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Old 29-05-2019, 12:34 PM
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pfitzgerald (Paul)
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Seeking eyepiece advice for a SWED120BD f/7.5

Hi Folks

Most nights I'm actually imaging with this scope but am wanting to do more with it visually - especially viewing nights with my School's Astronomy Club and a few Scout Groups. So viewing targets would be the Moon, planets, double stars and some of the more obvious nebulae like M42 and NGC3372.

I have a 2" 28mm Plossl that came with the scope - which I like as a 'finder' eyepiece. The other Plossls I have are a 15mm and a 5 mm - neither of which inspire me!

A good friend suggested I look into the Vixen LVW range of eyepieces and suggested that 22 mm and 13 mm would probably suit my needs (that was about a year ago and now these eyepieces are no longer available!)

Would the Explore Scientific 68o range of eyepieces be worthy replacements (price and quality) for the Vixens. Televue eyepieces, for example, are way beyond what I can afford!

Any advice would be much appreciated - and I hope that I've given you enough specific detail to do so.

Thank you all in advance.

Paul
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Old 29-05-2019, 08:11 PM
Wilso (Darren)
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Hi Paul,

For the scout groups you could try a zoom eyepiece, easy to use, don’t have to worry about constantly changing eyepieces. A lot of people here recommended the vixen zoom in other posts.
As for the astronomy club you could try comparing your plossl eyepieces to orthos or other type eyepieces of the same focal length (just a thought).
The classifieds here are a good resource for eyepieces if your not in a hurry also.

Cheers
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Old 29-05-2019, 08:38 PM
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pfitzgerald (Paul)
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Thanks Darren

Food for thought - so far I've 'missed' getting the Vixen's that have been put up in the classifieds.

Paul
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Old 30-05-2019, 12:04 AM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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Like anything else people can only really say what they have and find good only you can decide on the best for you.

Most people like me collect a set over the years.

I would always suggest ONLY get 2" where possible, and buy the BEST you can afford.

I would prefer ONE good eyepiece to three ok ones. But, there is a limit, I am honest, and will say that I would not see any difference between a £500 eyepiece and a £200 one but I would see a difference between a £75 one and a £200 one which is why I have Vixen LVW, Celestron Axiom and for quick use the Baader Mk 4 zoom.

buy one at a time, kits are pointless and just a way to get you to buy what you don't need, building up a good kit takes time.
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Old 30-05-2019, 12:40 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Paul,

"Good" and inexpensive eyepieces can be an exercise in looking for a gem in a coal field. They do exist, but you do need to understand both what scope you intend to use them in, and sometimes what degree of aberrations you may need to tolerate.

This is especially so for Newtonians. However, as your scope is a refractor, and an ED one at that and not the fastest focal ratio, things do get much easier.

Inexpensive does not need to mean crap or poor quality or looking through a Coke bottle. And spending big $$$ does not necessarily mean best quality! (Sorry Jeremy, I don't necessarily agree with your comment of buying the best you can afford meaning quality only equating with $$$). What it does mean is it opens up other EP designs that are actually exceptional performers, but they just don't carry a particular Brand label. As you didn't give a specific budget, just not shall we say expensive, I'll look to offer recommendations that are below $200 a piece.

PLEASE NOTE: when I describe an eyepiece as being "good" or "excellent" in any given scope, I am meaning that there are certain aberrations that are either not present or very well controlled, these namely being astigmatism and field curvature. Also important is an excellent degree of transmission and colour flaring also well controlled (this also depends on the scope you are using). Just to give a dumb "good" or "excellent" without quantifying as to WHY they are good or excellent is useless to you in your own assessment of my recommendations.

In the short focal lengths, there's a few really good lines. The TMB Planetary Type II's are extremely good in refractors. Can be found for as little as $50 a pop on Ebay, all have the same generous amount of eye relief and all sport the same big eye lens, and all sport the same 58° AFOV.

Two other really good lines are the Orion Planetaries and the Celestron X-Cel lines. However, these are a bit more expensive than the TMB's. Both of these have an AFOV of around 60°. And there is also the Baader Hyperions, all having an AFOV of 68°, and these are also readily available second hand. These Hyperions also come in different flavours: they are the same as the Saxon Superwide, the Orion Stratus, the Celestron Duo and a couple of others. Despite the popular thinking that the Hyperion line is some "clone" of the Vixen LVW line, both are totally different optical designs. The LVW line was only once re-badged, and for just a couple of years as the Orion Lanthanum Superwides, and that was some time ago too. Both these Vixen and Orion EPs are only available second hand, and the Orion's a little cheaper as they are not branded "Vixen".

Remember, these recommendations are for refractors, SCT's and Maks, not Newtonians as Newt's are a different kettle of fish and while some individual focal lengths from any of these recommendations can be very good performers in Newts, not all of these lines will contain individual focal lengths that will perform just as well in Newts. If you are looking for eyepieces for your Newtonian/dob, this is not the thread for you.

For longer focal lengths, the GSO Superviews are good. You could also use the 42mm as it will give you the widest TFOV possible with a 2" 68° AFOV eyepiece.

There's also the 70° lines that are offered under various brands. The are all the same optical design: Explore Scientific 70°, Orion Q-70, Prostar, and a couple of others. Can be hard to find in Oz though.

The Meade SWA (68°) and ES 68° are also excellent in fracs. So are the Celestron Axiom LX and Celestron Luminos, both around the 80° mark.

My experience with zoom eyepieces is very limited, and I only have experience with the Baader Hyperion zoom types III an IV, and both are really good in refractors. (The Mark IV is excellent in Newts too)

I'm sure other people will be able to recommend other EPs too.

Again, I stress that ALL the above recommendations are for refractors, SCT's and Maks. Newtonians are a different beastie, and while there will be some individual focal lengths from the above lines, most will however will exhibit aberrations such as astigmatism and field curvature, which for some people this is not problematic, but for other people these aberrations are not tolerable. So if you are looking for EPs for your Newt, this is not the thread for you.

Alex.

Last edited by mental4astro; 30-05-2019 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 30-05-2019, 01:57 AM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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"SWED120BD f/7.5"

I assume you mean 120 ED not BD

I have the 120 Esprit, I do think that when you spend a decent sum on a scope it does deserve decent eyepieces, not overboard but not £50 ones.

https://www.vixenoptics.co.uk/Pages/lvw_review.html
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Old 30-05-2019, 03:06 AM
Renato1 (Renato)
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I don't know - buying relatively expensive eyepieces for lots of Scouts to use.

Much better to have a cheap set for their use.

I bought this $39.33 set recently because the 23mm and 10mm ones had good reviews while the 4mm less so (but I found it fine). Main problems were that the 4mm and 10mm had narrow eye-relief, and 23mm requires the eye to be dead centered else image partially blanks out.
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/1-25-HD-...53.m2749.l2649

At that price, who cares if grubby hands get all over them?

Cheers,
Renato
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Old 30-05-2019, 10:08 AM
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pfitzgerald (Paul)
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Hi Gents

Thank you all for taking the time to answer my query.

Jeremy: the scope I have is the SW ED120 Black Diamond and I agree that buying one or two quality eyepieces is better than purchasing a set or 'ordinary' ones.

Alex: budget-wise I'm looking at spending what I would have to spend if the Vixen VLW eyepieces were still available - so am looking for something of their quality - one in the range 21-24 mm and one in the 13-17 mm range.

I'll spend time looking into the eyepieces you suggested - thanks for taking the time to provide the detailed advice you posted.

Renato: whenever I run a viewing night it's hands behind your back for those viewing at the scope so that I don't get grubby hands on my eyepieces and just as importantly so my scope can keep tracking what's being viewed.

Paul

PS Has anyone had experience with Explore Scientific eyepieces?
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Old 30-05-2019, 02:27 PM
SkyWatch (Dean)
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Hi Paul,

I have looked through a few ES eyepieces, and I think they rate pretty well. My ES 20mm 100-degree holds up very well against the TV 21 Ethos, for a lot less cost!

Personally I like a 68 degree fov, and the ES 68's have a pretty good reputation, so I don't think you would go too far wrong with them.

Good luck, and all the best,

Dean
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Old 30-05-2019, 06:37 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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Buy cheap buy twice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pfitzgerald View Post
Hi Gents

Thank you all for taking the time to answer my query.

Jeremy: the scope I have is the SW ED120 Black Diamond and I agree that buying one or two quality eyepieces is better than purchasing a set or 'ordinary' ones.
NOT ordinary ones................

Cheap ones.

Buy cheap buy twice.

There are people who have said that they have bought cheap sets, the all in ones with filters etc, and they really are pointless. And how often do you use those filters after the first try.

Remember also that a GOOD barlow will double your eyepiece set, two eyepieces and a barlow means FOUR eyepieces
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Old 30-05-2019, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renato1 View Post
Main problems were that the 4mm and 10mm had narrow eye-relief, and 23mm requires the eye to be dead centered else image partially blanks out.


Cheers,
Renato
Then to me they are rubbish, just my opinion though

And that would ruin any viewing experience I had, I would rather have just one decent eyepiece that some that blank out or narrow FOV

As for grubby hands, ???????? !!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:48 PM
Tropo-Bob (Bob)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfitzgerald View Post
Hi Folks

Most nights I'm actually imaging with this scope but am wanting to do more with it visually - especially viewing nights with my School's Astronomy Club and a few Scout Groups. So viewing targets would be the Moon, planets, double stars and some of the more obvious nebulae like M42 and NGC3372.

I have a 2" 28mm Plossl that came with the scope - which I like as a 'finder' eyepiece. The other Plossls I have are a 15mm and a 5 mm - neither of which inspire me!

A good friend suggested I look into the Vixen LVW range of eyepieces and suggested that 22 mm and 13 mm would probably suit my needs (that was about a year ago and now these eyepieces are no longer available!)

Would the Explore Scientific 68o range of eyepieces be worthy replacements (price and quality) for the Vixens. Televue eyepieces, for example, are way beyond what I can afford!

Any advice would be much appreciated - and I hope that I've given you enough specific detail to do so.

Thank you all in advance.

Paul

Paul,
Before I give my 2cents worth, can U advise what mount do U have and does it have tracking motors?
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:34 PM
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pfitzgerald (Paul)
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Hi Bob

It's a HEQ5Pro.

When I'm imaging (not visual) I also use an Orion ST80 - with QHY5 as guide scope.

I'm hoping to put in a bit more time this winter doing visual (for myself) as well as my usual imaging runs.

Paul
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:25 PM
Tropo-Bob (Bob)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfitzgerald View Post
Hi Bob

It's a HEQ5Pro.

When I'm imaging (not visual) I also use an Orion ST80 - with QHY5 as guide scope.

I'm hoping to put in a bit more time this winter doing visual (for myself) as well as my usual imaging runs.

Paul
Thanks Paul.

I have some thoughts, but I will do some testing tmo and I will get back to U.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:32 PM
Renato1 (Renato)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukastronomer View Post
Then to me they are rubbish, just my opinion though

And that would ruin any viewing experience I had, I would rather have just one decent eyepiece that some that blank out or narrow FOV

As for grubby hands, ???????? !!!!!!!!!!!
It really depends on how long one's eyelashes are, and the amount of time one uses them.

I've got other far more expensive eyepieces with similar low eye-relief, and they are fine for viewing planets at high power, requiring an occasional clean.

When I first got my dob many years ago, my eyepiece of choice was a University Optics 12mm Konig until I later got a 9mm Nagler. The 12mm Konig had very narrow eyerelief, but gave an excellent image - but I had to clean it after each viewing session.

As for blanking out, the original 13mm Nagler and 14mm Meade UWA had similar blanking out issues to the cheap 23mm I mentioned. But at the time they were among the most desired eyepieces on the planet.
Cheers,
Renato
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:54 AM
Tropo-Bob (Bob)
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I have tested some of my EPs with my similarly Vixen ED 115mm (F7.7) and I would recommend either of the following sets:

Two Tak Abbe Orthoscopics and a Vixen Plossl, which are parafocal.

The Vixen 30mm covers a wide field and is a great EP for navigation. I recently sold my Tak LE30mm because I found both EPs to perform similarly. The Vixen eyelens is deeply recessed, so is unlikely to have dirity eyelashes contacting it.

The 18mm ortho will give 50x and this is a perfect magnification for use on the Moon at Public Viewing events. If will also work well on Nebulae and star clusters.

The 9mm ortho will work well on planets, giving 100x. The orthos have long been held as the gold standard of EPs to use on planets and double stars. Other, far more expense EPs have almost caught up (maybe they have), but reviewers still say that these expensive EPs are ortho-like in performance.

IMO, the 6mm ortho has insufficient eyerelief for the public to comfortably use, but is well suited for personal use.

Orthos use a tougher glass on the outside, so do not scratch easily. Consequently, they are easier to clean without causing damage.

The Vixen is available through Myastroshop and the Taks through the Astronomy & Electronics Centre.

Or go with Televue Plossls.

A 25mm plossl is a very useful EP for general viewing and navigation. Pair that with a 11mm plossl and they become a good combination that is simple to use.

The upside with the Televues is that it could be a springboard to better EPs later on. I mainly use Televue Delites myself, but would probably not use them at a viewing event for the general public.

Televues are available through Bintel.

Both sets of EPs are pictured below.
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Last edited by Tropo-Bob; 02-06-2019 at 06:10 PM.
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