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Maxvison 24/68 and 20/68 review

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#1 McUH

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 06:38 AM

With the "unbelievable" limited offerings on the Maxvision eyepieces and so little reviews or user experiences with them, I decided to grab a few to try. For the price I'm not losing much, even if they are useless. These are the eyepieces I'm writing about:
Maxvision eyepieces
They look like Meade 5000 SWA's (though I don't own one to compare). The rumours are, Meade made a large order of them, but with the current financial problems, they could not pay for it. So they are now sold unbranded (or rather branded as Maxvision) for discount prices. Once sold, they won't be available any more (though few shipments are still on the way, some of the "out of stock" may yet come back). If true, these might become unique items :-). There are only some focal lengths available (for 82° only two actually), which seems to support the rumours. They are quite big and heavy, esp. the 2'' versions, so I stayed with 1,25'' barrels only. You can check the Meade 5000 SWA's here:
Meade 5000 SWA
The eyepieces I've chosen are: 24mm/68°, since I did not have any 1,25'' with this FL, and it provides maximum FOV. And 20mm/68°, because I only have Plössl and some unknown department EP at this FL. 16mm was not available when I made purchase, otherwise I would grab it too. These Maxvison cost 60-80 eur, equivalent Meade 5000 are around 220 eur in Europe, quite a difference.

Build quality
They have plain looks without any fancy paintings, but I like it. They are sturdy and seem pretty well built. Instead of usual eye-caps you can twist the eyepiece and the eye-rest slides towards you. The 24mm is rather big and heavy for 1,25'' - around 400g, but still within reasonable limits not to cause any balance problems. The 20mm is smaller and comparable to other designs in size and weight, perhaps about 250g.

Observing
I've only limited experience with around 1 year of observing with fast achromats, so take my insights more like a pointers than rigid examinations. Also I do not have any top tier EP to compare (like Televue or Pentax) - I have mostly medium tier EPs around 150eur/piece and also some budget sets like Plössls and HR planetaries. Eye relief of Maxvision eypieces should be cca 20mm for the 24/68 and cca 15mm for the 20/68. I did not measure it, but it seems about right, maybe a bit smaller. I do not wear glasses while observing and both EP are comfortable to look through. With glasses it might get tricky, esp. with the 20mm.

Day observations
Observing was done with Skywatcher ST120 (120mm F5 achromat).
The Sun
First target was Sun with Baader solar foil. I used the the 20mm EP, the image was nice, sharp and crisp. When I added the Baader solar continuum contrast filter, it truly came to life. Granularity was obvious and easily visible, sun spots well defined and sharp - much better than 20mm Plössl. Image was crisp and sharp almost to the edge, but first defect is seen - near the edge (on all sides) the Sun is egg-shaped instead of round circle.
Landscape/structures
From sun I moved to landscape structures and buildings where I tested both - 24mm and 20mm, they performed with similar results. Again, image was crisp and sharp in almost full field, only very near edge (5%?) did it lose clarity. Again it looked crisper than Plössl, though closer now, probably because atmosphere was boiling over there. However, with straight lines (buildings) the optical aberration was clear - the lines were becoming curves toward the edge, from the images on Wiki it looks like Pincushion distortion. This was noticeable even not far from centre and became pronounced near the edges. However I'm not sure how much is from eyepiece and how much is from fast uncorrected scope. When I tried Plössl the pincushion was still there, it was much smaller, this could be because of much smaller AFOV (52°). The inner 52° of Maxvision field looked similar to Plössl with regard to field curvature and it became more pronounced outwards.
Later I compared with Axiom 23/82° which is similar focal length and wide field (but 2''). Pincushion was still there, but smaller than in Maxvision EP. So I would say part of it is from the scope and part from the Maxvision EP, which together creates noticeable distortion unfortunately.
I stopped aperture to 5.75cm which turns the scope to F10.4 with idea of being better corrected. I don't know whether this should affect field curvature but to my eyes it did not, it was still there in the same level.
Barlow: I have GSO ED long barlow 3x, which works very well in general. Later, when air was no longer so hot, I tried it with both Maxvision EPs. This gave 75x (24mm) and 90x(20mm). Images remained very sharp in both EPs. The pincushion distortion seemed smaller, maybe because of bigger focal length?
Note: On Meade's web page they say about 5000 SWA: "perfect optical match for Schmidt-Cassegrains, fast Newtonians and Schmidt-Newtonians.". No mention of refractors, so maybe that is why I'm getting such a big pincushion there...
Conclusion Day: Cheap and excellent EP for Sun observation in white light but not for terrestrial observation.

Night observations
For night, I've chosen Celestron C9 Edge (235mm F10 SCT). This scope I only got very recently, so everything will look superb in it, my observations might be biased :smirk:.
First I tested on buildings: pincushion still present but smaller, yet some shows in Axiom EP too, though very small.
Star fields (Cygni region): pinpoint stars in full field, pincushion was not observable even when I did look for it (moving star patterns towards edges). Perfect to my eyes, I did not notice any aberrations.
M57 Ring nebula: good well defined image, especially with UHC filter.
Lyra double double: 2nd split was only hinted, but it looks like seeing problem. With 11mm/82° Explore scientific the split was done but it was very wavy.
Albiero double: pretty image, colours showing well.
M13 Hercules globular cluster: Sharp well defined beautiful image with stars resolved except for the core. For core it needs more magnification, not eyepiece fault.
Moon: Razor sharp image in full FOV. Pincushion can be seen when one looks for it (terminator becomes slightly curved towards the edge), but it was not disturbing at all.
Conclusion Night: Great eyepieces with nothing to really complain about, except for slight field curvature, which is not easy to notice anyway.

Final verdict: Excellent performance for the price. The only downside I noticed is some field curvature (pincushion). Will they replace your Televue? Probably not, unless you need the money :-). But I think they are true cheap alternative to something like Panoptic. Definitely a keeper for me, and on most nights it will replace 23mm/82° Axiom to avoid balancing problems. For long focal length scopes I recommend them without reservations. For short FL scopes it is still very good value for night use or observing Sun, though you might notice some field curvature. I would not recommend them for daytime terrestrial viewing, especially with short focal length refractors.

Disclaimer: Before purchasing the eyepieces I did not even know "Maxvision" company exists :smirk:.

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#2 Don Taylor

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 08:53 AM

I understand Maxvision is another brand owned by JOC and sold in markets other than the USA and believe these eyepieces are identical to the Meade 5000 SWA 68 degree eyepieces that Meade discontinued a couple of years ago. I own the 40, 28, 24, and 20 (marked as Meade) and they are excellent performers.

The story about these coming from a cancelled Meade order could be true - if they were already assembled only a change in the trim ring and packaging would be necessary.

Then again, these could be production not intended for sale in your market (so-called gray-market product) as is sometimes seen with photographic goods. Don't know if this design was exclusive to Meade per se but it's unlikely as many of the Meade branded items made in PRC have long been available with other branding.

Regardless, they are great eyepieces and represent the predecessor of the current ES 68 degree eyepiece line.

#3 JonNPR

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 02:19 PM

If I am understanding the shipping fees at Explore Scientific DE correctly, ordering to U.S. address adds 59 Euro to the very nice item fee. :(

Jon

Edit - "DE" for "UK"

#4 gregory93

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 03:39 PM

I got one 24mm 68* about a month ago(i had cancelled my 9 month order on the 24mm ES 68*) and tested under ~5.3 mag skies with good seeing.My only eyepiece at that fl is the sirius plossl (i exclude the hyp zoom at 24mm setting).I was really impressed.The field was very flat right to the edge,with pinpoint stars even at the very edge!The background was darker and the 1.36 TFOV (scope XT8) was something more than subtle (1.08 TFOV with the plossl)

I definitely recommend them!!

Clea skies

#5 Don Taylor

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 04:06 PM

If I am understanding the shipping fees at Explore Scientific DE correctly, ordering to U.S. address adds 59 Euro to the very nice item fee. :(

Jon



Edit - "DE" for "UK"


If ordering to a us address it would be less expensive to just buy the ES 68 or 82 degree eyepieces - although some fl's have been hard to find from time to time (such as the 24 mm 68 degree). Unless you prefer the twist up eye guard.

Several dealers in the us seem to have most of them now.

#6 JonNPR

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 08:35 PM

It's been difficult to buy an ES 24 mm 68* for quite a while. I had momentarily been lit up over the review and price, for essentially a very very similar EP.

Are the 68 24s showing up at vendors you know?

Thanks,

Jon

#7 ibase

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 11:25 PM

They look like Meade 5000 SWA's (though I don't own one to compare).


Great report! Yes, they do look like the Meade SWA 5K series, I have the full set and they are very good performers.

Posted Image
Meade 16, 20, 24, 28, 34, 40mm SWA Series 5000

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#8 Mark9473

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 01:17 PM

On the larger specimens, how is the viewing experience with that big flat eyecup? Is it true you need to hold your head at an angle to look through them?

#9 Don Taylor

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:08 PM

It's been difficult to buy an ES 24 mm 68* for quite a while. I had momentarily been lit up over the review and price, for essentially a very very similar EP.

Are the 68 24s showing up at vendors you know?

Thanks,

Jon


Yes, I just checked Agena and the show the 24mm 68 degree in stock

#10 ibase

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:22 PM

On the larger specimens, how is the viewing experience with that big flat eyecup? Is it true you need to hold your head at an angle to look through them?


Not at all (40 & 34mm's), the eye reliefs are ample enough, no need for odd head positioning to comfortably see the entire field.

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#11 Don Taylor

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 11:08 PM

On the larger specimens, how is the viewing experience with that big flat eyecup? Is it true you need to hold your head at an angle to look through them?


Not at all (40 & 34mm's), the eye reliefs are ample enough, no need for odd head positioning to comfortably see the entire field.

Best,


I agree (I own the 40 mm). Perhaps the biggest challenge, at least with the 40 mm is the weight and overall size. As someone that grew up with Plossls the 40 mm SWA is HUGE. My observing buddy and I call that eyepiece "The Pineapple" because it's about the same shape (upside down) and nearly the same size.

#12 ibase

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:33 AM

On the larger specimens, how is the viewing experience with that big flat eyecup? Is it true you need to hold your head at an angle to look through them?


Not at all (40 & 34mm's), the eye reliefs are ample enough, no need for odd head positioning to comfortably see the entire field.

Best,


I agree (I own the 40 mm). Perhaps the biggest challenge, at least with the 40 mm is the weight and overall size. As someone that grew up with Plossls the 40 mm SWA is HUGE.



Indeed, the 40mm is huge in comparison to the Plossl:

Posted Image
L-R: Meade SWA 40mm 5K, Celestron Axiom LX 23mm, Celestron 25mm Plossl


My observing buddy and I call that eyepiece "The Pineapple" because it's about the same shape (upside down) and nearly the same size.


And it's probably one of the most bulbous EP ever, that it makes the soda can appear thin in comparison. :)

Posted Image

Best,

#13 JonNPR

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 12:46 PM

Thanks Don. Placed my order from Agena this morning. I had begun to give up on these being available for the summer.

Jon

#14 SteveG

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 04:05 PM

If you strip the shroud off, they'll look like this:

20mm, 34mm, 24mm

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