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BST Planetaries Quality

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#1 AL W

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 02:46 PM

Hi all. Well, I've finally made the decision to get back into observing again. Surfing the brands found the BST Planetary eyepieces that come in 11 sizes from 2.5mm to 25mm and all have a generous 16mm eye-relief. They are 58 deg afov.

 

These are TMB PII look-alikes but the specs say they are 5 element in 3 or 4 groups instead of 6 as the TMB's were. Having used and liking the TMB's am thinking seriously about getting a few of these BST's. I especially like the shorter and consecutive focal lengths.

 

Question is: Has anyone used these eyepieces? And 2. How good was the QC for the ones you have used?

 

I had to return a couple of the TMB's I got because of "rattling" lenses and one had a cracked field-lens! I really do suspect these "may" perform at least as well as the TMB's did, but am rather suspicious of seeing that the dealer in question does have -many- of these in stock; meaning that nobody is buying them. Or it could very well be that this design has run its course.

 

Thank you for any help here.



#2 sg6

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 04:06 PM

Seem to recall I bought 2 when I bought the BST Explorers (now Staguiders and Paradigms). Reasonable but nothing special. The Paradigms were way better and I have one and a half sets of Paradigms and gave the Planetaries away.  Mind you they were given as part of a scope I donated to someone.

 

The ones I bought were shorter focal lengths as I have a small scope and wanted to try them, the Paradigm ones didn't come in short focal lengths.

 

Have never caught on here the "standard" BST's, as in Explorers/Starguiders/Paradigms (all the same) were always the ones to go for.

 

Did buy a 6mm to fill the 5-8mm gap. If I were to do the purchases again I would still opt for the Paradigms but likely buy the 6.5mm and 4mm ES 52 now. They were not available then.



#3 davejlec

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 06:06 PM

I own 7 of the BST Starguiders and like them. Prefer them to plossols because of the wider AFOV, which is noticeable and greater eye relief in the shorter focal lengths. Have not tried them in anything slower than f/6.5, but they are well corrected across most of the field (80%, or so). Even at the edge of field the sharpness does not deteriorate drastically. Compared some of these Starguiders with my one Morpheus eyepiece on some doubles in an 8f/8 Newtonian,  I couldn't see much of a difference in sharpness. No QC problems with mine except for one with a little rattling ( wouldn't really call this a QC problem anyways) but it's easily fixed with a bit of tightening on the lens ring. These have a twist-up eyecup and this sometimes causes the lens ring to loosen.  


Edited by davejlec, 16 June 2019 - 06:22 PM.

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#4 AL W

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 08:37 PM

Thank you guys for the kind help here. Years ago I used the 6mm TMB PII in an XT-10i. The mag was 200x and the view was terrific observing Jupiter! Also split the double-double and saw all 4 stars in one fov! Think I'll try a couple of these BST's!



#5 precaud

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 10:41 PM

In my "mid-price mid-wide" set, Paradigms are the mainstay from 5mm to 18mm, with BST Starguiders filling in the gaps below 8mm. They do a respectable job but the Paradigms beat them on contrast. They are comfortable to use. The 4mm is the only one that I don't care for, it has soft views. A decent 12mm anything with a 3x barlow is sharper.


Edited by precaud, 16 June 2019 - 10:50 PM.

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#6 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 11:24 PM

Question is: Has anyone used these eyepieces? And 2. How good was the QC for the ones you have used?

I have the 2.5-9mm eyepieces in the series. My most recent purchase is an 8mm. Some have rather shiny tube interiors that should be flocked, others don't need it (like the 8mm). All are comfortable to look through. They have fewer internal reflections than the ED series. I also purchased a 6mm to replace a "genuine" TMB Planetary 2, because these clones were a tad sharper. The longer focal lengths will not do well on short f-ratio systems. The overall design is a 3 element König plus Barlow.



#7 AL W

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:10 AM

Gee! Thank you again guys.  This is exactly the kind of info I was hoping for. I had the Paradigms set and like you found them to also be sharper and brighter than the TMB PII's. Personally, I'm more of a TV Plossl guy but the shorter focal lengths are hard to enjoy because of the smallish eye lens. For me, back then, the TMB's saved the day. Clear Skies to us all!


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#8 Starlease

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 08:34 PM

The original tmbs were almost as good as radians. These five element ones are not and have alot of internal reflections. Some people still sell six element ones like tsoptics in Germany. Get the six lensed ones and you will view happily ever after.


Edited by Starlease, 18 June 2019 - 08:34 PM.

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#9 coopman

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 08:20 PM

I wasn't sure if the "6 elements" mentioned in the TS descriptions was really correct or not. The fact that they are indeed 6 elements is good to know.

#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 10:45 PM

The original tmbs were almost as good as radians. These five element ones are not and have alot of internal reflections. Some people still sell six element ones like tsoptics in Germany. Get the six lensed ones and you will view happily ever after.

 

i have a set of the original TMB Planetary eyepieces.  I have little experience with the Radians but a great deal of experience with TeleVue eyepieces in general.  In faster scopes like my Newtonians and the TeleVue NP-101 (F/5.4), the TMBs definitely are not sharp off-axis when compared to TeleVue eyepieces like the Naglers that I am familiar with.  A closer double in the refractor with the 4mm TMB is only clean within a small central region.  With the Nagler, despite it's wider field, it will be sharp even at the field stop.

 

As far as 5 or 6 elements, that has long been a controversy and it's was never clear exactly how many elements the TMBs actually had.  I never counted them.. Maybe I should.. 

 

Jon



#11 MartinPond

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 12:36 AM

Many product lines have more elements for the lower focal lengths...

(actually, usually just 1 more)



#12 Astrojensen

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 02:49 AM

The original tmbs were almost as good as radians. These five element ones are not and have alot of internal reflections. Some people still sell six element ones like tsoptics in Germany. Get the six lensed ones and you will view happily ever after.

Is there a way to at a glance tell the difference between the two versions? Sky-Watcher also sell these eyepieces, but whether it's the five- or six element version I can't tell. 

 

Edit: I compared pictures of the BST planetaries at Agena and the version sold by TS and they look completely identical, save for the different lettering. The Sky-Watcher version looks different. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


Edited by Astrojensen, 22 June 2019 - 02:57 AM.


#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 03:30 AM

Edit: I compared pictures of the BST planetaries at Agena and the version sold by TS and they look completely identical, save for the different lettering. The Sky-Watcher version looks different.

 

Thomas:

 

Looking at the photos, the differences I can see appear cosmetic.  

 

Jon



#14 Astrojensen

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 03:37 AM

Thomas:

 

Looking at the photos, the differences I can see appear cosmetic.  

 

Jon

Indeed. I suspect that underneath, they're all the same. But there might be differences in how well they're assembled and checked. 

 

Edit: But I noticed that there's some differences in what focal lengths the different rebranders offer, especially at the short focal length end. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


Edited by Astrojensen, 22 June 2019 - 03:39 AM.

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#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 04:03 AM

Indeed. I suspect that underneath, they're all the same. But there might be differences in how well they're assembled and checked. 

 

Edit: But I noticed that there's some differences in what focal lengths the different rebranders offer, especially at the short focal length end. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

Thomas:

 

The original TMBs were 9mm, 8mm, 7mm, 6mm, 5mm, 4mm, 3.2mm and 2.5mm.  AgenaAstro seems to sell the 58 degree eyepieces in these focal lengths plus a 4.5mm and some longer focal lengths.  

 

https://agenaastro.c...-brand/bst.html

 

I have a recollection of a discussion about the TMBs and the number of elements, that they were advertised as having 6 elements but someone took one apart and there were only 5... 

 

Where these all fit in the grand scheme of things, I can't say. I can add my two cents concerning the TMBs.  I do prefer them to Plossls, they have sufficient eye relief to be comfortable and the wider somewhat better corrected field of view makes them a reasonable low cost choice, even in a faster scope. 

 

Jon


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#16 precaud

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 09:46 AM

Last night we had a short (an hour or so) observing window with decent seeing before smoke started rolling in from the AZ fire. So I set up the 8" F/6 dob (optimized for planetary) and started viewing Jupiter at around 10pm. I brought out a set of ES and Meade 82º eyepieces from 5.5mmm to 14mm, and a set of recent BST (and Paradigm) EP's of similar focal lengths. With no coma corrector, I wasn't expecting excellent performance at the edge of the FOV from any of them, and concentrated on the central say 2/3.

 

Generally speaking, the BST's (Beasties?) and Paradigms had noticeably better contrast, less EOFB, and an overall clearer, more pleasing presentation.

 

Jupiter can create position-dependent dancing reflections off the eyeball, and few if any of the eyepieces were immune from it.

 

If there had been more time, I would have included a set of orthos/plossls in the mix.

 

In a faster scope, the results may have been different. But overall, I think these eyepieces offer excellent performance at very reasonable cost.


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#17 Steve Cox

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 10:17 AM

Thomas:

 

The original TMBs were 9mm, 8mm, 7mm, 6mm, 5mm, 4mm, 3.2mm and 2.5mm.  AgenaAstro seems to sell the 58 degree eyepieces in these focal lengths plus a 4.5mm and some longer focal lengths.  

 

https://agenaastro.c...-brand/bst.html

 

I have a recollection of a discussion about the TMBs and the number of elements, that they were advertised as having 6 elements but someone took one apart and there were only 5... 

 

Where these all fit in the grand scheme of things, I can't say. I can add my two cents concerning the TMBs.  I do prefer them to Plossls, they have sufficient eye relief to be comfortable and the wider somewhat better corrected field of view makes them a reasonable low cost choice, even in a faster scope. 

 

Jon

I was one of those who took mine apart Jon, due to the grease in the barrel threads leaking onto the lenses necessitating cleaning, and also to secure the loose rattling lenses that plagued mine.  Mine were a set of the initial shipment of TMB II's I got from Astronomics.  My TMB II's only had 5 elements (group of three in the main body and a cemented pair in the "barlow element").  Always wondered why so many stated they had 6 elements having physically seeing otherwise.

 

I really wanted to like them, but they had too much scatter and too many internal reflections to prove satisfying compared to good plossls and orthos.


Edited by Steve Cox, 23 June 2019 - 08:35 AM.

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#18 AL W

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 07:28 AM

To further confuse things, I checked the specs I had for the TMB PII's and the mfg listed them as having 6 elements in 3 groups. The date was Jan 2011. Never could stand all that grease that did have a tendency to "get around" or onto your hands.



#19 coopman

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 09:38 AM

So it seems that the TS claims about theirs having 6 elements could be incorrect.

#20 penguinx64

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 07:36 PM

I had a 20 mm 5 element 58 degree clone. Not so great in an f4 reflector.  Lots of edge distortion in the outer 30% of the view.



#21 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 10:16 PM

I had a 20 mm 5 element 58 degree clone. Not so great in an f4 reflector.  Lots of edge distortion in the outer 30% of the view.

I would stick with 9mm and shorter for the series.



#22 precaud

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 09:38 AM

I picked up a 15mm recently, and it was doing quite well last night with the 180 Mak. Haven't tried it with a dob yet. But very good first impression.


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#23 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 04:21 PM

I picked up a 15mm recently, and it was doing quite well last night with the 180 Mak. Haven't tried it with a dob yet. But very good first impression.

F15 is so kind to eyepieces. 15mm is a rather good medium power eyepiece for the scope, especially good on Jupiter. I had thought of buying one, but I have a very nice 16mm and 14mm. :(



#24 precaud

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 05:33 PM

F15 is so kind to eyepieces. 15mm is a rather good medium power eyepiece for the scope, especially good on Jupiter.

 

So true...



#25 epee

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:22 AM

I have very limited experience with their use, but I have read in reviews that there is a scattered light issue.




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