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Starter eyepieces for 12" dob

beginner dob eyepieces
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#1 JKruger13

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 03:08 PM

I'm looking to buy basic eyepieces for my dob. I want to buy on the cheaper end so I can figure out what magnifications I like before I buy better pieces but not so cheap that the view won't be enjoyable. I know telescopes with faster focal ratios need better eyepieces so I was wondering if Agena Starguider Dual ED is too cheap and I would need to go higher.



#2 kfiscus

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 03:27 PM

Whatever you decide, buy used.  Do you have any EPs at all?  Lots of dobs come with 25mm and 10mm Plossls.  They can be gotten for $10-15 each on the used market.


Edited by kfiscus, 03 August 2020 - 03:29 PM.


#3 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 03:34 PM

I suggest you look for a club in your area. That way you can try out various eyepieces to see which ones you like. I have no experience with these eyepieces, but I do have a 12 inch dob. Cheap wide angle eyepieces have real problems with fast optics. Under f/6 you either need real quality, or "normal" 50° eyepieces. I tried a cheap wide angle eyepiece, and about half of the field wasn't sharp. So I switched to Vixen LVs, and they work well. If you only want to test the magnification, try buying some used eyepieces. That way you can sell them for about what you paid, and can gain experience with the quality of various brands.

#4 JKruger13

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 04:01 PM

I can't go to a club events because the closest one that still hosts events is 2 hours away and I work weekends night shifts so it doesn't work for me. 60° isn't considered wide, is it?



#5 Lazaroff

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 04:10 PM

Is that an f/5 scope or thereabouts?

 

I don't own a 12-inch dob, but I do own a five-inch f/5 dob. In case it's helpful, I found that ordinary plössl eyepieces worked well, and I think they'd give you a idea about magnifications. The main problem, of course, is uncomfortably short eye relief for the shorter focal lengths. I don't think you'd be satisfied with them in the long term.

 

In trying to find something better but without breaking the bank I tried a couple of Agena Dual EDs, the 25mm and 12mm. Here's what I found.

 

I rejected the 25mm. The curvature of field was so bad that stars near the edge blew up like balloons. I returned it and bought a 25mm Celestron X-Cel LX. Much better, and recommended.

 

The second Agena Dual ED I bought was the 12mm. It was very good, and when I paired it with a cheap 2X barlow (for a virtual 6mm eyepiece) it was truly excellent--sharp right to the edge. Recommended.

 

I like these eyepieces. They're like supercharged plössls with larger apparent fields of view (60 degrees) and comfortable eye relief. The views are very satisfying. I'd stay away from the 25mm, though, and I've heard that the 18mm has bad curvature of field, too. I've heard the 8mm and 5mm are good, though I haven't tried them myself. 

 

I think you're on the right track. Good luck.

 

P.S. In answer to your question, I guess most people don't consider 60 degrees wide, but I and many others find it wide enough. There are experienced observers who prefer 60 degrees to wider fields.


Edited by Lazaroff, 03 August 2020 - 04:15 PM.


#6 Taosmath

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 04:13 PM

For my 12" dob I use 2 Ep's for 90% of my viewing:

 

a 31mm Wide field (I currently use a 31mm Axiom, but I also like the 32mm Q70/Agena SWA)

an 8mm-24mm Zoom - Currently I use a Baader,  but the much cheaper Celestron is almost as good.

 

Occasionally I pull out a 23mm Wide field since the zoom FOV is rather narrow at 24mm.  However this is only used very occasionally.

 

I  also have a barlow I use with the zoom, but that's only used on rare occasions when the seeing is very good and I need high magnification for double stars or for planets  Others might prefer a fixed Ep in the 5mm-6mm range, but the way i observe, it would sit in the EP case most of the time.

 

Others are probably much pickier than I am about optics, but I have always been quite satisfied with mid range EP's.  As I say, to my non-discriminating eye, the $70 Celestron Zoom was only slightly inferior to the $280 Baader Zoom and I could not see any distinguishable difference optically between my Axiom LX and a 31mm Nagler - except that I found the eye placement on the the Axiom easier.

 

You may be more discerning than I am and need to buy premium Ep's, but starting out, I would suggest you get a 32mm SWA from Agena (about $80 new) and a celestron Zoom (also about $80 new) and see how you get on with those.  if you buy them from here used, you can sell them at little to no loss if you don't like them

 

Just my 2 cents.


Edited by Taosmath, 03 August 2020 - 04:15 PM.

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#7 JKruger13

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 04:55 PM

Whatever you decide, buy used.  Do you have any EPs at all?  Lots of dobs come with 25mm and 10mm Plossls.  They can be gotten for $10-15 each on the used market.

The dob I ordered will come with those. It is an f/5. It won't ship in another month because everything is backordered bawling.gif

 

I like the idea of zoom lens. I think I might get that Baader and the 32mm SWA and 5mm Agena for the outer ranges. Then I can figure out the ranges I prefer since I heard that it's really individualistic when it comes to eyepieces. 

 

Thanks guys. This was definitely more helpful than trying to sift through past forums.


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#8 Jethro7

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 04:55 PM

I'm looking to buy basic eyepieces for my dob. I want to buy on the cheaper end so I can figure out what magnifications I like before I buy better pieces but not so cheap that the view won't be enjoyable. I know telescopes with faster focal ratios need better eyepieces so I was wondering if Agena Starguider Dual ED is too cheap and I would need to go higher.

Hello, jkruger,

For several months I used a Celestron 8X24 zoom plus Celestron Barlow. One of these could help you figure out what you need And they worked well for me. I dont have lot experience with cheaper eyepieces, I'm sorry to say. I very quickly replaced all my cheaper eyepieces, sold a few, gave a few away and kept the  ES 3mm and ES6mm for collimation perpose and began acquiring high end ultra wide angle eyepieces and never looked back. For what it is worth here is a list of what I like to use. But the caveat is, eyepieces are a personal choice.

Televue - 10 mm Ethos,  ( one of my most used)

Televue -17mm Ethos  (could live with out but has its moments)

Explore - Scientific 20mm 100° (one of my most used)

Televue - 31mm Nagler Type 5  ( most used)

Televue - 41mm Panoptic  ( used with Night vision)

Televue - 55 Plossl. ( used with night vision)

Baader Hyperion - 8X24 Zoom + Barlow ( one of my most used )

Televue - Paracorr T2 ( corrector)

Televue - 2X powermate (Barlow like)

When I add up what I have into these at about $4000.00 thats crazy it is more than some of my telescopes together but only have to buy once and saving up and buying one at a time splits the cost up making it doable. I can use them back and forth between telescopes. I could easily narrow down my eyepieces choices to about four and live just fine with that. 

Others can argue with me all day about high end eyepieces Vs low to medium price eyepieces. When I am spending many hours at a time viewing, I can see the difference the high end eyepeices make and it pays back in dividends in viewing enjoyment,

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 03 August 2020 - 07:01 PM.

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#9 JKruger13

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 05:20 PM

I would like to have the high end pieces like Televue someday but it's really expensive and while I actually have enough money to buy all Ethos eyepieces right out the bat, I'm not committed enough to this hobby. I did thought about buying one good wide angle piece but then I would have to get a coma corrector and that already amounts to $1000.

 

I'm not sure if I should get a barlow for the zoom lens.


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#10 Taosmath

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 05:32 PM

.... I think I might get that Baader and the 32mm SWA and 5mm Agena for the outer ranges. Then I can figure out the ranges I prefer since I heard that it's really individualistic when it comes to eyepieces. 

 

 

Sounds like a good plan to me.

 

While I have a coma corrector (Explore Scientific Model) I never use it.  I haven't found it necessary on my 12" Dob (F4.9)


Edited by Taosmath, 03 August 2020 - 05:32 PM.


#11 Jethro7

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 06:44 PM

I would like to have the high end pieces like Televue someday but it's really expensive and while I actually have enough money to buy all Ethos eyepieces right out the bat, I'm not committed enough to this hobby. I did thought about buying one good wide angle piece but then I would have to get a coma corrector and that already amounts to $1000.

 

I'm not sure if I should get a barlow for the zoom lens.

Hello Jkruger

I can understand,  but the Barlow will expand the variable power settings of the Zoom. If I could only have one wide angle Eyepiece it would be the Explore Scientific 20mm 100° how ever ES does make some very nice 82° eyepieces and  they are cheaper than the 100° series eyepieces. These eyepieces are huge and heavy, I have to add a couple of pounds of magnetic weights to the base of the primary tube, to keep the scope in ballance.

I have a feeling you are going to enjoy that 12" dob more than you know. As for the Coma Corrector you may not need it. It will depend on whether or not CA bothers you because you may find CA so little it is not a issue. This to is a personal thing. I have friends that any CA  bothers them to no end, I found that little CA does not bother me much, most of the time I have to really look to find it. But at very high power it will show up on very bright objects like the moon, Venus, Jupiter. 

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 03 August 2020 - 07:15 PM.


#12 Echolight

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 07:22 PM

The 8-24 zoom on a 1500mm focal length scope will only go up to 187x without a barlow. And you know you're going to want to push that big boy up to 400+ when you get the chance.

 

Theoretical max is 600x.


Edited by Echolight, 03 August 2020 - 07:23 PM.

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#13 JKruger13

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 07:42 PM

Yeah I can ditch that eyepiece and get the barlow instead.


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#14 Jethro7

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 08:27 PM

Yeah I can ditch that eyepiece and get the barlow instead.hello

Hello, JKruger

Good point from Echolight,

The most Power I can use is about 200X for most nights but on accasion the skies will let you run that power up a good bit and it is wonderful to be able to do it. For me its between November and March down here in N.W. Florida. That's where that Barlow comes in handy.

And sometimes a Barlowed eyepiece gives you a cleaner view.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 03 August 2020 - 08:29 PM.

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#15 river-z

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 08:43 PM

I have a 12” Dob and I use my 27mm a lot for finding objects, a zoom for framing them, and then a 5 or 7 mm for looking at them. I observe a lot of double stars so I like pretty high magnification. But I would say my favorite for viewing planets is the 7mm. It’s worth doing some math to work out what kind of FOV you need for what you like to see. And what you can see depends on how dark the sky is where you are and how good the seeing. A zoom eyepiece can help you get a feel for the range.

#16 JKruger13

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 08:52 PM

For me its between November and March down here in N.W. Florida. That's where that Barlow comes in handy.

Is the air less turbulent in the winter? Less water vapor? This was going to be one of my winter hobbies so if the viewing is better then that's a bonus along with longer dark hours.

 

I live in Minnesota.


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#17 Jethro7

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 09:18 PM

Is the air less turbulent in the winter? Less water vapor? This was going to be one of my winter hobbies so if the viewing is better then that's a bonus along with longer dark hours.

 

I live in Minnesota.

Hello JKruger,

Oh yes more or less depending on your location. When you are driving down the road in summer you can see those heat waves coming off the highway, that's what's happening in the skies above you. Minnesota's pretty far North of me.Maybe it is a little less turbulent than my skies. We have a ocean of moisture coming off the Gulf of Mexico that looks like a haze. That can be seen around bright objects. In winter those cold Clean Artic fronts will push the Jet Stream all the way south stopping the moisture conveyor and seeing conditions will be superb.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 03 August 2020 - 09:20 PM.


#18 Echolight

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:05 PM

The best thing about winter is it gets dark earlier and the nights are longer.


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#19 Taosmath

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:06 PM

The 8-24 zoom on a 1500mm focal length scope will only go up to 187x without a barlow. And you know you're going to want to push that big boy up to 400+ when you get the chance.

 

Theoretical max is 600x.

I am not sure that the 600x figure is really a very useful predictor, since maximum usable magnification depends upon many factors, especially the quality of the optics and the seeing your observing locale. I have never been able to take my 12" dob over 375x without the image getting mushy, and 250x is a more frequent maximum. I have attributed this to my proximity to the Rockies and their affect on atmospheric turbulence.

 

Maybe you live in a very favorable place and you can go higher, but I suspect you'd be doing very well to get close to 500x more than once or twice a year, so I would argue 4mm is about as short a focal length as you are ever likely to need.



#20 JKruger13

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:13 PM

By the way, why is everything backordered?



#21 N3p

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:27 PM

I would like to have the high end pieces like Televue someday but it's really expensive and while I actually have enough money to buy all Ethos eyepieces right out the bat, I'm not committed enough to this hobby. I did thought about buying one good wide angle piece but then I would have to get a coma corrector and that already amounts to $1000.

 

I'm not sure if I should get a barlow for the zoom lens.

You don't necessarily need a coma corrector, you can get Panoptics also or Delos, they are less expensive then Ethos. Explore scientific 68 degree series and 82 degree series, some of them are very good, very popular, good price.

 

After 4 years I own 3 Explore Scientific eyepieces 2x 68d series and 1x 82d series, 1 Televue Delos, 3x Xcel LX, 3x Fujiyama orthoscopics.

 

Nothing excessive, but still my case is worth enough money, all good with a f5 Newtonian, no coma corrector.

 

A low power wide AFOV eyepiece, needs to be of good quality in my opinion.



#22 Jethro7

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 11:29 PM

By the way, why is everything backordered?

Hello Jkruger,

The backordered products are a result of China's Covid 19 shutdown. And in part to U.S. China politics.  It will take time restock. 

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 03 August 2020 - 11:31 PM.


#23 JKruger13

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 11:52 PM

To be honest, I was not expecting the eyepieces and other parts to be so expensive compared to the value of a telescope. Does that mean I should downside to something smaller? No. Even if I did got an 8 inch dob that costs $500-600, a single ES 68 degree eyepiece can still be 1/3 the value of the scope. I wasn't expecting to have a separate budget for eyepieces because it's quite easily for the eyepieces to easily cost more than the telescope. It seems like the telescope is only as good as its eyepieces so I don't want bad eyepieces.

 

I take pride in having high quality things but sometimes I also go the cheap/minimal route. I either go one way or the other. 



#24 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 12:06 AM

I suggest you look for a club in your area. That way you can try out various eyepieces to see which ones you like.

Many astronomy clubs are inactive now due to the pandemic, other than perhaps holding Zoom meetings.  (The three that I belong to certainly are.)
 

At any rate, sharing views through a telescope is probably not a good idea.  COVID-19 can be transmitted via the mucosa in the eyes.

 

https://www.today.co...at-know-t181656

 

At f/5, you may not need a coma corrector, JKruger13.  I don't recommend the 32mm Agena SWA at that focal ratio, however.  It's likely to display a good deal of astigmatism.  Perhaps you can find a used 27 or 35mm Tele Vue Panoptic.



#25 river-z

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 01:32 AM

You can have a great time with budget eyepieces like a basic set of plossls. IMO it’s better to start that way anyhow because you learn what you like and what you’re doing so that you’ll actually know what to get when you’re ready to spend some more money. I wrote about my experience starting with no name eyepieces in a post a while back. Here it is if you’re interested. https://www.cloudyni...s/?fromsearch=1


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