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17mm Celestron Ultima LX!

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#1 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:56 PM

Just got this in the mail today. I'll be trying it out tonight to see how it fares in my fast scope. From the reviews I read, it does well. I shall see so tonight!

When I got it I inspected it fairly well. Of things I noted: The top cap seems a bit too tight and the 1.25" barrel seems somewhat short, otherwise, the lenses look extremely well coated on both ends, and the housing seems robust. There is a part on it that screws up and down to set the eye relief also, which is a nice touch.

Weight on my scale is 1.25 Lbs. This is a fairly LARGE eyepiece if you're concerned about weight. I find the weight pretty close to the rest of my eyepieces, so it will be fine in that department. I inserted the 2" Part into my 2" focuser and it is ever so slightly "loose", but the compression ring tightens that up so it fits well.

I'll make a report after tonight's session!

Clear skies!

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#2 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:58 PM

Here it is in my focuser....

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#3 Lane

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:06 PM

How this goes well for you, I was not pleased with my 32mm Ultima in my fast scopes. In fact, not really all that pleased with it in an F10 SCT either.

#4 maroubra_boy

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:43 PM

I'm very curious to know how it goes too!

I've got one of its stable mates, the 8mm. One of my favs now too. Stars are not the tightest I've seen, but the ease of use, image it produces, & great AFOV overcome this. The ease of use in particular is great. It creates no eye strain during extended periods of viewing through it which is one element very often left out of eye piece reviews. I've only found the 8mm Vixen LVW to be as gentle on my eyes as this EP.

70/72 degree AFOV is as far as I go with my EPs. This range fits the bill nicely. I don't care for anything wider as they all require critical eye placement to avoid blackouts, kidney bean, whatever. When I'm sketching, I can do hundreds of movements to-&-from the EP, so all the stuffing around with constant repositioning to find the 'sweet spot' adds up to a considerable amount of wasted time additional to what a 3hour sketch can take. So I'm mad keen to know how the other Ultima LX do. I too have heard good things about the 17mm in fast Newts., though the 32mm does seem to fall short. I really would be surprised if ALL the LX perform equally well. Not even the venerable LVWs are the same. They are different EPs and as such will behave differently in different scope designs, despite their own design similarities.

Alex.

#5 robot888

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:00 PM

I have the 32mm in my F10 SCT and it is one of my favorite EPs. They are unnecessarily bulky though. But the views and comfort factor with it have been great for me. I would like to see some more reviews on the rest of the lineup. The problem with eyepieces is the fact that everyone's eyes are different so you do have to try em all...lol

#6 maroubra_boy

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:16 PM

Wow! Favourable words for the 32mm I'm pleased to read! I do have to admit that my only knowledge of the 32mm is from what I've read online, so I'm pleased to read a good review of it. Different eyes and scopes - make for some very interesting interpretations.

All the Ultima LX are BIG, aren't they! Good thing about this is you can kill whoever tries to pinch your gear with a hit in the head with one of these.

#7 Mike B

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:51 PM

I too have heard good things about the 17mm in fast Newts., though the 32mm does seem to fall short.


Quite possibly what's happening with this is the coma induced by the Newt's "fast" optics... it becomes visibly more pronounced as the field gets wider. For *my* eyes, and in my F4.55 Dob, a 12mm 82* is about as far as i care to go before using a coma-corrector; same goes for a 24mm 68* eyepiece... any longer FL & the coma starts becoming too obvious, to the point of distraction.

So any reviews on the 32mm Ultima LX in fast Newts that don't include the use of a coma-corrector (ie. "ParaCorr"), then a generally poor review is understandable. And it's not the EP's fault!

#8 Keith

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:39 PM

32mm ultima is not the same type of design as the shorter focal length "hybrid" 2/1.25" like the 17 and under. I do not think there is a smyth/barlow group in the 32mm, so it does not handle fast scopes as well as the hybrids do. Much like the 24mm hyperion vs the 21mm, different beast with same name.

This is why so many inexpensive EPs can work well in fast scopes, coma aside (which is far less intrusive than astigmatism, which will happen in fast well corrected scopes with cheap widefield eps). The 17 will probably perform similarly to a 17mm hyperion, but will not likely have the "pop" of a higher end premium, I would not be surprised if OP finds the edge performance acceptable at least, but a lower power version of a 10XW it will not likely be... However JOC has been known to have a surprise here and there, so who knows.

#9 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:45 AM

Just got in from the observing session. I brought my camera, which has the option to do video, so what I do is talk into the camera while on "video mode" and report my findings.

I'm extremely tired right now, so I will report back here in the morning as I have been awake now for 22 hours...

Zzzzzzzz....

Cheers,

#10 SStoffer

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:45 AM

32mm ultima is not the same type of design as the shorter focal length "hybrid" 2/1.25" like the 17 and under. I do not think there is a smyth/barlow group in the 32mm, so it does not handle fast scopes as well as the hybrids do. Much like the 24mm hyperion vs the 21mm, different beast with same name.

This is why so many inexpensive EPs can work well in fast scopes, coma aside (which is far less intrusive than astigmatism, which will happen in fast well corrected scopes with cheap widefield eps). The 17 will probably perform similarly to a 17mm hyperion, but will not likely have the "pop" of a higher end premium, I would not be surprised if OP finds the edge performance acceptable at least, but a lower power version of a 10XW it will not likely be... However JOC has been known to have a surprise here and there, so who knows.


Just curious, what do you mean by "OP"? Forgive my ignorance, but I'm not familiar with all the abbreviations.

To add to this post I have the 17mm Ultima LX and love it a great deal. It is a great eyepiece. Now I might yet get the 22mm version, but I want to get it cheap and not full priced. There doesn't seem to be any discounts on these right at the moment.

Oh,yes, I'm seeking a way to use my Baader MPCC with the 17mm. I tried it with a 1.25/2 inch adapter and with two fine tuning rings. I could not bring it to a focus.

Also, if you have the 32mm Celestron Ultima LX, the best way to improve the view in fast scopes is to use the 14 and 28mm fine tuning rings combined with the Baader Multipurpose Coma Corrector. It has saved me money for I was going to replace this eyepiece for the edge of the field of view really was terrible. The double cluster in Perseus shows dramatic change in appearance.

#11 Phillip Creed

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:17 AM

I borrowed a 17mm Ultima LX once for use in my 8" f/4.9, and I have to say, I was impressed with its performance and comfortable eye relief given its reasonable price. I noticed some field curvature and astigmatism along the very outer edges, but nothing that really detracted that much from the view. This was used without a coma corrector, so that was a pretty unforgiving test chamber. Not perfect, but a solid, well-corrected wide-field eyepiece that's easy on eyeglass wearers.

Clear Skies,
Phil

#12 bob midiri

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 03:36 AM

[quote name="SStoffer"][quote]Just curious, what do you mean by "OP"? Forgive my ignorance, but I'm not familiar with all the abbreviations.

[/quote]

"OP" = original post or original poster

#13 Keith

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 04:09 AM

I borrowed a 17mm Ultima LX once for use in my 8" f/4.9, and I have to say, I was impressed with its performance and comfortable eye relief given its reasonable price. I noticed some field curvature and astigmatism along the very outer edges, but nothing that really detracted that much from the view. This was used without a coma corrector, so that was a pretty unforgiving test chamber. Not perfect, but a solid, well-corrected wide-field eyepiece that's easy on eyeglass wearers.

Clear Skies,
Phil


Phillip, I suggest a 40mm Meade series 5000 SWA, because it weighs 2#11.2oz. Imagine the man, where it all began, the pilot of Enola Gay, flying out of the shockwave, on that August day. I will be at Honda Center Anaheim tomorrow night, in the back with my 8x25 nikon trailblazers, they light em up good enough for 25mm.

#14 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:46 AM

I just got up from some much needed rest!

Here are my reports and findings from Last night using the 17mm Ultima LX and some other eyepieces.

When I got to the site, conditions were very good with minor haze because fog was due to roll in later that night.
Limiting mag was about 5.0 to 5.5 maybe. The double cluster was just visible using naked eye, so that should be a good base to go on. I let the scope cool with my large computer fan on medium speed on the back of my mirror for about 45 minutes before I started any serious observations. No Paracorr was used at all tonight, as I don't have one anyways.

I grabbed my 17mm Ultima LX and I put it in the focuser. I then immediately looked at the double cluster. From what I could see, and two of my other observing buddies, 80% of the view is sharp in my 10" reflector @ F/4.72.

Not too shabby if you ask me! The outer 20% definitely showed mild field curvature because I could re-focus it to a sharp point on stars. This eyepiece is a lot better then the 17mm Baader Hyperion I used to own, The 17mm Hyperion was good for about 65-70% of the view with the rest turning to a mess.

I had my eye on a 20mm Pentax XW before I picked this eyepiece up, so I wanted to compare. A friend who was observing that night was there with the rest of us, (there were 4 of us in total), and he lent me his 20mm Pentax XW to compare to my 17mm Ultima LX for FC, transmission and overall difference when looking at The Double Cluster. The FL is NOT the same, so a real head-to-head is not rightfully comparable ~ I only wanted to compare FC and transmission because I was going to buy a 20mm XW. The 17mm Ultima LX magnifies at roughly 71x, and the 20mm XW @ 60x.

In going back and forth with these two, the views were extremely similar FC wise. The 20mm XW seemed to show MORE stars transmission wise, but it maybe because of less power? I am not sure.....or because the XW is a superior EP? It could be one, or both, I am not sure why.

The eye relief on the 17m Ultima LX is very generous. I had my balaclava on and I could still see the entire field of view with ease. I left the screw up eyecup all of the way down because I like to leave mine all that way ~ Even on my Pentax XW's and XL's. I just find I can use it with ease that way, others may need to use the eyecup up on them, YMMV in that regard.

I also took a bright star in the 20mm XW and 17mm Ultima LX and centered it, then moved the bright star towards the edges. To me FC was close to identical in both eyepieces, with a tad less on the 20mm Pentax XW. Personally, after trying BOTH of these eyepieces, I would recommend getting the 17mm Ultima LX over the 20mm XW if you want to save some cash because the differences from what I could see were hardly noticeable at all. You'd literally have to find a faint galaxy to see the difference in transmission and see which was better in that regard. I did NOT try that, so I can't say. Sharpness wise on axis and overall was nice in the 17mm Ultima LX, but the nod goes to the XW's I'd have to say. Stars in the XW's are nice tiny "pin points". The difference is not hugely noticeable, but it is there.

I was also lucky enough to try a 16mm Nagler Type 5 and a Baader 8-24mm Click stop Zoom, (Mark II version). The 16mm Nagler T5 was extremely sharp right out to the edges w/o a Paracorr, but I was not a fan of the very short eye relief ~ it felt like the field was getting cut off because I had to really jam my eye in there to see the edges. YMMV there too. The Baader 8-24mm click stop Zoom was nice at the 8mm setting, but at 24mm setting felt very restricted.

I also got to try out a Pentax 8-24mm XL Zoom and I really liked that one.

http://www.scopecity...m?ProductID=357

Getting back to the 17mm Celestron Ultima LX eyepiece, I would recommend it for fast scopes for sure! To me, it worked excellent out to 80% of the field like I said w/o a Paracorr, so that's a good thing. Adding a Paracorr to this EP would clean things up perfectly I would imagine, and this is something I really need to look into in the future ~ A PARACORR !!!! If I could still focus all of my eyepieces w/o any problems, I'd be all over a Paracorr in seconds. One more thing: The top cap was too tight and when packing up after everything was really cold, I could barely get it to go on, so I'll be looking for a replacement top cap. Another thing I noticed was that the 2" portion of the barrel was machined too much and when inserting it into the focuser there was slop & play which needed to be tightened up about 1mm more than my eyepieces using the Antares twist lock adapters. It was a bit of a pain because when I did switch to my Pentax XW's and Pentax XL, the 2" adapters had to be jammed in there realizing I needed to loosen my compression rings more. I should also mention that handling the eyepiece is easy ~ it does look a big ugly, but in the dark, handling & performance is all that matters!

I also saw M-42 in all it's glory with this eyepiece and my 2" Orion Ultrablock and it framed the nebula perfectly with excellent contrast.

*EDIT*

I forgot to mention that I also compared the 17mm Ultima LX with the 17mm Orion LVW. Performance was almost identical with slightly tighter stars in the LVW. Coma in the 17mm LVW was also ever-so-slightly less apparent than the 17mm Celestron Ultima LX as well. Cost-wise & FOV-wise, it is a no brainer here, with the 17mm Ultima LX winning over.

I could also see the difference in FOV with these two eyepieces against each other with the 17mm Ultima LX having more of that "immersion" factor ~ You could see the difference for sure here.

Overall, The 17mm Celestron Ultima LX is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Ratings: (1-10) 1 being bad and 10 being excellent:

Eye relief = 10
ease of use = 8
how the caps fit = (top cap: 2)
Weight = 10 (It's perfect weight wise for me)
Optics = 8
ergonomics = 9

Cheers,

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#15 thomas68

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:19 AM

Thanks for the report!I have been looking to purchase the 22mm and the 32mm. Just can't make up my mind. :question:

Tom

#16 Keith

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 11:40 AM

beware, 22 and 32 are different designs, at least the 32 is, been a while sine I have seen the 22, but if it is 2" only like the 32, I do not think it is "smythed", I could be wrong.

#17 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:43 PM

I just found the perfect solution to the 2" barrel part being a tad too small. I did one wrap around it with electrical tape and it fits a lot better! I tried it a few times and it now fits in there like my other eyepieces with my Antares twist lock adapters.

I also found a better fitting top cap as well! :jump:

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#18 Keith

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:12 AM

hope you have some goo gone if you ever plan to sell that 17mm, E-tape leaves quite a residue after a while (well maybe some really good stuff wont)

#19 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 02:42 PM

I just re-edited this post Keith. You're correct about E-tape leaving residue over time! What I usually do is use 99% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol to remove the sticky goo! Maybe I'll take it off now that you mentioned it. Thanks for the pro-tip! I had forgotten about that!

I won't be selling the 17mm Ultima LX soon, as I have nothing that will replace it and I am liking it a lot so far. I may replace it in the future with a 20mm Pentax XW but the similarities it and the 17mm Ultima LX are very close with the 20mm XW having tighter stars in the central FOV. The only eyepiece I'll be selling in the future will be my 5.2mm Pentax XL replacing it with a 5mm Pentax XW!

I borrowed a 17mm Ultima LX once for use in my 8" f/4.9, and I have to say, I was impressed with its performance and comfortable eye relief given its reasonable price. I noticed some field curvature and astigmatism along the very outer edges, but nothing that really detracted that much from the view. This was used without a coma corrector, so that was a pretty unforgiving test chamber. Not perfect, but a solid, well-corrected wide-field eyepiece that's easy on eyeglass wearers.

Clear Skies,
Phil


Phil,

I went and bought the 17mm Ultima LX based mostly on your findings alone because you have a fast scope. I have to agree with your findings as well. It's a very good eyepiece considering I do not use a Paracorr either, and I was shocked at how good it was by itself. I also noticed a bit of field curvature as well but it outperforms the 17mm Baader Hyperion quite a bit edge-wise. I found 80% of the view useable with FC in the outer 20% which is not too shabby.

I went from a Meade 14mm 4000 UWA, to a 17mm Hyperion, to a 20mm 68 degree ES and landed here with the 17mm Ultima LX. I liked the Meade 4000 14mm UWA,(rubber eyecup version), but it was NOT anywhere near parfocal to my other eyepieces, so I got rid of it. I also found that the eye placement on those are a bit critical, but correction excellent.

I may just go all out XW, (20mm, 10mm, 7mm & 5mm), eventually as I do have a 10mm Pentax XW on the way this week and own the 7mm XW as well! Soon the 5.2mm XL will go bye bye!

Cheers,

#20 rguasto

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:29 PM

If I'm not mistaken - the Astro Tech AF70 is the same eyepiece. I have had the 17mm for about 2 years now. I must admit it's me favorite eyepiece. It is perfect to the edge in an 8" F8 newt. The 17mm gives me 94x @ 0.72* TFOV. The Astro Tech version is extremely well built and IMO much better ergonomically and aesthetically. The coatings are a deep green and the eye relief is very comfortable. There's just something special about the image it produces. I suspect it has something to do with the huge eye lens. Using a DGM NPB filter on M42 produces an incredible image, bested only (in my set-up) by a Denk standard with 32 TV plossls.

#21 Keith

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:07 AM

make up your mind on that 5.2 already, HAHAHAH (clash's "should I stay or should I go" comes to mind)

#22 SStoffer

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:00 AM

I used both my 17 and 8mm Celestron Ultima LX last night. The views of the Orion nebula were excellant in the 17. I noticed a dark ring of space around the stars of the stellar nursery and the ghostly green hue with traces of blue,white and red. It was a dreamy sight. The stars themselves were perfect airy disks near the center of the field of view. This extended out to about three quarters to the edge of the field before astigmatism and coma first became noticable. Appearance of the Orion Nebula reminded me of a view I got with a 27 Televue Panoptic last month, except it was a lower magnification and the edge of field view in the Panoptic was far, far better.

The 8mm Celestron Ultima LX produced an excellant view of the planet Jupiter at 190X magnification. The details were sharp partly because the planet was nearly overhead. Subtle details within the belts could be easily seen.

Clear Skies, Stephen

#23 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:07 AM

If I'm not mistaken - the Astro Tech AF70 is the same eyepiece. I have had the 17mm for about 2 years now. I must admit it's me favorite eyepiece. It is perfect to the edge in an 8" F8 newt. The 17mm gives me 94x @ 0.72* TFOV. The Astro Tech version is extremely well built and IMO much better ergonomically and aesthetically. The coatings are a deep green and the eye relief is very comfortable. There's just something special about the image it produces. I suspect it has something to do with the huge eye lens. Using a DGM NPB filter on M42 produces an incredible image, bested only (in my set-up) by a Denk standard with 32 TV plossls.


Yep! it is indeed the exact same lenses in different housings! The AT does look better ergonomically I must admit, but in the dark I guess that doesn't really matter.
I was tempted to remove the middle rubber part that has a triangular look to it, which I think is the ugliest part, LOL!
I got really nice views of The Orion Nebula as well last Friday using my 2" Orion Ultrablock. Another nice addition was that the 17mm Ultima LX was almost perfectly parfocal with the rest of my eyepieces. This is nice because you don't have to re-focus in large amounts when switching eyepieces.

make up your mind on that 5.2 already, HAHAHAH (clash's "should I stay or should I go" comes to mind)


Only reason I didn't end up selling that was because there was nothing better to replace it with at the time I had my ad up.

Now I'm going to replace it with a 5mm Pentax XW when I get more $$$ and also get the asking price I wanted for it. I sold my 10.5mm XL for $190.00 plus shipping because I had to send it to USA and we get hosed BIGTIME here in Canada when it comes to shipping items over there. I replaced my 10.5m Pentax XL with a 10mm Pentax XW which I am still waiting for. *EDIT* I got my 10mm Pentax XW today! (Monday Nov 19, 2012)!!! :jump:

I used both my 17 and 8mm Celestron Ultima LX last night. The views of the Orion nebula were excellent in the 17. I noticed a dark ring of space around the stars of the stellar nursery and the ghostly green hue with traces of blue,white and red. It was a dreamy sight. The stars themselves were perfect airy disks near the center of the field of view. This extended out to about three quarters to the edge of the field before astigmatism and coma first became noticable. Appearance of the Orion Nebula reminded me of a view I got with a 27 Televue Panoptic last month, except it was a lower magnification and the edge of field view in the Panoptic was far, far better.

The 8mm Celestron Ultima LX produced an excellent view of the planet Jupiter at 190X magnification. The details were sharp partly because the planet was nearly overhead. Subtle details within the belts could be easily seen.

Clear Skies, Stephen


Ditto on M-42 like I said above you here! I also had excellent views of it with the 17mm as well. I sold my barlow lens and now I am curious as to how this will barlow and clean up the edges of the field! This is one of the best 17mm eyepieces I have tried so far. it's good to hear that the 8mm Ultima LX was nice for you because I had read that it wasn't so good in another thread!

Cheers,

#24 maroubra_boy

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

Thanks for the review, Mark. I'm pleased to read the 17mm has performed to your liking. I may well be adjusting my eyepiece collection as the Hyperions I have, have all failed to perform as expected in my fast Newtonians. The only exception being the 5mm which is exceptional.

Now, my dilemma is which: the 17mm or the 13mm Ultima LX? My kit goes from a 30mm Paragon, 24mm Hyperion (not much chop), a 13mm "Frankenstein" Hyperion ("Frankenstein" because I removed the Smyth lens and replaced it with a 2X barlow - it works ok, but shortened ER), to the 5mm Hyperion. I like the switch in power from 30mm to 13mm, so maybe the 13mm LX, as the 17mm is too similar? Any thoughts folks?

Alex.

#25 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:05 PM

Hi Alex,

I also found the Hyperions less than ideal in fast scopes. What I *did* like about them was the long eye relief so I can sketch with my reading glasses on and use the EP at the same time. That was a bonus, but the edges were pretty bad.

Is the 5mm Hyperion good in a fast scope? Sounds liike it is! If you like switching from the 30mm to the 13mm, I'd say get the 13mm Ultima LX or the 13mm AT AF70 as they are the same eyepiece in a different housing.

You may also want to look into getting a 13mm LVW, unless you want to save on money because I found the 17mm Ultima LX really close in performance to the 17mm LVW in my short FL scope.

Cheers,






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