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Looking for new eyepieces?

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#1 Amalia


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Posted 21 July 2005 - 10:04 PM

I tried to learn from the last discussions.
The following is what I have found out until today.
This should become a general adviser for buying eyepieces.

May I ask you to criticize this? Tell me what is missing?

Thank you! :)


Looking for new eyepieces? :question:

I suggest you...

1. Get informed
Check Cloudy Night's reports, reviews and articles
Use CN's "search"-function
Use Google: Perform a search with the name of the eyepiece and "test" or "review".
Bookmark your results.
Be critical: The reviewers tell their own truth. Your eyes, your preferences
and your scope will probably be different. Don't believe everything.

2. Go to star parties, ask other astronomers if you can try out their eyepieces in your scope.

3. Ask the same at a local astronomy club.

4. Ask in an astronomy-shop if you can try 2, 3, 4 eyepieces over the weekend.
Make clear that you want to buy eyepieces. (Don't give them all back and buy the
eyepiece via internet, please...)
Try out the eyepieces together with a friend.

5. Driving to a really dark observation site is the best improvement of your astronomical system.
Expeditions are fun!

6. Worry about equipment less. Observe more. Enjoy the sky!

7. Are you an absolute beginner?
There are several "philosophies" about aquiring first eyepieces. Here some ideas:

#1 Use first the eyepieces that came with your scope. Get used to the hobby.

#2 Get the Celestron 1.25" eyepiece & filter kit for 136$. So you will start to
understand what eyepieces are about.
Scroll down - I wouldn't go for the 2" eyepiece kit - as for this
money you can already get a real premium eyepiece.

#3 Buy quality eyepieces. Quality doesn't mean expensive. Good quality Plössls
or good quality orthos are not expensive. These simply build eyepieces are keepers,
even if you will continue to observe and you later will buy wideangle eyepieces.
Did you know: The only existing transmission test shows 97% transmission
reached only by a ....* - (and by two Zeiss orthos which also reach 97%).
(* Solution at the end of this text... ).

#4 A wide angle eyepiece does not mean "everything is better" - it just shows a wider field.
From my experience I can say that my orthos show me more details than my wideangles.

#5 Know that you will pay 200 - 300% more for a premium eyepiece - to get 10% more quality...

#6 Enjoy what you own. Never think: I would be happier with Pentax or Nagler.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder - not in the eyepieces. Enjoy the sky!

#7 Except for the mentioned kit - buy only one eyepiece at a time.

#8 Let the eyepiece be your teacher - each type of eyepiece will show you
the wonders of the sky in a different way. Empty your mind, open your eyes
and follow your new teacher.

#9 While testing use your brain, think about your new eyepiece.
Check different objects. Check difficult objects. Check the stars
at the border of the field of view. Check the darkness of the sky.
Switch off your brain, listen to your heart, feel.
I think the feelings are more important.

#10 Dare to have your own opinion. Your very own opinion. You are unique.

#11 Ask us: Post your question here on CN - open a thread, which includes:
telescope(s) type
telescope(s) focal length
(maybe your future scope)
eyepieces already here or arriving with the scope
former experiences with EPs
need to wear eyeglasses
main celestial targets
planned budget
ideas or dreams about eyepieces
time of realization

#12 Don't forget the "experts of CN" are people like you and I -
normal people willing to help and share experiences.
Don't believe everything they say... ;)
A "thank you" is always appreciated!


Amalia :)

* Solution: 97% transmission reached by the Televue Plössl 20mm!
Same transmission as the Zeiss orthos - amazing, isn't it? Its a high
quality simple design eyepiece!

Some useful links:
Jay Reynolds Freeman's Glossary For Telescope Buyers & Users

Best of the CN Beginner's Forum & How-Tos

An Essay on High Magnification

About Phil Harrington's book Stare Ware

CN Eyepiece Forum: Eyepiece Links of Interest

#2 square_peg



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Posted 21 July 2005 - 10:27 PM

Amalia, that's good advice for anyone considering some new EP's. Especially #1, "Get informed"! :waytogo:

#3 Snow dog

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 10:35 PM

that's about it in a nutshell. Being a green newbie myself I have been doing alot of question asking and getting lots of info from everyone. This is a great place to come to learn from people that have been playing in this hobby for a long time. Sometimes the responses have more info included that you can grasp at once, but the info is honest and at least for me nobody has said that "you must get this brand of equip or you will not be happy."
Like you said...use what comes with the scope first. Get used to the equipment and enjoy the hobby. Then decide what you want to do and go from there. I hope this helps people and esp the newbies to this.

#4 lynntx


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Posted 21 July 2005 - 10:37 PM

I'm still not very experienced at this hobby. I think your list is pretty good advice.

After 1.5 years in this hobby, I still have not opted for any premium eyepieces.

#5 Philo


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Posted 21 July 2005 - 10:58 PM


#6 Joad



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Posted 21 July 2005 - 11:19 PM

Of course this is just fine and most complete. Might I suggest (without minding at all if the suggestion isn't taken) one additional guidance? To wit:

Don't worry too much about your eye pieces. Hobbiests tend to be perfectionists sometimes. You don't have to be. Everything will be OK.

(Unless, of course, you trip and fall into Lake Geneva holding onto a 12.2 kg box of eyepieces!).

#7 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 11:41 PM


That is definitely the best, most concise yet complete, eyepiece advice post I've seen here yet. By far. The beauty of it as well is that most of the same steps and considerations can be applied to other questions like which telescope, which accessories, etc. Great job, you really have it together!

#8 wilash


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Posted 21 July 2005 - 11:48 PM

#7 Except for the mentioned kit - buy only one eyepiece at a time.

Unless you have a binoviewer, then buy two. :lol:

#9 Zeus


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 12:06 AM

Thanks for the post Amalia! I think every newbie (like me) starts to understand more and more with posts like this. It really helps.

#10 aporigine



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Posted 22 July 2005 - 01:13 AM

Brilliant post, Amalia!

I have a small suggestion for point 1, regarding eyepiece reviews. To wit:

Do not be intimidated by the review you are reading. While the very best reviews contain excellent information, always be assured by three facts:
a) The reviewer is using eyes that are not mine.
b) The reviewer has observing habits and requirements that are probably not exactly like mine, now or in the future.
c) Reviewers are only human. By their nature, most reviews are not about what's good, but what is subjectively better than what else. For the vast majority of beginners, this can generate confusion or (worse) a bias toward a brand or type of eyepiece based solely on another's written word. Never mind what's better for now. It simply needs to be good.
d) Modern eyepieces that meet a few basic, easily-researched construction requirements (multi-coated? Not colored or cloudy? Elements made of glass? Barrels blackened inside?) are good. Very few exceptions to this rule, and those will "jump out" at someone who's done the homework and found the reviews. Avoid the obvious junk and you will be ok.

This can probably be shortened and written in plainer English. Please feel free to take what you like and edit it your way. What do you think over all?

cheers aporigine

#11 Mitrovarr



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Posted 22 July 2005 - 02:12 AM

I like it. I think it's important to tell beginners that those super-expensive eyepieces are only special in that they have wide fields, and aren't overwhelmingly better in other areas. Wide fields are nice, but I think most beginners are operating on too low of budgets to jump immediately to naglers and such (when I started out, I couldn't afford eyepieces period, which was a real shame considering I had those wretched huygens and ramsden nightmares. Parents, don't buy your kids department store telescopes.)

Also, you have to think of what that money could buy in other areas; two naglers would buy a 10" dob, which is probably a better instrument than the beginner is starting with in the first place. Alternately, you could get an entire set of ultima-clones, a low-end binoviewer and a couple pairs of GSO plossls, a 20x80 binocular and good mount, an ED80 and maybe a cheap tripod, a 2" SCT diagonal and a few 2" GSO widefields, a couple of Speers and the Speers zoom.... the list goes on for a while.

#12 rosecityred


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 02:28 AM


This is really excellent. You have expressed what a great deal of experience has taught you very elegantly and in a concise manner that should be very helpful to many people.

The only additional piece of advice I would offer to people just getting started would be to read something in 'layman's' language that explains what some of the technical terms they will encounter mean and how eyepieces work with a telescope -- such as the opening pages of Phil Harrington's chapter on eyepieces in "StarWare".

But I must say that your outline here is wonderfully thought out and beautifully expressed. And, in a second language for you no less!



#13 grimupnorth


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 03:51 AM

. . . and the best thing about your great post, Amalia, is that it doesn't mention an eyepiece manufacturer by name (well, except for Zeiss & Televue, but you were only teasing us, eh?). I also liked a lot what aporigine and mitrovarr wrote.

Getting through your steps #1 to #10 would help a beginner like me to reach conclusions like:
'I can buy a mid-range mid-focal length Plossl and that will already be a great improvement on what I have now'
'I see that what I really need is the planetary eyepiece that gives me the most detail & contrast that I can afford, now I need to see what fits my budget'

And this is really really helpful. With that sort of conclusion, a person can start to think about manufacturers and eyepiece designs, and will be able to ask questions here on CN that get really specific and useful answers.

Thank you! :bow: :bow:

#14 werewolf6977


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 04:21 AM

Well said... :bow:

#15 Jeremy@za


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 05:00 AM

I vote for a sticky.

#16 oldsalt


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 05:39 AM

Very well put. Now the prospective ep buyer can make the subjective decission is this the right eyepiece for me, and do I really need to spend $200-300 for a good view of my subject.

#17 ForgottenMObject



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Posted 22 July 2005 - 06:59 AM

Very nice!

About the only thing I would add is a note near the beginning of how to tell if your eyepieces are sub-par.

A few things come to mind:

- If you have 0.965" diameter eyepieces try to get an adaptor to use 1.25" diameter eyepieces (if possible) or find a source of good 0.965" diameter eyepieces (I don't know of one.) Most starter eyepieces in this size range are poor.

- Eyepieces of the Ramsden or Hyugen design are poor. These are often labeled "R", "SR", or "H" on the starter eyepieces.

- Eyepieces that are mostly plastic are probably very poor.

- Tiny eyepieces that provide more than 50x per inch of aperture are probably not very useful on any night.

I think the above advise (or something like it) if added in could make it clear to a newbie when their eyepieces are getting in the way of their viewing fun. They don't need Naglers, but I wouldn't wand them to stick with 4mm SR eyepieces, either!

#18 cigtech



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Posted 22 July 2005 - 08:10 AM

Excellent Amalia, excellent. I think that this post needs to be a sticky post as well.



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Posted 22 July 2005 - 08:45 AM

Sounds like great advice.

#20 dgs©


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 09:38 AM

Perfectly good advice, and well laid out.

Some of us living in less populated areas might not have ready access to star parties or even walk-in astronomy shops though. But following the remaining advice will head off lots of mistakes.

#21 Mike B

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 10:35 AM

Hey Amalia-

I do believe your online outline is totally inline! :grin:... a good primer to guide the less-experienced (or anyone for that matter) into honing their thinking & carefully framing their questions in order to, well, Ian said it quite well:
"...will be able to ask questions here on CN that get really specific and useful answers."
Not that any here wants to be cold, or give anyone a "brush-off", but would this be a great filter/tool/process to recommend/suggest inexperienced or incomplete EP questions (or any astro-gear questions) to go thru? Hmmm...
:cool: mike b

#22 Bunny


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 12:58 PM

I like 1,2 and 3.

It is wise to use the supplied eyepieces, chances are they are probably fine, and you will have something to compare when you do start to add more. Don't try to run before you can crawl!

There seems to be a fetish for achieving the widest possible field of view amongst some people (not CN particularly, but elsewhere too). Dare I suggest the controversial view that you might even have people suggesting Naglers/Panoptics/Radians to newcomers, when they have in fact never held one, let alone viewed through one themselves? :grin: Such is the power of marketing, and following the pack! Sounds good reeling off expensive equipment? Not really, what matters is that people pitch their advice to the beginner, at the level their budget and interest allows.

Undoubtably, many people enjoy using their premium wide field eyepieces, and they appear to do the job they were designed for very well, but they are not the only eyepieces around.

#10 Dare to have your own opinion. Your very own opinion. You are unique.

Excellent! Couldn't agree more!

#23 rdjamieson



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Posted 22 July 2005 - 01:05 PM

This is better advice than I've ever given.

#24 Bill Grass

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 02:24 PM

Way to go, Amalia! :waytogo:

#25 southmike



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Posted 22 July 2005 - 02:41 PM

#7 Except for the mentioned kit - buy only one eyepiece at a time.

Unless you have a binoviewer, then buy two. :lol:

that is exactly what i did...

however, I must admidt I take a short cut here and there..
as I have no idea what star parties or clubs are around me..
(and I bought enough to start one that is for sure...)
but I love my celestron kits..told me what i needed, what i liked and what i didn't..(so far i use the 4& 6mm as dust caps..I really dont like them) then I went the TV plossl route for now as I am buying in pairs..now that I almost have a full set I have to decide where to go from there.

oh decisions decisions..I am completely on the fence now.
meade uwa's, radians, nagler's, pentax they all look great.

But ,Great post amelia.

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