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Antares 0.965" Plossls -- A Classicist's Dream?

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#1 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:47 AM

Has anyone tried Antares 0.965" Plossls? As big a fan as I pretend to be of my fancy adapters, if Antares has decided to make a good line of natively-sized Plossls readily available, there could be considerable advantage to using them. Pop a set in one's case, and never again worry about adapters, new focusers, or vignetting. The specs look good. All have rubber grips and eye shields, and are fully multi-coated. Presumably, they meet the standards of other Antares oculars. Anyone know first hand?

Funny Antares does not yet have a matching, natively 0.965" diagonal available. Most of us have one, but it would be great to know they were easy to replace.

#2 Hitech

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:18 AM

Hmmm, interesting. I wish they elaborated a bit more on the specs than one sentence of basic info. The price seems attractive. I was looking to see if they offered a "kit" package but it doesn't seem they do. From outward appearances they look like an equal to GSO or similar. I'm gonna keep ththat weblink on the back burner... Surplus Shed has some .965" EP that also look interesting. Not the cheezy $15-20 kit but their individual, multicoated EPs.
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#3 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 01:33 PM

I've seen Surplus Shed's 0.965" oculars. They don't appeal to me. Oddly designed barrels, Huygens or "three-element" lenses, sharp-looking metal tops with no rubber to protect my eyeglasses, let alone my eyes. Those from Antares are Plossls (4 elements), and although they lack pictures at HandsOnOptics.com, from their descriptions, they seem to be much nicer. I also suspect their being a matched set may result in their being closer to parfocal.

A friend has new old Unitron with a full set of original 0.965" oculars. To see anything well, he needs to use newer oculars, which happen to be 1.25-inch, but the difference may well be the modern coatings. If I like his 0.965" set in principle, I may buy some of the Antares and post the answer to my own question!

Still hoping someone who knows may respond before I buy.

#4 starrancher

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 01:56 PM

I bought an entire set of these to improve what my Tasco 11TE-5 had to offer optically . The original oculars with a very narrow FOV , barely let me get the Moon into view with the supplied 20mm Huygens . Not a comfortable view of ol' Luna although the scope was called the "Lunagrosso" meaning "Big Moon" and in that sense , yeah ! , the Moon was really big taking up the entire FOV .
In wanting to keep this scope in its original form and not change the focuser , the Antares .965 Plossls seemed to be the most readily available upgrade at a modest price .
These things made a massive improvement in the use ability of the scope . Now , with the 15mm Plossl the Moon has a much larger apparent size and still has plenty of sky around it . A much nicer , more comfortable view .
Being basically standard Plossls with a reduced size barrel , they still yield the typical 50 degree AFOV of any other Plossl . The longest focal length available in these is a 25mm unit as anything longer than that would need a larger barrel to keep up with the 50 degree AFOV .
They aren't the best Plossl I've ever had the chance to look through , but they do provide a real nice image and a great improvement over the narrow field of the Huygens units . At 20 bucks as piece , you really can't go wrong .
These units do take more inward travel to achieve focus than the vintage oculars and with the refractors , I don't believe any would have a problem , but with the 11TE-5 , I barely had enough inward travel to get them to focus . In fact the 20mm unit needed about another half inch and would not come to focus so I returned it . All the rest of them really made a much improved experience .

Here's the little kit that I put together .

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#5 Hitech

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 03:44 PM

starrancher-

have you bothered to disassemble one of those EPs to see if the element edges are blackened? Prolly not for their low cost, but I was just wondering. The Ep that came with my Bushnell SkyChief II (Circle T) leave much to be desired and from reading your report on these Antares .956" EPs, sounds like I may be satisfied with them. Sure can't argue over the asking price for them!

#6 starrancher

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 04:28 PM

starrancher-

have you bothered to disassemble one of those EPs to see if the element edges are blackened? Prolly not for their low cost, but I was just wondering. The Ep that came with my Bushnell SkyChief II (Circle T) leave much to be desired and from reading your report on these Antares .956" EPs, sounds like I may be satisfied with them. Sure can't argue over the asking price for them!


I'm of the "if it works , don't fix it" mindset , so no , I would not take them apart unless I felt that they needed some attention . They do throw up a rather nice image . You absolutely know that you're viewing through a Plossl and although they are less expensive than most , if not all other Plossls , they actually have a real nice green tint to the coatings , so it appears that there is no skimping here . The build quality could be a little better but for 20 bucks , what do ya want , eggs in your beer ? :lol:

If it is feasible to use the Vixen or Hutech adapter and just use a 1.25" diagonal and oculars , then that , IMHO would be the way to go due to there being just so much more to chose from in eyepieces . This is what I did with my 7T refractor , but if the adapter isn't workable or one wants to retain the originality of the scope as I did with the 11TE-5 , not wanting to replace the focuser , the only other option are some of the .965 Orthos , which are not cheap and not as readily available . Even then , the Ortho is only gonna give you around a 40 degree AFOV . For other than Planetary observations , the extra 20 percent in FOV is quite nice to have .

#7 Preston Smith

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 05:54 PM

I bought an entire set of these...


Thanks for sharing Dave!

Could you rank order them for us? As to which ones seem to have the best performance over the original eyepieces? So if we were to buy just a few of them..... :jump:

#8 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 07:04 PM

That's a beautiful set you have there, Star Rancher! If I didn't get the entire set, what would you make of these four. The scope is a 60mm f/15 refractor, FL = 910mm:

25mm = 36x
15mm = 60x
10mm = 91x
7.5mm = 121x

#9 starrancher

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 08:07 PM

Thanks for sharing Dave!

Could you rank order them for us? As to which ones seem to have the best performance over the original eyepieces? So if we were to buy just a few of them.....



Hey Preston , I would say just grab the focal lengths that you think you would use most .
I actually did more daytime testing with these oculars than I have done at night . The results were very positive while using a couple of communication towers on a mountain top a couple miles away . All the focal lengths seemed to perform very nicely . As I worked my way up in magnification , I was impressed as the shorter focal length units actually did better than I expected . The antennas , cross ties and framework on the towers showed very nice resolution even pushing the scope to it's upper theoretical limit . No C.A. produced by them at all that I could see .
;)

#10 starrancher

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 08:27 PM

That's a beautiful set you have there, Star Rancher! If I didn't get the entire set, what would you make of these four. The scope is a 60mm f/15 refractor, FL = 910mm:

25mm = 36x
15mm = 60x
10mm = 91x
7.5mm = 121x



Hey Joe , ....I think that's a great choice of 4 . I wish the 20mm would of come to focus in the 11TE-5 . I'm sure it would have been nice . I originally had the 20mm and passed on the 17mm , and after finding that it needed much more inward travel than I had , I returned it in trade for the 17mm to try to fill that hole. They aren't completely par focal but then again what is . If I recollect correctly , the longer half of them need slightly more in focus than the shorter half do , but they all focus fairly close if you split the set short or long . The only one that was way off in left field was the 20mm unit . I tried two samples before giving up and settling for the 17mm . I don't understand what the deal is with the 20mm as it certainly seems if the lenses were set in the housing a little deeper , it should have been more along the lines of being par focal with the others . I just don't get it seeing how the 25mm unit focuses up just fine , being along the lines of even the shortest of them .
Hands On couldn't answer as to why and trying to get a hold of Antares , let alone get an answer from them is like pulling hens teeth . It's too bad though . I really would have liked the 20mm over the 17mm unit .
:question: :foreheadslap: :tonofbricks:

#11 greju

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 08:40 PM

I would not waste the money. Even a cheap 1.25" eyepiece will usually outperform all but the highest quality .965 eyepiece IMHO. For star parties I use a set of Meade Super(?) Plossls that are always available at a reasonable price.

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#12 starrancher

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 08:50 PM

I would not waste the money. Even a cheap 1.25" eyepiece will usually outperform all but the highest quality .965 eyepiece IMHO. For star parties I use a set of Meade Super(?) Plossles that are always available at a reasonable price.


I love my Meade Plossls . But what if you have no choice and need .965 oculars ?
These Antares units are Plossls , and basically are a 1.25'" Plossl with a reducer barrel on them .
The coatings surely look superior to the coatings on the Meade 4000 series . The Antares are "fully multi coated" whereas the Meade 4000s are only "muti coated" .
Just sayin' . :smirk:

#13 Sandpiper

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 08:52 PM

I am hoping the Antares are a good choice. Ordered a couple from "Hands On Optics".. His prices were really good, his shipping into Canada exceptional and it is one of the only places I found with Plossl eyepieces for a .965..

Haven't got them yet and ordered them based on the experienced people here for my 11TE-5, really looking forward to when they come in though!

Greg

#14 starrancher

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:14 PM

I am hoping the Antares are a good choice.



What other choice is there ?


it is one of the only places I found with Plossl eyepieces for a .965.



They are the only place I was able to find them . They don't even show up on the Antares web site .


for my 11TE-5



You didn't order the 20mm unit did you ?

#15 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:20 PM

I would not waste the money. Even a cheap 1.25" eyepiece will usually outperform all but the highest quality .965 eyepiece


In our experience of whatever 0.965" eyepieces we have used, this is generally true. Most surviving 0.965" stuff is junk, relics of cheap department store scopes that were little more than toys. But there is nothing inherent about 0.965" vs. 1.25" that says 0.965" must be junk. Venerable orthoscopics and Zeiss Jena's come to mind. There is a reason why adapters are made to fit 0.965" eyepieces into 1.25" and even 2.00" focusers. They have always been well suited for high-powered, narrow fields of view, and now Star Rancher says that, at 25mm and shorter, they can get 50-degree fields of view in a Plossl, a design not typically seen before in the 0.965" standard.

The question is not whether 0.965" can be good. It certainly can be, despite that most of us have not personally used good oculars of this standard. The question is whether Antares has, at this modest price point, changed the game for collectors of classic scopes. Star Rancher has had good luck, and from his battle with 20mm vs. 17mm, we see he's quite thorough. Personally, I think it's worth a shot. I'm waiting to hear whether Hands On would charge a restocking fee if the Plossls did not work well for me, and based on that will decide whether to buy.

My scope has a somewhat floppy drawtube. Heavy oculars exaggerate the problem. Lightweight 0.965" oculars could be great for me, and even at $20 each, may be comparable to my perfectly good Owl Astronomy Black Knight Super Plossls.

#16 starrancher

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:44 PM

I would not waste the money. Even a cheap 1.25" eyepiece will usually outperform all but the highest quality .965 eyepiece


In our experience of whatever 0.965" eyepieces we have used, this is generally true. Most surviving 0.965" stuff is junk, relics of cheap department store scopes that were little more than toys. But there is nothing inherent about 0.965" vs. 1.25" that says 0.965" must be junk. Venerable orthoscopics and Zeiss Jena's come to mind. There is a reason why adapters are made to fit 0.965" eyepieces into 1.25" and even 2.00" focusers. They have always been well suited for high-powered, narrow fields of view, and now Star Rancher says that, at 25mm and shorter, they can get 50-degree fields of view in a Plossl, a design not typically seen before in the 0.965" standard.

The question is not whether 0.965" can be good. It certainly can be, despite that most of us have not personally used good oculars of this standard. The question is whether Antares has, at this modest price point, changed the game for collectors of classic scopes. Star Rancher has had good luck, and from his battle with 20mm vs. 17mm, we see he's quite thorough. Personally, I think it's worth a shot. I'm waiting to hear whether Hands On would charge a restocking fee if the Plossls did not work well for me, and based on that will decide whether to buy.

My scope has a somewhat floppy drawtube. Heavy oculars exaggerate the problem. Lightweight 0.965" oculars could be great for me, and even at $20 each, may be comparable to my perfectly good Owl Astronomy Black Knight Super Plossls.


Joe , I dealt with Sharri or Sherri , however it's spelled . Never got a chance to talk to Gary or Garry , however it's spelled . But after the first 20mm I had would not achieve focus for me , I thought it had to be built wrong or something . At any rate Sherri ? sent me out another unit without delay . After I found that the second 20mm was identical , I sent them both back and requested she send me the 17mm keeping my fingers crossed that it would work and fill the hole I had already cut into the foam of my eyepiece case .
:crazy:
Sharri ? was easy to deal with and never thought about charging a restock fee due to the problem I was having . She still made the sale on the quantity of my original order . Although I did fork for the return shipping on the one box I sent back with the two 20s in it . I thought that asking for a call tag might be pushing my luck . :grin:
I general , the company seemed pretty fair to deal with .

#17 greju

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:49 PM

I have many "good" .965 eyepieces, such as the one pictured. Or the orthos that came with my AE-80. You are absolutely right, there are many good .965 eyepieces. With .965 to 1.25" adaptors of many types readily available I cannot imagine why anyone would prefer to buy a smaller eyepiece. A wobbly focuser should be an easy fix and I would not let it determine what size eyepieces I use. :grin: Just my 2 cents.

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#18 Larrythebrewer

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:58 PM

Starrancher
How's the eye relief on the shorter focal length Antares eyepieces, can you show us a picture of the tops? :question:
Thanks
Larry

#19 starrancher

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:59 PM

I cannot imagine why anyone would prefer to buy a smaller eyepiece.



For this situation with the 11TE-5 , an adapter was out of the question . Getting rid of the original focuser and replacing it with a 1.25" unit would have required cutting and drilling of the OTA . It would also take away from the originality of the scope .
Solution : The Antares .965" Plossl .
These units have made this particular telescope 200 percent more enjoyable to use .

#20 starrancher

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:04 PM

Starrancher
How's the eye relief on the shorter focal length Antares eyepieces, can you show us a picture of the tops? :question:
Thanks
Larry


Hey Larry , ....They are really just like any other Plossl . Eye relief is typical . The tops look no different than any typical Plossl . Really these are basically 1.25" Plossls with barrel reduction .
I have no top shot of them loaded to post . Sorry .
My girlfriend has the camera .
:tonofbricks:

#21 Larrythebrewer

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:18 PM

Thanks
this may just be the solution I've been looking for, I've been debating between having to get an adapter (that may or may not fit), along with a diagonal, or going with a hybrid & forgo the adapter.

#22 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:31 PM

With .965 to 1.25" adaptors of many types readily available I cannot imagine why anyone would prefer to buy a smaller eyepiece.


Part of the problem is that there *are* so many types of adapters available. It can be maddening to find the right one for a particular scope.

More importantly, some scopes retain problems even when working optimally with adapters. Mine, for example, can indeed see without vignetting per se. One can see the entire field of view, even with a 40mm ocular. The hitch is that there can be a lot of kidney beaning, meaning that one's eye must be aligned just so with the ocular. Every little shudder temporarily vignettes an edge of the field. No adapter can avoid this, because the problem is the extra-narrow draw tube. 1.25" oculars were simply designed for larger barrels.

Everyone loves a fine ocular, but truth be told, most of our classics are long focus, so they work just fine with simpler oculars. If these 0.965" Plossls were adequately made, they could resolve a lot of issues for scopes with narrow draw tubes. No buying endless adapters, no more kidney beaning.

A wobbly focuser should be an easy fix and I would not let it determine what size eyepieces I use.


I agree. That will be fixed. My main goal is to end the kidney beaning. Still, this is no Crawmach focuser. The less weight upon it, the better. At higher magnifications, it is touchy about retaining the object in the field upon changing oculars.

#23 grendel

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 04:10 AM

seems there is a market for an eyepiece barrel extension at .965 that would screw into the filter thread of the 1.25" eyepieces, you would need the spare in focus to do so though.
Grendel

#24 Doug76

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 05:28 AM

I would not waste the money. Even a cheap 1.25" eyepiece will usually outperform all but the highest quality .965 eyepiece IMHO. For star parties I use a set of Meade Super(?) Plossls that are always available at a reasonable price.


Actually, it was not wasted money at all.
The bodies of the Antares Plossls are pretty much standard 1.25" size, and they are fitted with an adapter to replace the 1.25" barrel, and then a .965" barrel fits into the adapter.
I have the 25,17,10, and 6mm. They work well.

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#25 Doug76

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 05:29 AM

Another...

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