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Equipment Discussions >> Eyepieces

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jpcannavo
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Best planetary EPs being made today...
      #5944274 - 06/28/13 06:26 AM

Perhaps relating the market trend towards wide field, "glass heavy" designs, many of the favored high end planetary EPs are no longer being produced (Zeiss, University Optics HDs, Baader GOs, Pentax SMC XOs, etc.). Curious, therefore, to hear opinions are as to best planetary EPs in current production.

Joe

Preemptive post script: Clearly the above question, as I have raised it, is fuzzy. That is, planetary EP optimization varies with variables such as focal ratio of scope, driven vs undriven mount, need for eyeglasses etc. As such, my hope here is to generate discussion, rather than to definitively answer a somewhat vague question.

Edited by jpcannavo (06/28/13 07:32 AM)


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dweller25
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5944287 - 06/28/13 06:40 AM

For me it's the Pentax XW series, I have the 7 and 5 and they give me the best planetary views I have ever had.

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Mark9473
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: dweller25]
      #5944291 - 06/28/13 06:42 AM

http://www.universityoptics.com/

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John Huntley
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Mark9473]
      #5944323 - 06/28/13 07:20 AM

The best I've used was a 5mm TMB Supermonocentric. They were out of production for a while but are being produced again now I believe.

The Pentax XW's are superb too with the bonus of comfortable eye relief and a large field of view.

The Baader Genuine Ortho's (replaced by the Astro Hutech orthos now) and the newer Baader Classic Ortho's do really well if you can handle the relatively narrow field of view and limited eye relief.

Edited by John Huntley (06/28/13 07:22 AM)


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jpcannavo
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: John Huntley]
      #5944327 - 06/28/13 07:26 AM

John
I have heard this about the XWs over and over again. I since wondered how the TV Delos stack up against them.
Joe


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5944342 - 06/28/13 07:58 AM

For me it's a tie between the XW (7 and 20) and my 16mm Brandons, either mono or binoviewed.

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John Huntley
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5944353 - 06/28/13 08:05 AM

Quote:

John
I have heard this about the XWs over and over again. I since wondered how the TV Delos stack up against them.
Joe




Joe,

I've not had the pleasure of using a Delos as yet but from all the reports I've read I believe the two types are very, very evenly matched in performance.


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BillP
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5944360 - 06/28/13 08:11 AM

1 - TMB Supermonos. Markus still produces these so technically still in production. However, not all focal lengths available all the time. So sporadic availability.

2 - Brandon. Always a strong performer for planetary. Downside is only short focal lengths are 6mm and 8mm.

3 - Abbe Orthos. Basically, the major quality ones out there...Baader Classic Orthos, new Hutech Orthos, new UO Orthos. While I have not tested the new Hutech and UO, my expectation is that equals to the BGO and old UO HDs that they replaced.

And of course, the many quality premiums do fantastic and only lag very slightly behind the classics - important for the dedicated planetary observer but the difference not always important to others. E.g., XWs, Delos, etc.

Edited by BillP (06/28/13 08:12 AM)


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csrlice12
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: BillP]
      #5944371 - 06/28/13 08:22 AM

7XW, but I must admit, the NLVs are very nice too.

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iluxo
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5944416 - 06/28/13 09:04 AM

For planetary you don't need a sharp field more than a few minutes of arc. Lowest number of air-glass surfaces and/or elements is the way to do this.

#1. natures own eyeball, with the lens removed for a cataract operation. Focus the primary mirror directly on your retina. No eyepiece at all, and no lens in your eye either so that piece of badly corrected biological junk is finally out of the way. Mind-bogglingly good clarity over a small field is the result.

But not for everyone.

#2. Afocal reflector. Just 2 clean mirrors, tiny field of view like a Galilean telescope but achieved with a convex parabolic secondary. I made one, once. Clarity was awesome and on-axis aberrations effectively nil (the scope was effectively f/19).

It's not something anyone would make unless you can do it yourself and tolerate a scope with an apparent field of view around 2 degrees, and an actual field of view in minutes.

#3. Spherical ball. Just two surfaces.

#4. Monocentric, three cemented elements. Steinheil was first, TMB revived the idea.

#5. If anyone made a modern one with coated surfaces, a Ramsden or Huygens. 2 elements, 4 surfaces. but there's no such beastie.

#6. probably a tie between good orthos, Brandons, RKE (3 elements, 4 air-glass surfaces) or Kellner.

#7. The short Vixen LV's, the 7-9mm were indistinguishable from the 8mm RKE IMHO. Any design with around Smythe lens and 5 elements - Masayuma's, Takahashi and the rest.

#8. Widefields. OK, because thats what we all have but not ideal IMHO, far more elements in the way than really necessary, on-axis.

Edited by iluxo (06/28/13 09:16 AM)


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Astrojensen
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: iluxo]
      #5944429 - 06/28/13 09:15 AM

Quote:

For planetary you don't need a sharp field more than a few minutes of arc. Lowest number of air-glass surfaces and/or elements is the way to do this.

#1 Spherical ball. Just two surfaces.

#2. Monocentric, three cemented elements. Steinheil was first, TMB revived the idea.

#3. If anyone made a modern one with coated surfaces, a Ramsden or Huygens. 2 elements, 4 surfaces. but there's no such beastie.

#4. probably a tie between good orthos, RKE (3 elements, 4 air-glass surfaces) or Kellner.




You miss a few things:

#1.5: Achromatic cemented doublet. Two lenses, two air/glass surfaces. Available in a large number of focal lengths from Edmund Optics with military-grade scratch-dig ratios.

#3: Zeiss has made coated huygenians of superb quality. They are, however, no better than Kellners or orthos. Super crisp, but suffers from lateral color and ghosting. They do, however correct for false color in long achromats.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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iluxo
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5944431 - 06/28/13 09:16 AM

Ah thank you. Just a few off the top of my head, it's late here.

Quote:

Super crisp, but suffers from lateral color and ghosting. They do, however correct for false color in long achromats.


For years I used to wonder about what would be possible using modern glass types to come up with with a singlet lens (like a solar scope), a secondary lens somewhere halfway (the Dialyte refractor) and a very simple eyepiece specifically designed to match. It would be a single fixed combination but I couldn't help suspecting there are solutions that would easily outperform modern apo's with current eyepieces.

Edited by iluxo (06/28/13 09:22 AM)


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t.r.
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: iluxo]
      #5944455 - 06/28/13 09:33 AM

Does anyone know what TMB Supermonocentrics are available from Markus currently? I saw an ad a few days ago announcing a new run of focal lengths but it is gone now. I'm thinking I should pick up one pair of these for the binoviewer.

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george tatsis
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5944458 - 06/28/13 09:35 AM

Quote:

7XW, but I must admit, the NLVs are very nice too.




Being the owner of both, I'll have to agree 100%.

By the way, the NLVs are a bit brighter than the old LV series , which I used to have too.

Still looking for a used NLV 4mm , but I haven't been able to nail one though

George


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csrlice12
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george tatsis]
      #5944479 - 06/28/13 09:48 AM

Have the 5,9, and 10 NLV and they're in my case with my Naglers. In my XLT, they see more time then the naglers, love that tracking ability.....

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Mark9473
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: t.r.]
      #5944503 - 06/28/13 10:05 AM

Quote:

Does anyone know what TMB Supermonocentrics are available from Markus currently?



Their website lists 7, 8, 9, 10 mm.


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jpcannavo
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5944514 - 06/28/13 10:10 AM

Quote:

For planetary you don't need a sharp field more than a few minutes of arc. Lowest number of air-glass surfaces and/or elements is the way to do this.

#1 Spherical ball. Just two surfaces.






There is an optical question that this design - as in The Siebert Planispheres - has always raised for me. While the advantage of optical simplicity would seem to be maximized in spherical ball lens, how can such a steeply curved singlet avoid on-axis image degradation secondary to both spherical and chromatic aberration?


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: John Huntley]
      #5944674 - 06/28/13 11:55 AM

Quote:

I've not had the pleasure of using a Delos as yet but from all the reports I've read I believe the two types are very, very evenly matched in performance.




I have run the comparison between the 10 Delos and the 24 Brandon barlowed down to 10 mm. The Brandon was noticeably superior on Saturn and double stars. (See my post from April 18, 2011 number 5179553.)

That being said, the Delos was actually very good in an absolute sense. If you're primarily a DSO person and planets are just a short distraction between observing M7 and M8, the Delos is probably good enough. But if planets are your thing, you can get a quality ortho or Brandon for less money.

Since I ran that head-to-head I have acquired a 14 Delos and 8 Delos (as you can see, I hate them). Over the summer I'll make it a point to run the 8 Delos against the 8 Brandon.


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izar187
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5944692 - 06/28/13 12:15 PM

Quote:

Perhaps relating the market trend towards wide field, "glass heavy" designs, many of the favored high end planetary EPs are no longer being produced (Zeiss, University Optics HDs, Baader GOs, Pentax SMC XOs, etc.). Curious, therefore, to hear opinions are as to best planetary EPs in current production.

Joe

Preemptive post script: Clearly the above question, as I have raised it, is fuzzy. That is, planetary EP optimization varies with variables such as focal ratio of scope, driven vs undriven mount, need for eyeglasses etc. As such, my hope here is to generate discussion, rather than to definitively answer a somewhat vague question.




I'll put in a vote for Siebert Starsplitters:
http://www.siebertoptics.com/SiebertOptics-Ortho%20page).html


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tomharri
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: izar187]
      #5944720 - 06/28/13 12:35 PM

Sieberts are junk cause he doesn't have access to hi-quality coatings.

The Pentax XW and Delos are equal to the Zeiss II's on the planets with big eye lens and relief and wide field advantage.


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leonard
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5944729 - 06/28/13 12:40 PM

Hello ,


>>>>>>>> #1.5: Achromatic cemented doublet. Two lenses, two air/glass surfaces. Available in a large number of focal lengths from Edmund Optics with military-grade scratch-dig ratios. <<<<<<<<<

Thomas have you or someone you know tried using these doublets as eyepieces ??? Have been hoping someone would give them a shot but it seems no one has.

Leonard


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bremms
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: leonard]
      #5944768 - 06/28/13 01:08 PM

TV Plossls are very good. Parks GS-5 7.5mm and 10mm, Zeiss Abbe's, Brandons and various other Orthos. To my eyes the TV Plossls are good as the Brandons and are much better off axis. Had a 10mm edmund triplet in a homemade barrel (machined), but couldn't stand the tiny FOV. Dead on.. it was great. Do have a couple of Radians I use more for planet outreach. They are good, but loose a little contrast to the simple EP's
Still like Orthos, TV Plossls and Brandons. My Parks GS5 7.5mm is very good too.


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Astrojensen
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: tomharri]
      #5944778 - 06/28/13 01:14 PM

Quote:

Sieberts are junk cause he doesn't have access to hi-quality coatings.




So my prewar 9mm Zeiss ortho is junk, 'cause it has no coatings?


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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bremms
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5944782 - 06/28/13 01:18 PM

Yea, throw them in the trash. Send it to me, I have some other junk pre war Zeiss stuff.

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Astrojensen
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: leonard]
      #5944786 - 06/28/13 01:21 PM

Quote:

Thomas have you or someone you know tried using these doublets as eyepieces ???




Yes. I had an 18mm, with the lens being the achromatic doublet from an old Kellner. It was extremely good on-axis, with super high contrast. It easily outperformed my 18mm UO ortho, especially on objects with very low contrast. It was insanely sharp as well. It was a killer eyepiece for sunspot details.

Somehow, the lens has gotten damaged and has developed a slightly gray surface on one side. Cleaning didn't seem to help. It hadn't cost me anything, so no economic loss, but I sometimes used it for experiments. It had a very narrow field of view, around 12, but apart from that, it was comfortable to look through. The performance was best when the flattest side of the lens faced the focal plane, showing much less field curvature then.

I've wanted to make a set from Edmund lenses, but I don't have a lathe and many of these lenses are very small, so high precision is needed. My 18mm was only 6mm in diameter.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Astrojensen
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: bremms]
      #5944790 - 06/28/13 01:23 PM

Quote:

Yea, throw them in the trash. Send it to me, I have some other junk pre war Zeiss stuff.




So that was your cunning plan, you sneaky little bugger! But no way, Jos! I've got a small collection of prewar Zeiss stuff myself.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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SteveC
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5944870 - 06/28/13 02:12 PM

Quote:

Perhaps relating the market trend towards wide field, "glass heavy" designs, many of the favored high end planetary EPs are no longer being produced (Zeiss, University Optics HDs, Baader GOs, Pentax SMC XOs, etc.). Curious, therefore, to hear opinions are as to best planetary EPs in current production.

Joe





Inevitably, some respected observers, will comment that all modern eyepieces are equal in on-axis performance. I would agree to that, since the eyepieces that excede the mediocrity of today's offerings are no longer being produced. The one exception might be the Supermonos supplied by APM, if it's the same product that was offered a few years ago. They're not inexpensive though, so that has to be weight into your personal performance/cost equation.

Edited by SteveC (06/28/13 02:14 PM)


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Astrojensen
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: SteveC]
      #5944906 - 06/28/13 02:35 PM

Quote:

Inevitably, some respected observers, will comment that all modern eyepieces are equal in on-axis performance.




That is absolutely not true, in my experience. Not that someone might not say that, but that all eyepieces today are of similar high quality. That is simply not true.

Personal example: My 9mm ES100 is a little bit sharper on-axis than my 8.8mm ES82. The 8.8mm ES82 is on par with the 9mm UO ortho (okay, not made anymore, but made until recently, so still "modern"), but the 9mm ES100 surpass both.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Mike B
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: tomharri]
      #5944983 - 06/28/13 03:11 PM

Quote:

Sieberts are junk cause he doesn't have access to hi-quality coatings.



You mean, possibly, hi-complexity coatings? Yes, iirc his have more simple A/R coatings. Like the Brandon EPs are reputed to have. But i wouldn't assume their level isn't "hi-quality".

Quote:

The Pentax XW and Delos are equal to the Zeiss II's on the planets...




Coatings & their application to telescopic viewing is a subject having tremendous degrees of variation among observers.


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SteveC
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5945027 - 06/28/13 03:28 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Inevitably, some respected observers, will comment that all modern eyepieces are equal in on-axis performance.




That is absolutely not true, in my experience. Not that someone might not say that, but that all eyepieces today are of similar high quality. That is simply not true.

Personal example: My 9mm ES100 is a little bit sharper on-axis than my 8.8mm ES82. The 8.8mm ES82 is on par with the 9mm UO ortho (okay, not made anymore, but made until recently, so still "modern"), but the 9mm ES100 surpass both.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark




I don't doubt your viewing experiences in the least. If I can find differences in on-axis performance, I'm sure you can.

I have issues with the claim that all eyepieces have the same on-axis performance, but note my experiences are limited to those views delivered by modern eyepieces such as Naglers and Panoptics, both of which don't deliver the same sharp on-axis views that my ZAO's and Supermonos do. Of course, the ZAO's and Supermonos don't give me the same wide field views as the Naglers and Panoptics, which is an entirely different perspective and experience.


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tomharri
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: SteveC]
      #5945088 - 06/28/13 03:53 PM Attachment (46 downloads)

A few months ago when Jupiter was still around, decided to do a 6mm ortho/plossl comparison with the newly out Kasai and Baader classic orthos. Put the 10" Zambuto out to cool off couple hours before using.

First look at Jupiter showed the Great Red Spot just coming around the edge of planet. At that time the little red spot was preceeding the GRS, so it should have been front and centered on Jupiter. But to no avail could I see any sign of the 2nd red spot with any 6mm ortho/plossl pictured below.

Then I remembered had one more 6mm- the new Delos. Popped it in and there was the 2nd red spot, and it even showed some color to it. Less lens count does not mean more detail seen. Quality is quality and you usually gotta pay for it.


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Cliff C
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: t.r.]
      #5945111 - 06/28/13 04:08 PM

The best way is to contact Markus by email at;
anfrage@apm-telescopes.de
He had announced that an never before produced but designed by Thomas Back 18mm and 21mm(I believe)were in the works.
Other focal lengths come and go and he occasionally gets used Sumermonos of various focal lengths. The shorter focal lengths (4-6mm) pop up often for $300-$350. I have the 4,5,6 and 14mm's and love them. They are getting very expensive however.


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george tatsis]
      #5945130 - 06/28/13 04:24 PM

Quote:

By the way, the NLVs are a bit brighter than the old LV series , which I used to have too.

Still looking for a used NLV 4mm , but I haven't been able to nail one though

George




I wonder how an NLV 4mm would compare to a Radian 4mm?


Mike


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amicus sidera
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5945201 - 06/28/13 05:02 PM

RKE's (8mm and 12mm) get the job done. Three elements, no waiting...

Fred


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jtpowers
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5945270 - 06/28/13 05:43 PM

The following are the best I've tried:

TeleVue Plossls 8mm, 11mm.
Pentax XO 5.1mm
Vixen LVW 8mm (I like the view better than an 8mm Ethos I had at the same time. The LVW had better on axis contrast and it was perhaps a tad sharper- I couldn't believe it)

Other notes: I've not been terribly impressed by the 0.965 Pentax orthos (I've only tested one 6mm and one 7mm though). I found myself more impressed with 6 and 7mm UO Abbes that I was head to head testing at the time.


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hfjacinto
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5945272 - 06/28/13 05:44 PM

I've used lots of eyepieces and while the TMB Supermonos, showed a tiny bit more details on planets and planetary nebula, I didn't like using them. I liked using the Brandons less.

Lately I tried a few Orthos (from Edmunds and UO) and both showed almost as much planetary details as the TMB.

Now here is the big BUTT, the day that the TMBs showed more was around 2 years ago. The air was stopped and I was easily using 400 power on my SCT. Seeing and transparency were essentially perfect.

Recently I tried Brandons in my EON and SCT and a few DOBs and they showed nothing more than the UO. Actually the Meade and Nagler kept up with them.

But to preface this I am not a super faint fuzzy finder, if I can't see it, its time to look for something else.

So the answer to your question is.....

The few times a year that seeing and transperancy are superb, an Ortho, Brandon or TMB will be a better planetary eyepiece, every other time it makes no difference.

Edited by hfjacinto (06/28/13 05:44 PM)


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george tatsis
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5945298 - 06/28/13 05:58 PM

Quote:

Quote:

By the way, the NLVs are a bit brighter than the old LV series , which I used to have too.

Still looking for a used NLV 4mm , but I haven't been able to nail one though

George




I wonder how an NLV 4mm would compare to a Radian 4mm?


Mike




Mike,

Would you stop reading my mind please?

George


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george tatsis]
      #5945366 - 06/28/13 06:47 PM

Now you'll have me looking for a used NLV 4mm!


Mike


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SteveC
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: tomharri]
      #5945386 - 06/28/13 06:59 PM

Quote:


Then I remembered had one more 6mm- the new Delos. Popped it in and there was the 2nd red spot, and it even showed some color to it. Less lens count does not mean more detail seen. Quality is quality and you usually gotta pay for it.




I don't doubt your statement that the 6mm Delos was better than those other 6mm eyepieces. Fewer lens in the eyepiece may not offer the best view, but some do. I had about 13-15 7mm eyepieces several years ago that I spent countless hours observing through. A bunch of those 7mm orthos and plossls could only equal, and many were even outperformed by the Radian that was in the mix. The Radian was the most expensive eyepiece in that pool of "good" performers and I was impressed by the fact that it did so well considering the number of elements it had. I would have kept the Radian as a planetary eyepiece had it not been for the performance of the Supermono. I added the ZAO I's(sold) and II's later. I've given up trying to find a performance difference between my ZAO II's, Supermonos, and the 5mm Pentax XO, but if the Supermonos are the benchmark, then I'm quite sure all of them would outperform those other orthos and plossls.

Somebody should do a planetary on axis comparison between the 6mm Delos, Ethos, ZAO II, and Supermono.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5945390 - 06/28/13 07:01 PM

My immediate response would historically be Brandons; however, that was when Don Yeier was making them. Everything I've ever gotten from him has been the very best I've ever used.
My understanding is that the new owners of Vernonscope are maintaining the high quality standards, though. So, Brandons.


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GeneT
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: t.r.]
      #5945396 - 06/28/13 07:06 PM

Quote:

Does anyone know what TMB Supermonocentrics are available from Markus currently? I saw an ad a few days ago announcing a new run of focal lengths but it is gone now. I'm thinking I should pick up one pair of these for the binoviewer.




A few months ago, he opened up the line, took orders, and then closed out the batch. He hopes to be shipping in July. I don't believe any can be ordered at this time.


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5945408 - 06/28/13 07:14 PM

Quote:

John
I have heard this about the XWs over and over again. I since wondered how the TV Delos stack up against them.
Joe




It's essentially a toss up. I own one Pentax XW and now three Delos eyepieces and like them equally.

Dave Mitsky


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leonard
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5945670 - 06/28/13 09:51 PM

Hello ,

Thank You Thomas , I think I remember you posting this information but I forgot about it .



Leonard


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bremms
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: leonard]
      #5945719 - 06/28/13 10:20 PM

Forgot about Meade RGO's the 10.5 and 7 are superb. the 10.5 is my sharpest EP in that range. Don't have a 7mm at the moment. it was a great planetary EP way back when.

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ibase
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5945737 - 06/28/13 10:34 PM

Quote:

John
I have heard this about the XWs over and over again. I since wondered how the TV Delos stack up against them.
Joe




Many reports have it that it's a wash between the Pentax XW and Delos. I've traded my XW-7mm for a Delos 6mm and couldn't be any happier with the Delos. From my recollection of the XW's performance, both EP's were equally excellent but to my eyes the Delos was less prone to beaning with eyecups fully retracted. There is probably more leeway for head room movements in the Delos before triggering the bean as compared to the XW, but that's just my opinion.

If one owns a Pentax, keep it. But how about those who are deciding between the Pentax & Delos? My take is go for the Delos, the state-of-the-art in EP design and implementation to date with the most modern coatings from one of the best EP co. around (TeleVue).

On a side-note, one deep sky observer who is well-regarded in the forum has the Delos besting the Pentax in detecting faint objects on the big scopes, click here and here (w/graph) to view forum posts.

With regards to the best planetary EPs and still made today, here's my list (and the one's I currently own):

- Baader Classic Orthos (BCO)
- Delos
- TV plossls
- Nagler T6
- Brandon
- University Optics HD (very recently re-introduced)

Best,


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azure1961p
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: tomharri]
      #5945777 - 06/28/13 11:02 PM

I've heard fantastic things about Siebert consistently . I want to get the ball lenses. In fact aside from your remark Ive never heard of a bad Siebert.

Pete


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BillP
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5945813 - 06/28/13 11:25 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Inevitably, some respected observers, will comment that all modern eyepieces are equal in on-axis performance.




That is absolutely not true, in my experience.




I wish that were true. We all have different eyes, so that probably the issue why some can and can't see any differences. FWIW the acuity of my eyes was 20/10 for most of my life, now down to 20/15. I keep waiting for my eyes to no longer see a difference between my ZAO/XO and Heavy Glass EPs on-axis so I can sell all those specialized planetaries and buy a new telescope!!


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george tatsis
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5945815 - 06/28/13 11:25 PM

Quote:

Now you'll have me looking for a used NLV 4mm!


Mike




Hi Mike,

It all started a few months ago when out of curiosity ( I'm the dead cat by the way) bought a used NLV to verify the findings of this thread :

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/177718-eyepiece-review-televue-radian-v-vix...

Since then I have bought both the 6mm and the 5mm NLVs as well.Lateral color is more evident in the NLVs than it is in the Radians during daytime observing. At night, for some reason, it is hardly visible in my 10" reflector.

The NLVs are as sharp as most high quality planetary eyepieces out there , save your XO 5mm though!

George


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beatlejuice
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george tatsis]
      #5945890 - 06/29/13 01:34 AM

Quote:

The NLVs are as sharp as most high quality planetary eyepieces out there




All I can say is that the 4mm NLV that I got used a few weeks ago is great max mag eyepiece for my 80ED. Have yet to try it in my 10"

Eric


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jpcannavo
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5945984 - 06/29/13 04:13 AM

Quote:

I've heard fantastic things about Siebert consistently . I want to get the ball lenses. In fact aside from your remark Ive never heard of a bad Siebert.

Pete




Would still love to understand this...


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Richard Low
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: BillP]
      #5946487 - 06/29/13 12:19 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Inevitably, some respected observers, will comment that all modern eyepieces are equal in on-axis performance.




That is absolutely not true, in my experience.




I wish that were true. We all have different eyes, so that probably the issue why some can and can't see any differences. FWIW the acuity of my eyes was 20/10 for most of my life, now down to 20/15. I keep waiting for my eyes to no longer see a difference between my ZAO/XO and Heavy Glass EPs on-axis so I can sell all those specialized planetaries and buy a new telescope!!




My eyes are not so good, though I'm still able to discern difference in performance between ZAO-IIs and Supermonos. How I wish too that I cant tell the difference...

Put aside the orthos and plossls, XWs and Brandons, one of the best planetary eyepiece still in production is the amazing Leica ASPH zoom....


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SkyRanger
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Richard Low]
      #5946625 - 06/29/13 01:47 PM

While I have not tried most of the minimilist EPs mentioned here, I have had some of my best planetary views through my old "smoothie" TV Plossls with a 2.5X Powermate. The 17 smoothie is one of my favorites.

Gordon


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cw00
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: SkyRanger]
      #5946706 - 06/29/13 02:49 PM

Second that, Richard.
I think the Leica zoom is as sharp as Pentax XO, XW, and Delos.
So when I travel, 31 Nagler, Leica Zoom, Baader VIP barlow will cover everything I need regardless of the target.


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: tomharri]
      #5947064 - 06/29/13 07:17 PM

Clearly the Zeiss Ortho IIs aren't that special. Every time someone has a favorite eyepiece it's as good as the ZAO IIs.

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nevy
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5947167 - 06/29/13 08:48 PM

Yeh bin em.

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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5947182 - 06/29/13 09:00 PM

Quote:

Clearly the Zeiss Ortho IIs aren't that special. Every time someone has a favorite eyepiece it's as good as the ZAO IIs.




Hmmm... I think you've got a point there.


Mike


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Ebbisham
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5947522 - 06/30/13 03:51 AM

Just to ad another option here, to my eyes, my Baader Maxbright bino with a pair of Tv plossl gives me significant better views than my Leica ASPH 17.8-8.9 zoom (which got good reviews here), so it is my choice for planetary views. My eyes seems to be that bad that i struggled to see the Casini division clearly last month in mono view at 100x. With the bino is was there nice and clear.

Edited by Ebbisham (06/30/13 03:52 AM)


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Astrojensen
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5947525 - 06/30/13 03:53 AM

Quote:

Clearly the Zeiss Ortho IIs aren't that special. Every time someone has a favorite eyepiece it's as good as the ZAO IIs.




Good point. This could possibly say a lot about either:

a) the observer's eyesight

b) his telescope

c) his eyepiece

d) his seeing conditions

e) all four

f) none of the above, but something I've not thought of


Take your pick. Sometimes, it's just too hard to sort all the variables out and you just have to go with your gut feeling.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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BillP
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5947650 - 06/30/13 08:12 AM

Quote:

Clearly the Zeiss Ortho IIs aren't that special. Every time someone has a favorite eyepiece it's as good as the ZAO IIs.




I think it's easy enough to find the opposite as well. So you will find many who think otherwise. Regardless, whatever works best, or as good, for each individuals eyes and scope is what is best. For me though, ZAO does best on axis.


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RAKing
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: BillP]
      #5947660 - 06/30/13 08:28 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Clearly the Zeiss Ortho IIs aren't that special. Every time someone has a favorite eyepiece it's as good as the ZAO IIs.




I think it's easy enough to find the opposite as well. So you will find many who think otherwise. Regardless, whatever works best, or as good, for each individuals eyes and scope is what is best. For me though, ZAO does best on axis.




Agreed -- and I think Rodger's post was somewhat 'tongue-in-cheek', too.

I'm sorry to say that nothing made today is better than my ZAO-II, CZJ, or A-P SPL collections. The BGO were very nice, but are no longer produced, either. The Pentax XW series and Leica ASPH zoom also come close. The biggest advantage I saw with the Leica was its ability to "fill in the gap" of magnifications.

YMMV,

Ron


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: cw00]
      #5947835 - 06/30/13 10:40 AM

Quote:

Quote:

My eyes are not so good, though I'm still able to discern difference in performance between ZAO-IIs and Supermonos. How I wish too that I cant tell the difference...

Put aside the orthos and plossls, XWs and Brandons, one of the best planetary eyepiece still in production is the amazing Leica ASPH zoom....

--------------------
Richard Low




Second that, Richard.
I think the Leica zoom is as sharp as Pentax XO, XW, and Delos.
So when I travel, 31 Nagler, Leica Zoom, Baader VIP barlow will cover everything I need regardless of the target.




The idiom "put aside" is ambiguous in this context. I'm not sure if Richard is saying that he thinks the Leica ASPH is at, below or above the level of "the orthos and plossls, XWs and Brandons," or that he is suspending comparison with them. I wish he would restate this more plainly.

All that is clear to me is that Richard thinks "one of the best planetary eyepiece still in production is the amazing Leica ASPH zoom." Beyond that ...?

However, Richard never mentioned the XO at all in his post. I have XO, XW and Delos. I rate the XO as obviously sharper, more "contrasty" and with less light scatter than the XW when viewing planets and unequal doubles through my 10" Dob during good seeing. I doubt if the Leica ASPH would equal the XO on that scope.

For serious planet/lunar/doubles sessions during good seeing, I think I'll stick with my XO 5.1 and XO 2.8. If I ever acquire a Leica ASPH, I think I would use it mostly for moderate-to-high magnification deep sky (planetaries, small clusters and galaxies). A secondary use might be for grab-n-go planet/lunar when I don't want to binoview but want a range of magnifications rather than the fixed focal lengths of the XO's. For top-tier views, I'd still probably use the XO's.

Mike


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johnnyha
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5947924 - 06/30/13 12:03 PM

Just a reminder based on some of the last comments y'all, the BGO class orthos are being produced again. I just received a brand new pair of 12mm UO HDs from University Optics yesterday and a month ago I got a pair of 18mm Astro Hutech HC 18mm Orthos - both appear to be the same beloved BGO/UO HD made previously.

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jrbarnett
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5947989 - 06/30/13 12:43 PM

Best currently produced? Brandons, hands down. If you have a scope worthy of the task, and it's not faster than f/4.5, Brandons on axis are the best still being made.

However, with a more pedestrian telescope, your optics rather than the eyepiece will determine your planetary performance. In that case, you're better off picking what is more affordable or what offers other features you want like eye relief, field of view, etc.

Regards,

Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (06/30/13 03:33 PM)


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bremms
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5948074 - 06/30/13 01:32 PM

My TV smoothie Plossls are good a my Brandons on axis. Off axis..the TV plossls win hands down. Clave's are more like the Brandons.. Low scattering, superb on axis, mediocre off axis. Never done a head to head with my 7.4 TV Pl and my 8mm Brandon. My 8mm Brandon is on loan to a friend.

MY list:

ZAO II 6mm
Clave' 8mm
Brandon 8mm
7.4mm TV Pl
RGO 7mm, 10.5
Parks GS5 7.5mm
UO Abbe's


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5948087 - 06/30/13 01:46 PM

Quote:

Clearly the Zeiss Ortho IIs aren't that special. Every time someone has a favorite eyepiece it's as good as the ZAO IIs.




And so many of us have a spare set of ZAO IIs laying around for comparison purposes.


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tomharri
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5948118 - 06/30/13 02:07 PM

Had to sell a motorcyle to get a set of ZAOII's.
Wasn't riding it, but was telescoping alot.
And the Zeisses were so good-crisp-sharp-contrasty,
everything you could ever want in an eyepiece.

BUT, started finding others that were just as good, like TMB monos and supers, Pentax XW's, Univ. Optics flat top orthos.

So out went the ZAO's so I could buy another Ducati, but the Pentaxes have stayed, and now the Delos seem to be just as good.

If you want the best-get the above mentioned lenses,
If you want to follow the herd, get a Honda and some ortho/plossls around $100.


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: tomharri]
      #5948133 - 06/30/13 02:19 PM

I have to agree with Jim that my Brandon's are my favorite in slower scopes. For my fast scopes I switch to the BGOs. They are available again from Hutech's and University Optics.

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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: bremms]
      #5948140 - 06/30/13 02:22 PM

IME, the Brandons and BGO's are running a dead heat, where one may pull ahead by a nose depending on the object. Optimum performance toward on-axis is what I'm concerned with, not so much off-axis. This is in a 10" f/4.8 Dob which has shown me very fine surface detail for Jupiter, a good test for "planetary" EP's. I actually preferred the BGO's binoviewed for Jupiter. I like the Brandons better for Saturn and the Moon. I think the XW are equal to the Brandons and BGO's or are not very far behind. To my eyes, the XO's are obviously better than BGO's, Brandons or XW for planet/lunar.

So for "best planetary EP's being made today" I'd say Brandons, BGO's (whatever the currently produced versions are called) and XW's. I still need to see how my two new Delos compare to the Brandons, BGO's and XW's for planet observation. But if the XO's were still being made, I'd defintely choose the XO's as best planetary eyepiece.

Mike


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Richard Low
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5948894 - 06/30/13 11:37 PM

Well... let me rephrase it:

Put aside the standard orthos and plossls, XWs and Brandons, as one of the best planetary eyepiece still in production is the amazing Leica ASPH zoom....

To my eye, the Leica ASPH zoom with Zeiss Abbe barlow (2x-2.7x) clearly beat my XWs 5mm, 3.5mm & Ethos 3.7mm in sharpness, contrast and lesser light scattering on planets. The varying focal length is a big advantage to suit seeing condition. This zoom plus barlow has less light throughput but this actually works out fine on planets using big scopes. The Leica with barlow is amazingly almost as good as the ZAO-IIs and XO 5, but more comfortable to use, as it has better eye-relief and bigger Afov. Over here, the local seeing is usually good, and we get sharp planetary images at 450-600x on my 15" f/4.5 dob with Zambuto primary, or my APM/Lzos 6" f/8 triplet apo.


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jpcannavo
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Richard Low]
      #5949249 - 07/01/13 08:38 AM

Quote:

Well... let me rephrase it:

Put aside the standard orthos and plossls, XWs and Brandons, as one of the best planetary eyepiece still in production is the amazing Leica ASPH zoom....

To my eye, the Leica ASPH zoom with Zeiss Abbe barlow (2x-2.7x) clearly beat my XWs 5mm, 3.5mm & Ethos 3.7mm in sharpness, contrast and lesser light scattering on planets. The varying focal length is a big advantage to suit seeing condition. This zoom plus barlow has less light throughput but this actually works out fine on planets using big scopes. The Leica with barlow is amazingly almost as good as the ZAO-IIs and XO 5, but more comfortable to use, as it has better eye-relief and bigger Afov. Over here, the local seeing is usually good, and we get sharp planetary images at 450-600x on my 15" f/4.5 dob with Zambuto primary, or my APM/Lzos 6" f/8 triplet apo.




Richard
Did not do strict head to head testing, but Frank Nadell and I made a lot of use of the Leica zoom at the RMSS - its one heck of an EP. I do look forward to more critical comparisons.

As for the pentax XO, I have the 2.5mm. It is decidely better than my 3mm radian, Nagler 2-4 zoom and Burgess Planetary 2.5mm with a 4" F9 orion ED. Never went head to head with the 16" ZOC, as east coast seeing has not allowed. Now out west, hoping for some better nights!

By the way - to all who are posting - this is proving to be a most enjoyable thread! My goal in starting it was to guide some of my future purchases for high powere planetary viewing as well as for threshold deep sky feature detection, as the latter often deals with related optical parameters: contrast, scatter, throuput etc.
Joe


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5949811 - 07/01/13 02:36 PM

Quote:

I have to agree with Jim that my Brandon's are my favorite in slower scopes. For my fast scopes I switch to the BGOs. They are available again from Hutech's and University Optics.




I compared the 12.5 UO Ortho to my 12 Brandon in a f/6 Newtonian and f/8.5 refractor over the course of about 9 months. If the seeing was average or worse, I could not tell much of a difference. When the seeing was above average, the Brandon was better in both scopes.

But the UO was still pretty good, especially for the money.

Kept the Brandon and went to a longer (f/7) Newtonian.


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george golitzin
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5949824 - 07/01/13 02:44 PM

Quote:

..
By the way - to all who are posting - this is proving to be a most enjoyable thread! My goal in starting it was to guide some of my future purchases for high powere planetary viewing as well as for threshold deep sky feature detection...




Actually, I find these conversations a bit frustrating, because most of the contributors say little or nothing about the scopes, conditions, and especially barlows that they must be using. How can you compare a brandon to an XO? Answer: you can't, because the brandons stop at 8mm. So either the comparison is meaningless or there's an undisclosed barlow in the picture, in which case the comparison is again meaningless. I don't even understand Brandons as a planetary eyepiece set, unless people have f/16 scopes or are using barlows: in my experience, most critical planetary viewing is done at exit pupils between 0.5 and 1 mm. (And larger pupils are used in big aperture scopes, but the Brandon crowd, as far as I can tell, aren't using such scopes with their Brandons...) And that means focal lengths somewhere between 3mm and 7 or 8 mm, depending on the focal ratio of the scope used--perhaps longer for very slow scopes. I realize it complicates a post to include "extraneous" information such as scope and barlow used, but I think it would be helpful if more contributors to this sort of thread did just that. So 'fess up, Brandon lovers, what barlow are you using? And if you're not using one, I have no interest in your opinion, because chances are you're not using high enough powers to make a critical distinction between eyepieces. And thank you to the Leica users who have been forthright about which barlows they're using, and on what scopes.

For what it's worth, I found the 7mm BGO to be on par with the 7.5 Tak LE for scatter and sharpness on Saturn, whether in my 8-inch f/6 Zambuto dob with a TV 2x barlow, or straight up in my old 16-in f/5 swayze. I liked the 8mm TV plossl better. The BGO put up a large but faint glare field around the planet, with a sky background possibly grayer even than the Tak, and noticeably less dark than a 7T6 Nagler. I found the 7XW to be far superior to the Tak LE for scatter control, and at least as sharp in the same scopes, with a much darker sky background around the planet. I did not do a head-to-head between the BGO and XW.

I am able to imagine, with some difficulty, eyepieces with better planetary performance than the XWs, but I'm not willing to go the sub-50-degree field, zero eye relief approach of the XOs (whose only usable focal length for me would be the 5mm anyway) and short focal-length orthos. Hence my interest in reports that the Leica ASPH bests the XWs, when combined with a quality barlow.


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johnnyha
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5949841 - 07/01/13 02:53 PM

The Brandon Anniversary set includes a 6mm as well as 8,12,16,24 and 32mm.

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csrlice12
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5949846 - 07/01/13 02:55 PM

Brandon's----Drink!!!!

It's time to play.......THE BRANDON DRINKING GAME!!

Is your liver ready?????


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5949873 - 07/01/13 03:14 PM

Quote:

Actually, I find these conversations a bit frustrating, because most of the contributors say little or nothing about the scopes, conditions, and especially barlows that they must be using.




Well, I do try to mention at least the telescope - type and f number - I'm using the eyepieces in. I wish more folks would do that. Telescope and f number provide a good foundation for the comparisons. But it's more difficult to recall the exact setup and conditions for every instance in which eyepieces were compared. Usually I make these comparisons in the field for my own education and to make my own decisions about which eyepieces to keep or sell, not in order to produce a formal report for others. I'm sure that's how most observers go about it also.

Unless the observer does go into detail in these comparisons, they should be taken as points of departure for one's own investigations, but never as the final word.

Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5949923 - 07/01/13 03:40 PM

Quote:

I don't even understand Brandons as a planetary eyepiece set, unless people have f/16 scopes or are using barlows: in my experience, most critical planetary viewing is done at exit pupils between 0.5 and 1 mm.




Many observers with fast Dobs use a Barlow with their Brandons. I mostly observe planets with pairs of eyepieces in a binoviewer, so it is easy enough to insert this or that OCS to reach comparable magnifications between pairs of BGO's, Brandons, UO VT's, etc. I don't have pairs of XO's for binoviewing, but I know enough about planet features to give me a good indication of how a specific eyepiece or bino-pair is performing. This is good enough for my own purposes. I don't expect others to take what I say as the final word, but only as an indication of where their own comparisons might lead.

Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5949946 - 07/01/13 03:50 PM

Quote:

I am able to imagine, with some difficulty, eyepieces with better planetary performance than the XWs, but I'm not willing to go the sub-50-degree field, zero eye relief approach of the XOs (whose only usable focal length for me would be the 5mm anyway) and short focal-length orthos. Hence my interest in reports that the Leica ASPH bests the XWs, when combined with a quality barlow.




I have compared the XW 5 and XO 5 when observing Jupiter and Saturn through my 10" f/4.8 Dob. To my eyes, the XO displays fine surface detail with more contrast and less scatter than the XW. The XO 5.1 actually has a little less eye relief than the XO 2.58, at 3.6mm eye relief versus 3.9mm. I don't find them at all uncomfortable to use. But I do need to take my eyeglasses off! The AFOV is 44. It's not difficult to nudge the planet back into view with a well-balanced Dob.

Mike


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5950030 - 07/01/13 04:56 PM

Quote:

Actually, I find these conversations a bit frustrating, because most of the contributors say little or nothing about the scopes, conditions, and especially barlows that they must be using. How can you compare a brandon to an XO? Answer: you can't, because the brandons stop at 8mm.




The regular Brandon set includes a 6 mm eyepiece. There have been 4 mm Brandons produced in limited runs over the years. Obtainable, with patience. More so than the Pentax 5 XO.

Personally, I use the Dakin 2.4x barlow with my Brandons (a common accessory among Brandon owners). I also use the AP Barcon, a 1.7x Barlow.

The refractor I referenced earlier is an Astro-Physics Star12, 120 mm f/8.5 doublet. The reflector was a 12.5" f/6 Royce, replaced with a 16" f/7 Zambuto (to be operational this month).


Edited by Jeff Morgan (07/01/13 04:57 PM)


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cw00
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5950113 - 07/01/13 06:12 PM

I did a comparison using Leica zoom and XW 10mm with Obsession 20" f/5 on Saturn and Leica gave me slightly more contrast than XW in that occasion.

Recently I did a comparison between XO 5mm, XW 5mm, Delos 6mm, Ethos 6mm, and Leica zoom with Baader VIP barlow using FS-152 on Saturn again. Ethos came out last while the other four came out as a draw regarding contrast. XO did show the least amount of scatter. But I enjoy the view of XW/Delos/Leica more.


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george golitzin
Carpal Tunnel
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: cw00]
      #5950248 - 07/01/13 07:41 PM

Thanks guys, that helps quite a bit. I didn't know about the shorter f.l. brandons, by the way.

Do you not find that a barlow changes the equation when one is comparing critical detail? They do add their own scatter and tone, it seems to me. The 10XW in a 2x TV barlow, for example, is not a match for the 5mm XW. The 14 delos changes tone in the TV 2x barlow, but is otherwise not much harmed; the 14 Delos in the Antares 1.6x seems to pick up a little more scatter, but I'm not sure. I will need a year to figure out if the Antares barlow is a net minus or plus, and whether I'd be better served by the AP 1.7.

As I'm considering the Leica strongly, it's particularly important to hear which barlows people are using...some are using the Baader, others the Zeiss (which I find a deal breaker--I mean, the $900 zoom is bad enough), others the new AP "baradv" and others the old AP barcon. I can't believe the eyepiece shows the exact same set of characteristics across that range of barlows.

For the record, as I have the XWs at 3.5, 5, 7, and 10mm, I only use barlows to pick up the in-between powers--the antares 1.6 (or 1.7, effectively) does this nicely, as does the TV 2x with an added extension, making it 2.4X.


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Kutno
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5950400 - 07/01/13 09:40 PM

Quote:

Perhaps relating the market trend towards wide field, "glass heavy" designs, many of the favored high end planetary EPs are no longer being produced (Zeiss, University Optics HDs, Baader GOs, Pentax SMC XOs, etc.). Curious, therefore, to hear opinions are as to best planetary EPs in current production.

Joe

Preemptive post script: Clearly the above question, as I have raised it, is fuzzy. That is, planetary EP optimization varies with variables such as focal ratio of scope, driven vs undriven mount, need for eyeglasses etc. As such, my hope here is to generate discussion, rather than to definitively answer a somewhat vague question.




Joe,

A dissent: The so-called "glass heavy" designs produced by Tele Vue are some of the "best planetary EPs being made today." They even make some "glass light" designs that belong in that category, as well: Nagler-Zooms and Plossls.


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cw00
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Kutno]
      #5950636 - 07/02/13 12:31 AM

While we are on Leica zoom, do you guys have trouble with eye placement with it? I do not have such problem with any other eyepiece I own but I had some struggle with the Leica when I first got it. Now I am used to it so that it no longer bothers me.

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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5951282 - 07/02/13 12:30 PM

Quote:

For the record, as I have the XWs at 3.5, 5, 7, and 10mm, I only use barlows to pick up the in-between powers--the antares 1.6 (or 1.7, effectively) does this nicely, as does the TV 2x with an added extension, making it 2.4X.




I have the XW's you mention along with other eyepieces to fill in the power gaps. My set of eyepieces for monoviewing at high power (0.4mm to 1mm exit pupil) in my 10" f/4.8 Dob includes Nagler Zoom 2-4, XO 2.58, Radian 3, Nagler Zoom 3-6, XW 3.5, Radian 4, Delos 4.5, XW 5 and XO 5.1. For moderate power (1.2mm to 2mm) I have Delos 6, XW 7, TV Plossl 7.4, LVW 8, BGO 9 and XW 10. I think this is enough tools to get the job done.

I try to do without Barlows as much as possible. I only use Barlows - or an OCS - in order to bring an eyepiece to focus in my Dobs, such as when binoviewing or using a filter wheel. Personally, when monoviewing, I'd rather observe through a decent zoom eyepiece or choose from a wide selection of single focal length eyepieces, and not use a separate Barlow at all. (Yes, I realize that many complex eyepieces have a built-in Barlow.)

Mike


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Peter Natscher
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: tomharri]
      #5952204 - 07/02/13 10:33 PM

Looks like you gained the eye relief that you missed with the ZAO's.

Quote:

Had to sell a motorcyle to get a set of ZAOII's.
Wasn't riding it, but was telescoping alot.
And the Zeisses were so good-crisp-sharp-contrasty,
everything you could ever want in an eyepiece.

BUT, started finding others that were just as good, like TMB monos and supers, Pentax XW's, Univ. Optics flat top orthos.

So out went the ZAO's so I could buy another Ducati, but the Pentaxes have stayed, and now the Delos seem to be just as good.

If you want the best-get the above mentioned lenses,
If you want to follow the herd, get a Honda and some ortho/plossls around $100.




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SteveG
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Peter Natscher]
      #5953512 - 07/03/13 05:21 PM

I use Brandon's as my preferred planetary eyepieces with my f7.5 and f9 refractors. I tested them against equal focal-length orthos & plossls using a 3x barlow. I feel the barlow does not degrade the image, and I love the comfortable eye-relief.

24mm + 3x barlow = 8mm
16mm + 3x barlow = 5.3mm
12mm + 3x barlow = 4mm

I use Pentax XW's with my faster f5 scope.


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gnowellsct
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: iluxo]
      #5953567 - 07/03/13 05:52 PM

Quote:

For planetary you don't need a sharp field more than a few minutes of arc. Lowest number of air-glass surfaces and/or elements is the way to do this.




Actually there are things to do with a wider field. First of all planetary includes the moon, so maybe you want more lunar real estate. Second planetary includes the planets' moons, so if you like to catch the full picture (and Saturn's moons travel pretty far out) you might want a wide field for that. Third, there is such a thing as getting bored with magnification. Saturn in a small refactor at about 40 to 50x is an utterly gorgeous sight floating in a sea of stars (Jupiter annihilates the stars, so the effect is not there). Fourth, people who use scopes without drive find it easier to keep the object in view. It's not a question of watching to the edge (Newts typically are not diffraction limited to the edge except at very high powers) but the business of finding and tracking. You take a look, it starts to drift, someone else sits down, the planet is still in the eyepiece for recentering; and if it drifts out, it is easier to find.

In addition, in cold weather small glass fogs up really fast and is essentially unusable. The same is also true in humid weather where the extra moisture coming off the eye is just enough to saturate and cause the eyepiece to fog.

So there are multiple reasons to opt for something like Pentax XWs and for thems that gots to have them the Delos or Ethos lines.

Sometimes when I'm settling in for a long planet observing session I'll take out the ZAO II 10mm and use it and then when my eye starts to fatigue I will swap it out and put in the XW 10. When using the ZAO II I think wow this is great no way the Pentax can equal this and when I put in the XW I think why do I have that silly ZAO II. So by way of conclusion wanting to rest from tiny glass strain and keep viewing is yet another reason to have top quality wide fields for planet viewing.

The theory of tiny glass is well known but it doesn't seem to stop the fact that there are at least a few wide fields that handily compete on axis performance. Of course if you are completely comfortable you will observe longer and if you spend more time viewing with a comfortable eyepiece than a tiny glass eyepiece than this too becomes a reason to have an excellent wide field. Because he who observes longest sees most.

The theory of tiny glass (number of surfaces etc) in my view is sort of in the category of saying that the lightest car has the best mileage. Well maybe. But there are things like gearing and wind resistance and number of cylinders which could easily counteract differences of vehicle weight. Tiny glass is not all equal. The ZAO IIs used ultra high quality lanthanum lenses to try to optimize the design and get more edge performance. So it's not just another UO or Celestron ortho, and saying that in general tiny glass has the observing advantage does not, in my view, capture the realities.


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gnowellsct
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5953578 - 07/03/13 05:58 PM

Quote:


I have compared the XW 5 and XO 5 when observing Jupiter and Saturn through my 10" f/4.8 Dob. To my eyes, the XO displays fine surface detail with more contrast and less scatter than the XW. The XO 5.1 actually has a little less eye relief than the XO 2.58, at 3.6mm eye relief versus 3.9mm. I don't find them at all uncomfortable to use. But I do need to take my eyeglasses off! The AFOV is 44. It's not difficult to nudge the planet back into view with a well-balanced Dob.

Mike




I like the XOs and prefer them to the ZAO IIs; I wish there were a 10mm XO for use in my C14, which has no use for a 2.5 or 5.1 focal length. In the refractors the tiny glass has its uses, but the C14 brings in so much more than the 102mm refractor that sits on top of it that it is hard to justify observing with a 5.1mm eyepiece in a four inch with the 14 inch just sitting there. But some nights I'm out with the FS128 and the tiny glass comes in handy.

I haven't really tried these options out in the 10" f/6 Newt the 5.1 mm would be usable under good conditions (around 300x). Greg N


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #5953796 - 07/03/13 08:49 PM

Quote:

The theory of tiny glass (number of surfaces etc) in my view is sort of in the category of saying that the lightest car has the best mileage. Well maybe. But there are things like gearing and wind resistance and number of cylinders which could easily counteract differences of vehicle weight. Tiny glass is not all equal. The ZAO IIs used ultra high quality lanthanum lenses to try to optimize the design and get more edge performance. So it's not just another UO or Celestron ortho, and saying that in general tiny glass has the observing advantage does not, in my view, capture the realities.




Good analogy!

Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #5953833 - 07/03/13 09:09 PM

Quote:

I like the XOs and prefer them to the ZAO IIs; I wish there were a 10mm XO for use in my C14, which has no use for a 2.5 or 5.1 focal length. In the refractors the tiny glass has its uses, but the C14 brings in so much more than the 102mm refractor that sits on top of it that it is hard to justify observing with a 5.1mm eyepiece in a four inch with the 14 inch just sitting there. But some nights I'm out with the FS128 and the tiny glass comes in handy.




Yes, I wish Pentax had produced XO 10mm's. I'd like a pair for binoviewing in my 10" Dob!

I've come close to acquiring another XO 5mm for a bino pair. But I'd need at least a 1.9x OCS to bring them to focus. That would be an efffective 2.7mm focal length, 444x and 44x per inch. During excellent seeing that would be great for Mars in the 10" Dob. Might be pushing it for my Burgess binoviewer, though.

Mike


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jrbarnett
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5955054 - 07/04/13 05:40 PM

"Answer: you can't, because the brandons stop at 8mm."

Um, I have both 4mm and 6mm Brandons, and both XOs.

I've compared them in scopes ranging from 2.4" to 16" in aperture and with focal ratios ranging from f/16.7 to f/5. Triplets, doublets, with and without fluorite, Newts, Dall-Kirkhams, MCTs, SCTs, etc., etc.

No reason to be frustrated. The 6mm Brandon can keep up with *any* other 5mm to 6mm eyepiece in the world on-axis, in any scope. In fact I don't just think that the 6mm is the best Brandon made, but also probably the best 6mm eyepiece avail, current production or out of production.

The 4mm is da pits though. The glass in the 4mm units that surface from time to time is all Chester Brandon/Librascope era glass and, frankly, isn't figured or polished up to the standards of later units after Yeier and Vernonscope took over. Skip the 4mm, but definitely try a 6mm if you can get one.

Regards,

Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (07/04/13 05:46 PM)


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bremms
Carpal Tunnel
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5955070 - 07/04/13 05:53 PM

You could go to the Melles Griot, Edmund optics or whatever and get some 10/20 scratch dig laser achromats and make a symmetric EP of your own. Surface quality and scattering are very important for a good planetary EP.

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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Reged: 11/07/08

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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5955076 - 07/04/13 06:00 PM

Quote:

John
I have heard this about the XWs over and over again. I since wondered how the TV Delos stack up against them.
Joe




I own the Delos 6 and 8 and Pentax XW 5 and 7. Both series are excellent--and in my opinion, tied.


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TPMack
sage


Reged: 03/06/06

Loc: VA
Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5955110 - 07/04/13 06:29 PM

Intes Monocentric.
Some ghosting on bright objects that disappears when it is centered in the FoV. FoV is even smaller than the TMB mono but contrast is better. A remarkable specialized eyepiece.
If you take the leap, get the latest version with the better coatings. The older versions had the same bright color of a fruit fly's rear end and was not efficient in throughput.


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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Reged: 11/07/08

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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5955168 - 07/04/13 07:17 PM

Quote:

I have compared the XW 5 and XO 5 when observing Jupiter and Saturn through my 10" f/4.8 Dob. To my eyes, the XO displays fine surface detail with more contrast and less scatter than the XW.




I made similar comparisons between the two eyepieces on Jupiter with a 12.5 inch F5 Portaball. I gave a slight edge to the 5 XO. However, the 5 XW is also an excellent performer.


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: bremms]
      #5955174 - 07/04/13 07:24 PM

Most of Edmund's stuff is 60/40 these days. Any links to 20/10 doublet optics?

Thanks!

- Jim


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
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Reged: 12/26/04

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5955197 - 07/04/13 07:41 PM

Quote:

I made similar comparisons between the two eyepieces on Jupiter with a 12.5 inch F5 Portaball. I gave a slight edge to the 5 XO. However, the 5 XW is also an excellent performer.




Hi Gene,

What was the slight edge seen in the XO?


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leonard
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/19/07

Loc: West Virginia
Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: TPMack]
      #5955318 - 07/04/13 10:15 PM

Hello ,

>>>>> If you take the leap, get the latest version with the better coatings. <<<<<<


Mr. Mack do you have information where one could purchase the Intes Mono. ??

Leonard


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leonard
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/19/07

Loc: West Virginia
Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5955331 - 07/04/13 10:26 PM

Hi Jim


I'm looking at the 2012 Edmund optics / america catalog. Not sure what achromatic doublets your interested in but the small ones have a stated surface quality of 20-10 up to 4mm and the 5 to 25mm sizes are 40-20.
At least thats the way I'm reading it .

Leonard


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TPMack
sage


Reged: 03/06/06

Loc: VA
Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: leonard]
      #5955735 - 07/05/13 09:08 AM

Quote:

Hello ,

>>>>> If you take the leap, get the latest version with the better coatings. <<<<<<


Mr. Mack do you have information where one could purchase the Intes Mono. ??


Leonard,
I believe they are now discontinued. I bought mine from Kasai Optical in Japan. They came in 6, 9, and 12mm. A "Want Ad" here or Amart may get you one. They were not expensive eyepieces like the TMBs or Zeiss monos.

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BillP
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #5955761 - 07/05/13 09:39 AM

Quote:



In addition, in cold weather small glass fogs up really fast and is essentially unusable. The same is also true in humid weather where the extra moisture coming off the eye is just enough to saturate and cause the eyepiece to fog.

So there are multiple reasons to opt for something like Pentax XWs and for thems that gots to have them the Delos or Ethos lines.
...

The theory of tiny glass is well known but it doesn't seem to stop the fact that there are at least a few wide fields that handily compete on axis performance. Of course if you are completely comfortable you will observe longer and if you spend more time viewing with a comfortable eyepiece than a tiny glass eyepiece than this too becomes a reason to have an excellent wide field. Because he who observes longest sees the most




I don't find this at all. If anything the opposite and my fat glass eyepieces with larger eye lenses fog very readily, especially those with shorter ER like Naglers and ES82s. In fact, these fat glass tend to fog up as a regular feature for me however, easy enough to deal with as fanning them with air usually brings them back in 30 seconds.

I agree that there are multiple reasons for opting for fat glass like the XWs and such...but ultimate on axis planetary performance is definitely not one of those reasons. Sure they do excellently, but not best. Fwiw, for comfort, I find that it's not really the eye relief that is the biggest driver, but more of the tracking or not of the mount. I personally do not have a a problem spending an hour observing a planet using an Abbe Orthos as long as the scope tracks. If no tracking, then fat glass can be advantage, but only I think if the ER is longer, which is not always the case.

In the end, fat or tiny glass both do great for planetary. But when something more than "great" is desired, a well executed tiny glass solution gets the nod. After all, all else being equal in their manufacture, one can't overcome the physics that less glass surfaces produce less scatter and therefore more contrast. Its not theory.


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Herr General
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: tomharri]
      #5955804 - 07/05/13 10:10 AM

What would be the best long eye-relief (eyeglasses) planetary eyepiece? I have a few high-power eyepieces that came with my scopes, but I'm tired of smashing my face against the eyepiece to see anything.

I've been thinking about getting a nice one, but I'm not exactly well off and I'd like to get the best bang for my meager buck. I tend to observe DSOs mostly, but I'm not averse to looking at the planets and moon occasionally.

Here's what I've been considering:
Televue Radian 8mm:
Pros: Very well regarded by just about everyone.
Cons: Very expensive, and I've heard some complaints about the eyepiece blacking out and lateral color.

Vixen NLV 9mm:
Pros: Cheaper than the TV and I've heard plenty of good things about them.
Cons: Haven't really heard any yet, honestly. So far this is what I'm leaning towards.

Baader Hyperion: I don't know much about this one, comments welcome.

And finally, I was looking around and found the Zhumell Z series planetary EPs. There's a kit of the 5mm, 9mm, 18mm, and an eyepiece bag for sale at $170- is it worth taking the plunge for them? I've heard they're quite good for the price and getting three eyepieces (and a bag!) for the price of one of the other ones is not exactly a deal to be overlooked.


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csrlice12
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Herr General]
      #5955870 - 07/05/13 10:50 AM

I have the 10, 9, & 5mm NLVs.....They were a result of crossbreeding my XWs with my orthos...and the results are fantastic, ortho like views with XW eye relief......LOVE my NLVs. These are probably one of astronomy's best kept secrets....and best values.

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REC
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5955896 - 07/05/13 11:01 AM

The Vixen LV 8mm are top rated. For $100, the ES 6.7 & 8.8mm is hard to beat.

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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: BillP]
      #5955927 - 07/05/13 11:16 AM

Quote:

I don't find this at all. If anything the opposite and my fat glass eyepieces with larger eye lenses fog very readily, especially those with shorter ER like Naglers and ES82s. In fact, these fat glass tend to fog up as a regular feature for me however, easy enough to deal with as fanning them with air usually brings them back in 30 seconds.




My observing sites are very dewy. The best way to prevent condensation on the optics is to attach a dew strip to the eyepiece while it's in the focuser and to keep a cap on the eyepiece while it's not being used. This will work whether the fogging is due to atmospheric conditions or the observer's breath. I would never let the tendency of an eyepiece to fog, prevent me from buying that eyepiece. Fogging is a problem that is easily prevented. Waving my hand rapidly over the eye lens will defog the eyepiece, but I always worry that I'll get too close and bump the eyepiece. Prevention is better.

Quote:

I agree that there are multiple reasons for opting for fat glass like the XWs and such...but ultimate on axis planetary performance is definitely not one of those reasons. Sure they do excellently, but not best.




I agree. IME, the XW's perform as well on-axis as the BGO's and Brandons - or close to it - but not as well as the XO's. I haven't had a chance to first light my Delos 4.5 and 6 yet, but I doubt if their performance will equal or surpass that of my XO's.

Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: BillP]
      #5955937 - 07/05/13 11:21 AM

Bill,

Quote:

In the end, fat or tiny glass both do great for planetary. But when something more than "great" is desired, a well executed tiny glass solution gets the nod. After all, all else being equal in their manufacture, one can't overcome the physics that less glass surfaces produce less scatter and therefore more contrast. Its not theory.




Yes .... a well executed tiny glass will be better than great for planetary.

Mike


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saemark30
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5956002 - 07/05/13 12:07 PM

Nagler 3-6mm zoom. Same sharpness as orthos, and very high contrast. Wider field and more ER.

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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: saemark30]
      #5956333 - 07/05/13 04:23 PM

Quote:

Nagler 3-6mm zoom. Same sharpness as orthos, and very high contrast. Wider field and more ER.




That might be going a bit far ... but it is still a very good performer. And the zoom capability makes it a hard eyepiece for me to get rid of.


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Astrojensen
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5956379 - 07/05/13 04:59 PM

Quote:

That might be going a bit far.




There are orthos and then there are orthos.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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george tatsis
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5956471 - 07/05/13 05:56 PM

Quote:

I have the 10, 9, & 5mm NLVs.....They were a result of crossbreeding my XWs with my orthos...and the results are fantastic, ortho like views with XW eye relief......LOVE my NLVs. These are probably one of astronomy's best kept secrets....and best values.




I have the 4mm,5mm,6mm,and 9mm NLVs and I couldn't agree more with both the above analogy given ,and the fact that not many people know how good these oculars are.

George


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GeneT
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5956490 - 07/05/13 06:06 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I made similar comparisons between the two eyepieces on Jupiter with a 12.5 inch F5 Portaball. I gave a slight edge to the 5 XO. However, the 5 XW is also an excellent performer.




These are very slight, subtle differences, but I saw slightly sharper detail on Jupiter's surface. The 5 XO was designed to be a planetary eyepiece. Its exit pupil of 1 for my telescope is just right for high power views of planets.

Hi Gene,

What was the slight edge seen in the XO?




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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: John Huntley]
      #5959978 - 07/08/13 02:59 AM

Quote:

Quote:

John
I have heard this about the XWs over and over again. I since wondered how the TV Delos stack up against them.
Joe




Joe,

I've not had the pleasure of using a Delos as yet but from all the reports I've read I believe the two types are very, very evenly matched in performance.




I was just able to pick up a 5 XW from Astromart, anxiously and nervously awaiting it's arrival. Anxious because I have heard so much about them. Nervous because my first Pentax (40 XW) had horrendous field curvature. I've stayed away from the 20 and 14's based on a similar reputation.

Unfortunately, to get the direct Delos comparison I will have to resort to a barlow, which hardly seems fair. Likewise for the Brandons. But my Nagler Zoom can do a "naturally aspirated" 5 mm.


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Herr General]
      #5960074 - 07/08/13 07:05 AM

Quote:

And finally, I was looking around and found the Zhumell Z series planetary EPs. There's a kit of the 5mm, 9mm, 18mm, and an eyepiece bag for sale at $170- is it worth taking the plunge for them? I've heard they're quite good for the price and getting three eyepieces (and a bag!) for the price of one of the other ones is not exactly a deal to be overlooked.




Smart Astronomy sells clones of the Zhumell Z Series. AFAIK, the SA LER's are the same, except that they also come in a 6mm. I have bino pairs of the SA LER 6mm and 18mm. Their tone is neutral-cool. I like the 18mm especially for lunar.

Last year my 6mm bino pair gave me good views of Mars when it was only about 6 arcsec. In my 10" f/4.8 with Burgess Binoviewers this was about 3mm effective focal length and 400x, about 40x per inch. I even pushed this setup as high as 600x for a decent view of Mars. This was surprising for inexpensive 6mm LER's. Every time I think about selling the LER's, I recall this observation and change my mind. Though I'm pretty sure if I had a bino pair of XO's, the view would have been even better!

Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5960082 - 07/08/13 07:17 AM

Quote:

I was just able to pick up a 5 XW from Astromart, anxiously and nervously awaiting it's arrival. Anxious because I have heard so much about them. Nervous because my first Pentax (40 XW) had horrendous field curvature. I've stayed away from the 20 and 14's based on a similar reputation.




I was able to buy an XW 20 at a good used price. Otherwise I don't think I would have bought one, because I'd heard about the terrible FC. Yes, the FC in the XW is terrible through my 10" f/4.8 Dob. This scope has no appreciable FC from the primary, since the focal length is 1200mm, so any FC is likely coming from the eyepiece. My eyes are very sensitive to FC - they don't have a wide range of focus accommodation.

However the FC in the XW 20 cleaned up very well in a Paracorr, which acts somewhat as a field flattener as well as coma corrector. So, if you have a Dob with at least a 1200mm focal length, I'd have no qualms about using the XW 20 - as long as you put it in a Paracorr. The Paracorr might also flatten the fields of the XW 14 and 40 well enough.

I also have the XW 3.5, 5, 7 and 10mm. I haven't noticed any appreciable FC in those eyepieces in my 10" f/4.8 Dob.

Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Best planetary EPs being made today... new [Re: GeneT]
      #5960083 - 07/08/13 07:19 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

I made similar comparisons between the two eyepieces on Jupiter with a 12.5 inch F5 Portaball. I gave a slight edge to the 5 XO. However, the 5 XW is also an excellent performer.




These are very slight, subtle differences, but I saw slightly sharper detail on Jupiter's surface. The 5 XO was designed to be a planetary eyepiece. Its exit pupil of 1 for my telescope is just right for high power views of planets.

Hi Gene,

What was the slight edge seen in the XO?








....?


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