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Which eyepieces for a Vixen ED103S?

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#1 Telaeus

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:16 PM

Hey folks. I picked this scope up last week used, and only have one eyepiece (a 21mm Baader Hyperion). I need to get a decent set of eyepieces. I'd like to keep the price range in the price range of Meade 4000s, TMB Planetary... maybe I can be convinced to splurge for the ES stuff. Nothing higher than $100 per eyepiece though, as I'm buying a lot of stuff right now. I can use 1.25" or 2.00".

And should I barlow?

It's a 795mm focal length, 4.1", f7.7 Apo.

Thanks for any advice!

Matt

#2 SeattleScott

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:21 PM

Pretty much any eyepieces will work with that scope, up to 40mm in focal length. You will not get a much wider field of view than the Hyperion without going to 2" format which is pricier, so I would go with some shorter focal lengths. Maybe a 7mm and a 12-14mm or something. Eventually you will want to get about a 4mm for maximum power on planets, which is what your scope excels at. Or get an 8mm with a 2x barlow that will work in a diagonal.

As for which eyepieces, again, about any of them will perform respectably with your scope. So it comes down to features and personal preferences. If you wear glasses while observing, get long eye relief. If you do not have a tracking mount, you may want wide angle eyepieces to keep objects in view longer. The TMB Planetary II's were an interesting compromise with a respectably wide field of view and fairly generous eye relief, although not great in either respect. I will say that the quality of your scopes optics is outstanding, so putting a $50 eyepiece in it will cause the eyepiece to be the bottleneck in the performance. In some ways, with such nice optics, I would be tempted to go with some good quality plossls (Televue?) and sacrifice the eye relief and wide field in order to get optical quality close to that of your refractor. I had TMB Planetary's before, and while they are respectable, there is a noticeable difference with a premium eyepiece. ES eyepieces are nice as well and have a much wider field than plossls, so that may be the ideal if you can swing it.

#3 Telaeus

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:38 PM

Well, I don't want to seriously compromise the optics with a bad eyepiece. I am willing to up the price a bit if there's a notable difference.

I probably should go for longer eye relief, as I do have an astigmatism. Normally I only wear glasses for reading/computer work, but I do have somewhat blurry vision all the time without glasses... just not enough I can't function. I hate the change in depth perception wearing the glasses. My vision with glasses is nice and sharp though...

I'm picking up a Celestron AVX mount, so I will have tracking.

I've been trying to read up on eyepieces and what to buy, and I've read that plossls are good until about 20mm or so, and then you don't want to use them higher power. Would you agree with that?

So maybe something like plossls at mid 30s and upper 20s? If it were to be TV, I'd probably just hunt for them used.

As for higher power... the ES is decent enough? I don't mind 2" eyepieces either.

If I had a 32, 25 and my current 21... maybe pick up an 8 and a 2x barlow? That would give me 32, 25, 21, 16, 12.5, 10.5, 8 and 4. So picking up a 32, 25, 8 and a 2x barlow sound about right to start (Or is the gap from 8 to 4 too much)?

Thanks for taking the time!

Matt

#4 csrlice12

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:39 PM

I don't want this to come off sounding wrong; but why would you buy a premier scope and then go cheap on the eyepieces? That's like buying a Lamborgini and running it on regular unleaded....And that is not a slow scope either; while not a "fast" scope, it still fairly fast, and WILL benefit from premium eyepieces. The ES 82s would work well in it, not certain about the Ethos (100+*) as at lower power, you might see some field curvature. I'd start out with a ES 82 30 or 24mm for low power, The 14 or 11 for mid range, and the 8.8 for high power. The only one here that would barlow would be the 14, on a really good day the 11 might barlow (the 18 and up are 2"). The 8.8 would be great in that scope for high power. The 24mm ES82 is just one of those eye pieces that come along where everything came together right...that one will never leave.....

#5 Telaeus

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:42 PM

Lol, well, truth be told, it's purely impatience. I told my wife I was picking up the scope, and I'd pick up the other parts over the course of the next year or so (mount, camera, eyepieces, etc... all of it). So I have this scope... and one good eyepiece (the 21mm Baader Hyperion) on an old porta mount.

The mount seems to be the priority for me (should be able to justify that using my April B-day). But I also want to be able to use it before then... so I wanted some eyepieces to at least give me something to play with.

So I've been looking at the Meade 4000s and the TMBs (especially on sale at $40 each)... and thinking, are they really not worth getting? I know I probably shouldn't go lower than the ES... it's just hard to wait... I get this twitch whenever I think about buying this stuff.

Maybe I'll pick up the 8.8mm ES to give me a fun higher power eyepiece and make do for a bit.

Just out of curiousity though, why did you say the only eyepiece that would barlow is the 14 (and maybe the 11)? Why wouldn't the 30 or 24? Is it just because they are 2", or something optically I don't know about yet?

You really seem to like the 24mm ES82, but I already have the 21mm Hyperion... close enough that the 30mm makes more sense I'd assume?

Thanks again for your help!

Matt

#6 core

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:21 AM

(Or is the gap from 8 to 4 too much)?


First off, congrats on the scope - it's a rather good performer! With my ED103SWT and sky conditions, the 8 to 4mm gap is quite a bit too much imo - at 8mm the scope's just cruising along (performance wise), and you'll want to eek out a little more magnification - bump it up to 4mm, and at ~200x your local seeing conditions may not like it. On the higher power end, I use the complete 4-9mm set of TMB Planetary II and it's nice to fine-tune magnification to my liking.

For lower power, I don't find too much difference between a 21XL, 22LVW, and 24mm UWA - to go lower I start at a WO 33mm SWAN.

My grab-and-go outfit for the scope is a Baader Mk3 8-24mm zoom, TMB II's 4,5,6,and either a 24mm 82° or 33mm 72°

#7 Telaeus

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:05 PM

Peter,

Thanks for the advice. Good to get the opinion of someone with first-hand knowledge.

My seeing conditions are never great. Suburban Philadelphia, yay!

Matt

#8 SeattleScott

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:11 PM

In my experience the ES eyepieces are good enough to do justice to your fine instrument, although they are a bit lacking in eye relief in the lower focal lengths. Yesterday I was out stargazing and was reminded once again what a fine eyepiece the 24mm 82* is in my 4" ED refractor. Personally the 24mm is about as heavy as I would go, but that has a lot to do with personal preference. The 24mm does have respectable eye relief for glasses, however, with glasses, you cannot take advantage of the entire field without moving your head around, so there wouldn't be a huge advantage over your Hyperion (at least for scanning the sky looking for targets).

As for why not barlowing the 24mm and 30mm, yes, they are 2" ep's so that would require a 2" barlow which is more expensive, and then an adapter to barlow 1.25" ep's. Personally I feel that barlowing is for special occasions, when the seeing is good enough to crank the magnifications, and I would not want to be barlowing all of my ep's because of the inconvenience. It is possible that there may be some performance issue with barlowing the 24mm or 30mm that I don't know about, but I think the real issue is people normally just barlow to achieve high mag.

Yes, plossls 20mm and up have decent eye relief so you could get a 32mm for your low power ep. Plossls are not bad finder ep's for eyeglass wearers since you can usually take in about the entire field of view while wearing glasses. As much as I like my 24mm UWA, that wide field is not well utilized when I wear glasses. For under 20mm, the Hyperions are not bad and would provide some consistency in terms of focus point with your 21mm. Or the Celestron X-cel series has long ER and a good reputation from what I hear. Maybe Zhummell Planetary when you get under 10mm. I like the Vixen LVW's myself, but even used they are around $150. Personally I find 180x to be the maximum useful mag with my refractor (or at least 225x is a little too much and loses sharpness). Yours is a little higher quality though so it may go a bit higher.

#9 ibase

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 04:21 AM

My grab-and-go outfit for the scope is a Baader Mk3 8-24mm zoom..


+ 1 on the Baader Hyperion 8-24mm zoom.

Hi Matt,

Although beyond specified budget, just one possibility - since you already have a Hyperion 21mm, you can use its nosepiece (w/barlow element) on the Hyperion 8-24mm zoom to convert it into a 4-12mm zoom (thereby increasing the focal range available from 4mm to 24mm).

Posted Image
Hyperion zoom with Hyperion 21mm nosepiece/barlow element at right


Below is a pic of one of my scopes similar to yours, a William Optics Megrez 102ED F/7 refractor with the said zoom/Hyperion 21mm combo:

Posted Image
WO Megrez 102ED with Hyperion zoom converted to 4-12mm zoom using the Hyperion 21mm nosepiece.

See how the conversion is done by clicking on this blog post.

The advantage of using a zoom is that you can easily dial in the optimal magnification for your observing site without swapping or buying different EP's.

Best,

#10 Telaeus

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:37 PM

In my experience the ES eyepieces are good enough to do justice to your fine instrument, although they are a bit lacking in eye relief in the lower focal lengths. Yesterday I was out stargazing and was reminded once again what a fine eyepiece the 24mm 82* is in my 4" ED refractor. Personally the 24mm is about as heavy as I would go, but that has a lot to do with personal preference. The 24mm does have respectable eye relief for glasses, however, with glasses, you cannot take advantage of the entire field without moving your head around, so there wouldn't be a huge advantage over your Hyperion (at least for scanning the sky looking for targets).

As for why not barlowing the 24mm and 30mm, yes, they are 2" ep's so that would require a 2" barlow which is more expensive, and then an adapter to barlow 1.25" ep's. Personally I feel that barlowing is for special occasions, when the seeing is good enough to crank the magnifications, and I would not want to be barlowing all of my ep's because of the inconvenience. It is possible that there may be some performance issue with barlowing the 24mm or 30mm that I don't know about, but I think the real issue is people normally just barlow to achieve high mag.

Yes, plossls 20mm and up have decent eye relief so you could get a 32mm for your low power ep. Plossls are not bad finder ep's for eyeglass wearers since you can usually take in about the entire field of view while wearing glasses. As much as I like my 24mm UWA, that wide field is not well utilized when I wear glasses. For under 20mm, the Hyperions are not bad and would provide some consistency in terms of focus point with your 21mm. Or the Celestron X-cel series has long ER and a good reputation from what I hear. Maybe Zhummell Planetary when you get under 10mm. I like the Vixen LVW's myself, but even used they are around $150. Personally I find 180x to be the maximum useful mag with my refractor (or at least 225x is a little too much and loses sharpness). Yours is a little higher quality though so it may go a bit higher.


The ES eyepieces seem to be a consensus decent EP. I did pick up a 2" APO barlow with the 1 1/4" adapter, since everyone seems to say you should have one, even if you don't use it... lol. I haven't looked at the X-cel EPs, so I'll check them out. And the Zhumell's. Thanks for the advice!

Matt

#11 Telaeus

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:39 PM

ibase,

Yeah, I have to admit I've been looking at that Hyperion zoom. I didn't know you could convert it like that... I'll take a look at the blog post. Thanks!

Matt






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