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Celestron Silver Top Plossls

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#1 vkhastro1

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 12:27 AM

There seems to be increased interest in these vintage
eyepieces, especially on A-mart. Are they that good or is it just their novel appearance and collectability? Your
comments, opinions and comparions to other eyepieces would
be greatly appreciated. Thanks Gary

#2 core

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 01:17 AM

I've had my one and only 26mm Silver Top since '87 or so - wished I picked up more back then; instead I bought a couple of TV's PL then (13 and 40 being the only ones I still have, they've all served me well). It still gets brought out for 'first-light' in any new scope; I'd suppose more for nostalgia than anything else :D

I've always found it to be a very crisp and 'contrasty' eyepiece (then again, at that fl it better be), no color cast, sharp all the way to the edge and very little ghosting, if any, on the brightest object.

The one thing I really like about this particular ep is how it (the physical ep) just disappears away from your view; the apparent 49d circle seem to match the outer rim of the barrel and it all just seems to fuse together until you get this 'hole' in midair that you're viewing thru (I wear prescription glasses fwiw, no astig). The weight (or lack of) of the ep is also a joy to use; current PL's seem a tad heavier to me.

The closest 26mm fl PL ep that I've had a direct comparison with are the various standard 25/26mm Celestron/Meade's over the years - the main thing to strikes me always is the way the silver top gets out of the way of my viewing.

Anyways, dug up some info on the Silver Tops from that era:

fl AFOV fieldstop
7.5mm 46d 6mm
10mm 46d 7mm
15mm 46d 11mm
17mm 47d 14mm
22mm 48d 17mm
26mm 49d 20mm
30mm 50d 28mm
36mm 35d 22mm
45mm 33d 25mm
50mm 43d 37mm (2")

iirc the cream of the crop was the 30mm unit. My 26mm has Japan V stamped on the barrel, so I guess they were all Vixen-sourced.

#3 kaaikop

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 05:48 AM

Anyone has pics of those?

#4 bwilson

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 07:03 AM

Vixen/Celestron satin silver tops are always desirable, and collectable. The Viven/Celestron originals all have Orange engraved lettering with the circle v and Japan. Introduced in the mid 80s - They came in clear orange plastic cases that look like fancy pill boxes with an orange florescent screw in top on the case and nice strong lift off top orange boxes with labels. The boxes are very similar to the original Nagler 4.8 green boxes. Understand that Saito of Japan made them to Viven specs, from reading a thread here.Saito Optics is 49% owned by Edmund Scientific as of 2007.

The 26 is the most common one which was sold with Celestron
SCT's as standard with the telescope.

My set is 45,26,10mm along with the 2 x barlow. The barrels are marked Japan with the V in a circle. Also with the set is a 7mm ortho black volcano top made in Japan as well.

#5 bcuddihee

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 07:05 AM

The 28 RKE has the same "floating in the air" quality about it. It's a nice experience but you have to get used to the very long ER.
BC

#6 LivingNDixie

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 07:46 AM

I had a 36mm back in the day, really liked it.

#7 Jerry Hyman

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 09:17 AM

Here is a thread that you might enjoy reading on the Silvertops.

http://www.cloudynig...art=&PHPSESSID=

I have had or have all of them except for the 50, 36, and 45mm and they are just great and compare to about anything I have matched them with. The only really downside for me (my wife actually) is that they don't have eyecups (more like a modified volcano top) and stray light was an issue. Neutral in color and very sharp. I liked the 17mm, 22mm, and 26mm the best of the bunch. I should add that I never used them in telescopes that were faster than f6. I really liked them for bino-viewing. Mine were mostly the first version from Japan with the engraved orange lettering and the circle v on the barrel. Vixen also made a similar series with their name on them. The 36mm and 45mm have AFOV under 50 degrees to keep the field stop at 27mm where all the other 1.25" eyepieces were 50 degrees.

Hope this helps.

~jerry

#8 Blake Andrews

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 09:25 PM

I have a thread running on A-Mart for both silver top and volcano top eyepieces. Here's a quick link to the silver top discussion thread...

http://www.astromart...news_id=&page=7

Regards!
Blake

#9 csa/montana

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 09:32 PM

Blake, Welcome to Cloudy Nights! Glad to have you on the forums!

Thanks for the link to your discussion, also.

#10 WRose

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 12:48 AM

Anyone has pics of those?



Sorry I don't have a picture of the entire group with me but here's the basic set and I'll post a composite of the rest next.

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#11 KWB

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 12:52 AM

Welcome back,Bill. :grin:

#12 WRose

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 12:53 AM

This is the 50mm with 2" Barrel and the 2x Barlow. On the right is a very rare "3 Dot" 26mm Silvertop. If you look close it has an extra 'dot' next to the umlaut over the "O" in Plössl.

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#13 csa/montana

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 09:35 AM

Nice Bill! You have so many beautiful collections!

#14 Blake Andrews

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 07:55 PM

Hi Carol,

Thanks for the nice welcome. I'm an original owner of the Celestron 45mm, 26mm, 15mm, and 10mm silver tops. These have been my workhorse eyepieces since the mid-1980's on my Super C8 Plus (I know, I'm showing my age).

Recently, I got interested in them again. I've been able to add the 30mm (Taiwan), 36mm and 7.5mm. These are all Vixen first run except for the 30mm. During the thrill of the hunt, I've also added a 7.5mm, 17mm, and 2" 50mm black cap with red lettering. Also a 17mm Vixen branded. Bill has already alluded to a 3-dot variation. We are still looking for other interesting variations to document. Please let me know, as I'm working on a long-term project to document the timeframe for each of the major variations.

On another note, the "Halloween Plossls" from Taiwan also seem to be very similar to the Silver Tops. I have the 7.5mm, 10mm and 26mm of these, as well.

Regards,
Blake

PS I am also interested in the Celestron line of Volcano Top Orthos and have identified no less than four distinct variations for these, as well.

#15 csa/montana

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 08:32 PM

Blake, that is a fantastic group of eyepieces you have!

A huge Congratulations!

#16 BillP

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 01:33 PM

BillR,

Any history on the Red lettering vs the Orange lettering? I have the 2x barlow like in your pic, but my 36mm is like your 2" where the lettering is Red. Incredible performer also..was quite surprised when it gave me a sharp to the edge view in a 5" f/5 Newt...wasn't expecting that.

-BillP

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#17 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 08:57 AM

iirc the cream of the crop was the 30mm unit.


When I worked in an astro shop (1980's), we checked out all the various sizes and thought they were all very fine.
But, like Peter sez, the 30mm seemed just a tad nicer.
IIRC, that one was made in R.O.C. (Taiwan).
At least, the ones I saw.

#18 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 09:00 AM

BillR,

Any history on the Red lettering vs the Orange lettering? I have the 2x barlow like in your pic, but my 36mm is like your 2" where the lettering is Red. Incredible performer also..was quite surprised when it gave me a sharp to the edge view in a 5" f/5 Newt...wasn't expecting that.

-BillP


Red lettering (embossed) is a later thing.
As was the black top atop the silver top. :grin:

#19 BillP

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 09:05 AM

Optically the same I suppose, so just a cosmetic change?

#20 WRose

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 01:22 AM

Thanks Clive! Working too many hours lately and can't keep up with everything. :(
Bill, You're both correct. The Red lettered version came out for a brief period after the Orange lettered.
At one point a decade ago I did some direct comparison testing of a half dozen of each. The Red letter version did slightly better than the original Orange lettered in the shortest focal lengths (7.5 & 10) but other than that they were pretty much tied. I never saw a Red lettered version 50mm or Barlow. DOn't know if they ever made them or I just didn't run across them.

#21 Steven C

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 11:44 PM

I've had my one and only 26mm Silver Top since '87 or so - wished I picked up more back then; instead I bought a couple of TV's PL then (13 and 40 being the only ones I still have, they've all served me well). It still gets brought out for 'first-light' in any new scope; I'd suppose more for nostalgia than anything else :D

I've always found it to be a very crisp and 'contrasty' eyepiece (then again, at that fl it better be), no color cast, sharp all the way to the edge and very little ghosting, if any, on the brightest object.

The one thing I really like about this particular ep is how it (the physical ep) just disappears away from your view; the apparent 49d circle seem to match the outer rim of the barrel and it all just seems to fuse together until you get this 'hole' in midair that you're viewing thru (I wear prescription glasses fwiw, no astig). The weight (or lack of) of the ep is also a joy to use; current PL's seem a tad heavier to me.

The closest 26mm fl PL ep that I've had a direct comparison with are the various standard 25/26mm Celestron/Meade's over the years - the main thing to strikes me always is the way the silver top gets out of the way of my viewing.

Anyways, dug up some info on the Silver Tops from that era:

fl AFOV fieldstop - 1986 Orion/Ad Libs AFOV
7.5mm 46d 6mm 45d
10mm 46d 7mm 46d
15mm 46d 11mm 48d
17mm 47d 14mm 46d
22mm 48d 17mm 48d
26mm 49d 20mm 48d
30mm 50d 28mm ??d
36mm 35d 22mm 37d
42mm ??d ??mm ??d
45mm 33d 25mm 36d
50mm 43d 37mm <-- I think this was the original Celstron 50mm Black Plossl that dates from 1982 - same specs as 1982 catalog ...
50mm Silver Top 45d (2")

iirc the cream of the crop was the 30mm unit. My 26mm has Japan V stamped on the barrel, so I guess they were all Vixen-sourced.



#22 Eddgie

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 12:13 PM

I have owned a few older Silvertops.

I found them to be consistent with other good quality Plossls, which is to say very sharp on axis and soft at the edge (but no worse than other Plossl eyepieces like the Televues).

I do like them however. They have a very heavy, solid feel. They must have had turned brass bodys (At least in the longer focal lengths). They just have a nice heft to them.

So, I can see why people like them, but they aren't "Must Have" in any particular performance perspective.

#23 Steven C

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 05:57 PM

Recently, I began to do an in-depth inventory and review of my astronomy equipment. I came up with some surprising information.

I have most of the Celestron Silver Top Plossl oculars: 7.5mm, 10mm, 15mm, 17mm, 22mm, 26mm, 36mm and a 45mm in 1.25 inch. I also have a Celestron 50mm 2 inch Plossl. I have owned most of them since the '80's.

When I examined them, all of them had a double circle V logo on them and were stamped JAPAN -- with one exception - the 26mm Plossl.

The 26mm Plossl was stamped JAPAN but it had a single circle N over J or N over U logo. Surprisingly, this is the same logo that the early smoothside TeleVue Nagler (T1) and Wide Field oculars carried.

I had a very interesting conversation with Al Nagler about the symbol. He was not interested in discussing any information about the name of the company that manufactured Televue products under that logo. He did reveal a couple interesting facts:
1. The company that manufactured products for TeleVue with that logo was under EXCLUSIVE contract to manufacture ONLY products for TeleVue.
2. The company that manufactured products for TeleVue with that logo was Japanese.

I indicated to him that I had a Celestron Plossl ocular with the same logo stamped on it and that I had purchased that ocular in 1986 and he said that should not have been possible but that was 20-25 years ago. He said that must have been a very rare situation and he had no knowledge of any exceptions but he said "Who knows what really might have happened back then?" He also said that he supposed it might have been possible that another company used the same Logo but he knew of no such situation.

I wish someone could explain to me how this ocular came to exist?

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#24 Svezda

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:53 AM

iirc the cream of the crop was the 30mm unit.


When I worked in an astro shop (1980's), we checked out all the various sizes and thought they were all very fine.
But, like Peter sez, the 30mm seemed just a tad nicer.
IIRC, that one was made in R.O.C. (Taiwan).
At least, the ones I saw.

Strange - when I got my Silver Top 30mm I was disappointed that it was a Taiwan-stamped eyepiece and didn't match my others (all stamped 'JAPAN', 7.5 through 45mm). Apparently the 30mm was /only/ made in Taiwan. Has anyone seen a 30 with a 'Japan' stamp?

#25 vkhastro1

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 08:59 PM

Yes the 30mm Celestron "silver top" was made in Japan.
My eyepiece says the following in a red-orange color on the side of the barrel CELESTRON large bold letters
30mm PLoSSL 11/4 .. over the o
MULTICOATED in bold letters that
are smaller than the
bold letters of CELESTRON

JAPAN is stamped into the silver barrel opposite side to the orange-red lettering JAPAN is in bold letters about the
same size at the word MULTICOATED about 1/4" from the
bottom of the silver colored barrel. JAPAN is in silver color.






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