Bringing it back to the Stowaway... it's not a lightweight scope, and like I said, a few extra pounds ain't gon' kill ya. If you (the proverbial you) get along just fine with T6s and Panoptics, by all means, use 'em! But if you really want a couple eyepieces to push the Stowaway optics to the limit, I would go for something even more premium like a few Ethos, maybe Delos (is it more premium? idk), maybe a ZAO. It's not really a planetary scope so pairing a $600-800 ortho with it, if you don't already have one and don't have a use for a given FL in your other scopes, might not be the best way to spend that cash. I'd easily point towards a 21Ethos for the same cost. If I get a Stowaway the 21E will be the first eyepiece I use, you can bet on that.
I'll just throw some eyepieces out there that I would wanna use with a Stowaway, and for what. Note that the list miiiiight be pretty close to my current eyepiece list, for reasons!
31T5: Quick story. Last July I had my FC-76DC and TMB105 out at my club's Bortle ~3.5 site. It was the only night I got out there last year. I had the 31T5 in the Tak and the 13E in the TMB105. At one point I decided hey, how have I not looked at the Double Cluster yet? I plugged it into the hand controller and slewed right over. As it got closer and closer to the horizon I thought, ohhhhh boy this is gonna be close! There is a very small grove of trees near the observing field, sort of in a line, that block a lot of the nearby farm road, basically running west to east. The slewing came to a stop right as the scopes started pointing at the treeline. I thought for sure it was going to be too low with the trees blocking the view. I'll have to come back later, I thought, but let's take a look anyway. I put my eye up to the 18x/4.5deg view of the 31T5 in the little Tak, and gasped. What I saw, almost filling my vision, was the Double Cluster rising up over the treeline, clearing it by no more than a degree or two. It was like a photo with the trees laid over the beautiful night sky. The juxtaposition of Earth and sky moved me in a way I still find hard to describe. It was such a special moment that I honestly forgot to ask others (who were busy with their own scopes, I'll say) if they wanted to see. I will never forget that image. It captured so beautifully the essence of our place in an endless universe. It is because of this experience that I firmly believe that 18-20x is not too little magnification, and that such moments are worth having an eyepiece capable of delivering them. Maybe you get a 30mm ES82 instead for half the price. While a novel and rare experience that I will probably never be able to replicate, the ultra wide field beautifully framed many large objects among vast star fields that night, and the only two eyepieces I used in the little Tak were the 31T5 and 21E, because of their ability to show so much context.
21Ethos: Super sharp, very well corrected. Absolutely fantastic for terrestrial views! Frames larger DSOs like the Double Cluster, M8, M16, and M42 very nicely. The context it provides is something I really enjoy. Combined with a UHC/OIII filter, it's still got plenty of brightness to make nebulae really pop. The Veil Nebula/Cygnus Loop area looks fantastic with a UHC filter with this eyepiece.
13Ethos: Providing a 2mm exit pupil almost on the dot, with the Stowaway, at 47x, this is an almost perfect eyepiece for I would say most DSOs (though maybe you'd want just a little more magnification in a true all-rounder). The 2mm exit pupil is right about the optimal spot for brightness and visual acuity, and the 13E is a fantastically sharp eyepiece to boot. I'd reckon you could do a Messier marathon with just the 13E (OK, maybe you'd need a little more mag for a few objects!). This would be my workhorse for all DSO viewing for sure.
10Ethos: This is one I don't have, but it would provide 61x magnification, which might be just a tad more ideal for a DSO all-rounder. I have read it is even sharper than the 13E, and the 1.5mm exit pupil should still be plenty bright enough to give stars some real pop. This might be a better jump from the 21E than the 13E in terms of sensible mag/exit pupil staggering.
6Delos: This is what I would replace my 6Ethos with, if I had to. It still frames the entire moon in the FOV and costs half as much, with just as much sharpness. At 102x and just under a 1mm exit pupil, this would probably be most people's choice for a lunar workhorse. There is enough brightness for features to really pop, while still having enough magnification to study some features in depth. Sure, you won't be counting Plato craterlets with it, but you probably knew that already. This would also be excellent for planetary nebulae and some galaxies, though a lot of PNs could take more magnification from what I understand.
4.5Delos/4.7Ethos: Hard to choose one here because it depends what you want to do, look at PNs/galaxies or study planets and the moon, at ~130x. The wide field of the Ethos provides amazing peripheral context, and I absolutely love the feeling of the moon filling my vision. I don't look too close to the edges; I move the scope for that. Just the context the 100deg AFOV provides is intoxicating. For PNs and galaxies, you might not need/want as much FOV, so you could "step down" to the Delos. Clusters might become a little dim by this point, and I prefer them to dazzle me, so I like more brightness.
3.5Delos/3.7Ethos: At ~165x and ~0.5mm exit pupil, these would come out during good seeing for planetary and lunar observing. Much of the lunar surface can be studied in great detail around this magnification (for a small refractor, don't compare it to a C14!) and I can't imagine wanting more features to study, for years, at this magnification. The moon almost fills the entire Ethos FOV at this magnification - what a treat.
3DeLite: For really good seeing, you'll totally wanna push magnification on the moon. Planets will be pretty dim at 0.45mm exit pupil, but without a doubt, the Stowaway should have no trouble handling a measly 204x.
Wildcard- 2X Powermate: You can do a lot with this, and in my experience, it does not reduce sharpness or increase scatter in a noticeable way. I have nothing but good things to say about it.
If I had to pick 3? Argh, I can't pick 3! I'll pick 4. 30ES82 + 21E + 13E + 6Delos. You've got the uber-context masters in the 30ES82 and 21E, the perfect terrestrial eyepiece and low mag king in the 21E, the DSO all-rounder (and amazing terrestrial eyepiece) in the 13E, and the high-ish-mag all-rounder for PNs, clusters, galaxies, the moon, and planets in the 6Delos.
If you get a 2X Powermate, though, then I'd swap the 6Delos for an 8Ethos/8Delos, since you can get 6.5mm from the 13E and then 4mm from the 8E/8D. With that, you'd have 30mm, 21mm, 13mm, 8mm, 6.5mm, and 4mm. I think that's a pretty darn solid range. In fact, this would truly be my pick for 4 eyepieces (plus the 2XPM, hey it's not an eyepiece so it doesn't count!).
I know it might sound like I've been drinking the TeleVue kool-aid, but I have been consistently impressed with the Ethos (and Delos) line of eyepieces, and I don't hesitate to recommend them to anyone willing to risk their wallet once they see just how good they really are. One look through the 13E was all it took for me... now I've got 4 of those suckers.
I should probably go do some work or something. I hope this helps!!
Edited by jay.i, 15 March 2019 - 10:56 AM.