Well, I regard 50x as the lowest useful power in an 8" SCT, which is a 40mm eyepiece. I don't like lower powers than that because the image is simply too small. I don't care for what I call "binocular views" in a telescope because I have binoculars for that. Even in my f/7 refractor, I rarely use an eyepiece longer than 18.2mm (2.6mm exit pupil, 39x, 1.53°).
And, as I have stated before, my dark-adapted pupil diameter is 4.5mm and an exit pupil of that size has a lot of astigmatism that I don't see when the exit pupil is 4mm or smaller.
Last, I find the image at 50X in the 8" to be plenty bright enough at a dark site. I never felt the need to go lower, ever, over the 11 years I owned an 8" SCT. And I used a magnification around 100x (2mm exit pupil) easily 20x as much for DSO viewing.
Today, I tend to view large objects like M42 at 107x (56' field, 3mm exit pupil) or more, in the 12.5". That nebula damages my night vision--brighter is unnecessary. And I see more stars and detail in the nebula at that magnification than at lower mags.
It is unnecessarily limiting to me to eschew the possibility of the brightest possible image, particularly for nebula at a dark site. In your case it makes more sense as result of pupil limitation, but yours is on the lower end of the pupil range, so not what I would recommend to others. And 2.6mm exit pupil is just far too dim for the best view of a number of the telescopic objects I observe, as in the Abell's I mentioned above--particularly with a filter. I was comparing the views at 3.2mm exit pupil and 5.2mm exit pupil to conclude the larger exit pupil was showing the objects much better. But I typically don't use short focal length refractors to observe mid size DSO''s that I see better with larger aperture. Instead I use them for objects that are harder to frame properly or take in context with large scopes. These are showpiece objects that are problematic in long focal length scopes. Astigmatism doesn't impact the view of large nebulae from what I have seen.
M42 is a rather poor comparison because it is so bright. When folks ask what filter should be used for M42 I reply: sunglasses. It is completely the opposite of the sort of things that respond well to large exit pupils.
I don't care for binoculars that much although I have a few pair, which is why I use a telescope. After a few minutes with binoculars I am ready for the comfort and increased capabilities, steady view, and flexibility of a telescope. Binocular eyepieces don't compare favorably, they tend to be fixed magnification, filtering isn't easy to accomplish, and they are far more of a pain to use. I am not keen on telling beginners to start with binoculars either for the same reasons. There are binocular people and there are telescope people and some that are happy either way. I use binoculars more for scouting objects, particularly in twilight conditions for hunting comets or even planets when they would otherwise be difficulty to find because of the lack of star references. I also use them for fast moving objects that I can't track well with a scope. But I don't use them for seasons at a time.
I felt limited by the 40mm in the first few months I had the 8" SCT. I gave it some time, but a few months later I moved to 2" using the 55 Plossl, with the 40 staying in its box except when I needed its 1.25" filter capability. I did start using 35 Pan about 6 months after that because it was sent to me in error (Pocono sent a mislabeled 2" eyepiece box with the wrong eyepiece) and I found it a good intermediate, particularly in town. The 41 Pan didn't even exist at the time from what I recall.
Operating at mid power and high power all of the time and completely skipping low power is a personal choice, but it is not something I want to do, nor is it something I recommend. I do like to view some things at both low and mid (and/or high) power. The Veil, Barnard's Loop, NAN, California, Heart & Soul, Pleiades, Rosette, Andromeda, etc. fall into those categories. These are some of the showpiece objects, and for me they are some of the best reasons to have a refractor with low power capability.
I use the refractors least in the mode you employ. In the case of an 8" SCT I wouldn't be inclined to use a 4" refractor for 39x when I could use the 8" SCT for 37x. Oh, I will look at some relatively large open clusters and such at mid powers where they are well framed, but I prefer the refractors for wide field viewing at low power, as well as for planets and double stars near their maximum power.