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A Hooligan's Keepers: Fast Scope Set

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#1 jrbarnett

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:17 AM

As some of you know, I've been shedding eyepieces recently, as part of an equipment simplification process. A wonderful eyepiece that is nonetheless not used, isn't worth all that much to its possessor. Now that I've sold off several thousands of dollars in eyepieces, including old and rares like Meade Research Grades and Talahashi MC Orthos, and current darlings like the Meade Series 5000 SWAs, ES 82s and ES 100s, I'm taking stock of what I've retained and/or settled on.

First up is my "fast scope" set. This is for Dobs and fast refractors where correction for astigmatism at the edge of the field is important. In this role, what have I ended up with?

35mm Panoptic (alternate: 27mm Panoptic if exit pupil excessive with the 35mm)
20mm Nagler Type 5 (alternate: 17mm LVW if 27mm Panoptic is substituted above)
13mm Ethos
10mm XW
8mm LVW
7mm NAV-SW (en route)
6mm Delos
[5mm XW or 5mm LVW; to be ordered this week]
4mm Radian
Paracorr Type 1

I like the set because none of the eyepieces are particularly huge and none cause balance issues with my current Dob (a 16" f/5.1) or any planned future Dobs (f/4.5 to f/6). All fit easily in one large sized eyepiece case for transport.

I have more "shedding" to do among simple eyepieces before i arrive at my definitive simple eyepiece set, but I'll get there eventually.

Regards,

Jim

#2 MikeBOKC

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:42 AM

Is this sort of like seasonal molting?

I know you are a refractor lover . . . what is the kit for those?

#3 csrlice12

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:54 AM

Jims selling his eyepieces? OMG, the price floor for astronomy equipment just took a nose dive......

#4 Pollux556

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 12:56 PM

Interesting Jim, I had a similar approach except that I have two kits, a widefield/low mag kit for fast scopes and narrowfield medium/hight mag kit for slow scope.

How many eyepieces are still in your collection ?

#5 Tank

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:19 PM

Jim
Nice fast scope set!!
I currently have a WF set for my 16" F4.5 and 12" F5
55 TV NJ Plossl (great edge correction however eyeplacent is a bit tricky)
40 Siebert OB eyepiece (new in stable)
28 WO UWAN (Great alternative to the 31T5)
20T2 Nagler (Legend)
14 Meade UWA 4000 smoothie (Legend sold the 13 Ethos because of this EP)
9 ES 100 N2
5-8 Antares SW zoom (By far the best bang for your dollar)

From my info gathered and experience i would say the best lineup you can have for a fast scope would be :
31T5 Nagler
20T2 Nagler
13 Ethos
10 XW
7 XW
6 Delos
5 XW
If money is not factor in of course!
Thats about $2300 on the used market!
The reason i dont have this lineup is because my lineup is about half that cost!

#6 Pollux556

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:49 PM

I currently have a WF set for my 16" F4.5 and 12" F5
55 TV NJ Plossl (great edge correction however eyeplacent is a bit tricky)


Hi Tony,

Just curious, no place for your Nagler 11mm T1 in your set ?

#7 Sarkikos

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:55 PM

Jim,

I'm surprised at the inclusion of the 4mm Radian. I'd heard it's not as crisp as the rest of that line. But are there any really great 4mm eyepieces? :thinking:

The closest I've seen is the XW 3.5mm: 70 degrees of sharpness.

Mike

#8 Tank

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:17 PM


I currently have a WF set for my 16" F4.5 and 12" F5
55 TV NJ Plossl (great edge correction however eyeplacent is a bit tricky)


Hi Tony,

Just curious, no place for your Nagler 11mm T1 in your set ?


Pollox
I found the 11T1 too close to my 14 UWA 4000 in mag. in my DOBs and i would always skip the 11mm.
Great EP one of the best ive looked thru.
So i opted for a 9 ES 100 for now but i think im going to get a 10XW for that FL.
Again the 11T1 is a heck of a EP and still may consider getting it back!!

#9 RAKing

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:37 PM

Jim,

I'm surprised at the inclusion of the 4mm Radian. I'd heard it's not as crisp as the rest of that line. But are there any really great 4mm eyepieces? :thinking:

The closest I've seen is the XW 3.5mm: 70 degrees of sharpness.

Mike


That is news to me. My 4mm Radian works fine and my 5mm Radian is as good as my XW 5. I think the whole set is underappreciated. The Insta-just is a "love it or hate it" thing and that might be part of the story.

Really great? I think my 4mm ZAO-II and A-P SPL are in that category. :)

Cheers,

Ron

#10 skullpin

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:44 PM

Await your impressions of that Nikon NAV you will soon have Jim.

Keith

#11 Erik Bakker

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:44 PM

Hey Jim,

That sure looks like an Eyepiece Hooligan's set :)
But I am definitely with you on downsizing an overcomplete set.

I too sold many eyepieces over the last 2 years. Almost all my TV Plossls, Widefields, Naglers, Ethos, CZJ orthos, Zeiss Abbes, Brandons, Meade Research Grade Orthos, Celestron Japanese Orthos, Axioms and Ultimas.

Couldn't part with my N20 T2 (the legend!), love it in my 16" f/5, no ParaCorr required. And bought a new 22 N T4 and the Zeiss Victory 16.7mm and 12.8 WeitWinkel (69 degrees) eyepieces. This is now my complete mono set, all 2".

In my BinoVue, I use the 25mm Zeiss (51 degrees, Germany) eyepieces and the 19mm Celestron Axioms (70 degrees, Japan), each stunners in their own ways. And could't part with my trusted pair of TV 15mm Widefields. They still get some photons.

A 2" TV BIG 2x barlow completes my eyepiece sets.

My new motto: less is more.

I have never fumbled less and observed more than with this limited set of eyepieces. The Questar 7 put me on this track. With the 24mm and 12 mm Brandon in conjunction with the internal 1.6x barlow, I found myself observing instead of trying dozens of eyepieces during the observing session to find the "best" view. These Brandons were a perfect match with this scope. So matching does matter. Perfect let the scope-eyepiece-observer combo just sing.

I find my current eyepieces very versatile. In mono it is 2" only for low to medium powers. For medium high to high powers, all I do is binoviewing.

And for lowest powers widest fields, I now exclusively use my binoculars. The 18x70 Nikon binoculars are my primary deep space widefield instruments. For very low power I use my 8x30 Swarovski Habichts.

Hope this helps you reduce your set a bit further still Jim!

#12 jjack's

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:48 PM

Hey Tank ! you have some bigs eyes !
The 55 Plossl televue give you a 12.22 exit pupil :shocked:

#13 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:52 PM

Hey Tank ! you have some bigs eyes !
The 55 Plossl televue give you a 12.22 exit pupil :shocked:


But it only gives a 3.7mm exit pupil in his 7" f/15 mak.

#14 Starman1

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:20 PM

Simplification is nice. I've owned over 300 and had about 100 of them at one time in the mid-'90s. Now I own 6. And how many do I use? In an all-nighter at a dark site when I'm on my own?

About 4 of them.

When I have guests or visitors? The other 2.

What are they?

On my own? 13 (140X), 10 (183X), 8 (228X), and 6 (304X) Ethos. Either the 13 or the 10 gets the most use.

With others? 31 (59X) Nagler, 21 (87X) Ethos. Most of the time I don't view the really large objects these eyepieces display well, but they're winners when others are looking through the scope. And I really like the Veil nebula through the 31 and a good O-III filter. Stunning.

Do I feel the need for more? No.
Could I get rid of 1 or 2? The jury is still out on that.
One thing is for certain though--I never needed all those eyepieces. It was just fun collecting.

#15 Sarkikos

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:42 PM

Ron,

That is news to me. My 4mm Radian works fine and my 5mm Radian is as good as my XW 5. I think the whole set is underappreciated. The Insta-just is a "love it or hate it" thing and that might be part of the story.


At one time I was thinking about picking up a 4mm Radian ... I still may one of these days. But I found comments from experienced observers about their not being up to snuff. :shrug: I admit that opinions on Radians - especially the 4mm - are all over the place.

Really great? I think my 4mm ZAO-II and A-P SPL are in that category. :)


Believe it or not, I've heard negative remarks about the 4mm ZAO and the AP-SPLs, also, and from well-respected authorities here on CN.

Sour grapes? Well, at least I could afford a 4mm Radian.

"Those grapes must have been sour," said the Fox. - Aesops' Fables

:grin:
Mike

#16 jrbarnett

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:51 PM

Hi Don.

That realization - that I was using approximately 3 to 4 eyepieces per long observing session - is what tipped me over the fence.

Mike asked "why a 4mm Radian"? Because 4mm and shorter focal length eyepieces generally suck. :grin: With the Radian at least you get comfort and decent edge correction with your sucky 4mm eyepiece. Kidding aside, the 4mm Radian works pretty well actually. It is sharper on axis and better corrected off axis than TMB Planetaries, performs better than the 3-6mm Nagler Zoom at 4mm, and is more comfortable than sharper 4mm eyepieces like the 3.8mm Pentax XP and 4mm TMB Supermono. It's also much better than the Chester Brandon era 4mm Brandon, but don't tell anyone that I told you so.

I'll have the 7mm NAV-SW tomorrow.

To the other poster who asked how many eyepieces I still have, the answer is "way too many". Once I've settled on my short eye relief simple set and a handful of sentimental faves and/or collectible "investment" sets, I'll have another boatload of eyepieces to sell off. I'm well north of 200 still. I've sold off 42 eyepieces thus far.

I'll let everyone know what I end up keeping in other eyepiece categories once I get there.

- Jim

#17 turtle86

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

I have the 31mm Nagler plus a set of Ethos for my 18". I was going to stop with the 6, but didn't like using the Powermate to reach the higher mags, so I also wound up getting the 3.7 and 4.7 Ethos. All get used (but the 3.7 only on those rare special nights), but like most observers I don't use more than 4 eyepieces most nights. The 8, 10, and 13 get the most use. If I ever do downsize, I'd probably lose the 31mm Nagler and 3.7 Ethos...

#18 uniondrone

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 09:34 PM

Is this sort of like seasonal molting?

I know you are a refractor lover . . . what is the kit for those?


Does this mean he's going to be in hiding until his new carapace hardens? :grin:

Simplicity is good, but don't get too carried away, or next thing you know you'll be down to a 20mm GSO plossl for all your observing needs--ultimate simplicity! :lol:

#19 RAKing

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:23 AM

Really great? I think my 4mm ZAO-II and A-P SPL are in that category. :)


Believe it or not, I've heard negative remarks about the 4mm ZAO and the AP-SPLs, also, and from well-respected authorities here on CN.

Sour grapes? Well, at least I could afford a 4mm Radian.

"Those grapes must have been sour," said the Fox. - Aesops' Fables

:grin:
Mike


Mike,

I don't think your remarks are sour grapes and I'm not surprised to hear some negative reports on these eyepieces. Their optics are superb and they give wonderful views..... But they aren't very comfortable to use and I'm sure that sparks some of the negativity.

I agree with Jim above. I use my 4mm Radian much more than the high dollar pair because it's comfortable and easy to use. Plus, I feel the optic quality is fine for such a high power eyepiece (and super tiny exit pupil).

But there are certain nights when the moon is gone and the sky conditions are perfect when I just feel like squishing my eyeball up against some perfect glass. On those nights, the equipment just disappears and you are magically transported out into space. Those nights make it worth the money! :)

Cheers,

Ron

#20 Sarkikos

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:23 AM

Jim,

Mike asked "why a 4mm Radian"? Because 4mm and shorter focal length eyepieces generally suck. :grin: With the Radian at least you get comfort and decent edge correction with your sucky 4mm eyepiece. Kidding aside, the 4mm Radian works pretty well actually. It is sharper on axis and better corrected off axis than TMB Planetaries, performs better than the 3-6mm Nagler Zoom at 4mm, and is more comfortable than sharper 4mm eyepieces like the 3.8mm Pentax XP and 4mm TMB Supermono. It's also much better than the Chester Brandon era 4mm Brandon, but don't tell anyone that I told you so.


Saying that the 4mm Radian is "sharper on axis and better corrected off axis than TMB Planetaries" sounds like damning with faint praise. Those eyepieces never impressed me. I still have the 4mm TMB Planetary ... I don't know exactly why. Maybe I keep hoping it will perform well during excellent seeing. But I'm beginning to believe the seeing would never get that good anywhere! :grin:

I'm surprised that the 4mm Radian performs better than the 3-6mm Nagler Zoom at 4mm. Another reason for me to not get the Nagler Zoom, besides the price.

The 4mm Radian is starting to look better to me. :thinking:

Mike

#21 bsim

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:22 AM


On my own? 13 (140X), 10 (183X), 8 (228X), and 6 (304X) Ethos. Either the 13 or the 10 gets the most use.


Don we have a similar eyepiece setup for our dobs. I'm also finding either the Ethos 13mm or 10mm are getting the most use. I'm in the Northeast and find that about 200x is about the limit for many nights. That's where the Ethos 10mm comes in handy. I also have the Delos 10mm, but haven't made up my mind which one to keep.

The Ethos 8mm and 6mm see less use, but on good nights they are fabulous eyepieces.

#22 tomcody

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:36 AM

Jim,

Mike asked "why a 4mm Radian"? Because 4mm and shorter focal length eyepieces generally suck. :grin: With the Radian at least you get comfort and decent edge correction with your sucky 4mm eyepiece. Kidding aside, the 4mm Radian works pretty well actually. It is sharper on axis and better corrected off axis than TMB Planetaries, performs better than the 3-6mm Nagler Zoom at 4mm, and is more comfortable than sharper 4mm eyepieces like the 3.8mm Pentax XP and 4mm TMB Supermono. It's also much better than the Chester Brandon era 4mm Brandon, but don't tell anyone that I told you so.


Saying that the 4mm Radian is "sharper on axis and better corrected off axis than TMB Planetaries" sounds like damning with faint praise. Those eyepieces never impressed me. I still have the 4mm TMB Planetary ... I don't know exactly why. Maybe I keep hoping it will perform well during excellent seeing. But I'm beginning to believe the seeing would never get that good anywhere! :grin:

I'm surprised that the 4mm Radian performs better than the 3-6mm Nagler Zoom at 4mm. Another reason for me to not get the Nagler Zoom, besides the price.

The 4mm Radian is starting to look better to me. :thinking:

Mike

I can't speak to the 4mm, but I don't see any better view with my 3mm Radian compared to my Nagler zoom at 3mm. My Pentax XO 5mm does better Nagler at that power but the Nagler is so handy to use, that I will probably end up selling the Radian and the Pentax as I seldom use anything but the Nagler in the 3-6 range.
Rex

#23 kkokkolis

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:16 AM

I never had 300 or 1000 eyepieces (only around 40-50 I guess) but I would like to have 1300 before I narrow down my collection. Not being an American citizen I might be content with what I already have (plus 1-2-3-4...n new eyepieces and not more).

#24 coutleef

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:49 AM

i agree

the 3-6 zoom is an oustanding EP and so easy to use.

#25 johnnyha

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:58 PM

Jim I like that you are using different types of eyepieces for each and every slot - in fact I suggest you get something unique to fill the 5 slot and not another XW or LVW.

I have honed mine down to 31T5, 13E, and Leica ASPH Zoom with 2X Abbe Barlow. Binoviewers are taking up more and more percentage of my viewing time.






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