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2X Powermate or Nagler 3-6 Zoom

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#1 zohsix

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 12:07 PM

Hi All,

 

Need your help upgrading my EP's.  I've enjoyed observing our planets and would like a little more magnification for my TV 85.  I initially thought I'd add a 2X Powermate since I could also use that on my Quark for solar, but, a lot of people use a Nagler 3-6 Zoom for planetary.  I also use a Binotron with a power switch with sets of Brandon 12mm and 16mm.  Too much overlap with 3-6 Zoom or Powermate?  Should I instead add a pair of shorter focal length Brandon's to the Binotron?  

 

Any help that you can provide is appreciated.



#2 junomike

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 12:40 PM

I'd go with the TVZ.  Some nights (for planetary) It's all I use.


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#3 Dave Ponder

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 01:20 PM

I love the TVZ!  Sorry I sold mine....stupid....stupid...what was I thinking....Anyway, I would recommend the TV Zoom, so easy to use and sharp optics...would be nice if eye relief was a bit more, but not bad at all.


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#4 Jeff Struve

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 01:38 PM

I have the TV 2-4 zoom and also the 2x and 4x 2" Powermates... the TVZ is much easier to deal with... lighter and smaller... although the PowerMates do well for planetary AP...


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#5 droe

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 02:00 PM

If you are visual only I like my zoom. If you also want to image, go with the 2X Powermate.


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#6 astro744

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 01:38 AM

The Tele Vue 6-3mm Nagler zoom is a perfect match for the Tele Vue 85.  You get 100-200x magnification and an exit pupil of 0.86 to 0.43 both of which are ideal for planets and double stars.  The 120 to 200x is a very useful range for planets and you will be in that zone often.  The ability to fine tune the magnification depending on seeing should not be understated and you will find yourself tweaking the focal length often.  The form factor too is very compact and makes the eyepiece much smaller and lighter than a Powermate and larger focal length eyepiece combo.

 


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#7 Lola Bruce

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 03:24 PM

+1 TV zoom

Bruce



#8 zohsix

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 06:54 PM

The collective wisdom!  Sounds as if I'll be getting a TV Zoom.  I'm excited!!

 

Thanks all,

 

Dan



#9 David P

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 10:57 PM

I was observing Jupiter on Monday night and was able to see more detail using the Nagler zoom versus the Pentax XW 7mm or (14mm with a 2.5x Powermate).  I was very surprised.


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#10 junomike

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 02:46 PM

I was observing Jupiter on Monday night and was able to see more detail using the Nagler zoom versus the Pentax XW 7mm or (14mm with a 2.5x Powermate).  I was very surprised.

Not surprised at all as the 7mm XW uses 8/6 Elements/Groups  + another 4/2 from the 2.5X PM = 12/8 , whereas the TVZ has 5/3.

As much as people say the amount of elements/groups is irrelevant, I find that a Barlow always hinders Planetary views when compared to a fixed focal length EP or in this case the TVZ which ironically uses some type of Barlow lens itself. My answer to this is,  it's more the distance of the Barlow lens that causes.scatter which reduces contrast and/or detail.

I don't have  the theoretical answers, just what seems to work under the Stars.......for me!



#11 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 05:16 PM

Not surprised at all as the 7mm XW uses 8/6 Elements/Groups  + another 4/2 from the 2.5X PM = 12/8 , whereas the TVZ has 5/3.

As much as people say the amount of elements/groups is irrelevant, I find that a Barlow always hinders Planetary views when compared to a fixed focal length EP or in this case the TVZ which ironically uses some type of Barlow lens itself. My answer to this is,  it's more the distance of the Barlow lens that causes.scatter which reduces contrast and/or detail.

I don't have  the theoretical answers, just what seems to work under the Stars.......for me!

I agree that the 3-6 NZ is the way to go. I use it in an 80mm F6 and in my Televue 101.

 

Having said that I'd like to add some recent experiences with these comparisons just mentioned.

 

I've been using a new scope on Jupiter a bit in the past few days. It's a 8" F7, and designed to be a planet killer (which it very much is). I also compared my favorite 7mm XW with a barlowed Leica zoom.

 

I compared both with and without the Paracorr 2 in place. . . best view . . . Paracorr 2 with Leica zoom + Leica barlow. I don't know how many elements I'm up to, but it is a lot.

 

When the seeing allows I'll compare 6mm too. The Nagler zoom vs. 6mm Ethos vs. Leica + barlow should be fun.

 

Anyway, a long way of saying that in my experience so far, element count is not proving to be a problem in my Newtonian. Quite the contrary. Perhaps in a smaller refractor the element count is more noticable as the amont of light being dealt with is less.

 

However that works out, the 3-6 Nagler zoom is an excellent choice in a small refractor.


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#12 Redbetter

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 06:21 PM

I have refractors from 60mm to 110mm with focal lengths of 360 to 770mm and the 3-6 zoom is a great fit in all of them.  It is the best fit in the 80mm f/7.5 with 600mm focal length--closest match to your TV based on aperture and focal length among what I have.  With that scope I primarily use the 4mm setting but will sometimes bump it up a little more. 

 

The best thing about the zoom in these apertures is that it can be difficult to find the optimum match of eyepiece for the scope/seeing, and the zoom helps determine that.  I picked up the 2.5 and 3.5T6's for the 80ED f/7.5 and 110ED f/7 but was unable to use those eyepieces much effectively for planetary at first.  I knew the 2.5 was going to be too much for my eye (was intended for double stars) but the 3.5 was a little more than my eye and scopes would reveal the most detail with.  I had some impression that this would be the case from using the zoom, but knew I had a little room below 4mm.  Interestingly, I was recently able to tweak the collimation on the 110 and now it is topping out for planets with the 3.5 as I anticipated it could/should.  And the 2.5?  It found a home in the 60ED f/6 purchased later, where it provides about the same detail as the 3mm setting, but with more image scale (144x vs. 120x) a more critical consideration in such small aperture.


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#13 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 11:49 AM

I agree that the 3-6 NZ is the way to go. I use it in an 80mm F6 and in my Televue 101.

 

Having said that I'd like to add some recent experiences with these comparisons just mentioned.

 

I've been using a new scope on Jupiter a bit in the past few days. It's a 8" F7, and designed to be a planet killer (which it very much is). I also compared my favorite 7mm XW with a barlowed Leica zoom.

 

I compared both with and without the Paracorr 2 in place. . . best view . . . Paracorr 2 with Leica zoom + Leica barlow. I don't know how many elements I'm up to, but it is a lot.

 

When the seeing allows I'll compare 6mm too. The Nagler zoom vs. 6mm Ethos vs. Leica + barlow should be fun.

 

Anyway, a long way of saying that in my experience so far, element count is not proving to be a problem in my Newtonian. Quite the contrary. Perhaps in a smaller refractor the element count is more noticable as the amont of light being dealt with is less.

 

However that works out, the 3-6 Nagler zoom is an excellent choice in a small refractor.

 

That's an interesting result and I hope you post more about the upcoming comparison.

 

I just acquired a Ceravolo HD 145. It's primary role will be for double stars, but it will see measures of Planetary (Mars is starting to get big fast!), larger open clusters, and some NV work.

 

But doubles are the key, and with its short focal length (870) my workhorse Leica + Extender only gets me to an effective focal length of 4.9mm (176x). My target would be 3mm. It appears realistic since stacking that combo in a 1.6x Antares barlow demonstrated the Ceravolo optics to be exceptional. Perhaps even better than my old A-P, Takahashi, and Zambuto optics. Better or not, the Ceravolo will eat up the power.

 

The Nagler 3-6 has a lot of appeal for simplicity. The fly in the ointment is narrow FOV since this scope will be riding on a HalfHitch FTX (no tracking).

 

The other option would be the Leica and a 4x PowerMate. As noted, that is starting to be a large stack in the focuser. And it gets me back into the swap & configure scenario that the zoom freed me from. OTOH, some swapping seems inevitable due to the scopes short focal length.

 

I did pick up an excellent Pentax XW 3.5, I'm pretty sure it will pair nicely with my Siebert 1.5x barlow. But I lose the coverage of the zoom (Nagler or Leica options).



#14 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 04:15 PM

That's an interesting result and I hope you post more about the upcoming comparison.

 

I just acquired a Ceravolo HD 145. It's primary role will be for double stars, but it will see measures of Planetary (Mars is starting to get big fast!), larger open clusters, and some NV work.

 

But doubles are the key, and with its short focal length (870) my workhorse Leica + Extender only gets me to an effective focal length of 4.9mm (176x). My target would be 3mm. It appears realistic since stacking that combo in a 1.6x Antares barlow demonstrated the Ceravolo optics to be exceptional. Perhaps even better than my old A-P, Takahashi, and Zambuto optics. Better or not, the Ceravolo will eat up the power.

 

The Nagler 3-6 has a lot of appeal for simplicity. The fly in the ointment is narrow FOV since this scope will be riding on a HalfHitch FTX (no tracking).

 

The other option would be the Leica and a 4x PowerMate. As noted, that is starting to be a large stack in the focuser. And it gets me back into the swap & configure scenario that the zoom freed me from. OTOH, some swapping seems inevitable due to the scopes short focal length.

 

I did pick up an excellent Pentax XW 3.5, I'm pretty sure it will pair nicely with my Siebert 1.5x barlow. But I lose the coverage of the zoom (Nagler or Leica options).

FWIW last night I had pretty good seeing, and had the chance to compare the Leica, 6 Ethos, and 3-6 Nagler.

 

While the view in the 3-6 Zoom was sharp, the 50 degree field is just too small when you are operating above about 200x without tracking IMO. It's quite tolerable, but when you have alternatives, why bother?

 

Swapping in the Leica + 1.8 barlow gave views at least as sharp, much more field, and I prefer the better eye relief to the Nagler zoom. 

 

The 6 Ethos is a very sharp eyepiece, but I do get eyeball reflections from it, and that makes it pretty distracting to use on bright targets. If I use it at an oblique angle, that's less of an issue, and the massive field makes up for it in part. But it doesn't zoom . . . so I find myself wondering what would happen if I swap in the 7XW, 8 Ethos . . .

 

So far, my strong preference is to zoom, and if I needed more power than 330x (with Paracorr), I would be looking to a 2x barlow. In your situation, your scope is going to do similar magnifications, so I would want to stick with the Leica, and simply put up with the relatively large powermate or other barlow. Given that I'm already using a Paracorr, that would be more bulk than I want, but the paracorr is not essential, and in your Mak/Newt I'm guessing not needed. There must be a very good quality 3x barlow that would do the trick someplace.



#15 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 06:04 PM

FWIW last night I had pretty good seeing, and had the chance to compare the Leica, 6 Ethos, and 3-6 Nagler.

 

While the view in the 3-6 Zoom was sharp, the 50 degree field is just too small when you are operating above about 200x without tracking IMO. It's quite tolerable, but when you have alternatives, why bother?

 

Swapping in the Leica + 1.8 barlow gave views at least as sharp, much more field, and I prefer the better eye relief to the Nagler zoom. 

 

The 6 Ethos is a very sharp eyepiece, but I do get eyeball reflections from it, and that makes it pretty distracting to use on bright targets. If I use it at an oblique angle, that's less of an issue, and the massive field makes up for it in part. But it doesn't zoom . . . so I find myself wondering what would happen if I swap in the 7XW, 8 Ethos . . .

 

So far, my strong preference is to zoom, and if I needed more power than 330x (with Paracorr), I would be looking to a 2x barlow. In your situation, your scope is going to do similar magnifications, so I would want to stick with the Leica, and simply put up with the relatively large powermate or other barlow. Given that I'm already using a Paracorr, that would be more bulk than I want, but the paracorr is not essential, and in your Mak/Newt I'm guessing not needed. There must be a very good quality 3x barlow that would do the trick someplace.

 

Thanks for the report! That was helpful in prioritizing the variables in a new scope acquisition. 

 

After reading that, I'm thinking the proper First Step (after upgrading the tripod) will be to try the XW out with respect to ease of manual tracking. If that is tedious or distracting the Nagler Zoom would be immediately ruled out, as tempting as the simplicity of it is.

 

Come to think of it, I could use my Celestron Micro Guide (a 12.5 Ortho) with the 2.4 barlow to get a feel for tracking with a narrow field eyepiece. I only really use it for accurate DSC alignment and as such tend to lose sight of it's other useful functions.

 

Then the Second Step would be to run the Leica Extender/2x barlow (or PowerMate) against the XW for ease of use (i.e, minimizing the physical handling).

 

I may have everything I need right now ... aside from that tripod upgrade. I see the Berlebach Planet is an Amazon Prime item ....



#16 Redbetter

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 07:24 PM

I don't find it difficult to manually track with the Nagler zoom, but that is usually with refractors that are typically operating at 200x or below (where they are essentially topped out for planets.)  I have Barlowed it some for double stars, but that is not frequent.  Sometimes I use the zoom with the Z10 or the 20" f/5 manually tracking at 416 and 833x respectively, but that is not frequent either.  Beats using an ortho...especially at fixed focal length of effectively 5.2mm vs. the wider longer focal length end of the zoom.



#17 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:27 AM

Another 2 cents after more planetary viewing tonight with the 8" F7.

 

Was on Jupiter for about 2 hours, again, very happy using the Leica + 1.8 extender. I never got the power to the 4.9mm. Probably 250x was about the best the seeing would allow for. Easy tracking with the zoom, and nice detail around the GRS very early in the evening, even very low in the sky.

 

Saturn later, I got about 45 minutes in. Of course, Saturn takes magnification well, and the seeing had evidently improved. The Leica didn't have enough oomph, so I used my AP barlow first on the 8 Ethos for 354x. Solid view with a slow wave to the seeing. Brief moments where it would go very steady and lots of detail was available.

 

Then I thought, why not, and barlowed the 6 Ethos for 472x. The seeing cooperated briefly and gave the best views of the night. At this power, the 100 degree field was very much appreciated, and with the small exit pupil I had no issues with eyeball reflections, and remarkably, no problems with floaters either.

 

I'm really loving this new scope, and it takes power so readily that I'm running out of eyepieces with short enough focal lengths. The Nagler zoom could of course be barlowed, but it would be very hard going with no tracking near 500x. 




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