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  #1  
Old 20-09-2005, 05:47 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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Review: Budget 15mm Shootout!

Hi guys.

I have finally finished the Budget 15mm Shootout! review, comparing 3 budget eyepieces at the 15mm focal length - the GSO Plossl, the GSO Superview and the infamous Series 500.

You can read my review from the new-look IceInSpace Reviews page, or directly by clicking on the link below:

Budget 15mm Shootout!

Feedback or comments appreciated.

Thanks to Slice of Heaven and Rodstar for the loan of their 15mm eyepieces.

If you'd like to submit a review for the site, please contact me via email or PM for details.
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  #2  
Old 20-09-2005, 07:53 AM
slice of heaven
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Nice review Mike.
I think the budget ep shootout is just as important as the high end ep comparisons.
It's nice to know the S500 15mm stood up well against the 15mm gs eps.

Any comment on the 6.5mm ?
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  #3  
Old 20-09-2005, 07:55 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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Thanks Geoff, and I agree that the budget comparisons are very useful for those on a budget.. not everyone is going to rush out and buy pentax's, naglers etc.

Quote:
Any comment on the 6.5mm ?
Not yet, sorry. Been busy doing the 15mm and the nagler. Soon though, hopefully.
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  #4  
Old 20-09-2005, 09:19 AM
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wavelandscott (Scott)
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Congratulations Mike and Thanks for a "thoughtful" review...
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  #5  
Old 20-09-2005, 09:57 AM
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Starkler (Geoff)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slice of heaven
It's nice to know the S500 15mm stood up well against the 15mm gs eps.
I think thats more an indightment of the GS plossl than a commendation of the s500
FWIW a step up to a quality plossl or ortho will yield very noticeable results to even an inexperienced observer. The difference is like driving at night with a clean windscreen as opposed to a dirty one.
Its when comparing high end eyepieces that the differences are more subtle.
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  #6  
Old 20-09-2005, 10:06 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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Quote:
I think thats more an indightment of the GS plossl than a commendation of the s500
FWIW a step up to a quality plossl or ortho will yield very noticeable results
Quite true, and I wish I had a TV 15mm plossl or similar to compare against - ie: what difference is there between a $30 plossl and a $150 plossl.
But I didn't have one available.

I think the review can still be worthwhile though, because despite whatever recommendations we might say about a $30 eyepiece vs a $150 eyepiece, some people on a limited budget just won't buy expensive eyepieces and so reviews of eyepieces in the $30-$70 range are still going to be useful for some people.
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  #7  
Old 20-09-2005, 10:53 AM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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Nice review Mike,

I agree 100% with your comments Geoff, but the review does serve a purpose in informing people that the Series 500's are "not much" worse than the other crappy eyepieces so it may not be worth upgrading, unless you upgrade to something a little better than the cheap chinese/taiwanese offerings.

I have never done a side by side, but at different times have used the following:-

GSO Plossls
GSO Superviews
Synta Super Plossls (Orion Sirius Plossls),
UO orthos (standard volvano tops),
UO HD orthos
Celestron Ultimas
Televue Plossls
Brandon Orthoscopics,
Clave Plossls
Zeiss orthoscopics
Pentax SMC orthoscopic
Nikon orthoscopic
Takahashi LE

This is in respect of plossl, masuyama (5 element plossl) or othoscopic designs.

The differences between the bottom end and the top end are monumental and your analogy of a dirty windscreen and a clean windscreen was pretty close.

I think a more beneficial comparison and I know Mike was trying to arrange something here, would be to compare one of the budget eyepieces with a middle range product and a top end product.

For example the Synta Super Plossls although made in China are clearly superior to the GSO Plossls and are not that much more expensive between $20 and $30 per eyepiece and definately worth upgrading to IMO over the GSO Plossls, if you cannot afford to pay over $100 per eyepiece. The next step up would be to something like a TV Plossl, Celestron Ultima or UO HD ortho. I have owned all of these eyepieces at different times and the differences are very apparent at all levels.

I good comparison may be a 9mm GSO Plossl, compared to the 10mm Synta Super Plossl and the 9mm UO HD ortho. Another Option would be the 6mm GSO Plossl, the 6.3mm Synta Super Plossl and the 6mm UO HD ortho.

I would be happy to donate either my 6mm or 9mm UO HD ortho's for the comparison and also help Mike with the testing. As Mike and I are also testing other eyepieces at the minute another 3 would not be too much of a problem.

Does anyone in Sydney/Newcastle/Central Coast have a 6/9mm GSO Super Plossl and a 6.3mm/10mm Synta Super Plossl available that they are happy to loan us for the comparison, not necessarily from the 1 source ?

CS-John B
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  #8  
Old 20-09-2005, 11:02 AM
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I've got a 9mm GSO plossl. But it would be good if someone had a 6mm, because i've still got Geoff's (slice of heaven's) 6.5mm series 500.

So the next budget shootout can be between:

6mm GSO plossl
6.5mm series 500
6.3mm synta super plossl
6mm UO HD Ortho

Maybe Bintel can loan me a 6mm GSO plossl, but I don't know where we can source a synta super plossl from.

A problem with comparing 6mm eyepieces, is that the seeing needs to be above average to get anything useful from the session. And it's not quite planet season yet with Mars rising too late still, but maybe this 6mm shootout can be planned for later in october.
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  #9  
Old 20-09-2005, 11:18 AM
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As most of us tend to talk others out of getting Plossls with focal lengths less than 9mm, the GSO and Synta ones might be hard to come by. I'd be very interested to read your thoughts on the 6mm HD ortho.

I have a 6mm Ploessl that came with my Dork Smith 114mm Newtonian. It is sub-s500 quality. You can have that if you like.
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  #10  
Old 20-09-2005, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
I have a 6mm Ploessl that came with my Dork Smith 114mm Newtonian. It is sub-s500 quality. You can have that if you like
Thanks Steve, but unless it's a readily available eyepiece like a GSO that's supposedly of fair to good quality, I don't think there's much point in adding it to the shootout.

The 9/10mm range would probably be a better comparison, as it can be used on more objects and also when the seeing doesn't have to be above average. I've got a 9mm GSO plossl already. However it just means we can't add the 6.5mm series 500 to the shootout.
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  #11  
Old 20-09-2005, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ausastronomer
Nice review Mike,
the review does serve a purpose in informing people that the Series 500's are "not much" worse than the other crappy eyepieces so it may not be worth upgrading, unless you upgrade to something a little better than the cheap chinese/taiwanese offerings.
I think you hit the nail on the head there John

A few of us were making a big noise about Andrews bundling the s500's instead of gso plossls with the GSO dobs. I was one of them, assuming that what I had heard from others about them being a half decent plossl was correct, without ever having used one myself
I should have twigged to this when I got my 20mm gso superview with its abberations and "dirty windscreen" views.

Andrews Comms sells the Synta super plossls, maybe they can help out with a review sample?

Another analogy I like to use is that using crappy eyepieces with a fine scope like a gso dob is like buying a quality hifi system and listening to it through crappy speakers from a cheap 3 in 1 system
A very loose analogy but the point is that much like with hifi, a quality "device to human interface" makes a big difference to the end result.

P.S. Mike if you cant get hold of a 10mm s500 locally , i can help you with mine.
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  #12  
Old 20-09-2005, 11:31 AM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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Mike,

Last qtr moon next month at Kulnurra would be a good time to do the test. If we can get the eyepieces we could do the 6mm and 9mm on the same night. The seeing out there should hold up easily at 200X later in the night. Targets will also be favourable as we can do some DSO's earlier in the night and Mars and the Moon later in the night.
We just need to source the eyepieces

CS-John B
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  #13  
Old 20-09-2005, 12:14 PM
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Nice review, Mike! Only thing I'd like to see added is trying them in different FL scopes. It'd be nice to hear how they worked at F6, F8, F10. I've noted that my GSO 30mm SV is OK at F6 (75% of field is useful) but at F4.9 it's pretty awful (50% useful). I've heard they're clear to the edge at F10.
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  #14  
Old 20-09-2005, 12:18 PM
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Barlowed performance will give you an indication of what they might be like in faster (f10) scopes.
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  #15  
Old 20-09-2005, 12:34 PM
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Hi All,

Mike,
Thanks for an extremely interesting review,
I will now remove my series 500s from the tops of my spirit decanters,and use them in my telescopes.
Regards.John
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  #16  
Old 20-09-2005, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starkler
Another analogy I like to use is that using crappy eyepieces with a fine scope like a gso dob is like buying a quality hifi system and listening to it through crappy speakers from a cheap 3 in 1 system
A very loose analogy but the point is that much like with hifi, a quality "device to human interface" makes a big difference to the end result.
.
i like my analogy better: like having a top shelf hifi sytem and listening to britney spears

nice write-up mike. I have a 6.5mm s500 and I have had a 15mm s500 and i know they aren't as bad as the "baggers" were saying.
that said I have replaced both, the 15mm with a GSO SV and the 6.5 with an ultima.

by the way for those interested, at f6 the edge performance of all three is vastly improved. with my 15mm SV eye place ment is fairly important but once i have that only 2-3% is affected

Last edited by ving; 20-09-2005 at 01:48 PM.
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  #17  
Old 20-09-2005, 01:27 PM
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I have to agree with Ving,
I also have a s500 6.5mm,and it truly is a shocker,
eye relief,What eye relief, you would have to scrape your eyeball against the lens,to see anything at all.
Regards.John
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  #18  
Old 20-09-2005, 01:32 PM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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[QUOTE=ving]i like my analogy better: like having a top shelf hifi sytem and listening to britney spears

David,

You are obvioulsy Blind

I have a top shelf Hi Fi system and when I turn the TV on as well, Britney Spears sounds much better than she does just through the speakers

CS-John B
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  #19  
Old 20-09-2005, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnno
I have to agree with Ving,
I also have a s500 6.5mm,and it truly is a shocker,
eye relief,What eye relief, you would have to scrape your eyeball against the lens,to see anything at all.
Regards.John
Ditto!

My series 500 6.5mm is absolutely useless!! I know they are not meant to be too terrific at f5 but it gives horrible views. I don't bother using it any more. My 9mm barlowed to 4.5mm is better.
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  #20  
Old 20-09-2005, 01:47 PM
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So David, is your GSO 15mm much better than the Ser-500 15mm? I'm thinking QC may be an issue as well, which will not show up in individual reviews.
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