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8.5mm Pentax XF or 9mm Meade HD-60 — or ?

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#1 Roger Corbett

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 10:02 AM

Looking for an 8-9mm eyepiece for my Astroscan (a rich field, 4 1/8, f/4.24 scope).

 

Small, lightweight eyepieces work well in it.  I need ones with good eye relief as I observe with glasses.

 

I used to own an 8.5mm Pentax XF, which was superb in the 'Scan.  I even confirmed that yesterday reading through old observing notes and eyepiece comparisons.  Should never have sold it!

 

So, I'm tempted to buy one again.  However, I also own 18mm and 12mm Meade HD-60s, which I like, so I started considering the 9mm in that series. 

 

The XF costs $130 new; the 9mm, $80.

 

Any thoughts about what I'd gain or lose by going for the less expensive HD-60? 

 

Any other suggestions?

 

I used to own a 9mm Expanse — wonderful eyepiece, wide field and pretty sharp, but eye positioning with it was too tricky, with blackouts.

 

An 8mm Radian worked well in the 'Scan, too, slightly better on larger star clusters than the XF, slightly poorer on nebulae.  But it's bigger and heavier and the Astroscan has no set screw and can rotate, posing a risk of tossing an expensive eyepiece to the ground!

 

The 8mm Starguider's a possibility, but the listed eye relief and reports suggest it's a cut below the 9mm HD-60.  But it would be less than half the cost of the 8.5mm XF.

 

Small and low-cost are appealing!



#2 wrnchhead

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 10:34 AM

My hd-60 9mm is arriving today, I am interested in what you hear about it also. I will be able (clouds cooperating) to give you a first light impression of it from my C8 and ed and st 80s. That may not reconcile with your Astroscan's performance. 



#3 SeattleScott

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 03:34 PM

The HD-60 is better quality than the Starguider and does a better job accommodating glasses. Mostly they are available for $70 now so well worth the $12 premium.

As for the Pentax,
https://www.cloudyni...-xf-85-mm-r2737

Scott
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#4 howardcano

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 06:04 PM

The Celestron X-Cel LX supposedly has the same glass as the HD-60's, and a really nice twist-up eyecup.  I liked mine.  But I'd be concerned about using these at F/4.24.  Then again, if you don't mind an F/4.24 without a coma corrector, you might find it to be okay!


Edited by howardcano, 21 September 2019 - 06:07 PM.


#5 CeleNoptic

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 06:13 PM

Looking for an 8-9mm eyepiece for my Astroscan (a rich field, 4 1/8, f/4.24 scope).
 
Small, lightweight eyepieces work well in it.  I need ones with good eye relief as I observe with glasses.
 
I used to own an 8.5mm Pentax XF, which was superb in the 'Scan.  I even confirmed that yesterday reading through old observing notes and eyepiece comparisons.  Should never have sold it!


So, I'm tempted to buy one again.  However, I also own 18mm and 12mm Meade HD-60s, which I like, so I started considering the 9mm in that series.

IMO, you've answered your question yourself smile.gif 

 

The XF costs $130 new; the 9mm, $80.


If you're patient you can buy the 8.5mm XF used at $100 or even close to what you're ready to pay for a new HD-60, e.g. look here or here. A used HD-60 you can buy at ~$50 or even under.

 

Any other suggestions?


Put a wanted ad for the XF in Classifieds. Or buy a used HD-60 and wait for a good offer on the XF in CNC and than sell the HD-60.

#6 nicoledoula

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 10:18 PM

Review of AT Paradigm 8mm and Pentax XF 8.5 mm    (Type it into the search bar)



#7 SeattleScott

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 11:14 PM

And the HD-60/X-cel LXare a step above the Paradigm/Starguider.
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#8 nicoledoula

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 01:34 PM

And the HD-60/X-cel LXare a step above the Paradigm/Starguider 

 

Well, the 25mm HD60 is far superior to the ED 25mm, but both lines are better than the two XF's in question (12mm + 8.5mm) I'd buy both the ED 8mm and the 9mm HD60 and call it a day. 



#9 STEEL

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 02:39 PM

The Paradigm or Starguider are good up to the 12mm - 15mm focal length. I also have the 3.2mm (nice).
I also like them for binocular observation.



#10 Roger Corbett

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 09:41 AM

Thanks for the feedback.  Much appreciated.

 

The 8.5mm Pentax XF costs only $130 new; saving $30 bucks on used wouldn't matter to me.  Although saving near $50 would as one of those ads showed would.  However, the XFs just don't come up all that often -- and there is an opportunity cost in waiting!

 

Off topic, I realize, but intriguingly, Amazon shows the 12mm XF for only $65, which is a steal if one can handle its field curvature.  In any case, that's a different focal length.

 

Thanks for the link to the review.  I had seen it before, and even read the threads (controversy?) about it.  Tin my own experience, the XFs did amazingly well in the contrast department and on nebulae.  Contrary to the reviewer, I found them quite similar to the XL and XW, albeit a smaller fov and less immersive experience.  On many objects, they were superior to the comparable Radians.  Radians often had an edge on star images.  

 

I've used a TV 1.25" ParaCorr on the "Scan.  While it certainly helps, it adds weight, throws off the balance, and wasn't enough of an improvement to make it worthwhile -- to me!

 

Nicole, what are the differences in the lines?  What would make the 9mm HD-60 better than the 8.5mm XF?  Not having had both the XFs and HDs at the same time, I don't have any comparative notes.  

 

Maybe I'll just need to buy both of them and test them out myself!


Edited by Roger Corbett, 25 September 2019 - 09:43 AM.


#11 Roger Corbett

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 02:35 PM

Meant to add a thanks to CeleNoptic for a good insight that also got a chuckle out of me.

 

"IMO, you've answered your question yourself." cool.gif

 

Indeed, I may have.

 

Anyone know if the 9mm HD-60 is parfocal with either the 18mm or the 12mm?  I know that they're not parfocal with each other.



#12 nicoledoula

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 04:40 PM

I'd much rather have the Pentax name on my EP's but the ED's and HD's of the same or close focal lengths are better and cost less. Want something better than all 3 series? Try XW's from 10mm down. Parfocality is overrated and is kind of antagonistic to relaxed unhurried astronomy. Want parfocality try the Leica ASPH zoom....



#13 Roger Corbett

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Posted 28 September 2019 - 05:27 PM

Own the 10mm Pentax XW.  Quite nice.  But far too big, heavy, and expensive to risk in a scope that can rotate, go out of balance, and has no set screw in its focuser!

 

Parfocal eyepieces are wonderfully convenient; even more so, if you have a scope whose focuser is imprecise or tricky or whose f ratio is fast!

 

I like a slow unhurried pace, too, especially when can spend their time soaking in DSO photons rather than having to refocus, juggle Barlows, etc.   That can be a distraction from the pleasure of observing!




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