By the way - to all who are posting - this is proving to be a most enjoyable thread! My goal in starting it was to guide some of my future purchases for high powere planetary viewing as well as for threshold deep sky feature detection...
Actually, I find these conversations a bit frustrating, because most of the contributors say little or nothing about the scopes, conditions, and especially barlows
that they must be using. How can you compare a brandon to an XO? Answer: you can't, because the brandons stop at 8mm. So either the comparison is meaningless or there's an undisclosed barlow in the picture, in which case the comparison is again meaningless. I don't even understand Brandons as a planetary eyepiece set, unless people have f/16 scopes or are using barlows: in my experience, most critical planetary viewing is done at exit pupils between 0.5 and 1 mm. (And larger pupils are used in big aperture scopes, but the Brandon crowd, as far as I can tell, aren't using such scopes with their Brandons...) And that means focal lengths somewhere between 3mm and 7 or 8 mm, depending on the focal ratio of the scope used--perhaps longer for very slow scopes. I realize it complicates a post to include "extraneous" information such as scope and barlow used, but I think it would be helpful if more contributors to this sort of thread did just that. So 'fess up, Brandon lovers, what barlow are you using? And if you're not using one, I have no interest in your opinion, because chances are you're not using high enough powers to make a critical distinction between eyepieces. And thank you to the Leica users who have been forthright about which barlows they're using, and on what scopes.
For what it's worth, I found the 7mm BGO to be on par with the 7.5 Tak LE for scatter and sharpness on Saturn, whether in my 8-inch f/6 Zambuto dob with a TV 2x barlow, or straight up in my old 16-in f/5 swayze. I liked the 8mm TV plossl better. The BGO put up a large but faint glare field around the planet, with a sky background possibly grayer even than the Tak, and noticeably less dark than a 7T6 Nagler. I found the 7XW to be far superior to the Tak LE for scatter control, and at least as sharp in the same scopes, with a much darker sky background around the planet. I did not do a head-to-head between the BGO and XW.
I am able to imagine, with some difficulty, eyepieces with better planetary performance than the XWs, but I'm not willing to go the sub-50-degree field, zero eye relief approach of the XOs (whose only usable focal length for me would be the 5mm anyway) and short focal-length orthos. Hence my interest in reports that the Leica ASPH bests the XWs, when combined with a quality barlow.