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Equipment Discussions >> Eyepieces

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RodgerHouTex
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Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs
      #5817237 - 04/23/13 11:22 AM

Before I start let me state that everything I say below is my opinion, so don't beat me up. I'm entitled to it.

Because of all the glowing reviews on CN I decided to buy the Leica. Things like "...as good as my ZAOs." and "I sold my ZAOs because the Leica was that good". etc., etc.

Well I received mine yesterday and tried it out in my 8se. Now the OTA is optically near perfect. Intra and extra focal star images are identical and show no surface roughness. It really is an awesome scope. So anyway, I let the OTA cool and then started swapping the Leica and my 9mm and 18mm BGOs.

The conclusion, after comparing back and forth on the moon and Jupiter - while the Leica is sharp, bright, and very contrasty (is that a word?), it did not show me anything that the BGOs didn't. I used Plato and Fentenelle on the lunar surface. I spent a lot of time looking for features that were just at the limit of detection. I then swapped out the eyepiece and viola it was also there.

Leica advantages:

1.Wider Field of View
2.Ability to Zoom

Leica disadvantages:

1.Horrendously expensive (10X the price with Starlight adapter of a BGO).
2.Large and heavy

I think I have finally convinced myself that uber expensive eyepieces are, for me, not worth spending that kind of money. Now whenever I get the urge, I'll just take out the Leica and convince myself again.

As always ymmv,


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howard929
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5817316 - 04/23/13 12:05 PM

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

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johnnyha
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: howard929]
      #5817332 - 04/23/13 12:14 PM

I respect your opinion Rodger. BUT - my opinion - Give it some more time. First of all, this is not a fair comparison, try it again on an excellent night of seeing with your FS152. A typical commercial 8" SCT, imho, has too much diffraction from the large central obstruction to make critical comparisons between quality eyepieces. The usual line on these scopes is "any eyepiece will look good in an SCT doesn't matter what you get" etc. Give the Leica another shot, I definitely see what the fuss is about when using it in excellent seeing with my FS152.

Perhaps it's not for you Rodger but, I suggest you try it again with a different scope on some great nights, don't judge it from one night with an SCT...

All that being said, I don't see anything at all negative with a wide angle zoom keeping up with a BGO ortho, an excellent eyepiece - that is HUGE + imho. Remarkable, in fact. Plus it does not seem like you took the time to explore the advantages of the ZOOM, buddy! It annihilates a single focal length BGO in that sense.

Good luck, again I obviously trust your opinion - but I too have made snap judgements based on a single night's viewing, but later grew to love certain eyepieces. The Leica ASPH is one I have definitely grown to love and respect and I hope you do too.


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dyslexic nam
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5817405 - 04/23/13 12:56 PM

Quote:

All that being said, I don't see what is wrong with a wide angle zoom keeping up with a BGO ortho, an excellent eyepiece - that is HUGE + imho.




I think this is more in line with what I would expect from the Leica. To me, the fact that it is visually equal to very high quality modern orthos while being wider, zoom-able, and more comfortable (even at the shorter f'l's where ortho's can get pretty tight) is a pretty amazing achievement.


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BillP
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5817455 - 04/23/13 01:14 PM

Definitely give the comparison a shot in other scope designs. Eyepieces compare differently in different scopes and different apertures. The amount of scatter the scope produces I have found to also be quite critical to outcomes, particularly for planetary details. Mirrored optics typically produce more scatter (and way more if you don't clean Dob mirrors often) than refractors. My experience has been that easy to gleen differences between eyepieces in my refractors, much more difficult if not impossible in my mirrored scopes, especially the SCT.

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SteveG
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: BillP]
      #5817485 - 04/23/13 01:27 PM

Thanks for the brief review. I think it says a lot that the Leica can match the performance of the ortho's, with a wider field (and zoom).

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Smithfr2000
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: SteveG]
      #5817535 - 04/23/13 01:49 PM

I compared my new leica (barlowed) with a BGO6 last week end with my 20" Dobson : Spend a lot of time on the moon.
Compared also to Nag5 and Ethos 8/13.

Tone was colder in the Leica, BGO and Ethos than nag5.
I did not find any detail not seen in any EP, but image was more pleasant in Leica/Ethos. The BGO suffer the lack of field, the nag a slightly yellowish tone and a a little less sharp.
Almost no CA on the moon border in any

All were very close ;
seeing was 2.5/5.

Edited by Smithfr2000 (04/23/13 01:51 PM)


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5817650 - 04/23/13 02:21 PM

I will give it some time. And I do recognize that the BGOs are really excellent eyepieces. That's why I used them for the comparison.

One of the problems I have with my refractors is that the Zeiss diascope, which is another excellent spotting scope eyepiece with the adapter, won't come to focus. Not enough "in" travel. That's why I choose the 8se. It has plenty of back focus.


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Starman1
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5817700 - 04/23/13 02:44 PM

Rodger,
Well, that's not an unexpected finding. Most high quality optics produce good images. Despite the posts here on the Eyepieces Forum, the differences in eyepieces pale in comparison to the differences between scopes.
However, look at it another way:
--you gained quite a bit of FOV--up to 4X the area of field.
--you didn't lose any sharpness over a simple design with a small number of lenses. You gained an ultrawidefield with the image quality of a narrowfield.
--you gained a whole lot of focal lengths. Even if you just count even millimeter lengths, the zoom is the equivalent of 9 to 10 eyepieces. If you count the half millimeter focal lengths (more critical toward the upper end of the range), you have the equivalent of even more eyepieces.
--on your SCT, one low-power widest-field, eyepiece and this Zoom, and you have the equivalent of a whole set of widefields. Talk about simplicity!
--if you bought a set of ultrawides of equal optical quality as separates, you would have spent well over $3K and possibly over $5K. That makes the Leica Zoom a veritable bargain in comparison.
--it can fill in the niche for both lunar/planetary eyepieces AND excellent, high-end, DSO eyepieces. There are other wide field eyepieces that can do that--at $400-$600+ each.
--You never have to struggle with "this eyepiece has too high a magnification and seeing compromises the view, but my next eyepiece down has too low a magnification. I need one in between." Now you have the in-between eyepiece. You can ALWAYS find the exact correct magnification for that object and seeing conditions.


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t.r.
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Starman1]
      #5817715 - 04/23/13 02:51 PM

Quote:

You never have to struggle with "this eyepiece has too high a magnification and seeing compromises the view, but my next eyepiece down has too low a magnification. I need one in between." Now you have the in-between eyepiece. You can ALWAYS find the exact correct magnification for that object and seeing conditions.




That right there, may be the single most important reason to own a zoom eyepiece.


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andydj5xp
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Starman1]
      #5817913 - 04/23/13 04:28 PM

Quote:

--if you bought a set of ultrawides of equal optical quality as separates, you would have spent well over $3K and possibly over $5K. That makes the Leica Zoom a veritable bargain in comparison.
--it can fill in the niche for both lunar/planetary eyepieces AND excellent, high-end, DSO eyepieces. There are other wide field eyepieces that can do that--at $400-$600+ each.
--You never have to struggle with "this eyepiece has too high a magnification and seeing compromises the view, but my next eyepiece down has too low a magnification. I need one in between." Now you have the in-between eyepiece. You can ALWAYS find the exact correct magnification for that object and seeing conditions.




You have nailed it: my experience since 2009 when the Leica ASPH zoom entered the astro scene.

Andreas


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ibase
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5818482 - 04/23/13 07:25 PM

Thanks, very nice honest comparison. The notion that the 8" SCT will not benefit from premium quality eyepieces is off - I can readily see the difference between a mediocre EP and a good one on it. Don't underestimate the 8" SCT, it is a most capable scope, a jack-of-all-trades, ranking around the top on scope type/size sold. Just my 2 cents.

Best,


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mgwhittle
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: ibase]
      #5818552 - 04/23/13 08:03 PM

I don't think Bill meant that you can't tell a difference between a mediocre eyepiece and a good one on an SCT. My take is that is easy on any telescope. But when you are comparing a BGO and a Leica, the differences are more subtle and require a telescope with a high performance objective to wrangle out the differences between two high quality eyepieces.

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ibase
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: mgwhittle]
      #5818568 - 04/23/13 08:11 PM

Sorry, wasn't responding to anyone in particular, just that notion that the 8 SCT can't benefit from premium EP's that's been circulating around in general.

Best,


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GeneT
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5818659 - 04/23/13 09:20 PM

I recommend giving it some more time. Your Leica Zoom is one of the best eyepieces out there.

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ManuelJ
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5819093 - 04/24/13 03:07 AM

Quote:

Things like "...as good as my ZAOs." and "I sold my ZAOs because the Leica was that good". etc., etc.




Don't trust everything you read, obviously a Leica Zoom is not as good/better than a ZAO. Not everyone has the ability to tell the difference, does not have good enough skies, or who knows what.

But man, if you believe that the Leica is up to the BGO, you've a great eyepiece there!. Remember it's a wide angle multi element zoom!.

Regards,
Manuel.


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howard929
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: BillP]
      #5819242 - 04/24/13 07:28 AM

Quote:

Definitely give the comparison a shot in other scope designs. Eyepieces compare differently in different scopes and different apertures. The amount of scatter the scope produces I have found to also be quite critical to outcomes, particularly for planetary details. Mirrored optics typically produce more scatter (and way more if you don't clean Dob mirrors often) than refractors. My experience has been that easy to gleen differences between eyepieces in my refractors, much more difficult if not impossible in my mirrored scopes, especially the SCT.




Thanks for that Bill. With the 2 poor mans telescopes I have and will never venture out from them it's a good reason WHY the stinking ES 82's I have seem so excellent and will never need upgrading.


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t.r.
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: howard929]
      #5819458 - 04/24/13 10:34 AM

I don't think that the Leica is touted as a replacement for other eyepieces...but it is a DARN good compliment to the smaller glass offerings!

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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5819486 - 04/24/13 10:47 AM

Thanks for your report. I've been mulling over the purchase of a Lecia ASPH for at least two years now and still haven't pulled the trigger. I think I'll continue to mull.


Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: t.r.]
      #5819494 - 04/24/13 10:52 AM

t.r.,

Quote:

I don't think that the Leica is touted as a replacement for other eyepieces...but it is a DARN good compliment to the smaller glass offerings!




Well, at least in a sense it is a replacement. I've read many threads where a purchaser of the Leica sold such and such eyepieces in order to afford the Leica. That strongly implies that the Leica is indeed a replacement for those eyepieces.

In fact, if I were to buy a Leica ASPH, it better be as a replacement for other eyepieces! I'm not paying $950 for an eyepiece that is merely a compliment. Not happenin'. No way.


Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: t.r.]
      #5819504 - 04/24/13 10:57 AM

Quote:

Quote:

You never have to struggle with "this eyepiece has too high a magnification and seeing compromises the view, but my next eyepiece down has too low a magnification. I need one in between." Now you have the in-between eyepiece. You can ALWAYS find the exact correct magnification for that object and seeing conditions.




That right there, may be the single most important reason to own a zoom eyepiece.




Yep. That's why I have Baader and Nagler Zooms. But I still don't know if that's reason enough to have a $950 Leica ASPH, especially when it might need an additional $200 adapter and $500 Barlow to make it work optimally.

Mike


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dscarpa
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5819507 - 04/24/13 11:00 AM

I'm curious as to how they compare on Saturn. David

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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: SteveG]
      #5819511 - 04/24/13 11:01 AM

Quote:

I think it says a lot that the Leica can match the performance of the ortho's, with a wider field (and zoom).




For the price, I would hope the Leica ASPH would surpass the performance of a BGO. It better, if I were to buy one.

Mike


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Starman81
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5819560 - 04/24/13 11:24 AM

Quote:

t.r.,

Quote:

I don't think that the Leica is touted as a replacement for other eyepieces...but it is a DARN good compliment to the smaller glass offerings!




Well, at least in a sense it is a replacement. I've read many threads where a purchaser of the Leica sold such and such eyepieces in order to afford the Leica. That strongly implies that the Leica is indeed a replacement for those eyepieces.

In fact, if I were to buy a Leica ASPH, it better be as a replacement for other eyepieces! I'm not paying $950 for an eyepiece that is merely a compliment. Not happenin'. No way.


Mike




Mike, not to be the fly in your ointment, but your current 3 zooms nearly exceed the new price of the Leica Zoom. For someone who uses a zoom (Baader) 80-90% of the time (focuser time, that is), you represent a perfect use case example of someone who should buy this super premium Zoom.

So you could part with the other zooms, buy the Leica Zoom and keep most if not all of the complementary single focal lengths as selling Pentax XWs is sheer folly!


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Starman1
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5819564 - 04/24/13 11:26 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I think it says a lot that the Leica can match the performance of the ortho's, with a wider field (and zoom).




For the price, I would hope the Leica ASPH would surpass the performance of a BGO. It better, if I were to buy one.

Mike



It wouldn't have to surpass the BGO performance. After all, it's a complete set of ten of them! How much for ten BGOs?


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Starman1]
      #5819632 - 04/24/13 12:07 PM

Don,

Quote:

It wouldn't have to surpass the BGO performance. After all, it's a complete set of ten of them! How much for ten BGOs?




Not enough to pay for one Leica plus adapter plus high-end Barlow!

But seriously, I wouldn't sell my BGO's or XO's or Brandons to finance the Leica. For me, that would be like trading apples for oranges. That's OK if you only wanted the oranges, but what if you want a variety of fruits?

No, the fixed focal length eyepieces I would sell off as replacements for the range of the Leica (or Leica + Barlow) would be my XW's, Radians, LVW 8, and similar eyepieces. I might also let the Baader Zoom and one of my Nagler Zooms go.

But for my purposes, I really don't look at the Leica as a top-tier planet/lunar eyepiece ... which actually it is not when compared to XO's and ZAO's, at least according to some observers. For planets and the Moon, I'd rather binoview middle-tier pairs and monoview the XO's. If I ever buy a Leica, it would be mostly for deep sky. My humble Baader Zoom has taught me the value of a decent Zoom for DSO at a dark site.

Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Starman81]
      #5819687 - 04/24/13 12:31 PM

Quote:

Mike, not to be the fly in your ointment, but your current 3 zooms nearly exceed the new price of the Leica Zoom.




That would be true only if I had bought all three zooms new, and if I purchase the Leica without the special Starlight Instruments adapter and a high-end Barlow.

It's amazing how costs can mount quickly when trying to optimize a wonderful Zoom like the Leica ASPH. None of that was necessary for the Baader Hyperion.

Quote:

For someone who uses a zoom (Baader) 80-90% of the time (focuser time, that is), you represent a perfect use case example of someone who should buy this super premium Zoom.




Well, at least you did say I should buy the Leica. Most people nowadays avoid the word "should" like the plague. Most would say I "have" to buy it. No, I don't "have" to buy the Leica, but, yes, maybe I "should."

Quote:

So you could part with the other zooms, buy the Leica Zoom and keep most if not all of the complementary single focal lengths as selling Pentax XWs is sheer folly!




Yes, there is the crux of the problem. IF I were to buy the Leica, which eyepieces would it replace? Because the Leica would definitely be replacing some wide swathe of my eyepieces. Otherwise I would not be buying it.

Mike


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MRNUTTY
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5819719 - 04/24/13 12:44 PM

While I appreciate the arguments concerning the utility of a zoom, and also appreciate the degree of critical attention that has been given to this particular zoom, all coupled with my current four zoom experiences have not made a Leica believer out of me. Finally, while I am certain that those that have invested in it, and are enjoying reaping the benefits, are having real experiences; I'm just thankful my wallet is keeping a level head even if my brain is groping for a personal rationalization to buy one for myself in the midst of a small fortune of TV and Pentax EP's

Steady as she goes Mr Sulu!

Edited by MRNUTTY (04/24/13 12:46 PM)


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MRNUTTY]
      #5819779 - 04/24/13 01:17 PM

For me, the exhorbitant price of the Leica ASPH Zoom - even more so when coupled with a $500 top-tier Barlow - is a factor which severely limits its utility.

In other words, I'd think twice about popping that sucker into a grab-n-go scope and walking out into the 'hood. I don't have a backyard, don't have a deck. Unless I travel an hour to my dark site, I have to set up in public areas here in suburbia. I'm not sure if I want to do that with a $950 Zoom and $500 Barlow. Heck, I don't even use my Android tablet at the side of my building.

So even if I do get the Leica, I might still be keeping my other Barlows for grab-n-go here at home. The eyepieces a Leica would replace in my kit would be the XW's, LVW, Radians. It is logical and inevitable ... if I get the Leica.

Mike


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Starman81
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5819809 - 04/24/13 01:28 PM

Quote:


In other words, I'd think twice about popping that sucker into a grab-n-go scope and walking out into the 'hood. I don't have a backyard, don't have a deck. Unless I travel an hour to my dark site, I have to set up in public areas here in suburbia. I'm not sure if I want to do that with a $950 Zoom and $500 Barlow.

So even if I do get the Leica, I might still be keeping my other Barlows for grab-n-go here at home. The eyepieces a Leica would replace in my kit would be the XW's, LVW, Radians. It is logical and inevitable ... if I get the Leica.

Mike




I was thinking about the same thing, Mike. Knowing your situation and while at the same time living vicariously through you, I say you have to keep in mind the fact that the 'peeps' in your 'hood' wouldn't know the difference between a Baader Zoom or a Leica Zoom or LegalZoom.com. Is there is any real appreciable risk of using uber-expensive equipment in your neighborhood? Only you can answer that. If you have been observing there for years and have had no trouble whatsoever, then you are probably good to go. It is not like a Leica Zoom is going to bling at night; it is quite understated and classy looking. That is a assuming you don't encrust it with diamonds or Swarovski crystals! But if you do shell out that much cash I would hope you could get as much use out of it as possible or else that might defeat the purpose.


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jerwin
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Starman81]
      #5820175 - 04/24/13 04:29 PM

Where does one go about buying this mythical Lieca Asph Zoom. I think I found it on hayneedle for 900, but I'm coming up short on the adapter.

Is that a 2" adapter only. I've tried a few different zooms on my Lunt LS60 with an 1200 blocking filter (1.25) and just haven't found anything that really makes me saw wow. Heard good things about the pentax zoom's eye relieve, but everything else I read said the lieca was the best of the best.

Thanks
Jim


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johnnyha
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: jerwin]
      #5820712 - 04/24/13 07:57 PM

Sure it's relatively expensive. But I don't remember all this gnashing of teeth over the price of the 21mm Ethos, which is pretty much the same as the Leica ASPH Zoom.

Jim you can get it from Markus at APM with your choice of adapter.


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5820767 - 04/24/13 08:34 PM

I don't have any Ethos, either.


Mike


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johnnyha
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5820870 - 04/24/13 09:22 PM

Quote:

I don't have any Ethos, either.


Mike



Yeh I debated over that 21mm Ethos for several years until I finally bought one... and didn't like it (mainly due to brownouts). Sold it a few months later. The Leica otoh looks like a keeper.


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5820907 - 04/24/13 09:45 PM

I'll make do with the ES 100 Degrees. But will I make do with the Baader and Nagler Zooms?


Mike


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andydj5xp
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5821290 - 04/25/13 04:10 AM

Quote:

I'll make do with the ES 100 Degrees. But will I make do with the Baader and Nagler Zooms?


Mike




You are obviously looking all the time for reasons not to get a Leica ASPH zoom. But nobody forces you to purchase one. Therefore, you are by no means in a position to defend yourself. And there are fixed focal length eyepieces of comparable (Delos, Pentax XW) or even better (ZAOIIs, Pentax XOs) quality. Therefore, you don't miss much - if anything at all - if you stay without the Leica. Period.

The Leica zoom is a very good alternative/complement to other eyepieces. It combines utmost versatility with top notch optical quality. You get viewing comfort without loosing performance.

What makes me wondering though is your preference of zooms in general (you are often mentioning how much you like your Hyp zoom), but your firm rejection of the Leica. It's expensive, yes, but this is a hobby and - within certain limits of course - all of us are willing to spend quite some money - much more than for the Leica - for a hobby which gives us such amount of satisfaction.

Andreas


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #5821356 - 04/25/13 06:59 AM

Quote:

You are obviously looking all the time for reasons not to get a Leica ASPH zoom. But nobody forces you to purchase one. Therefore, you are by no means in a position to defend yourself.




I didn't think it was that obvious. But obviously I am in a position to defend myself because I do keep finding reasons not to purchase a Leica ... or at least no overpowering reasons to purchase one, not yet, not for me. In any case, a consumer should thoroughly consider pro and con positions when contemplating any very expensive purchase. For me, the Leica ASPH is a very expensive purchase.

Mike


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Bob S.
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5821399 - 04/25/13 07:26 AM

Quote:

Quote:

You are obviously looking all the time for reasons not to get a Leica ASPH zoom. But nobody forces you to purchase one. Therefore, you are by no means in a position to defend yourself.




I didn't think it was that obvious. But obviously I am in a position to defend myself because I do keep finding reasons not to purchase a Leica ... or at least no overpowering reasons to purchase one, not yet, not for me. In any case, a consumer should thoroughly consider pro and con positions when contemplating a very expensive purchase.

Mike




Mike, I called Markus and told him not to sell you a ASPH as you would only be purchasing it in a weak moment

Seriously, I have been reading this thread since I own BGO's, Pentax XW's, Ethos, and two ASPH's and have owned ZAOII's and other fine ep's that I compared to the ASPH.

In my fast Newts and large solar scope, I have been finding that my preferred eyepiece for just about any occasion is my ASPH. I have minor problems with eye placement but other than that, I find nothing that compels me to use my large collection of other eyepieces. Like yourself, apparently, you like the use of zooms. Up until the ASPH, I hated zooms. I could not stand the degradation of the image and felt that the convenience was greatly overshadowed by the poor performance of any of the zooms I had used until getting not one but two ASPH's in two different 2" thread sizes for different applications of filters/barlows, etc.

I continue to marvel at how I just simply prefer the ASPH for its ability to dial in the exact magnification that the seeing will support. I also marvelled in the past when making comparisons for my eye that there was nothing that I owned including my BGO's, UO HD's, Pentax XW's, TV Ethos or Zeiss AOII's that would best the relatively simple ASPH.

My finest night so far with my new 20" f/3 Lockwood/JP Astrocraft came coincidentally with the use of an ASPH in native mode with my SIPS and then that night with the use of 2x and 4x TV Powermates. It was one of those magical nights that you wait for each year to really show you why you are in the hobby. Yes, I pulled out a simple Ethos that night and felt constrained by the fixed focal length of the ep and reverted back to the ASPH for the remainder of the night.

I sense people are working hard to convince you for some reason??? I don't really care if you get one or not. I don't feel that I need to be a spokeperson/apologist for the ep or its cost which is fairly expensive. We all get to choose what we want to use or not use in this hobby. I personally am glad that Andreas had done such extensive homework on the ep over a long period of time which originally convinced me to try one. I have been nothing but pleased that I got not one but two of them. You needn't feel that you have to be an apologist if you are continuing to be skeptical. I just hope that you are not suffering from what we call "paralysis from analysis". There are always pros and cons to everthing. Other than the higher cost than other zooms, I see no serious cons with this ep for my uses. Bob


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Bob S.]
      #5821425 - 04/25/13 07:50 AM

Mike, there is an alternative to the ASPH. Why not consider the older 7-22 Leica? I have two for binoviewing and the quality is outstanding! Yes, you give up field of view on the high end, but that doesn't sound like your reason for buying anyway. Aren't you primarily a planetary observer like myself? You don't need super wide fov at low power for that anyway. I assure the older zoom is fantastic in every regard, Andreas and Markus both agree with this. Try one at half the price...I will not give up mine!

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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: t.r.]
      #5821508 - 04/25/13 09:05 AM

t.r.,

I'm only a planet or lunar observer when it's not around New Moon ... which is actually most of the month. So, yes, if proportion of time spent at the eyepiece is considered, I am mostly a planet/lunar observer.

But once or twice every New Moon, weather permitting, I go to a dark site to observe deep sky objects. My time at the dark site is precious to me. I appreciate how a decent Zoom lets me see more in the time available without having to futz around with switching eyepieces. I do use eyepieces other than the Baader Zoom when the object requires it for a larger field or better light transmission.

If I bought a Leica ASPH, it would be predominantly for deep sky. Much of the time the Leica would live in my Paracorr. When observing planetaries and bright nebulae, however, I'd want to use the Leica in a filter wheel. So the bottom line for me is making certain the Leica could be optimized for the Paracorr and also be able to switch to the filter wheel when needed. The basic concerns are determining which adapter(s) would allow me to switch between Paracorr and filter wheel with the most flexibility, and if the Leica would be optimized for coma correction when used in the Paracorr. Other observers have given me some information along these lines, but I'm still thinking it over.

I'm pretty much done assembling my kit for planet/lunar. I have pairs of Brandons, Paradigms, BGOs, TV Plossls and Meade 5Ks for binoviewing. For monoviewing planets and the Moon, I have XOs, XWs, an LVW 8 and singles from the bino pairs.

I also have a pair of Zhumell 8-24 Zooms which are surprisingly good for lunar. I've thought about getting another used Baader Zoom to make a bino pair, but I have yet to go through with that. There might not be enough space between the eyes and the weight might be more than I want.

A pair of the 7-22 Leica are worth considering for binoviewing planet/lunar (I don't binoview DSO). But like I said, I'm thinking about the Leica ASPH mostly for deep sky, not for planet/lunar, so the wider AFOV of the ASPH would be useful.

Mike


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Starman1]
      #5821795 - 04/25/13 11:01 AM

Well Mike that's not really true. First of all there are only six BGOs. The zoom range is 9-18mm. I have the BGO set and there is a 7mm, 6mm, and 5mm. So it could replace the 18mm, 12mm, and 9mm. To replace all six BGOs you would need (in my case since I have the Starlight Instruments 2 inch adapter) a high quality 2 inch barlow. Which I don't think exists. But I can imagine what it might cost if it does. I have the Zeiss made Baader barlow that came with the ZAO IIs for another $450 and it's a 1 1/4 inch barlow. A Zeiss 2 inch barlow (if made) would probably be $700. So if you do the math I can replace my six BGOs ($654) with the Leica + adapter ($1090) + mythical Zeiss 2 inch barlow ($700), for a grand total of $1790. In my world, that's just too much.

And I don't mean to say it's a bad eyepiece. I mean to say that it is a ridiculously expensive eyepiece. I don't buy Ethos for that reason. Up until this purchase the most I spent on an eyepiece was the Zeiss Diascope fixed focal length eyepiece with Zeiss adapter for $640 which I really like. So $1090 for the Leica is a lot. Especially if it is just equal to eyepieces I already own which cost 1/10th as much. Not to mention it's not made in Germany as I expected. Thery're made in Portugal which Leica started doing in 1973 to save money. So if that's the case, why is the Leica 50% more than other premium spotting scope zooms?

One good thing is that it has convinced me, since it is on a par with the ZAO IIs as some folks have said, that I won't need to purchase the ZAO IIs. So I will have saved the $4500 or whatever the four of them are going for nowadays.

But more power to you if you have purchased and really enjoy owning this eyepiece. I'm not trying to cast aspersions on any one, I'm just trying to relate my experience so that folks on the fence might, if able, look through one before purchasing and determine if it's right for you. I didn't have the ability to do that.


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Starman1
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5821848 - 04/25/13 11:33 AM

Rodger,
For a lot less than Zeiss would charge, try a 2X, 2" TeleVue PowerMate.
Other than adding magnification, it's about as invisible in use as focal extenders get.
--no change of eye relief
--no vignetting
--no coloration
--no added spherical aberration
--no added chromatic aberration
--no loss of sharpness not related to seeing issues at the higher power.
I'm just sayin'....


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5821881 - 04/25/13 11:48 AM

Rodger,

Quote:

Well Mike that's not really true. First of all there are only six BGOs. The zoom range is 9-18mm. I have the BGO set and there is a 7mm, 6mm, and 5mm. So it could replace the 18mm, 12mm, and 9mm. To replace all six BGOs you would need (in my case since I have the Starlight Instruments 2 inch adapter) a high quality 2 inch barlow. Which I don't think exists. But I can imagine what it might cost if it does. I have the Zeiss made Baader barlow that came with the ZAO IIs for another $450 and it's a 1 1/4 inch barlow. A Zeiss 2 inch barlow (if made) would probably be $700. So if you do the math I can replace my six BGOs ($654) with the Leica + adapter ($1090) + mythical Zeiss 2 inch barlow ($700), for a grand total of $1790. In my world, that's just too much.




Yep, that's about what I was figuring.

If I were to get the Leica ASPH, though, it would be mostly for deep sky, as an upgrade to my Baader Zoom. In that capacity, I'm considering that the Leica would replace at least some of my XW's, Radians, and the LVW.

Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5821893 - 04/25/13 11:53 AM

Rodger,

Quote:

One good thing is that it has convinced me, since it is on a par with the ZAO IIs as some folks have said, that I won't need to purchase the ZAO IIs. So I will have saved the $4500 or whatever the four of them are going for nowadays.




I'm not really sold on the Leica as a top-tier planet eyepiece. Maybe you've already discovered that for yourself first hand.

Mike


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chrisg
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5821905 - 04/25/13 11:57 AM

Re: Quality 2" Barlows, there's also the AP Barcon, and Brandon made a fine 2" 2.4x, hopefully this one will return..

How do you like the Leica at 13mm vs your 12.8mm Diascope lens? Would you say the Leica zoom could replace the Zeiss single focal length?


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Doug Culbertson
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5821910 - 04/25/13 12:00 PM

Quote:

Rodger,

Quote:

Well Mike that's not really true. First of all there are only six BGOs. The zoom range is 9-18mm. I have the BGO set and there is a 7mm, 6mm, and 5mm. So it could replace the 18mm, 12mm, and 9mm. To replace all six BGOs you would need (in my case since I have the Starlight Instruments 2 inch adapter) a high quality 2 inch barlow. Which I don't think exists. But I can imagine what it might cost if it does. I have the Zeiss made Baader barlow that came with the ZAO IIs for another $450 and it's a 1 1/4 inch barlow. A Zeiss 2 inch barlow (if made) would probably be $700. So if you do the math I can replace my six BGOs ($654) with the Leica + adapter ($1090) + mythical Zeiss 2 inch barlow ($700), for a grand total of $1790. In my world, that's just too much.




Yep, that's about what I was figuring.

If I were to get the Leica ASPH, though, it would be mostly for deep sky, as an upgrade to my Baader Zoom. In that capacity, I'm considering that the Leica would replace at least some of my XW's, Radians, and the LVW.

Mike




THe Leica ASPH did replace all of my Pentax XWs, but I was fortunate in that I found a kind person who allowed me to use his ASPH for a month, which enabled me to make a very informed decision. Previously, I had waffled for over a year as to whether I wanted to own this eyepiece, and probably still wouldn't own it if not for that person's kindness.


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leonard
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Doug Culbertson]
      #5821963 - 04/25/13 12:32 PM



Hi Doug,

>>>> THe Leica ASPH did replace all of my Pentax XWs <<<

Could you explain some to the things you observed between the two that convinced you to sell the XW's and keep the ASPH.

Thanks


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Doug Culbertson
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: leonard]
      #5821977 - 04/25/13 12:38 PM

In short, I found that the ASPH surpassed the XWs in both sharpness and contrast, while I felt that the tone was similar in all of the eyepieces. In fact, I found the ASPH to be so close to the ZAO IIs that were loaned to me at the same time that I could not tell the difference between them, but I could tell the difference between the ZAO IIs and ASPH and the XWs.

FWIW, my comparisons were done over several nights and targets included the moon, Jupiter, and a few brighter DSOs. Telescopes used were a 14.5" Starmaster/Zambuto, an EON 120ED, and an Orion XT 10i with Ed Stevens mirror.

FWIW, I did a review of the borrowed ASPH and ZAO IIs, as well as a follow up review with my own ASPH once I received it, but I'm too lazy to dig those up right now.


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Doug Culbertson]
      #5822152 - 04/25/13 01:23 PM

Here is an opinion by an experienced observer (BillP) which seems to say that the Leica ASPH is not quite as good as the ZAO-II or XO:

Quote:

In 10" Dob the extra scatter from the extra elements meant loss of finest planetary details compared to ZAO and XO, but even so, I enjoyed using the Leica more and ended up after testing using it instead of the ZAO or XO to observe with.



Leica ASPH zoom: experiences?

For me, "finest planetary details" are what it's all about when observing planets. As I said, I don't think the Leica is quite a top-tier planet eyepiece. Close but not quite. I'm keeping the XO's.

Mike


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Doug Culbertson
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5822252 - 04/25/13 01:55 PM

So Bill and I disagree. Different eyes, but you believe who you believe. As for me, I believe my own eyes.

FWIW, I've been observing for over 20 years, so the reference to Bill being an "experienced observer" doesn't hold much water with me.

Edited by Doug Culbertson (04/25/13 01:55 PM)


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Doug Culbertson]
      #5822276 - 04/25/13 02:08 PM

Two experienced observers can still see different things at the eyepiece. For some topics, I think there might be nearly as many opinions as there are observers. That's why these threads become so long and controversial. I'm not attempting to give a final judgment - how could I, since I've never looked through a Leica ASPH? I'm just trying to sort things out for myself.

In any case, for me the point is moot. If I buy a Leica ASPH, it will be for deep sky, not so much planets or the Moon. If I happen to discover that for my eyes the Leica is just as good as the XO's for planets, so much the better.

Mike


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andydj5xp
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Doug Culbertson]
      #5822283 - 04/25/13 02:11 PM

Quote:

FWIW, I did a review of the borrowed ASPH and ZAO IIs, as well as a follow up review with my own ASPH once I received it, but I'm too lazy to dig those up right now.




Doug, are you referring to this one Leica ASPH in a fast Newt ?

Andreas


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: chrisg]
      #5822661 - 04/25/13 05:22 PM

I haven't had the time to compare the Zeiss Diascope and the Leica yet. For those premium barlows are any of them still made? When I googled it I found the Celestron and I think Zhummel.

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leonard
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Doug Culbertson]
      #5822769 - 04/25/13 06:40 PM



Thanks Doug.


Leonard


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Bob S.
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: leonard]
      #5823649 - 04/26/13 06:18 AM Attachment (23 downloads)

Life has a way of distracting you from the things that really matter. I had a fellow named Josh Balsam who had built me a portable Bahtinov mask for my 20" JPA to get critical focus with my Mallincams or DSLR's to consider making me an apodizing mask. Josh utilized the scheme presented by one of the club members of the Colorado astronomical society and it arrived a few days ago. Last night with an almost full moon and Saturn close by was the perfect time to test out the apodizing mask. I did at least x6 A/B comparisons of the planet with and without the apodizing mask in place. 5/6 times, the image of the planet was sharper with the prismatic/psychedelic apodizing mask in place. I used my Leica ASPH zoom to get just the right amount of magnification to get the sharpest images when doing the comparisons for the slightly varying seeing conditions. The results were very pleasing and I can't wait to try it out on double stars. Suiter and others discuss the benefits of apodization. It appears to need at least 10" of aperture or greater to accomodate the reduction of light to the primary. Great fun and Saturn was showing very sharp ring detail but more interesting planet atmospheric detail/color than I am accustomed to seeing. Bob

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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Bob S.]
      #5823687 - 04/26/13 07:06 AM

Bob S.,

Quote:

Life has a way of distracting you from the things that really matter. I had a fellow named Josh Balsam who had built me a portable Bahtinov mask for my 20" JPA to get critical focus with my Mallincams or DSLR's to consider making me an apodizing mask. Josh utilized the scheme presented by one of the club members of the Colorado astronomical society and it arrived a few days ago. Last night with an almost full moon and Saturn close by was the perfect time to test out the apodizing mask. I did at least x6 A/B comparisons of the planet with and without the apodizing mask in place. 5/6 times, the image of the planet was sharper with the prismatic/psychedelic apodizing mask in place. I used my Leica ASPH zoom to get just the right amount of magnification to get the sharpest images when doing the comparisons for the slightly varying seeing conditions. The results were very pleasing and I can't wait to try it out on double stars. Suiter and others discuss the benefits of apodization. It appears to need at least 10" of aperture or greater to accomodate the reduction of light to the primary. Great fun and Saturn was showing very sharp ring detail but more interesting planet atmospheric detail/color than I am accustomed to seeing. Bob




Congratulations on discovering the contrast enhancing effects of the apodizing mask! Your mask looks similar to mine but larger, of course. I've gotten my very best views of bright planets when an apodizing mask has been on the 10" f/4.8 Dob. Now combine the apodizing mask with a binoviewer, Baader Moon & Sky Glow filter and close collimation via autocollimator, and you're talking very fine surface features. That's what it's all about for planet observing, isn't it?

Some call the apodizing mask a seeing filter, but it is actually a contrast filter. That is exactly what it's doing, enhancing the contrast by refining the diffraction pattern. No one should confuse the apodizing mask with an aperture mask. That would be like comparing apples and ... lemons.


Mike


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chrisg
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5824104 - 04/26/13 10:57 AM

Re: 2" Barlows availability.
Bought a 2" 2.4x Vernonscope at NEAF. Liz Mansfield confirmed that they have them available for ship. The AP Barcon barlow, just came out with a new model, and the older version I've seen around here in the classifieds.
Also Siebert and TV Powermates.


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: chrisg]
      #5825299 - 04/26/13 08:52 PM

That is some great news on the AP and Brandon barlows. Does anyone have experience with either?

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johnnyha
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5825625 - 04/27/13 02:29 AM

The Leica ASPH also works well with the 2" Antares 1.7X barlow, so it is not a requirement to spend lots of money on a barlow for the zoom.

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Smithfr2000
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5825660 - 04/27/13 03:37 AM

My Barlow VIP from baader cost me 185 € for 1.5X, 2X and 2.5X power with the Leica. Not that much.

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Bob S.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5847561 - 05/08/13 11:11 AM

I've actually warmed to the Leica after using it some more. It's a great eyepiece for my SCTs because of their generally longer focal lengths as opposed to my refractors. In addition, it gives you the 60 deg. AFOV across the range which is nice. And you of course do not have to switch out any eyepieces.

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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5847585 - 05/08/13 11:33 AM

Rodger,

I've read that the AFOV for the Leica ASPH is about 80 degrees at the lowest focal length setting. What is your experience?

Mike


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5847593 - 05/08/13 11:37 AM

I'm not surprised that a zoom - even a German zoom lovingly meistercrafted by magical gnomes deep in the Black Forest - doesn't surpass a well-made Japanese fixed focal length eyepiece on-axis. That's an apples-oranges face-off. On the other hand, I'd be surprised if, at the resolution and seeing limits of your scope, you couldn't detect differences between BGOs and better made fixed focal length eyepieces. At least some of the time. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. The crimes of one ridonculously expensive eyepiece should not be laid at the feet of other ridonculously expensive eyepieces of different characteristics.

Regards,

Jim


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5847656 - 05/08/13 12:19 PM

Jim,

Quote:

I'm not surprised that a zoom - even a German zoom lovingly meistercrafted by magical gnomes deep in the Black Forest - doesn't surpass a well-made Japanese fixed focal length eyepiece on-axis.




This is why I've always thought that the most appropriate niche for a good zoom is deep sky, not planets! A zoom can dial in the optimum perceived contrast and image scale needed for each faint fuzzy.

True, for planets and lunar a zoom can dial in the optimum magnification for the seeing conditions at hand. But then you must contend with the fact that a great single focus eyepiece for planet/lunar will tend strongly to outperform a great zoom. And the observer must also deal with the fact that for deep sky conditions - when the eye has lost much of its visual acuity - the ability of an eyepiece to show finer details is not so important. When deeply dark-adapted the eye will probably not see those finer details any way!

As long as the zoom in question has good light transmission, its forte should really be deep sky objects, not planet/lunar.

That being said, I do have both Nag Zooms for grab-n-go viewing of the bright planets and the Moon.

Mike


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5847689 - 05/08/13 12:37 PM

Quote:


I'm not surprised that a zoom - even a German zoom lovingly meistercrafted by magical gnomes deep in the Black Forest - doesn't surpass a well-made Japanese fixed focal length eyepiece on-axis.




With all due respect: your statement would be more substantial if you'd report about your own findings.

I haven't compared the Leica with "well-made Japanese fixed focal length eyepieces on axis", but I've done so - also on axis of course - with well-made German eyepieces (the ZAOIIs), and I can tell you that the differences were minute if at all. And the differences were - depending on the target - either way.

Andreas


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5847752 - 05/08/13 01:16 PM

I'm leaning toward getting the Leica Asph Zoom with 1.25" adapter when my bank account recovers from my new newt expense. My SA and Hyperion 2 Zooms and 3 Meade UWAs are getting very little use and should bring in $600. I'd keep my LVW, 2 XWs and 2 Delos, ditto for the 3 T6s used for HA but could see the Leica replacing these as well. A used 16 ZOA 2 which would be mostly barlowed would cost almost as much. David

Edited by dscarpa (05/08/13 08:07 PM)


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: dscarpa]
      #5847877 - 05/08/13 02:17 PM

I bought the Leica from APM with the 2" T2 adapter in order to better utilize a Baader VIP barlow. Earlier this month I ordered a 1.25" adapter and the price was 80 Euro (includes shipping and Paypal currency conversion fee). I just checked Paypal and this ended up being $107.63.

I special ordered this adapter without a safety undercut, so may be looking at another week or so before it ships.

Regarding the on-axis planetary performance of the Leica, I recently had a chance to compare my Brandon 8mm vs a borrowed BGO 9mm vs the Leica at 8.7mm on Saturn using my excellent 4" f/13 Carton. The Leica was clearly superior in all aspects. Nothing earth-shattering besides the much superior eye relief and wide field presentation, but nevertheless a clear notch above the Brandon and BGO to my eyes.

I am really looking forward to using the Leica with the 2.4" f/20 SPI.

Edited by Ain Soph Aur (05/08/13 02:41 PM)


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Ain Soph Aur]
      #5847947 - 05/08/13 02:55 PM

Brandon,

Quote:

I bought the Leica from APM with the 2" T2 adapter in order to better utilize a Baader VIP barlow. Earlier this month I ordered a 1.25" adapter and the price was 80 Euro (includes shipping and Paypal currency conversion fee). I just checked Paypal and this ended up being $107.63.




I'm looking forward to hearing how easy it is to switch from 1.25" to 2" adapter. I would need a 2" adapter for Paracorr, 1.25" adapter for filter wheel. I'm still not sure which adapters will work best. Sometimes I think I'm the only one who wants to use the Leica the way I want to!


Mike


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Ain Soph Aur]
      #5847985 - 05/08/13 03:09 PM

Brandon,

Quote:

Regarding the on-axis planetary performance of the Leica, I recently had a chance to compare my Brandon 8mm vs a borrowed BGO 9mm vs the Leica at 8.7mm on Saturn using my excellent 4" f/13 Carton. The Leica was clearly superior in all aspects. Nothing earth-shattering besides the much superior eye relief and wide field presentation, but nevertheless a clear notch above the Brandon and BGO to my eyes.




A wider field and longer eye relief are nice, but they are not top priority for me when viewing planet/lunar. Were the other differences that were not "earth-shattering" things such as perceived contrast and ease of discerning fine surface detail, characteristics important in planet/lunar observation?

Mike


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5848000 - 05/08/13 03:20 PM

Mike - when I barlow my Leica I am using it exactly as you could be using it, by screwing into my 2" Leica/APM T2 adapter what is essentially just a 1.25" T2 nosepiece. Being the Zess 2X Abbe barlow, the nosepiece happens to have lenses but it is just a T2 nosepiece. There would be no effective difference between this configuration of 2" Leica/APM T2 adapter w/ 1.25" T2 nosepiece, and a dedicated Leica/APM 1.25" adapter. The inner barrel of the Leica extends down almost to the bottom of the 2" adapter so there would be no loss of backfocus adding the 1.25" T2 nosepiece compared to the dedicated Leica/APM 1.25" adapter, which also has to extend downwards at 2" to allow for the inner barrel. And it only takes literally seconds to screw the 1.25" nosepiece in and out. I posted a photo earlier in the thread showing this setup.

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dyslexic nam
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5848037 - 05/08/13 03:39 PM

(noting at the outset that I am not trying to offend...)

I find it odd that people can be convinced that the zoom is incapable of doing certain things (excellent planetary performance, outperforming top notch fixed focal length eps, etc.) when they have never looked through one. One of the most intriguing aspects of the ASPH is that many people have relayed the idea that they were initially skeptical of its ability, tried it, and have since come to realize that it is essentially unsurpassed when it comes to performance under a wide range of viewing contexts (DSO, planets, lunar, solar). Some people have gone so far as to liquidate the majority of their other ep's simply because their other glass seems to offer no performance advantage over the Leica. Granted, it is possible to handpick a review that indicates the Leica isn't as excellent as some reviewers have indicated, but the majority of reviews seem to indicate this is some sort of logic-defying ep that equals or surpasses the very best fixed focal length eps. I place a lot of weight behind the views of experienced observers who have sold off sets of Brandons or Ziess ep's after spending time with the Leica.

Again, not trying to be confrontational on this, but I tend to question the strong views of those who have not looked through the ep in question, when those views contradict the majority of opinions posted by people who have.


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etsleds
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: dyslexic nam]
      #5848112 - 05/08/13 04:16 PM

My experience is about a year of owning and comparing the Leica vs the other glass I mentioned.

For me, its ultimate planetary performance is surpassed by many, but the differences are not large and only apparent in excellent seeing. However, it represents quite a nice set of engineering compromises in performance and handling that for some (not me) would be the best viewing system.

It's a big investment and a personal judgement on the compromises, so not surprising (but unfortunate) that some folks are getting touchy about it.


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etsleds
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5848119 - 05/08/13 04:19 PM

Johnny, can you share a bit what your use of the Leica zoom is? In what scenarios - what scope & targets & conditions - do you find it a winner?

I personally don't find it too useful on my apos, but part of that may be that my usual setup is 5 eyepieces loaded into a Tak turret, so I get a "customized zoom" of premium simple glass. But if you're saying the Leica is the snizzle with Ginger in some cases, I'm definitely open ears.


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: etsleds]
      #5848159 - 05/08/13 04:37 PM

I have gotten excellent resuts with the Leica viewing Planets on very good nights with my FS152 Andrew, and it is especially a BIG winner on the Moon. It's also excellent for viewing binaries, I have seen Sirius B from the City with the Leica ASPH and Ginger (the FS152). Others I hear wouldn't use anything else for solar viewing although I don't have a Herschel Wedge or Ha scope so I don't know about that. Most of my viewing is in the city but I see no reason the leica wouldn't do well on DSOs in a dark sky. It's also fantastic in a Paracorr with my 14.5" dob. It's a great eyepiece to guage seeing conditions with, and if it's an excellent night I might switch over to some nice orthos but as you say, there's not a big readily discernible difference most nights and so most nights I spend quite awhile with just the Leica ASPH.

I have become very enamored of binoviewing so the Leica ASPH in mono is the perfect complement for my viewing habits - I binoview with quality orthos and Brandons so those are always available for mono use, but for the most part I am perfectly happy with the Leica ASPH Zoom for mono. It makes for a nice small kit with the Zoom, a 31T5 Nagler, a Zeiss 2X Abbe barlow, and my binoviewers with ZAO-IIs, Brandons and various other pairs including Pan 24s and 13T6s. So OK, I still keep some widefields. I have my 13 Ethos too. But I love the advantages of the zoom with regards to guaging seeing conditions and dialing in magnification. A turret would be nice too - I just can't seem to get used to having all my eyepieces hanging out like that.


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etsleds
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5848260 - 05/08/13 05:25 PM Attachment (11 downloads)

Quote:

But I love the advantages of the zoom with regards to guaging seeing conditions and dialing in magnification. A turret would be nice too - I just can't seem to get used to having all my eyepieces hanging out like that.




Not all turrets are made the same...my 9-18mm Pentax/Takahashi is a little lighter and a little bigger than the Leica, and it was slightly cheaper when I put it together. It doesn't do 60-80 deg or long eye relief, but has overall better optical performance and rotating doesn't shift my Half Hitch as much as trying to zoom the Leica.

Sounds like our use with big mirror buckets is similar, but I'll give the Leica more of a chance with Mary Ann and Marilyn and not rush to replace it as soon as seeing settles down and report back in a few months.

Cheers, Andrew.


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5848442 - 05/08/13 06:43 PM

Quote:

A wider field and longer eye relief are nice, but they are not top priority for me when viewing planet/lunar. Were the other differences that were not "earth-shattering" things such as perceived contrast and ease of discerning fine surface detail, characteristics important in planet/lunar observation?




I was not able to detect any aspect that the Leica was not superior to the Brandon or BGO.


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Ain Soph Aur]
      #5848651 - 05/08/13 08:32 PM

Quote:

The Leica was clearly superior in all aspects. Nothing earth-shattering besides the much superior eye relief and wide field presentation, but nevertheless a clear notch above the Brandon and BGO to my eyes.




So, the way I understand this, the Leica was superior to the Brandon and BGO in all aspects - but besides eye relief and width of field, none of those differences were earth-shattering.

I could say the same thing about my XW's. So why should I consider selling the XW's in order to fund a Leica ASPH? Well, I guess there is the zoom factor.


Mike


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5848722 - 05/08/13 09:04 PM

Mike, I didn't check the FOV, I'm just quoting the advertising literature.

Jim, I was disappointed at first that it just matched my BGOs. My Brandon's have a little less scatter, but I really haven't compared the two.

In my world I think the strength of the zoom is that it is the equal of my best eyepieces yet allows me to zoom and maintains a 60 deg. FOV.

I would compare it to my Pentax XOs, but I don't have a 2 inch barlow to match the FLs. But then again I love my 6 mm Brandon, 5 and 2.5 mm XOs, and 5 and 6 mm BGOs for high power planetary work.


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Ain Soph Aur
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5848816 - 05/08/13 09:39 PM

Although I have never had the opportunity to view through XAO's, I imagine that the difference between them and the BGO or Brandon tier of EP's isn't earth-shattering either....

I agree with many others that the Leica is in the top tier of eyepieces, and am very pleased I decided to buy one as I doubt I could have afforded many top tier single f/l eyepieces.

If I wasn't planning on eventually getting a binoviewer, I would seriously think about selling the 8,12,16mm Brandons. Well, I also like them in my vintage refractors and they are a treat with the Baader turret, so I won't be selling them. Otherwise, they will continue to mostly sit in my EP case as the Leica is so much better that I am not motivated to use them.


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5848827 - 05/08/13 09:45 PM

Quote:

In my world I think the strength of the zoom is that it is the equal of my best eyepieces yet allows me to zoom and maintains a 60 deg. FOV.



Actually the ASPH zooms progressively from 60* at the low end to 80* at the high magnification end.


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: dyslexic nam]
      #5849268 - 05/09/13 04:14 AM

Quote:

(noting at the outset that I am not trying to offend...)

I find it odd that people can be convinced that the zoom is incapable of doing certain things (excellent planetary performance, outperforming top notch fixed focal length eps, etc.) when they have never looked through one. One of the most intriguing aspects of the ASPH is that many people have relayed the idea that they were initially skeptical of its ability, tried it, and have since come to realize that it is essentially unsurpassed when it comes to performance under a wide range of viewing contexts (DSO, planets, lunar, solar). Some people have gone so far as to liquidate the majority of their other ep's simply because their other glass seems to offer no performance advantage over the Leica. Granted, it is possible to handpick a review that indicates the Leica isn't as excellent as some reviewers have indicated, but the majority of reviews seem to indicate this is some sort of logic-defying ep that equals or surpasses the very best fixed focal length eps. I place a lot of weight behind the views of experienced observers who have sold off sets of Brandons or Zeiss ep's after spending time with the Leica.

Again, not trying to be confrontational on this, but I tend to question the strong views of those who have not looked through the ep in question, when those views contradict the majority of opinions posted by people who have.




Very well said!

Some contributions do indeed exhibit an attitude as though everybody would have a full set of ZAOIIs (plus Zeiss Barlow) and only would be considering the Leica zoom if it clearly equals or even surpasses these highest quality orthos. By setting this benchmark almost all other eyepieces (including EVERY TeleVue eyepiece) would be ruled out (with the possible exception of the two Pentax XOs).

To accept a widefield zoom with an optical quality close or even equal to the top notch fixed focal length eyepieces seems to be impossible for some.

Andreas


Remark: These words are not directed to anybody in particular. Therefore, please do take it as a general remark without being pointed at someone specifically.


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #5849425 - 05/09/13 08:14 AM

I, for one, will be keeping my Brandons, XW's, TV plossls and the Leicas. I don't feel compelled to replace any one with the other. The fact that the Leicas run with these other eyepieces is the real story. They don't have to surpass them as I see it, but the ability to play with them is quite an accomplishment in its own right. From my past experience, the Baader and TV 8-24 zooms could not. One could do quite well with just a TV 3-6 zoom, a Leica and a TV 31 Nagler!


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: t.r.]
      #5849485 - 05/09/13 08:52 AM

If any eyepieces would be obvious sacrifices for a Leica ASPH, they would be XW's and LVW's in comparable focal lengths. These eyepieces are at 70 and 65 degrees AFOV respectively, about at the mid range of AFOV for the Leica ASPH (60-80 degrees). The XW's in particular have superior light transmission, are great for deep sky and also decent for planet/lunar. Sounds very similar to the Leica ASPH. I think that if I were to go for a Leica ASPH, my XW's from at least 5mm to 10mm - as well as my LVW 8 and maybe the Radian 4 - would be heading out the door. Seriously, what would be the rationale for keeping these eyepieces once a Leica ASPH is in the house?

Brandons and TV Plossls are in another class all together. IME, they are best used as planet/lunar eyepieces, not so much for deep sky. (Maybe double stars for Brandons, though.) Also, they are great for binoviewing and comparatively inexpensive when bought used, so pairing them up is not so painful fiscally. The Leica ASPH might be good for binoviewing - depending on if the observer can handle the IPD required - but definitely not inexpensive when bino-paired. Not happenin' in this house. I would opt for only one single Leica ASPH.

The Baader Zoom might be going to avoid redundancy. On the other hand, it is nice to have a decent zoom for quick grab-n-go that didn't cost an arm and leg. The two Nag Zooms might stay, also. Just because these are all zoom eyepieces doesn't necessarily mean they should go when a Leica ASPH joins the collection.

Mike


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5849729 - 05/09/13 10:37 AM

There was a mix up as to the stain color on my 11" STS so the ETA is now September not July. Since this is kind of late for my 60th on May 31 I might get the Leica sooner than later. David

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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: dscarpa]
      #5849898 - 05/09/13 12:04 PM

These are the eyepieces that I would definitely sell if I buy a Leica ASPH:

XW 5
XW 7
LVW 8
XW 10

That should bring in close to $900 gross. If I throw in the Radian 4, that would bring the total up to about $1050. After shipping and PayPal fees, I should have enough for the Leica. (Thinking out loud here.) It just makes good sense.

So if you see these eyepieces for sale on CN or -mart, you'll know know what's going on. But I'll probably buy the Leica first to try it out before selling all those XW's down the river.


Mike


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5849932 - 05/09/13 12:27 PM

Remember, the Leica ASPH Zoom is 8.9-17.8mm focal length range.

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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Starman1]
      #5850050 - 05/09/13 01:34 PM

Yes, but the Leica can be Barlowed or Paracorred.

In fact, many Leica ASPH owners who have fast Dobs have admitted that unless the eyepiece is used in a Barlow or Paracorr, the image toward edge of field is not so good. At least one report said that even with a Paracorr, the outer third of the field still showed substantial FC and astigmatism. Well, a Paracorr will not correct astigmatism, but it can help flatten the field. Apparently a Barlow is much better at cleaning up the Leica ASPH.

Leica ASPH zoom: experiences?

In a Paracorr, the Leica would have a range from 7.7 to 15.5mm. With a 2x Barlow, the Leica is 4.5 to 8.9mm.

But then you have to ask yourself, "Should I compare the focal range of the Barlowed/Paracorred Leica with the fixed focal length of another eyepiece or with its effective focal length in a Barlow/Paracorr?" I suppose it depends on how badly the other eyepiece needs a Barlow/Paracorr to perform adequately.


Mike


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5850061 - 05/09/13 01:40 PM

Quote:

Thanks for your report. I've been mulling over the purchase of a Lecia ASPH for at least two years now and still haven't pulled the trigger. I think I'll continue to mull.




Mike, after a lengthy mull and mulling, I am happy to see you are entering the mulled stage.

Regarding an earlier question you had regarding the ease of attaching/swapping APM adapters, with the 2" adapter it takes about 10 seconds to remove and 20 seconds to attach. It appears the 1.25" adapter is attached exactly as the 2", so I suspect it will be just as trivial.

If you decide to order the adapters without under-cuts, plan on adding a week or two for the special order.

Once you get some quality eyeball time with the Leica, I think you will find it is an outstanding planetary and lunar performer, better than your Brandon/TV's. I sure wish I had the IPD to eventually bino-view with the Leica, as I would already be scheming on a second.


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etsleds
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5850287 - 05/09/13 03:30 PM

Mike, two things have stopped me from replacing a series of widefield primes.

One, the Leica is a 2x mag zoom, but only 1.5x FOV. Since the wider AFOV is on the short side, depends on whether you're a glass half full or empty kind of guy. Perfect if your desired kit was a 5mm Nagler, 7mm XW, 10mm Radian. For me on deep sky, I waffle a bit on whether the continuous framing control outweighs the reduced FOV range, hence I still have the Leica in my kit while I ponder that.

Two, backing away from the whole ZAO-II ultimate fine low contrast performance question, the Pentax XW (I only speak from having the 10mm) and the Nikon SW are better on the balance of performance factors I look for in a widefield.

I do recommend you compare them directly and under different viewing conditions, although perhaps I should stay quiet since may of us are now eagerly awaiting your Pentax XW firesale


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: etsleds]
      #5850762 - 05/09/13 07:36 PM

Just for the record I still have my Pentax XWs 10-7-5. Having sold and later replaced them several times over the years I am hesitant to do it again, they are true "keepers" and possible collector's items. But I simply don't seem to use them anymore since I got the Leica ASPH Zoom. I like to binoview and otherwise the Leica and 31T5 do just fine for me.

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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: etsleds]
      #5850769 - 05/09/13 07:38 PM

On the low side the FOV is 60 deg. Way more than a ZAO II at 40 deg.

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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5850961 - 05/09/13 09:28 PM

Quote:

On the low side the FOV is 60 deg. Way more than a ZAO II at 40 deg.




Understood. Discussion was around the Leica as a widefield replacement.


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: etsleds]
      #5851240 - 05/10/13 01:18 AM

It seems to me that this wouldn't be much of a discussion if great planetary eyepieces were still readily available to order. Speaking strictly from my perspective, we have BGO's, perhaps the Brandons, and then we step up to the Leica zoom if a high quality planetary eyepiece is desired - not a whole lot of choices. Still, one is better than none.

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etsleds
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: SteveC]
      #5851344 - 05/10/13 04:27 AM

I think there are more current choices than just BGO and Brandons vs the Leica for planetary performance.

One thing that has struck me as odd about the Leica discussion over the past two years is the lack of similar looks at the Swavorski aspherical zoom with similar specs (but $200 cheaper), the Nikon aspherical zoom with narrower field but 3x zoom range, or the current Zeiss offerings. I've been tempted to rig the Zeiss and Nikon 3x zooms as planetary eyepieces, but am tiring a bit of eyepiece tests after 3 years now of minimal glass comparisons...


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: etsleds]
      #5851366 - 05/10/13 05:12 AM

Quote:

I think there are more current choices than just BGO and Brandons vs the Leica for planetary performance.

One thing that has struck me as odd about the Leica discussion over the past two years is the lack of similar looks at the Swavorski aspherical zoom with similar specs (but $200 cheaper), the Nikon aspherical zoom with narrower field but 3x zoom range, or the current Zeiss offerings. I've been tempted to rig the Zeiss and Nikon 3x zooms as planetary eyepieces, but am tiring a bit of eyepiece tests after 3 years now of minimal glass comparisons...




May be these zooms would be recognized as well if someone else would have been testing them as elaborately as I've tested the Leica ASPH zoom. And reported about.

Even then the early users of the Leica - like Tammy or Sixela - did run the risk of being in a position to rely on my judgement when purchasing this expensive item.

Andreas


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #5851483 - 05/10/13 07:47 AM

Let's not forget the TV 3-6 Nagler zoom...

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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5851780 - 05/10/13 10:59 AM

I'm curious as to the other zooms as well. APM has the Zeiss in stock. David

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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: dscarpa]
      #5851823 - 05/10/13 11:21 AM

Last night I compared the views of Saturn with my Leica Zoom (original model), BGO 12.5, and Brandon 16. In order to achieve good image scale in my MN76, a 3x TV barlow was also used.

So, at similar magnifications-

~250x BGO vs Leica Zoom
Preference Leica (more saturated color, less scatter, nice band detail)

~200x Brandon 16 vs Leica Zoom
Preference Brandon 16 ("purer" color, great sharpness, less scatter, best band detail, fainter moons more easily visible)

Any of the three put up a satisfying image in good seeing, but on this night the Brandon was a noticeable cut above using this combo.

Best,
Ed L.


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: edl]
      #5852952 - 05/10/13 10:55 PM

I recently purchased the Zeiss Diascope zoom 6.5 to 25.1 mm and tried it out a couple nights ago. First of all the zoom range is huge. It goes from 1 inch to 1/4 inch focal length in 1 twist. I had it in my new C11 XLT and was looking at Saturn. I was very impressed. At low power 110X the image was extremely sharp and crisp. I then zoomed to the highest power 440X and could see mottling in the clouds on Saturn's disk! That was the first time ever that I was able to see this amount of detail. The only downside was that it had a little more scatter than the Leica but because of the zoom range I didn't need a Barlow. Overall I really like it.

I too wish someone would compare the aspheric zoom Swarovski and see how it compares to the Leica and Zeiss zooms. I wonder if you can get an adapter.

The fixed focal length Zeiss Diascope eyepiece 12.8 mm is still my best and favorite eyepiece but I've read in some of the birding reviews that the Swarovski's are actually better than the Zeiss from a brightness, light throuput, and color saturation standpoint.


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5853045 - 05/10/13 11:55 PM

No zoom for me anytime soon. I cheaped out and got a brand new black 50th 16 Brandon on Amart for $150. With my barlows it gives a nice range of lunar-planetary powers in my WO ZS-110 and not so soon newt. David

Edited by dscarpa (05/11/13 01:39 AM)


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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: dscarpa]
      #5853162 - 05/11/13 01:45 AM

Well congrats on the new Brandon. I have the black Anniversay set and love them. People say they think that the 16 mm is the best of the bunch.

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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5853166 - 05/11/13 01:52 AM

Quote:

I recently purchased the Zeiss Diascope zoom 6.5 to 25.1 mm and tried it out a couple nights ago. ... The only downside was that it had a little more scatter than the Leica but because of the zoom range I didn't need a Barlow.




Hello Rodger,

Am I reading you correctly that you did a direct comparison of the Leica ASPH vs the Zeiss Diascope?

Regards, Andrew


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: etsleds]
      #5853629 - 05/11/13 11:41 AM

Yes I did with the results mentioned in my post. I have only been able to do it one night though because of the monsoons here in Houston.

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MAURITS
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5867608 - 05/17/13 04:28 PM

Is it a good idea to use 2 Leica's ASPH in the Mark V bino, or are the 2 ethos 13 a better choice?

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Paul C-I
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5867629 - 05/17/13 04:33 PM

I use 2 ASPH in my Mkv, just about with my nose profile.
The luxury to dial in for maximum image size to suit any given seeing conditions is pure pleasure. And of course, that image quality!

YMMV
Paul


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Kent10
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Paul C-I]
      #5867664 - 05/17/13 04:48 PM

I also use 2 Leicas in my Mark V. They work well for me and I enjoy finding the best magnification for a given object. However, they are not always comfortable. My IPD is 65mm and I suppose my nose is average. So my nose hits the top of the eyepieces and can be uncomfortable after a while. It is also difficult to see the full view unless I really get my eyes and nose closer.

I also have 2 10mm Pentax XW and I find them quite a bit more comfortable to use. Tammy has mentioned on CN that the Delos are even more comfortable. I love binoviewing all objects so much that I may buy 14mm and 20mm Pentax XW and possibly 12mm and 17.3mm Delos. In observing the sun I only use my Mark V. I am fairly new to all of this, so several times I have compared bino to mono and for the sun I think I will stick with bino. I did the same for the moon last night and while I enjoy the bino at first I thought I could see more in mono with the brighter image at higher magnifications. But then I went back to the bino and I was not so sure. The seeing changes from minute to minute. (I was pleased to see Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin craters easily in my Tec 160FL, but only for a couple minutes and then the seeing went bad) For DSO I am still liking both mono and bino. Here with mono I can definitely see more and fainter stars but I enjoy the overall view on some objects with the bino more. Anyway, I got a little off topic. I am still glad I have 2 Leicas to bino with them when I want. I had no idea I would buy so many eyepieces when I first started out with this hobby. But they are each different in some way. To make myself feel better, I have been buying many of them used


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MAURITS
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Kent10]
      #5869718 - 05/18/13 04:48 PM

Nobody with a pair Ethos 13mm in the Mark V bino, too risky?

I have a pair Pan 24mm for the bino, is it than wise to have the extra pair Leica Asph Zoom?


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andydj5xp
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: MAURITS]
      #5870685 - 05/19/13 03:02 AM

Quote:

Nobody with a pair Ethos 13mm in the Mark V bino, too risky?

I have a pair Pan 24mm for the bino, is it than wise to have the extra pair Leica Asph Zoom?




For binoviewing I'd suggest a pair of the Leica 22-7.3mm zooms. Much easier to handle and more focal length range.

Andreas


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Bob S.
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #6071722 - 09/09/13 05:18 PM

There is a set of Pentax SMC orthos for sale and I was Googling the Pentax ep's and this old thread came up. The past two weekends of this New Moon period, I have only used my Leica ASPH, 2x Powermate and a 31mm Nagler as my ep's of choice in a 14.5" f/4.3 Zambuto/Starmaster with a Paracorr at Chiefland Astronomy Village. The views this morning at 1 a.m. Eastern time of objects near the Milky Way were beautiful and pinpoint to the edge. I found that the view of M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) were much nicer with the Leica than the 31mm Nagler. The dark lanes were much more prominent at the higher mags and the contrast of the galaxy with the surrounding area was more pleasing with the Leica zoom. It is not often that I am able to experience refractor-like images with my Newts but this morning was one of those times. The stars were simply tiny, tiny points until the seeing softened up.
The Leica zoom is so versatile that it, coupled with a 2x 2" Powermate, is about all I need to do planetary or deep space observing. I find it ergonomically pleasing that with only three pieces other than my Paracorr, I can experience an enchanting night of observing. I am glad that I own two ASPH's. God forbid that I would have one disabled and have to wait for another from Markus in Germany. I still have all of my Ethos ep's but have sold all of my Pentax XW's (except the 10mm) in favor of the Leica zoom. It continues to greatly impress me in my fast Newts, a slow 6" solar scope and a slow f/8 5" Apo refractor. Please be gentle if you have to pry the ASPH from my dead cold fingers in the future


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Sarkikos
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Bob S.]
      #6071859 - 09/09/13 06:34 PM

I'm not surprised that the dark lanes in M31 were more prominent and contrasty at higher mags. I notice this even with a Baader Zoom in my 10" Dob.


Mike


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Lance1234
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Bob S.]
      #6072463 - 09/10/13 12:59 AM

Do you not find the 59* FOV restrictive in a low power eyepiece for deep sky observing compared not only to the XWs you had but certainly to your Ethos?

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Bob S.
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Lance1234]
      #6072606 - 09/10/13 05:03 AM

Quote:

Do you not find the 59* FOV restrictive in a low power eyepiece for deep sky observing compared not only to the XWs you had but certainly to your Ethos?




Lance, With the ASPH, at the 18.9mm setting, I did lose the advantage of seeing the two companion galaxies in the same FOV. However, the significant increase in detail on parts of M31 made up for it. The smaller FOV meant that I had to pan around to get all of the elongated galaxy and companions. I didn't bring my Ethos ep's on the trip and purposely limited my ep use to the three items plus the Paracorr. The simplicity of the experience was quite compelling. Bob


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Galicapernistein
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Reged: 09/24/07

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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Bob S.]
      #6077156 - 09/12/13 02:22 PM

I have the older model 7.3-22mm Leica zoom which I basically use as a 7.3mm eyepiece. The optics are so good and the eyepiece is so comfortable to use that I almost always end up looking at things with the highest power possible. I have other scopes and eyepieces I used for wide field views, but the Leica is the eyepiece I use almost exclusively when I have my biggest scope at a dark sky site. For me, the ASPH would probably end up being a very nice, but very expensive, 8.9mm eyepiece, and I already have a 9mm Nagler for that.

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Starman81
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Re: Leica Asph Zoom No Better Than BGOs new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6077385 - 09/12/13 04:33 PM

Quote:

I'm not surprised that the dark lanes in M31 were more prominent and contrasty at higher mags. I notice this even with a Baader Zoom in my 10" Dob.


Mike




I like when I learn a new, useful observing tip amidst all the gear talk on this forum.


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