That's an interesting point. I had hoped light pollution wouldn't completely rule out deep sky for me - do you think I can still see some objects, or is it time for me to be disappointed? And if not with a 2", is there another category of eyepiece that would be ideal for that?
The X-Cel LX is the model of Barlow I have, I hadn't looked at the EPs. Antares EPs seem like they would be good value for money. However if I'm better off with a 1.25" for whatever DSOs I can see here, it seems like it'd be wiser to get a 7-21 zoom - I'd have good magnifications for DSOs and planets all in one eyepiece. That doesn't quite get me to zero fuss, but it would be less than if I also had to exchange eyepieces. I'm actually kind of surprised you don't like zooms in that context - what is it you don't like about them, just the smaller FOV? Is it that big of a drawback?
I like your peep tube solution. Very simple and elegant Will fashion one of those for myself. Unlike a dot sight, it won't eat coin cells.
Light pollution will diminish the view of some things more than others. Galaxies are probably affected the most, as well as extended nebulae and things like supernova remnants (like the Veil). You can still see the cores of many galaxies, but their structure and outer reaches are greatly diminished or gone in the muck. You can try to keep your exit pupil and sky background brightness down by using eyepieces at 25mm and below. I think using your stock 25 for a while will give you a good feel for how much DSO detail you can get. This would be most evident if you were able to look at the same object at home and under a darker sky some other night. An 18 or 20mm wide field ep could be even better for a bit more detail and contrast from home and at a darker sky location.
There are some objects that hold up better in LP. Globular clusters and open clusters can look good, especially at higher powers, like 80 -120x or even a bit more in your 8". Many planetary nebula can also show a bit of detail or even some color, like the Ring, Cat's Eye, Dumbbell and more. And the brightest show piece emission nebulae, like Orion, the Lagoon and the Swan will yield some structure, too. A filter might help a bit on nebulae.
The small fov is definitely one thing I do not like about zooms. The other is having to turn the barrel to adjust power, which as Tony already mentioned, is a bit more fuss while wearing gloves. I prefer to just get a specific mag and larger fov by simply placing the ep in the focuser.
Edited by Don H, 16 September 2021 - 01:58 PM.