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Zoom eyepieces, top shelf vs entry... is there a middle?

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#1 MalVeauX

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 05:01 PM

Hey all,

 

I'm looking to add a zoom. They all seem to be around that 8~24 or 7~21 range. There's the Baader Mk IV top shelf option (sub $300) and there's the basic Celestron (and re-brand similars) 8~24 options ($70 or so). Doesn't seem to be anything in between. I'm not sure the Lunt 7~21 is any different than a Celestron 8~24 really in quality, other than "brand" up charging. Is there a middle ground? Something $150 that is between the Baader and the entry zoom?

 

Very best,



#2 stevenrjanssens

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 05:08 PM

I don't believe there's something between the Celestron and the Baader. But the Baader is actually the mid-range zoom, with the Leica occupying the top spot currently.


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#3 SeattleScott

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 05:10 PM

The Vixen is about $200. It doesn’t go as wide as Baader but it’s supposed to be very well corrected.

My understanding is the Lunt is very sharp. Lunt is known for high end solar scopes and mass produced everything else so you aren’t paying more for the brand name. But again the AFOV is less than Baader. So if you can live with less AFOV and 7-21 works better for you than 8-24 you can get the Lunt.

I agree I wouldn’t call Baader top shelf. Premium, perhaps.

Scott

Edited by SeattleScott, 26 August 2019 - 05:14 PM.

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#4 tony_spina

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 05:50 PM

I agree . The Baader is middle tier 


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#5 descott12

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 06:23 PM

Hey Marty,

I have the Lunt zoom and I really love it. Granted, I don't have anything to compare it too but the image is very sharp.


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#6 Volvonium

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 06:30 PM

I have experience with both the Celestron/Meade and the Baader MKIV zooms.  They both have similar fov and I've tried them in f/6, f/5, and f/4.5 reflectors. 

 

I think the Celestron/Meade is a respectable zoom ep for those who don't have many/any eyepieces and a slower scope... it starts to show aberrations, notably astigmatism, once you're at f/5 and below.  This includes aberrations in the center field.  Mine did not barlow well and only enhanced the aberrations.  There was a noticeable light ring of vignetting on the outer edge when using it at the longer focal lengths.  It's not a dealbreaker, but if you have eyepieces in your kit that perform better, you'll be swapping often.

 

The BHZ is very sharp and crisp, but does show some aberrations at the outer edge.  It's not edge to edge clear, except in slower scopes.  My BHZ barlows well and the sharpness of its image is competitive with my ES82 fixed focal length eps.  It performs significantly better than the Celestron in faster scopes.  While I'm still very much an amateur observer, I feel the BHZ is "well corrected".

 

With the Celestron, I found myself using it more for spotting and then swapping to a fixed focal length ep that produced a cleaner image, whereas I tend to just stick with the BHZ when its in the focuser. At f/6+, I don't think the BHZ is necessarily worth the $200 premium for "~40% better views", but that's more of a judgment call.  I sold my Celestron zoom and have kept the BHZ, since it's very convenient for casual observing sessions when the atmosphere is being a bit temperamental.  

 

I'll likely be keeping the BHZ in my kit, even though I have better performing eyepieces.  Its performance is quite good for the convenience it affords.  


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#7 LDW47

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 06:54 PM

Meade 4000 ! Check the ratings, the reviews, the comments ! All for well less than $100 US !


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#8 MalVeauX

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 07:27 PM

Hrm, disappointing...

 

So the Baader, is the middle-tier. The Zeis or whatever, rarely spoken of, is top shelf and ignored. Leaving the common 8-24 rebrands in the entry point.

 

This is basically strictly for planetary viewing. Quick views from a long scope where 8x is actually meaningful. Does it matter which one in this context?

 

Very best,



#9 SteveG

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 07:44 PM

Hrm, disappointing...

 

So the Baader, is the middle-tier. The Zeis or whatever, rarely spoken of, is top shelf and ignored. Leaving the common 8-24 rebrands in the entry point.

 

This is basically strictly for planetary viewing. Quick views from a long scope where 8x is actually meaningful. Does it matter which one in this context?

 

Very best,

If you’re talking planetary, then you might consider this:

https://www.highpoin...AiAAEgKjQfD_BwE

 

I don’t know what kind of scope you have (not in your signature), so it’s harder to make recommendations. 


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#10 nicoledoula

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 08:46 PM

The topic starter has 5K+ posts. Get the Leica and don't look back. The 1.6X Nikon barlow fits nice with it.


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#11 SeattleScott

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 08:56 PM

I have only tried the Baader. I found the contrast at 8mm to be slightly less than my 8LVW. Personally I wouldn’t use a Zoom for planetary, unless it was the TV Nagler Zoom, or something high end like Leica, Pentax, etc.

Scott
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#12 tony_spina

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 09:20 PM

If you’re talking planetary, then you might consider this:

https://www.highpoin...AiAAEgKjQfD_BwE

 

I don’t know what kind of scope you have (not in your signature), so it’s harder to make recommendations. 

Excellent zoom.



#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 09:25 PM

I have the Baader, an older Vixen LV zoom and have done comparisons the the Celestron zoom.

 

I am not impressed with the Vixen. The celestron had a wider field and was sharper.  The Celestron is a good value and surprising good in my 10 inch F/5. The Baader is better and good enough that I'll use it in my larger F/4.4 Dobs alongside Ethos eyepieves all with a Paracorr. It's not of that quality but good enough to not to disgrace itself the way many eyepiece's do.

 

Jon


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#14 pregulla

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 04:29 AM

There are options between Celestron and baader, but they are far less common. One is SW Hyperflex 7.2-21.5mm and under different names. I have SkyRover version of it and from limited testing I did I don't see much of a difference between it an the Celseston.

 

There is also WO zoom II 7.5-22.5 which is considered very close to Baader, or even better acoording to some reports.  I think this is one of it's iterations:

https://www.astrosho...yepiece/p,54989

 

There are also higher end zooms, Leica ASPH being the most common. 



#15 25585

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 05:18 AM

I own the Vixen LV and Pentax XL 8-24 zooms. Both are comfortable to use through their whole focal length ranges. The Pentax has a wider AFOV, and is my favourite.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax_Eyepiece_smc_Pentax_XL_Zoom_8-24mm_1-14_dia_2000x2000_5e7f6a643a7b2665be45f265460cc3.jpg

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#16 MalVeauX

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 07:26 AM

Thanks so far all,

 

For context:

 

Right now this is mainly to be used for planet spotting, especially outreach with the kids, where it's super convenient to have a zoom, back out, locate the planet, then zoom to higher magnification without fumbling with eyepieces. So for this purpose, I'm willing to give up a better eyepiece to the convenience of a zoom. Most of my eyepieces are Paradigm Dual EDs. I don't have anything fancy or high end, mostly effective entry options like that. I have all kinds of scopes, including long refractors, short refractors, SCTs, long reflectors (F6), etc. I usually binoview with my C8 Edge for this in my observatory. But, this purpose is to have a scope on a manual mount with a zoom so that nothing has to be changed out or fiddled with and little fingers can mess with it and it not be a problem. 8mm would get me anywhere from 150x to 250x magnification on my longer scopes (1200mm F6 and 2000mm F10) which is plenty for general planetary for me with average seeing (Florida seeing is decent enough for 100~150x at any given time usually).

 

I'd like to get the Baader. But, at the same time, this is not for intense long session study. It will mostly be for glances, short looks, minutes maybe tops. So it makes me think a budget eyepiece zoom would be fine and fill in that role.

 

Contrast would be very important, but compared to convenience, for this purpose, convenience may just win out at the cost of a better eyepiece.

 

So, knowing that, does that change anything for anyone?

 

Very best,



#17 rustynpp

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 09:25 AM

How about a used Mk III Baader, instead of the latest and greatest Mk IV?


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#18 Sarkikos  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 11:13 AM

Leica Zoom is top shelf.  Baader Zoom is middle shelf.

 

I'd say the Tele Vue Zooms are upper middle shelf.  An advantage that the Leica and Tele Vue Zooms share is parfocality.  The Baader Zoom, not so much.  IME, the Baader Zoom MK IV is even less parfocal than the Mk III.  For the Baader Zooms, if I focus for one end of the focal range, I need to refocus at the other end.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 27 August 2019 - 11:22 AM.


#19 Sarkikos  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 11:20 AM

Thanks so far all,

 

For context:

 

Right now this is mainly to be used for planet spotting, especially outreach with the kids, where it's super convenient to have a zoom, back out, locate the planet, then zoom to higher magnification without fumbling with eyepieces. So for this purpose, I'm willing to give up a better eyepiece to the convenience of a zoom. Most of my eyepieces are Paradigm Dual EDs. I don't have anything fancy or high end, mostly effective entry options like that. I have all kinds of scopes, including long refractors, short refractors, SCTs, long reflectors (F6), etc. I usually binoview with my C8 Edge for this in my observatory. But, this purpose is to have a scope on a manual mount with a zoom so that nothing has to be changed out or fiddled with and little fingers can mess with it and it not be a problem. 8mm would get me anywhere from 150x to 250x magnification on my longer scopes (1200mm F6 and 2000mm F10) which is plenty for general planetary for me with average seeing (Florida seeing is decent enough for 100~150x at any given time usually).

 

I'd like to get the Baader. But, at the same time, this is not for intense long session study. It will mostly be for glances, short looks, minutes maybe tops. So it makes me think a budget eyepiece zoom would be fine and fill in that role.

 

Contrast would be very important, but compared to convenience, for this purpose, convenience may just win out at the cost of a better eyepiece.

 

So, knowing that, does that change anything for anyone?

 

Very best,

Unless you are older and have lost much of your ability to accommodate for focus, get the Baader Zoom, III or IV.

 

Mike



#20 HarryBnBad

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 11:32 AM

Where in florida?

I have both the Meade and Celestron 8-24 zoom.
Pick one. 40 bucks. I dont need 2 of them.
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#21 MalVeauX

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 12:42 PM

Where in florida?

I have both the Meade and Celestron 8-24 zoom.
Pick one. 40 bucks. I dont need 2 of them.

I'm near Trenton/Chiefland area (Chiefland Astronomy Village). I'll send you a PM.

 

Thanks!

 

Very best,



#22 Tank

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 12:47 PM

had these zooms

7.5-22.5 Orion Premium
8-24 Vixen NLV
8-24 TV
8-24 Pentax SMC
9-21 Nikon MC
5-8 Speers Waler old
5-8 Speers Waler old NEWER
8.5-12 Speers Waler new
8-24 Baader Hyperion
3-6 TV Zoom

7-21 Nikon MC2 zoom

 

the stand outs for me are the TV Nagler, Nikon MC and MC2 zooms and the 5-8mm Speers Waler


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#23 jaraxx

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 12:53 PM

I have the Baader IV. It's better than the Celestron especially with shorter scopes. And it's good enough that it doesn't look out of place in your diagonal even if you have good eyepieces. Yes, you can buy individual eyepieces that are better at the edge and wider, but the view isn't that much better than the BHZ and those eyepieces that do beat the Baader at one focal length only cover one focal length and cost more - sometimes several times as much. 

I also have the Baader Barlow that was designed for the zoom, and I like it. Bought as a bundle, for $100 you have a eyepiece that scores a solid B and covers focal lengths from 24 to about 3.5. And if you exclude the worst of the FOV stops (say the 24-17 lengths) you have a wider FOV eyepiece that covers from the 16 to 3.5 focal lengths and scores a B+ (due to the wider field). Plus you gain a very good Barlow. 

The BHZ fills a lot of functions for me. When I travel with a short refractor it gives me access to a lot of focal lengths without using much space or weight. An eyepiece up in the 30mm range, maybe add a ES 24 68 and the BHZ and the little Barlow and I'm good to go. It can also figure out which single length eyepiece to use on an object and how good the seeing is on a given night. Lately I've been using it when seeing is variable so I can keep up with conditions as they change, and some nights this is very useful. Watching a double star split as you twist the eyepiece is just kinda cool. And kids love twisting it and watching the magnification change, which could be a good or a bad thing.

There are zooms that cost more than the Baader and they may very well be better eyepieces (Leica, Pentax, etc.) I don't really know - I've read several comparisons and as usual different folks see different things. What I think I do know is that the BHZ accomplishes a number of goals very well for the cost. It might not be one of the top tier zooms, but it appears to compete with them fairly well. Good enough for me anyway! I don't think you can go wrong with the BHZ, especially if you have short scopes.


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#24 eyepiecedropper

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 01:35 PM

This is a very good and affordable Zoom: 

 

https://www.ebay.com...k-/152606352301

 

I have the MK IV and the Olivon. In my opinion both are equally sharp and contrasty on axis for planetary. Got the Olivon for 135 Euros new. It´s a close relative to the Celestron Regal EP btw.

 

 

Btw: I also have the Seben branded HRZ and never use it, cause transmission and contrast seems to be inferior to the Baader and the Olivon and fixed ep´s also. This is at least the case for my sample of the HRZ.

 

 

 


Edited by eyepiecedropper, 27 August 2019 - 01:59 PM.


#25 nicoledoula

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 01:36 PM

Outreah? Kids? Celestron definitely


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