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What is your experience with Astro-Tech Paradigm eyepieces?

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#1 mikeinlehigh

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 07:42 PM

Looking at the Astro-Tech Paradigm 5mm eyepiece. I'll be using it in a 910mm focal length refractor on planets. I know full well it's not going to be a 5mm Nagler. Wondering about your experience with these? At $60 you sure can't beat the price. Tempted just to buy one regardless. It won't be the first or last mistake I'll ever make and I just might end up with a decent eyepiece. 



#2 dr.planet

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:05 PM

I bought a nearly full set to use for outreach, when I don't want people putting fingerprints or eyelash grease on my more expensive glass. But sometimes I just take that set out for personal viewing since I have them in a small convenient case, and I don't feel like I'm missing much.   They're very comfortable to use..


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#3 havasman

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:17 PM

I put together a set for a club scope, 6" f8 Dob, and was very surprised at how well they worked at that focal ratio.


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#4 Barlowbill

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:26 PM

I have a handful of them and use them a lot on both my scopes.  No complaints.  Buy them from Astronomics


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#5 cst4

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:28 PM

It’s a great eyepiece for the price. Wouldn’t be a mistake at all to get one. The 5mm Celestron X-Cel LX is not bad either.


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#6 mikeinlehigh

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:48 PM

cst4, you mentioned the Celestron X Cel LX 5mm. You didn't happen to compare it to the AT Paradigm 5 by any chance? I've considered the Celestron piece also. A comparison of the two would be great. 



#7 KTAZ

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:55 PM

I had a 25mm which got beat out slightly by my 24mm ES 68. But I can tell you it wasn’t by much. Frankly, I didn’t want to sell it, but having 2 made no sense. On my F10 it performed really well. And the twist up eyecup is almost what got me to keep it...it’s designed really well.

 

On an F7 it may have a few more issues, but at $60, I figured, why not? I sold it to a fellow for $50 a few weeks later who absolutely loved it for his setup. 

 

$10 to test it out. What have you got to lose?


Edited by KTAZ, 13 August 2020 - 08:55 PM.


#8 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:56 PM

I bought the 8mmm and 12mm  used here two years  ago. They are great everyday eyepieces and perform very nicely. As mentioned before they are great for outreach     I recently lent them out with an old Selsi 3 inch refractor to my nephew for he and his 5 year old to use along with a few other lower end eyepieces   and I only miss the AT paradigms

 

I decided that I will replace then   along with a few others  they do not come up used here often since they are pretty darn good at a good price   so folks tend to keep them...


Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 13 August 2020 - 08:59 PM.


#9 BillP

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 10:06 AM

I have the 25mm thru 5mm in the BST Starguider branding.  Very much like them.  My scopes are mostly near f/8.  Am also in the process of doubling up on them in the 15, 12, 8 , and 5 focal lengths for binoviewing as they are small, light, and capable so makes binoing easier and more fun.  On the low end I use a pair of 24 ES68s to get the most TFOV.


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#10 cst4

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 10:34 AM

cst4, you mentioned the Celestron X Cel LX 5mm. You didn't happen to compare it to the AT Paradigm 5 by any chance? I've considered the Celestron piece also. A comparison of the two would be great. 

People report on here that the Meade HD-60 lines and the Celestron X Cel LX lines are the same optics.  I really don't know... I'm not sure why Meade has a 4.5mm and 6.5mm while Celestron has a 5mm and 7mm but they do seem awfully similar.  So I'm lumping the X Cel LX and HD-60 lines together here....

 

I've owned the 9mm and 12mm in the X Cel LX line and the 4.5, 6.5, and 25mm in the HD-60 line. All I can say is that the HD-60 / X-Cel LX lines are extremely similar to the Paradigms and I cannot say that one line is better than the other.  The differences are not quality necessarily but stuff like eye relief and build that might lead someone to like one line over the other.  Across the board though I would say that the HD60/XCel lines have a more neutral tone, longer eye relief, and often seem sharper on axis.  I often feel they are better on planets.  The Paradigms/Starguiders have a warmer tone due to ED glass and seem to have flatter fields overall as a series.  For some reason I can always see fainter objects such as moons or threshold stars in them... I typically preferred them on DSOs.   The best ones out of both series to me are the 6.5 HD-60 / 7mm X Cel LX, the 25mm HD-60 / X Cel, and the 12mm Paradigm.  The 5mm Dual ED and the 4.5mm HD-60 were extremely close optically to me... After much debate I let the 4.5mm HD-60 go and kept the Paradigm due to the slightly smaller size and weight and the fact that my Dual ED set is now complete.  But basically you can't go wrong with either set.  The 25mm is decidedly better in the HD-60/X-Cel LX lines than the Dual ED's but the 12mm is definitely better in the Dual ED's... so overall it's a toss up.  

 

By the way all my assessments were in an F/7 4" refractor or possibly a 6" SCT for some of the focal lengths at 7mm and above.  


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#11 Thomas_M44

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 01:54 PM

Those Paradigm/Starguider EP's are all 5-element designs --correct?



#12 BillP

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 02:19 PM

No.  I think the upper housing design is consistent with 1-2-1 configuration, barrel lenses vary though. 

 

https://www.cloudyni...-1574532016.jpg



#13 Frugal Astronomer

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 02:20 PM

I have the 25, 18, and 12 mm of the Astro-Tech Paradigm, which I use in an 8 in dobsonian.  I've found them to be good, with the 12 probably being the best.  They are not all 5-element.  The 15 and 12 are 6's and the others are 5's.  

 

I would have gotten the 5 mm if I hadn't decided to get a Barlow instead.  Barlowing the 12 gives me an equivalent to the 5.  For the price, I think they are quite satisfactory.


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#14 jcj380

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 02:27 PM

I have a 25mm that I use for a "finder" EP on my fast refractors and Mak.  I don't really have experience with high-end EPs, but the AT seems like a good bang for the buck.  I want to try some shorter ones, but haven't gotten around to it.

 

I will say that I prefer the twist-up cups on my Vixen SLVs over the AT.  The AT that I have is more of a screw cup.  But the AT is less than half the price of an SLV, so it's a minor annoyance at that price.

 

I'd guess that they have a reasonable resale value if you decide to get something else.  


Edited by jcj380, 14 August 2020 - 02:31 PM.


#15 mikeinlehigh

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 03:29 PM

Thanks for taking the time cst4. I ordered the Celestron X-Cel 5mm. 


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#16 Starman1

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 03:35 PM

Those Paradigm/Starguider EP's are all 5-element designs --correct?

No.

Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 3.2      6 elements
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 5         6
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 8         6
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 12       6
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 15       6
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 18       5
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 25       5


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#17 Thomas_M44

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 03:56 PM

I've been contemplating putting together a set of modest-price EP's for comfortable general and planetary viewing in the context of outreach/sharing situations. 

 

I like the idea of having generous eye-relief (15mm or greater) combined with a moderately-wide 60-deg AFOV field and good exit-pupil behavior. This makes it easier for the uninitiated to avoid difficulties in finding comfortable eye positioning.

 

I also like the idea of staying with a maximum of  5-elements, and using a quality Barlow to achieve the higher magnifications.  A 5-element EP plus a conventional Barlow nets only 7-pieces of glass.

 

A 10mm Williams Optic 'RedCat Flat-field'  5-elements ( an APM Ultra-Flat-Field clone) here gives 16mm eye-relief plus a very flat 60-deg AFOV is already here on hand.

 

I could add Agena Starguider Dual ED eyepieces in 15mm and 12mm.

 

With these three eyepieces, if used in conjunction with my TeleVue 2X and 3X Barlows I'd have a total of 8 non-redundant magnifications to choose from In my 600mmFL TV85 :

 

15mm  = 40X

 

12mm  = 50X

 

10mm  = 60X

 

7.5mm = 80X

 

6.5mm = 92X

 

5mm    = 120X

 

4mm    = 150X

 

3.3mm = 182X

 

Hey, This looks pretty good.... smile.gif

 

EDIT/CORRECTION:

 

The Paradigm/StarGuider Dual ED 15mm and 12mmeEyepieces are in fact 6-element designs, not 5-element.

 

My mistake --thanks Don

 

Presumably that 6th lens is added to preserve generous eye-relief for the 15mm FL and shorter eyepieces of the series.

 

Hmm...  So, 6-element EP plus 2-element Barlow = 8 elements total

 

I'm going to deliberate further upon this...


Edited by Thomas_M44, 14 August 2020 - 04:16 PM.


#18 Starman1

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 04:47 PM

cross section:

https://roslistonast...a-5-5mm-cracker

what matters is the air-to-glass surface count.  and the 5 and 6 element versions are the same in the number.


Edited by Starman1, 14 August 2020 - 04:49 PM.

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#19 Thomas_M44

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 06:05 PM

cross section:

https://roslistonast...a-5-5mm-cracker

what matters is the air-to-glass surface count.  and the 5 and 6 element versions are the same in the number.

Good point Don.

 

Surely additional factors are the precision and polish of additional ground-glass surfaces?

 

Does the cementing between two cemented lens surfaces mitigate somewhat the optical criticality of the quality of polish of these mating surfaces?

 

Of idiosyncratic personal preference, I generally try to stay with a 5-element limit for eyepieces, though I understand the many potential and actual virtues of more complex designs when executed well. 



#20 Starman1

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 06:58 PM

Good point Don.

 

1 Surely additional factors are the precision and polish of additional ground-glass surfaces?

 

2 Does the cementing between two cemented lens surfaces mitigate somewhat the optical criticality of the quality of polish of these mating surfaces?

 

3 Of idiosyncratic personal preference, I generally try to stay with a 5-element limit for eyepieces, though I understand the many potential and actual virtues of more complex designs when executed well. 

1) 1 additional lens is unlikely to change the character by much, where light scatter from additional elements is concerned.

2) No, but it pretty much eliminates reflection from those surfaces.  Hence, light transmission with 5 elements in 4 groups or 6 elements in 4 groups is likely to be the same if all other factors are equal (baffling, polish, etc.)

3) When a designer builds an eyepiece design, the goal is to accomplish the necessary parameters with the fewest lenses, for reasons of cost, weight, sellability.

Typically, this means 3 or 4 groups in eyepieces up to about 70°, but can mean 5 to 8 groups in 100-120° field eyepieces.  It's a shame more designers don't pay attention to better internal baffling.

It can make an 8 element eyepiece perform better than a 4 element eyepiece.  Element count is really not very important in today's eyepiece designs.  Execution of the design is.


Edited by Starman1, 14 August 2020 - 06:58 PM.

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#21 EuropaWill

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 07:16 PM

I have a pair of the 8mm's and they have some very nice characteristics. They are small, light, have very good transmission, lack of extraneous flooding of the field from bright light sources outside or inside of the field which makes these great for lunar observation, are neutral in tone and exhibit plossl level contrast which is to say very good. They are also fairly well flat field.  They must be well baffled as many other short focal length EP's that tout longish eye relief seem to have problems with flaring and flooding of the fov with bright sources but these don't have that problem.  They don't have the longest eye relief, and aren't the most comfortable for me to use with glasses and at times I notice some EoFB.  But these are minor quibbles considering what they cost. For the money you'd be hard pressed to beat them at this focal length. In my flashlight testing method I found this 8mm FL to produce a 57° AFOV and I believe they are actually 8.4mm.  



#22 BFaucett

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 05:17 AM

No.

Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 3.2      6 elements
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 5         6
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 8         6
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 12       6
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 15       6
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 18       5
Astro Tech Paradigm Dual ED 25       5

 

scratchhead2.gif

 

Don,

 

See your reply to me here https://www.cloudyni.../#entry10315185 on July 6, 2020 concerning these eyepieces where you stated, "Agena is correct.  Astronomics just cut and pasted from one to the other."

 

 

Starguider Dual ED specs RED.jpg

(A little table I made.)

 

Agena's StarGuider Dual ED specs:

3.2 -- https://agenaastro.c...html#additional

5 -- https://agenaastro.c...html#additional

8 -- https://agenaastro.c...html#additional

12 -- https://agenaastro.c...html#additional

15 -- https://agenaastro.c...html#additional

18 -- https://agenaastro.c...html#additional

25 -- https://agenaastro.c...html#additional

 

Astronomics' Astro-Tech Paradigm Dual ED specs:

3.2 -- https://www.astronom...d-eyepiece.html

5 -- https://www.astronom...gm-dual-ed.html

8 -- https://www.astronom...gm-dual-ed.html

12 -- https://www.astronom...gm-dual-ed.html

15 -- https://www.astronom...gm-dual-ed.html

18 -- https://www.astronom...gm-dual-ed.html

25 -- https://www.astronom...gm-dual-ed.html

  

 

Cheers! Bob F. smile.gif


Edited by BFaucett, 16 August 2020 - 05:28 AM.

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#23 Starman1

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 09:26 AM

Oops.

Bob,

You're correct.  I had a senior moment.

The element count on Agena's site is correct.

I need to change my Buyer's Guide information so I don't post incorrect data again.

My apologies, and thanks for having a good memory.

Don


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#24 BFaucett

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 09:48 AM

Oops.

Bob,

You're correct.  I had a senior moment.

The element count on Agena's site is correct.

I need to change my Buyer's Guide information so I don't post incorrect data again.

My apologies, and thanks for having a good memory.

Don

 

Hey, no apologies needed and you're very welcome! waytogo.gif  I certainly wasn't trying to be critical.

 

I just wish the Astronomics and the Agena websites would agree on the specs for these eyepieces so people wouldn't be potentially confused about them. As you well know, these eyepieces are frequently mentioned and recommended here on CN so it would be nice if the specs were listed consistently. 

 

BTW, I've been known to have a "senior moment" on occasion myself (I'm 65). No worries.  grin.gif  

 

Cheers! Bob F. smile.gif


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#25 Ohmless

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 11:44 PM

I had the 5mm Dual ED eyepiece for mono-viewing during the last mars apparition.  I worked well for me on my driven mount.  I would say it is slightly worse than the 15mm and the 12mm in that about only 60% is sharp at F/5.  I sold the 5mm to fund my 25mm HD Ortho pair and now use a pair of Meade HD-60 6.5mm eyepieces.  I'll tell you if I am satisfied with the pair tonight when I get my first views of Mars this season.


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