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Equipment Discussions >> Eyepieces

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Matt2893
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Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: ChicagoLand
Zoom EPs under $100?
      #5606966 - 01/05/13 05:03 PM

I think I might like a Zoom for convenience, but have a very limited budget.
Of the Zoom EPs under $100, on price the Celestron looks to be the best deal.
Is there anything about the others in the link that would make them worth the higher price?


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faackanders2
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Reged: 03/28/11

Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Matt2893]
      #5606970 - 01/05/13 05:09 PM

down side of zoom is narrow FOV

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Deep13
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: faackanders2]
      #5607645 - 01/06/13 12:52 AM

Conventional wisdom is that zooms have to be designed and built very well to work properly without a loss of performance compared to similar fixed length EPs. Honestly, I wouldn't waste $100 on a cheap one.

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bdcmd
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Matt2893]
      #5607680 - 01/06/13 01:42 AM

The Celestron and Zhumell have both gotten fairly good reviews here on CN in the past. Neither is rated as good as the Baader Hyperion Zoom, but both are much less expensive. You might want to look for one of the old Televue 8-24 zooms built by Vixen. They were decent, as well, and can be found in the $100 range used on CN classifieds and on the other site.

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Starman81
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: bdcmd]
      #5607699 - 01/06/13 02:12 AM

I had a Zhumell Zoom that I picked up used for $45, primarily for outreach. For the price and convenience it was good (compared to other eyepieces I was keeping for outreach) but I would not expect it to replace your Plossls or Expanse 9mm. FOV-wise on the low end (24mm setting) it was like 40* AFOV and at the 8mm setting it was about 55* AFOV.

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Scanning4Comets
Markus
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Starman81]
      #5607712 - 01/06/13 02:44 AM

I wouldn't recommend a cheap zoom. In fact, I have looked through a TeleVue Zoom and Badder Zoom and was not impressed with either. I would stick with a fixed focal length eyepiece.

Cheers,


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rtomw77
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5607735 - 01/06/13 03:19 AM

Hands on Optics has a GTO Proxima 8-24mm zoom for $99 which they say is identical to the Williams Optics zoom.

Has anybody had any experience with this one? The specs look similar to the other inexpensive zooms mentioned above.

Tom


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johnnyha
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Matt2893]
      #5607750 - 01/06/13 03:51 AM

This Meade Series 4000 8-24 zoom looks pretty good, but has a narrow FOV of 55 to 40 degrees.

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Starman81
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: rtomw77]
      #5607753 - 01/06/13 03:58 AM

Quote:

Hands on Optics has a GTO Proxima 8-24mm zoom for $99 which they say is identical to the Williams Optics zoom.

Has anybody had any experience with this one? The specs look similar to the other inexpensive zooms mentioned above.

Tom




Doing some late-night searching on this EP, it was apparently the same as the old WO Zoom from several years ago, which WO replaced with a 22.5-7.5 Zoom (see here). The 67* AFOV at the high-power end is a plus as is the stated 20mm ER, but this zoom has been around forever and I can only find a handful of reviews online. For $99 brand new, it might be worth the gamble.



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ibase
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Starman81]
      #5607916 - 01/06/13 08:59 AM

Did a comparison of the Celestron 8-24mm zoom & the Baader Hyperion 8-24mm zoom, click here.


Left: Baader Hyperion Mark III zoom; Right: Celestron 8-24mm zoom

Hope this helps in providing some insights about the Celestron zoom.

Best,


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hottr6
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Matt2893]
      #5608005 - 01/06/13 10:12 AM

I picked up the Meade 8-24mm and found that it bucks conventional, often repeated, wisdom that "zooms are bad".

Caveats first: Yes, the FOV is tiny and the mechanicals are not uber-quality! However, I found that in the range 8-16mm, the views were surprisingly satisfying in any of my 'scopes that range from f/13-f/4.5. In back-to-back comparisons with a BGO 9 and 12mm, the Meade was fearsomely close in quality.

As the eyepiece was zoomed to longer focal lengths, the views deteriorated rapidly, as did the FOV. The eyepiece (and owner) is not happy at 24mm.

My workaround for a minimalist eyepiece selection in the field is a 24mm SWA and the zoom.


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orion61

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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: hottr6]
      #5608090 - 01/06/13 11:11 AM

I have one of the German made Seben 8-24 zooms. It is built to a very high standard, has good coatings and a very accptable field of view. I keep it in my 127 SLT Grab & Go Mak, I have compaired it to other zooms and it has been better than any others I have tried it next to side by side.
Classic german quality (remember that little German car they used to laugh at?) the Volkswagon.
It performes as well as most my fixed eyepieces and better than some when used with a barlow.
I have thought about buying a second before people realise
how good they are and they go up! They come with a nice Hard carrying container with a screw on cap. Cant read the invoice tho LOL


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DaveJ
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: orion61]
      #5608132 - 01/06/13 11:27 AM

Quote:

I have one of the German made Seben 8-24 zooms.




A quick Google turned up nothing. Where did you acquire this zoom?


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Starman1
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: orion61]
      #5608152 - 01/06/13 11:37 AM

Quote:

I have one of the German made Seben 8-24 zooms. It is built to a very high standard, has good coatings and a very acceptable field of view. I keep it in my 127 SLT Grab & Go Mak, I have compared it to other zooms and it has been better than any others I have tried it next to side by side.
Classic German quality (remember that little German car they used to laugh at?) the Volkswagen.
It performs as well as most my fixed eyepieces and better than some when used with a barlow.
I have thought about buying a second before people realize
how good they are and they go up! They come with a nice Hard carrying container with a screw on cap. Can't read the invoice though LOL



Seben products are made in China and imported into Germany. They are not made in Germany. Sorry to disappoint.


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mdowns
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5608178 - 01/06/13 11:54 AM

I have one of the Vixen lv 8-24mm zooms and in fact like it pretty much.To be sure I prefer the brandon at 8mm to the zoom but overall the quality of the image is very good,especially in the mid range.I bought mine used on amart for 125 I think and recently saw one here for 90 bucks.

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dpwoos
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5608189 - 01/06/13 11:57 AM

I think that this thread is a perfect example of why no one should rely entirely on other's opinions of eyepieces and optics in general. There are folks who hate zooms and don't know why anyone would waste their money, other folks who like them even while recognizing that they might not be getting the best views, and others who think they are the cat's meow. I am in the second camp, and enjoy my zooms even though I find that the views are not top-notch. I can imagine myself living with a zoom as my only medium and high(-ish) power eyepiece.

In this case, I think that it would be useful to know what the original poster wants out of a zoom, besides simply "convenience". For example, I often use my TV zoom during public observing, where I encourage folks to zoom in and out of globular clusters - a big "wow" generator!

Edited by dpwoos (01/06/13 11:59 AM)


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Matt2893
member


Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: ChicagoLand
Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: dpwoos]
      #5608471 - 01/06/13 02:06 PM

Thank you all for your responses! I really appreciate the Cloudy Nights family, with all our opinions; even when we don't agree it helps in understanding the varying issues.

The reason I was considering a zoom was the other night it was c-o-l-d and I was only outside for a quick peek (mostly of Jupiter), fumbling with my individual EPs was a pain in the... fingers.
I don't expect a zoom to replace my other EPs, just to supplement for quick grab-and-go sessions.


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csrlice12
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Matt2893]
      #5608565 - 01/06/13 02:46 PM

In that case, the perfect zoom for you would be the Zhummel 8-24mm zoom. Comes in it's own plastic bolt case. Nice smooth transition, no "click" stops. 66* FOV at 8mm (about 45* at 24mm). AND IT's CHEAP!!. To be truthful, it even worked well in my 10XTi, and that's a lot harder on eyepieces the the 6XT is, so this zoom will work well in the slower scopes. This was the first lens I bought (when I got the 10XTi), and I used it for the first few months. It will definitely do what you're asking of it.

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andydj5xp
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Matt2893]
      #5608723 - 01/06/13 04:08 PM

Quote:

I don't expect a zoom to replace my other EPs, just to supplement for quick grab-and-go sessions.




You could of course consider a zoom as replacement for most of your other eyepieces. But this would require a decent zoom which would cost much more than 100$. For instance the Baader Hyperion Zoom 24-8mm.

With zoom eyepieces the saying "you get what you pay for" is much more valid than with fixed focal length eyepieces. But as a reward: a zoom eyepiece is also much more versatile - in particular if you complement it with a barlow - than fixed eyepieces.

Andreas


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mdalton
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Reged: 10/05/12

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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #5609350 - 01/06/13 10:22 PM

I have the Meade 4000 series 8~24 zoom that cost about $70. I keep in with my 5" scope that is basically used as a grab-n-go. Serves the purpose well, although it's not as good as a fixed EPs. But I only have to carry one instead of many, and thats the point. It is a little stiff in operation in cold weather.

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Traveler
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: mdalton]
      #5609597 - 01/07/13 02:08 AM

I own a cheap 7-21 zoom ep, a Orion Explorer clone. Although its very handy, i don't think its a very good one. When i comparing the zoom with my Vixen NPL's, the Vixens giving me better views. The main reason is because the less darker views. The Zoom is about the same price as two NPL's. So there is not much a price advantge.
The only situation where i am using the zoom a lot is with my Lunt H-alpha scope.

A step up will be the Baader Clickstop Zoom. However, i used two examples of the Baader and noticed some physical issues. One example didn't zoom anymore (Mark I) and became a fixed ep and the second one don't click sometimes (Mark III).


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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5609658 - 01/07/13 05:52 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I have one of the German made Seben 8-24 zooms. It is built to a very high standard, has good coatings and a very acceptable field of view. I keep it in my 127 SLT Grab & Go Mak, I have compared it to other zooms and it has been better than any others I have tried it next to side by side.
Classic German quality (remember that little German car they used to laugh at?) the Volkswagen.
It performs as well as most my fixed eyepieces and better than some when used with a barlow.
I have thought about buying a second before people realize
how good they are and they go up! They come with a nice Hard carrying container with a screw on cap. Can't read the invoice though LOL



Seben products are made in China and imported into Germany. They are not made in Germany. Sorry to disappoint.



I was just going by the fact everything about it was written in German, there was nothing Made In China written anywhere to lead me otherwise.
It is very smooth operating, doesn't go out of focus as bad as some, decent field, and good light thoroughput.
I am very satisfied, and would buy another if something happened to this one without hesitatiion.


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andydj5xp
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Reged: 05/27/04

Loc: 52.269 N/10.571 E
Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: orion61]
      #5609670 - 01/07/13 06:25 AM

Quote:

I was just going by the fact everything about it was written in German, there was nothing Made In China written anywhere to lead me otherwise.




Seben is an online-vendor located in Berlin/Germany. His website is supplied in German, English, French, Spanish, and Italian. See here

BTW, on the German astro forum Astronomie.de this zoom gets very positive comments.

Andreas


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THEPLOUGH
ELEVEN Grandchildren; FIVE Ducklings
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #5609678 - 01/07/13 06:44 AM

I have the Celestron 8x24 and it works well in my scope... It comes in handy when going on Holiday, and I don't want to pack a load of EPs...

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: mdowns]
      #5609699 - 01/07/13 07:38 AM

Quote:

I have one of the Vixen lv 8-24mm zooms and in fact like it pretty much.To be sure I prefer the brandon at 8mm to the zoom but overall the quality of the image is very good,especially in the mid range.I bought mine used on amart for 125 I think and recently saw one here for 90 bucks.




I have a classic made in Japan Vixen LV 8mm-24mm Zoom. It does a good job in my PST but otherwise, I find it restrictive because of the narrow field of view at low magnifications.

There were several Japanese made 8-24 zooms that were basically the same, including the Vixen. The TeleVue Click stop was one and I believe Celestron and Parks are some of the others who marketed this eyepiece.

If I am not mistaken, the Meade Series 4000 Zoom was/is also a sibbling of the Vixen LV... Johnny's link to the AgenaAstro Site for the Meade makes it quite interesting... I would like to know if that is indeed the same made in Japan zoom as the others.

Jon


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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #5609777 - 01/07/13 09:01 AM

And remember these may be built in China but are built to Sebens Exacting Standards!
You should look through their Premium 80mm ED Nitrogen filled Spotting scope! It is a thing of beauty equal to my
Spotter that cost over twice as much!
I found it while researching for an inexpensive Zoom.
I mentioned it to a friend that bought one, I got a hands on before i bought it.
I have had 3 or 4 in the past and looked through a couple more.
The little online I found was all positive. My experience mirrors that. Not only smoothness but things like finish, the field stops are smooth, non glare, no rough edges little things like that that add up. I sold the Celestron zoom I had.(an older model).
Good Luck!!
I didn't want to post anything negative about Celestron but
once I saw some of Sebens products I fell in love with them..BTW the Zooms have already gone up 10.00 from when I got mine.


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John Huntley
scholastic sledgehammer
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: orion61]
      #5610359 - 01/07/13 02:45 PM

I have bought one of the Seben zooms for an outreach event that I'm involved with later this month. It seems identical to the Skywatcher and Zhumell 8-24 zooms to look at, including the plastic storage pot.

Having tested it a couple of times since I took delivery of it, I was reasonably impressed for the $38 it cost me. I don't like the 24mm position much but from 20mm it improves and is a decent eyepiece from 18mm to 8mm.

My usual eyepieces are Naglers / Ethos / XW's.


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dpwoos
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: John Huntley]
      #5610391 - 01/07/13 02:58 PM

I have to say that it has always surprised me that so many folks are down on zooms. I have looked through many poorly performing scopes that are loaded with uber eyepieces, where the views were not good. I think that inexpensive zooms work pretty well, and I would MUCH sooner look through a properly functioning scope with a $38 zoom than an Ethos in a dog. Sometimes I wonder if folks aren't looking AT the eyepiece instead of THROUGH it?!

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howard929
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5610484 - 01/07/13 04:02 PM

Quote:

In that case, the perfect zoom for you would be the Zhummel 8-24mm zoom. Comes in it's own plastic bolt case. Nice smooth transition, no "click" stops. 66* FOV at 8mm (about 45* at 24mm). AND IT's CHEAP!!. To be truthful, it even worked well in my 10XTi, and that's a lot harder on eyepieces the the 6XT is, so this zoom will work well in the slower scopes. This was the first lens I bought (when I got the 10XTi), and I used it for the first few months. It will definitely do what you're asking of it.




+1 on all of that as it closely mirrors my experiences with that zoom.


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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: howard929]
      #5610556 - 01/07/13 04:44 PM

I guess these things must be like Peanut Butter
I toured a plant as a kid.
1 Place made about 5 different brands...same peanuts..


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saemark30
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: orion61]
      #5613725 - 01/09/13 01:22 PM

I would want to compare the zoom EP to good fixed eyepieces like a Televue 8mm to 25mm.
Are any zooms comparable to these, the old ones were very soft and less sharp, less contrast?


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csrlice12
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: saemark30]
      #5613762 - 01/09/13 01:44 PM

So you want to compare a high end eyepiece to an economy zoom.......you just might be surprized. Don't have any high end plossels, but I can tell you that the Zhummel zoom throws up some really great views for what it does....No, its not a ZAO, but it is sharp to the edge with pinpoint stars, its only real drawback is the 45* FOV at 24mm. For public viewing or quick GrabnGo it works fine....

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Mike B
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: saemark30]
      #5613890 - 01/09/13 03:05 PM

Quote:

I would want to compare the zoom EP to good fixed eyepieces like a Televue 8mm to 25mm.
Are any zooms comparable to these, the old ones were very soft and less sharp, less contrast?




From the (admittedly limited) exposure i've had to zoom EPs, i would've said "NO". But a short while ago i took a chance & sprung for a used Nikon MCII zoom. I was shocked at how excellent the views were! ... and this thru-out its zoom range.

Shortly after that i picked up my first Pentax XW, a 10mm. I'd tried the older 'XL' versions, but wasn't impressed. But this 10mm XW is quite excellent!

Trying the Nikon zoom (~7-21mm) alongside the Pentax, a 9mm ES-100, and a 13mm Ethos, and aside from the more constricted AFoV (which really ain't all that "constricted" in the shorter half of its FL range ), the Nikon gave up precious little!

The tough end of this is that they are not that commonly available "used" (not sure what their *new* availability might be ), and for substantially more than the OP's $100 budget. I think mine was ~$150 or so, used? But even at that pricepoint, i'd definitely say it's WORTH IT!

My advice- keep your eye out for a used one on sale. I'm betting, once you got it, you'd NEVER part with it! Would give impressive views in any & every scope you ever mated it with... including Barlowed!


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Doug Culbertson
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: saemark30]
      #5613984 - 01/09/13 04:07 PM

Quote:

I would want to compare the zoom EP to good fixed eyepieces like a Televue 8mm to 25mm.
Are any zooms comparable to these, the old ones were very soft and less sharp, less contrast?




I've only found one zoom that was really comparable to any excellent fixed focal length eyepieces, but it is priced well above the price point stated in the title of this thread.


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saemark30
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Reged: 02/21/12

Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Doug Culbertson]
      #5614182 - 01/09/13 06:02 PM

I found only a few affordable Nikon zooms:
http://www.vistek.ca/store/Binoculars/229442/nikon-1648x2060x-zoom-eyepiece-f...
http://www.vistek.ca/store/Binoculars/265827/nikon-1648x2060x-zoom-eyepiece-f...
What is the mfg code for the MCII?
I found one that costs over $1000!


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Mike B
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: saemark30]
      #5614274 - 01/09/13 06:48 PM

Quote:

What is the mfg code for the MCII?




Not sure. Mine is labeled around the lower barrel portion "OASIS NIKON FS 31.7AD (7162)"

... doesn't look like either of those you've linked.

I think it might be the one labeled as "#8" in this link.

Hope that helps.


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ibase
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Loc: Manila, Philippines 121*E 14*N
Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: saemark30]
      #5614308 - 01/09/13 07:07 PM

Quote:

I would want to compare the zoom EP to good fixed eyepieces like a Televue 8mm to 25mm.
Are any zooms comparable to these, the old ones were very soft and less sharp, less contrast?




Have the Televue 8,11,15,20,25,32mm(pair).



Although not in the price range of this thread, the Baader Hyperion 8-24mm zoom is optically at par with the TV plossls, only at 8mm setting, the zoom has a widefield AFoV of ~70-deg (actual per drift tests, published spec - 68-deg) with a big eye lens, while the TV8 is 50-deg and with tight eye relief.

As for old zooms, see "Zoom is Doom".

Best,


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saemark30
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: mdalton]
      #5615592 - 01/10/13 01:56 PM

Could the Celestron 8-24mm zoom be the same as the Sky-Watcher 8-24mm zoom eyepiece?
They are both owned by Synta.


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saemark30
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Reged: 02/21/12

Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: saemark30]
      #5615980 - 01/10/13 06:12 PM

FWIW, the Celestron zoom has 4 elements, the Seben has 6, the Televue, Meade and Vixen has 7 elements.

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Starman1
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: saemark30]
      #5616017 - 01/10/13 06:28 PM

Quote:

FWIW, the Celestron zoom has 4 elements, the Seben has 6, the Televue, Meade and Vixen has 7 elements.



The older, now discontinued, 8-24 zoom from TeleVue was what you say.
The two, current, zooms--the 2-4mm and 3-6mm--are 5 elements each.


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saemark30
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Re: Zoom EPs under $100? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5626269 - 01/16/13 02:08 PM

Who is selling the Seben for $38?

The higher powered Televue zooms are great, but I think we are all taking about the 8-24mm.


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