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Pentax XW versus Delos, an informal comparison

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#1 coutleef

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 09:57 AM

I had recently the chance to compare the performance of several Delos eyepieces with that of Pentax XW EPs. The Deloi i looked through (and kept) are the 4.5, 6, 8, 12, 14. I traded my Pentax 7mm to have more versatility with 6 and 8mm EPs, not because i was unsatisfied with the Pentax 7mm. I bought the Delos 14 to try it and compare it to the Pentax 14 XW as some have issues with the XW, which is not my case.

These comparison were made on three telescopes. Keep in mind that i only use small aperture scopes and not monster dobs: a 4 inch f/7 refractor, a 8 inch SCT and a 12 inch f/5 dob. Some have reported differences between the Deloi and other minimal glass eyepieces and Ethoi using big dobs, which is not my case. These comparisons were done on several nights of average to good seeing with good transparency from the city and from a dark site. They are informal and non systematic. I just want to share my first impressions. I am not an eyepiece expert as Bill Paolini or Philip Creed, so this thread is more of what i saw and my personnal impression.

The short story : i think Televue has hit an homerun with the Delos eyepiece series. We were in need of a wider choice of focal lengths in the area of EPs offering 68 to 72 degrees of FOV with good eye relief. It is always good to have a little bit of competition and the Pentax XW were almost alone with these characteristics. Very comfortable to use, wide views, immersive and having a neutral tone, i think Televue has managed to produce a line of high quality EPs as good as the Pentax XW, which by itself was not a small task.

I will not go into a detailed comparison between all the EPs since i found that the Delos 4,5, 6, 8, 12 (i did not have a Delos 10 in my hands) performed optically and ergonomically equivalently to the Pentax XW 7 and 10mm. So the Delos 4.5-12 were very sharp on and off-axis on all my scopes, including my dob with a paracorr, except for some FC coming from my SCT possibly in the Delos 12mm. Compared to the Pentax EPs i own, it was a little bit more difficult to hold the exit pupil with the Delos than the Pentax. But lets be honest, i have been using the Pentax EPs for over a year, perhaps i just need a little bit of practice with the Deloi. The 20mm of eye relief in both EP lines is very comfortable with my glasses on and the adjustable eyecup and housing is very easy to use in both lines.

Then i tried the 14mm. Many complain about the FC with the 14 and 20 Pentax XW. Personally, i do not have any issue with these eyepieces with my refractor as there is no FC visible with these EP with that refractor. Paradoxically, i did notice a very slight degree of FC with the Delos 14 with that scope, but i suspect it comes from the scope itself as there is not FC using the Delos 14 on my f/5 dob without a paracorr. So in the chapter of FC, on my refractor, both the Pentax and Delos performed equally. With the SCT, there was FC with both EPs, in the outer 5-7% for the Pentax and less than that with the Delos. Part of that comes from the SCT for sure, but there was more with the Pentax. Personally the difference is not relevant for me, but that may be different depending on your obsession of looking at the field stop. And that may vary significantly between observers. I am 55 but when i focus a star in the outer half of the FOV, i really can focus on most of the FOV without problem even with the Pentax 14. So again, i would rate these EPs similarly in my SCT.

The story was very different with the dob. Without a paracorr, there was a lot of FC with the 14 and 20 Pentax XW. So much, that i would not use these EPs without a paracorr in a fast dob. With the Delos 14, i started seeing what seemed to me to be coma without using a paracorr coming from the scope most probably, at the outer 5% (or less) of the FOV. On the moon, i noticed loosing details in craters near the edge along the terminator. Again i suspect this comes from my mirror more than the eyepiece as i had the same problem with well corrected EPs in my dob. Something i had encountered with the 20T5, 24 pan, 16T5, 26T5 and panoptic 35. I can manage FC but hate coma!! Thus, i am always using a paracorr and would use one with the Delos 14 anyway. But the Delos 14 could be used in a fast dob without a paracorr. How did the Pentax 14 and Delos 14 mm compare in the fast dob but this time with a paracorr : both beautifully. Fantastic EPs, very immersive, excellent contrast and pinpoint stars from centre to edge. The only difference, one is lighter than the other.

Now came the evaluation of one of the potential problem with the Delos 14 : it requires more infocus than the other Deloi. Quite true, but not a problem with my scopes : just a couple of turns required with the SCT. The same with the refractor (an inch perhaps??). Really not an issue (especially from someone who used a focal reducer with his SCT : then you really need to refocus!!). Nothing annoying about the Delos. Just that it will not be parafocal with the other Delos. But i am used to that since in the past, i owned EPs from different companies that were not parafocal anyway.

I feared of using the Delos 14 in my dob. Would i have enough in focus?? I had changed the stock focuser on that scope with a low profile moonlite focuser. Without the paracorr, and with the paracorr, i could reach focus without problem. Interestingly, i continue to use a Pentax 10mm, and the focus is reached with that EP between the Delos 12 and Delos 14. So it is not that bad after all. But i could see that it could be a problem with some scopes. If you want all your Delos 14 to be ± parafocal with the other Deloi, then you will need to purchase an adapter that will cost $50.

What are my conclusions :

1) in the FL range of 12mm and below, both lines seem to be equivalent (i have not tested the 5mm Pentax and the 3.5 Delos). I would choose depending on the FL needed and on price. The advantage of the Pentax is that they can be obtained on the used market which is rarer for the Delos. But the Delos offer a wider range of choice which is interesting if you have more than one scope with different f ratios and FL.
2) For a 14mm EP, if you are one annoyed by FC and do not want to use a paracorr, then the Delos 14 is for you. If you use a paracorr with your dob, both a equivalent and i would have a hard time to chose. If you use a refractor, just try before you buy. Both may be equivalent. For a SCT, those who obsess over looking at the field stop should get a Delos. But you can be very happy with the Pentax otherwise.
3) There is no clear winner between these EP lines. I think the clear winner here is the amateur astronomer community : more choice and possibly some competition on price.
4) But it think there could be a clear looser with the advent of the Delos : the nagler T6 line. I looked at clusters with my 12 inch dob on Friday evening, comparing the Pentax with the Delos. Because of bad conditions in the last year, i had not looked at clusters that much in the last year. And it struck me : stars were full of colors with the Delos and Pentax, much more then when i was using T6s. I had the series of T6 from 7 to 13 before. The clusters were dull in terms of color with the T6, colors that were completely revealed with the Delos (and Pentax). This is something i had missed using the nagler T6 because they do not offer a neutral tone as the Delos does, at least to my eye. After this experience with the Delos, i will not get back to the T6. I like too much clusters and it was a revelation to me to see stars with the colors they should have.

I hope this helps if you are looking to purchase some of the Delos EPs. Notice that i have no idea how the Delos 17.5 performs.

Now i am done buying EPs. I thought i was done after purchasing the Pentax, but the Delos are just as good and offered more possibility in terms of FL, so i combined both lines of EPs in my EP case, and they live very well together.

#2 csrlice12

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 10:21 AM

"Now i am done buying EPs." :roflmao:
:funny:

#3 NHRob

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:02 AM

"Now i am done buying EPs."

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#4 Lew Zealand

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:04 AM

"Now i am done buying EPs." :roflmao:
:funny:


While everyone is different, I think it's possible to be "done" buying EPs. Now, I'm not saying for sure or anything but it's possible. I have 50+ EPs (a ballpark guess, maybe I should count 'em or something), and I would buy a new EP or 3 at PATS each year but even though that didn't happen this year, I didn't have anything I wanted to buy. Yes, yes there are things I *could* buy but nothing I *wanted* to buy. Which is surprising as I have no Delos or Pentax or 100° EPs and all of those have good pricing right now. But here's the kicker:
I brought 3 new telescopes into the stable since buying my last EP. :jawdrop: :shrug: :yay:

Perhaps I've turned the EP corner, maybe I've been knocked on the head one too many times by the kids, could be sunspots.

But wait. François wrote:

"4) But it think there could be a clear looser with the advent of the Delos : the nagler T6 line. I looked at clusters with my 12 inch dob on Friday evening, comparing the Pentax with the Delos. Because of bad conditions in the last year, i had not looked at clusters that much in the last year. And it struck me : stars were full of colors with the Delos and Pentax, much more then when i was using T6s."

The last 2 EPs I bought were the 3.5 and 5mm Nagler T6s. Delos, you say, hmmm? On sale, you say, hmmm... :question:

#5 coutleef

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:07 AM

OK guys,

in one year from now, we will look at my sig and compare the EPs i am using now and those that i will use then. i do not think they will be different.

i wont buy new ones, unless they come out with a pentax xw or Delos 24mm.

#6 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:37 AM

The short story : i think Televue has hit an homerun with the Delos eyepiece series.


Absolutely. If we are to believe the marketing, these were Ethos derivations therefore Ethos had to come first. But this should have been the eyepiece that TeleVue introduced 6 years ago.

1) in the FL range of 12mm and below, both lines seem to be equivalent (i have not tested the 5mm Pentax and the 3.5 Delos).


I just picked up the 5XW, looking forward to putting it through it's paces. I will have to barlow a Delos to get equal focal lengths. Hardly fair to the Delos, but I'll do it anyway out of curiosity.

4) But it think there could be a clear looser with the advent of the Delos : the nagler T6 line.


Interesting observation. The only T6 I have owned was the 13 Nagler, and it didn't knock my socks off. It didn't stay in my collection long.

Now i am done buying EPs.


Until the Nagler Type7's and Panoptic Type 2's come out of course. :grin:

#7 mgwhittle

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:01 PM

Excellent write up! First rate, enjoyed reading it.

And it struck me : stars were full of colors with the Delos and Pentax, much more then when i was using T6s. I had the series of T6 from 7 to 13 before. The clusters were dull in terms of color with the T6, colors that were completely revealed with the Delos (and Pentax). This is something i had missed using the nagler T6 because they do not offer a neutral tone as the Delos does, at least to my eye. After this experience with the Delos, i will not get back to the T6. I like too much clusters and it was a revelation to me to see stars with the colors they should have.


This was also a shock to me when I started using my Delos. If you think the colors aren't visible in the T6, try the Explore Scientific eyepieces. They are absolutely monotone compared to the Delos.

#8 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:15 PM

This is not exactly related to the OP, but I wanted to add my 2 cents here regarding the transmission of a 14mm Delos vs a 14mm ES 100.

I compared the two on NGC-6946 in Cepheus, which is extremely faint where I go observe in around 5.2 mag skies. In the 14mm Delos, the brightness of NGC-6946 was only slightly brighter than seeing it in my 14mm ES 100 degree eyepiece. I went back and forth quite a bit.

PS: This observation was done right after the 14mm ES 100 was launched from 6 feet in the air landing on rocks and dirt below, LOL. True story.

:penny: :penny:

#9 BillP

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:25 PM

François,

Great report :waytogo: :waytogo: The extra in-focus for the 14 and 17mm Delos is documented on the TV Epp Specifications page. Those two are not parafocal with the rest of the line and require approx 1/2 inch more in-travel than the others. The vividness of colors in stars you noticed with the T6 line compared to the XW/Delos is also something I have seen as well.

Overall great review. Getting past the optical and into the ergonomics/mechanicals, what was your impression of the mechanical eye guard differences between the XW and Delos? Did one fare better than the other after extended use, or more of 6/one, half dozen of the other?

#10 REC

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:08 PM

The 13t6, really, you didn't like it too much?? I use it all the time in my scopes and like the lightness and compactness of it. Works really well in my 80ED for medium power, but never looked through the Delos or Pentax though.

Bob

#11 csrlice12

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:09 PM

This is not exactly related to the OP, but I wanted to add my 2 cents here regarding the transmission of a 14mm Delos vs a 14mm ES 100.

I compared the two on NGC-6946 in Cepheus, which is extremely faint where I go observe in around 5.2 mag skies. In the 14mm Delos, the brightness of NGC-6946 was only slightly brighter than seeing it in my 14mm ES 100 degree eyepiece. I went back and forth quite a bit.

PS: This observation was done right after the 14mm ES 100 was launched from 6 feet in the air landing on rocks and dirt below, LOL. True story.

:penny: :penny:


See, you thought we were kidding when we told you it was a morter shell...... :lol:

#12 coutleef

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:22 PM

François,

Great report :waytogo: :waytogo: The extra in-focus for the 14 and 17mm Delos is documented on the TV Epp Specifications page. Those two are not parafocal with the rest of the line and require approx 1/2 inch more in-travel than the others. The vividness of colors in stars you noticed with the T6 line compared to the XW/Delos is also something I have seen as well.

Overall great review. Getting past the optical and into the ergonomics/mechanicals, what was your impression of the mechanical eye guard differences between the XW and Delos? Did one fare better than the other after extended use, or more of 6/one, half dozen of the other?


thanks for the kind words. i view with glasses on so they all have the mechanical eyegard down. i think i would find both systems pleasant to work with. at first i did not understand how the delos worked but understood it after a couple of minutes ( i am not the engineer-type) while the pentax system was easy immediately. frankly i think the delos system is cleaver.

it is very relaxing to view with these EPs: as you once described like an eye massage. maybe a bit more with the pentax but that is related possibly to my longer experience with them

#13 mgwhittle

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:29 PM

The 13t6, really, you didn't like it too much?? I use it all the time in my scopes and like the lightness and compactness of it. Works really well in my 80ED for medium power, but never looked through the Delos or Pentax though.

Bob


If you get a chance, you should look through one. You might just find that T6 to be lacking in ways you didn't know.

#14 csrlice12

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:36 PM

So far, no ES or Televue Nagler I've looked thru matches the XW (at the 10mm and below). I have not looked thru a Delos, but understand they're a flip-a-coin comparison with the XWs. I really do like the XW's adjustable eye relief cap though, it's very smooth and allows fine adjusting (not just gross adjustments like the NLV cap).

#15 dscarpa

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:41 PM

I find my 17.3 & 12 Delos, 13 Ethos and 7 & 10 XWs combined with my barlows-Powermates to be a Dream Team! David

#16 Ralph Steudtner

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 02:35 PM

I have a 13T6 as well as Pentax and Delos eyepieces. I like the 13T6 because it is small and lightweight and provides tack sharp star images across the entire fov without a Paracorr. However, if you are talking transmission and color rendition, you can't beat the Pentax and Delos IMO.

#17 george golitzin

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:27 PM

Nice report, François, thank you. Your observations are similar to mine, and the two lines do live together quite well. For what it's worth, I'm pretty certain the FC you saw in the 14 Delos was from your refractor--is it an ED doublet maybe? I also agree with you about your star colors in clusters observation. I liked the type 6 naglers a lot, but as I got older they got less comfortable; and I also just plain preferred the views in the XWs, so I sold all my T6 naglers after getting the XWs; the last to go was the 13T6, when the 14 delos finally came out.

I recently acquired the 8mm delos and have a 6mm Delos on the way--maybe I'm crazy, but I bought these to fit into my 5, 7, and 10 XW collection, selling the 3.5 pentax to help finance them. I might consider, down the road, selling the 5 and 7 XW and picking up the 4.5 D--I like the slightly tighter grouping of focal lengths in the delos line. But for now I'm going to hold on to those eyepieces and spend a lot of time seeing which ones I actually use. Lately, I had been getting away from my shorter scopes, using mostly the 12.5- and 18-inchers, so the 3.5XW hardly ever came out of the case--meanwhile I had been experimenting with barlows, kind of stupidly, to fill the "gaps" in my 1.4X sequence of pentaxes. So now I've filled those gaps with the 6 and 8 delos, and I'll pull out a barlow if I want anything shorter than 5mm.

Ergonomically, I still slightly prefer the XWs, but visually, I may be starting to lean delos-ward. I look forward to comparing the 6, 7, and 8 mm eyepieces on planets; also, to date the 7mm XW has been my main eyepiece for galaxy clusters in the 18-inch, and I look forward to testing that against the 6 and 8 deloi as well. They're both just superb eyepiece lines, and I'm very happy to own them.

-george

#18 Phillip Creed

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:36 PM

I am not an eyepiece expert as Bill Paolini or Philip Creed, so this thread is more of what i saw and my personnal impression.

Now i am done buying EPs. I thought i was done after purchasing the Pentax, but the Delos are just as good and offered more possibility in terms of FL, so i combined both lines of EPs in my EP case, and they live very well together.


Francois,

"Eyepiece Expert"?! Moi? Bill Paolini could write a book on eyepieces. Heck, Bill Paolini HAS written a book on eyepieces for that matter. I've looked through my share of eyepieces, and I know a good one when I see one, but I'm not quite expert level.

I will second the notion that the Delos and XW's are more or less interchangeable and will peacefully coexist in an eyepiece case. I'm looking to get a 7XW in the near future to complement my 14mm and 10mm Delos eyepieces. You really can't go wrong mixing up the series based on focal length, with the notable exception of the 14mm.

And, yes, I'm thinking the T6's will end up with the short end of the stick here. My 14mm Delos has roughly the same field stop as my old 13T6, but with a *LOT* more eye relief. As long as you're willing to lose a tiny bit of magnification vs. a T6 Nagler, going up to the next focal length in the Delos/XW series is well worth it, IMO.

Clear Skies,
Phil

#19 george golitzin

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:43 PM

... Getting past the optical and into the ergonomics/mechanicals, what was your impression of the mechanical eye guard differences between the XW and Delos? Did one fare better than the other after extended use, or more of 6/one, half dozen of the other?


Bill, if I might offer my impressions... I really like the ease of the adjustment system on the Delos versus the pentax--it's much quicker than screwing/unscrewing the eyecup, and it's just as solid. But in fact I rarely adjust this unless I have someone who wants to look though the eyepiece with glasses on, so this is not a big deal for me--except that I have to make extra room in my eyepiece case to accommodate the eyepieces, since I leave them near their full extensions.

However, I prefer the feeling of the XW eyecup on my brow--it's a little bit broader than that of the delos, the rubber casing is a bit thicker, and so it just feels better. Also sometimes I wish the eyecup on the delos would come out one or two more mm, but that's not a biggie. Overall, the experience of using one or the other is very similar. I think also that the view itself has a lot to do with the impression of comfort--I'm not sure how to put this, but there's nothing funny going on in the image formed by the eyepiece--it's just so easy to look at and examine for detail. I find that true of both lines.

#20 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 04:13 PM

The 13t6, really, you didn't like it too much?? I use it all the time in my scopes and like the lightness and compactness of it. Works really well in my 80ED for medium power, but never looked through the Delos or Pentax though.

Bob


Indeed, I bought a pair of them for use in an Oberwerk BT-100-45 binocular telescope. Within those confines (and at that time) they were seemed like a great choice. But the 24 Pans seemed at least as nice to me - more pop.

I did use them (well, one of them) in my telescopes on occasion. I am sure you are familiar with the reaction that certain eyepieces can cause - that WOW! feeling - such as the T4 Naglers. The 13 T6 just didn't have it. The views were ... uninspiring ... for lack of a better word. I had the 13 Ethos at the time and preferred it. Unfortunately, I missed a golden opportunity to put them head-to-head. It just didn't occur to me.

Getting back to topic, the 14 Delos supplanted the 13 Ethos for that slot in my eyepiece case.

#21 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 04:15 PM

thanks for the kind words. i view with glasses on so they all have the mechanical eyegard down. i think i would find both systems pleasant to work with. at first i did not understand how the delos worked but understood it after a couple of minutes ( i am not the engineer-type) while the pentax system was easy immediately. frankly i think the delos system is cleaver.


The Delos eye guard is certainly a vast improvement over Instajudst.

However, I wish the folks at TeleVue would have just eaten a slice of humble pie and copied the Pentax system.

#22 JayinUT

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 04:58 PM

However, I wish the folks at TeleVue would have just eaten a slice of humble pie and copied the Pentax system.


I agree with that statement.

#23 Starman81

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 05:07 PM

However, I wish the folks at TeleVue would have just eaten a slice of humble pie and copied the Pentax system.


BIG +1 here!

Francois, nice write-up, thanks!

#24 coutleef

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 05:46 PM

I am not an eyepiece expert as Bill Paolini or Philip Creed, so this thread is more of what i saw and my personnal impression.

Now i am done buying EPs. I thought i was done after purchasing the Pentax, but the Delos are just as good and offered more possibility in terms of FL, so i combined both lines of EPs in my EP case, and they live very well together.


Francois,

"Eyepiece Expert"?! Moi? Bill Paolini could write a book on eyepieces. Heck, Bill Paolini HAS written a book on eyepieces for that matter. I've looked through my share of eyepieces, and I know a good one when I see one, but I'm not quite expert level.

Clear Skies,
Phil


Well, you are not far from one after reading your posts. I enjoy reading Bill reviews and posts but i realize that many of the small differences he sees are outside of my abilities.

In a way, the evaluation of someone who understands well aberrations and uses scopes similar to mine is very important, and is a good guide for my choice.

#25 GeneT

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 07:02 PM

Nice report! I also own both Delos and Pentax XWs, and have found them to be equal--equally excellent eyepieces. If I were trying to choose, I would be guided by the differences in focal lengths. They both have a 10, then the XW moves to a 7 and 5 while the Delos goes from an 8 to a 6. They do overlap in some focal lengths.






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