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Agena Starguider Dual ED eyepieces

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#1 monolithic

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Posted 02 July 2022 - 03:38 PM

My hunt for eyepieces has led me to the Agena Starguider Dual ED's. I have heard nothing but praise about these oculars, and considering my budget these sound like diamonds in the rough. From what I have heard, every EP has decent AFOV, good eye relief, and great optical quality. My questions are does anyone have experience with these, and are they as good as they sound? How well do they perform on different kinds of objects? Are there better alternatives under $100?



#2 Starman1

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Posted 02 July 2022 - 05:43 PM

https://www.cloudyni...ch&fromsearch=1

and enter:

Paradigm in the "Find Words"

Highlight Eyepieces in "Find in Forum"

It comes back with 896 threads mentioning the Paradigm eyepieces (which are identical to the BST Starguiders).

 

If you do a Google search for "Paradigm eyepiece reviews", it comes back with 1,240,000 results.

 

You have some reading to do.

 

Then, repeat the CN search with Starguider in the "Find Words".

The eyepieces have been available under about 8 other labels so far as well, and there are reviews on those as well.

Good reading!


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#3 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 02 July 2022 - 10:30 PM

My hunt for eyepieces has led me to the Agena Starguider Dual ED's. I have heard nothing but praise about these oculars, and considering my budget these sound like diamonds in the rough. From what I have heard, every EP has decent AFOV, good eye relief, and great optical quality. My questions are does anyone have experience with these, and are they as good as they sound? How well do they perform on different kinds of objects? Are there better alternatives under $100?

 

As Don said, these are the same eyepieces as the Astro-Tech Paradigms.  I have a set of Paradigms that includes the 25mm, 18mm, the 12mm, 8mm, 5 mm and 3.2 mm.  For comparison, I also have a collection of TeleVue eyepieces.

 

My question for you:  What scope(s) would you be using them in?  

 

I use mine in both refractors and reflectors, my slowest focal ratio scope is F/7, most are faster.  I would say this: 

 

In my scopes, they have a "wide enough field of view to feel wide" and they all have a comfortable amount of eye relief.  Optically, the 12mm, 8mm, and 5mm are quite sharp across the field in my scopes, even at F/5.  The 25mm and the 18mm are not so sharp out towards the edge of the field, stars are not sharp, they are not "star-like."  The 3.2mm is not as sharp as 5mm etc. I like them all though and use them frequently despite the imperfections of some of them,

 

Jon
  


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#4 SeattleScott

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Posted 02 July 2022 - 11:11 PM

Under $100 the Celestron Xcel LX 25mm is a good alternative to the 25 Starguider, particularly if using a fast scope.

That being said, I get the impression from reviews that the 12 and 5 starguiders are as good, probably even a bit better than the 12 and 5 Xcel LX.

When you are dealing with eyepieces under $100, there is going to be some inconsistencies, so you often have to mix and match the best performers in each series for best results.

Scott
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#5 Astronome66

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 12:30 AM

I also noticed all the positive comments about these eyepieces before deciding to buy a small set for my family. We don’t have anything better to compare them with, but our experience is consistent with Jon’s : the 12, 8 and 5mm focal lengths are great, while the 3.2mm seems a bit softer, but that’s only when compared with the 5mm. Compared to a 6mm Planetary II in an inexpensive 2x barlow, our 3.2mm StarGuider is raser sharp. So for us, they all work so well in our 8” dob that we see no point in even thinking about upgrading any them. Good luck waytogo.gif


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#6 monolithic

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 01:09 AM

My question for you:  What scope(s) would you be using them in?  

The 10" F7 Newtonian I recently picked up used. $150 is realistically the highest I can go per eyepiece, though would like to keep it under $100 each.



#7 Astronome66

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 09:03 AM

would like to keep it under $100 each.

You’re in luck then because new Paradigms / StarGuiders are in the range of $40 - $65 USD. Not sure how tariffs on astronomy gear work in the US, but it’s duty free in Canada (we just pay our regular sales tax), so I found that FLO (First Light Optics) in the UK had the best prices when I bought ours because they drop the the VAT (at least on sales to Canada) and give discounts on purchases more than one. I think we saved about 15% by buying four at once.



#8 SeattleScott

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 10:14 AM

If you don’t need long eye relief, the Astrotech ultrawides are a great value.

Scott
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#9 Frugal Astronomer

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 04:55 PM

Lots of people have experience with these because they're good, budget-friendly eyepieces.  If you want anything more specific, you should specify the telescope you'd be using them with.  I've owned the 25, 18, 15, 12, and 5mm.  They were the first eyepieces I bought after using the ones that came with my AD8 (8" dob).  I found them very satisfactory--easy eye placement, good field of view, decently sharp, etc.  I saw lots and lots of things with them.  Never regretted buying them.


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#10 sportsmed

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 06:59 PM

The Paradigms/Starguiders do get great reviews and I have been thinking of getting the 3.2mm myself for a cheap alternative to using my barlow. I can suggest the Celestron X-Cel LX also, I have used multiple ones and they have done very well. The only one I didnt care for was the 18mm, you can usually find them used for around $65. But if you want a larger FOV then I would look at the Astro-Tech UWA's, I have the 4mm and really like it. But if you dont mind the 60o FOV of the Paradigms/Starguiders then I'm sure over all you would be pretty happy.


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#11 monolithic

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 08:18 PM

But if you dont mind the 60o FOV of the Paradigms/Starguiders then I'm sure over all you would be pretty happy.

Would not be bothered by the AFOV at all - it's decently sized and the main things I'm looking for are optical quality and eye relief.

 

If you want anything more specific, you should specify the telescope you'd be using them with.

It's a 10" f7 build I bought used. The range of focal lengths the Paradigms provide seems very balanced. I would like to stick around that range, picking up the sharpest Paradigms and filling the gaps with other pieces. The 5, 8, and 12mm Paradigms are on my list, now to look for 15-25mm eyepieces that will complement them well.



#12 Astronome66

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 10:46 PM

Hmm, Don has given tons of great advice on the optimum progression of magnification from low power to high power depending on one’s aperture. For an 8” f6 dob, the general idea was to build up in 50x increments from 50x to 250x. Not sure if that would also hold true with a 10” aperture, but I imagine that he or Jon will weigh in with some specific advice for your setup in due course.

Whichever way you go, having something in the range of 40-60x with a TFoV between 1.5° and 2° is a lot of fun. For our 8” dob, my family and I use a 100° 20mm most of the time when we’re not using our StarGuiders. It’s amazing to see that much sky at 60x magnification and we haven’t found a need to have anything between it and the 12mm. Cheers!



#13 Terry Smith

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 08:01 PM

I have the Starguiders in 18mm, 15mm 12mm and 8mm. They are excellent eyepieces.



#14 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 08:16 PM

If you don’t need long eye relief, the Astrotech ultrawides are a great value.

Scott

The 82-degree AFOV A-T UWAs are definitely worthy of consideration, especially at the current sales price.

https://www.astronom...ece_series=1051

Otherwise, the A-T Paradigm Dual EDs are certainly good options.

 

https://www.astronom...iece_series=478



#15 havasman

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 09:01 PM

The 10" F7 Newtonian I recently picked up used. $150 is realistically the highest I can go per eyepiece, though would like to keep it under $100 each.

At f7 you are a prime candidate for the Astro-Tech Paradigm Dual ED/Agena Starguider Dual ED's. Particularly in the focal lengths you indicated you are interested in, I think they are great values and fine performers by any practical measure. The longer focal lengths are not bad. They have flaws. But they still can well support good observing. And they are very comfortable to use. There's every good reason to avoid busting your budget and risk creating smoldering resentment in the back of your mind when you can just enjoy yourself instead.  smile.gif 

 

I had the 25, 12 & 8mm Paradigm Dual ED's in a 6" f8 Dob and was quite surprised by their high performance. And I have much more complex ep's for comparison.


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#16 SeattleScott

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 10:58 PM

The 25 Xcel LX is the usual higher quality alternative to the Paradigm at 25mm. Very sharp even in fast scopes. And still under $100.

Trying to fill a gap between 12 and 25, maybe the 18mm UFF? Around $100 I believe. 65 AFOV, good reputation. Of course there is the 16mm AT UWA for $100 also.

Scott

#17 Lagrange

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 07:27 AM

The 25 Xcel LX is the usual higher quality alternative to the Paradigm at 25mm. Very sharp even in fast scopes. And still under $100.

Trying to fill a gap between 12 and 25, maybe the 18mm UFF? Around $100 I believe. 65 AFOV, good reputation. Of course there is the 16mm AT UWA for $100 also.

Scott

Svbony are currently selling their version of the 18mm UFF which is cosmetically identical to the APM model for $80 delivered via their website. I've got the 15mm version of that eyepiece (Sky Rover brand) and it's it's a nice piece of kit.


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#18 jcj380

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 07:53 AM

I have one AT branded and one Starguider branded - 15mm and 25mm.  I like them for their eye relief and wide fields and I do use them in fast refractors.  Not as nice as my Vixen SLVs, but a good value IMO.  YMMV.


Edited by jcj380, 07 July 2022 - 07:54 AM.


#19 writerguy

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Posted 08 July 2022 - 08:32 AM

I use 12mm, 8mm, and 5mm Paradigms/Starguiders in my 4" F7 refractor, and love 'em. Just had the chance to use the 5mm last weekend at a dark site, and had a great time observing the Dumbbell Nebula and Great Cluster in Hercules with it. I'm always impressed with the quality of the views.

 

At 25mm I use a Meade HD-60, which is basically the same as the Celestron X-Cel LX. I picked mine up for well under $100 on the classifieds, and would highly recommend it as an alternative to a 25mm Paradigm/Starguider if you are at all concerned about that particular focal length.

 

Instead of the 18mm, I opted for a 17mm Sterling, which I also got at a great price on the classifieds. Again, an excellent, inexpensive eyepiece, and one that offers a very different viewing experience than the Paradigm/Starguiders. I like having the variety, and use it often.


Edited by writerguy, 08 July 2022 - 08:33 AM.

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#20 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 08 July 2022 - 09:42 AM

I have an ETX125 with it having a 1900fl and at f/15 I certainly did not get it or use with wide FOV in mind. My Starguider dual ED 25mm EP allows me to have a full Moon in the FOV with it. And when I want more magnification, I also currently have an 18mm ED, and an Agena WA 9mm. I also have 2X and 3X barlows, although I use those more with my DSLR. I appreciate the wider FOV but I'm also not expecting the FOV of a fast, wide field refractor. 

 

The detail is stunning. Even the other evening looking at the Moon through the 25mm, there was quite a bit of detail to be seen with great clarity all the way to the edge. The views at higher power revealed so much clear, crisp details, but it didn't feel constricted. Seems like the Starguider/Paradigm EP's are great EP's for long focal length scopes where one would want a little wider FOV, even at high power. At some point I'll replace the WA 9mm with a Starguider ED 8mm. I love them so much I plan on rounding out the entire collection with them.


Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 08 July 2022 - 09:43 AM.


#21 MrFreeze

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 04:38 AM

I've now got the full set of these, with the exception of the 3.2mm, which is a bit much for my scopes. They are all excellent eyepieces. No problems with eye positioning like the expanse series eyepieces. The only drawback with these is it's very difficult to use a cellphone adapter with them to take quick snaps, because they aren't straight sided. They all conveniently pack into this bum-bag, so great for grab and go (my case for ES eyepieces is 'considerably' larger😀).

IMG_20220710_100853-1280x960.jpg

David


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#22 writerguy

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 09:49 AM

They all conveniently pack into this bum-bag, so great for grab and go (my case for ES eyepieces is 'considerably' larger).

attachicon.gifIMG_20220710_100853-1280x960.jpg

David

Hey David,

 

Nice bag! Where did you get that? Did you make the foam insert yourself?

 

Best,

 

AG



#23 MrFreeze

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 05:01 PM

I got the bag (actually I have a pair - the other has my Kson ortho eyepieces) from Aliexpress. It's from the shop5575007 store. Very difficult to get a link for it as it keeps redirecting to their app, but try this : https://www.aliexpre...1108375052.html

The foam is as provided, but you need to remove the top layer, then cut some of the round  infill bits in half and insert in the holes to protect the bottom of the eyepieces.

 

David


Edited by MrFreeze, 11 July 2022 - 01:12 AM.

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#24 BFaucett

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 05:53 PM

I got the bag (actually I have a pair - the other has my Kson ortho eyepieces) from Aliexpress. It's from the shop5575007 store. Very difficult to get a link for it as it keeps redirecting to their app, but try this : https://m.aliexpress...108375052.html 

 

Corrected link (there's a space at the end of the link above) :

 

https://www.aliexpre...0922060300.html

 

Cheers! Bob F.


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#25 MrFreeze

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 01:16 AM

Cheers for fixing that Bob (original now corrected) editing a link seems to work 'oddly' - it seems to remember what you first entered.

 

David


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