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From the Editors Desk: UO Planetary Eyepieces

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#1 asaint

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 12:22 PM

UO Planetary Eyepieces

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 06:00 PM

Thanks for the candid review.

The design concept is intriguing and makes sense. Given the astounding prices people are willing to pay for eyepieces and refractors, I would guess that there is a market for eyepieces dedicated to certain objects.

Armand

#3 John Kocijanski

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 07:44 PM

Nice review. How do you think these would compare to HD orthos?

#4 asaint

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 08:41 PM

John,

Personally, I don't like to trade sharpness for slightly better banding on the planets. Other then the moon and Mars (by virual of radiation reduction), I prefered the views through the standard UO orthos for all other targets.

I'd like to hear from others who have used the O.P.S eyepieces. Perhaps I'm missing a viewing situation where others have found them helpful.

To answer your question John, I'd take the HD orthos.

Allister

#5 Mike Hosea

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 12:28 AM

These eyepieces were the realization of an idea. It was an interesting idea, but I have yet to hear a positive third-party review, and the explanation of why no shorter focal lengths is obviously a misdirection. My 10" f/5 doesn't exceed 30x per inch until the eyepiece focal length drops below 4.2mm.

Naturally the coatings do what they are supposed to do. That's just not enough. They're expected to be at least as sharp AND contrasty on planetary targets as standard orthos alone or with a thread-on contrast-enhancement filter. My sense from reading reports is that they have simply failed to achieve this goal.

#6 Ron B[ee]

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 02:12 PM

That's a great review Allister :waytogo:! I've always been curious about the new UO Planetary series. It's unforutnate that they didn't coat the eyepiece all the way to the edge of the FOV :(.

One comment I have regarding Mike P.'s comment on 30X/inch. I won't argue whether one can see more details or not. For large aperture, 30X/inch translates to pretty much atmospheric seeing limit on most nights in many parts of the world (eg. 240x with my 8" Dob shows a good chuck of details). However in my opinion, I'll have to respectfully disagree that 30X/inch for smaller aperture such as 4-inch. For instance, at 120x Mars' details are just plain too small to make out clearly through the 4-inch. But at 170x-220x, the details become much easier to see and tiny features come into visibility. To put it another way, following Mike P.'s train of thought, there would never be any need for a 6mm, 5mm, 4mm TMB SuperMono or AP SuperPlanetary eyepieces :( ;).

Ron B[ee]

#7 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 11:39 AM

Allister,
Thank you for writing this review. I spent some time with these eyepieces and still own two of them even though I don't use them much. I've been spending a lot of time testing many planetary eyepieces and have been some what silent for a while regarding the tests as I plan to release the results as a review. I can see that the eyepiece forums seem to be getting all the hits for some reason. I suppose people feel more comfortable and more on a friendly type bases there. Perhaps it's a more casual approach to them. I can't quite nail it to tell you the truth.

One of the issues which bothered me about the OPS was the lack of coating quality, but more importantly, the images. I have just never been able to take to filtered views except for the #80 blue. From time to time, I do experiment with all kinds of filters. What I really wish UO would do is keep the same classic design they always did and revamp the internal baffling structure and add fully multi coated optics inside. I don't want to give away the surprises as I have about two dozen high end eyepieces for the next review but one thing I can say is that when using apochromatic refractors for tests, a buddy and I carefully went back and forth between the old UO and TMB Mono. When pulling the eyepieces in and out, the differences are profound. There is always a glow around the planets in the UO, but I still believe that UO could be improved. Its actual outer physical design is unmatched by any in the world today. The cone top is unsurpassed. At $59 the standard UO is a bargain not to mention that they are one of the few eyepieces in the world today with lots of short focal lengths to play with. I use the 4 and 5 sometimes and love both of them.

#8 reflector74

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 02:36 AM

UO Planetary Eyepieces


Sorry..I'm a planetary fanatic and owned the OPS line of UO orthos to my huge surprise. They're really quite useless as the coatings were aweful. These oculars were in fact, absolutely disappointing, even in the two sets of samples I tried. Why spoil a good thing in the UO Abbe line? There is a lot of ego and biased opinion involved with some self-proclaimed experts. Please keep an open mind and don't be swayed too easily by such individuals.

These eyepieces are junk and I got rid of mine in a quick hurry.

I described my experience with the OPS line. This should not be the case for any planetary eyepiece, or so I feel is common sense.

UO might consider continuing to import their fine, normal Abbe orthos and scrap the OPS line altogether. They are quite unnecessary. The article mentions image degradation... Lord help us.

#9 reflector74

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 10:34 AM


One of the issues which bothered me about the OPS was the lack of coating quality, but more importantly, the images. I have just never been able to take to filtered views except for the #80 blue. From time to time, I do experiment with all kinds of filters. What I really wish UO would do is keep the same classic design they always did and revamp the internal baffling structure and add fully multi coated optics inside. I don't want to give away the surprises as I have about two dozen high end eyepieces for the next review but one thing I can say is that when using apochromatic refractors for tests, a buddy and I carefully went back and forth between the old UO and TMB Mono. When pulling the eyepieces in and out, the differences are profound. There is always a glow around the planets in the UO, but I still believe that UO could be improved. Its actual outer physical design is unmatched by any in the world today. The cone top is unsurpassed. At $59 the standard UO is a bargain not to mention that they are one of the few eyepieces in the world today with lots of short focal lengths to play with. I use the 4 and 5 sometimes and love both of them.



They can be improved, and are likely still somewhat overpriced considering the materials or lack thereof involved. The Abbe line is still a good set of planetary oculars. The internal baffling and blackening could be better, not to mention the full multi coatings inside. Better glass too, perhaps. I don't think that they "just keep on getting better and better" as UO's website suggests. That is an exaggeration for the sake of marketing. Perhaps it's time they actually do this. Wouldn't it be nice to have the same quality as the old Zeiss orthos at a good price??

#10 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 11:16 AM

I agree. I've purchased the 4mm and 5mm UO's and the 6mm and 7mm ortho HD's. Sadly, the 5mm HD was absolutely horrible. Most of all though, the light scatter was the worst I've ever seen and I sent it back. Helix was very nice and sent me the 4 and 5 UO in exchange at no extra charge for the inconvenience. I also really can't stand the newer grooved barrels and luckily I didn't get them. I wish companies would stop making them period. When I observe, I like being able to switch out eyepieces really fast to catch those good moments of seeing. I can't remember ever dropping an eyepiece, but I can certainly remember changing them more often.

#11 reflector74

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 06:33 PM

I agree. I've purchased the 4mm and 5mm UO's and the 6mm and 7mm ortho HD's. Sadly, the 5mm HD was absolutely horrible. Most of all though, the light scatter was the worst I've ever seen and I sent it back. Helix was very nice and sent me the 4 and 5 UO in exchange at no extra charge for the inconvenience. I also really can't stand the newer grooved barrels and luckily I didn't get them. I wish companies would stop making them period. When I observe, I like being able to switch out eyepieces really fast to catch those good moments of seeing. I can't remember ever dropping an eyepiece, but I can certainly remember changing them more often.


I will agree the "HD's" are a gimmic and there is no true practical difference between them and the Abbe line except for a financial one. The Baader Planetarium genuine orthos are internally multi-baffled and have excellent coatings if somebody wants to compare them in a user report at some point in time. They are at the pinnicle of this design today, though they are twice as expensive as the UO Abbe. They are noticeably better to the discerning planetary observer though. Mark my words.

The OPS orthos, as I mentioned previously, are one of the worst gimmics to come out in years. I suspect the line will cease eventually as many people have experienced the problems I have had with them. :crazy:

#12 Starman1

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 10:48 AM

Anyone who has had a chance to do purchasing will quickly learn that eyepieces can be ordered to meet certain criteria. If price is number one, certain compromises will have to be made.
If perfection is the goal, sometimes all that it takes is to order it.
So many companies get buyer after buyer requesting cheaper prices that it might be interesting to see what the factory can do when price is not a limiting factor.
Even if perfect Abbe Orthoscopics would cost $200, I believe there would be a market in today's astronomy world.
Improved coatings, baffling, glass polish, and individual testing would assure a higher quality eyepiece. We might be surprised at how little extra that costs.
I think there would be a lot of customers.
[To tell a story about how that works: a few years ago I was in Taiwan at a bicycle manufacturer's factory. I wanted to complain about the easily chipped paint jobs they were applying. I asked: "How much does the best possible paint job cost?" The answer was, "About double the price of the paint job you're getting." I sat and thought a moment and asked, "How much does the paint job cost?" The answer was "About $1." In other words, the best possible paint and paint job was only $1 more. But the factory had never been asked for the top-quality finish because every buyer had constantly asked "Can you make it cheaper?" What they never hear is "Can you make it better? Cost is no object." I'm pretty sure this applies to eyepieces, too. TeleVue Nagler 4's are made in Taiwan, and they're pretty darn good. And expensive. It can be done.]

#13 Mike Hosea

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 12:23 PM

The OPS orthos, as I mentioned previously, are one of the worst gimmics to come out in years. I suspect the line will cease eventually as many people have experienced the problems I have had with them. :crazy:


I'm not sure I would characterize it as a "gimmick", or at least that it was intended as such. They arose at a time when we started to see new types of filters, along with a great increase of interest in and demand for minus-violet filters due to the coming of many inexpensive and relatively fast achromats (and for an achromat f/10 is relatively fast) from China. Al Misiuk was doing interesting things at Sirius Optics and experimenting (Sirius Optics has several successful products now). In fact I don't know if Sirius Optics had anything to do with the O.P.S. oculars, but just to give another example off the top of my head that I think Sirius was involved in, I recall one case where MV coatings were applied just to the outer parts of an objective of an achromat. The theory was that in other wavelengths the scope would retain its fast f#, but for violet light it would be a slower scope, hence have less CA. The result was deliciously predictable, and yet I don't recall anybody bothering to predict it, including yours truly (not that I was anything more than an internet spectator). The violet was blocked all right, but the smaller aperture for violet also had larger Airy disks, hence at high magnification there was still a violet halo. Also there may have been some other diffraction effects due to the partial blockage of other wavelengths. Now I don't recall this being mentioned at the time, but Roland Christen has educated us a bit on the stresses that dielectric coatings put on a substrate, so in light of this and depending on the stresses induced by these particular coatings, there might have been additional SA introduced as well. Point is, it was a bona fide effort to invent a new and useful product, not a successful one, ultimately, but an interesting idea, at least.

Likewise, everybody knows that filters add at least a pair of air-to-glass surfaces, if not other aberrations, and some people were thinking that it wouldn't it be great we could just substitute the coating we want for the BBAR coatings on one surface of an eyepiece. Then we wouldn't have the extra aberration and quality issues of a coated glass filter. The result of this idea apparently wasn't entirely successful, either.

But eyepieces are ordered in bulk. I don't know who they got to critically test the prototypes, but either the prototypes were better than the production units or they found someone who was not sufficiently critical or thorough in their evaluation. So they were produced. Not that I would know, but I doubt that they have been in production since the initial batches.

#14 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 01:51 PM

I agree. I've purchased the 4mm and 5mm UO's and the 6mm and 7mm ortho HD's. Sadly, the 5mm HD was absolutely horrible. Most of all though, the light scatter was the worst I've ever seen and I sent it back. Helix was very nice and sent me the 4 and 5 UO in exchange at no extra charge for the inconvenience. I also really can't stand the newer grooved barrels and luckily I didn't get them. I wish companies would stop making them period. When I observe, I like being able to switch out eyepieces really fast to catch those good moments of seeing. I can't remember ever dropping an eyepiece, but I can certainly remember changing them more often.


I will agree the "HD's" are a gimmic and there is no true practical difference between them and the Abbe line except for a financial one. The Baader Planetarium genuine orthos are internally multi-baffled and have excellent coatings if somebody wants to compare them in a user report at some point in time. They are at the pinnicle of this design today, though they are twice as expensive as the UO Abbe. They are noticeably better to the discerning planetary observer though. Mark my words.

The OPS orthos, as I mentioned previously, are one of the worst gimmics to come out in years. I suspect the line will cease eventually as many people have experienced the problems I have had with them. :crazy:


I wasn't meaning to imply that the HD's are a gimmik. Quite the contrary there actually is a difference, but I'm not suprised most people can't tell that much of a difference because of their seeing conditions. What I was trying to say is that the 5mm HD is another eyepiece. The field of view is not even the same as the others. If you take a high contrast instrument and compare the HD's to the standards, there's no question which is which. When spaceydee made the observations with me, even she could see the difference. There's more of an evident glow around the standards. This is less obvious on the Moon though. Believe it or not, there were a group of individuals asking questions regarding planetary eyepieces which even she could have answered since she knew, but she held back because we wanted to save all the results for a later review.

#15 Mike Hosea

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 02:26 PM

[snip] even she could [snip] even she could [snip]


Um, Daniel, you might want to rephrase. Dee might be a fairly critical observer. OTOH, when it comes to me and matters of contrast, you could say "If even Mike Hosea can see a difference in contrast, then it must be a big one."

#16 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 03:31 PM

Actually that's a good point Mike, thanks. What I should have said is how suprised I was at Dee's ability to distinguish differences in eyepieces since it was one of her first times actually doing some careful side by sides. If Dee told me the differences of certain eyepieces regarding contrast, I'd most certainly take her word for it because I know she's a critical observer now. At the time of our observations, the conditions were pretty good and Dee and I went down the list. Since then, I've gathered a gaggle of eyepieces for careful visual testing in both fast and slow optical systems. We can now go down the list regarding contrast one by one. :)

#17 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 03:35 PM

I should also mention that I hold yours, Tom's as well as a few others opinions in the highest regard here on cloudynights with eyepieces.

#18 spaceydee

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 03:59 PM

Daniel is correct that I have held back on some of my views of some eyepieces versus others because I know he is working on a review. I don't take any offense to the "even she..." comment, as I will admit as to not being the most experienced or knowledgeable observer. I appreciate the compliments though :) And, am looking forward to Daniel's review, as well as any discussions resulting from it.

#19 spaceydee

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:05 PM

By the way, Allister that was a very nice review of the UO OPS! I only had a quick look through one, so I don't have anything substantial to say about them.. Except I can say I didn't care for the quick view I did have - I didn't actually try to determine if I could see anything better through it, I just didn't like the coloration, which I see is due to the coatings applied to behave like a filter. In general I have prefered unfiltered views of planets, with a few exceptions.

#20 asaint

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:16 PM

Dee,

Thanks for the compliment. I think your first impression is spot on. Same thing I found after looking through them on and off for a number of months.

Daniel - looking forward to your article. With Jupiter and Saturn on the rise, your article is very timely.

Allister

#21 Mike Hosea

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 06:04 PM

I should also mention that I hold yours, Tom's as well as a few others opinions in the highest regard here on cloudynights with eyepieces.


And I yours. As I was getting at before, I don't think my eyesight is top tier in any category, so when it comes to fine discriminations of contrast between eyepieces, I defer to you and others who seem to have the more capable peepers.

#22 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 11:11 PM

:lol: Peepers! Havn't heard that one in a while. Thanks Mike, Dee and Allister.

#23 reflector74

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 04:32 AM

The Baader orthos are arguably the best available in that design today. Try them out if you can. They also cost more than the UO orthos. Sirius Optics and the guy in Florida had a joint venture with UO to produce the OPS. What a flop that was..

#24 asaint

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 06:23 AM

Hey guys,

Where can you buy the Baader orthos?

Allister

#25 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:58 AM

www.alpineastro.com


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