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Zoom EPs under $100?

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#1 Matt2893

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:03 PM

I think I might like a Zoom for convenience, but have a very limited budget.
Of the Zoom EPs under $100, on price the Celestron looks to be the best deal.
Is there anything about the others in the link that would make them worth the higher price?

#2 faackanders2

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:09 PM

down side of zoom is narrow FOV

#3 Deep13

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:52 AM

Conventional wisdom is that zooms have to be designed and built very well to work properly without a loss of performance compared to similar fixed length EPs. Honestly, I wouldn't waste $100 on a cheap one.

#4 bdcmd

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:42 AM

The Celestron and Zhumell have both gotten fairly good reviews here on CN in the past. Neither is rated as good as the Baader Hyperion Zoom, but both are much less expensive. You might want to look for one of the old Televue 8-24 zooms built by Vixen. They were decent, as well, and can be found in the $100 range used on CN classifieds and on the other site.

#5 Starman81

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:12 AM

I had a Zhumell Zoom that I picked up used for $45, primarily for outreach. For the price and convenience it was good (compared to other eyepieces I was keeping for outreach) but I would not expect it to replace your Plossls or Expanse 9mm. FOV-wise on the low end (24mm setting) it was like 40* AFOV and at the 8mm setting it was about 55* AFOV.

#6 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:44 AM

I wouldn't recommend a cheap zoom. In fact, I have looked through a TeleVue Zoom and Badder Zoom and was not impressed with either. I would stick with a fixed focal length eyepiece.

Cheers,

#7 rtomw77

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:19 AM

Hands on Optics has a GTO Proxima 8-24mm zoom for $99 which they say is identical to the Williams Optics zoom.

Has anybody had any experience with this one? The specs look similar to the other inexpensive zooms mentioned above.

Tom

#8 johnnyha

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:51 AM

This Meade Series 4000 8-24 zoom looks pretty good, but has a narrow FOV of 55 to 40 degrees.

#9 Starman81

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:58 AM

Hands on Optics has a GTO Proxima 8-24mm zoom for $99 which they say is identical to the Williams Optics zoom.

Has anybody had any experience with this one? The specs look similar to the other inexpensive zooms mentioned above.

Tom


Doing some late-night searching on this EP, it was apparently the same as the old WO Zoom from several years ago, which WO replaced with a 22.5-7.5 Zoom (see here). The 67* AFOV at the high-power end is a plus as is the stated 20mm ER, but this zoom has been around forever and I can only find a handful of reviews online. For $99 brand new, it might be worth the gamble.

:shrug:

#10 ibase

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:59 AM

Did a comparison of the Celestron 8-24mm zoom & the Baader Hyperion 8-24mm zoom, click here.

Posted Image
Left: Baader Hyperion Mark III zoom; Right: Celestron 8-24mm zoom

Hope this helps in providing some insights about the Celestron zoom.

Best,

#11 hottr6

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:12 AM

I picked up the Meade 8-24mm and found that it bucks conventional, often repeated, wisdom that "zooms are bad".

Caveats first: Yes, the FOV is tiny and the mechanicals are not uber-quality! However, I found that in the range 8-16mm, the views were surprisingly satisfying in any of my 'scopes that range from f/13-f/4.5. In back-to-back comparisons with a BGO 9 and 12mm, the Meade was fearsomely close in quality.

As the eyepiece was zoomed to longer focal lengths, the views deteriorated rapidly, as did the FOV. The eyepiece (and owner) is not happy at 24mm.

My workaround for a minimalist eyepiece selection in the field is a 24mm SWA and the zoom.

#12 orion61

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:11 AM

I have one of the German made Seben 8-24 zooms. It is built to a very high standard, has good coatings and a very accptable field of view. I keep it in my 127 SLT Grab & Go Mak, I have compaired it to other zooms and it has been better than any others I have tried it next to side by side.
Classic german quality (remember that little German car they used to laugh at?) the Volkswagon.
It performes as well as most my fixed eyepieces and better than some when used with a barlow.
I have thought about buying a second before people realise
how good they are and they go up! They come with a nice Hard carrying container with a screw on cap. Cant read the invoice tho LOL

#13 DaveJ

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

I have one of the German made Seben 8-24 zooms.


A quick Google turned up nothing. Where did you acquire this zoom?

#14 Starman1

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:37 AM

I have one of the German made Seben 8-24 zooms. It is built to a very high standard, has good coatings and a very acceptable field of view. I keep it in my 127 SLT Grab & Go Mak, I have compared it to other zooms and it has been better than any others I have tried it next to side by side.
Classic German quality (remember that little German car they used to laugh at?) the Volkswagen.
It performs as well as most my fixed eyepieces and better than some when used with a barlow.
I have thought about buying a second before people realize
how good they are and they go up! They come with a nice Hard carrying container with a screw on cap. Can't read the invoice though LOL

Seben products are made in China and imported into Germany. They are not made in Germany. Sorry to disappoint.

#15 mdowns

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:54 AM

I have one of the Vixen lv 8-24mm zooms and in fact like it pretty much.To be sure I prefer the brandon at 8mm to the zoom but overall the quality of the image is very good,especially in the mid range.I bought mine used on amart for 125 I think and recently saw one here for 90 bucks.

#16 dpwoos

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:57 AM

I think that this thread is a perfect example of why no one should rely entirely on other's opinions of eyepieces and optics in general. There are folks who hate zooms and don't know why anyone would waste their money, other folks who like them even while recognizing that they might not be getting the best views, and others who think they are the cat's meow. I am in the second camp, and enjoy my zooms even though I find that the views are not top-notch. I can imagine myself living with a zoom as my only medium and high(-ish) power eyepiece.

In this case, I think that it would be useful to know what the original poster wants out of a zoom, besides simply "convenience". For example, I often use my TV zoom during public observing, where I encourage folks to zoom in and out of globular clusters - a big "wow" generator!

#17 Matt2893

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:06 PM

Thank you all for your responses! I really appreciate the Cloudy Nights family, with all our opinions; even when we don't agree it helps in understanding the varying issues.

The reason I was considering a zoom was the other night it was c-o-l-d and I was only outside for a quick peek (mostly of Jupiter), fumbling with my individual EPs was a pain in the... fingers.
I don't expect a zoom to replace my other EPs, just to supplement for quick grab-and-go sessions.

#18 csrlice12

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:46 PM

In that case, the perfect zoom for you would be the Zhummel 8-24mm zoom. Comes in it's own plastic bolt case. Nice smooth transition, no "click" stops. 66* FOV at 8mm (about 45* at 24mm). AND IT's CHEAP!!. To be truthful, it even worked well in my 10XTi, and that's a lot harder on eyepieces the the 6XT is, so this zoom will work well in the slower scopes. This was the first lens I bought (when I got the 10XTi), and I used it for the first few months. It will definitely do what you're asking of it.

#19 andydj5xp

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:08 PM

I don't expect a zoom to replace my other EPs, just to supplement for quick grab-and-go sessions.



You could of course consider a zoom as replacement for most of your other eyepieces. But this would require a decent zoom which would cost much more than 100$. For instance the Baader Hyperion Zoom 24-8mm.

With zoom eyepieces the saying "you get what you pay for" is much more valid than with fixed focal length eyepieces. But as a reward: a zoom eyepiece is also much more versatile - in particular if you complement it with a barlow - than fixed eyepieces.

Andreas

#20 mdalton

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:22 PM

I have the Meade 4000 series 8~24 zoom that cost about $70. I keep in with my 5" scope that is basically used as a grab-n-go. Serves the purpose well, although it's not as good as a fixed EPs. But I only have to carry one instead of many, and thats the point. It is a little stiff in operation in cold weather.

#21 Traveler

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:08 AM

I own a cheap 7-21 zoom ep, a Orion Explorer clone. Although its very handy, i don't think its a very good one. When i comparing the zoom with my Vixen NPL's, the Vixens giving me better views. The main reason is because the less darker views. The Zoom is about the same price as two NPL's. So there is not much a price advantge.
The only situation where i am using the zoom a lot is with my Lunt H-alpha scope.

A step up will be the Baader Clickstop Zoom. However, i used two examples of the Baader and noticed some physical issues. One example didn't zoom anymore (Mark I) and became a fixed ep and the second one don't click sometimes (Mark III).

#22 orion61

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:52 AM

I have one of the German made Seben 8-24 zooms. It is built to a very high standard, has good coatings and a very acceptable field of view. I keep it in my 127 SLT Grab & Go Mak, I have compared it to other zooms and it has been better than any others I have tried it next to side by side.
Classic German quality (remember that little German car they used to laugh at?) the Volkswagen.
It performs as well as most my fixed eyepieces and better than some when used with a barlow.
I have thought about buying a second before people realize
how good they are and they go up! They come with a nice Hard carrying container with a screw on cap. Can't read the invoice though LOL

Seben products are made in China and imported into Germany. They are not made in Germany. Sorry to disappoint.

I was just going by the fact everything about it was written in German, there was nothing Made In China written anywhere to lead me otherwise.
It is very smooth operating, doesn't go out of focus as bad as some, decent field, and good light thoroughput.
I am very satisfied, and would buy another if something happened to this one without hesitatiion.

#23 andydj5xp

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 06:25 AM

I was just going by the fact everything about it was written in German, there was nothing Made In China written anywhere to lead me otherwise.



Seben is an online-vendor located in Berlin/Germany. His website is supplied in German, English, French, Spanish, and Italian. See here

BTW, on the German astro forum Astronomie.de this zoom gets very positive comments.

Andreas

#24 THEPLOUGH

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 06:44 AM

I have the Celestron 8x24 and it works well in my scope... It comes in handy when going on Holiday, and I don't want to pack a load of EPs...

#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:38 AM

I have one of the Vixen lv 8-24mm zooms and in fact like it pretty much.To be sure I prefer the brandon at 8mm to the zoom but overall the quality of the image is very good,especially in the mid range.I bought mine used on amart for 125 I think and recently saw one here for 90 bucks.


I have a classic made in Japan Vixen LV 8mm-24mm Zoom. It does a good job in my PST but otherwise, I find it restrictive because of the narrow field of view at low magnifications.

There were several Japanese made 8-24 zooms that were basically the same, including the Vixen. The TeleVue Click stop was one and I believe Celestron and Parks are some of the others who marketed this eyepiece.

If I am not mistaken, the Meade Series 4000 Zoom was/is also a sibbling of the Vixen LV... Johnny's link to the AgenaAstro Site for the Meade makes it quite interesting... I would like to know if that is indeed the same made in Japan zoom as the others.

Jon






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