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Tips for buying my first Zoom EP?

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#1 Sirius Noob

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 04:19 AM

Hey just wondering which Zooms you fine people recommend?

I've seen a Celestron 8-24 for $117 AUD and a SVBONY 8-24 for $110 AUD. Then there's no brand ones on ebay for just over $30 AUD...

I'm not really sure what I'm looking for to see which are decent though. Also not sure if relevant for zooms but can't tell what type of EP (ie Huygens, Plossls etc).

Happy to pay a bit more for quality.

Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.
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#2 Spikey131

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 06:43 AM

It would help to know what telescope you are using and what you are looking at.

 

The Baader Hyperion is a well regarded 8-24 zoom in its range.


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#3 Sirius Noob

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 06:48 AM

It would help to know what telescope you are using and what you are looking at.

The Baader Hyperion is a well regarded 8-24 zoom in its range.


Hi! Thanks for that.

My current scope is a simple 3" reflector but I'm strongly considering upgrading to an 8"dob. At the moment I'm primarily interested in looking at the planets but would love to check out DSOs too (especially with the 8").

#4 therealdmt

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 07:29 AM

SVbony 7-21mm zoom works great and is small, light and very inexpensive. The price is really low, but don’t let that throw you off.

 

Get a Baader 8-24mm if you want even better.

 

Celestron and similar 8-24mm ones are well-regarded.

 

Besides the 7-21 I mentioned above, SVbony also makes an 8-24mm.

 

I have the SVbony 7-21 and really enjoy it. I’m planning on getting a Baader at some point though for the bit wider field of view and also just because people say it yields even better views. Since I almost exclusively use my zoom eyepiece, and since it’s not crazy expensive, might as well go for it quality-wise. But really, I’m fine with the SVbony’s quality. It’s mainly just there’s a few things that I could use just a bit wider field of view on, and I think the Baader would cover a chunk of those without having to get into changing out to single focal length eyepieces


Edited by therealdmt, 14 January 2021 - 07:39 AM.

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#5 LIVE LONG

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 07:59 AM

   I own the Celestron version. I do not use it much though. The field of view is too small for me. I much prefer eyepieces with 68 or 82 Degree Field of Views.


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#6 JohnnyBGood

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 09:02 AM

Zooms are very different from Hyygens, Plossls, etc and typically contain a number of lenses, at least one of which is moveable.

 

The Meade/Celestron 8-24 are good zooms at reasonable prices. I bought a Meade 8-24 for my father, and while it's really good for medium and high power I prefer a Plossl for low power because of the slightly wider field of view. The field of view changes with zoom level. When zoomed out the field of view seems similar to my Kellner eyepieces, when zoomed in it seems close to a Plossl. This is subjective, you can check out the actual field of view numbers and compare.

 

I also have an older Celestron 7-21 zoom that I sometimes use. Again, it's nice for high power views because you can adjust the magnification to be optimal for the ski conditions. Slightly smaller fields of view than the 8-24 zooms but it's also considerably more compact and lighter, making it more useful for smaller scopes.

 

On a whim I bought one of the cheap, generic 8-24 zooms because it *looked* like the name brand ones. Mine was Datyson branded. It turns out to be about 1/3 the size of the Meade/Celestron ones and the optics are not good--the center 1/3 and outer 1/3 are not in focus at the same time. Plus, the field of view is a lot smaller (similar to the Huygens eyepieces you have) and the zoom range appeared to me to be more like 12-20 than 8-24 when compared with similar fixed focal length eyepieces. I gave it to my son to play with with his telescope. He liked the novelty of it but it's inferior to the 23mm and 10mm Aspherics he otherwise uses. There are very few purchases I've made that I felt were a waste; that was one of them.


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#7 SeaBee1

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 09:05 AM

I have the SVBONY 8-24. I bought it on the recommendation of several good folks here on CN. For the money, it's a keeper. I use it primarily in my SW120 ED for double/multiple star viewing, so the relatively narrow FOV isn't really an issue for me. It's also a blast to start viewing at the 24mm end on a double and then move through the shorter focal lengths, watching as the stars split out.

 

 

Of course, there are "better" zoom eyepieces to be had, but for the cost of the SVBONY, it is a good introduction to zooms... and you may never feel the need for anything better...

 

Good hunting!

 

CB


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#8 cookjaiii

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 11:05 AM

Stay away from the no-brand zooms - unless you are a fan of kaleidoscopes.


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#9 therealdmt

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 11:35 AM

It's also a blast to start viewing at the 24mm end on a double and then move through the shorter focal lengths, watching as the stars split out.

Yeah, that is cool. First time I saw the double double, I started zooming in and, I forget, maybe the big split to a double was already there, but then I zoomed in...nothin’. Okay, zoomed in more..."Oh no, maybe I don’t have the resolution", almost zoomed all the way in but kept zooming a little more and...bing! Suddenly an extra star popped out of each like they were spitting watermelon seeds! The double double cool.gif


Edited by therealdmt, 14 January 2021 - 11:37 AM.

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#10 SeattleScott

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 12:21 PM

Yeah, that is cool. First time I saw the double double, I started zooming in and, I forget, maybe the big split to a double was already there, but then I zoomed in...nothin’. Okay, zoomed in more..."Oh no, maybe I don’t have the resolution", almost zoomed all the way in but kept zooming a little more and...bing! Suddenly an extra star popped out of each like they were spitting watermelon seeds! The double double cool.gif

It is a cool effect, although you left out one part. Zooming in a little more, (tweak focus), still not split so you zoom in some more (tweak focus), still not split so you zoom in more (tweak focus), bingo!

Most zooms aren’t parfocal. It isn’t the end of the world but I would want people to have realistic expectations.

Generally speaking zooms are good for small targets like planetary, double stars, galaxies, planetary nebulae or globular clusters. Especially with tracking mount. That way their narrow AFOV isn’t a problem. They aren’t as good for framing extended objects, like open clusters or some emission nebulae. They can be a handy tool to have for those small targets or for a small GNG pack when you are going out for a quick look and don’t want to drag out the rolling shop cart with $5,000 of premium glass. But I personally view them as more of a compliment to quality fixed eyepieces rather than a replacement/substitution. Certainly you could get a zoom now and fill in the fixed eyepieces later. Or vice versa.

Scott

#11 BIG

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 12:51 PM

I have the Baader zoom and have found it to be very convenient and a fun additional dimension to my observing. While I still use a number of fixed eyepieces, I probably spend the majority of my time observing with the zoom, particularly when my time is limited.

 

As for what to buy, I highly recommend the Baader. While not inexpensive, the old adage of "buy once, cry once" certainly applies if you don't want to question or regret your purchase later. Also, they tend to hold their value on the used market quite well so if you don't like it, you can alway sell it without losing too much.


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#12 JamesDuffey

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 12:58 PM

I have the Orion-E Series 7mm-21mm zoom, which is the same as the SvBony 7-21 zoom. It is good value for the money ($60 in the US). Not sure what single focal length eyepieces you have now, but in your scope, I suspect that they are not premium. So, in comparison to what you have, the zoom will be an improvement, probably substantial, over what you have. I suspect that you will be satisfied with either the 7-21 Svbony or 8-24 Celestron/Meade.

 

Eyepieces for the 8 inch Dob are a different thing. While you can use the zoom in that scope and it will yield satisfactory views, good individual focal length eyepieces will give a better view, particularly at the long focal length end. That will be what you will use for DSOs. When you get the 8 inch Dob, view with the Zoom and see which focal lengths you like the most and then get a good quality eyepiece of that (or those) focal lengths. 


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#13 LDW47

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 01:30 PM

Hey just wondering which Zooms you fine people recommend?

I've seen a Celestron 8-24 for $117 AUD and a SVBONY 8-24 for $110 AUD. Then there's no brand ones on ebay for just over $30 AUD...

I'm not really sure what I'm looking for to see which are decent though. Also not sure if relevant for zooms but can't tell what type of EP (ie Huygens, Plossls etc).

Happy to pay a bit more for quality.

Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.

Other than your thread have you perused the forums as there are at least a half dozen recent threads that answer your question from many different angles, all informative, all well worth reading !



#14 LDW47

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 01:33 PM

Stay away from the no-brand zooms - unless you are a fan of kaleidoscopes.

Why don’t you clearly explain this one to the OP so they can laugh like the rest of us, lol ?



#15 LDW47

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 01:38 PM

Hey just wondering which Zooms you fine people recommend?

I've seen a Celestron 8-24 for $117 AUD and a SVBONY 8-24 for $110 AUD. Then there's no brand ones on ebay for just over $30 AUD...

I'm not really sure what I'm looking for to see which are decent though. Also not sure if relevant for zooms but can't tell what type of EP (ie Huygens, Plossls etc).

Happy to pay a bit more for quality.

Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.

I have 3 Meade 4000, 1 Orion eSeries, 2 Svbony zooms and they all perform great in their own right on those dark, great seeing nights ! And none of them cost more than say $150, some much less. You have a lot of choice so read the other threads carefully and well before making your choice(s).



#16 SteveG

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 02:45 PM

I have a lot of very expensive eyepieces, but decided to try the SvBony 8-24. I was surprised - it is excellent and a great value for the money ($70 US).


Edited by SteveG, 14 January 2021 - 02:46 PM.

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#17 ShaulaB

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 02:55 PM

I own the Celestron 8-24mm, an Orion 7-21mm, and the BaaderMark IV. You should try the Celestron. The Baader is excellent but it is too expensive for a beginner. The Orion has too narrow Apartment Field of View APOV.

I suspect the SVbony is a clone of the Orion.

#18 Sirius Noob

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 04:12 PM

Thanks everyone! Super helpful as always!!

#19 LDW47

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 04:24 PM

I own the Celestron 8-24mm, an Orion 7-21mm, and the BaaderMark IV. You should try the Celestron. The Baader is excellent but it is too expensive for a beginner. The Orion has too narrow Apartment Field of View APOV.

I suspect the SVbony is a clone of the Orion.

No the Orion etc. is a clone of the Svbony ! Lets be clear about it !


Edited by LDW47, 14 January 2021 - 04:24 PM.


#20 therealdmt

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 11:19 PM

It is a cool effect, although you left out one part. Zooming in a little more, (tweak focus), still not split so you zoom in some more (tweak focus), still not split so you zoom in more (tweak focus), bingo!

Most zooms aren’t parfocal. It isn’t the end of the world but I would want people to have realistic expectations.

Actually, I don’t have to do a lot of refocusing. The SVbony 7-21mm isn’t perfectly parfocal, but refocusing isn’t an obtrusive part of the experience such as your description seems to emphasize. YMMV, I guess.

 

If you’ve used the same eyepiece, the differences in our experiences could be down to expectations and subjective evaluation. A little tweak not even worth mentioning to me might seem like an annoying need to stop and refocus to you. Or perhaps my telescope’s f/9 focal ratio has something to do with that, I don’t know. There is a bit of refocusing involved with major zoom changes, but I usually don’t think about it much. My only two telescopes are f/9 and f/10, and I believe off the top of my head that they have a wider in-focus range than shorter focal ratio telescopes? I don’t have any short ones to compare.

 

In contrast to my experience with my zoom, if I want to change the zoom out for my 2" 25mm eyepiece, now that involves refocusing! So much so that I often don’t even bother in part for that reason


Edited by therealdmt, 14 January 2021 - 11:24 PM.

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#21 sahstim001

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 12:08 AM

We started off with the Celestron 8-24mm and we were quite happy with it for the price. However we upgraded later to the Baader Hyperion 8-24mm, and now we can't go back. The things that made the difference for us are:

1. FOV, never noticed how narrow the Celestron was until now, especially at 24mm. The Baader gains ~10° AFOV across the board.

2. It's nearly parfocal, sometimes we don't even have to touch the focuser. This didn't bother us when using the Celestron, but it's actually pretty nice.

3. The click-stops. It's really nice knowing what power you're at in the dark on the fly, makes it easier to analyze and take notes which I feel helps you get more out of what you're observing.

In summary, for a fraction of the price the Celestron was a fine place to start. But if the Baader is in your budget that's what I'd recommend. If you're going to have a zoom, which is already a sacrifice in certain respects to fixed EP's, you might as well have a nice one.
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#22 Corcaroli78

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 06:00 AM

Hey just wondering which Zooms you fine people recommend?

I've seen a Celestron 8-24 for $117 AUD and a SVBONY 8-24 for $110 AUD. Then there's no brand ones on ebay for just over $30 AUD...

I'm not really sure what I'm looking for to see which are decent though. Also not sure if relevant for zooms but can't tell what type of EP (ie Huygens, Plossls etc).

Happy to pay a bit more for quality.

Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.-

I have owned a few zooms in the last years (Meade 8-24, no name 7-21 and Daytson 7-21) and i ended with the Baader Zoom Mk IV. The worst was the no name with a narrow field and poor optical quality. the Meade and the cheap Daytson were ok.

 

The Zoom is for me a specialized tool for planetary and doubles, but in some cases when i feel lazy, the Baader is very competitive against fixed focal lenght eyepieces in DSOs. I tend to forget the 24 mm FL and use it from 20mm to 8mm where it really excels. 

 

I have not seen the Sbovny, but i can imagine is not far from the Baader. It could be narrower, but optically should work ok as the Sbovny line of ep´s.

 

Carlos


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#23 LDW47

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 10:28 AM

Actually, I don’t have to do a lot of refocusing. The SVbony 7-21mm isn’t perfectly parfocal, but refocusing isn’t an obtrusive part of the experience such as your description seems to emphasize. YMMV, I guess.

 

If you’ve used the same eyepiece, the differences in our experiences could be down to expectations and subjective evaluation. A little tweak not even worth mentioning to me might seem like an annoying need to stop and refocus to you. Or perhaps my telescope’s f/9 focal ratio has something to do with that, I don’t know. There is a bit of refocusing involved with major zoom changes, but I usually don’t think about it much. My only two telescopes are f/9 and f/10, and I believe off the top of my head that they have a wider in-focus range than shorter focal ratio telescopes? I don’t have any short ones to compare.

 

In contrast to my experience with my zoom, if I want to change the zoom out for my 2" 25mm eyepiece, now that involves refocusing! So much so that I often don’t even bother in part for that reason

My Svbony zooms, 8-24, 10-30, are the same a slight parfocal tweak !


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#24 LDW47

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 10:34 AM

We started off with the Celestron 8-24mm and we were quite happy with it for the price. However we upgraded later to the Baader Hyperion 8-24mm, and now we can't go back. The things that made the difference for us are:

1. FOV, never noticed how narrow the Celestron was until now, especially at 24mm. The Baader gains ~10° AFOV across the board.

2. It's nearly parfocal, sometimes we don't even have to touch the focuser. This didn't bother us when using the Celestron, but it's actually pretty nice.

3. The click-stops. It's really nice knowing what power you're at in the dark on the fly, makes it easier to analyze and take notes which I feel helps you get more out of what you're observing.

In summary, for a fraction of the price the Celestron was a fine place to start. But if the Baader is in your budget that's what I'd recommend. If you're going to have a zoom, which is already a sacrifice in certain respects to fixed EP's, you might as well have a nice one.

Sometime when you have nothing else to do, try calculating the difference in TFOV between the Baader and what many call the not as goods ! Then you tell us whether that difference is very noticeable in the ‘ nice one ‘ ? The click stop issue is being discussed in another thread as we speak, have a look.



#25 DC869

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 11:56 AM

I have Celestron ($70 USD) & Meade ($65 USD) 8-24 zooms. For their price I think they both perform well. I use the Meade mostly in my 102mm refractor for doubles and moon observations. Personally, I prefer the Meade over the Celestron. It seems to focus slightly better.

I also have an Agena Astro 7-21 Zoom for $45 USD. It works decently, again for the price and optical ranges provided, and balances well in a 70mm long tube refractor.


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