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Equipment Discussions >> Eyepieces

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Bob S.
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/14/05

Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Smithfr2000]
      #5826275 - 04/27/13 01:00 PM

I posted this observing report on the Reflector Forum but it addresses the performance of the ASPH up against 3 other ep's in a fast scope.

Last night, the seeing was predicted to be good and I wanted to further explore the benefits of my new apodizing mask with Saturn as the target. I rolled the scope out onto the mat it sits on to prevent thermals from the driveway after having stored it in the cool garage all day. I collimated it to perfection, turned on the CBLMS and then tuned the Starlight Instruments Paracorr System (SIPS) using my 17mm Ethos with the focuser backed out from the bottom 1/2 fine focuser turn and then rotated the SIPS until the stars were hard points of light. This particular procedure turns out to be easier than the manufacturers suggested procedure because I developed it after talking with Fast Mike who has a 28" f/2.75 with the SIPS and after following their procedures for setting the SIPS and found where the 17mm Ethos comes to focus. Sort of a reverse engineering technique which works well and does not require use of cellophane tape and supplied tube, etc. to tune the built-in Paracorr system. I then did my two-star alignment using Pollux and Arcturus and then viewed a couple of galaxies before Saturn and the Moon came up. I then pointed the scope at Saturn which was low and found that the views were mediocre. I had used my Leica ASPH variable zoom 8.9mm-17.8mm to align the scope and had it in about the 10mm position. I did an align on Saturn and went in for about an hour and watched some TV and napped a bit. When I came back out, the scope still had Saturn in the FOV. Did I mention that I love the ServoCat and performance of the JP Astrocraft telescope for the great precision and orthogonality?

I viewed until 1 a.m. EDT and the seeing appeared to get to 8.5/10 or better. I kept the apodizing mask on constantly while viewing Saturn to get the most possible contrast I could get. The ASPH ran out of magnification so I added a 2" 2x TV Powermate and placed the ASPH in it so I now had mag from 4.5mm-8.9mm. This translated to 1753mm of focal length with the 1.15x magnification factor of the SIPS device and mags of 197-394x in the range of the zoom ep. In the last hour of viewing, I was primarily using about 350-394x and with the apodizing mask, the contrast features on Saturn were pretty spectacular. I had studied Christopher Go's recent images of Saturn from the Phillipines and was trying to tease out visually as much as I could knowing what features Christopher had captured with his camera. The views were intoxicating.

During this time, I also got to wondering how my other eyepieces would stack up against the Leica ASPH with the apodizing mask in place. I used a TV 4.7mm Ethos, UO 7mm Ortho and 5mm Pentax XW in my 2x Powermate. If you reverse the order of listed ep's, you will note that in my very fast f/3 telescope, the Ethos put up the poorest image of Saturn with the colors rather muddled and poor resolving capability followed by better views but not great with my 7mm UO Ortho in the Powermate. The 5mm Pentax XW showed the second brightest image and the amount of detail was the best of the "also rans". The Leica ASPH was so absolutely superior for light throughput, neutral color and resolving ability in the Powermate that it was not even a contest. I was very surprised at how poorly the 4.7mm Ethos compared with all the variables in place to all of the other ep's. I love that ep for widefield stellar views as one of my favorites but on this night with my fast scope, relatively newly operated on eyes with crystal clear lenses in place following cataract surgery, the Ethos really did not perform up to any of the other ep's?

Well, I was absolutely delighted to spend the better part of the last hour going between 350x-394x with the Leica ASPH and my new apodizing mask. It was intoxicating and I really did not want to go to bed but have a busy day planned and so had to balance play with other pursuits.

The fast Lockwood mirrors and all of the supporting systems provided the best views of Saturn that I have experienced with this new scope. I am really hooked on the use of Josh Balsam's superb apodizing mask that was patterned after the Colorado groups build instructions. What a wonderful contrast booster! Bob


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MAURITS
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/22/09

Loc: Belgium
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Bob S.]
      #5837686 - 05/03/13 06:14 AM

Sorry for the late post, but I read this and found it very interesting but I have some questions:

When you talk about the Leica ASPH zoom, is it than the Leica zoom 8.9 -17.8 ASPH?

Is it really so good, can I use it with a Herchel Wedge for solar viewing or with a ha filter?

I have the whole Ethos line but I doubt between the Leica zoom and the TV Nagler 31mm to line up my EP's!

Thanks!


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Ain Soph Aur
professor emeritus
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Reged: 08/11/11

Loc: West Tennessee
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5837715 - 05/03/13 07:10 AM

I regularly use mine with the Baader Herschel Wedge.

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andydj5xp
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 05/27/04

Loc: 52.269 N/10.571 E
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5837810 - 05/03/13 08:39 AM

Quote:

Sorry for the late post, but I read this and found it very interesting but I have some questions:

When you talk about the Leica ASPH zoom, is it than the Leica zoom 8.9 -17.8 ASPH?

Is it really so good, can I use it with a Herschel Wedge for solar viewing or with a ha filter?

I have the whole Ethos line but I doubt between the Leica zoom and the TV Nagler 31mm to line up my EP's!

Thanks!





Yes, it's the 8.9-17.8mm zoom.

And yes again, it's particularly well suited for solar observations with the Herschel wedge. Due to its very high contrast transfer the Leica zoom will be favourably complemented by the high contrast transfer of the Herschel wedge.

Used with a top notch refractor - like your TOA 150 - the solar views will be absolutely spectacular.

Andreas


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Bob S.
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/14/05

Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5837882 - 05/03/13 09:26 AM

Quote:

Sorry for the late post, but I read this and found it very interesting but I have some questions:

When you talk about the Leica ASPH zoom, is it than the Leica zoom 8.9 -17.8 ASPH?

Is it really so good, can I use it with a Herchel Wedge for solar viewing or with a ha filter?

I have the whole Ethos line but I doubt between the Leica zoom and the TV Nagler 31mm to line up my EP's!

Thanks!




Mauritis, The Leica ASPH is the ONLY ep I now use with my Baader Herschel Wedge that has the N3 and Solar Continuum filter. You can dial in the exact magnification to get the best resolution of the sun spots and all of their surrounding detail. The light throughput as Andreas has pointed out is pretty close to being without peers in this application. Bob


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MAURITS
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/22/09

Loc: Belgium
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Bob S.]
      #5837925 - 05/03/13 09:44 AM

Thanks for the quick reply!

Can I use the Baader Fluorit Flatfield Konverter - Strong Barlow Konverter 3-8 (FFC) in combination with the Leica zoom, or is it better to use the Baader VIP Modular Barlow?


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Tamiji Homma
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: California, USA
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5838141 - 05/03/13 11:23 AM

Quote:

Can I use the Baader Fluorit Flatfield Konverter - Strong Barlow Konverter 3-8 (FFC) in combination with the Leica zoom, or is it better to use the Baader VIP Modular Barlow?




Yes, you can use FFC with Leica. This combination gives about 2.5x. It works very well but it is very tall so it is awkward to use.



Tammy


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MAURITS
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/22/09

Loc: Belgium
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Tamiji Homma]
      #5838183 - 05/03/13 11:45 AM

Thanks Tammy, indeed it's tal!
Maybe it is better to use the TV Powermate 2x2"

I have the 1.5x Tak extender too, can I do something with that?


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Ain Soph Aur
professor emeritus
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Reged: 08/11/11

Loc: West Tennessee
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5838887 - 05/03/13 06:40 PM

The Leica + Baader Herschel Wedge is awesome with my 4" f/13 Carton. Definitely the best views of any EP I have owned since I acquired the Herschel.

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MAURITS
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/22/09

Loc: Belgium
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Ain Soph Aur]
      #5841299 - 05/05/13 08:57 AM

Well here is the final question:

Now I use the Ethoi EP's for Ha viewing and I find it way better than the Baader zoom Mark III......

Can the Leica zoom ASPH beat the Ethoi EP's for solar observing especialy in Ha, or is it waste of money?


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Bob S.
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/14/05

Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5841877 - 05/05/13 03:30 PM

Quote:

Well here is the final question:

Now I use the Ethoi EP's for Ha viewing and I find it way better than the Baader zoom Mark III......

Can the Leica zoom ASPH beat the Ethoi EP's for solar observing especialy in Ha, or is it waste of money?




I have a Lunt 152 in Ha and I would not even waste my time using anything but my ASPH!!!!!!! And.... I own all of the Ethos ep's Oh, wait, I also love using binoviewers with 24mm Pans and my Lunt. For monocular viewing, nothing I own can beat the ASPH. However, in my little 80mm ED scope with a Baader Herschel Solar Wedge, I do get some internal reflections in the ASPH with the N3 and Solar Continuum filters in place. This does not occur with the Lunt Ha scope. I can zoom just the perfect magnification for the ever-chaning moments on Sol. Especially since I have a pressure tuned scope and am constantly playing with the tilt of the etalon and focus to achieve the sharpest prominences as well as surface detail. Bob


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MAURITS
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/22/09

Loc: Belgium
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Bob S.]
      #5841972 - 05/05/13 04:25 PM

Bob, is it so that the ASPH can "replace" a part of the Ethoi?

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Kent10
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/08/12

Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5842177 - 05/05/13 06:15 PM

I use 2 Leica ASPH in my Mark V for solar viewing. I have a 13mm and 21mm Ethos but I haven't compared them to the Leica because I only bino with my LS100. My guess is that unless you really want the 100 degrees of the Ethos then the Leica could replace the 13mm and 10mm Ethos and probably the 8mm. I find the Leica plenty wide but that is in comparison to also using the Brandon for binoviewing.

Bob: Somewhat off topic but I am hoping you can help me because I am seriously considering the LS152.

My LS100 and my Mark V's don't have enough in focus when used with the 1.25X GPC. When used with the 1.7X I have enough in focus for only some of my eyepieces. With the 2.6 GPC I believe all my EPs work. How is the LS152 with the Mark V. Is there enough in focus when using all of your GPCs and EPs. My LS80 does much better with in focus.

Thanks, Kent


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Kent10
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/08/12

Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Bob S.]
      #5842182 - 05/05/13 06:19 PM

I was going to add that I get some reflections in the Leicas and other eyepieces when binoviewing with my LS100. But when I use a hooded vest they disappear.

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Bob S.
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/14/05

Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Kent10]
      #5842369 - 05/05/13 08:15 PM

Quote:

I use 2 Leica ASPH in my Mark V for solar viewing. I have a 13mm and 21mm Ethos but I haven't compared them to the Leica because I only bino with my LS100. My guess is that unless you really want the 100 degrees of the Ethos then the Leica could replace the 13mm and 10mm Ethos and probably the 8mm. I find the Leica plenty wide but that is in comparison to also using the Brandon for binoviewing.

Bob: Somewhat off topic but I am hoping you can help me because I am seriously considering the LS152.

My LS100 and my Mark V's don't have enough in focus when used with the 1.25X GPC. When used with the 1.7X I have enough in focus for only some of my eyepieces. With the 2.6 GPC I believe all my EPs work. How is the LS152 with the Mark V. Is there enough in focus when using all of your GPCs and EPs. My LS80 does much better with in focus.

Thanks, Kent




Kent,
I did not have enough in focus either other than the 1.7GPC. However, I added a Siebert 2x corrector that he makes which provided for a ton of backfocus capability and now have no issues even with the 1.2GPC. Contact Harry and he will help you with the problem. The parts are on his website under the solar accessories section and he has specific parts for the Mark V's that work like a charm. I think the set is something like $179. Bob

Edited by Bob S. (05/06/13 10:10 AM)


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Bob S.
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/14/05

Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5842379 - 05/05/13 08:20 PM

Quote:

Bob, is it so that the ASPH can "replace" a part of the Ethoi?




Maurits, I do not know yet? I have several relatively new scopes that I have to try all of my eyepieces with and then decide? I am in no rush to give up anything at this point. However, my two ASPH's with 42mm and 48mm 2" adapters are getting quite a workout. I really really love these Leica's.
Bob


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Kent10
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/08/12

Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Bob S.]
      #5842404 - 05/05/13 08:42 PM

That is really good news Bob. Thanks very much!

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MAURITS
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/22/09

Loc: Belgium
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Kent10]
      #5842873 - 05/06/13 02:30 AM

Thanks a lot for all the quick reply's!

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etsleds
sage
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Reged: 11/14/09

Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5846997 - 05/08/13 01:17 AM

I've been thinking about why I relate to most of the comments here, on both sides.

An issue is generally how close modern nice eyepieces are in performance. It's not so much that the Leica stands tall against the ZAO-IIs, but how close they both are to Pentax orthos and Nikon SWs. It's quite possible for the Leica to not the crush the BGOs and also not get crushed by the ZAO-IIs.

Specifically for discerning fine, low contrast detail on rare nights of superb seeing, for me the Leica is in the lower half of my lineup: ZAO-II > Pentax SMC > (Tak MC ortho, TMB Supermono, Nikon SW) > (Leica, Tak LEs) > Ethos.

So far, I like the overall image quality and convenience of the Leica and, frankly, the Leica history and build quality. It's a combination of engineering trade-offs built to a very premium cost point that I can appreciate as doing everything pretty well and having no serious deficits.

I keep the Leica for now because it fits a specific application for me: dark sites, where I have my Mewlon 250 and I'm focusing on deep sky with the Ethos and Nikon SWs and the Leica is my planetary zoom. At home, it's planets and there the magnification is too low for my apos and the top glass comes out with the big cats only if the seeing is superb.

Edited by etsleds (05/08/13 12:34 PM)


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Sarkikos
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Suburban Maryland, USA
Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: etsleds]
      #5847222 - 05/08/13 07:14 AM

etsleds,

Quote:

An issue is generally how close modern nice eyepieces are in performance. It's not so much that the Leica stands tall against the ZAO-IIs, but how close they both are to Pentax orthos and Nikon SWs. It's quite possible for the Leica to not the crush the BGOs and also not get crushed by the ZAO-IIs.

Specifically for discerning fine, low contrast detail on rare nights of superb seeing, for me the Leica is in the lower half of my lineup: ZAO-II > Pentax SMC > (Tak MC ortho, TMB Supermono, Nikon SW) > Leica > (Tak LEs, Ethos, TV NJ Plossls).

So far, I like the overall image quality and convenience of the Leica and, frankly, the Leica history and build quality. It's a combination of engineering trade-offs built to a very premium cost point that I can appreciate as doing everything pretty well and having no serious deficits.

I keep the Leica for now because it fits a specific application for me: dark sites, where I have my Mewlon 250 and I'm focusing on deep sky with the Ethos and Nikon SWs and the Leica is my cheerful planetary zoom. At home, it's planets and there the magnification is too low for my apos and the big cats only come out if the seeing is superb (and I'm going to want the top glass out).




This is somewhat similar to my current position on the Leica ASPH. I don't have a Leica yet, but if and when I do get one it will be mostly for deep sky and somewhat for a good zoom eyepiece for planet/lunar. In practice the Leica will replace my Baader Zoom, XW's and LVW for deep sky at dark sites. The Leica will probably replace my Baader Zoom for grab-n-go planet/lunar at home. But for single eyepiece observation of planets and the Moon, I'll opt for the XO's.

I've always found that binoviewing will give me a better image of planet/lunar surfaces than monoviewing. The performance of BGO's, Brandons and Paradigms binoviewed are even better than my single XO's monoviewed. Yes, binoviewing is that good. However, I don't see me ever acquiring a pair of Leica ASPH Zooms for binoviewing. So I would use my Leica mostly for deep sky.

Mike


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