View Full Version here: : To Nagler or Not?

10-05-2007, 09:21 AM
I need to pick your collective brains.

As a relative newcomer I have managed to read a lot of technical jargon and reviews on EP's and have managed to completely confuse myself.:shrug:

I currently have a near full set of the Meade S5000 Plossl EPs (5.5, 9, 14, 20, 26 & 32mm). I have no complaints with these but have had very little opportunity to look through other makes to compare.

I am keen to get some wide field view EPs such as the Naglers etc. Most of the reviews I can find lead me to believe the Naglers (whilst a bit more expensive) are going to be better overall than the Meade UWA EPs. I am also happy to have some variety in my equipment. To date it is pretty much all Meade.

What focal lengths would be best for me to get to compliment the EPs I already have and avoid duplication? Most of my viewing will be in suburban Adelaide too as I have too few opportunities to make it to dark skies.

I note too that the Naglers come in different models in some closely linked focal lengths and will appreciate any advice as to which model will be best for me.

It may be that I should consider something other than a Nagler or should not dismiss the Meade UWA's, all comments on which I am keen to hear.

Thanks all.

10-05-2007, 09:47 AM
Hi Darren,

I own a large collection of premium eyepieces, including Naglers and Pentax XW's. In your F10 Catadioptic scope, in most focal lengths, the Pentax XW's are better than Naglers IMO. It depends what performance characteristics your looking for in an eyepiece. When you read the eyepiece reviews on most forums, don't forget Naglers are an American eyepiece reviewed by Americans and often compared against a Japanese eyepiece. Put simply, patriotism and long memories can often introduce bias into a review. In addition, because of advertising in the USA there are 20 times the number of Naglers in circulation as there are Pentax XW's. Most people are going to say that what they own is the best, notwithstanding they have never looked through the competition to know that something better may be available. Either, are clearly superior eyepieces to the Meade S5000 plossls and the Meade S5000 UWA. IMO those are both just middle grade, notwithstanding the S5000 UWA aren't all that cheap.

If you buy Naglers or Pentax XW's you are buying a superb eyepiece and you would be very happy with either. The differences between them in most cases are very minimal and fairly subtle. Here are some that I see, having owned and used both in a variety of different telescopes.

The Pentax XW's have longer eye-relief and are more comfortable to use for long periods. They have a cooler more neutral colour reproduction, whites appear white as opposed to a very slight coffee stain with Naglers. The Pentax XW's have slightly better light transmission and contrast, hence they go a little deeper on faint targets. Naglers have a larger AFOV, 82 deg as opposed to 70 deg. This difference in AFOV is often not noticeable by some observers in the field, me included. It is noticed by others. In some focal lengths the Naglers are a fraction sharper at the EOF, not in others. In the short focal lengths (<14mm) the Naglers are smaller and lighter than the XW's.

CS-John B

10-05-2007, 09:49 AM
Interesting question.

It seems to me you have most focal lengths covered, so then it becomes a question of whether you should replace one you already own, and if so, which one. (I have the S5000 20mm BTW, which I actually quite like.)

I note that you have a very nice GOTO scope, so I assume you don't really need the wide field to help acquire an object in the FOV (such as can be an issue with shorter focal length EPs in an undriven dob). So then it seems to come down aesthetics. Which EP do you have that makes you feel most claustrophobic? Which focal length EP do you use the most?

In general, I suppose wide fields are for encompassing extended objects nicely framed in a surrounding context. (Who wants close ups of globulars if you can't see the overall shape and contrast?) Probably that means you would want a longer focal length widefield. (What is the focal length of a 200R, anyway?) Maybe someone would say you should go the greNagler (31mm).

Type 4 naglers have longer eye relief that type 6, I think, and more black beaning. Type 6s are sharper across the field, I think. Complicated EPs with lots more glass will make for dimmer images. In the shorter focal lengths I would consider the Pentax XWs.

10-05-2007, 10:55 AM
Can you really compare naglers to Pentax XWs? A better comparison would be Pentax XWs versus Panoptics (68 degree eyepieces versus 70 degree eyepieces). I would class XWs & panoptics as 'widefield' eyepieces and naglers as 'ultrawidefield' and think that they are not in the same class, hence you cannot make direct comparisons.

10-05-2007, 10:57 AM
Hi Darren, you probably should buy the first expensive eyepiece at the focal length you use the most. XW10mm and shorter focal lengths are widely liked by most observers, while some are bothered by field curvature in the longer focal lengths in some scopes. The Naglers are all generally good though if you like longer eye relief the 17mm and 22mm type 4's are worth looking at.

My personal preference is for wide field (to better see objects in context) and long eye relief (to be able to comfortably see the wide field and avoid eyepiece fogging).

10-05-2007, 11:05 AM
The Meade UWA eyepieces are basically a clone of the type 1 nagler, which Televue didn't bother taking a patent out on because it was close to releasing an improved type 2 version (which they did patent). The main difference between type 6 naglers and earlier naglers is that they sacraficed some eye relief to help remove the 'kidneybean' effect.

10-05-2007, 11:07 AM
[quote=Kal;218631]Can you really compare naglers to Pentax XWs? quote]

You can probably compare them in that the 70 degrees of the XW is easily observed with the long eye relief (longer than any nagler) while the easy to see field of a nagler is limited by shorter eye relief, unless you move your head around to see different parts of the field. (my 2 cent, very humble opinion)

10-05-2007, 11:11 AM
^^^ you can't use "unless you move your head around to see different parts of the field" as a argument for a comparison of Pentax XWs against naglers because that is an effect of the FOV, which the pentax is a massive 12 degrees less. It is for this exact reason that you can't compare Pentax XWs to naglers. You need to cpmpare it with something that is similar, and naglers and pentax XWs are not similar. Panoptics (68 degrees FOV) and Pentax XWs (70 degree FOV) are similar, and if you are going to compare apples to apples you really have to compare these two eyepieces.

10-05-2007, 11:13 AM
Before you even think about buying these eyepieces get along to a viewing night and try them. I don't like the ultra wide over 80 degree fields, especially in the longer focal lengths, but prefer the 70 degree field. Personal choice.

My point, don't go on reputation when you are parting with this type of serious money.

10-05-2007, 11:20 AM
Kal, we'll have to agree to disagree on the comparing XW's to Naglers thing. But that's all good - different people, different experiences, different opinions. I think my opinion stems from my personal preference for long eye relief.

cheers :)

10-05-2007, 11:24 AM
I use my Pentax XW10 in my C9.25 almost all the time.

Being an f10, the same as your 200R, I can confidently say you'd be very happy with that combo:D

For planets...DSO... even star testing (collimation). It does the lot.

When I want to go wider, there's the 13mm Nagler and then the 24Pan.

I'd agree with ausastronomer's (John B's) comments about the respective characteristics of Pentax and Naglers.

Bottom line... if you opt for one of these high end eps... you can't lose:thumbsup:

rmcpb is also on the money. Get along to viewing night to check 'em out before you part with this sort of money. You may find that, being a slow scope like the 9.25, you can settle for slightly cheaper eyepieces which aren't pushed as hard as those in f5 or f6 scopes.

10-05-2007, 11:42 AM
No they aren't, not even close.

The Series 4000 Meade UWA eyepieces are a close clone of the original Naglers. They are different, but "ALMOST IDENTICAL". Meade split the only single Nagler element into two elements, thus the original Nagler 13mm had 7 elements and the 14mm S4000 Meade UWA had 8 elements. It's worth noting the exterior contours of the two new Meade elements are "REMARKABLY" similar to the exterior contours of the single Nagler element. As many have said previously, the S4000 Meade UWA eyepieces were the best eyepieces a "LAWYER" could design. FWIW The Series 4000 Meade SWA series are a very close clone of the Televue widefields, which preceeded the Televue Panoptics and influenced their design.

The Series 5000 Meade UWA use a different design to the Series 4000 UWA. Knowing Meade and their history, there is an extremely high likelihood the S5000 UWA are a close clone of something, but it's not the original Nagler.

BTW there is no such thing as a type 1 Nagler. There was the original in 1980, which was never labelled type 1 by Televue and then the T2 was released about 1984, from memory.

CS-John B

10-05-2007, 11:49 AM
Thanks for correcting me John. I remembered the 'Meade UWA eyepieces were the best eyepieces a "LAWYER" could design' statement but I forgot that Meade now have the series 5000 in place of the series 4000.

10-05-2007, 11:51 AM
All good stuff guys - thank you all very much! Unfortunately we have had a bad run with weather on viewing nights in Adelaide over the last 12 months and my patience is not as good as it should be.

I really love the globular clusters and want to experience the best optical view I can with the widest field of view to really get in there.

Glad to hear that I seem to be on the right track by staying away from the Meade UWAs and will do my best to have a look through the Pentax and Nagler variants.

Thanks all again! :thumbsup:

10-05-2007, 11:52 AM

Notwithstanding there is a 12 degree difference in AFOV between a Nagler and a Pentax XW, a large percentage of observers dont perceive it as such, in use, in the field, some do. I own several of both and I don't perceive much difference at all, notwithstanding what's on paper. It's likely the large eye lens and long eye relief of the Pentax XW's provides a more submersive view on a per degree basis. Further, I find 70 degrees to be perfect for my needs. I also own a 27mm TV Panoptic and have used all the other Panoptics, except the 41mm. I can tell you the 70 deg AFOV of the Pentax XW's "SEEMS" a lot bigger than the 68 deg AFOV of the Panoptics, notwithstanding that it isn't. It's not worth comparing Pentax XW's and Panoptics IMO, notwithstanding their AFOV is similar. The Pentax XW's are a newer design, using newer materials and are a quantum leap above the Panoptics in most respects, IMO. Noteably rectilinear distortion, contrast and light throughput. That doesn't imply of course the Panoptics are not great eyepieces, they are, it's just the XW's are better.

I suggest you try a 10mm Pentax XW, their is an extremely good chance you will like it, "possibly" the best "general purpose widefield" eyepiece ever made ;)

CS-John B

10-05-2007, 12:05 PM
Probably a stupid question but who sells Pentax eyepieces (preferably in Adelaide)?

10-05-2007, 12:06 PM

Someone mentioned previously that "some" of the pentax XW's suffer from field curvature, in "some" telescopes.

The two eyepieces affected here are the 14mm and the 20mm, with the 20mm being a bit worse than the 14mm. It is not an issue with any of the other focal lengths.

That having been said, it is also only an issue with "some" telescopes, notably short focal length newtonians. I use both in my 18"/F4.5 Obsession which has a 2.1 metre focal length and they perform very well. Similarly, I think they would do very well in your 10"/F10 Catadioptic scope with it's 2.5 metre focal length, but you can't be sure. As Rob suggests, you should try before you buy. Outside of the field curvature in "some" scopes the 14mm and 20mm XW's are superb. They exceed everything else available in terms of contrast, sharpness and light throughput. The other focal length Pentax XW's, have no issues in any way, they are superb.

CS-John B

10-05-2007, 12:32 PM

10-05-2007, 12:33 PM
Thanks John - I'll look into the XW 10. Any idea on Australian vendors?

10-05-2007, 12:39 PM
My 2 cents...

While there has been a lot of good comments and opinions shared on this topic, in the end the choice is subjective and as I see it has a couple of levels to it.

The first hurdle (level) is you need to ask yourself why...Why do you think that you need/want some widefield eyepeices? What do you hope to gain or change from what you currently have? The related question is how do you want to use them?

The differences between the "high end" eyepieces might be difficult for some less experienced observers to apprecite (myself included)...To really benefit these differences require using them (often)...

If you have not had any experience with Nagler/Pentax eyepieces I encourage you to get some eyepiece time with them before you plonk down your money. For their price, you could easily justify a Jetstar/Virgin Blue ticket to check out a viewing night...At AUD$400 a pop you don't want to be wrong too many times!

The next level is after you have decided that you want "the best" and can see some of the differences then it comes to your own subjective opinions...eye relief, size/weight, field of view etc.

Depending on what you are after, I don't think you can go too far wrong with either Teleview or Pentax products...

For me and the way I use them...I like the Televiews above 11 mm and the Pentax below 11 mm. That is, when I am using less magnification I do appreciate the extra field of view that the Nagler line offers...However, when I am cranking up the power for detail, I prefer (slightly) the view through the Pentax. Had I never looked through a Pentax would I be thrilled with the Naglers? Yes...and the converse is true too...Each line of eyepeices has it's own strengths and weakness...

Use your own eyes to decide...you might decide that you would rather have the cash in your pocket...or like many, you may soon become a member of Eyepieces Anonomous...

Good Luck to you!

10-05-2007, 12:40 PM
I got mine from Star Optics...but I think there are a few others too...

10-05-2007, 01:07 PM
Me too.

10-05-2007, 01:16 PM
If you're not concerned about ultrawide field, astro-optical have an add in the latest 'Australian Sky & Telescope' for Vixen Lanthanum Wide angle eyepieces: buy one, get a second at half price (works out to $260 each). These are premium 65 degree eyepieces. I thought they were worth mentioning at that price.

10-05-2007, 03:14 PM
Yes the Nagler and pentax eyepieces are superb. Finding which is better is a personal choice imo.

But I do agree with Tony, the Vixen LVW is right up there in the high end eyepiece market.
You can pay half the price at the moment as Tony said, of the so called big two. But I think Vixen LVWs are tops for value for money.:thumbsup:

Its just a pity Vixen does not have a 30 mm LVW.:whistle:

10-05-2007, 03:17 PM

I'd be interested to get your opinion on the 17mm LVW?

10-05-2007, 03:50 PM
hey matt,
I don't have the 17 mm:( but I have the 22 / 13 and 8 mm. So I can not say, but if the 17 is like the 22 and 13 which I'm sure it is, one word "superb"

I do hope to get the 17 / 5 and 3.5 at some stage, but who knows when. If i had the money it would be now with the great deal you can get at the moment.

10-05-2007, 03:53 PM
Oh OK. For some reason I thought you had the 17.

I used to have the 5 and the 3.5.

The 5 was fantastic in my 8" f5 newt. The views it gave on Jupiter and Saturn were very nice.

I can back everything you've said about the Vixen LVWs:thumbsup:

10-05-2007, 03:54 PM
But to Darrens firts post, I think apart from a big wide field like a 31 Nagler or 40 xw or such, for me I don't see much improvement in going from what you have. Save your money and enjoy what you have.:D

10-05-2007, 04:03 PM
Probably good advice Dave.

It is easy to covet thy forum neighbour's toys when you read too many reviews on these things.

Thank you for going to my original post as I am particularly keen to hear from those that know as to whether or not I will be blown away by the extra fov available with further eyepieces or, as you say, stick with what I have.

We actually have clear skies in Adelaide for the first time in weeks so tonight I might do some observing rather than just talking about it.


10-05-2007, 06:09 PM
Happy viewing tonight, or over the next few nights.
When I had a 10" LX200 http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=1006&d=1110106725

I used a 35 mm Panoptic and found it a fantastic wide field eyepiece.
If you want one big wide field eyepiece then either the 35 pano, 41 mm Pano, or 31 nagler or 30/ 40 xw or Vixen LVW 42 mm :eyepop: http://www.myastroshop.com.au/products/details.asp?id=MAS-084b

any of those and some others would serve you well as a stand alone BIG wide field Ep.;)

10-05-2007, 11:21 PM

I have two Naglers; 17T4 and 9T6.

Until the 10" Newtonian arrived I would have to say that I was rather underwhelmed with them in the 8" LX90. The 9T6 in particular is generally useless in that scope in suburban skies. Too much magnification.

Different story entirely with the Newt. While they are both superb in this scope I have no plans for more Naglers. They are definitely 'warm' as far as viewing goes.

I've been looking for an excuse to try a Pentax but already had most of the focal length range covered. Whilst I have an 11 mm TV Plossl a longer ER ocular in this focal length range would be nice. Ergo, the 12 mm XF Pentax comes to mind. Price seems right -$215 from Frontier Optics (www.frontieroptics.com.au (http://www.frontieroptics.com.au)).

Daniel handles the Pentax range so you might like to drop him a line.


11-05-2007, 09:30 AM
Thanks Mark

No one has really talked about the magnification issue in suburban skies yet which was one of my concerns on choosing a new EP. As last night showed 14mm or therabouts may be a good max. allrounder rather than the 10mm I have been recommended earlier. Or perhaps I am just doing my head in! :screwy:

I take note of your experience between your two scopes but don't know much about Newtonians and your focal length etc.

You look like you are going to upgrade within a similar fov for better ER. I on the other hand am only looking to expand on my collection to experience the wide fov's available out there.

To dumb down the question I have on whether to get some wide angle EPs - is the experience going to be similar to upgrading your old 4:3 CRT TV to a 16:9 widescreen plasma or LCD? I certainly have enjoyed the upgrade on this at home!

11-05-2007, 09:52 AM
Darren, I alluded to the magnification issue in an earlier post when I suggested you buy an eyepiece at your most used focal length. If you're going to dump a load of cash you need to use it frequently. Provided you regularly get 113x magnification, a 22mm Nagler is a very nice but very expensive eyepiece. I picked mine up second hand as I can't justify the new cost of these eyepieces.

11-05-2007, 10:11 AM

Keep in mind that you might be doing outings with a local astro club to a dark site. If, on the other hand, that's not on the plans then 10 mm may be too much for suburban skies. Sad, because I don't think I've ever read one adverse word about the Pentax 10 mm.

With the LX90, I'm actually much more comfortable using the 18 mm Radian with its 60 deg. AFOV and the 27 mm Panoptic.

You'll notice the difference you mentioned vis a vis television. 65-70 deg. AFOV EPs are noticeably more involving than 50-55 deg. Plossls. More so if it's quality glass like Pentax or Televue.


11-05-2007, 10:23 AM
I would say it is more like going from a 32" TV to a 42" TV - you will see the same but more magnified (up to about 70 degrees FOV as most people have said already). Beyond this as you move to the ultrawide FOV of the naglers I would describe it as seeing the extra FOV as 'peripheral vision'. Not all peoples eyes are the same though. Your best bet is to attend an astronomy meetup/starparty and try looking through all the different eyepieces you are considering and then you will know what you want.

11-05-2007, 10:34 AM
Thanks Mark & Tony for your input.

The dark sky expeditions are few and far between at the moment with the young family situation I have. That will change as the boys get older though so perhaps I'll take your advice Tony and keep an eye out for some second hand WA EPs at low mag to start with.

Mark, like you I am yet to see anything but glowing commentary on the 10mm XW anywhere not the least of which is contained in this thread.


28-05-2007, 06:10 AM
I prefer the Pentax XW10 on my TV-85, because of the 20-mm eye relief coupled
with consistant sharpness across the field. The Nagler Type-6 is also great, being
light and compact, but I get tired quickly trying to push my eye against eyepieces
with ER's <12 mm. I also own the TV Plossl 11 mm, which in my opinion are
noticibly sharper and higher-constrast than either the Nagler or Pentax on-axis
(not to mention much cheaper), but its smaller field of view (50 degrees) and shorter
ER makes it less than ideal for me. Again, personal preference, one look is worth
a 1000 words.

28-05-2007, 02:15 PM
I have the Pentax 10 and 7XW and I think they are both superb eyepieces, the 10XW in particular is my most used eyepiece. The twist up eyecups work well too and I like the 20mm eye relief.

As for the 70 v 82 degrees, I don't have any Naglers to compare but I do have two of the WO UWAN's (82 degree) in the long focal lengths and I don't notice any apparent difference. In fact, I prefer to have the FOV just framed by the focal stop instead of moving my eye to see the edge of the FOV. That's just a personal preference, many other people like the extra wide field of the 82 degree eyepieces.