The Hyperion zoom is around 300g by itself, the Starsense mount is not exactly stiff and the telescope is provided with an abnormally short dovetail bar.
Being that the first telescope and being the OP interested in planetary observations in my opinion the best course of action is setting it up to enable the "easiest" way to attain the best performances.
A compact EP in the 60° with plenty of eye relief would attain that much better than "towers" of Barlow and zoom.
The Baader zoom with its screw-in lens would be the lesser evil, but costs more than the whole telescope so, at that point, there could have been more effective options for the purpose of observing planets and a few bright DSOs.
A few years ago I tried one of these rebranded 7-21 and was not excited at all; with a long focal SCT or slower achro could have been a low-cost option, but in this case, without a Barlow, the eyepiece is very limited to observe planets (90x require a lot of effort and care to see details).
As for deep sky, yes, one of these zoom at f/6 could cover a lot of interesting pupils, but the Baader zoom is narrower than a Plossl at 24mm (think it reach 50° from 20mm, and 60° from 16mm) so there are more effective options even for that with a 300$ budget
Weight and magnification range. I have to run the numbers to really understand the challenge or issue.
He wants to view planets and Messier objects. In other words, a bit of everything. One of the reasons I recommended this scope was that it can be used for pretty much anything, though it may not be optimized to any one use.
I like recommending a more general purpose scope as a first scope. It lets the new person explore with wide field of view as well as reasonably high magnification.
So, what would be a reasonable eyepiece set to get started on a moderate budget.
32 mm Plossl to max out the field of view as a finder and as a wide DSO eyepiece.
25 mm - Included eyepiece. Doesn't say what it is so we can speculate that it is a Kellner
8-24 zoom - I will use Celestron which would be a reasonably priced zoom for someone buying this scope.
1.5X/2X Barlow. 1.5X screw on element - 2X used in the typical fashion
A 2.5X Barlow to take the scope higher, but not too high.
32 mm - 20.6X about 2.4 degree FOV
25 mm - 26.4X about 1.5 degree FOV
32 in 2X Barlow - 41X about 1.2 degree FOV
8-24 zoom 27.5X - 82.5X - about 1.4 degree to .7 degree FOV
Zoom+1.5X element 41.2X - 123X - about .9 degree to .48 degree FOV
Zoom in 2X Barlow 55X - 165X - about .7 degree to .35 degree FOV
Zoom in 2.5X Barlow 68.7 - 206X about .6 Degree to .3 degree FOV
The numbers are based on Celestron's published specs of 40 to 60 degree AFOV.
FOV calculation - AFOV/Mag - not exact but close enough for illustration purposes
Barlow is either the GSO 1.5X/2X shorty Barlow or the GSO 2.5X Barlow
So the Plossl, zoom, 2X Barlow combination yields useable mags from 20X to 165X with the purchase of two eyepieces and a 2X Barlow. Total of about $140 to $200 depending on the current crazy prices.
My expectation is that the included 25 mm will tend to be deemphasized over time favoring the 32/2X combo or go straight to the zoom with a similar field of view.
The real variable is how you set up the zoom at the start of the night's observing session.
- low power DSOs you use it alone
- general targets you put on the 1.5X element and leave it on for the night.
- higher power targets, you put it in the 2X Barlow.
If you are going to be working planets and the Moon then you drop it into the 2X shorty Barlow and keep it there all night.
At 165X, using a 2X Barlow, you are at an effective 4mm eyepiece FL for about a .6 mm exit pupil which is about as low as many people recommend, but is well within the mag range of this scope.
A 2.5X Barlow might be preferred over a 1.5X/2X Barlow if the primary focus was on planets and the Moon as it takes the scope to a higher top mag without going crazy. The exit pupil, based on 3.2 mm effective eyepiece FL is still about a .5 mm, which is workable. I know below .5 mm exit pupil my eye floaters become a problem.
Let's look at weight.
32 mm Plossl - About 4 oz
GSO Shorty 2X - About 3.3 oz
GSO Shorty 2.5X - About 3.5 oz
Celestron zoom - About 8 oz.
So the heaviest combination of zoom and 2X Barlow would be about 11.3 oz.
An AT Paradigm 3.2 mm is about 7.2 oz or close to the weight of the zoom.
An AT Paradigm 15 mm is about 6.4 oz, about 1.6 lighter than the zoom.
So the Zoom/Barlow combination is about 4 oz heavier than a Single FL 60 degree 3.2 mm eyepiece. I don't think that is enough to create a serious balance or stability issue.
It always comes down to goals and budgets. For someone buying a first scope in this price range, I think the 32 Plossl/Zoom/Barlow is a good fit to start. I feel the weight and the field of view is quite workable.
But, naturally, your smileage will vary.
Edited by aeajr, 29 January 2021 - 03:41 PM.