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Wanting to bump up my eyepiece quality

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#1 cadfour

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 05:00 PM

I started reading the posts on the this 'Eyepieces' forum about a week ago trying to figure out what are the better types of eyepieces,(the next step up), to get for my 2 F5 Reflectors. (See my signature for my current equipment.)
It would be nice for the new eyepieces to provide:
1. a bit more eye relief on the higher power eyepieces
2. cleaner field to the edge...less blurring from the outer part of the field.
3. wider field than 52* celestron/orion plossls.

I would like to get around 5 eyepieces. I really don't want to break my bank, so lets say a budget of 500-700 dollars.

I was thinking for higher magnification....maybe the 5mm and 9mm X-Cell LX....($160)

For the mid magnification, maybe a 15mm and 25mm Tele Vue plossl ($220)

For lower magnification, maybe a wide field ES 30-68 or 40-68 ($300) (I understand these 2"ers won't work for my 6"Starblast, but that's ok)

I am not even sure if these are right for my telescopes, but I am such a novice at this...and reading through similar posts only make my head spin even more. Seems there are so many variables to consider by the time I get done reading them I am almost as confused as I was before reading it.

I have heard over and over again that Reflector telescopes provide more 'bang for the buck'.....that's what I would like from my eyepieces too.

Can I be helped??

#2 Kon Dealer

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 05:18 PM

Why not get the full set of Xcel-Lxs for 5 to 25mm?
I have found them all very good.

#3 csrlice12

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 06:41 PM

I'd get the ES68* 24mm, largest afov you can get in a 1.25" eyepiece. You might also look at the Orion Expanse clones (Agena Astro Enhanced Angle) at the 9mm or 6mm. These have nice eye relief and a 66* fov...for their price (can probably get both for around $100), they work pretty well in faster scopes (but stay away from the 15 & 20mm). You could probably also find a 7T1 nagler used for a nice price...

#4 star drop

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 08:36 PM

I started reading the posts on the this 'Eyepieces' forum about a week ago trying to figure out what are the better types of eyepieces,(the next step up), to get for my 2 F5 Reflectors. (See my signature for my current equipment.)
It would be nice for the new eyepieces to provide:
1. a bit more eye relief on the higher power eyepieces
2. cleaner field to the edge...less blurring from the outer part of the field.
3. wider field than 52* celestron/orion plossls.

I would like to get around 5 eyepieces. I really don't want to break my bank, so lets say a budget of 500-700 dollars.

I was thinking for higher magnification....maybe the 5mm and 9mm X-Cell LX....($160)

For the mid magnification, maybe a 15mm and 25mm Tele Vue plossl ($220)

For lower magnification, maybe a wide field ES 30-68 or 40-68 ($300) (I understand these 2"ers won't work for my 6"Starblast, but that's ok)

I am not even sure if these are right for my telescopes, but I am such a novice at this...and reading through similar posts only make my head spin even more. Seems there are so many variables to consider by the time I get done reading them I am almost as confused as I was before reading it.

I have heard over and over again that Reflector telescopes provide more 'bang for the buck'.....that's what I would like from my eyepieces too.

Can I be helped??

For my f/5 two vendors told me that I would be happier with a 41mm Panoptic as far as edge of field performance is concerned. At the time both of the vendors had the 40mm on hand but didn't have the 41mm, so they were standing to loose a sale.

#5 star drop

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 08:38 PM

At f/5 a Paracorr really cleans up the outer field. It makes a bigger difference with quality eyepieces.

#6 aatt

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 08:45 PM

I disagree with the ES 24mm 68 deg in F/5 rec.That is not a good fit in my experience. Dead center of the field the stars are pinpoint-deviate from DC and they start to seagull until they become widetailed comets at the outer edge.However, that ep is great at F/8.Maybe that is just me though with aging eyes. Televue plossls are 50 degree, but are probably the best plossl you can get.I have the ES 82 degrees in 11, 6.7 and 4.7mm. They are all keepers, although some complain of eye relief issues in the 4.7mm I am o.k. with it.My 11mm is used constantly for DSO and is good at F/5.The 17mm or 20mm Sterling Plossls are very nice and cheap with 55 deg FOV.
The Astrotech Paradigm is 60 deg and is in 15mm fl and seems to be well regarded.

#7 Robert Cook

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 08:50 PM

I was thinking for higher magnification....maybe the 5mm and 9mm X-Cell LX....($160)


Would those provide the magnifications that you're trying to achieve? It's easy for me to assume so, but I just want to make sure that you know what you want in this respect. Also, does your Celestron eyepiece/filter set come with a Barlow? If so, do you use it or would you be willing to use it?

Personally, I would recommend, say, the 4.7mm and 8.8mm Explore Scientific 82° EPs instead, even though at $140 each they'll cost you--they're worth every penny and more, in my opinion.

By the way, for my own 6" f/5 Newt I use the 6.7mm ES82 with a 2X Barlow, both by inserting it into the Barlow as usual (2.2X the base magnification in practice), and also by screwing just the Barlow lens assembly directly onto the EP's filter thread, which gives me a third useful magnification (1.5X the base magnification).

For the mid magnification, maybe a 15mm and 25mm Tele Vue plossl ($220)


I'm with csrlice12 on the 24mm ES68, which would maximize the TFOV of your 6" f/5 (or any scope with a 1.25" focuser). I own one of these EPs and use it all the time--a fantastic all-around performer just like the ES82 series, and one of the most comfortable EPs that I've ever used. If you need an intermediate focal length then there are the 16mm ES68 and the 14mm ES82, although you should know that the latter (just this one focal length) has an amount of field curvature that some hardly notice while others are bothered by (has something to do with the ability of one's eyes to compensate); there is no such issue with the 16mm ES68 that I'm aware of. Unfortunately, the 24mm ES68, like many (probably most) EPs in this focal length range, does not play well with Barlows, showing some vignetting (still usable in the normal 2.2X mode, but unfortunately not in the 1.5X mode described above).

For lower magnification, maybe a wide field ES 30-68 or 40-68 ($300) (I understand these 2"ers won't work for my 6"Starblast, but that's ok)


Either the 40mm ES68 or the 30mm ES82. For me, 68° AFOV is plenty for a wide-TFOV eyepiece, while I prefer a wider AFOV at narrower TFOVs. It's really a matter of personal preference with clock-driven scopes, although of course there is a practical advantage to wider AFOVs at higher magnifications with manual scopes. That said, a 40mm EP in an f/5 scope yields an exit pupil of 8mm, which is likely too much--you can still use it, but the image will be dimmer and the central obstruction might be annoying under some conditions, so you might as well go for the 30mm ES82 (same price).

I am not even sure if these are right for my telescopes, but I am such a novice at this...and reading through similar posts only make my head spin even more. Seems there are so many variables to consider by the time I get done reading them I am almost as confused as I was before reading it.


The EPs have to match up with the magnifications you want as well as your telescopes, so you could experiment with what you already have to find out what you want (if you haven't already), or we could make general recommendations, which are actually based not so much on magnification per se but exit pupil, which is convenient in this case since both of your scopes are f/5 (meaning that their exit pupils will be the same for each eyepiece).

"Exit pupil" refers to the width of the shaft of light, if you will, that carries the image from the EP into the pupil of your eye, which in turn determines things such as brightness and sharpness. You can calculate it simply by dividing the focal length of the EP by the focal ratio of the scope--that's how I got 8mm for it above (40mm / 5), and this is wider than most people's (especially the elderly among us--you know, geezers over 30 ;)) pupils can open up (especially under light pollution). Before I get too deep into all of this (too late!) and confuse you further, answer the questions I've asked and we'll decide how to proceed.

I have heard over and over again that Reflector telescopes provide more 'bang for the buck'.....that's what I would like from my eyepieces too.


I don't want to sound like a shill, but from personal experience and satisfaction, the Explore Scientific eyepieces provide major bang for the buck. There are better, but not at anywhere near this price point, and nothing else at this price point compares, in my opinion, except for the Meade 5000 UWA series, that is, which has similar (but not identical) optics and pricing. That said, there are other good, high-value options, should these prove too costly.

Can I be helped??


With eyepieces, sure. But with any neuroses you may develop from taking in too many things too quickly, I'm not so sure because I'm still dealing with mine. ;)

#8 Robert Cook

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 09:10 PM

I disagree with the ES 24mm 68 deg in F/5 rec.That is not a good fit in my experience. Dead center of the field the stars are pinpoint-deviate from DC and they start to seagull until they become widetailed comets at the outer edge.


Hmmm...I don't see this at all with my 24mm ES68 at f/5. :thinking: It has a bit of angular magnification close to the outer edge, but I'm not seeing the type of astigmatism that you're apparently describing anywhere in the FOV. Do you have an older one? Mine was one of the early argon-purged ones, not long after they switched from nitrogen--not that this means anything, I'm just establishing the general timeframe.

#9 dpwoos

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 11:36 PM

If you are happy with how your scope(s) perform with the eyepieces that you have, then getting others that better suit you is reasonable. However, if your scopes are not currently performing as well as you would like then you are better off redirecting your funds toward fixing that, as opposed to getting different eyepieces. There are many things that have to work correctly in order to get top-notch views, and the eyepiece is way down on the list.

Observing with your local astro club is a great way to compare your scopes and eyepieces to other's and so more completely understand what you have, and what improvements are possible.

#10 bdcmd

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 12:35 AM

Just read the other posts in this thread, and very good information provided in general. However, I disagree with many of the recommendations. For your widest field eyepiece, I would choose the TV 27 Panoptic, perfect exit pupil for f/5, eye relief of about 16mm, sharp to the edge. At $339 new, not cheap, but well worth the expense. For the rest, depends on the budget: if somewhat limited, use the Celestron X-Cel LX, in 5,7,9,18. Should give you much better eye relief and fov than a plossl. If the budget not so limited, Radians acquired used for about $150 apiece are the great bargains of our time. For your Newts, I would use the 5,8,and probably the 18. All with 20mm eye relief, very sharp to the edge. What do I use? Radians 3-8, 12, 18, plus the 24 Pan or 26NT5 for widefield, or the TV plossls for other uses (planetary detail). According to the forum posts, the equivalent ES eyepieces provide very much the same views for less money, but I don't have any,so can't say for sure. The ultimate short focal length eyepieces would be the Delos series in 5,6,8,17.3 along with the 27 Pan. You could substitute the 19 Pan for the 17.3 Delos. At this point, look to acquiring exit pupils of 0.5, 0.7, 1.0, 2.0 and 5+. You can decide which eyepieces you prefer and want to spend money on later after developing more viewing experience. Don't sell your Plossls short, they are very good eyepieces.

#11 NorthWolf

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:30 AM

Used Pentax XW 7mm great eye relief sharp to the edge, used 13mm T6 Nagler sharp to the edge, eye relief not so bad , used or new Baader Aspheric 31mm, super sharp widefield. About 600$

#12 penguinx64

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:34 AM

Personally, I would recommend, say, the 4.7mm and 8.8mm Explore Scientific 82° EPs instead, even though at $140 each they'll cost you--they're worth every penny and more, in my opinion.


Yep, I'd get those instead of the X-Cel's for high power, then I'd get 18mm and 25mm X-Cel's for medium power instead of the TV Plossls. TV Plossls only have a 50 degree AFOV, compared to 60 degrees with the X-Cel's.

#13 tezster

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 07:07 AM

If you can find one used, the 8mm Vixen LVW would work well for you IMO.

#14 BDS316

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 07:07 AM

" I have heard over and over again that Reflector telescopes provide more 'bang for the buck'.....that's what I would like from my eyepieces too. "

It's ironic that you save money by getting a fast reflector like an f/4-5 Dob, and then you lose money because these fast scopes require the more expensive premium eyepieces to provide good images with these fast scopes. The solution is to buy used premium eyepieces, or stick with eyepieces with 45-50 degree apparent fields.

The inexpensive eyepieces that provide good images with fast scopes are the 6 and 9mm Expanse clones, the Astro Tech Paradigms and the ES line.

#15 aatt

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 10:58 AM

My ES24mm is quite new -a 2014.It is very nice in my f/8, but problematic in my f/5

#16 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 01:20 PM

Used Pentax XW 7mm great eye relief sharp to the edge, used 13mm T6 Nagler sharp to the edge, eye relief not so bad , used or new Baader Aspheric 31mm, super sharp widefield. About 600$


I'd hardly call the 31mm Baader ASPH even remotely "good".

In my dob it was even worse than my 32mm Orion Q-70! The Baader Aspherics aren't worth anywhere near what they are selling for even used! 5 or 6 of us looked into it through the course of a night and every one of them said, "How much was it?" and when I told them, they all agreed that it wasn't worth 1/3 of the cost.

Go figure.....one of the highly "respected" eyepiece gurus on here says it is excellent ~ Even in a fast scope!

:roflmao:

I sent one back after trying it out once.

#17 dpippel

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 04:38 PM

Bad example perhaps? Many people here like the 31mm Aspheric quite a bit. It's perfectly fine in my f/10 CATs.

#18 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 04:41 PM

An eyepiece that shows really bad astigmatism, isn't really a bad example I don't think. And let's not go blaming the mirror again, because I have looked through other eyepieces in the same FL , or close to it that weren't nearly as bad.

#19 GOLGO13

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 05:05 PM

An eyepiece that shows really bad astigmatism, isn't really a bad example I don't think. And let's not go blaming the mirror again, because I have looked through other eyepieces in the same FL , or close to it that weren't nearly as bad.


There is no doubt that fast scopes are hard on eyepieces. Some fair much better than others. Did you get to try that eyepiece in an F10 scope? It would be interesting if you saw the same issues.

#20 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 05:20 PM

Oh for sure!

I'm quite aware of both issues!

I was just thinking that before I had typed: I should have tried it in my friend's 14" SCT, but alas, I need it for my dob and reality is, that it sucked in my dob.

Only reason I tried it was because JR Barnett said it was an excellent finder EP even in a fast dob. He couldn't be more wrong about that.

I guess the saying still holds to "take things with a grain of salt" here on CN. :confused:

#21 GOLGO13

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 05:44 PM

I tried the 36mm and didn't like it at all. In a few of my scopes. Luckily I was able to return it.

I do understand the 31mm is supposed to be better.

I don't think it's worth the try of course.

What I wanted was to find as light weight an eyepiece as possible to max out my 4 inch refractor's FOV. As of right now the 35mm panoptic or 31mm Nagler are still what I am thinking I will go with. I'm leaning toward the 31mm since I could use it in my dob.

Still a paracorr is probably a good idea for the 10 inch F4.7. I had the 26mm type 5 nagler and it was good by itself, but perfect with the paracorr. Then again, the two of those cost quite a bit more than the scope did. I sold both when I was not as into the hobby and scaled back a bit.

Then again I'm pretty happy with the 2 degree field I currently get with my 32mm plossl. But the 31mm Nagler would be 3 degrees.

#22 dpippel

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:19 PM

The 35mm Panoptic and the 31mm Nagler are both quite a bit heavier than the 31mm Baader. I wouldn't exactly call either of them "light weight". ;)

#23 dpippel

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:24 PM

I guess the saying still holds to "take things with a grain of salt" here on CN. :confused:


Indeed. Only you can decide what works in your setup with your eyes. Lots of folks use the 31mm Baader and don't have the low opinion of it that you do. There's plenty of salt to go around. ;)

#24 GOLGO13

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:30 PM

yep...light weight was my goal...and I have pretty much given up on that. The 35 is lighter than the 31mm and that does go into the equation.

I may end up just sticking with my 32mm Plossl...and I may get a 24mm Panoptic and be happy with that as it would be nice in every one of my scopes.

If I had huge scopes I wouldn't care too much about eyepiece weight...but for me I find it annoying to deal with. My refractor could probably handle it the best (strong focuser and easy to adjust balance). Still, not sure I really want to deal with it.

#25 paul hart

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:40 PM

Personally I would go with higher end ep's like Naglers, Panoptics, LVW's, UWAN's, etc. Not all at once of course, but over time They are expensive, but also are a lifetime investment. I'd look into used eyepieces as I've picked up some at a good savings. Some of the older Type 2 Naglers can be gotten for a good price. I picked up a 12mm T2 that I love on the used market.






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