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Looking To Rebuild My 1.25" EP Collection

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#1 Matty S

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:09 PM

Hey folks,
After some observing this past year with several new scopes I'd like to focus on streamlining and rebuilding my 1.25" eyepiece collection but with all the new designs out there I'm boggled about replacing what I already have. I know this is like opening a can of worms but I could use a little help.
I am a purely visual observer with no special needs as far as eye relief goes.
I live on the east coast in the country with some light pollution but can see the Milky Way during summer (sorry, don't know the Bortle rating here).
The EP's will be used in several 60mm and 80mm refractors (both long and short) and my 8" newts (f/6 and f/8, respectively), though all my other scopes can also make use of them with an adapter, ED and APO.
I observe Solar System, DSO's, Doubles, Nebulae - anything interesting which means just about everything... and love wide-fields!
My current set of lenses was cobbled together over the years simply by focal length with little thought about design and usage and now I'm finding that I want a more succinct and straightforward set.
Budget-wise I have no limit (but it must be worth it); I don't spend extra for just a brand name (TV, Brandon, Takahashi) unless they're really better or unique - especially if an alternative is available that is just as capable, though not as flashy.

I'm also not concerned with resale value.
I do like some of my current EP's; The Celestron Silvertop and UO Konig are quite nice, doesn't mean they can't be replaced if there are better ones to be had.
The others were bought here and there over the years as budget permitted so some FL's are redundant.
 

Here's my current 1.25" EP's:
University Optics Konig 32mm
Orion Sirius Plossl's: 40mm, 20mm, 17mm
Celestron 26mm Plossl "silvertop"
University Optics Plossl 12mm "brass barrel"
University Ortho 7mm

Klee Barlow 2.8x
Set of Meade filters



#2 f74265a

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:35 PM

Unless you really want a wider field at that focal length, a the vixen, made in Japan, celestron 26mm silver top still holds up very well in my experience. I’ve owned and used mine for decades. I have a bunch of wide fields but nonetheless still keep the 26 in my case.
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#3 rkelley8493

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 01:39 PM

Here are a few 1.25" wide field options:

 

TeleVue Panoptic or Explore Sci 68° Series 24mm - Widest TFOV in 1.25" format.

TeleVue Nagler Type 5 16mm - longest focal length 82° eyepiece in 1.25" format.

Pentax XW 70° - 14mm, 10mm, 7mm, 5mm, 3.5mm all get great reviews. I really like the 10, 7, and 5 but haven't tried the others [not counting the 2" XW's]. The 20mm XW gets mixed reviews, I think regarding field curvature towards the edge of field [someone please correct me if I'm wrong].

Baader Morpheus & TeleVue Delos are similar to the XW's. The Morpheus has a 76° field, and Delos has 72°. All 3 series feature long eye relief [20mm +/-].

The granddaddy is going to be the TeleVue Ethos 100° 13mm. It's the longest focal length 100° in 1.25" format. The APM HDC 13mm 100° is also 1.25", and it gets great reviews.

 

I forgot about the Nikon NAV-HW 12.5mm.. It also comes with a Barlow attachment for an effective focal length of 10mm. I'd probably choose it over the 13 Ethos if I had to pick one, but I'm very pleased with my Explore Sci 12mm 92°.


Edited by rkelley8493, 28 October 2020 - 02:36 PM.

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#4 f74265a

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 01:49 PM

Nikon nav hw 12.5 mm works in 1.25 inch mode at 102 degrees and is spectacular, albeit expensive.
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#5 Matty S

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 02:53 PM

Here are a few 1.25" wide field options:

 

TeleVue Panoptic or Explore Sci 68° Series 24mm - Widest TFOV in 1.25" format.

TeleVue Nagler Type 5 16mm - longest focal length 82° eyepiece in 1.25" format.

Pentax XW 70° - 14mm, 10mm, 7mm, 5mm, 3.5mm all get great reviews. I really like the 10, 7, and 5 but haven't tried the others

I did read that the Panoptics were a bit soft for planetary but were otherwise good performers, albeit overpriced.

Don't know much about the Nagler 5's.

Now the Pentax XW's - I'm very interested in these as I have also read great reviews but for the extra $20 I've also heard great things about the Nikon SW's.

I figured this would glean a lot of high-end ep's but are there any fairly good alternatives to the glossier brand names? ES, Vixen, Orion, Celestron, etc?


Edited by Matty S, 28 October 2020 - 02:58 PM.

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#6 BillP

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:01 PM

There are a lot of options out there at all kinds of pricing.  Hard to recommend not knowing a few things:

 

1) Do you care about size and weight?  Many wide fields are large so a case of 6 takes up room and weight. See Pic.

 

2) Do you have an afov preference as excellent eyepieces out there in 62, 68, 70, 72, 82, 100 degrees?

 

3) Exactly what is it about your current eyepieces that is making you seek to change them?  So what are they not doing for you?

 

 

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#7 f74265a

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:40 PM

I did read that the Panoptics were a bit soft for planetary but were otherwise good performers, albeit overpriced.
Don't know much about the Nagler 5's.
Now the Pentax XW's - I'm very interested in these as I have also read great reviews but for the extra $20 I've also heard great things about the Nikon SW's.
I figured this would glean a lot of high-end ep's but are there any fairly good alternatives to the glossier brand names? ES, Vixen, Orion, Celestron, etc?


I have many of the Delos, all XWs 10 and under, and all Nikon SWs 14 and under. In order of my preference: 1 Delos; 2 XW (bc for whatever reason I see more more color on planets with Delos); and 3 Nikon sw. Have no experience with the Morphius
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#8 Matty S

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:49 PM

There are a lot of options out there at all kinds of pricing.  Hard to recommend not knowing a few things:

 

1) Do you care about size and weight?  Many wide fields are large so a case of 6 takes up room and weight. See Pic.

 

2) Do you have an afov preference as excellent eyepieces out there in 62, 68, 70, 72, 82, 100 degrees?

 

3) Exactly what is it about your current eyepieces that is making you seek to change them?  So what are they not doing for you?

Size and weight? Not so much an issue. My most used 2" EP's are a Nagler 20mm Type 2, Meade UWA 8.8 and a SWA 38mm.
FOV is the issue as I've become accustomed to my 2" EP's and enjoy the views they give so that returning to 50 degrees or so seems underwhelming. If I go by my 2" set, I'd say 70, maybe 82 degrees, though I've not had a chance to try anything wider.
Some of my current 1.25's are ok - I do like the Celestron 26mm and the UO 32mm - they give decent views and perform ok, and the 7mm Ortho is good for planetary.
However, the UO 12mm is just the opposite, image seems dull, soft and it's just difficult to get a decent image in it.
The Sirius Plossls are budget friendly, standard EP's aquired to replace the standard lenses boxed with my first scopes.
Since I've aquired scopes with better optics I'd like to match the enjoyment I get from my 2" set.



#9 Matty S

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:14 PM

I have many of the Delos, all XWs 10 and under, and all Nikon SWs 14 and under. In order of my preference: 1 Delos; 2 XW (bc for whatever reason I see more more color on planets with Delos); and 3 Nikon sw. Have no experience with the Morphius

Do you have overlapping focal lengths in the XW's and Nikons? If so, which do you like better? Any differences worth noting?



#10 Matty S

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:35 PM

Oh, and fewer focal lengths in a wide range is desirable, though they do not need to be the same brand/series. I've always mixed and matched and had good results. I have both 2.25x and 2.8x Barlows.



#11 f74265a

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 05:00 PM

Do you have overlapping focal lengths in the XW's and Nikons? If so, which do you like better? Any differences worth noting?

Overlap in 10, 7 and 5. Prefer the XWs in all cases visually and ergonomically. And xw is less expensive. Of the sw collection, I like the 10 the best. But still prefer 10xw. As you’ve probably read, the Nikon sw are apparently optimized for day spotting scope use and have AMD distortion that is usually minimized in astronomy focused eyepieces. They just feel different than other eyepieces and I don’t really like it. You might; some are not bothered. Probably should have tried it before investing, but no way to do so. If I didn’t have a collector mentality, I would now only own the 12.5 hw out of the offerings from Nikon and none of the SWs. 17 hw is too heavy and big to consider in my circumstances. Can’t go wrong in my view with xw or Delos, but Nikon SWs could prove to be an expensive failed experiment.

And for ergonomic reasons, not optical, don’t like the Nikon 1.6 Barlow that is sold to go with the Nikon SW set. Or for that matter the little tiny Barlow that comes with the 12.5 HW. My favorite Barlow type equipment for ease of use and image is hands down TV 2.5 power mate. Have tried celestron barlow, tv 2x and 3x Barlows and the mentioned Nikon Barlows. Tv3x Barlow is 2d choice, but PM eliminates all the downside of barlows such as longer eye relief etc

Edited by f74265a, 28 October 2020 - 05:07 PM.

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#12 Matty S

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 05:34 PM

Overlap in 10, 7 and 5. Prefer the XWs in all cases visually and ergonomically. And xw is less expensive. Of the sw collection, I like the 10 the best. But still prefer 10xw. As you’ve probably read, the Nikon sw are apparently optimized for day spotting scope use and have AMD distortion that is usually minimized in astronomy focused eyepieces. They just feel different than other eyepieces and I don’t really like it. You might; some are not bothered. Probably should have tried it before investing, but no way to do so. If I didn’t have a collector mentality, I would now only own the 12.5 hw out of the offerings from Nikon and none of the SWs. 17 hw is too heavy and big to consider in my circumstances. Can’t go wrong in my view with xw or Delos, but Nikon SWs could prove to be an expensive failed experiment.

And for ergonomic reasons, not optical, don’t like the Nikon 1.6 Barlow that is sold to go with the Nikon SW set. Or for that matter the little tiny Barlow that comes with the 12.5 HW. My favorite Barlow type equipment for ease of use and image is hands down TV 2.5 power mate. Have tried celestron barlow, tv 2x and 3x Barlows and the mentioned Nikon Barlows. Tv3x Barlow is 2d choice, but PM eliminates all the downside of barlows such as longer eye relief etc

I had read that about the Nikons but wasn't sure about how they worked for astro. Good info there, thanks!

Leaning towards the XW line. Still researching though, a nice wide field 32mm would be sweet, even though I do like my UO "Koning" with it's 60 degree field.



#13 John Huntley

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 05:37 PM

My 1.25 inch set is:

 

24 Panoptic

17.3 Delos

14 Delos

10 XW

7 XW

5 XW

3.5 XW

2-4 Nagler zoom

 

Very happy with that set for use with my refractors.


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#14 f74265a

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 05:56 PM

My 1.25 inch set is:

24 Panoptic
17.3 Delos
14 Delos
10 XW
7 XW
5 XW
3.5 XW
2-4 Nagler zoom

Very happy with that set for use with my refractors.

Hard to argue that your list is anything other than excellent. That 2-4 zoom is out of production but the 3-6 is available. I’ve spent evenings using the exact same set minus a zoom. For 4mm, I put 2.5 PM on the 10xw.

Edit: And the 14 and 17.3 Delos focus much closer to the XWs than they do to the rest of the Delos making life slightly easier

Edited by f74265a, 28 October 2020 - 06:27 PM.

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#15 BillP

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:04 PM

My 1.25 inch set is:

 

24 Panoptic

17.3 Delos

14 Delos

10 XW

7 XW

5 XW

3.5 XW

2-4 Nagler zoom

 

Very happy with that set for use with my refractors.

John,

 

Do you really use both the 24 Pan and 17.5 Morpheus much, or do you gravitate toward one more than the other.  The TFOV is really not much more in the 24 Pan.  For me I much prefer just the 17.5 Morpheus, but if I need to keep the form factor down of what I carry out then will opt for the 24 Pan / 24 ES68.

 

Overall though, I think your 1.25" collection really nails it and what I think I was ultimately going to recommend to the OP, although would probably not recommend the 3.5 XW and 2-4 Zoom to save money and space with these less used short focal lengths and instead recommend he get a TV 2.5x Powermate instead as he can get to 4mm ~3mm and 2mm with that (much better than the other Barlows he has and it is a tack-sharp amplifier).

 

Matty,

 

As you like some of the classic designs that you have as well, might think about building a stall that incorporates both so you have a broader range of view and form factor types when you observe.  You can still do this even with a small case.  Keep everything in a very small case that has:

 

20 - 14 - 10 XW +2.5x TV Powermate to get to 8 -  5.6 - 4mm

30mm Celestron Ultima

18 - 12.5 - 10 -7.5 - 5 Tak LE +2.5x TV Powermate to get to 4 - 3 - 2mm

(Soon though will changing above to 21.5 RKE - 18 LE - 15 RKE - 10 LE - 12 RKE - 8 RKE + 2.5x Powermate)

6 ZAO-II - 5 XO and a 1.4x Barlow cell to get those to 4.3 - 3.6mm

 

Basically while I love the wide fields with long ER, I still very much like the 51-52 degree designs as they just give a tighter perspective to the view that is sometimes preferred, plus they are hard to beat at planetary and doubles.


Edited by BillP, 28 October 2020 - 06:25 PM.

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#16 John Huntley

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:22 PM

John,

 

Do you really use both the 24 Pan and 17.5 Morpheus much, or do you gravitate toward one more than the other.  The TFOV is really not much more in the 24 Pan.  For me I much prefer just the 17.5 Morpheus, but if I need to keep the form factor down of what I carry out then will opt for the 24 Pan / 24 ES68.

 

Overall though, I think your 1.25" collection really nails it and what I think I was ultimately going to recommend to the OP, although would probably not recommend the 3.5 XW and 2-4 Zoom to save money and space with these less used short focal lengths and instead recommend he get a TV 2.5x Powermate instead as he can get to 4mm ~3mm and 2mm with that (much better than the other Barlows he has and it is a tack-sharp amplifier).

Bill,

 

I do tend to use the 24mm Pan more than the 17.3 Delos and then skip to the 14 Delos so I could manage quite well without the 17.3 I guess.

 

There is some overlap between the zoom and the 3.5mm XW, I agree.

 

I have owned Powermate's and they are really excellent with no adverse impact on image quality that I could see.

 

I'm a bit of a ditherer over moving on quality eyepieces though - I suppose I've parted with a few in the past that I've subsequently missed having or re-purchased (the 24mm Pan being one) so once bitten ....



#17 f74265a

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:24 PM

I had read that about the Nikons but wasn't sure about how they worked for astro. Good info there, thanks!
Leaning towards the XW line. Still researching though, a nice wide field 32mm would be sweet, even though I do like my UO "Koning" with it's 60 degree field.


I use a tv85 in a fairly light polluted location so low power, wide fields yield gray sky. And have astigmatism issues with larger exit pupils. I have no good answers for wider field above 24 pan. The 27 pan is not bad but offers little more than the 24 and is 2 inches. My usual practice is to use a vixen lvw 42 purely as a finder then gear down immediately to the 24 pan or even directly to a 14-10mm range wide field. Planets, double stars, clusters, moon, and brighter nebulas are my thing. Not galaxies or anything else faint bc no chance of seeing it here. Sharpness edge to edge, color rendition (I love seeing color in stars and planets), contrast and ergonomics are how I judge. My style is to repeatedly switch numerous eyepieces from my large collection in and out of the focuser when I’m out to find which gives me the most pleasing view in the relevant conditions. Obviously seeing changes from moment to moment, but trends develop as to which appear consistently better, or at least more pleasing to me. I have favorites. Others will have to tell you how things do on faint objects. Will say, though, that I see more faint stars in clusters with the spectacular 12.5 hw than with the still really good, and economic bargain be comparison, 13 ethos.

#18 BillP

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:51 PM

Bill,

 

I do tend to use the 24mm Pan more than the 17.3 Delos and then skip to the 14 Delos so I could manage quite well without the 17.3 I guess.

Ooops.  Sorry, thought you have the Morpheus and not Delos, but both fairly close anyway.  Yes, going from 24 Pan to 14 Delos seems more natural thing to do.


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#19 John Huntley

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 08:00 PM

Ooops.  Sorry, thought you have the Morpheus and not Delos, but both fairly close anyway.  Yes, going from 24 Pan to 14 Delos seems more natural thing to do.

I've still to try a Morpheus ...... smile.gif



#20 SeattleScott

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 08:11 PM

My kids 1.25” set:

30mm Ultima $75
15mm Panoptic $110
8.8 Meade UWA $120
5.5 Meade series 5000 super Plossl (60 AFOV) came with a used scope. Probably could get one for $40 used.
3.8mm Orion Ultrascopic, ditto, typically go for $50-60.
Lunt 21.5-7.2 zoom $130

Very nice set that I don’t lose sleep over sticky fingerprints. Pretty comprehensive. A bit of a gap from 8.8 to 5.5 but the zoom helps with that. Maybe some day I will get a 6.5 Morpheus and pass down my 7T1.

Just a thought in terms of a more value oriented set.

Scott
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#21 John Huntley

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 09:27 PM

My kids 1.25” set:

30mm Ultima $75
15mm Panoptic $110
8.8 Meade UWA $120
5.5 Meade series 5000 super Plossl (60 AFOV) came with a used scope. Probably could get one for $40 used.
3.8mm Orion Ultrascopic, ditto, typically go for $50-60.
Lunt 21.5-7.2 zoom $130

Very nice set that I don’t lose sleep over sticky fingerprints. Pretty comprehensive. A bit of a gap from 8.8 to 5.5 but the zoom helps with that. Maybe some day I will get a 6.5 Morpheus and pass down my 7T1.

Just a thought in terms of a more value oriented set.

Scott

Good set Scott.

 

More than many use as their primary set I think.



#22 f74265a

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 09:33 PM

Bill,

I do tend to use the 24mm Pan more than the 17.3 Delos and then skip to the 14 Delos so I could manage quite well without the 17.3 I guess.

There is some overlap between the zoom and the 3.5mm XW, I agree.

I have owned Powermate's and they are really excellent with no adverse impact on image quality that I could see.

I'm a bit of a ditherer over moving on quality eyepieces though - I suppose I've parted with a few in the past that I've subsequently missed having or re-purchased (the 24mm Pan being one) so once bitten ....


Jumping from 24 pan to 14 Delos works fine. If you have the luxury of the 17.3 Delos as well, every now and then it provides a better frame for what you are looking at. Necessary? No. Nice? Yes.
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#23 SeattleScott

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 09:52 PM

The Masuyamas are really sharp. The drawback is the narrow 52 AFOV. But for 30mm in 1.25” format that isn’t a problem. Nor for high power planetary. So like to have those at the low and high end for a value 1.25” set.

Scott

#24 paul hart

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 10:14 PM

You can't go wrong with a 24 Panoptic.


Edited by paul hart, 28 October 2020 - 10:14 PM.


#25 SeattleScott

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 11:08 PM

You can't go wrong with a 24 Panoptic.

True, although a Celestron 25mm Xcel LX has 90% of the FOV and is nearly as sharp.

Hey he said he wanted some value choices too!

Scott


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