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Baadar Hyperion Zoom vs. Pentax XF Zoom vs. Leica APSH Zoom

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#1 WheezyGod

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:03 PM

Wondering if anyone has tried 2/3 of these to provide any kind of perspective on the differences. I noticed that the Baadar one has a wider FOV than the Pentax one, but is the Pentax a little more expensive because quality is better in other areas?

The Leica is out of my price range, but I’d like to know what this zoom eyepiece offers that the other two don’t. It’s quite difficult to actually find much information about this one like the FOV. It sounds like the optical quality is as good as TV eyepieces, but I’m guessing the FOV is the main reason this zoom eyepiece isn’t going to give the same experience as the ethos EPs.

Any perspective on how that new one that isn’t out yet that others are talking about in another thread is expected to perform against the Baadar and Pentax zooms?

#2 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:47 PM

I have the Leica, and have tried the Baader. The Baader has a wider range, which is quite noticable.

 

I suspect the quality variance may be higher for the Baader than the Leica, but from what comparisons I have done, the Baader may not be quite so good as the Leica, but it's not far behind.

 

The Leica goes from 8.9 to 17.8, so only a 2x range, but it is wide at about 58 degrees at the low end to 78 at the highest. I've compared it multiple times with ethos, pentax XWs, explore scientific 82 degree, some orthos (Tak, and UO), and Delos. The Leica is as good as any, and for me a tiny bit better.

 

I've not tied the Pentax zoom, but from what I recall it does not review so well. So I'd look carefully there is that were your particular interest.

 

You might also look into the APM "super zoom", which is going to be 7.7 to 15.4, but with a constant 75 degree apparent field. Not out quite yet, but looks like October might be it. If it lives up to specs, it'll be a nice step above the Baader on price and field of view (but not range), and hopefully near as good as the Leica optically, but with more field and a better price.


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#3 SeattleScott

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 02:52 AM

All zooms are a compromise optically. Eyepieces work best at fixed focal lengths . The greater the zoom range, the greater the compromise. It seems the premium zooms that can actually go head to head with $300 fixed eyepieces are 2x range. Leica, Nagler zoom in particular. With a smaller 2x range and ultra high quality, these zooms can at least compete with premium fixed eyepieces.

I tried a friend’s BHZ. It’s a nice eyepiece. If you don’t compare it to a $250-300 fixed eyepiece, you won’t feel like you are really missing anything.

Scott
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#4 iKMN

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 04:58 AM

I prefer fixed FLs but my BZ is going no where.  It's a convenience thing.  It get's used with my AT72 as a GnG for quick views or used as a planetary zoom w/barlow in my bigger scopes.  In fact the only reason I am awake at 5:00 am typing on CN is I got up at 4:00am to go observe after clouds all week which I wouldn't have done if I didn't have the Baader zoom.  If am bringing out a big scope I am bringing out my eyepiece case and the zoom can stay in the house unless I am specifically going after the planets.   If you go with BZ I really like the 2.25x barlow combo for $100 more.  I didn't have a barlow before so it works well with my fixed FLs too.  FWIW, I haven't done a head to head but my friend has a Celestron zoom and it was the first zoom I ever looked through.  It wasn't bad to be honest, I liked the convenience of it and versatility so it got my head spinning.  Then I read the reviews here on the Baader vs Leica and just had to get one.   I believe that the Leica is better from what everyone says but I just don't need the best of everything so went with the BZ and am pleased with it for what it is.   I think the general consensus is from the threads I have read is if you want a single zoom as your only eyepiece and the best optical quality it's worth getting the Leica. If you already have a fixed set the BZ is good enough as a compliment to fixed FLs.  I believe that I read here the Pentax Zoom is more for spotting scopes but don't take my word for it do a search.

 

K


Edited by iKMN, 23 September 2021 - 05:00 AM.

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#5 cst4

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 10:15 AM

I do not know how the newer Mark IV differs, but I had a Baader Mark III and Pentax XF zooms at the same time and compared them some. 

 

The Baader is noticeably wider which is a plus for it.  If you dislike the small apparent FOV's of plossls and orthos then much of the Pentax range might feel restrictive.  But really if you just have to have wide aFOV's then the majority of the Baader range might not satisfy either.

 

The Pentax is a good bit more parfocal.  With it I can focus in the middle of the range and my eyes can accommodate the focus change at each end.  The Baader requires a decent amount of refocusing from end to end.  Also the FOV change as you zoom from high end to low end seems less drastic in the Pentax, so overall it feels more natural and seamless to zoom in and out compared to the Baader.

 

Both seemed comparably sharp and controlled light scatter and glare pretty equally.  The Pentax seemed sharper across the whole view but the view is more narrow.  I thought the Pentax had a little darker sky background though so point to it there.

 

The Pentax XF zoom is a good bit smaller and more compact.  I considered the Baader a 2" eyepiece due to weight and size and kept it with my 2" EP's.  The Pentax feels at home with 1.25" EP's.  I keep my Pentax with my little apo refractor that I use for moon viewing and daytime spotting... The Baader felt awkwardly large to use with this scope. 

 

Ultimately, I definitely prefer fixed focal length EP's so I really don't use any zooms much.  Therefore, my main want to have a zoom on hand is convenience.  The Pentax being smaller and lighter and being more parfocal made it the more convenient zoom, so I sold the Baader.  And it's convenience factor is also why it wound up with my smallest grab and go scope.  If my want in a zoom was to try to replace a whole set of eyepieces with one piece then I probably would have chosen the Baader for the wider FOV and larger range.  


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#6 SeattleScott

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 10:27 AM

Reports are that the Mark IV is noticeably less parfocal than the III.

Scott
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#7 Voyager 3

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 10:35 AM

...and very similar or same optics . 


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#8 SeattleScott

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 10:47 AM

Regarding the APM, we just don’t know. It sounds great on paper. Of course realize it is a bit of a beast. The BHZ is advertised as 24mm at the low end with 48 or 50 AFOV. It has actually been measured at 22.5mm and 44 AFOV. That’s a significant difference. So will the APM really be 75 AFOV throughout the range? Are the specs fudged a bit for marketing? We don’t know yet.

Optical quality is another question mark. We won’t know until it comes out. For the price, it should be good. And being 2x range bodes well. Ignoring spotting scope zooms, what are three zooms known for being outstanding performers? Leica, Nagler and SW 5-8mm. What do all these have in common? A range of 2x or less. Less optical compromise. Less utility maybe, but in theory better performance. Also, the APM zoom isn’t cheap, so you assume there is some good quality there, although maybe not quite on par with the much more expensive Leica.

Gee, now that I think about it, the Leica, SW and Nagler zooms could be a nice set. Covers the range nicely with just a bit of overlap.

But all this is speculation until it comes out.

Scott

#9 WheezyGod

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 05:24 PM

Regarding the APM, we just don’t know. It sounds great on paper. Of course realize it is a bit of a beast. The BHZ is advertised as 24mm at the low end with 48 or 50 AFOV. It has actually been measured at 22.5mm and 44 AFOV. That’s a significant difference. So will the APM really be 75 AFOV throughout the range? Are the specs fudged a bit for marketing? We don’t know yet.

Optical quality is another question mark. We won’t know until it comes out. For the price, it should be good. And being 2x range bodes well. Ignoring spotting scope zooms, what are three zooms known for being outstanding performers? Leica, Nagler and SW 5-8mm. What do all these have in common? A range of 2x or less. Less optical compromise. Less utility maybe, but in theory better performance. Also, the APM zoom isn’t cheap, so you assume there is some good quality there, although maybe not quite on par with the much more expensive Leica.

Gee, now that I think about it, the Leica, SW and Nagler zooms could be a nice set. Covers the range nicely with just a bit of overlap.

But all this is speculation until it comes out.

Scott


Yea it looked like it was going to be around $400 which was just on the edge of what I might be able to get without freaking out the wife. Price seems to keep climbing though based on what it looks to be selling at now in Euros.

Considering that my EPs would be considered close to junk by most CN users it would be a huge upgrade for me. I have one EP that’s 68 degrees, if it’s 75 degrees throughout that’s plenty for me. Hopefully there’s also some US sellers and it’s not exclusive to their website.

#10 WheezyGod

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 05:33 PM

All zooms are a compromise optically. Eyepieces work best at fixed focal lengths . The greater the zoom range, the greater the compromise. It seems the premium zooms that can actually go head to head with $300 fixed eyepieces are 2x range. Leica, Nagler zoom in particular. With a smaller 2x range and ultra high quality, these zooms can at least compete with premium fixed eyepieces.

I tried a friend’s BHZ. It’s a nice eyepiece. If you don’t compare it to a $250-300 fixed eyepiece, you won’t feel like you are really missing anything.

Scott


I have no plans to go after $250-$300 fixed eyepieces but it makes a lot of sense that the quality/FOV/eye relief of a zoom eyepiece at the same piece wouldn’t be as good as a fixed eyepiece. Would you say it’s comparable to a $100-$150 fixed eyepiece?

I’m hoping the APM zoom is great without being too expensive (and not getting price gouged because I live in the US). I don’t need the absolute best quality but am hoping it’s very close to the quality of $300 eyepieces.

#11 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 07:43 PM

IMO, a more reasonable and accurate statement would be that all eyepieces have compromises. It's a question of matching eyepiece traits to your goals and interests.

 

The idea that a $300 zoom is somehow 'equivalent' to a $150 eyepiece is just too general to be useful.

 

You really have to think through what properties of the eyepiece are compromises in a zoom, but you should also consider the benefits.

 

The obvious costs are loss of field of view compared with 80+ degree stuff. The Leica goes from being very close to an 18.2 Delite to a 9mm Nagler, with a Delos or two in between.

 

As far as sharpness and contrast goes, I have compared it with ethos, delos, XWs, ES, and other zooms. The only eyepiece I have that gives a sharper view would be a Nikon 17 HW, and then we are talking about splitting hairs. So you could say that the Leica is equivalent to a set of XWs, but it's a little sharper and it zooms, and costs less to cover the same ground. Oh, and also compared with the Docter 12.5, and can't split them for sharpness and contrast. It's the wider field in the Docter that is the only significant stand out.

 

And, of course, you can also double the range (or more) of the zoom by adding a barlow, and that covers more eyepieces, which is a big benefit for cost and range.

 

In my view, if you are happy with wide to very wide fields, you can replace a lot of eyepieces with a good zoom, and miss nothing but the extra field of view. So, a good zoom, a barlow, and a wide field makes for a formidable set that covers a lot of ground.

 

The other big plus side--zooms zoom. You can pick out faint galaxies, parts of galaxies, planetary nebulae, globulars, and chase the seeing on the planets with a quick twist. I find that a significant benefit over swapping back and forth with fixed-focal lengths. Particularly with the Leica, because I know I'm not going to see more with anything else except eyepieces that are wider and lower power.

 

And when you are working at a particuarly high power, fixed focal length eyepieces tend to produce big magnification jumps, necessitating barlows to get splits in magnification to chase an optimum.

 

And then there are other very sharp zooms like the Nikons that have very narrow fields of view, but on axis are very sharp. There was a $9 nikon sold on ebay a couple years ago that a bunch of people jumped on. That's a good option for someone with a tracking scope.

 

In that case, the $9 zoom on axis is going to clobber a bunch of much, much more expensive eyepieces.

 

The Nagler zoom is also very good. I must have gotten a good example, as I have yet to see it beaten by Tak or UO orthos, or by a Tak 4mm TOE. They have matched the Nagler, but none have exceeded it on the planets in my Televue and A-P refractors.


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#12 happycamperjohn

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 09:38 PM

I've owned the Leica ASPH and the Baader MK-III, and compared them over many months on both planets and DSOs. I also brought my XWs into the shootout. The Leica bested the MK-III and the XWs (I did not expect the XW result btw.).

 

I gave the MK-III to my sister one year for Christmas after she declared a sudden interest in stargazing. However, i still keep my XWs - I don't know if they will ever leave my kit, they're like an old woollen jumper to me.

 

I also own the Nagler 3-6 zoom, and although the view is very good, I can't help but feel strangely "bored" when using it. So it never spends much time in the focuser.


Edited by happycamperjohn, 23 September 2021 - 09:41 PM.

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#13 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 11:09 PM

I have the same problem with the bloody XWs. The Leica wins, and I resolve to sell the XWs. Then I take em for one "final" spin, and back in the case they go. Old wooly jumper is a nice description.


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#14 SeattleScott

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 01:08 AM

I have no plans to go after $250-$300 fixed eyepieces but it makes a lot of sense that the quality/FOV/eye relief of a zoom eyepiece at the same piece wouldn’t be as good as a fixed eyepiece. Would you say it’s comparable to a $100-$150 fixed eyepiece?

Just in terms of optical quality, yes, that is more or less how I think of it. But yeah that is a broad generalization that isn’t necessarily extremely useful. For example Vixen SLV and Baader Hyperion both cost about $150. The SLV are probably sharper, but the Hyperion have more AFOV. In one case your $150 is going to higher quality and the other case wider AFOV. So it gets complicated. But I think comparing the optical quality of the BHZ to $100-150 eyepieces is a decent rule of thumb.

Scott
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#15 Highburymark

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 06:45 PM

It’s very rare I really dislike an eyepiece, but the Pentax XF zoom and night astronomy do not go together. It’s a spotting scope eyepiece (that is supremely good for solar observing - the best I’ve used), but throws up significant false colour around bright nighttime objects. This is not just one bad specimen, other owners have reported similar results. The Leica is in a different league. I think the Baader is more highly rated in the States than it is in Europe, where it is much cheaper. Good eyepiece, but not a Leica.
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#16 DRodrigues

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 02:13 PM

The XF isn't eye-glass user friendly at higher mags position - too short ER!



#17 WheezyGod

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 10:35 AM

It’s very rare I really dislike an eyepiece, but the Pentax XF zoom and night astronomy do not go together. It’s a spotting scope eyepiece (that is supremely good for solar observing - the best I’ve used), but throws up significant false colour around bright nighttime objects. This is not just one bad specimen, other owners have reported similar results. The Leica is in a different league. I think the Baader is more highly rated in the States than it is in Europe, where it is much cheaper. Good eyepiece, but not a Leica.


Yea that’s my worry about the APM in Europe. I hope it gets sold in the US at the same price. Although there’s still a possibility it only works well as a spotting scope.


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