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Celestron 8-24mm Zoom vs. Baader MK IV Zoom

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#1 BigKahuna

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 09:49 AM

I'm still a beginner sky watcher compared to the majority of you with a year behind a scope so this is my short comparison. 

 

I have mostly Celestron eyepieces. X-cel and the three 1.5" Luminos eyepieces. I like the idea of using a zoom. I purchased my 1st Celestron Zoom for my 8SE in November and my second one in April for my ETX-90. The Celestron have been a good eyepiece for me even though it has a narrow FOV. Clear views, semi - parfocus. I've been satisfied.

 

Yesterday I received a new Baader MK IV Zoom. During the summer I only have access to my ETX-90 but it gives good planetary views in the Bortle 6 skies here at the NJ Shore. Last night was a great chance to do a quick comparison of the zooms looking at Jupiter and our Moon.

 

First up was the Celestron Zoom. I observed nice clear views of Jupiter and it's 4 moons. Nice banding on Jupiter. Slight adjustment on the zoom when fully zoomed in. Then I put on the Baader Zoom.... The 1st thing you notice is the FOV. It is noticeably wider than the Celestron. The 2nd thing you notice is has more contrast than the Celestron. Zooming in is pretty much the same. I still has to adjust the focus slightly when zoomed fully in. The view though was definitely sharper  I swapped the eyepieces a few times and the Baader was the winner.

 

Next up, the Moon. The moon is 1/2 full so I expected good views. Again, I put the Celestron zoom on 1st. Nice reliable view I'm used to. The edge of the views are never as sharp the center but I've been happy looking at the Moon with this eyepiece. Then, I put on the Baader zoom. The difference is very noticeable. It looked like a stacked image. The plaines just pop and the craters contrast and shadows are vivid. 

 

At this point I had a few guests look through the eyepieces and they all thought the Baader was better 

 

Now, I can't wait for fall when I can use the 8SE and the new Zoom in Bortle 5 skies. The Celestrons will be good for star parties with the ETX-90.20190709-091116.jpg


Edited by BigKahuna, 09 July 2019 - 09:51 AM.

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#2 clearwaterdave

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:21 AM

Hello.,The Baader zoom was the first "high quality" eyepiece that I bought for my 8"dob.,The difference in views between it and the plossl ep's I had been using was huge.,I had thought my views were clear and sharp but the bz makes the view pro photo like.,lol.,My zoom is an old one.,no mark.,I also, use a Meade zoom in my smaller scopes and I like it a lot.,but the bz has that photo-niss the Meade doesn't.,it's sharp and nice.,but not as nice.,cheers


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#3 REC

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:22 AM

I'm still waiting to do this comparison. I have the BHZ and the Olivon 8-24 which some say comes from the same factory as the Celestron and Meade, but so far I have not had anyone confirm it. I thought the Olivon was better made than the Celestron.

 

Mine is the MkIII version and the eye cup keeps falling off! So, I just use it in the down position. I use it in 3 differrent scopes....IF we ever get a clear night!


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#4 Taosmath

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:24 AM

I have a Mk III BZ and the Celestron.  I agree with your general comments. I measured the FOV in both with various scopes and found that the BZ gave typically 10% wider FOV compared to the Celestron.  Mechanically it's much nicer than the Celestron .

 

My comments to newbies asking about Celestron vs Baader is that the the Celestron gives you 85% of the performance of the Baader for 25% of the cost.


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#5 BigKahuna

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:35 AM

I have a Mk III BZ and the Celestron.  I agree with your general comments. I measured the FOV in both with various scopes and found that the BZ gave typically 10% wider FOV compared to the Celestron.  Mechanically it's much nicer than the Celestron .

 

My comments to newbies asking about Celestron vs Baader is that the the Celestron gives you 85% of the performance of the Baader for 25% of the cost.

I agree with you...



#6 jaraxx

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:00 PM

A very good review (which I suppose means I agree with your conclusions). A couple of points:

 

The Baader costs about three times as much as the Celestron (or the Meade). It's not a big surprise that it's a much better eyepiece. The comparison we should be making is with a Pentax, Levenhuk, Lunt, maybe a Vixen (not sure if they make a more expensive zoom). I'm pretty sure the BHZ would hold its own.

 

High end wide view eyepieces are better than the BHZ in particular focal lengths; this shouldn't be a surprise. But even for folks who have a lot of great eyepieces, the BHZ is a pretty useful tool in that it will tell you which magnification will give you the best view. It's a great tool for those with two scopes running at the same time - the BHZ with a 80mm scope will provide a good eyepiece in your small scope while giving you a pretty good idea which eyepiece to try in your big scope.

 

If you're thinking about buying several cheaper eyepieces in the 8-20mm range, the BHZ offers very good coverage of multiple focal lengths in a package that will still be useful when you decide to upgrade. 

 

Another point: The BHZ likes barlows. With the barlow that Baader built for it you have two zooms: A 24 to 8mm and one that's about 10 to 3.5mm. That's a tremendous range of focal lengths for one eyepiece to cover - especially if those focal lengths are covered well. And while a barlowed BHZ might not beat a Televue 3-6 zoom, the Televue won't win by much (this would be a worth while review if anyone has both zooms). And that barlow and BHZ fit right into your 2 inch diagonal which allows you to use a much cheaper 1.25 filter instead of a much more expensive 2 inch filter.

 

And a final point: The BHZ loves to travel. A travel scope, a wide field eyepiece, the BHZ and a barlow and you're very much good to go.


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#7 clearwaterdave

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 08:29 PM

To me zooms are a great deal.,They have a bad rep from 30yr.ago when they "were" of lower quality.,and from those who demand edge to edge 100*s of perfection.,For a newbie a zoom can save lots of money out of the gate.,How many spend $100+ for an ep kit with two useable ep's and a case full of bling.,The zoom has better eye relief than plossl's under 15mm.,and you have "every" mm ep between 8+24mm.,.8.2mm.,9.7mm.,.12mm.,.12.4mm.,know what I mean.,That's a lot of ep's for $70.,imho.,


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#8 Traveler

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 01:07 AM

I have a Mk III BZ and the Celestron.  I agree with your general comments. I measured the FOV in both with various scopes and found that the BZ gave typically 10% wider FOV compared to the Celestron.  Mechanically it's much nicer than the Celestron .

 

My comments to newbies asking about Celestron vs Baader is that the the Celestron gives you 85% of the performance of the Baader for 25% of the cost.

 

In fast telescopes,the difference between the two are imo a little larger. When doing H-alpha (Solar), the diffrence is none.

 

I am not a big fan of the Baader's zoom buildquality. One Baader zoom won't click/zoom anymore after just two years. Repairing is impossible. The current one which i own rattles...



#9 aeajr

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:32 AM

I have the Celestron Zoom and an older Baader zoom but your report reflects my opinion very well. The Celestron is a good eyepiece, especially at the price. The Baader zoom is better in many ways but is 4X more expensive.

I still have both and still use both, depending on the scope.
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#10 25585

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:14 AM

A very good review (which I suppose means I agree with your conclusions). A couple of points:

 

The Baader costs about three times as much as the Celestron (or the Meade). It's not a big surprise that it's a much better eyepiece. The comparison we should be making is with a Pentax, Levenhuk, Lunt, maybe a Vixen (not sure if they make a more expensive zoom). I'm pretty sure the BHZ would hold its own.

 

High end wide view eyepieces are better than the BHZ in particular focal lengths; this shouldn't be a surprise. But even for folks who have a lot of great eyepieces, the BHZ is a pretty useful tool in that it will tell you which magnification will give you the best view. It's a great tool for those with two scopes running at the same time - the BHZ with a 80mm scope will provide a good eyepiece in your small scope while giving you a pretty good idea which eyepiece to try in your big scope.

 

If you're thinking about buying several cheaper eyepieces in the 8-20mm range, the BHZ offers very good coverage of multiple focal lengths in a package that will still be useful when you decide to upgrade. 

 

Another point: The BHZ likes barlows. With the barlow that Baader built for it you have two zooms: A 24 to 8mm and one that's about 10 to 3.5mm. That's a tremendous range of focal lengths for one eyepiece to cover - especially if those focal lengths are covered well. And while a barlowed BHZ might not beat a Televue 3-6 zoom, the Televue won't win by much (this would be a worth while review if anyone has both zooms). And that barlow and BHZ fit right into your 2 inch diagonal which allows you to use a much cheaper 1.25 filter instead of a much more expensive 2 inch filter.

 

And a final point: The BHZ loves to travel. A travel scope, a wide field eyepiece, the BHZ and a barlow and you're very much good to go.

I found the BHZ eye relief too short for wearing glasses. I bought the Pentax XL zoom instead which is fine.

https://www.firstlig...-24mm-zoom.html and very relaxing to use, as are all Pentax XL eyepieces.



#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:45 AM

I am not a big fan of the Baader's zoom buildquality. One Baader zoom won't click/zoom anymore after just two years. Repairing is impossible. The current one which i own rattles..

 

 

I have the MK IV Baader "Clickstop" zoom.  In a quiet room, I can hear the click if I listen carefully.  Outside with the wind etc, no way.  The stop part, I feel nothing. I have no real idea of what magnification I am using, .  This is serious short coming of an otherwise very decent eyepiece.  

 

Jon


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#12 aeajr

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 09:00 AM

We each have our preference and our process. I got hooked on zooms early so, for me, they are my preferred eyepiece for the 16-8 mm range.

My celestron zoom doesn't have click stops. My BHZ does, but I pretty much ignore them.

I don't really care what FL I am using. I care about the image.

The ONLY time I care about FL as I am observing is when I am making notes for my observing report when I read it off the barrel.

If plan to switch to a single FL eyepiece I just read the markings as I remove the zoom. But most of the time I stay with the zoom if I am in its range.

As I understand it, the clicks are for binoviewer users.

#13 Corcaroli78

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 07:45 AM

 The current one which i own rattles...

I was concerned about the rattling and after some post reads I decided to contact Baader in Germany, They answered very fast explaining to me that the rattling was "normal" because the spacing between lenses and moving elements would compensate the thermal expansion of the before mentioned components.

 

The answer was technically satisfactory, but rattling is not what I would expect from a high quality EP. Visually, I am quite happy with it, very good contrast and amazing in planets+ decent barlow.  I added a ES2468 to get rid of the poor behavior of the BHZ at 24 mm....

 

Carlos



#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 08:12 AM

We each have our preference and our process. I got hooked on zooms early so, for me, they are my preferred eyepiece for the 16-8 mm range.

My celestron zoom doesn't have click stops. My BHZ does, but I pretty much ignore them.

I don't really care what FL I am using. I care about the image.

The ONLY time I care about FL as I am observing is when I am making notes for my observing report when I read it off the barrel.

If plan to switch to a single FL eyepiece I just read the markings as I remove the zoom. But most of the time I stay with the zoom if I am in its range.

As I understand it, the clicks are for binoviewer users.

 

The clicks can be useful to anyone. 

 

I prefer fixed focal length eyepieces and have the useful range of the zoom covered with high quality eyepieces. For me, the Baader zoom is an alternative that represents the ability to fine tune the magnification under particular circumstances. Realistically, most nights it doesn't get used.

 

It would be more useful if I actually had an idea of the focal length I'm using but reading the numbers is not going to happen. It would require a light of some sort and it would be just the wrong moment to use a light, viewing small faint galaxies under dark skies.

 

In my situation, I believe a clickstop that actually worked would be a significant plus.

 

Jon


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#15 aeajr

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 08:35 AM

The clicks can be useful to anyone. 

 

I prefer fixed focal length eyepieces and have the useful range of the zoom covered with high quality eyepieces. For me, the Baader zoom is an alternative that represents the ability to fine tune the magnification under particular circumstances. Realistically, most nights it doesn't get used.

 

It would be more useful if I actually had an idea of the focal length I'm using but reading the numbers is not going to happen. It would require a light of some sort and it would be just the wrong moment to use a light, viewing small faint galaxies under dark skies.

 

In my situation, I believe a clickstop that actually worked would be a significant plus.

 

Jon

I can see your point Jon.   Mine clicks but if it didn't it wouldn't matter.  As I said, we each have our process.  And I would add, we each learned in different ways. 

 

You "grew up" on single FL eyepieces. It is your "normal".  I went to zooms very fast and managed to hit two that I liked, and still like, even though I have a good range of ES 82s and Meade 82s for comparison.   Not TVs, but pretty good.  I have used TVs but am quite happy with my ES eyepieces.   

 

When I got my first 35 mm SLR (Cannon AE1 film camera) it had a 50 mm lens.  The first thing I bought after that was a 35-75 zoom and that stayed on the camera from that point forward.  The 50 mm lens was never used. 

 

I have heard that the zoom eyepieces of days gone by were pretty poor.  Today, at least some of them are pretty good.

 

It all goes to the idea that there is no right or wrong approach.  It is about the approach that works for us as individuals. 

 

As for the red light to read the dial, the ONLY time I read the numbers is after I am finished with this target and want to record what FL I was using and that is only if I am taking observing notes.  Until that moment, I have no reason to care about FL.  I know it is somewhere in the 24 to 8 mm range, or 16 to 5.3 range if I am using a 1.5 barlow with the zoom. 

 

I can devote all of my attention on the target as I observe at longer FL then shorter FL then something in between.  Sometimes the shift in FL will bring out different details.  I find this especially useful on globular clusters, which are my favorites.

 

I have to admit that I have spent very little time on galaxies and fainter nebula as they are not much to look at in my very light polluted area.  Bortel 4, maybe Bortel 3 is about as dark a sky as I have ever experienced.

 

When I go to Cherry Springs, later this year, I plan to focus on those.  I may find the zoom falls short and I will switch to the single FL eyepieces, which I have. 

 

I am not the experienced observer that many here are, just a cosmic tourist enjoying the view, and I find I enjoy the view more with a zoom.   The Baader is the preferred zoom, but I like the Celestron too.  


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#16 jaraxx

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 08:40 AM

  I added a ES2468 to get rid of the poor behavior of the BHZ at 24 mm....

 

Carlos

 

I did the same thing. This must be a wonderful idea!


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#17 jaraxx

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 08:58 AM

The clicks can be useful to anyone. 

 

I prefer fixed focal length eyepieces and have the useful range of the zoom covered with high quality eyepieces. For me, the Baader zoom is an alternative that represents the ability to fine tune the magnification under particular circumstances. Realistically, most nights it doesn't get used.

 

It would be more useful if I actually had an idea of the focal length I'm using but reading the numbers is not going to happen. It would require a light of some sort and it would be just the wrong moment to use a light, viewing small faint galaxies under dark skies.

 

In my situation, I believe a clickstop that actually worked would be a significant plus.

 

Jon

I concur. I often have two scopes mounted. I use an 8X50 finder scope then use the 80mm it's attached to as a magnification "finder" with the BHZ which tells me what eyepiece to start with in the big scope.  This works OK in the city where dark adaptation isn't a big deal and I don't mind a bit of light. Out in the dark it doesn't work as well because my Baader is relatively silent. I can sorta "feel" the clickstops but can't hear them and there's a lot of uncertainty. It would be very nice if one could find the preferred mag then zoom all the way out and then "count clicks" back to the best magnification. 

Clicks or more pronounced clicks would be a big improvement.



#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 09:06 AM

You "grew up" on single FL eyepieces. It is your "normal".  I went to zooms very fast and managed to hit two that I liked, and still like, even though I have a good range of ES 82s and Meade 82s for comparison.   Not TVs, but pretty good.  I have used TVs but am quite happy with my ES eyepieces.

 

 

In the 16 mm-8 mm range, I have 16mm, 13mm, 11mm, 9mm, 8 mm, Ethos and Naglers. They were sharper and offer wider fields of view than the Baader zoom. The 13  mm Ethos provides a 25% wider true field than the Baader does at it's widest, 24 mm. The 11 mm Nagler is only  15% narrower.  The sharpness and the field just make the fixed focal length views more useful, more desireable.

 

Regardless, the clickstop should work, it doesn't, it would make the eyepiece, a good solid eyepiece, more useful.

 

Jon


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#19 csrlice12

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 09:17 AM

While the Celestron is a good entry level zoom, putting it up against the Baader is kind of like putting Bambi up against Godzilla (ok, maybe not Godzilla, maybe Rodan)



#20 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 09:23 AM

While the Celestron is a good entry level zoom, putting it up against the Baader is kind of like putting Bambi up against Godzilla (ok, maybe not Godzilla, maybe Rodan)

 

I've compared them. The Baader is better but not by a wide margin, it just does most everything a little better.  At high ,magnifications, I found the Celestron to be surprisingly good.

 

Jon


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#21 aeajr

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 04:35 PM

  I added a ES2468 to get rid of the poor behavior of the BHZ at 24 mm....

 

Carlos

 

I did the same thing. This must be a wonderful idea!

Good plan.  I too have wide field eyepieces in the vicinity of 24 mm.  

 

I don't think anyone would mistake the BHZ or the Celestron with being wide field eyepieces at the long focal length end.


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#22 barbie

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 10:20 PM

I've compared them. The Baader is better but not by a wide margin, it just does most everything a little better.  At high ,magnifications, I found the Celestron to be surprisingly good.

 

Jon

Not in my experience!!  I had the Celestron and the Baader and compared the two and the Baader is definitely ALOT better, and sharper!  The Baader remains, the Celestron went Bye-Bye.


Edited by barbie, 16 July 2019 - 10:21 PM.

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#23 corax

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:12 PM

In my situation, I believe a clickstop that actually worked would be a significant plus.

On my Baader Mk III zoom, the clicks are obvious. Did it get worse with the Mk IV?


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#24 jaraxx

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:53 PM

On my Baader Mk III zoom, the clicks are obvious. Did it get worse with the Mk IV?

It seems to be erratic. Jon's doesn't work well and mine doesn't work well. Other folks report a mix with some being fine and some being silent. I have no knowledge of the mechanism involved or how I could entice mine to speak to me...except I know that cursing does not seem effective in changing the eyepiece's behavior, tho it makes me feel a little better.

 

It seems we're always comparing the Baader and the Celestron to the exclusion of other zooms. Why is that?



#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:57 PM

Not in my experience!!  I had the Celestron and the Baader and compared the two and the Baader is definitely ALOT better, and sharper!  The Baader remains, the Celestron went Bye-Bye.

I actually compared my Baader zoom to two Celestron zooms in my 10 inch F/5 Dob. One was older, one was newer.  The older one wasn't very good at high magnifications, the newer one was. They differed slightly physically, one was about 10 grams heavier.  

 

The newer one seemed identical expect for the adapter to the zoom in my Celestron Ultima spotting scope. 

 

I should add, I think the Baader 8mm-24mm is a very good zoom, particularly for the money.  In my eyepiece case it's up against the eyepieces that are generally considered the best performers at faster focal ratios, Naglers, Panoptics and Ethos's.  These individual eyepieces each cost more than the Baader zoom, some more than twice as much.

 

As an eyepiece, it's not as sharp off-axis in my F/4-F/5 scopes as the TeleVue eyepieces but it's still quite good and represent a lot of performance for the money.  The Clickstop feature ought to work better but in the big picture, that's a minor complaint, the optics and the build are quite good, good enough for me to keep it and use it.. It's the only non-TeleVue eyepiece that's in my main eyepiece case so that's saying something.  

 

Jon


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