ok. All of them have the rubber eyeguards,
and all of them have the recessed setscrew ring on the barrel. I like to look
through each one next to a bright lamp & see if there are any dust bunnies
or blems on the optics, these had none. Upon viewing the lenses in the light,
there was a nice green coating, which did turn purple at various angles. Overall
I was very impressed with the look & feel of them. The 2” are also
I had the opportunity to use these on a few occasions, but I
made all of the following observations on in one night and will post my impressions
by eyepiece. I observed 3 different wide field targets for the 2” &
3 different DSO’s for the 1.25”. No filters or other observing
aides were used. Sky conditions were as follows on a scale of 1-10 with 1
being really poor:
VLM: 6 (entire little dipper easily seen as well as other stars)
2” eyepiece objects:
Scutum Starcloud (M11 region)
1.25” eyepiece objects:
Lets start with the 2”, shall we…
M31 - Using the 42mm, M31 was EASILY located and appeared beautifully
elongated. The core was nice & fuzzy but with such a low power, it was
easy to see it was sort of “squashed” a bit. The haziness of the
spiral arms was evident, not profound, but still evident. M110 was also very
easy to spot. The 30mm was similar but with slightly increased magnification
(40x). I could easily see a dust lane in one of the arms and contrast was
better. The 26mm (45x) actually gave me a perfect view. The sky was even a
bit darker in this eyepiece. I believe that has something to do with it being
a Kellner & only using 3 elements, but I may be wrong.
The Double Cluster - What can I say but WOW! ALL of the 2”
eyepieces performed wonderfully on this target. Each one showed the entire
double cluster. On the 26mm, I even thought I detected some variations in
star colors, but will have to confirm this later when I have an observing
Scutum Starcloud (M11 region) - Again, I’m VERY pleased
with the views these eyepieces provide. Each eyepiece revealed a MASSIVE amount
of stars, which just peppered the FOV with tiny pinpoints of light. Using
the 42mm & 30mm, I thought I was seeing some dark streaks of “void”
or maybe dark nebulosity through the star field as the star field was almost
cloudlike. I’ve never seen this before even in my Meade’s. The
26mm revealed the same thing, but with more contrast on the dark stuff. I’d
be interested to know if there are in fact dark areas in this area and if
this was in fact what I was seeing.
Now for the 1.25”-
M13 - The 20mm(60x) was extraordinary on this target. Not too
much mag, but not too little either. The globular appeared as a very bright
fuzz ball, which resolved towards the outer edges, but the core was drowned
out to a fuzzy blob. The 15mm (78x) resolved the core much better and due
to its wide field, you could still see the other 2 bright stars in the FOV.
The 9mm (131x) revealed it fully resolved to the core. Although a bit dimmer
than the 15mm, individual stars were easy pickings. The 6mm (197x) did the
same, but now there were “star lanes??” visible. I don’t
know if that makes any sense to some of you, but I swear it seemed like there
were lanes of stars in the core itself.
M57 - Again, the 20mm provided an excellent view of the Ring.
It appeared like a slightly out of round smoke ring, but still rather small.
Bumping up to the 15mm provided more contrast around the ring itself and it
was still nice & bright. The 9mm was the winner on this object. At 131x,
the ring took on a more defined look. It was a tad dimmer than the 15mm, but
the increase in magnification was worth the view. The 6mm was ok. The ring
was a bit too dim to see anything other than a somewhat blurry smoke ring.
It was much bigger, but not as bright.
M27 - The Dumbbell was exquisite in the 20mm. The extra FOV
in it, provided me with one of the most pleasing views of this object I’ve
ever seen. The 15mm was similar, but even though contrast was slightly better
in the overall shape, the view in the 20mm was just more pleasing to the eye.
Both the 6mm & the 9mm were admirable, but the light loss in the 6mm from
increased magnification made it tough to focus and describe any discernable
detail in nebulosity.
If you notice, I did NOT include the 4mm in this particular
area of my review as I only bought the 4mm for planetary observation. Unfortunately,
both Uranus & Neptune were not viewable from my location at the time of
this writing. I’ll post a review later on this eyepiece as soon as viewing
Overall, I’d say these eyepieces offer wonderful quality
for the money spent. As of this writing, I have since sold my Meade eyepieces
and decided to keep these instead. I did perform a side-by-side comparison
with the Meade’s, which influenced this decision, but I’m saving
that for another review. . If money isn’t an object for you, then by
all means grab the “Pans” & the Naglers, but if you wallet
is tight like mine, grab a set of these eyepieces. They’re worth every
I hope this review was informative for some of you. I’d
be happy to answer any questions the best I can.