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5.5mm Meade Series 5000 WP UWA *Mini Review*

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#1 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:20 AM

I just got this eyepiece on Tuesday April 2nd, 2013 in the mail. Before I mention how it performed, I will say that upon my first inspection that the eyepiece was excellent !!!

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Upon further inspection under a bright light everything else was in perfect order. The eyepiece is a lot different than the Series 5000 previous versions of the Meade Series 5000 UWA eyepieces. Everything about this eyepiece is miles ahead of the previous ones, which includes the way the twist up eye cup works ~ It doesn't twist up as easily as the previous versions and with the previous version, the eyepiece would always try to "twist up" on it's own which I didn't like. I like the fact that it stays down when wanted and I need to apply "pressure" to twist up the eyecup. In both versions, I found that leaving the eyecup in the fully "down" position was optimal.

Here are some things I will mention:

Eye relief:

The eye relief when using this eyepiece was a lot better than the previous version Series 5000's. This one, (The 5.5mm WP UWA), had even better eye relief than the 8.8mm non-waterproof version. I can get up to the top lens, (which is NOT recessed), (Are you listening ES?), and I don't have to cram my eye into the lens to see the entire field stop. I can just "hover" over the top eye lens and see everything very comfortably, which I thought was really nice because I like things this way with eyepieces.

Weight:

On my small scale I use to weigh eyepieces, the weight was clocked in at 8.5 Oz alone, and 12 Oz if I had my Antares Twist Lock adapter on it. Pretty nice, if you are concerned and have a small scope.

Field lens changes

I wanted to mention the big change Meade has done on the field lens. Instead of having a retaining ring to hold the field lens which was on an angle causing light to bounce off of it causing glare, Meade has changed that and now has a flat black piece surrounding the field lens. It looks way better and so far it stops the light "glare" issue. Jupiter is the real test for glare as I remember seeing it enter the FOV in my previously owned 4.7mm and 8.8mm Meade series 5000 non-waterproof eyepieces. Way to go Meade! Nice touch! :waytogo:

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Overall Sharpness:

To test for sharpness, I set my telescope up 1 hour / 45 min before I used the eyepiece in my 10" F/4.7 Skywatcher reflector and I left my large 120cm comp fan on half speed for the whole duration of cooling & observing. Now onto the sharpness.

To test for sharpness at first, I used the bright star Arcturus in Bootes and I centered it in the 5.5mm 5000 WP UWA and focused in and out for the "snap test". The snap test passed with flying colors as it didn't stay "mushy" at all and in between in / out of focus, the star snapped into focus really crisp. I also tested the eyepiece on Saturn 6 hours later and the view was really sharp. Another test I conducted were two globular clusters: M-3 in Canes Venatici then later on I looked at M-5 in Serpens.

In both instances, the globulars showed a wealth of tiny pinpoint stars and looked really nice. I am going to go out tonight and test the eyepiece on Jupiter as this is a real "acid test" for higher power on planets.

Edge sharpness

To test for edge sharpness, I used Arcturus in Bootes and I let the star drift from the center to the edge in the eyepiece and it remained really sharp almost out to the edge where a blue ring appeared when the bright star went across the threshold of the field stop. I did NOT use a Paracorr. One thing I forgot to mention was the field stop itself, and the field stop is very sharp in this eyepiece.

Color

From what I could see, the eyepiece appears neutral in color and there seemed to be no warmth or coolness to images. I really need a lot more nights out with this eyepiece in order to fully judge everything up to this point you have all read so far, so please take this all with a grain of salt.

Field of View

The overall field of view is supposed to be 82 degrees, but for some reason it appears slightly less? I don't know if I am imagining this, but other 82 degree eyepieces seem to have a wider "look" to them. Like I have said, I will really need more time with this eyepiece to pass judgement.

I didn't barlow the eyepiece yet and I will try that out tonight to see how that works out. The eyepiece gives me 206x by drift timing method, but my calculations are more than likely off due to AMD or RD as Don Pensack and the other "eyepiece gurus" have taught me in my past calculations. If I barlow the eyepiece, it will give me roughly 436x , so I didn't really do it yet as I will rarely ever use that kind of power. What I *can* do if I want is screw the bottom lens element from my 2" GSO ED barlow to get roughly 305x which I will be willing to try tonight.

Bottom of eyepiece with Antares twist lock adapter attached

If you use Antares twist lock adapters with your eyepieces, the 5.5mm Meade 5000 WP UWA fits perfectly when using this adapter and there are no worries that the barrel of the eyepiece will "bottom out" and stick out of the adapter possibly hitting and marring your 2" filters.

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Here are a few pics in closing...

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Well, that's it for now...if I missed anything, please don't hesitate to ask!

Cheers,

#2 russell23

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:14 AM

Thanks Mark,

From comparing it with the 8.8mm ES82 do you think it has the same optical design. The old Meade 5000 UWA and the ES82 have that "fishbowl effect" (at least that is what I recall some people calling it) which I don't mind but is noticeable. Did you see that in either the 8.8mm ES82 or the 5.5mm Meade UWA? The Meade 4000 UWA did not have the fishbowl effect.

Dave

#3 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:37 AM

Thanks Mark,

From comparing it with the 8.8mm ES82 do you think it has the same optical design. The old Meade 5000 UWA and the ES82 have that "fishbowl effect" (at least that is what I recall some people calling it) which I don't mind but is noticeable. Did you see that in either the 8.8mm ES82 or the 5.5mm Meade UWA? The Meade 4000 UWA did not have the fishbowl effect.

Dave


Hi Dave,

ASAIK, there was no "fishbowl" effect at all when looking through the 5.5mm Meade WP UWA. The views looked flat.

#4 russell23

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:51 AM

Thanks Mark,

From comparing it with the 8.8mm ES82 do you think it has the same optical design. The old Meade 5000 UWA and the ES82 have that "fishbowl effect" (at least that is what I recall some people calling it) which I don't mind but is noticeable. Did you see that in either the 8.8mm ES82 or the 5.5mm Meade UWA? The Meade 4000 UWA did not have the fishbowl effect.

Dave


Hi Dave,

ASAIK, there was no "fishbowl" effect at all when looking through the 5.5mm Meade WP UWA. The views looked flat.


I don't find the fishbowl effect bothersome. But it would be an identifying factor that would indicate whether or not the new 5.5mm Meade UWA is the same basic design as the old UWA and the ES82's. The "fishbowl" effect to me created the appearance as my eye scanned toward the edge of the field that the field was wrapping up and around my eye a little. I don't know if that is very clear. I saw it with the 8.8mm Meade UWA and with the 6.7mm ES82. It is a very different experience than the 14mm Meade 4000 UWA or the 14mm ES100. Did you see this with the 8.8mm ES82 you looked through?

Dave

#5 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:58 AM

I am not too clear what you mean ?

#6 russell23

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:24 AM

I am not too clear what you mean ?


Sorry, I don't know how else to explain it. I wish I did. Stars are sharp to the edge in these eyepieces, but the "fishbowl effect" I guess would mean that the field is not necessarily "flat". I would describe it more as a "folding" of the field such that you almost feel like the center of the field is closer to your eye and the edges are wrapping up around you. But it sounds like the field is flat in the 5.5mm Meade UWA so perhaps these are a new or modified design too.

Maybe someone else with experience with the Meade UWA can explain the fishbowl effect either in terms of what is seen or in terms of the optical explanation for it.

Dave

#7 russell23

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:27 AM

Mark, Here is a CN thread in which the "fishbowl" effect is mentioned, but it is not described:

http://www.cloudynig...d=Eyepieces&...

Dave

#8 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:28 AM

Sorry, I don't know how else to explain it. I wish I did. Stars are sharp to the edge in these eyepieces, but the "fishbowl effect" I guess would mean that the field is not necessarily "flat". I would describe it more as a "folding" of the field such that you almost feel like the center of the field is closer to your eye and the edges are wrapping up around you. But it sounds like the field is flat in the 5.5mm Meade UWA so perhaps these are a new or modified design too.

Dave


Ohhhh, I see what you mean now! From what I saw, this does not happen at all. Images across the field looked flat, however, I will look again, but from what I saw the "fishbowl" effect wasn't in this EP. :cool:

#9 dyslexic nam

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:34 PM

Thanks for the review Mark. This is right in my planetary focal range, so I am curious how this compares with some of the other high end ep's you have used. I know you have experience with the XW line, so it would be interesting to know what you think of the Meade relative to the Pentax. If I remmber correctly, a past comparison between a Pentax and the closest ES82 ep left you clearly in favour of the Pentax.

#10 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 07:37 PM

Hi Shaun,

I am just about to head in my yard in a few minutes to test this eyepiece on Jupiter. I have the 5.5mm Meade WP eyepiece and my 10mm XW + 1.8x barlow which gives the 10mm XW almost the same power as the 5.5mm. I'll report back here on what the differences are optically on Jupiter.

#11 CollinofAlabama

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:49 PM

Looking forward to your barlowed Pentax vs Meade 5.5 UWA comparison. We're waiting with bated breath, Markus.

#12 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 02:17 AM

Ok,

I was able to get out last night for just over an hour. My scope cooled for just over an hour with the fan on the back of the mirror on full speed. I then brought out the 5.5mm Meade 5000 WP UWA & my 10mm XW plus 1.8x barlow for a very close equivalent eyepiece to the 5.5mm UWA. When I observed Jupiter with both eyepieces, I left the fan running on the back of the mirror on the lowest speed for the full duration of this comparison.

First up was the 10mm XW + barlow for a mag of 210x. Jupiter snapped into focus with a lot of detail in the bands and the tiny moons of Jupiter itself were nice little points. I knew this was the case because my XW's always deliver. My lonely little 5.5mm Meade 5000 WP UWA was up against some really stiff competition going against the 10mm XW + barlow, so the battle was on!

Out with the 10mm XW + barlow and in with the 5.5mm Meade 5000 WP UWA ~ Jupiter snapped into focus really nicely! I recalled some serious glare issues with my previously owned Meade 5000 4.7mm UWA when Jupiter entered the field stop ~ It was like a search light looking for a lost boat on the ocean. I was thinking I might see this again with the 5.5mm Meade 5000 WP UWA, so I set Jupiter just outside of the field stop and let it drift into view......Here it comes...it's almost there....

"BANG!"

There's Jupiter entering the field stop and into view ~ But, the glare issue that was seen in the previous Series 5000 UWA eyepieces is NON EXISTENT!!!!

Meade has fixed the glare issue with bright targets, well almost......

The only thing I could see that was different when viewing Jupiter with the 5.5mm Meade 5000 WP UWA was a slight bit of "ghosting."
It was like this little light source dancing around the FOV, so I covered up every angle I could around the eyecup to eliminate it thinking it maybe a reflection on the top eye lens.....It was still there. Sometimes it was there and other times it was gone. In any event, it was very minor and not bothersome at all and it came and went in spurts.

Overall, the view of Jupiter in this eyepiece was extremely SHARP and very CONTRASTY. The color tone was neutral and I was really liking this eyepiece in a huge way! I never even intended to get this eyepiece for planets and only wanted it for deep sky, but after using it, I would definitely use it on planets again if I wanted to. Another thing I did was let Jupiter drift out from the center to the following edge and the planet itself remained very sharp out to the 90% mark, which is excellent IMO. One last thing I did was look at M-37 in Auriga and every star from edge to edge was extremely sharp looking. This EP is going to be a deep sky favorite!!!! :waytogo:

I think Meade has a big hit with this eyepiece and I plan on keeping this one for good....which is a lot coming from an eyepiece junkie such as myself who likes to buy and sell and try as many eyepieces as humanly possible.

Way to go Meade !!! :yay:

So, the bottom line here: The Meade 5.5mm Series 5000 waterproof UWA gave me 80% performance of my 10mm XW on Jupiter, which is pretty good if you ask me. I went back a forth quite a few times and in comparison, the XW + barlow was a bit sharper, but the difference wasn't that much IMHO.

If you don't want to spend huge bucks on an XW, get your self the Meade 5.5mm Series 5000 UWA, it's a great eyepiece. Now I am a bit curious as to how the 14mm Meade Series 5000 WP UWA is and would like to maybe try that one out next.

Cheers,

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#13 dyslexic nam

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:02 AM

Thanks for following up Mark. The XW will always be a nice benchmark, so it is good to hear that the Meade holds up well. Sounds like the 5.5mm would be a good mid-priced option.

#14 dscarpa

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 12:54 PM

80% is how I'd call it performance wise with the Meade vs XWs and such for lunar-planetary with very good seeing. Less than that they show about the same. On DSOs it's 90%. The Meade is very good in my Lunt 60 and I find it's easy on the eye. Highly recommended. David

#15 CollinofAlabama

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 07:00 PM

Great! Thanks for the honesty. I had hoped this one would be able to compete with the best of 'em. Couldn't match a barlowed XW, and by my reckoning, wouldn't be able to match my barlowed 11mm T6, means I will pass. I seldom go above 7mm on DSOs, so I'm pretty well set with my present offerings. I have a TV 13mm Plossl, 12mm Brandon, the 11mm T6, and 9mm T6, along with one of the old school, 4.5" tall (i.e., NOT shorty) made-in-Japan-and-not-sold-anymore Orion barlows, to provide effective 6.5mm, 6mm, 5.5mm, and 4.5mm eyepieces. My skies are often clear, but notoriously unsteady, with frequent jet stream turbulence, so high power is less seldom an option, and my 7mm T6 is my standard highest power to apply to a target. There are nights when I can go higher, but looks like I'm well positioned for that with my current offerings, so good in this regard. Thanks for the honest evaluation, Markus and David. You've saved me some cash and, perhaps more valuable, frustration.

#16 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:35 PM

80% is how I'd call it performance wise with the Meade vs XWs and such for lunar-planetary with very good seeing. Less than that they show about the same. On DSOs it's 90%. The Meade is very good in my Lunt 60 and I find it's easy on the eye. Highly recommended. David


I fully agree! Not many were willing to take the plunge on this EP, so I just figured "what the heck" and I am really glad I did! I have tried T6 Naglers and the kidney beaning and blackouts just drove me nuts. That just doesn't happen with this eyepiece and I can take in the whole field with ease. IMO, these eyepieces are huge sleepers with excellent eye relief, zero kidney beans or blackouts and are extremely sharp throughout most of the field without having to sell a body part to own.

I may try out the 14mm Meade waterproof next even though the last 14mm non-WP they had was a real stinker. You only live once so they say, so I am all about taking chances. Sometimes I hit a wall, while other times I chance upon a real gem, and this time was the latter.

Cheers,

#17 CollinofAlabama

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:16 PM

Markus,

You demonstrate the need for different eyepieces for different eyes. I have no troubles with the T6s and have never had a kidney bean experience with them ever, tho I have read of this, and too short eye relief for the astigmatic. OTOH, Mike Salway's review, like my own observing eye and, apparently Bill Paolini's and many others, find the 14mm 82* JOCs possess too much field curvature. Salway incorrectly described the problem as astigmatism, but he must not have bothered to check for FC. I did. I find the ES 14mm 82* absolutely flat of field at the edge, but simply not at the same plane as the center of field. Therefore, it's not astigmatic, but it does have field curvature. Obviously, Markus accommodates the defect, but I and many others do not.

Still, I appreciate the 80% statement. I prefer 100%, and for me, looks like I've already got it.

#18 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 10:55 PM

Many have reported the kidney bean effect with the T6 EP's, as well as the 9mm Nagler T1. It's not a "personal" thing, it is a fact of the eyepiece itself. I don't know what a 14mm "JOC" is, please specify. If you are referring to the 14mm ES, it *does* have slight FC, but it was not that distracting, and I am 50 years old. I just found the eye relief on it horrendously short, so I sold it off this morning and replaced it with another eyepiece which is just over 70° and hs nice long eye relief. TBH, I would have been more happy with a 14mm plossl than the 14mm ES.

Salway incorrectly described the problem as astigmatism, but he must not have bothered to check for FC. I did. I find the ES 14mm 82* absolutely flat of field at the edge, but simply not at the same plane as the center of field. Therefore, it's not astigmatic, but it does have field curvature.


<snip>The 14mm Meade Series 5000 UWA is a relatively new eyepiece, and so I was anxious to see how it performed after the success and high praise of it's earlier generation Series 4000. Unfortunately I was most disappointed. It exhibited slight field curvature but very evident astigmatism from about 70% to the edge. Chromatic abberation was noted from about 60% out when observing Venus.<snip>

He *did* in fact say there was FC in the 14mm Meade non-WP eyepiece, but also said that there was some astigmatism 70% to the edge, so I take it that this was another inherent aberration from that EP, or he did I fact mean "FC" which is pretty IRRELEVANT to my review of the 5.5mm Meade WP UWA. I am not saying that the T6 Naglers are "bad" eyepieces, they are far from it. The 7mm T6 I spent time with had excellent correction and showed pinpoint stars to the edge w/o a paracorr in my scope. I just noticed major amounts of kidney bean blackouts if I didn't position my eye in just the right spot.

The 5.5mm Meade does not do this, and it has excellent correction and nice eye relief, which I really liked.

Still, I appreciate the 80% statement. I prefer 100%, and for me, looks like I've already got it.


My skies are often clear, but notoriously unsteady, with frequent jet stream turbulence, so high power is less seldom an option, and my 7mm T6 is my standard highest power to apply to a target.


I said 80% of the 10mm Pentax XW + barlow. The XW is at least $339.00 brand new. The Meade was $129.00 brand new. I'd say that's pretty amazing IMHO. So, you've got 100% in the 7mm T6 for "notoriously unsteady" skies, which brings you back to an 80% difference. :whistle:

Cheers,

#19 galaxyman

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:27 AM

Like I said it's a really good eyepiece, and one I grab for high power DSO observing. Friday night with the 8" refractor and this eyepiece (327x) gave us one heck of a view of the Ngc 4449 ( first galaxy in April's Galaxy Log video). Saw this great irregular galaxy with lots of detail using this eyepiece.

Down the road I may give up this eyepiece for a 6mm Delos, but for now it's staying in my scopes focusers.


Karl
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#20 CollinofAlabama

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:38 AM

Markus,

Again, kidney beaning from the T6s is simply something that has never happened with me. I've never had any issue whatsoever with eye placement and the T6s. Just the way I'm built, and I will be the first to agree this is a personal preference thing.

JOC is the Chinese optics firm that is the principle owner of Explore Scientific, and they are the manufacturer of ES eyepieces and all the original Meade UWA and SWA eyepieces. A couple of years ago Meade and JOC got a 'divorce' and Meade picked up a different Chinese firm to manufacture its UWA line, theorized to be Kunming Optics, but in all honesty, unknown. ES is the marketing arm of JOC.

My experiences in testing for FC in the line pertain to the 14mm ES N2 82*. I bought one new about three years ago now, just after they came out. I used a 6" F/6 reflector and the target was the Pleiades. In this scope & ep combo, the "little dipper" of the Pleiades will just fit in the FOV. Unfortunately, I found the edge stars bloated and out of focus when the center of field stars were sharp. Conversely, if I focused for the edge of field stars, they turned to pinpoints and looked great, but now the center of field stars were bloated and out of focus. Classic FC. I returned it to the vendor and rec'd credit from it on a new 13mm T6 which was, at that time, on a unique TeleVue sale such that I bought it new for around $285 (not including the credit from the ES I applied to the total gross).

In my opinion, and Tom Trusock, and others, the TV Nagler T6s are better than the XWs, and at a minimum their equivalent. Again, I have great respect for Pentax optics as a former XF owner. But in my figuring in this matter, I'm considering the T6 and XW equivalent, such that if you found the Meade 5.5 UWA 80% of the barlowed Pentax, then it would also be 80% of a barlowed T6. Of course, there isn't a 10mm T6, but I believe I already mentioned I own both the 11mm & 9mm T6s. I own an Old School 4.5" tall, non-shorty Made in Japan Orion Barlow, so I can "manufacture" via the Barlow an effective 5.5mm T6. The Meade delivering 80% of this view is not enticing to me, since I'm more likely to be using this high a power on planetary or lunar targets, where 80% just doesn't measure up to 100%. That's where my numbers came from. No doubt you and others might calculate it differently, but that's how I arrived at the figures I stated earlier.

#21 galaxyman

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 01:08 PM

Interesting Collin, for we see the Pentax XW's a better eyepiece then the T6's :confused:

I compared side by side a 7mm T6 and a 7mm XW on a multitude of DSO's (in particular galaxies), and the Pentax was a bit better. Sold the T6 and bought a XW. The much much better E.R. in the Pentax was also a huge plus.

I also had a 5mm T6, and though I didn't do a side by side comparison, this newer Meade reminds me a bit of the Nagler. I have compared a 5mm Nagler to a 5mm Pentax, and here again the Pentax was slightly better than the 5mm T6.

I'll compare the 5.5mm UWA to the 5mm Pentax when I get a chance. One owner of the 5mm Pentax XW uses it as one of his high power go-to eyepieces for his 25" f/4 dob. It will be interesting comparing these two in his 25" and my 22", plus the 8" refractor.

I can say I do like it a bit more than the original 5k's.


Karl
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ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
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#22 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 01:24 PM

So true Karl,

The XW's have always gone a bit deeper. Sorry to burst your bubble Collin, but the T6's are *not* better than the XW's. I also agree that these Meade 5000 WP eyepieces are a big cut above the previous versions Karl. Collin, As I stated in my original post, the 5.5mm Meade WP UWA was mainly acquired for deep sky and not planetary. I just use the 5.5mm On Jupiter for a quick evaluation that night. For planetary, I use my 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW's in conjunction with my GSO ED barlow which gives me razor sharp views @ 210x, 255x and 300x respectively.

Overall, the view of Jupiter in this eyepiece was extremely SHARP and very CONTRASTY. The color tone was neutral and I was really liking this eyepiece in a huge way! I never even intended to get this eyepiece for planets and only wanted it for deep sky, but after using it, I would definitely use it on planets again if I wanted to. Another thing I did was let Jupiter drift out from the center to the following edge and the planet itself remained very sharp out to the 90% mark, which is excellent IMO. One last thing I did was look at M-37 in Auriga and every star from edge to edge was extremely sharp looking. This EP is going to be a deep sky favorite!!!!


Cheers!

#23 Scanning4Comets

Scanning4Comets

    Markus

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 09:32 PM

I've now had the 5.5mm Meade waterproof Series 5000 out a lot of nights. This eyepiece is one of my favorites! It has ample eye relief, a razor sharp field stop and med-high power images of globulars and Saturn, (218x), have been exceptional! I had it on some globs and Saturn last night and The views were excellent.

Nice little EP indeed.






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