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The Cost of a Good Eyepiece Redux

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#1 mloffland

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 12:58 PM

The Cost of a Good Eyepiece Redux

By: Rod Mollise

#2 PJ Anway

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:30 PM

Very well written article Rod. I agree, many of these are fine wide-field eyepieces that will make most people happy.



#3 Nick Lloyd

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 08:17 PM

I like Rod but that writing style is not enjoyable to read.

#4 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 08:53 PM

In defense of Rod, that writing style is how many people talk in the south, especially in casual conversation with friends. You don't have to read it. I enjoy it. It's like a breath of fresh air to me. Thanks, Rod!

#5 PureHeaven

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 12:03 AM

I'm not sure this is the right place to mention this, and I have no stake whatsoever in promoting any company or product, but a few weeks ago I lucked into spending an entire evening with a handful of other telescopers, looking through the prototype of the Explore Scientific 14mm. We compared it to my 13mm ethos in several scopes and I have to admit that I came away preferring the Explore Scientific eyepiece in one important aspect- it's "physiological" interface- meaning it was simply easier for me to see through.

I've found the ethos requires me to keep my eye centered over a sort of "sweet-spot", and I get kidney beaning if I hover off that spot. This is most apparent when trying to scan the entire 100 degree FOV, which requires a lot of roving eye movement (yes, if you haven't yet looked through a 100 degree FOV, you really can't take it all in simply looking straight ahead). I'm fine with it now, it only took a bit of time to get used to, so I hardly think about anymore, and my Ethos is definitely my most used and beloved EP.

However, my first impression looking through the Explore Scientific was that the field seemed "flatter"- and I realized that I didn't have to stay on a "sweet spot" to search view the entire 100 degree FOV. Scanning the FOV was simply easier. That seemed to be the group's consensus as well. (The seeing conditions were only fair+ so we couldn't really compare sharpness and contrast- although both eyepieces seemed near equal under the circumstances).

I'd have to spend an entire dark sky session with both EPs to really reach a confident opinion, but the above was my immediate impression.

Anyway, if the Explore Scientific costs significantly less, I think it's going to really take off, I know that I'm really wanting the 6mm ethos, but can't justify it's cost. If the Explore Scientific clocks in a few hundred less than the ethos, and the performance is indeed this close, then I maybe opening the wallet yet again...

#6 rathbaster

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 12:16 AM

I like Rod's writing style.
He also writes well and communicates clearly :cool:
I always know that when I see one of his articles he has something interesting to say.

Of course, every time he posts an article, many of the responses discuss his style rather than content.

I notice that both the Speers-Walers and Siebert Ultras are missing from the lineup of Alternatives to the Ethos.

My 24mm Siebert Ultra is the only wide field (65*) eyepiece I've ever liked. (I prefer my Plossls, Orthos and wish I hadn't sold my Supermonocentrics....)

-Joe

#7 Nick Lloyd

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 11:23 AM

When an author's writing style is so strong it is bound to be a topic of discussion. Open and respectful criticism is part of CN and part of democracy in general.

Personally I find the style very forced and masks the honest information that Rod is so well known for. This gets in the way of the message, at least for this reader.

(I've traveled all through out the South and I find it as the most cultural enriching region of the U.S.)

peace out
:flower:

#8 NerfMonkey

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 12:15 PM

"Not a Panoptic, not a Nagler, not an Ethos, but mine."

That really sums up the article nicely.

Loved every bit of it. I would tell you the Celestron Axiom LX ultrawides should be included but that's hard when nobody knows anything about them. The lack of information on them is really surprising; it seems there are about three or four people that have one (and love it) and nobody else ever talks about them.

#9 Mta472

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 12:47 PM

I am surprised that you didn't mention any of University Optics eyepieces. For galaxy and planetary viewing I find the HD orthos great.

Furthermore they have an 82 degree, 11m for less than $100 which I find outstanding....as good if not better than the Koenig 16 and 12 mm

Mike

#10 Alan K

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 04:18 PM

Well shoot fire, an article written in a language I can actually understand. One point though, you may be thinking of the Orion Superwide (now discontinued), which was a rebranding on the Vixen LVW. The Baader Hyperion and the Orion Stratus are the same, or darn close to it. Wonderful article.

#11 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 05:20 PM

When an author's writing style is so strong it is bound to be a topic of discussion. Open and respectful criticism is part of CN and part of democracy in general.

Personally I find the style very forced and masks the honest information that Rod is so well known for. This gets in the way of the message, at least for this reader.

(I've traveled all through out the South and I find it as the most cultural enriching region of the U.S.)

peace out
:flower:


I find it pretty natural and enjoyable to read, not forced at all.

#12 Todd

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 06:22 PM

What I like about writing and reading posts, reports or articles on the 'Net is that the writer doesn't have to be professional --- he/she can write as if we're having a one-on-one conversation. Rod does that well.

I have three different writing styles: Professional, Internet and (what I refer to as) coffee shop --- the type I use for writing editorials in my local paper.

My coffee shop approach occasionally riles people up. ;)

#13 rmollise

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 04:21 PM

I like Rod's writing style.
He also writes well and communicates clearly :cool:
I always know that when I see one of his articles he has something interesting to say.

Of course, every time he posts an article, many of the responses discuss his style rather than content.


Joe, that has LONG SINCE stopped botherin' me. After all, don't they say "the only bad publicity is NO publicity"? When people STOP takin' my name in vain, that will be when I decide it's time to stop writin' the blog--and ever'thing else. :roflmao:

This is my way of havin' fun, something I can't do in books and magazine articles and other SERIOUS venues. I also hope that in addition to havin' my fun, I may entertain and even (occasionally) inform.

Enough kind and understandin' folks such as yourself seem to enjoy my INANE BLOG SCRIBBLIN' that I've been encouraged to keep on keepin' on...to some peoples' evident consternation... :lol:

#14 rmollise

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 04:32 PM

Well shoot fire, an article written in a language I can actually understand. One point though, you may be thinking of the Orion Superwide (now discontinued), which was a rebranding on the Vixen LVW. The Baader Hyperion and the Orion Stratus are the same, or darn close to it. Wonderful article.


Thanks for the kind words, and, especially, for the info. I seem to have an increasingly difficult time sortin' out eyepiece relationships. ;)

#15 MrGibbly

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 06:42 PM

I find the writing style pretty easy to read, but then again, I've lived in South Texas for the last 10+ years.

As for the content, I found it to be very informative and immediately useful for me. It gave me a lot of jumping off points for research as I get ready to take the plunge and move beyond my Nikon binoculars for observing...

Good stuff, thanks!

#16 Ed Ashton

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 06:02 PM

Thank you so much for this article. I'm in the market for affordable wide-field eyepieces, and this couldn't have come along at a better time!

#17 David Knisely

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 06:57 PM

I live in "the north" (well, only about 19.5 miles north of the 40th Parallel). I am not the least bothered by Rod's "down home" writing style, although in the text form, it might come across to some as appearing maybe a little forced (as opposed to when you might talk with Rod face to face). I guess maybe Rod should read one of his articles "live" on YouTube so we can see how he really sounds :) (you up for that Rod?).

As for eyepieces, Rod stated:

"Finally, Baader is now pushin’ a second bunch of Hyperions, the “Aspheric Series.” These are More Better Gooder accordin’ to Baader because they, among other things, feature some aspheric lens elements that have “Allowed Baader to eliminate eyepiece aberrations without the usual penalty of extra lens elements, excessive size and weight, or high cost.” Is that so? Don’ ask me, I haven’t run across one o’ these eyepieces yet (which come in 31 and 36-mm focal lengths at the moment). Oh, the apparent field on these is stated to be 72-degrees rather than 68. What would I expect of ‘em? If I had to guess, I’d expect good performance in longer focal length scopes, maybe not Panoptics, but worth the price of admission, maybe ($189.00 for either), just like their little brothers."

The Hyperion Aspherics do perform somewhat better than their little brothers. Indeed, the 36mm Hyperion Aspheric I reviewed for Cloudynights I liked enough that when the 14 inch Orion Dob came to live here, I picked up the 36mm version for that scope. My 40mm University Optics Mk-70 Konig was too long and my 24mm Panoptic was a little too short in that big scope, so the 36mm Hyperion Aspheric filled a nice hole. It isn't quite a 35 Pan, but it is pretty good for the roughly $200 I paid for it.

On the Explore Scientific 100 degree eyepieces, most of what I have to say about the 14mm ES100 can be found in my review of it right here on Cloudynights:

CN REPORTS: The Explore Scientific 14mm 100 degree Field Eyepiece

My ES100 14mm version has become my favorite eyepiece in the 14 inch. I got it "slightly" used, but it is one whopper of a performer for less than an Ethos. That having been said, there are a lot of good modest field eyepieces available nowadays, so one need not spend a lot of money to get performance that, when good old Rod and I were just starting out, would have made us drool with envy. Clear skies to you.

#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 08:55 PM

When an author's writing style is so strong it is bound to be a topic of discussion. Open and respectful criticism is part of CN and part of democracy in general.

Personally I find the style very forced and masks the honest information that Rod is so well known for. This gets in the way of the message, at least for this reader.

(I've traveled all through out the South and I find it as the most cultural enriching region of the U.S.)

peace out
:flower:


Kind of interesting, I have been reading Rod's posts and articles since sometime in the mid 90s. First on S.A.A., then on Astromart and now on Cloudy Nights. I don't know how many thousands and thousands but its a more than a few. We have fun too going back and forth. He and I have been in a lot of "discussions", some of them are timeless... that is, still going on.

I can honestly say I have never before seen mention of his style in any online forum...

About all I can say is that I enjoy reading Rod's blogs and his posts and at some point while I am reading along, invariably I will think to myself... "Gosh, I wish I could write like that."

Rod is fun to read.. fun, this is a hobby, we are supposed to be having fun... You want serious, read Vla's website.

Jon

#19 cheapersleeper

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 05:21 AM

There are times when I do not agree with Uncle Rod, but I never get tired of reading his prose. I write a bit and work at writing and Uncle's strong, clear, distinctive voice is enviable.

#20 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 12:30 PM

There are times when I do not agree with Uncle Rod, but I never get tired of reading his prose. I write a bit and work at writing and Uncle's strong, clear, distinctive voice is enviable.


No doubt about that...

Uncle Rod and I always agree... that I am right and he is wrong... Or something like that... :)

Jon

#21 jrbarnett

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 12:48 PM

This is what this site is all about - gear reviews. Agree or disagree, this is what folks drawn to CN want to see. Problem is, almost no gear reviews are published by the site any longer. Instead, it's a never ending stream of periodic, recurring observing articles. Hey self-proclaimed "Telescope Reviews" site, where are the new Telescope Reviews! :grin:

- Jim

#22 David Knisely

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 01:46 PM

This is what this site is all about - gear reviews. Agree or disagree, this is what folks drawn to CN want to see. Problem is, almost no gear reviews are published by the site any longer. Instead, it's a never ending stream of periodic, recurring observing articles. Hey self-proclaimed "Telescope Reviews" site, where are the new Telescope Reviews! :grin:

- Jim


Cloudynights isn't just about equipment reviews, although there are a lot of them here. There are quite a few articles being worked on right now:

From the Feedback Forum, Mike at Astronomics said:

We are also working on a system that is volunteer with zero pay. The guys try really hard and get to it when they can take time off of their real jobs. At astronomics we are in the middle of a new website build, new office build, and new product builds. We have many different things in the fire and will get to them as fast as we can.


Time problems have kept them from being posted right now, so what you say isn't necessarily all that fair. Why don't you submit a review Jim? You can even post a short one in (horrors) the forums.

#23 jrbarnett

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 11:30 PM

Dave:

"Why don't you submit a review Jim? You can even post a short one in (horrors) the forums."

That's hardly fair. I frequently post lengthy, detailed reviews and other topics in the forums. I also have previously submitted reviews and currently I have several new reviews written and ready for submission (World Cup II, TMB vs. TMB, and two others, and a fifth collaborative piece in the works), but am holding on to them for now.

Here's why. I submitted an article last April on the importance of Dark Sky travel and it hasn't progressed through the queue at all in the intervening months. I can also see many other gear reviews similarly stalled in the submission queue that have been there as long or even longer than my piece. Why submit more work product only to see it sit for months and months? While historically CN has been the *best* place to publish due to its large membership, it is not the *only* place to publish such material.

It's the recurring observing report serials that see publication while true gear reviews or other non-serialized pieces are awaiting editorial review. The article out of Pakistan a couple of months ago was a godsend, but it's one interesting piece in a sea of sameness. It's not encouraging to put the effort in on a 20+ page, well illustrated piece and then have it sit gathering virtual dust while yet another seasonal observing report piece gets posted. Frankly, I read what could be seen in Ophiuchus this time last year in two different serialized pieces. Do I need to rehash Ophiuchus again this season? I appreciate that folks write these pieces, but it's a little like having pizza every single night for dinner. I love pizza, but even I have my limits on how much of it I want to eat.

I understand that it is volunteer administered and that folks are busy. That's fine. But perhaps we need a few more volunteers to help return the site's content to its original variety, update frequency and diverse focus. I no longer bother even checking the lead in page. It's always the next installment of "adventures in Delphinus and Sagitta". :grin:

In other words, I'd like to see CN sort this problem out, so my comment is intended as a constructive criticism. At least the forums remain active and informative. However, forum posts don't work well for comprehensive reviews due to the file size limits. They prohibit the inclusion of sufficiently detailed images and illustrations IMO.

- Jim

#24 Tom T

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 07:14 PM

We're working on that.

#25 Matt Lindsey

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 07:17 PM

Bingo. Let's see some new stuff.






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