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Different brands of Zoom Eyepieces. You Like?

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#1 SeptemberEquinox

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:43 PM

Hello Nighters,

Do any of you nighters use zoom as your primary eyepiece? I personally have no experience with a zoom eyepiece, but it looks so convenient. Reading some of the reviews, it sounds promising. But I would love to hear the nighters opinions.

Here are quick reviews of Pentax, Baader, Meade Series 4000, Televue, Celestron, and Skywatcher. People seem to dislike Vixen zoom, well I haven't read any good reviews on Vixen Zoom period.

http://www.astronomy...uld-i-buy-zo...


And here is a review for Meade series 4000 zoom. People seem to love this thing.

http://stargazerslou...yepiece-review/

My current set up is Celestron Omni Xlt 150R, 750mm focal length f5, CA does not bother me at all. ES 82* 6.6mm, ES 70* 20mm, and Meade 3x Barlow. I can push the magnification to 325ish on Jupiter and see details in a partly cloudy weather with this short tube, yes last night was my first session with this scope and I loved it. But I remember how much I disliked changing eyepieces.

Most likely if I get the zoom, I will be getting rid if my current eyepieces, so I can save some money. If you can share your experiences with me, I'd really appreciate it, it will be so much easier to make a decision on which one to buy and which one to avoid. Thank you in advance

#2 Starman1

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:33 PM

I have a fair amount of experience with zooms and like them all for what they do--which is to zoom in on the object.
But, most have really narrow fields of view at low power, so most observers supplement the zoom with a low power widefield.
If I were on a budget, the Baader Zoom. It's really very very good.
If I had more money, the Nikon zoom with adapter (there are some online merchants).
And if money were no object? The Leica Aspherical Zoom plus a TeleVue Nagler Zoom to augment it at the extremely high powers.
That Leica is, simply, amazing. You lose VERY little to the best ultrawidefield eyepieces out there. It has a limited range--only a 2:1 zoom, but it is spectacular throughout that range, which explains its price.
Sub-$200 zooms are fun to play with, but suffer optically, IMO. They are usually sharpest at one magnification and so-so at all others.
Still, fun to play with.

The biggest plus factor for a zoom is to be able to dial in the ideal magnification for an object, regardless of seeing or transparency.

And, they all work with Barlows!

#3 johnnyha

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:57 PM

And if money were no object? The Leica Aspherical Zoom plus a TeleVue Nagler Zoom to augment it at the extremely high powers.

Either that or the barlowed Leica ASPH Zoom for the higher end. Barlowing really cleans up the edges in a fast newt too, and the larger FOV and ER over the TV Zoom is pretty nice.

#4 dpwoos

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:06 PM

The biggest plus factor for a zoom is to be able to dial in the ideal magnification for an object, regardless of seeing or transparency.


"Ideal magnification" with a zoom is something that folks talk about, and I have used that phrase/concept myself. However, in practice I don't think that I worry very much about it and don't find myself doing a lot of eyepiece switching in search of the "ideal". I assume that at least some folks do, especially given how much I read here about filling "holes" in eyepiece focal lengths.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by "ideal magnification"?

#5 MRNUTTY

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:10 PM

I have the Baader. The only complaint I have is that it doesn't remain in focus across magnifications.

#6 SeptemberEquinox

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:11 PM

Wow those are some expensive stuff lol :) I'm looking for something that is more like bang for your buck deal. Baader seems to have some good reviews. Are there different versions of Baader Zoom? What's this Mark 3? and non Mark 3?

Mark 3: http://www.optcorp.c...=30-718-78-9246

No Mark 3: http://www.amazon.co...k/dp/B0045IZDDM

#7 ibase

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:22 PM

Mark III is the latest incarnation of the Baader Hyperion zoom. Shown in pic below are the Mark III and the preceding version.

Posted Image

Best,

#8 SeptemberEquinox

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:38 PM

Mark III is the latest incarnation of the Baader Hyperion zoom. Shown in pic below are the Mark III and the preceding version.

Posted Image

Best,


Any Major difference?

#9 Starman1

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:01 AM

The biggest plus factor for a zoom is to be able to dial in the ideal magnification for an object, regardless of seeing or transparency.


"Ideal magnification" with a zoom is something that folks talk about, and I have used that phrase/concept myself. However, in practice I don't think that I worry very much about it and don't find myself doing a lot of eyepiece switching in search of the "ideal". I assume that at least some folks do, especially given how much I read here about filling "holes" in eyepiece focal lengths.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by "ideal magnification"?

At some point, when changing eyepieces to higher powers, you realize you've gone too far and the seeing won't support the power you just put in the scope, or the object has become too large for the field. So you put in your next lower power. But what if the spread is significant, say from 230 down to 140? Would you buy an eyepiece for the in-between?

With a zoom, you don't have to guess. If that 230X is too high, you back the zoom down to 210X, then 200X, then 190X, until you get the ideal magnification for that object.

Then you go to another object only it's a lot smaller and needs a little more magnification.

And so it goes. You have an infinite set of eyepieces in between the low and high powers, and can easily find the "ideal" power for the object, the conditions, and the scope.

You can do the same thing with fixed power eyepieces, of course, but you'll have to have a lot of them. Or, put up with a less-than-ideal magnification for the object.

Plus, you can easily zoom in to examine a small detail, then zoom out to see the whole object again. You can do that without changing eyepieces.

#10 ibase

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:33 AM

Mark III is the latest incarnation of the Baader Hyperion zoom. Shown in pic below are the Mark III and the preceding version.


Any Major difference?


Optically, the Mark III is supposed to be better by "optimizing the curve geometry of inner lenses" but I honestly can't see the difference. One time, on Jupiter, while switching back & forth between the II & III, I thought the Mark III had a very slight edge in sharpness, but it could have just been an impression brought about by having a new zoom, or that I wanted to see it perform better than the old one. Any which way, it would be like splitting hairs trying to tell the difference as they almost always present an identical image.

Unlike in the old zoom, the helical twist-up eyecup assembly can be unscrewed on the Mark III to make more "nose-room" when binoviewing. A rubber flip-up eyecup is also provided for use when the helical eyecup has been disassembled.

Posted Image
Eyecup assembly removed on the Mark III; at right is the M43/T-2 camera adapter

A different adapter (M43/T-2, sold separately) is also used for mating the zoom with a DSLR camera vs the old zoom (which uses HTA54/T2).

Posted Image
Hyperion zoom mated to a Canon DSLR

The Mark III helical twist-up eyecups also have click-stops where there were none in the old zoom.

Posted Image
Old and new zoom (Mark III at right) with eyecups fully extended

Posted Image
Four click-stop positions on the Mark III

The new Mark III is also said to be more water-resistant with better optical seals that also prevent dust from coming in-between the lenses. This had been a problem with my old zoom, but the Mark III seems to be holding up well in this regard.

An old problem of the BH zoom II where the grip ring has a tendency to loosely rotate had also been solved in the Mark III.

These are the differences that come to mind at this time, but there are many other internal changes/improvements made, like those listed at the Agena website regarding the new features of the Mark III.

A 2.25x Baader barlow is also available for the Mark III that converts it into a high-power 3.5-10.5x zoom:

Posted Image
Hyperion Zoom Barlow 2.25x

Click here to see my blog post review all about this barlow.

Hope this helps.

Best,

#11 dpwoos

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 07:00 AM

The biggest plus factor for a zoom is to be able to dial in the ideal magnification for an object, regardless of seeing or transparency.


"Ideal magnification" with a zoom is something that folks talk about, and I have used that phrase/concept myself. However, in practice I don't think that I worry very much about it and don't find myself doing a lot of eyepiece switching in search of the "ideal". I assume that at least some folks do, especially given how much I read here about filling "holes" in eyepiece focal lengths.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by "ideal magnification"?

At some point, when changing eyepieces to higher powers, you realize you've gone too far and the seeing won't support the power you just put in the scope, or the object has become too large for the field. So you put in your next lower power. But what if the spread is significant, say from 230 down to 140? Would you buy an eyepiece for the in-between?


So, from this it sounds like the "ideal" magnification is, in your mind, as high as one can go and still be productive, and insuring that the target fits the fov? I am sure that this notion is shared by many as it seems fairly obvious, at least to me. However, in reality I don't find myself doing a lot of swapping of eyepieces to achieve it. Certainly, If I had a (no compromise) zoom that would make it easy then I probably would do more experimenting, but I really don't feel the absence as a big problem. I have to say that I have never observed with anybody that kept swapping eyepieces in order to find the "ideal" magnification, but still it may be that a lot of folks do. It would be interesting to do a poll - how many times on average do you swap eyepieces in search of the "ideal" magnification when looking at these targets - followed by a list.

#12 csrlice12

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:40 AM

I have a cheap Zhummel 8-24mm zoom that I used early on. I used it like Don said and determined where my "favorite" f/l's were and then purchased fixed ones in those f/l. It's a cheap zoom and suffers from all the drawbacks of one--Narrow FOV at low power. It does provide sharp views though. Like was mentioned earlier, this zoom is not parfocal across the range,it does require "tweeking" the focuser.

#13 t.r.

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:41 AM

Years ago, the quality of zooms were not very good compared to fixed focal length eyepieces. A fixed eyepiece would always beat a zoom in many optical properties. Not so today. The technology has caught up and leveled the playing field.
I have used three different zooms. The Baader Hyperion 8-24 MkI. The Televue Nagler 3-6. And, the Leica Vario 7-22. All of these zooms perform magnificently for their magnification range on various telescopes. I can recommend them all. I have had good glass to compare to (ZAO II, TV Nags Ethos and Plossls, Pentax XWs, Brandons). The zooms all provided very engaging views that rivaled the others based on a variety of factors such as ergonomics to simply quality of view. You may trade off a slight amount of something when using a zoom...BUT the convienence far out ways any negative unless you have an extreme desire to maintain a particular virtue of a fixed focal length eyepiece. I love mine and won't be parting with them. I even have a pair of Leicas for binoviewing! Zoom, zoom, zoom!!! ;)

#14 SeptemberEquinox

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

Leica zoom costs about the same as my telescope lol. I think Baader would be a good choice. I thought about those cheaper versions of zoom, just to have fun, but I'd like to just replace my two fixed eyepiece if the quality of zoom is worth it.

I just found Celestron just came out with a zoom called Celesteon Deluxe, have you guys used this eyepiece or is it not even worth mentioning? I mean it is at 200 dollars range.

thank you very much for all your helpful comments.

#15 csrlice12

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:25 AM

Just sayin; down the road, I think you'll find you'll want fixed focal length eyepieces....I'd go for the cheaper zoom for now. For the cost of the Leica, you could practically buy a whole set of eyepieces......

#16 dpwoos

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:51 AM

I think the bottom line is that I don't know anybody who uses a zoom of any kind for their primary medium power eyepieces. I wonder how many folks do, and if they claim that the zoom works as well for them across the board as do good plossls?

#17 dscarpa

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

I've got a Hyperion 2 Zoom and Smart Astronomy-AKA Orion Premium-7.5-22.5 Zoom. They're good eyepieces but I've got 8 fixed FLs that are excellent so I don't use them. The Hyperion is on loan to a friend. David

#18 Starman1

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:16 AM

The biggest plus factor for a zoom is to be able to dial in the ideal magnification for an object, regardless of seeing or transparency.


"Ideal magnification" with a zoom is something that folks talk about, and I have used that phrase/concept myself. However, in practice I don't think that I worry very much about it and don't find myself doing a lot of eyepiece switching in search of the "ideal". I assume that at least some folks do, especially given how much I read here about filling "holes" in eyepiece focal lengths.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by "ideal magnification"?

At some point, when changing eyepieces to higher powers, you realize you've gone too far and the seeing won't support the power you just put in the scope, or the object has become too large for the field. So you put in your next lower power. But what if the spread is significant, say from 230 down to 140? Would you buy an eyepiece for the in-between?


So, from this it sounds like the "ideal" magnification is, in your mind, as high as one can go and still be productive, and insuring that the target fits the fov? I am sure that this notion is shared by many as it seems fairly obvious, at least to me. However, in reality I don't find myself doing a lot of swapping of eyepieces to achieve it. Certainly, If I had a (no compromise) zoom that would make it easy then I probably would do more experimenting, but I really don't feel the absence as a big problem. I have to say that I have never observed with anybody that kept swapping eyepieces in order to find the "ideal" magnification, but still it may be that a lot of folks do. It would be interesting to do a poll - how many times on average do you swap eyepieces in search of the "ideal" magnification when looking at these targets - followed by a list.


Well, as high as to view the object well and not be negatively influenced by seeing. That magnification could vary from night to night and might depend on what filters were being used, etc. But if you take ANY object and use a lot of different eyepieces to view the object, you will find that one gives you that "observing eutectic point" where the curves of Magnification and Best Image cross. It could be a lower power or it could be a higher power--it depends on the object and the seeing and the transparency. But whatever the optimum magnification is for that object in that scope on that night, you will find it easily with a zoom.
You could also find it with a switching of fixed power eyepieces.

As far as finding the optimum point, after you've been observing a large number of years (this year marks 5 decades of observing for me), you can pre-select the right eyepiece 90% of the time just based on its size.
Ironically, though, I'm finding that higher magnifications seem to be optimum in my scope for nearly every object, compared to what I thought was optimum years ago and with different scopes. So, perhaps our tastes change with time as well. Any preferences can be accommodated by fixed power eyepieces, but they can also be accomodated by good zooms.

There is something elegantly satisfying about the simplicity of a good widefield for low power, a good zoom for most of the rest, and a barlow for the high end. Not that I currently am at that point, but I've used and played with zooms a lot in the past and always enjoyed them.

#19 andydj5xp

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:35 PM

.... For the cost of the Leica, you could practically buy a whole set of eyepieces......


You are absolutely right. But the Leica (plus Barlow) does replace a whole set of highest quality eyepieces.

Andreas

#20 andydj5xp

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:44 PM

There is something elegantly satisfying about the simplicity of a good widefield for low power, a good zoom for most of the rest, and a barlow for the high end.

My opinion as well.


Not that I currently am at that point, but I've used and played with zooms a lot in the past and always enjoyed them.



I've arrived at that point years ago. And even the ZAOIIs didn't change my mind! :)

Andreas

#21 Bill Cowles

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:45 PM

You know who my vote is for, Hyperion, with the Hyperion barlow.

Bill

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#22 ibase

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:02 PM

That's my choice too Bill. I have over 70 eyepieces in the stall, many of them good ones like Delos, Naglers, Brandon, etc., but the Baader Hyperion zoom is still the primary EP used in my scopes.

Best,

#23 Warren914

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

The Baader Hyperion 8-24mm MkIII sometimes with a 2x barlow is the most commonly used eyepiece in my Z12 telescope. I recently picked up a Powermate so I'll try that with it instead. Also have a Televue 3-6mm Nagler zoom that comes out on extra clear nights. Sometimes the Nagler 20T2 takes a turn as well.

#24 t.r.

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:52 PM

.... For the cost of the Leica, you could practically buy a whole set of eyepieces......


You are absolutely right. But the Leica (plus Barlow) does replace a whole set of highest quality eyepieces.

Andreas


You beat me to it! ;)

#25 SeptemberEquinox

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

How about Celestron Deluxe Zoom?? Anyone? Or don't even bother






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