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Absolute best of the best approx. 5mm eyepiece?

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#1 agmoonsolns

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 08:19 PM

I need to fill a hole in my eyepiece collection around 5mm. Actually, I am looking for something between 4mm to 5mm as I don't want to miss out on something close. What are some of the absolute best of the best lunar/solar/planetary eyepieces in this range still commercially available or easily obtainable used?

 

I would like to keep the size, weight, and number of elements down to a minimum. Ideally, it would have the best coatings, smoothest surfaces, blackened lens edges, and high quality construction to minimize internal reflections/glare. Good eye relief, ease of use, and somewhat larger fields of view would be nice too. Must deliver sharpest, highest contrast images possible.

 

Best contenders so far are the TV Ethos and DeLite eyepieces, Takahashi Abbe orthoscopics, or possibly a used high-end ortho. I am leaning towards the DeLite as it seems to offer the best combination of features with the fewest drawbacks.

 

I am also thinking about filling the 6mm hole with the new 6mm Ultra Monocentric or a 6mm Vernonscope Brandon which means I would kind of like the 4mm to 5mm to compliment these eyepieces with small eye relief and limited useful field of view by getting an approx. 5mm with really comfortable eye relief and larger, well-corrected FOV.

 

What are your thoughts? Are there any important options I am missing here? What are you using in this range?

 

BTW, this wouldn't be used in anything too fast as all of my scopes are f/7 to f/24.

 

Thank you so much everyone!



#2 Mike W

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 08:27 PM

Without a doubt the TV Delite. Sharp, contrast, true color and a comfort.


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#3 havasman

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 09:25 PM

Without a doubt 

???   lol.gif

 

 

popcorn.gif

 

 

 

There are 4 eyepieces between 4 & 6mm in my kit plus another at 3.7 and another at 3.5mm and even more if the TV 2x is factored in and I wouldn't ever say that I knew which was "absolutely the best" "without a doubt" and certainly not that any of them were better than something somebody else held dearer though I like mine a lot.

 

It's complicated


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#4 jay.i

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 09:32 PM

My 5mm DeLite is a delight. ;) But really, it seems very sharp, fairly color neutral, maybe slightly on the cool side. I enjoy using it. And, of course, the Ethos line is superb. Even though they are complex eyepieces with a wide AFOV and lots of glass, they are still fantastically sharp and contrasty. I love mine for planetary use, especially combined with a 2X Powermate which seems to be invisible in the optical train as far as I'm concerned.

 

I don't mind my 9mm Tak Abbes in a binoviewer, but even by themselves, I haven't been SUPER impressed. I had high expectations thanks to Mr. Allan Wade, and while they are good, they don't seem fantastic. Sharp enough but no mind boggling contrast as far as I'm concerned. It is possible that the 9mm is a weaker one in the series, I'm not sure. Beware of anything shorter though... the eye relief on the 9s is just right, but anything shorter would be a little uncomfortable and I already occasionally fog up the 9s from being so close.


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#5 Usquebae

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 09:41 PM

 

...I wouldn't ever say that I knew which was "absolutely the best" "without a doubt"...

This review leaves no doubt:

 

https://www.cloudyni...-ultimit-revue/


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#6 rkelley8493

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:37 PM

Pentax XW 5mm is excellent. Seems to hit all of your points you mentioned, "I would like to keep the size, weight, and number of elements down to a minimum. Ideally, it would have the best coatings, smoothest surfaces, blackened lens edges, and high quality construction to minimize internal reflections/glare. Good eye relief, ease of use, and somewhat larger fields of view would be nice too. Must deliver sharpest, highest contrast images possible.

I did a shootout between the 5 XW, 4.7 Ethos, and 4.5 Delos a short while back. The 5mm Pentax XW had the best contrast, brightness, and sharpness of them all in my f/7 Apo refractor. I liked the Ethos better on Jupiter & Saturn, but the XW came out on top with all other targets [galaxies, nebulae, globular clusters].


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#7 Mike W

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:44 PM

???   lol.gif

 

 

popcorn.gif

 

 

 

There are 4 eyepieces between 4 & 6mm in my kit plus another at 3.7 and another at 3.5mm and even more if the TV 2x is factored in and I wouldn't ever say that I knew which was "absolutely the best" "without a doubt" and certainly not that any of them were better than something somebody else held dearer though I like mine a lot.

 

It's complicated

Knowledge is gathered over time, give yourself some Time and maybe you will "Know" something!lol.gif 



#8 Allan Wade

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 04:59 AM

I don't mind my 9mm Tak Abbes in a binoviewer, but even by themselves, I haven't been SUPER impressed. I had high expectations thanks to Mr. Allan Wade, and while they are good, they don't seem fantastic. Sharp enough but no mind boggling contrast as far as I'm concerned. It is possible that the 9mm is a weaker one in the series, I'm not sure. Beware of anything shorter though... the eye relief on the 9s is just right, but anything shorter would be a little uncomfortable and I already occasionally fog up the 9s from being so close.

I know I do go on about how good the Tak Abbes are. So I hope everyone who uses them enjoys the experience as much as I do. I suppose there are a lot of other considerations like the telescopes used and sky conditions and type of objects observed.

 

I hope you persist and find your own moments to be impressed by the Taks.


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#9 Allan Wade

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 05:15 AM

To the OP, there isn't a best of the best 5mm eyepiece, demonstrated by the wide range of suggestions given already. Everyone has different priorities when choosing eyepieces. Personally I have built a side by side eyepiece set in my case. I have a full range of widefield eyepieces that see the most use because of the comfort factor from the nice eye relief and the huge field of view they afford. Then I have a second complete set of mostly abbe orthos that have better optical performance over the widefields while lacking the previously mentioned widefield qualities. 

 

So while I might use my 4.5 Delos 95% of the time at that focal length, my 5 XO and 4 ZAO II are eyepieces I wouldn't be without for the other 5% of the observing I do.

 

But given an ultimatum to choose a single 5mm eyepiece, it would certainly be a widefield for the extra comfort and field of view at the expense of the optical disadvantage over a minimum glass eyepiece.


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#10 StarDust1

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 05:15 AM

I'm using the Pentax XW 5mm, which is excellent. I had a Tak LE 5mm, which I miss. I did love the color rendering of the LE on Jupiter with my FS-102.

 

For last bits of details on Jupiter I use Pentax XO 5mm. This eyepiece fulfills it's reputation. I had a Zeiss ZAO 6mm, never got to love it. The XO is amazing, it's bright. The eye relief is not that bad without eyeglasses. Though I don't use the XO eyepiece for longer period, that's the task of XW 5mm, which is more relaxing and comfortable to use in long run.

 

I think Pentax did not cut corners with the XO eyepieces, I only wish that there was an 6 and 7 mm XO as well.


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#11 HellsKitchen

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 05:25 AM

Takahashi, Pentax, Delite, Ethos, Delos, Zeiss, Abbe, all of this is at the very high end. The choice IMO ultimately boils down to what you want in terms of FOV, weight, price, whether that last 0.1% matters, and eye relief. 

 

I have a 5mm Delite which I have yet to try. If my 7 and 9 are anything to go by, then my wallet will forgive me and buy me beer. 


Edited by HellsKitchen, 12 July 2019 - 05:26 AM.

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#12 russell23

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 07:13 AM

Takahashi, Pentax, Delite, Ethos, Delos, Zeiss, Abbe, all of this is at the very high end. The choice IMO ultimately boils down to what you want in terms of FOV, weight, price, whether that last 0.1% matters, and eye relief. 

 

I have a 5mm Delite which I have yet to try. If my 7 and 9 are anything to go by, then my wallet will forgive me and buy me beer. 

I like the 5mm DeLite even more than the 7mm.


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#13 shaesavage

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:07 AM

The ultimate light weight option would be a 5mm 0.965" Tak MC ortho. The old 0.965" Tak orthos are really good. I've recently started using them and so far they are better than my Leica and VIP Barlow combo in my refractors. The Tak orthos are brighter, more contrasty, and more neutral colour. 


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#14 HellsKitchen

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:08 AM

The ultimate light weight option would be a 5mm 0.965" Tak MC ortho. The old 0.965" Tak orthos are really good. I've recently started using them and so far they are better than my Leica and VIP Barlow combo in my refractors. The Tak orthos are brighter, more contrasty, and more neutral colour. 

 

Tiny FOVs though with equally tiny eye relief.


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#15 SandyHouTex

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:51 AM

The 5mm Pentax XO.  I haven’t found anything quite as good.


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#16 jakecru

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:36 AM

If I were looking to buy a 5 mm (which I would like someday), it would be the XW 5. 


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#17 bobhen

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 11:01 AM

I own a 4 mm Radian and a 5 mm Delite. In the past I’ve owned an 8 mm Brandon and 6 mm Ortho. Although the Brandon and Ortho were really sharp, etc., “to my eye” the Radian and the Delight are just as sharp (the Delight has better edge sharpness than the Radian) and they are so much more comfortable to use with their generous eye relief and field of view that even if they were a percent or two less sharp than the Brandon or Ortho they would still be my first choice.

 

If you want to go the Brandon or Ortho route, I would consider an 8 or 10 mm but use a Barlow to get to 4 and 5 mm. You will get better ER.

 

The Delite is also lighter and more compact than the Delos or Ethos.

 

Bob


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#18 starcam

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 11:47 AM

TOE 4mm


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#19 Starman1

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 11:52 AM

The 5mm Pentax XO.  I haven’t found anything quite as good.

But do these EVER show up in the used market?

It seems everyone who owns one praises these, but they haven't been made for years.

If everyone thinks they are the best, there would never be a used one for sale.

 

Maybe we here on CN should avoid recommending eyepieces that are no longer available new unless someone asks specifically about one.

I'm going to try to follow that policy as well.  Otherwise, we are just recommending something that is no longer available and may never be again.

Yes, I know many good eyepieces have been made in the past, but we could be setting somebody up for frustration in the inability to find something recommended.

At least if we recommend something still in production, this doesn't preclude the possibility of a used purchase because there might be more of them available new and used.


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#20 jay.i

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 11:57 AM

While I have enjoyed time with the 5mm XW, I found that the XW series shows more lateral color than the TeleVue alternatives. I wouldn't recommend them for planetary use based on that alone, though for lunar use you can probably get over it since there is a lot of stuff to see that I'd rather have sharp than completely color-neutral. For planets, though, I want them to look as close to how they REALLY LOOK as possible, without any fringes or "incorrect" hues. Of course this is a never-ending chase considering the variability of optical quality and combinations of objective lenses, diagonals, and eyepieces, not to mention our eyes themselves.


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#21 RAKing

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 11:59 AM

As most have mentioned, the "Best of the Best" 5mm list is very subjective.  My personal list would include:

 

ZAO-II 10mm w/Zeiss Barlow

Pentax XO 5.1mm

TV Radian 5mm

Pentax XW 5mm

TV 5mm Nagler T6 - yes, it is very good!

 

and my current favorite:

 

TV DeLite 5mm

 

Any or all of the above should keep you happy for a long time!

 

Cheers,

 

Ron


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#22 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 12:55 PM

I have a similar experience to Jay . . .

 

Tried the 6mm Tak ortho, and it wasn't as sharp as another from University Optics (I do have 32mm Tak orthos, and they are extremely sharp).

 

Trying out the 4mm Tak TOE, and I'm not finding it stands up to the hype I'm hearing. It is very good, but not a stand out.

 

So, so far, for me Takahashi eyepieces are hit and miss, at least as far as expectations for excellence go.

 

Pentax 5 XW, lateral color is indeed an issue. I also find it less comfortable to use compared with others in the series as keeping the exit pupil without black outs is a little harder than the others. I find that the lateral color can be mitigated with careful eye placement, but that's not what I'd want to do if spending time on the planets.

 

Tried the Ethos 4.7, and don't get along well with the 110 degree field and need to almost turn my head perpendicular to the eye lens to see the field stop. Also not one of the best of the ethos series in terms of sharpness. In fact, I think the 3.7 is the better as far as sharpness is concerned.

 

The 6 ethos is very good, and out of the bunch described so far, that would be my pick. The 100 degree field is relatively easily taken in, and it is very sharp. 

 

But the OP wants minimal. . . 

 

How about 3-6 Nagler zoom? I find it is easily as sharp as the TOE I have, and it of course zooms . . .

 

But for me, it would be a Leica zoom + extender. Wide field, very comfortable, very sharp, very little lateral color, and it zooms.


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#23 Starman1

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 01:50 PM

And the 3-6 zoom is really a 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, ..........6mm eyepiece, so a whole collection of short focal length eyepieces in one.


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#24 213Cobra

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 02:52 PM

Of the 5mm eps I own:

 

1. TV DeLite - superb in every way.

2. Pentax XW - looks fab until you compare it to the blacker, more orthoscopic DeLite.

 

Deviating from 5mm +/- 1mm:

 

1. Takahashi UW 5.7mm - 90° very usable wide field; DeLite-like clarity & contrast; better than Pentax.

2. TV DeLite 5mm - 62° and would be #1 in this context except for the excellent Tak UW's peer clarity & 90°.

3. Takahashi TOE 4mm - 52°, more limited in AFOV and eye relief but best-of-category contrast. Maybe not best as your sole eyepiece in this FL range but worth having for that final extra pull on best-seeing nights.

4. Pentax XW 5mm - 70° and quite good, but some light scatter compared to velvet-black DeLite and Taks, and somewhat more incidence of eyepiece-induced lateral color.

 

Phil


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#25 jay.i

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 04:13 PM

I never got along with the 3-6 Nagler Zoom. I found it showed about just as much lateral color as the XWs, and it never struck me as particularly sharp. IMO its only redeeming qualities are its tiny size and versatile magnification range. That being said, I've still got mine, PM me if you want it. lol


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