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VIXEN EYEPEICES, QUALITY...????..PICK YOUR BRAIN!

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#1 ceski2

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 02:38 AM

I would love to pick your brains a little...

I have a SCT as my main telescope and use PENTAX XW eyepeices with it, always have.

I recently purchased a Garrett 100mm f/5.3 500mm focal length binocular/telescope.....Having premium eyepieces according to Garrett is a big plus for sharp observations........

Having to purchase three of four more Pentax eyepeices to match my telescope's eyepeices, (needing two of the same size)..and what I use for my telescope dosen't mean that will be the sizes I need for the new bino/tele. that is not even here yet....

Purchasing six TeleVue Panoptics that Garrett suggest or even two sets of Brandon optics in their nice wooden cases (another Garrett suggestion) are a huge undertaking.....

Garrett also said the less glass in those eyepeices the less light I will lose so even a very good pair of Plossls would be good, (so they say)..........

VIXEN seems to make great scopes and quality optics for them......ARE their eyepeices considered upper grade?......Is the same care taken in the optics of their eyepeices?..........

Once I florished in the aviation field and could afford nice scopes and eypeices. Now I'm disabled and trying to hang on to my hobby as best as I can.

What other brands may make this multi-eyepeice purchase sting alot less and come away with some pretty great eyepeices that won't break the bank?

Thanks all, Charles

#2 mercedes_sl1970

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:01 AM

The LVWs are certainly very good eyepieces - from all reports. From personal experience, I have very much enjoyed using the 5mm and 22mm - both very sharp, good contrast, a flat field and good transmission. The NPLs are also a good set of plossls and I think a rather under-rated. The NLVs are also very good but I have limited experience. An alternative to the LVWs could be the Denkmeier 14mm and 21mm eyepieces? The 14mm Denks are, in my rather limited and humble opinion, superb eyepieces.

I would also suggest posing your question in the binocular forum as there will probably be some far more knowledgeable people with very good advice.

Cheers

Andrew

#3 eklf

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:37 AM

I have owned and use extensively the LVWs, LVs, and NPLs. Like Andrew says the LVWs are very good eyepieces, very close in performance to XWs that I also own. However, at their new price you might as well buy XWs. Used, they are excellent value but notoriously difficult to come by.

The LVs are also excellent eyepieces, builth to the same standanrds as LVWs and XWs and equal in performace with long eye relief but a smaller FOV. Price-wise more affordable than XWs.

The NPLs are an excellent set of plossls. I routinely used a 30mm pair and 15mm pair in my binocular telescope. As Andrew stated they are very under-rated. I would HIGHLY recommended these.

Something for every budget.

#4 rathbaster

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:42 AM

I have a 6mm and 4mm Vixen Plossl. They are both excellent and the 6mm survived in my collection when compared to a 6mm UO Volcano Top Ortho, 6mm Kellner and 6mm Radian. I find the view excellent and the build quality the same.

-joe

#5 russell23

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:09 AM

The LVW's are of excellent construction and optical quality but overpriced at new prices. Used you can get them at more reasonable prices (~$140).

I tried a 30mm Vixen NPL plossl. Optically it was fine but nothing special. The twist up eyecup was a cheap plastic that left me unsatisfied and wondering why vixen ever bothered to stop making their classic silvertop plossls.

Dave

#6 csrlice12

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:14 AM

The LVN's while really nice optically, share that cheap plastic twist-up eyecup. It was like they designed a Porshe and ran out of money when it came time for the body and had all these Yugo parts laying around....

#7 russell23

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:39 AM

The LVN's while really nice optically, share that cheap plastic twist-up eyecup. It was like they designed a Porshe and ran out of money when it came time for the body and had all these Yugo parts laying around....


That's exactly what it is like. Perfect analogy. I've thought about trying an NLV, but after seeing the cheap plastic eyecup on the 30mm NPL and knowing the NLV is the same design I just can't bring myself to do it - especially for a price tag of $140 for a new NLV.

Dave

#8 bleep

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:41 AM

I own and used the Vixen NPL eyepieces when I first bought my XT8 last summer and I was very happy with them. I thought they were pretty sharp and brought the stars to pinpoints. But I made the mistake of looking through an ES 82 and now I'm trying to sell my NPLs and put the money towards the ES 82 6.7. Am I allowed to mention that I have had my set of NPL eyepieces on the classifieds for the last week or so?

#9 csrlice12

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:41 AM

It's why I ended up with my first Pentax, which was why I ended up with a second, and a third...and hopefully today, the 30mm (if it's still on the shelf).

#10 Eddgie

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:51 AM

The NPLs are an excellent set of plossls. I routinely used a 30mm pair and 15mm pair in my binocular telescope. As Andrew stated they are very under-rated. I would HIGHLY recommended these.


I concur. I have a pair of the 15mm NPLs that I use for binoviewing.

Side by size comparisons with my Televue 15mm Plossl showed it to be equal in performance.

Sold the 15mm TV and never regretted it for a moment.

The NPLs are excellent.

I would say this though... Modern wide fields loose so little light as compared to other types that this "more glass is less light" kind of remark is I think no longer true.

I would recommend the Explore Scientific 68 degree eyepeices for someone that wanted Panoptic type performance on a budget.

I had one of thee in 20mm and when compared to my 19mm Pan, I found the performance to be so similar as to be difficult to see.

I owned the 16mm too, and it was also excellent.

I wanted to buy a pair of ES 2468s, but they were hard to find in stock.

And finally, this brings me to Hyperions. I don't think they offer quite the same edge performance of the ES or Pans, but used they are commonly available used for less than $80 in a wide variety of focal lenghts.

They are mostly par-focal, and all have really nice eye relief.

I am using them in my Binovewers and am quite happy with them.

Eyepecie cost can be a big factor when Binocular or binoviewing, and used Hyperions start to looke really hard to ignore for someone wanting wide apparent fields on a tight budget.

#11 ceski2

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:39 PM

WOW...thanks everyone for all your ideas of the Vixen line and all the great suggestions for other brands!.....I hope I can get a few more post.........I wish I could narrow down to 3 or 4 particular sizes in power and brands.......and I'm looking for the "planetary" sharp set in size that I should go down to (in mm) before going down TOO far for this style scope.....12mm, 10mm.....less? What brand or brand and filter will do justice to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn?......I think I have deep sky figured out but speak up on deep sky if you think you have the altimate eyepiece??

#12 GeneT

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:50 PM

There are many good choices--Ethos, Naglers, Delos, Pentax XW's, Explorer Scientific, and others. I would be interested in how this sorts out.

#13 iluxo

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:25 PM

A hint at their quality is that they very rarely appear for sale secondhand - people who know what these are tend to keep them.

I have had a set of vixen LVW's and until recently a nice set of LV's as well (sold them as I don't use them).

Side by side comparisons with other eyepieces show the LVWs are very similar to the Televue Panoptics, Radian and Delos.

They're old but still excellent, and IMHO much overlooked in favour of ultrawide eyepieces.

There is one exception - the NLVW30mm which is not as sharp as the others off-axis.

There are a few aspects which collectively make the LVW set somewhat uniquely useful:

A) they span the range 3.5-42mm and if you have an SCT or Mak, add the Vixen LV 50mm as well (my favourite eyepiece BTW).

B) they're all roughly the same weight so no rebalancing the scope when changing eyepeices,

C) consistent long eye relief

D) you can use the whole set in a 2" focuser, without adapters. the NLVW30, the LVW42 and LV50 are 2" only, the smaller ones dual 1.25" and 2".

From what I understand, the availability of lanthanum glass has been severely limited, meaning that if you want these you may find it hard to buy new ones.

#14 SeattleScott

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:59 AM

People who do binoviewing like zoom lenses because it cuts down on the number of eyepieces they buy. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Vixen LVW man. But if I had to buy two of each eyepiece, I would really be tempted to buy a couple Baader Mark III zooms. Premium quality, covers 8mm-24mm of focal length, and wider field of view than most zooms. Haven't used one but heard great things about them.

#15 jjack's

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:02 AM

A) they span the range 3.5-42mm and if you have an SCT or Mak, add the Vixen LV 50mm as well (my favourite eyepiece BTW)

hi iluxo
tempted to buy a long focal eyepiece for my VMC 200L. My choice could be a NLV 42mm or LV 50mm. Whitch is the best for you ? (transparency and aberation control of axis).

#16 iluxo

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:26 PM

There is no NLV42mm. Vixen do make an NLV 40mm, NLV50mm or an LVW42mm, and also there is the older LV50mm (which I have).

The NLV40mm is in a 1.25" barrel and due to this has a rather narrow field of view (42 degrees). Don't buy this, you will be disappointed.

The NLV50 also only has a 45 degree field of view, despite being in a 2" barrel. Don't buy this, either.

The older LV50mm has a 45 degree FoV and in both my scopes sharp to the edge, with about 30+ mm of eyerelief. I like this one a lot. The problem will be to find one as they are obsolete and don't appear secondhand.

The LVW42mm is a much bigger, heavy 2" eyepiece with a 65 degree field of view, sharp to the edge and very similar to the Televue Panoptic 41mm. This I would recommend, it is also still available new from several online stores.

#17 ceski2

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:24 PM

Is the "ORION STRATUS WIDEFIELD 1.25" THE SAME AS ANY "VIXEN" line of eyepieces except for the name? IF so which line?

Is the Vixen NLV Lanthanum Eyepiece line with just it's 50 degree FOV and hard plastic eyecaps just not a good buy even though high quality glass optics and inexpensive when purchasing "in pairs" for binocular telescopes?

Would the plain TeleVue plossl be of higher optical vewing quality?

#18 jjack's

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:54 PM

Thanks a lot Iluxo. This LVW 42 seems a good eyepiece. I am going to try it.
Ceski : The Vixen LVW are made with Lanthanum glass. Hyperion and Stratus are made with a less quality ED glass.
I have tried a direct comparo in a star party. The vixen seems a little more clear and better corrected near the edge of field.
I have the LV 15mm and it give me very clear views and pin point stars to the edge with my VMC 200L and My SC8.
Indistinguishable with a good plössl.

#19 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:29 PM

Is the "ORION STRATUS WIDEFIELD 1.25" THE SAME AS ANY "VIXEN" line of eyepieces except for the name? IF so which line?


The Vixen LVW's are eons ahead of the Stratus line in every sense of the word. I just sold a 3.5mm Stratus because lateral color was everywhere and it was lacking in sharpness on axis. I also had a 13mm Stratus that showed huge amounts of field curvature. The 13mm Vixen LVW stomps mud holes all over the 13mm Stratus in every regard.

Cheers,

#20 Mike B

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:32 PM

Markus, you really should use more expressive descriptions in comparing these EPs,
lest anyone fail to appreciate the subtleties & distinctions between them.

:whistle:

#21 roscoe

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:22 PM

I have a set of Vixen .965's - orthos and kellners - that are 15-30 years old, they are all fine EP's, all work as well as and perhaps a shade better than modern mid-priced Japanese 1.25 orthos and plossls. Good buys can be had in the classifieds!
Russ

#22 vinnie

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:47 PM

I am very fortunate to be a very close friend of Australia's Vixen importer. (no I don't get significant "mates" discounts) As such I have been able to test every Vixen EP that has been available over the last 15 years.

The only one that I found inferior was the NLVW30 which definitely falls away at the edges in faster scopes, well even at f/8 in the AX103 APO for that matter and that is not exactly fast

I do agree that the "N" series (NLV and NPL) twist up eye cups are a disappointment, but they are functional

I currently own

LVWs : 5mm, 8mm, 13mm, 17mm, 22mm (I'd love to add the 42mm but I can't justify the price tag)

LVs : 2.5mm, 4mm, 6mm, 40mm and 50mm

NPLs : 25mm, 30mm and 40mm (for terrestrial use in an ED80)

FWIW Over the last 10 years or so I have gradually sold off all the EPs I previously owned and substituted Vixen. I now don't own any other EPs except these, and none of these will ever be sold, at least while I am still breathing.

#23 teskridg

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:14 PM

I have a pair of 30mm NPL Plossls for binoviewing with an f/10 SCT and they are superb with no vignetting even at the reduced setting of the power x switch on my Earthwin binviewers. The views are superb and apparently this field stop diameter is the maximum non-vignetted one for my telescope-binoviewer-power x switch combination. A pair of 32mm TV Plossls or 24mm Panoptics do vignette with this system. Perhaps the housings aren't up to Televue or Meade Series 4000 standards, but this is an aesthetic consideration. If you have this combination of telescope/binoviewer, I don't think you can do better than the Vixen NPL Plossls. Tim






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