Jump to content


Photo

Eyepiece Madness

  • Please log in to reply
45 replies to this topic

#1 nmitsthefish

nmitsthefish

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 112
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2013
  • Loc: Northern Berkshires, MA

Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:02 AM

Hey everyone

I am totally new to this forum and astronomy in general. I currently don't even know a single person who is also into astronomy and there are zero astronomy clubs or shops within like a 100 mile radius of me, which makes things very difficult such as choosing equipment because I can't even try any before I buy them.
EDIT: Apparently I did a poor job searching for astronomy clubs and it seems there are some relatively nearby!

I just picked up an Orion SkyQuest XT8 (f/5.9, 1200mm) and it came stock with a 25mm Plossl and a 2x Shorty Barlow. Something I need to start thinking about is starting my EP collection. And I read as a general rule start out with a high powered and a low powered piece. Since it comes stock with the low powered, I will be in the market for a nice, AFFORDABLE, high powered EP. I can't stress affordable enough. So I've been trying to read up on the subject but it gets confusing really fast. I thought maybe I can ask some pro's about my specific situation and see what you guys think! =)

In regards to focal length, I want something that would be excellent for planetary viewing specifically for my 8" dob, but not something that would be too powerful. And with my stock piece and barlow I currently have a 25mm and a 12.5mm. So i was thinking perhaps getting something around a 8mm - 10mm. Does that sounds like a decent choice for my first piece?

Next, I am trying to figure out what type of EP to get. I've read that Plossls are good all around and that Orthos are especially good for planetary viewing. I should also mention that I am especially interested in planetary viewing but I do not want to be limited to planetary viewing. Would an Ortho be good for other types of objects such as star clusters, double stars, nebulae, etc? I've found an Ortho that seems great but I really am unsure because of how inexperienced I am; the 10mm Badaar Classic Ortho (BCO). It seems high quality AND affordable. I've read a review but generally theres not much out there on this piece. The review seemed very positive but I'm also not sure, given the specs of my scope, if it would be a good match. There's also the option of the Paradigm 8mm, which got decent reviews for a cheaply priced EP. But I'm not sure if 8mm is to powerful for my xt8 also considering I have a 2x Barlow. Any thoughts? Any better suggestions for my specific scope?

Finally.. It's hard not to be attracted to EP starter sets for their crazy low price of like $100-$130. Which makes me question the quality of the EPs. And since I already have a 2x barlow and they usually come with one would that be worth it? Can you stack barlows? I don't know if it's a good idea but maybe there is a really excellent quality starter set out there for a good affordable price that I dont know about yet.

Thanks for your time guys, any help is greatly appreciated.

-Nick

#2 lamplight

lamplight

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2497
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2012
  • Loc: western MA, U.S.

Posted 18 June 2013 - 06:28 AM

Hi

While opinions vary on the starter sets, I tried one and then I got rid of most of my plossls. Its not that they are bad at all,its that the higher the magnification the closer you have to put your eyeball, as well as it not being a very wide field of view. The baader and the at paradigms are both nice .. The AT's are smaller physically and cheaper. i have and use both brands but less use of my baader so im not extensively experienced comparing the two. People say you can expect 50x magnification per inch of aperture but I rarely can get anywhere near that where I live. More like 30x per inch. So that'd be about 10mm. BUT, you may be able to get more magnification on different nights, so you could consider say a 12mm or 14mm or 18mm with the idea that you can experiment with your Barlow. If you have the 25mm I'd consider something in 18mm range. Eyepiece preference is so personal, I'm still trying different kinds for months.. But I do like and use my at paradigms a lot.. (12 and 24) What's your budget specifically ?

#3 mac57

mac57

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 149
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2013
  • Loc: DeLand of Oz, Florida

Posted 18 June 2013 - 06:34 AM

Congrats and welcome. Your situation sounds exactly like mine. First, stay away from those cheap EP bundles, because they contain the same EP's you are replacing. My first EP purchase was an 8mm Astro Tech Paradigm, and I am very happy with it. This line of eyepieces is a great value for the price. Explore Scientific 82 degree EP's are super nice for the money, but you usually have to wait for them to become available, but they are worth the wait. If you want to obwserve deep sky objects like nebulas, the Baader Orthos have a very narrow field of view, and at higher powers you won't see all of your object, which is why the ES 82's are so nice. You will find that even a high power EP does not dramatically increase the size of the object you are viewing, even with your Barlow, or not as much as you may imagine. Also, Barlows need decent seeing conditions, or you end up magnifying the bad with the good. I am not positive about stacking Barlows, but you have to watch how much weight you load onto the top of your Dob, because it will become top-heavy. Some people use ankle weights on the bottom of their tubes to counter-balance their Dobs. My 4.7mm ES 82 works very well for planets, because their moons are still in the field of view even at high power, and with a 2x Barlow puts me around the limit of practical magnification for my f/5. I don't think a 10mm will look much different than your 12.5mm, and I personally would go much smaller. Part of our problem (besides inexperience) is that there are hundreds of choices out there, but like me you need affordable EP's, so either the Paradigms or the ES82's are sure bets. Enjoy your Dob, I know I do, and clear skies to you.

#4 Illinois

Illinois

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2127
  • Joined: 18 Dec 2006
  • Loc: near Dixon, Illinois USA

Posted 18 June 2013 - 06:39 AM

Welcome to CN! :jump: I like Explore Scientific 82 degree eyepieces! Good price! :waytogo:

#5 nmitsthefish

nmitsthefish

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 112
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2013
  • Loc: Northern Berkshires, MA

Posted 18 June 2013 - 06:47 AM

Thanks guys for the informative responses, I've been researching since I posted this and I found an EP that seems awesome so now I'm really torn lol. The Celestron X-Cel LX 7mm or 9mm. So I think it's gonna be either that one or a Paradigm

#6 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10568
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:26 AM

In the long run, while a little more expensive, I'd go with the ES82s or ES68s. You won't regret the extra couple of bucks......and they'll be useable down the road in any other scope you get....

#7 SeattleScott

SeattleScott

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1361
  • Joined: 14 Oct 2011

Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:50 AM

An 8mm combined with your Barlow would be a good combo, depending on seeing conditions in your area. 7 to 9 range would work well too. Hard to beat the paradigm or excels. Zhummel Planetaries are another good option. The ES ones have a wider FOV so things stay in view longer, but they have less eye relief, which is a problem if you wear glasses.

#8 spencerj

spencerj

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1150
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2004
  • Loc: Londonderry, NH

Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:46 AM

Take a look at the TMB planetary eyepieces. I have owned a few of them over the years. They are pretty sharp eyepieces and are more comfortable and easier to use than a Plossl or Ortho at shorter focal lengths. Apparently they are available for $40 from Astronomics. That is a steal.

As for a focal length, a 7mm would be a very useful eyepiece for the XT8. It would give you around 170x which is enough magnification to see a fair amount of detail in the planets. Also great for globular clusters, double stars, the moon, planetary nebula. It is also a magnification that would be useful just about every night out. If seeing doesn't support 170x on a given night, the eyepieces in your case are the least of your problems.

#9 caheaton

caheaton

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1554
  • Joined: 26 May 2009
  • Loc: SW Ohio

Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:28 AM

Given that you already have a 25mm plossl, I'd suggest sticking with plossls (at least for now). Later as you move to more expensive ep's with wider fields of view, you will likely keep those plossls as a handy base set of ep's (I feel everyone should have a set of ortho's or plossls on hand along with their other ep's).

Your existing ep is probably an Orion Sirius, so you could consider getting a 17mm Sirius. 15mm would be even more optimal, but that size isn't offered in that series, so you would need to consider other makes (Meade 4000, Celestron Omni, GSO are all good, economical choices). Here's a break down of what you have and what those focal lengths would offer:
fl magnification exit pupil (relative brightness)
25mm 48x 4.2mm
17mm 71x 2.8mm
12.5mm 96x 2.1mm (ideal for general deep sky)
8.5mm 141x 1.4mm (planets can show some detail at this magnification, even under less than ideal skies)

15mm 80x 2.5mm
7.5mm 160x 1.3mm (very usable power for planets, good for most sky conditions)

Hope this helps a bit... :-)

#10 Paco_Grande

Paco_Grande

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1594
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Banana Republic of California

Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:51 AM

Thanks guys for the informative responses, I've been researching since I posted this and I found an EP that seems awesome so now I'm really torn lol. The Celestron X-Cel LX 7mm or 9mm. So I think it's gonna be either that one or a Paradigm


If you're going to spend $75 on the X-Cel, might as well spend a bit more and go for the Explore Scientific 8.8mm. Or, get the Paradigm.

As always, the main problem with the ES line is they're so often not in stock. :( So snag them when they are in stock.

#11 nmitsthefish

nmitsthefish

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 112
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2013
  • Loc: Northern Berkshires, MA

Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:24 PM

Oh my, this thread has got my head spinning even more than before! Lol but that's very very good, and I'm happy because of it, you guys are dropping so much knowledge on me that by the time I do buy an EP which won't be for at least a month, ill be super prepared to make my decision. Also, what's ridiculous is that the XT8 I bought hasn't even arrived yet so I'm really jumping the gun by obsessing over a new EP without even a single night of observing. But I'm the type to want as much information as possible before I even start something so I can always have it in the back of my mind in practice to make better decisions later.

You guys got me loving the idea of the ES82, and it's so funny because when I was looking at the Celestron x-cel I thought "hey it's only $15 more than the paradigm" now I'm looking at the ES like "hey it's only $15 more than the x-cel". At this rate ill have a set of naglers in no time!

And for some reason I'm thinking of going pretty high powered with the ES 6.7mm instead of the 8.8mm but really I have to see the quality of the shorty Barlow that Orion sends me I think. Because I like the idea of, with the 6.7mm, having 179x without adding more glass to it, although barlowed that's 358x. Is that exceeding a practical and comfortable viewing mag? With the 8.8mm I'd get a 136x and barlowed 272x.

I've seen mixed feeling on using barlows at all; some people hate them. Which is why I'm a bit skeptical with relying on having one, especially a stock one from Orion. Anyone have experience with this Barlow? Will it perform better with better EPs? Should I try not to use it with high powered pieces less than 9mm and only use it for low and mid power pieces?

#12 ohioalfa64

ohioalfa64

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 16 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Ohio (NW)

Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:38 PM

Yes you are right. It is Eyepiece madness here.

#13 Jarrod

Jarrod

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1115
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2013
  • Loc: SE USA

Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:53 PM

+1 on the 8.8mm ES 82. Great EP, and it would really complement your 25mm and barlow giving you 25, 12.5, 8.8, and 4.4mm focal lengths.

I have the same OTA as what you do and my 6.7mm is used more often then either the 8.8 or 4.7. It's good for planetary *and* DSOs and conditions allow for this magnifications on most nights I judge it worthwhile to drag the stuff outside. So I might go for the 6.7 first, then save for the 8.8 next. And that's how the madness begins. :grin:

#14 Allan...

Allan...

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 346
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Penticton B.C. Canada

Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:57 PM

Not sure where you're located, nmitsthefish, but I would personally suggest waiting to see how you make out with the stock 25mm plossl and 2x barlow before going to higher power eyepieces. You COULD be disappointed. I have seldom ever got below 7mm (barlowed 14mm) to be honest (in MY seeing conditions); tried a 6mm once or twice but no go unless looking at the moon. I have the same scope here as you will. I now find myself using LOWER power 2" eyepieces much more; for viewing galaxies and such. If you want high power, the ES8.8mm might be a good choice but I personally wouldn't go to anything much more powerful before you see how 12.5mm works out (your barlowed 25mm). I think there would be very few times where you could use a 6.7mm barlowed at 2x, though I could be wrong..lol. Allan
ps: Jarrod, just read your report on the 6.7mm; surprising but GOOD info. You must have really good seeing conditions there...or maybe I just have really BAD...lol. (am so often in the Jetstream here).

#15 TexasRed

TexasRed

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 976
  • Joined: 17 May 2011
  • Loc: East Texas

Posted 18 June 2013 - 03:00 PM

There's nothing wrong with the Orion shorty Barlow. It's a great way to double your eyepiece collection and preserve the eye relief of longer focal length eyepieces. You'll very rarely be able to use 358x magnification or any exit pupil below about .7mm, so plan your eyepiece purchases to avoid ones you won't be able to use with your Barlow.

#16 Kevdog

Kevdog

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Joined: 11 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Desert Hills, AZ

Posted 18 June 2013 - 03:09 PM

I have the ES 82 8.8mm eyepiece and it was great in my Meade LT8 with a 2000mm focal distance. But now it's practically useless since I upgraded to a C11. I'm thinking of selling it to get an ES82 -14 or 18 which would be much more useful in my C11. Definitely a good series.

The problem with eyepieces is there are soooooo many choices.

THe Orion Epic II ED's were also listed as great planetary eyepieces for not much money and they are on sale now. $60 for the 15mm here:
http://www.telescope...on-Epic-II-E...

They are not as wide as the ES82s at "only" 60 degrees, but I read they were good for planets so it's been sitting in my list while I try and figure out whether to spend $60 for a 15mm 60deg or $100 for a 14mm 82 deg or $150 for a 18mm 82 deg 2" eyepiece! OR just be happy with what I have (yeah right)!

But my most used eyepiece now is my Williams Optic 40mm 2" SWAN. Wide field and big exit pupil for viewing the DSOs.

#17 Thomas Karpf

Thomas Karpf

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1746
  • Joined: 09 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Newington, CT

Posted 18 June 2013 - 03:13 PM

You guys got me loving the idea of the ES82, and it's so funny because when I was looking at the Celestron x-cel I thought "hey it's only $15 more than the paradigm" now I'm looking at the ES like "hey it's only $15 more than the x-cel". At this rate ill have a set of naglers in no time!


Yeah, you've gotta' love those incremental increases. With me, it's computers, cell phones, etc. 'For an additional $100 I can double the RAM, for another $50 I can increase the hard drive size 25%' and pretty soon the only 'reasonable' PC is at double or triple the original budget for the 'basic PC' you were looking for.

#18 spencerj

spencerj

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1150
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2004
  • Loc: Londonderry, NH

Posted 18 June 2013 - 03:24 PM

On a budget, I understand the logic of using a barlow to "double" your eyepiece collection. On paper it looks great, but you need to be sure you are happy with the barlow--and using a barlow in general. I have used the 2x shorty from Orion (not the shorty plus which is essentially the Celestion Ultima barlow and much better). I found it to be just ok. I think it would be fine for barlowing the 25mm, but using it on an 8.8mm eyepeice? I would not recommend that as your primary planetary setup. 270x is likely going to be too much magnification for a lot of seeing conditions and targets.

At that magnification, every imperfection is magnified. The moon and Saturn would be fine some of the time (though always a bit fuzzy), but Mars and Jupiter . . . not so much. Mars and Jupiter's low-contrast detail will get washed out. And what else are you going to view at 270x? That leaves you with your highest useful magnification of about 135x. That is fine for a lot of double stars and globular clusters would look great, but that is not enough magnification for your primary lunar and planetary eyepiece. It will leave you short of the potential of your scope.

Anyway, that is just my experience/opinion. If I were in your position, I would spend my money (whatever you are comfortable with) on the eyepiece that I plan use the most: a 7mm or if it has to be an ES the 6.7mm. If that eyepiece barlows well then it is a bonus, but I would not compromise and get stuck at an in-between magnification, because the barlowed focal length of a certain eyepiece looks better on paper.

#19 sg6

sg6

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 774
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Norfolk, UK.

Posted 18 June 2013 - 04:11 PM

For what was described I would consider the Astro-Tech Paradigms at $60. They are a very good performer for the cost, of course it depends on the budget you have in mind.

The 8mm fits the requirements, performs well at f/5 so on the Orion should handle the f/5.9 quiet easily and they have a wider view and better eye relief then a plossl.

As has been mentioned a barlow can be a good item if the barlow performs well enough that it does not degrade what you see and that can mean paying a fair amount for a good barlow.

#20 pftarch

pftarch

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 581
  • Joined: 21 Sep 2007

Posted 18 June 2013 - 04:21 PM

.....looking at the Celestron x-cel I thought "hey it's only $15 more than the paradigm" now I'm looking at the ES like "hey it's only $15 more than the x-cel". At this rate ill have a set of naglers in no time! ....


Your statement above indicates that although you are a beginner, you have already mastered the finer points of astronomy.

Happy Viewing!

Peter T


ps. hey, the Ethos is only a "little" more than the Naglers.

#21 nmitsthefish

nmitsthefish

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 112
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2013
  • Loc: Northern Berkshires, MA

Posted 18 June 2013 - 04:46 PM

The 8mm fits the requirements, performs well at f/5 so on the Orion should handle the f/5.9 quiet easily and they have a wider view and better eye relief then a plossl.
.


So you think I should eliminate the 6.7mm or 7mm options? How do I determine how well they would perform given my specs? Because I was leaning towards Jarrods advice and starting with the 6.7 then go for the 8.8 later. I'm talking about if I spent the extra money on the ES. But if I do decide to just go with the paradigm I would definitely go 8mm opposed to 5mm.

#22 nmitsthefish

nmitsthefish

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 112
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2013
  • Loc: Northern Berkshires, MA

Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:47 PM

So super exciting news! My order tracking says my scope *should* arrive tomorrow! And the weather forecast says clear skies for the evening, so I may have my first session =) secondly, in my original post it says I have no astronomy clubs within a hundred mile radius? Well apparently there is a "star party" held by Amherst college up on the tallest peak in Massachusetts, and that happens to be basically right in my backyard, ten minute drive! I may get to make some friends after all. Lol sorry I know it's irrelevant, I'm just excited

#23 kfiscus

kfiscus

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2133
  • Joined: 09 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA

Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:10 PM

I would encourage you to buy used EPs from well-rated sellers here and Astromart. You will be able to find EPs that are as good as new and put them through their paces. Take very good care of them. Sell them for what you paid if they're not right for you. I've been at this awhile and now have Naglers- none bought new. Keep your mind and eyes open, the madness comes and goes...

#24 cliffy54

cliffy54

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 518
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2010
  • Loc: ma

Posted 19 June 2013 - 06:21 AM

I agree with kfiscus buy used and pay attention to the sellers ratings. I ended up selling about a dozen eyepieces because I just never used them they were like brand new maybe used once or twice of course I sold them at a loss.

I'm pass the eyepiece thing now I have four eyepieces for all my scopes and they get used regularly. If I was ever in the market for an eyepiece I would definitely buy used.

#25 lamplight

lamplight

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2497
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2012
  • Loc: western MA, U.S.

Posted 19 June 2013 - 11:24 AM

Well apparently there is a "star party" held by Amherst college up on the tallest peak in Massachusetts, and that happens to be basically right in my backyard, ten minute drive! I may get to make some friends after all. Lol sorry I know it's irrelevant, I'm just excited


Can you post some info on that I hadn't heard of it! There's a star party in Plainfield ma I'm going to in August, rockland astronomy club.

I really think you won't get to use the 6.7 much due to atmospheric conditions, but its hard to say.. I haven't observed in the berkshires but I do know we have way more humidity here in the pioneer valley and am closer to larger cities light pollution, so who knows..

What you'll see if the atmosphere isn't supporting a certain magnification : stars start getting soft and fuzzy.. If you Barlow to 12mm.. See what it looks like.. (as already mentioned). and remember thats just that night.. it can vary throughout a single night and night to night (seeing conditions) . Personally I'd go for something in 10-8mm . I have the ES 6.7 and don't get to use it much.

Otoh it is one of the rare ES 82° eyepieces that are in stock. I also second the astro tech paradigm pieces I use them a lot still even though I have other more expensive pieces.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics