Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:54 AM
I frequently use my "ubercheaps" which I keep in the case of my 8" meade "R" tube, these are a 40mm E-Lux 2", 20mm "celestron" (which is an SMA with an unusually wide 60+deg field), 15mm superview and 10mm "SMAgler" (which is the plastic SMA with the field stop bored out to a 70+deg field).
Since the scope is f10 with a coma free field, these actually give a pretty good view, and I am not risking expensive eyepieces. Other than the superview, they are all 3 element, which happens to let the light through pretty well and I still get plenty of ooh's and ahh's, and I NEVER put up a subpar view. The 10mm I rarely use, and prefer to barlow so people have a bigger lens to look through.
That being said, the MAIN reason those cheap eyepieces live in that case, is there is NO chance of me being without a useable set of eyepieces if I leave a case at home.
My "outreach" kit is an orion waist case with a 35mm ES70, 20mm and 15mm meade QX70's, 25mm E-lux plossl, and 3 barlows, 2"ED, 3xED and 2x"shorty". My thinking was to be able to mix and match and still have a decent sized lens and ER (the 15 is not LER, but it is still easy for most to look through).
I used to do outreach with scopes as fast as f4, but for a period of time a 10"f5 was my main scope, mainly because it lived in my vehicle and I could be up and viewing in 5 minutes time as I was frequently a late arrival. I am not sure anyone really cares, but I will share some "tricks" I figured out, which enabled me to get a reasonably wide field with decent edge performance.
The most obvious is the barlow trick, but of course that limits the FOV, not as much of a concern at f5. This is where the 2" ED barlow (GSO) came in handy.
Another trick is GSO specific, but may work in similar designs like the QX. I discovered that the lens element of the shorty barlow, when threaded into the 15mm Superview like a filter, happened to perfectly match for a well corrected 10mm widefield, I called it the poor man's pentax. With the 10" it gave the ideal 2mm exit pupil and 125x, perfect for globulars, ring nebula, and other bright clusters and nebula, and even decent on jupiter and saturn. It had a wide enough field for a good view, and I did not have to worry about getting crud on any premiums. Trying this trick on other eyepieces may vary, as the 2" barlow can be threaded the same way, some designs it works, others it sucks, but the 1.25 on the 15mm WORKS.
Another bonus I stumbled on, was that the cheap 1RPD/BW-Optik/OWL 30mm 80deg eyepiece, which can be picked up used for $50 or so, happened to work well in the original paracorr in the middle position (I may have posted that on that thread in eyepieces several years ago). I was shocked, since I was still expecting astigmatism. The same trick did NOT work in the 30mm Widescan III, so it just happened to be a lucky combo with the 1rpd, an eyepiece I could care less about having to clean peanut butter or mascara off the lens.
I have also used series 5000 SWA's which I got on closeout, which give a view close to the panoptic, and the twist up eyeguards lessen the eyelash or eyelid smears.
For high powers, the burgess/TMB planetary series (now TMB planetary II) worked like a poor man's radian, and handled f5 nicely with long enough eye relief and twist up eyecups to make it harder for them to get at the glass, though NOTHING will stop the kid with the "you mean I look HERE?" finger.