Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Stellarvue Planetary Eyepieces: 1st Impressions

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
16 replies to this topic

#1 David E

David E

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 5,381
  • Joined: 25 May 2006

Posted 14 April 2012 - 03:41 PM

Okay, I’ve done some quality observing time with these eyepieces, and here are my opinions (sorry for the long report, but I've tried to cover all the bases :)):

First off, I like the ergonomics. The rubber armored bodies are easy to grip and handle. The bright chromed barrels are solid, and they are tapered at the top for good grip in the diagonal. The rubber eye cup pops up and down for best viewing position, and the end caps are a tight fit but easy to install and remove.

Next, what are these eyepieces? Clones of the SmartAstronomy and Zhummel? Well, in a manner of speaking, yes, but there are some differences. I call and talked to Vic to get some more details about the inner workings of these eyepieces. He wouldn’t give up all his secrets, of course, but I did learn the following to share with you. Vic said he started with the basic design of these eyepieces sold by other brands and tweaked them to try to squeeze a bit more performance out of them. On the outside, the main difference is obvious, as already mentioned, the chromed barrel which adds a solid feel of durability over lighter weight metals. On the inside, the differences are less obvious. He started with the coatings, ordering the manufacturer in Taiwan to optimize them for the best possible light transmission. Comparing them with my Televue Plossls I’d say he reached this goal. My SmartAstronomy 6mm eyepiece has excellent coatings, but the Stellarvue 6.1 just edges it out. The coatings are a different color from my Televue, but they both have the same “black hole” appearance looking down from the top. I’d say these coatings are as good as modern technology can get. Next is the inner design of the lens elements. Vic said he tweaked the original design by altering the spacings a bit, to produce the edge sharpness and definition he was looking for. The visual differences between the Stellarvue and the other brands are going to be subtle, and many may not notice the difference.

Now, on to the meat of this review. Overall, the eyepieces have excellent on axis sharpness, deep contrast, and superb sharpness at the edge of the field. Well, the 6.1mm doesn’t quite live up to that “sharp at the edge” reputation, as it looses just a small bit of definition. The 4.9mm and 2.9mm however, are just as sharp at the edge as far as my eye can tell. I used the moderately tight double star Algieba, and let it drift through the field of view and past the field stop. As far as I could see there was no loss of stellar sharpness or distortions as the two components disappeared one at a time from view. Next up was Mars. With my SV102ABV apo doublet I get 129x, 161x, and 272x. Mars was tack sharp at all magnifications, with the subtle albedo features easy to spot even with the 2.9mm. Next I checked the light throughput with the Ghost Of Jupiter planetary nebula. I again used my SV102ABV. At 272x, with a .375mm exit pupil, the Ghost was bright and I even spotted some detail, a couple of bright areas on opposite ends of the circular diffuse disc. Eye relief is ample, even for eye glass wearers. However they suffer a bit from blackouts as you try to move your eyeball to the edge of the view; it is necessary to move your head around to see from the center to the edge. Flaring and glaring is well controlled on planetary targets. On a waxing gibbous Moon however, there is quite a bit of off-axis glaring from the ample Moonlight. I believe this may be a result of the optical design rather than a fault of careless design execution, as I see this glare effect in other long eye relief eyepieces that I have.

Well that’s a long report but I hope I have helped out with anyone considering the purchase of these eyepieces. Bottom line for me is they are keepers, I’ll use them for planetary viewing as well as splitting doubles. And, as I discovered with my Ghost Of Jupiter experiment, I am pleased enough with the light transmission that I’ll certainly try them on other bright deep space targets just to see what I can gleam at higher powers than I’m used to viewing them at.

(Photo below shows the three SV Planetary eyepieces with a typical 25mm Plossl for size comparison.)

Attached Thumbnails

  • 5172331-Stellarvue Planetary eyepieces 007.jpg


#2 Scanning4Comets

Scanning4Comets

    Markus, a.k.a. Scanning4Comets

  • *****
  • Posts: 17,938
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2004

Posted 14 April 2012 - 03:55 PM

Nice report!

They look a lot like THESE as well with the 2.9mm and 4.9mm having labels of 3mm and 5mm, but the Stellarviews look way better!

Stellarview does make some pretty awesome gear though! I have had several thoughts about getting one of their finderscopes which enables one to use any eyepiece they want and interchange them.

Cheers,

#3 george tatsis

george tatsis

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,351
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2008

Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:23 PM

Thanks for this excellent review David and congrats on your new toys!

George

#4 Scott in NC

Scott in NC

    Refractor Fanatic

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 31,628
  • Joined: 05 Mar 2005

Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:11 AM

Nice review, David--thanks for sharing! One of these days we'll have to get together again so I can look through them.

#5 DLB242

DLB242

    Mr. Warmth

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,297
  • Joined: 29 Jul 2008

Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:59 AM

Nice report, thanks David. I am pleased to hear the favorable results you got with the 2.9mm. I haven't spent as much time with my set as you have and conditions have not been favorable for high power. In my SV115EDT the 6.1 and 4.9 are defiantly "keepers". :jump:

#6 Ernest_SPB

Ernest_SPB

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,352
  • Joined: 13 Nov 2010

Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:59 PM

These are E3L-A, E5L-A and E6L-A eyepieces of Long Perng. They are very nice in image quality (the best is FL 3 mm; 5 and 6 are very good) even in 1:4 (!) scope. Compatible to my Vixen LV. But eyerelief shorter than advertised (not possible to observe in spectacles), they have quite strong positive distortion.

All these eyepieces (excepting 18 mm) are built in the same schema: Erfle-like body + LB-like component (cemented negative lens) before focus. It looks like bodies of all these EP-s are identical. Difference is only in LB-like components. It is not a right Barlow - it is designed not only to change bodies' FL (body has FL = 18 mm) but rather to compensate aberrations of the body.

#7 kkokkolis

kkokkolis

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,611
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2009

Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:38 PM

Compared to a Radian (let's say 5mm) how do they perform?

#8 Ernest_SPB

Ernest_SPB

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,352
  • Joined: 13 Nov 2010

Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:48 PM

I have compared E3L-A to 4 mm Radian in 1:6 APO.

Radian has more convenient position of exit pupil (it is possible to observe even in glasses), field of view looks wider, distortion is hardly ever noticeable in contrast to strong barrel distortion of E3L-A. Sharpness and contrast are similar over whole field. Radian suffers of kidney bean effect, E3L-A does not.

#9 george tatsis

george tatsis

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,351
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2008

Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:13 PM

Hi Kostas,

I have compared the 6mm,9mm and 12.5mm Astro Tech version of these eyepieces with my similar focal length Radians and I have found them to be indistinguishable in quality.

Yes, there is a minor difference in the FOV, but I don't find it objectionable. For $39.99 a pop, they are a steal. The Radian lens is a bit more comfortable for eyeglass users .Have not experienced any kidney beaning, so I have nothing bad to say about them.

Wish they were available in 1mm increments the way the Radians are. Last month I bought the 9mm Astro Tech version and the ES 8.8mm to fill the gap between my 8mm and 10mm Radians. I found the 9mm to be of exceptional quality and not inferior to the ES 8.8mm. As a result, it is now part of the family.

http://www.mediafire...d1ny6cyxmx834zy

#10 kkokkolis

kkokkolis

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,611
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2009

Posted 17 April 2012 - 07:46 AM

Thanks.
We've seen reviews of premium low glass count planetaries, like those of Paolini here.
A review of those long eye reliefs from Meade, Celestron, William Optics, Astrotech, Stellarvue, Siebert, TMB and Telescope Service etc, compared to a Radian, would be helpful for those that need a comfortable <100$ planetary. I'm considering a 5-6mm for long observing sessions. Which one is the best?
And where do they have them for 40$? 60$ is the lowest I've seen.
Another question. Will any of these multi element planetaries be better than my ES82 6.7 and 4.7? They are good but I could use some more eye relief while waiting for the atmosphere to get steady.

#11 george tatsis

george tatsis

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,351
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2008

Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:05 AM

Thanks.
We've seen reviews of premium low glass count planetaries, like those of Paolini here.
A review of those long eye reliefs from Meade, Celestron, William Optics, Astrotech, Stellarvue, Siebert, TMB and Telescope Service etc, compared to a Radian, would be helpful for those that need a comfortable <100$ planetary. I'm considering a 5-6mm for long observing sessions. Which one is the best?
And where do they have them for 40$? 60$ is the lowest I've seen.
Another question. Will any of these multi element planetaries be better than my ES82 6.7 and 4.7? They are good but I could use some more eye relief while waiting for the atmosphere to get steady.


http://www.telescope...eces.cfm#pr-hea

By using the above link you can read some reviews of the same eyepieces under a different make. I picked the Astronomics version of Astro-Tech LER for $39.99 and never looked back.

Even though the ES 6.7mm and the 8.8mm are fine eyepieces, the 14mm eye relief was insufficient for me. Remember Linda? The generous 20mm ER provided by these little gems is overwhelming.Don't let the low price fool you,as these are quality eyepieces which are worth every penny IMHO. Go to :

http://www.astronomics.com

Eyepieces & Barlows

Astro Tech

LER Long Eye Relief.

Can't miss'em.

George

#12 kkokkolis

kkokkolis

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,611
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2009

Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:59 AM

Oh, they are on sale there. But Astronomics doesn't ship here.
David, excuse me for hijacking your thread. I think these clones are relevant and I admit that the Stellarvues are eye candy and probably one of the best incarnations of this design.

#13 David E

David E

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 5,381
  • Joined: 25 May 2006

Posted 17 April 2012 - 05:00 PM

Oh, they are on sale there. But Astronomics doesn't ship here.
David, excuse me for hijacking your thread. I think these clones are relevant and I admit that the Stellarvues are eye candy and probably one of the best incarnations of this design.


Oh, no problem. I've outlined the differences in my opening post, and it's always great to get discussion about competing brands, that's what CN is all about! :D I own and use two other brands of this eyepiece design and I'd say they are all great deals for the money. I don't know if Stellarvue ships to your country, I'd email them (although you might get caught in their spam filter, so a post on their Yahoo! group would more likely get to someone over there.) Is there someone though, that would sell a similar brand brand over there?

#14 DLB242

DLB242

    Mr. Warmth

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,297
  • Joined: 29 Jul 2008

Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:51 PM

Hi David,

Yeah they do now, this is from the dealer page on the Stellarvue Web Site.

"STELLARVUE now ships direct to Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Contact us for more information and include your complete address with postal code and the items you wish to purchase. Contact us at mail@stellarvue.com"

:)

#15 ASTERON

ASTERON

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,742
  • Joined: 24 Nov 2007

Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:26 AM

Has anybody compared the views through the LER sold as Astro-Tech by Astronomics and the equivalent FL LERs sold by Stellarvue ?
If there is not a Humungous optical difference, the Astronomic's now sell for almost half of the price of the Stellarvue brand. - A great Deal, if you need any. :bow:

#16 Ernest_SPB

Ernest_SPB

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,352
  • Joined: 13 Nov 2010

Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:33 AM

It looks like "Astro-Tech 1.25” Long Eye Relief" have the same origin - Long Perng E3L, E6L, E9L, E12.5 (see above) and identical (in their optics) to reviewed in start posting Stellarvue.

#17 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 80,138
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004

Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:16 AM

Has anybody compared the views through the LER sold as Astro-Tech by Astronomics and the equivalent FL LERs sold by Stellarvue ?



:waytogo:

Such a comparison is in order I think.

With such similar eyepieces, a true blind test is possible if there is someone else to help out. Blind testing a 31mm Nagler vs a 30mm GSO SuperView is pretty much impossible because the eyepieces are just so physically different, the observer would know right off without even looking. But with these eyepieces, it would be straightforward.

Jon


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics