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Astrotech Paradigm Duel ED vs. Agena Starguider Duel ED 1.25'' Eyepieces

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#1 jakecru

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 07:57 PM

Here is a link to the Astrotech: https://www.astronom...ece_p16948.aspx

 

Here is a link to the Agena: http://agenaastro.co...piece-18mm.html

 

Are they identical besides the name? Besides field of view, how do these compare to Meade 4000 Super Plossls or Tele Vue Plossls in sharpness. I will mainly be using them for planetary with a 5'' Mak. The Agena is in stock in different sizes, where the AstroTech only has the 18mm in stock. Are plossls a better bet for sharp planetary views in this price range, or would these be better? 

 

Thank you



#2 John Gauvreau

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 08:13 PM

I have a couple of the AstroTech ones (15 and 25mm), but have no experience with the Agenas, although they clearly are exactly the same eyepiece under a different brand.

 

My scopes have higher focal ratios than your fast dobs, so my scopes are going to be more forgiving on cheap eyepieces than your dobs, but in your 5" Mak they will be excellent.  For what it's worth I really like these eyepieces.  I got them to use at public viewing sessions, where I could put in an easy to look through eyepiece that I wouldn't mind getting finger prints on from kids who didn't know better. 

 

I find the eyepieces to be comparable in brightness and contrast to a good plossl, with comfortable eye relief and good ergonomics.  And all for a bargain price! 

 

A very good plossl, like the Televues, or even better for planetary viewing, a good orthoscopic, will undoubtedly give you a better view, but I picked up my AstroTechs second hand for 30 bucks each (and that's 30 Canadian bucks!) and am very glad that I did. 

Enjoy!


Edited by John Gauvreau, 02 February 2015 - 08:14 PM.


#3 rguasto

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 08:14 PM

They are the same ep's.

I have an 8mm paradigm. It's  a nice eyepiece with good eye relief and produces a nice image. Really no complaints. 60 degree afov isn't  bad either. I would prefer a TV plossl for planetary though. 



#4 buddyjesus

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 08:19 PM

they are the same eyepieces.  I used a 12mm ed at f/9.8 and it was pretty much sharp to the edge.  The 5mm had more aberrations to the edges, but that was my Mars eyepiece during the last opposition.  I cared less about the edges as I have a driven scope.  I thought they were plenty sharp, though I didn't compare to TV plossls.  For plossls I recommend13mm or longer to have comfortable eye relief, so if you go that route you might need a barlow.



#5 CeleNoptic

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 08:26 PM

I agree with John. Orthos followed by Plossls will give you the best and sharpest planetary views unless you prefer long eye relief. I guess, your Mac has a clock drive so you don't need wide angle EPs for planetary. What is most important Orthos and Plossls have better light scatter control than most  budget wide angle EPs.



#6 lcaldero

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 09:38 PM

who will win in the duel of the duals......

 

(apologies, couldn't resist!)



#7 precaud

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 10:10 PM

No apology needed - on guard !  I challenge you to a dual !   (ED, that is...)  :)



#8 russell23

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 11:13 PM

Here is a link to the Astrotech: https://www.astronom...ece_p16948.aspx

 

Here is a link to the Agena: http://agenaastro.co...piece-18mm.html

 

Are they identical besides the name? Besides field of view, how do these compare to Meade 4000 Super Plossls or Tele Vue Plossls in sharpness. I will mainly be using them for planetary with a 5'' Mak. The Agena is in stock in different sizes, where the AstroTech only has the 18mm in stock. Are plossls a better bet for sharp planetary views in this price range, or would these be better? 

 

Thank you

I had the 15mm FL of bath Agena and Astronomics.  They were identical in every respect.

 

Dave



#9 jakecru

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 11:19 PM

Alright, well the difference between 50 and 60 degrees doesn't really bother me, for they both seem narrow for what I am used to. I am going to be using my Mak for mainly lunar/planteary/binary viewing as a grab and go scope or portable camping scope. I may occasionally look at some brighter messier objects such as the Orion nebula or some open star clusters. The Mak doesn't have a wide field of view for many deep sky, and I am used to large fast dobs for this. I would say 80-90% Lunar/planetary/binary and 10-20% other stuff. Maybe I will stick to plossls or orthos with this scope since I will mainly be looking for less scatter and high contrast views. Do you guys have some recommendations for good planetary eyepieces for a slow f/15 Mak in this price range? Since it is f/15, should I just stick with a set of Meade 4000 Super Plossls, go with another type of plossl (Orion Sirius, Celestron Omni, GSO), go with sterling plossls/AT plossls, or go for Tele Vue plossls? I have never looked through an Ortho, how do they compare to Plossls for eye relief and comfort? Are they better than plossls at planetary? I found one of my eyepiece cases that had 5 cheap plossls (if you could even give them that title), so I took out the eyepieces and replaced them with my 2 current plossls. Could you give me some suggestions to help fill the case? I was thinking a 32mm eyepiece (for widefield and some messier objects), a 15-17mm eyepiece, and a 11-13mm eyepiece would fit perfectly to complement my grab and go Mak.The scope only accepts 1.25'' eyepieces. The scope is f/15 with a 1900mm focal length.This may be off topic so I will repost similar to this under my ETX 125 Eyepiece Suggestion forum. The scope only accepts 1.25'' eyepieces. Thank you for all the help! 

20150202_164401.jpg


Edited by jakecru, 02 February 2015 - 11:20 PM.


#10 Starman1

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 03:28 PM

Here is a link to the Astrotech: https://www.astronom...ece_p16948.aspx

 

Here is a link to the Agena: http://agenaastro.co...piece-18mm.html

 

Are they identical besides the name? Besides field of view, how do these compare to Meade 4000 Super Plossls or Tele Vue Plossls in sharpness. I will mainly be using them for planetary with a 5'' Mak. The Agena is in stock in different sizes, where the AstroTech only has the 18mm in stock. Are plossls a better bet for sharp planetary views in this price range, or would these be better? 

 

Thank you

They are also available under the names:

BST Starguider ED

Omegon Flatfield ED

Telescope Service ED

You wouldn't find them any sharper than Plossls for planetary use.

They are quite good, and I recommend them for "starter set" eyepieces because they are more comfortable to use than Plossls in the <15mm range and because they are inexpensive, though well-made.

But if you have wider apparent field eyepieces for deep-sky use, these aren't necessary.  And if you solely seek planets-use eyepieces

you don't need anything more expensive or wider than Plossls.

 

For your ETX, you definitely will need a "widest true field" 1.25" eyepiece, like a 32mm Plossl or a 24mm 68 degree eyepiece. With that scope, even a 32mm Plossl has a small exit pupil.  I don't normally recommend them, but that scope is a valid excuse for a 40mm Plossl.  The true field is the same as the 32mm Plossl, and the apparent field is narrower (~40 degrees), but the image will be overall brighter because of the larger exit pupil (still only 2.7mm). 



#11 jakecru

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 03:38 PM

Interesting point on the exit pupil. I appreciate that, thank you



#12 gunfighter48

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 07:53 PM

I have four of the Astro Tech Paradigms and they are excellent for the money. They are much better than the plossls that I used about 20 years ago. But then again most eyepieces are better today. I use them for planetary and moon observation. I also do some DSO observing when I don't need or want wide field views. My fasted scope is my ES AR152 at F/6.5. So most eyepieces do well in my scopes. But they do get very good reviews from their owners, including me!



#13 jgroub

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 02:53 AM

Jake, I have a NexStar 127SLT Mak, which is roughly similar to your ETX125.  As you can see from my signature, I have the Astrotech Paradigm 15mm, and I like it.  It's got a nice build quality, and the 60 degrees is nice on the moon, for example.  It gives me 103x, and the entire moon still fits in one field of view, which is fun.  You'd get 127x out of it, but I generally use the 15mm for deep sky.  The 12mm might be a better fit for you for planetary at 158x.  

 

The 8mm in the line might be too much power for you at 238x; however I like to use my higher-powered EPs on the moon all the time.  I've even used my 4mm Omni Plossl on the moon at 385x.  Yes, it's a soft focus at that high of a power, to be sure; but what detail is there is bigger than it otherwise is at 200x, and therefore easier to see.  

 

I have a few of the Meade 4000 Super Plossls - 32, 26, and 9.7mm.  Note that the ones I have, and the ones I assume you're talking about, are just the plain old Chinese Plossls made in the last 20 years or so.  Before that, the 4000 Super Plossls were a different design, called Masuyama, 5 elements, and made in Japan.  Because of all this, these are considered superior to a run-of-the-mill Plossl.  Meade changed their production from Japan to China or Taiwan in the mid-90s, but stupidly didn't change the name, even though it is a different EP.  But since you haven't mentioned anything along those lines, your Plossls, and mine, are just run-of-the-mill Plossls, nothing "Super" about them.  They're fine, there's nothing wrong with them, but don't get any delusions of grandeur about them that they're somehow superior to other Plossls because they're called Super.  

 

My goto planetary EP is an 8mm TeleVue Plossl at 193x.  As others have pointed out, orthoscopics are the best for lunar/planetary, but the TeleVue Plossls are supposed to give the orthos a run for their money.  As a rule of thumb, Plossls have eye relief that's 2/3 of their focal length (a 9mm Plossl has 6mm of eye relief), but an ortho has 3/4 (a 10mm ortho has 7.5mm of eye relief).  A 10mm ortho would be right in your wheelhouse for planetary at 190x and 7.5mm, although tight, isn't ridiculously tight.  

 

However, when the seeing isn't so hot, which was quite often in January, I had to back off the 8mm to 10mm or even to the 15mm.  

 

Another nice thing about the Paradigms/Starguiders (which are identical, as others have said) is the better eye relief throughout the line - 20mm, which is pretty huge.  

 

There is also a thought of using an 18mm ortho at 106x and about 13.5mm eye relief and Barlowing it to get to 211x.  13.5mm is plenty of eye relief, and 211x wouldn't be crazy high power for your scope, except on nights of below average seeing.  

 

I also want to add my 2 cents to what Don Pensack said - definitely get the 40mm Plossl to get the widest field possible in your scope.  I got my 32mm Plossl for exactly that reason; I have just over one degree TFOV, and it really helps using the Goto.  



#14 woodscavenger

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 11:04 AM

I have the Agena series and love them.  I use them in my 12" f/5 dob, 8" f/7 dob, 8" f10 SCT, and 4" f7APO.  Good views.  Nearly parfocal.  I used a small O ring on a couple of them to make them parfocal.  I am not a big fan of the top cover.  Since the top tapers the cover is not a nice fit but that is really my only complaint.  Well built, great price and my experience with Agena has been excellent. 



#15 REC

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 01:55 PM

Jake, I have a NexStar 127SLT Mak, which is roughly similar to your ETX125.  As you can see from my signature, I have the Astrotech Paradigm 15mm, and I like it.  It's got a nice build quality, and the 60 degrees is nice on the moon, for example.  It gives me 103x, and the entire moon still fits in one field of view, which is fun.  You'd get 127x out of it, but I generally use the 15mm for deep sky.  The 12mm might be a better fit for you for planetary at 158x.  

 

The 8mm in the line might be too much power for you at 238x; however I like to use my higher-powered EPs on the moon all the time.  I've even used my 4mm Omni Plossl on the moon at 385x.  Yes, it's a soft focus at that high of a power, to be sure; but what detail is there is bigger than it otherwise is at 200x, and therefore easier to see.  

 

I have a few of the Meade 4000 Super Plossls - 32, 26, and 9.7mm.  Note that the ones I have, and the ones I assume you're talking about, are just the plain old Chinese Plossls made in the last 20 years or so.  Before that, the 4000 Super Plossls were a different design, called Masuyama, 5 elements, and made in Japan.  Because of all this, these are considered superior to a run-of-the-mill Plossl.  Meade changed their production from Japan to China or Taiwan in the mid-90s, but stupidly didn't change the name, even though it is a different EP.  But since you haven't mentioned anything along those lines, your Plossls, and mine, are just run-of-the-mill Plossls, nothing "Super" about them.  They're fine, there's nothing wrong with them, but don't get any delusions of grandeur about them that they're somehow superior to other Plossls because they're called Super.  

 

My goto planetary EP is an 8mm TeleVue Plossl at 193x.  As others have pointed out, orthoscopics are the best for lunar/planetary, but the TeleVue Plossls are supposed to give the orthos a run for their money.  As a rule of thumb, Plossls have eye relief that's 2/3 of their focal length (a 9mm Plossl has 6mm of eye relief), but an ortho has 3/4 (a 10mm ortho has 7.5mm of eye relief).  A 10mm ortho would be right in your wheelhouse for planetary at 190x and 7.5mm, although tight, isn't ridiculously tight.  

 

However, when the seeing isn't so hot, which was quite often in January, I had to back off the 8mm to 10mm or even to the 15mm.  

 

Another nice thing about the Paradigms/Starguiders (which are identical, as others have said) is the better eye relief throughout the line - 20mm, which is pretty huge.  

 

There is also a thought of using an 18mm ortho at 106x and about 13.5mm eye relief and Barlowing it to get to 211x.  13.5mm is plenty of eye relief, and 211x wouldn't be crazy high power for your scope, except on nights of below average seeing.  

 

I also want to add my 2 cents to what Don Pensack said - definitely get the 40mm Plossl to get the widest field possible in your scope.  I got my 32mm Plossl for exactly that reason; I have just over one degree TFOV, and it really helps using the Goto.  

I agree on the 12mm EP for the ETX 125 for which I have and use that EP most of the time for planets/moon and the 60* FOV is just perfect!



#16 antares2063

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 12:15 PM

With regards to the original starting post, here it is with another branding name :

http://www.kkohki.co...cts/photon.html

 

I myself own the 18mm, its the ep I use most often during outreach sessions , the adjustable eyecup helps members of public to get positioning right.

Regards,
Junwei 


Edited by antares2063, 18 February 2015 - 12:17 PM.


#17 Svenry

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 03:06 PM

Another nice thing about the Paradigms/Starguiders (which are identical, as others have said) is the better eye relief throughout the line - 20mm, which is pretty huge. 

I've noticed that the eye relief specifications differ between the two, according to their websites:

 

https://www.astronom...ter=[pagenum=1]
http://agenaastro.co...ries_bucket=365

 

5mm: Paradigm eye relief  - 13mm

          Starguider eye relief - 15.8mm

 

8mm: Paradigm eye relief  - 13mm

          Starguider eye relief - 16.5mm

 

12mm: Paradigm eye relief  - 13mm

            Starguider eye relief - 20mm

 

15mm: Paradigm eye relief  - 15mm

            Starguider eye relief - 20mm

 

18mm: Paradigm eye relief  - 13mm

            Starguider eye relief - 18mm

 

25mm: Paradigm eye relief  - 15mm

            Starguider eye relief - 20mm

 

Which is correct? Are they, in fact, different? 

 

I was very interested in the 25mm Starguider, but not if it only has 15mm of eye relief. I must wear glasses and 15 is not comfortable for me. 



#18 Starman1

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 05:52 PM

I believe Astronomics and Astrotech have tried to state eye relief as "effective" eye relief, i.e. what you would experience in exit pupil distance above the actual eyepiece instead of just above the center of the eye lens.  Agena is likely quoting the manufacturer.

And the Telescope Service version has different eye reliefs stated.  For instance, they mention 16mm as the eye relief for the 12mm.

The Omegon Flatfield ED eyepiece (their version) says 16mm of eye relief on the 12mm.

 

And Barsta says 13mm for the 12mm FL.

So the truth is?  Probably 13mm effective and 16mm from the lens.  That is consistent with my impressions when I reviewed this line up.

I don't think any of them is really glasses-friendly if you need 18-20mm of effective eye relief.


Edited by Starman1, 22 May 2015 - 05:52 PM.


#19 russell23

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 07:43 PM

I've used both versions.  The work identically and there is some variation with FL.  I found the 15mm and 18mm had enough usable eye relief for use with eyeglasses.

 

Dave



#20 Herr Ointment

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 08:06 AM

I've got the 12mm model from both sellers and use them in the binoviewers with no issues.



#21 Svenry

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 01:16 PM

Interesting! Thanks, Starman1 and russell23.

 

I guess that means the 25mm really wouldn't work that well with my stupid glasses. I wish it wasn't so easy to be mislead by eye relief claims. It's hard to tell from which point they are basing that measurement without doing a bunch of research. 

 

I wonder if the Celestron X-Cel LX 25mm would have a better chance of allowing me to see the full field of view. It states 16mm of eye relief, but the eye guard appears to sit much lower in relation to the top of the lens compared to the Starguider/Paradigm. I may have to just try and see for myself. Sigh.


Edited by Svenry, 23 May 2015 - 01:17 PM.


#22 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 05:00 PM

I guess that means the 25mm really wouldn't work that well with my stupid glasses. I wish it wasn't so easy to be mislead by eye relief claims. It's hard to tell from which point they are basing that measurement without doing a bunch of research.

 

With my glasses on, and contacting the rolled down rubber ring, I can see the whole field of the 25mm.


Edited by Peter Besenbruch, 23 May 2015 - 05:00 PM.


#23 Svenry

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 10:34 PM

 

I guess that means the 25mm really wouldn't work that well with my stupid glasses. I wish it wasn't so easy to be mislead by eye relief claims. It's hard to tell from which point they are basing that measurement without doing a bunch of research.

 

With my glasses on, and contacting the rolled down rubber ring, I can see the whole field of the 25mm.

 

That is very good to hear. I won't rule it out just yet then. Thanks!



#24 Starman1

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 12:15 AM

Note that not everyone wants to press their glasses against the eyepiece in order to see the whole field.

Also, different people have their eyes different distances behind the lens.

Myself, I find an effective eye relief of 20-22mm is the very minimum that allows me to view with glasses and not touch the eyepiece.

I would not risk glasses that cost as much as a 21mm Ethos on a $60 eyepiece.

Other people may be comfortable with less eye relief.  it depends a lot on the eyeglass lens-to-eyeball distance when the glasses are pushed up as high as they will go on the bridge of the nose.




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