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Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs

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#1 RodgerHouTex

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:22 AM

Before I start let me state that everything I say below is my opinion, so don't beat me up. I'm entitled to it.

Because of all the glowing reviews on CN I decided to buy the Leica. Things like "...as good as my ZAOs." and "I sold my ZAOs because the Leica was that good". etc., etc.

Well I received mine yesterday and tried it out in my 8se. Now the OTA is optically near perfect. Intra and extra focal star images are identical and show no surface roughness. It really is an awesome scope. So anyway, I let the OTA cool and then started swapping the Leica and my 9mm and 18mm BGOs.

The conclusion, after comparing back and forth on the moon and Jupiter - while the Leica is sharp, bright, and very contrasty (is that a word?), it did not show me anything that the BGOs didn't. I used Plato and Fentenelle on the lunar surface. I spent a lot of time looking for features that were just at the limit of detection. I then swapped out the eyepiece and viola it was also there.

Leica advantages:

1.Wider Field of View
2.Ability to Zoom

Leica disadvantages:

1.Horrendously expensive (10X the price with Starlight adapter of a BGO).
2.Large and heavy

I think I have finally convinced myself that uber expensive eyepieces are, for me, not worth spending that kind of money. Now whenever I get the urge, I'll just take out the Leica and convince myself again. :bawling:

As always ymmv,

#2 howard929

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:05 AM

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

#3 johnnyha

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:14 AM

I respect your opinion Rodger. BUT - my opinion - Give it some more time. First of all, this is not a fair comparison, try it again on an excellent night of seeing with your FS152. A typical commercial 8" SCT, imho, has too much diffraction from the large central obstruction to make critical comparisons between quality eyepieces. The usual line on these scopes is "any eyepiece will look good in an SCT doesn't matter what you get" etc. Give the Leica another shot, I definitely see what the fuss is about when using it in excellent seeing with my FS152.

Perhaps it's not for you Rodger but, I suggest you try it again with a different scope on some great nights, don't judge it from one night with an SCT...

All that being said, I don't see anything at all negative with a wide angle zoom keeping up with a BGO ortho, an excellent eyepiece - that is HUGE + imho. :grin: Remarkable, in fact. Plus it does not seem like you took the time to explore the advantages of the ZOOM, buddy! It annihilates a single focal length BGO in that sense. :cool:

Good luck, again I obviously trust your opinion - but I too have made snap judgements based on a single night's viewing, but later grew to love certain eyepieces. The Leica ASPH is one I have definitely grown to love and respect and I hope you do too. ;)

#4 dyslexic nam

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:56 AM

All that being said, I don't see what is wrong with a wide angle zoom keeping up with a BGO ortho, an excellent eyepiece - that is HUGE + imho.


I think this is more in line with what I would expect from the Leica. To me, the fact that it is visually equal to very high quality modern orthos while being wider, zoom-able, and more comfortable (even at the shorter f'l's where ortho's can get pretty tight) is a pretty amazing achievement.

#5 BillP

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:14 PM

Definitely give the comparison a shot in other scope designs. Eyepieces compare differently in different scopes and different apertures. The amount of scatter the scope produces I have found to also be quite critical to outcomes, particularly for planetary details. Mirrored optics typically produce more scatter (and way more if you don't clean Dob mirrors often) than refractors. My experience has been that easy to gleen differences between eyepieces in my refractors, much more difficult if not impossible in my mirrored scopes, especially the SCT.

#6 SteveG

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:27 PM

Thanks for the brief review. I think it says a lot that the Leica can match the performance of the ortho's, with a wider field (and zoom).

#7 Smithfr2000

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:49 PM

I compared my new leica (barlowed) with a BGO6 last week end with my 20" Dobson : Spend a lot of time on the moon.
Compared also to Nag5 and Ethos 8/13.

Tone was colder in the Leica, BGO and Ethos than nag5.
I did not find any detail not seen in any EP, but image was more pleasant in Leica/Ethos. The BGO suffer the lack of field, the nag a slightly yellowish tone and a a little less sharp.
Almost no CA on the moon border in any :shocked:

All were very close ;
seeing was 2.5/5.

#8 RodgerHouTex

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:21 PM

I will give it some time. And I do recognize that the BGOs are really excellent eyepieces. That's why I used them for the comparison.

One of the problems I have with my refractors is that the Zeiss diascope, which is another excellent spotting scope eyepiece with the adapter, won't come to focus. Not enough "in" travel. That's why I choose the 8se. It has plenty of back focus.

#9 Starman1

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:44 PM

Rodger,
Well, that's not an unexpected finding. Most high quality optics produce good images. Despite the posts here on the Eyepieces Forum, the differences in eyepieces pale in comparison to the differences between scopes.
However, look at it another way:
--you gained quite a bit of FOV--up to 4X the area of field.
--you didn't lose any sharpness over a simple design with a small number of lenses. You gained an ultrawidefield with the image quality of a narrowfield.
--you gained a whole lot of focal lengths. Even if you just count even millimeter lengths, the zoom is the equivalent of 9 to 10 eyepieces. If you count the half millimeter focal lengths (more critical toward the upper end of the range), you have the equivalent of even more eyepieces.
--on your SCT, one low-power widest-field, eyepiece and this Zoom, and you have the equivalent of a whole set of widefields. Talk about simplicity!
--if you bought a set of ultrawides of equal optical quality as separates, you would have spent well over $3K and possibly over $5K. That makes the Leica Zoom a veritable bargain in comparison.
--it can fill in the niche for both lunar/planetary eyepieces AND excellent, high-end, DSO eyepieces. There are other wide field eyepieces that can do that--at $400-$600+ each.
--You never have to struggle with "this eyepiece has too high a magnification and seeing compromises the view, but my next eyepiece down has too low a magnification. I need one in between." Now you have the in-between eyepiece. You can ALWAYS find the exact correct magnification for that object and seeing conditions.

#10 t.r.

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:51 PM

You never have to struggle with "this eyepiece has too high a magnification and seeing compromises the view, but my next eyepiece down has too low a magnification. I need one in between." Now you have the in-between eyepiece. You can ALWAYS find the exact correct magnification for that object and seeing conditions.


That right there, may be the single most important reason to own a zoom eyepiece.

#11 andydj5xp

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:28 PM

--if you bought a set of ultrawides of equal optical quality as separates, you would have spent well over $3K and possibly over $5K. That makes the Leica Zoom a veritable bargain in comparison.
--it can fill in the niche for both lunar/planetary eyepieces AND excellent, high-end, DSO eyepieces. There are other wide field eyepieces that can do that--at $400-$600+ each.
--You never have to struggle with "this eyepiece has too high a magnification and seeing compromises the view, but my next eyepiece down has too low a magnification. I need one in between." Now you have the in-between eyepiece. You can ALWAYS find the exact correct magnification for that object and seeing conditions.


You have nailed it: my experience since 2009 when the Leica ASPH zoom entered the astro scene.

Andreas

#12 ibase

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:25 PM

Thanks, very nice honest comparison. The notion that the 8" SCT will not benefit from premium quality eyepieces is off - I can readily see the difference between a mediocre EP and a good one on it. Don't underestimate the 8" SCT, it is a most capable scope, a jack-of-all-trades, ranking around the top on scope type/size sold. Just my 2 cents.

Best,

#13 mgwhittle

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:03 PM

I don't think Bill meant that you can't tell a difference between a mediocre eyepiece and a good one on an SCT. My take is that is easy on any telescope. But when you are comparing a BGO and a Leica, the differences are more subtle and require a telescope with a high performance objective to wrangle out the differences between two high quality eyepieces.

#14 ibase

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:11 PM

Sorry, wasn't responding to anyone in particular, just that notion that the 8 SCT can't benefit from premium EP's that's been circulating around in general.

Best,

#15 GeneT

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 08:20 PM

I recommend giving it some more time. Your Leica Zoom is one of the best eyepieces out there.

#16 ManuelJ

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:07 AM

Things like "...as good as my ZAOs." and "I sold my ZAOs because the Leica was that good". etc., etc.


Don't trust everything you read, obviously a Leica Zoom is not as good/better than a ZAO. Not everyone has the ability to tell the difference, does not have good enough skies, or who knows what.

But man, if you believe that the Leica is up to the BGO, you've a great eyepiece there!. Remember it's a wide angle multi element zoom!.

Regards,
Manuel.

#17 howard929

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:28 AM

Definitely give the comparison a shot in other scope designs. Eyepieces compare differently in different scopes and different apertures. The amount of scatter the scope produces I have found to also be quite critical to outcomes, particularly for planetary details. Mirrored optics typically produce more scatter (and way more if you don't clean Dob mirrors often) than refractors. My experience has been that easy to gleen differences between eyepieces in my refractors, much more difficult if not impossible in my mirrored scopes, especially the SCT.


Thanks for that Bill. With the 2 poor mans telescopes I have and will never venture out from them it's a good reason WHY the stinking ES 82's I have seem so excellent and will never need upgrading.

#18 t.r.

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:34 AM

I don't think that the Leica is touted as a replacement for other eyepieces...but it is a DARN good compliment to the smaller glass offerings!

#19 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:47 AM

Thanks for your report. I've been mulling over the purchase of a Lecia ASPH for at least two years now and still haven't pulled the trigger. I think I'll continue to mull.

:grin:
Mike

#20 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:52 AM

t.r.,

I don't think that the Leica is touted as a replacement for other eyepieces...but it is a DARN good compliment to the smaller glass offerings!


Well, at least in a sense it is a replacement. I've read many threads where a purchaser of the Leica sold such and such eyepieces in order to afford the Leica. That strongly implies that the Leica is indeed a replacement for those eyepieces.

In fact, if I were to buy a Leica ASPH, it better be as a replacement for other eyepieces! I'm not paying $950 for an eyepiece that is merely a compliment. Not happenin'. No way.

:grin:
Mike

#21 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:57 AM

You never have to struggle with "this eyepiece has too high a magnification and seeing compromises the view, but my next eyepiece down has too low a magnification. I need one in between." Now you have the in-between eyepiece. You can ALWAYS find the exact correct magnification for that object and seeing conditions.


That right there, may be the single most important reason to own a zoom eyepiece.


Yep. That's why I have Baader and Nagler Zooms. But I still don't know if that's reason enough to have a $950 Leica ASPH, especially when it might need an additional $200 adapter and $500 Barlow to make it work optimally.

Mike

#22 dscarpa

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:00 AM

I'm curious as to how they compare on Saturn. David

#23 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:01 AM

I think it says a lot that the Leica can match the performance of the ortho's, with a wider field (and zoom).


For the price, I would hope the Leica ASPH would surpass the performance of a BGO. It better, if I were to buy one.

Mike

#24 Starman81

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:24 AM

t.r.,

I don't think that the Leica is touted as a replacement for other eyepieces...but it is a DARN good compliment to the smaller glass offerings!


Well, at least in a sense it is a replacement. I've read many threads where a purchaser of the Leica sold such and such eyepieces in order to afford the Leica. That strongly implies that the Leica is indeed a replacement for those eyepieces.

In fact, if I were to buy a Leica ASPH, it better be as a replacement for other eyepieces! I'm not paying $950 for an eyepiece that is merely a compliment. Not happenin'. No way.

:grin:
Mike


Mike, not to be the fly in your ointment, but your current 3 zooms nearly exceed the new price of the Leica Zoom. For someone who uses a zoom (Baader) 80-90% of the time (focuser time, that is), you represent a perfect use case example of someone who should buy this super premium Zoom.

So you could part with the other zooms, buy the Leica Zoom and keep most if not all of the complementary single focal lengths as selling Pentax XWs is sheer folly!

#25 Starman1

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:26 AM

I think it says a lot that the Leica can match the performance of the ortho's, with a wider field (and zoom).


For the price, I would hope the Leica ASPH would surpass the performance of a BGO. It better, if I were to buy one.

Mike

It wouldn't have to surpass the BGO performance. After all, it's a complete set of ten of them! How much for ten BGOs?






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