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Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs

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#101 andydj5xp

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 03:14 AM

(noting at the outset that I am not trying to offend...)

I find it odd that people can be convinced that the zoom is incapable of doing certain things (excellent planetary performance, outperforming top notch fixed focal length eps, etc.) when they have never looked through one. One of the most intriguing aspects of the ASPH is that many people have relayed the idea that they were initially skeptical of its ability, tried it, and have since come to realize that it is essentially unsurpassed when it comes to performance under a wide range of viewing contexts (DSO, planets, lunar, solar). Some people have gone so far as to liquidate the majority of their other ep's simply because their other glass seems to offer no performance advantage over the Leica. Granted, it is possible to handpick a review that indicates the Leica isn't as excellent as some reviewers have indicated, but the majority of reviews seem to indicate this is some sort of logic-defying ep that equals or surpasses the very best fixed focal length eps. I place a lot of weight behind the views of experienced observers who have sold off sets of Brandons or Zeiss ep's after spending time with the Leica.

Again, not trying to be confrontational on this, but I tend to question the strong views of those who have not looked through the ep in question, when those views contradict the majority of opinions posted by people who have.


Very well said!

Some contributions do indeed exhibit an attitude as though everybody would have a full set of ZAOIIs (plus Zeiss Barlow) and only would be considering the Leica zoom if it clearly equals or even surpasses these highest quality orthos. By setting this benchmark almost all other eyepieces (including EVERY TeleVue eyepiece) would be ruled out (with the possible exception of the two Pentax XOs).

To accept a widefield zoom with an optical quality close or even equal to the top notch fixed focal length eyepieces seems to be impossible for some.

Andreas


Remark: These words are not directed to anybody in particular. Therefore, please do take it as a general remark without being pointed at someone specifically.

#102 t.r.

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 07:14 AM

I, for one, will be keeping my Brandons, XW's, TV plossls and the Leicas. I don't feel compelled to replace any one with the other. The fact that the Leicas run with these other eyepieces is the real story. They don't have to surpass them as I see it, but the ability to play with them is quite an accomplishment in its own right. From my past experience, the Baader and TV 8-24 zooms could not. One could do quite well with just a TV 3-6 zoom, a Leica and a TV 31 Nagler! ;)


#103 Sarkikos

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 07:52 AM

If any eyepieces would be obvious sacrifices for a Leica ASPH, they would be XW's and LVW's in comparable focal lengths. These eyepieces are at 70 and 65 degrees AFOV respectively, about at the mid range of AFOV for the Leica ASPH (60-80 degrees). The XW's in particular have superior light transmission, are great for deep sky and also decent for planet/lunar. Sounds very similar to the Leica ASPH. I think that if I were to go for a Leica ASPH, my XW's from at least 5mm to 10mm - as well as my LVW 8 and maybe the Radian 4 - would be heading out the door. Seriously, what would be the rationale for keeping these eyepieces once a Leica ASPH is in the house?

Brandons and TV Plossls are in another class all together. IME, they are best used as planet/lunar eyepieces, not so much for deep sky. (Maybe double stars for Brandons, though.) Also, they are great for binoviewing and comparatively inexpensive when bought used, so pairing them up is not so painful fiscally. The Leica ASPH might be good for binoviewing - depending on if the observer can handle the IPD required - but definitely not inexpensive when bino-paired. Not happenin' in this house. I would opt for only one single Leica ASPH.

The Baader Zoom might be going to avoid redundancy. On the other hand, it is nice to have a decent zoom for quick grab-n-go that didn't cost an arm and leg. The two Nag Zooms might stay, also. Just because these are all zoom eyepieces doesn't necessarily mean they should go when a Leica ASPH joins the collection.

Mike

#104 dscarpa

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 09:37 AM

There was a mix up as to the stain color on my 11" STS so the ETA is now September not July. Since this is kind of late for my 60th on May 31 I might get the Leica sooner than later. David

#105 Sarkikos

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:04 AM

These are the eyepieces that I would definitely sell if I buy a Leica ASPH:

XW 5
XW 7
LVW 8
XW 10

That should bring in close to $900 gross. If I throw in the Radian 4, that would bring the total up to about $1050. After shipping and PayPal fees, I should have enough for the Leica. (Thinking out loud here.) It just makes good sense.

So if you see these eyepieces for sale on CN or -mart, you'll know know what's going on. But I'll probably buy the Leica first to try it out before selling all those XW's down the river.

:grin:
Mike

#106 Starman1

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:27 AM

Remember, the Leica ASPH Zoom is 8.9-17.8mm focal length range.

#107 Sarkikos

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:34 PM

Yes, but the Leica can be Barlowed or Paracorred. :poke:

In fact, many Leica ASPH owners who have fast Dobs have admitted that unless the eyepiece is used in a Barlow or Paracorr, the image toward edge of field is not so good. At least one report said that even with a Paracorr, the outer third of the field still showed substantial FC and astigmatism. Well, a Paracorr will not correct astigmatism, but it can help flatten the field. Apparently a Barlow is much better at cleaning up the Leica ASPH.

Leica ASPH zoom: experiences?

In a Paracorr, the Leica would have a range from 7.7 to 15.5mm. With a 2x Barlow, the Leica is 4.5 to 8.9mm.

But then you have to ask yourself, "Should I compare the focal range of the Barlowed/Paracorred Leica with the fixed focal length of another eyepiece or with its effective focal length in a Barlow/Paracorr?" I suppose it depends on how badly the other eyepiece needs a Barlow/Paracorr to perform adequately.

:grin:
Mike

#108 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:40 PM

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.


Mike, after a lengthy mull and mulling, I am happy to see you are entering the mulled stage.

Regarding an earlier question you had regarding the ease of attaching/swapping APM adapters, with the 2" adapter it takes about 10 seconds to remove and 20 seconds to attach. It appears the 1.25" adapter is attached exactly as the 2", so I suspect it will be just as trivial.

If you decide to order the adapters without under-cuts, plan on adding a week or two for the special order.

Once you get some quality eyeball time with the Leica, I think you will find it is an outstanding planetary and lunar performer, better than your Brandon/TV's. I sure wish I had the IPD to eventually bino-view with the Leica, as I would already be scheming on a second.

#109 etsleds

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:30 PM

Mike, two things have stopped me from replacing a series of widefield primes.

One, the Leica is a 2x mag zoom, but only 1.5x FOV. Since the wider AFOV is on the short side, depends on whether you're a glass half full or empty kind of guy. Perfect if your desired kit was a 5mm Nagler, 7mm XW, 10mm Radian. For me on deep sky, I waffle a bit on whether the continuous framing control outweighs the reduced FOV range, hence I still have the Leica in my kit while I ponder that.

Two, backing away from the whole ZAO-II ultimate fine low contrast performance question, the Pentax XW (I only speak from having the 10mm) and the Nikon SW are better on the balance of performance factors I look for in a widefield.

I do recommend you compare them directly and under different viewing conditions, although perhaps I should stay quiet since may of us are now eagerly awaiting your Pentax XW firesale :)

#110 johnnyha

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:36 PM

Just for the record I still have my Pentax XWs 10-7-5. Having sold and later replaced them several times over the years I am hesitant to do it again, they are true "keepers" and possible collector's items. But I simply don't seem to use them anymore since I got the Leica ASPH Zoom. I like to binoview and otherwise the Leica and 31T5 do just fine for me.

#111 RodgerHouTex

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:38 PM

On the low side the FOV is 60 deg. Way more than a ZAO II at 40 deg.

#112 etsleds

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:28 PM

On the low side the FOV is 60 deg. Way more than a ZAO II at 40 deg.


Understood. Discussion was around the Leica as a widefield replacement.

#113 SteveC

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 12:18 AM

It seems to me that this wouldn't be much of a discussion if great planetary eyepieces were still readily available to order. Speaking strictly from my perspective, we have BGO's, perhaps the Brandons, and then we step up to the Leica zoom if a high quality planetary eyepiece is desired - not a whole lot of choices. Still, one is better than none.

#114 etsleds

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 03:27 AM

I think there are more current choices than just BGO and Brandons vs the Leica for planetary performance.

One thing that has struck me as odd about the Leica discussion over the past two years is the lack of similar looks at the Swavorski aspherical zoom with similar specs (but $200 cheaper), the Nikon aspherical zoom with narrower field but 3x zoom range, or the current Zeiss offerings. I've been tempted to rig the Zeiss and Nikon 3x zooms as planetary eyepieces, but am tiring a bit of eyepiece tests after 3 years now of minimal glass comparisons...

#115 andydj5xp

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 04:12 AM

I think there are more current choices than just BGO and Brandons vs the Leica for planetary performance.

One thing that has struck me as odd about the Leica discussion over the past two years is the lack of similar looks at the Swavorski aspherical zoom with similar specs (but $200 cheaper), the Nikon aspherical zoom with narrower field but 3x zoom range, or the current Zeiss offerings. I've been tempted to rig the Zeiss and Nikon 3x zooms as planetary eyepieces, but am tiring a bit of eyepiece tests after 3 years now of minimal glass comparisons...


May be these zooms would be recognized as well if someone else would have been testing them as elaborately as I've tested the Leica ASPH zoom. And reported about.

Even then the early users of the Leica - like Tammy or Sixela - did run the risk of being in a position to rely on my judgement when purchasing this expensive item.

Andreas

#116 t.r.

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 06:47 AM

Let's not forget the TV 3-6 Nagler zoom...

#117 dscarpa

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 09:59 AM

I'm curious as to the other zooms as well. APM has the Zeiss in stock. David

#118 edl

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 10:21 AM

Last night I compared the views of Saturn with my Leica Zoom (original model), BGO 12.5, and Brandon 16. In order to achieve good image scale in my MN76, a 3x TV barlow was also used.

So, at similar magnifications-

~250x BGO vs Leica Zoom
Preference Leica (more saturated color, less scatter, nice band detail)

~200x Brandon 16 vs Leica Zoom
Preference Brandon 16 ("purer" color, great sharpness, less scatter, best band detail, fainter moons more easily visible)

Any of the three put up a satisfying image in good seeing, but on this night the Brandon was a noticeable cut above using this combo.

Best,
Ed L.

#119 RodgerHouTex

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 09:55 PM

I recently purchased the Zeiss Diascope zoom 6.5 to 25.1 mm and tried it out a couple nights ago. First of all the zoom range is huge. It goes from 1 inch to 1/4 inch focal length in 1 twist. I had it in my new C11 XLT and was looking at Saturn. I was very impressed. At low power 110X the image was extremely sharp and crisp. I then zoomed to the highest power 440X and could see mottling in the clouds on Saturn's disk! That was the first time ever that I was able to see this amount of detail. The only downside was that it had a little more scatter than the Leica but because of the zoom range I didn't need a Barlow. Overall I really like it.

I too wish someone would compare the aspheric zoom Swarovski and see how it compares to the Leica and Zeiss zooms. I wonder if you can get an adapter.

The fixed focal length Zeiss Diascope eyepiece 12.8 mm is still my best and favorite eyepiece but I've read in some of the birding reviews that the Swarovski's are actually better than the Zeiss from a brightness, light throuput, and color saturation standpoint.

#120 dscarpa

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 10:55 PM

No zoom for me anytime soon. I cheaped out and got a brand new black 50th 16 Brandon on Amart for $150. With my barlows it gives a nice range of lunar-planetary powers in my WO ZS-110 and not so soon newt. David

#121 RodgerHouTex

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:45 AM

Well congrats on the new Brandon. I have the black Anniversay set and love them. People say they think that the 16 mm is the best of the bunch.

#122 etsleds

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:52 AM

I recently purchased the Zeiss Diascope zoom 6.5 to 25.1 mm and tried it out a couple nights ago. ... The only downside was that it had a little more scatter than the Leica but because of the zoom range I didn't need a Barlow.


Hello Rodger,

Am I reading you correctly that you did a direct comparison of the Leica ASPH vs the Zeiss Diascope?

Regards, Andrew

#123 RodgerHouTex

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:41 AM

Yes I did with the results mentioned in my post. I have only been able to do it one night though because of the monsoons here in Houston.

#124 MAURITS

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 03:28 PM

Is it a good idea to use 2 Leica's ASPH in the Mark V bino, or are the 2 ethos 13 a better choice?

#125 Paul C-I

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 03:33 PM

I use 2 ASPH in my Mkv, just about with my nose profile.
The luxury to dial in for maximum image size to suit any given seeing conditions is pure pleasure. And of course, that image quality!

YMMV
Paul






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