The 8V is supposed to be a really nice little scope. I've never looked through one, unfortunately, so I don't know what it's quirks are. I know it's a Schmidt-Newtonian, so it's going to be affected by collimation -- and that *might* explain why you got more "crisp" views if you were viewing off-axis. So the first thing I'd do is check collimation... however, with that scope, it could be a bit challenging, as I think it would have to be done the 'old-fashioned' way (i.e. star test) as I don't know of *any* 24mm collimation tools out there anywhere...! Everything I've ever seen is 1.25", and you should have 0.965" unless you've changed the focuser somehow or I've lost my mind.
Do you have a local club that can help you out with that?
Y'know, it *might* not be a bad idea for someone to create a set of 24mm collimation tools... especially a Cheshire for these older long-focus refractors with collimatible cells.