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Review: Meade 5000 30mm UWA vs ES 30mm 82'

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#1 hottr6

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:28 PM

I bought my Meade 5000 30mm UWA when they were on sale, and a mate bought the ES 30mm 82'. One night I had both in my possession. What to do? :question:

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Weights: ES is 2.21lbs/1002g (sans caps). The Meade is 2.99lbs/1356g. When naked, the Meade is 2.36lbs/1070g.

Barrels: The Meade 2" barrel is undercut, and the ES is tapered. Undercuts are a PITA but the ES was easy to insert/remove into my diagonals and focusers.

Equipment: For this review, I used 3 'scopes on the same night. C80ED, 6" f/5 Newt and Antares 105 f/13. That should cover a range of fast/slow, Newts, achro and pseudo-APO.

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Objects: These are wide-field eyepieces, and are not intended for close examination of bright objects. Thus, I avoided viewing the Moon, planets and bright stars. Targets were around the Galactic Center, Double Cluster, globs.

Refractor Views: I'm going to suggest that the glass is made by the same optics company, and that Meade/ES applied their own coatings. I have no evidence to support this assertion, other than my own observations. The views are almost identically excellent in my C80ED and 4" f/13 'fracs. Both were sharp to the edge with no coma or astigmatism. The ES is lighter, easier to use (because of the eyecup), and I think is just more handsome.

Both eyepiece are parfocal with each other, and both appear to have identical AFOVs. When viewing the Double Cluster, I may have seen some pincushioning in the Meade, but I'm not convinced it is real. Both have a "soft" field stop... I've seen better. Nevertheless, 'fracs love these EPs.

Fast Reflector Views: Things become less rosy in a fast Newt (here, my 6" f/5). In both EPs I noticed a darkening in the outer 10% of the FOV that I interpret as vignetting from the unbelievably large 1.81" secondary. That surprised me. But having said that, I did not see the shadow of the secondary, which further surprised me.

Coma at f/5 is very noticeable in the outer 20% of the FOV, but seemed to be better controlled in the ES. The Meade also seemed to show what I interpret as weak astigmatism, but none seen in the ES.

I did not detect any 'added' color, but then my DSO targets were not very bright.

I think transmission in the Meade is slightly better, as I was able to see fainter stars more reliably without averted vision. On-axis sharpness appeared the same in both.

I did not take in any bright objects to test for ghosting, but those kinds of targets won't see much draw with these EPs.

The ES is so much easier to use because of the eyecup. I had hardly any blackouts in the ES, and until I learned to place my cheek against the Meade, the Meade demonstrated kidney-beaning.

I did not notice any "eyepiece fatigue". I enjoyed using both eyepieces once they were fitted to the focuser. I had a lot of anxious moments when exchanging eyepieces; worried about the 'scope taking a dive, and worried about dropping the eyepiece. The Meade's undercut barrel was a PITA. The ES plopped in, and plopped out just as easily.

Comments: These things are bloody heavy! I had to balance all the 'scopes for these EPs, and had to set the clutches quite tight to avoid a nose-dive when I changed EPs. I was not comfortable with that, especially when using another person's EP. I cannot see myself routinely using such a massive EP. Another reason is that I am not a wide-field bloke. I use a wide-field as a finder and then I start bumping up the magnification. I can sort-of understand the allure of aimlessly sweeping the Milky Way, but I may only do that 1/year.

Now if I had a 2" OIII filter and a bigger 'scope, things like the Veil would be good to explore.

Conclusions: I'll reiterate that I believe the glass for these 2 eyepieces may have a common source, and that any differences between the two reflect mainly the construction details chosen by Meade and ES, and more probably, aberrations in my own 'scopes.

Both eyepieces are very good at what they are: Long focal-length ultra-wide field boat anchors that offer sensational and engaging views.

However, unless one has a truly big and long OTA, or one's desire is Milky Way sweeping, these eyepieces may have limited appeal.

#2 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 02:23 PM

A friend and myself did the exact same shootout in dark skies and found they were both the same, except the Meade had better eye relief due to the fact that the eye lens is flush with the housing, (His had the eycup removed like yours in the second pic).

I think if we did the shootout a bit longer, we may have seen more differences like you did...but overall for what we saw, they pretty much threw up the same views with the same correction.

Comments: These things are bloody heavy! I had to balance all the 'scopes for these EPs, and had to set the clutches quite tight to avoid a nose-dive when I changed EPs. I was not comfortable with that, especially when using another person's EP. I cannot see myself routinely using such a massive EP. Another reason is that I am not a wide-field bloke. I use a wide-field as a finder and then I start bumping up the magnification. I can sort-of understand the allure of aimlessly sweeping the Milky Way, but I may only do that 1/year.


I totally agree with the above, so I sold my 30mm ES 82 and picked up another 34mm ES 68 which is only 1.5 Lbs and has much longer eye relief. I also do the same as you and use mine as a sweeper and bump up the mag for a closer view.

BTW, Great review! :waytogo:

Cheers,

#3 hottr6

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 02:51 PM

Thank you! :)

I direct readers to look at the photo of my 'scopes used for this test. Note that the balance points for the OTAs are very, very different to the balance points when I use my "usual" eyepieces (usually Plossls). Also note that the GEMs are carrying extra c/weight. Using the 30mm monsters on the same night as my Plossls would not be possible without re-balancing the 'scopes. These eyepieces would be very suitable for observers who use only one eyepiece during an observing session, but for those of us who seek the edge in the on-going battle with 'seeing conditions', or those without ferociously long-focal length 'scopes like C14s, these EPs will have limited appeal.

#4 sopticals

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:03 AM

I can sort-of understand the allure of aimlessly sweeping the Milky Way,

However, unless one has a truly big and long OTA, or one's desire is Milky Way sweeping, these eyepieces may have limited appeal. [/quote]

The ES30mm 82deg spends 90% of its time in my 25" dob, sweeping "milky way", for clusters, globs (Omega Centurus, Tuc 47, fill the FOV at 100x [phenomenal]). Truly great ocular for wide field views through long OTAs, at a reasonable price.

Stephen.(45deg.S.)

#5 TechPan6415

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 01:32 AM

Well one thing is for sure, most "reviews" on the the ego laden Internet have limited appeal as well, lol!

#6 csrlice12

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 07:29 AM

it's appeal is limited to my scope's focuser.......and with today's 100* eyepieces, balance is not a problem....

#7 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 09:52 AM

I've never had the chance to look through a 31mm Nagler, but I sure would really like to check that out since some of the reviews here say that the 30mm ES 82 is almost as good as the 31mm Nagler.

Nobody has the 31mm Nag where we all observe at! Maybe one day someone out of the blue will wander over and say they have one. :lol:

#8 maroubra_boy

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:22 PM

Well, when Shane decides to post out MY ES 30mm, I'll be able to compare it to the Meade SWA 34 & 28mm eyepieces I've got... :rolling:

Great review& comparisons, mate.

What swayed me to get this EP was a chance I had to use one in my 4" f/5 achro and my 17.5" f4.5 dob. Such scopes will test every EP, & the ES did very well in both.

I LOVE wide field viewing, and do a lot of sketching this way. This 30mm ES will give me a TVOF of 5ยบ in my 4" achro - flaming HUGE! And it is a great performer in both scopes. How good in the end, I'll have to wait until it arrives& I can do a good side by side comparison. But I'm very impressed with it's performance so far. I'll also use it in my 8" f/4 dob too.

Alex.

#9 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:54 PM

Just found out there is ONE GUY who brings his 31mm Nagler to the spot I go to. Maybe I will ask him to bring it over and plop it in my dob for a peek!

#10 maroubra_boy

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 11:44 AM

The BIG eyepiece arrived early last week. Curious to note that it feels heavier neat in my hand than when in its box.

First light was on Friday night with my 8" f/4 dob from my home in Sydney. Balance is never a problem with this scope as I made the mount in such a way that I can switch from a tiny eyepiece to a big bruiser without any problems, & with no shifting of counterweights.

The eyepiece I compared it to was my 34mm Meade S5000 SWA. While the exit pupil is large in this scope, the eyepiece performs very well in it with very few significant aberrations. The very edge of the FOV shows some coma, but more significantly very little astigmatism.

An f/4 scope is a very hard taskmaster on eyepiece, even more so without a coma corrector.

Surprisingly, in the 8" f/4 scope, the ES 30mm performed just as well as the 34mm Meade to approximately the same AFOV. After which the image degrades some more towards the edge. To be honest, I expected a better performance. It isn't really a disappointment, more just a surprise at the gutsy performance of the Meade at this focal ratio. What the ES does have over the Meade is it shows fainter stars due to the smaller resulting exit pupil.

The following night I was at my regular dark sky site, armed with my 17.5"f/4.5 dob & my 4" f/5 refractor. Here the ES came into its own. My first impressions of this eyepiece when I borrowed my mate's ES were vindicated. In the big dob, only the very edge began to show thd effects of coma. Nothing significant as this is just peripheral vision stuff and not where any serious detailed observing is done. Where it matters, the image is sharp and contrasty. I could not see any field curvature nor any pincushion.

In the 4" f/5 refractor, here it probably is at its sweetest. Sharp and flat all the way across. Views of the Milky Way are sensational. So much intricate detail.

What is probably most significant about this eyepiece for ME is its been the easiest UWA eyepiece I've used. Eye placement is very forgiving, which for my thing for sketching is most important with all the to and fro I do between EP & paper. This has been the single most significant flaw in UWA eyepieces that has detracted me from using these with my sketching.

Im very happy with this EP. Thanks Shane for your help with it. Can't wait to get to do my first sketch with it.

Alex.

#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 01:46 PM

Fast Reflector Views: Things become less rosy in a fast Newt (here, my 6" f/5). In both EPs I noticed a darkening in the outer 10% of the FOV that I interpret as vignetting from the unbelievably large 1.81" secondary. That surprised me. But having said that, I did not see the shadow of the secondary, which further surprised me.



Shane: Thumbs up on the review.

I am thinking the reason for the vignetting in the reflector and not the refractor was the size of the secondary mirror. Running a typical 6 inch F/5 Newtonian in Mel Bartels diagonal calculator, (a 7 inch tube with with 3 inch focal plane height) shows that the field is only 60% illuminated at about 30 degrees off-axis (60 degree AFoV) and dropping quickly. That would agree with your observation of the darkening in the outer 10% of the field.

As far as the shadow of the secondary, the exit pupil is 6mm, the shadow is 1.81mm, I would not expect to see it unless your pupil was not dilated, say viewing the moon or during day.

jon

#12 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:57 PM

Well,

I had a boo through a 31mm Nagler in my fast 10" F/4.7 reflector. IMO, it is way better than the 30mm ES HANDS DOWN!

The entire field of the 31mm Nag was crystal clear and immersiveness was a lot more pronounced! The 31mm Nagler ROCKS!

Now I see exactly why people love them :grin:






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