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    Default Agena UWA 80 eyepieces



    I recently bought the 20mm and 15mm UWA 80 degree FOV eyepieces from Agena Astro. I finally got around to putting them into their paces last night.

    The 20mm eyepiece is really a 30mm eyepiece and barrel, remarked as a 20mm eyepiece, with a 1.5x barlow lens threaded into the end of the barrel (the barlow end also is threaded for filters etc).

    The reason I bought them this way was that in theory, I could make four eyepieces out of the set.

    I tested these lenses on Jupiter, Uranus, M31, M2, M15, M34, and M45. The viewing conditions were the best I have had since owning the 10" SCT, so that have have skewed my opinion.

    The good is that in the center 2/3 of the eyepiece, it really gives a great view. I got very good detail out of Jupiter (first view of the GRS). I love DSO's, and I actually got to make out a core in M31 for the first time (again, may be a combination of seeing conditions and my eyes now being trained to "see" the target). I cannot be too sure of this, but I could make out a faint fuzzy to the upper left as well (or maybe my eyes were tricking me) if I moved Andromeda to the lower right of the eyepiece, which maybe was M32, but I am probably not that good yet, so don't take my word for it. The eyepieces were great in terms of the view of Globular Clusters M2 and M15. I could certainly make out the tiny points of light of the stars in the clusters. In my opinion, the eyepieces really did a great job on Jupiter, M2, M15, and M31.

    Now, two things I actually noticed about these eyepieces (and I dont think I have that "discerning" eye yet). First, the outer 1/3 of the eyepiece are not in focus when the inner 2/3 is. I guess this is what separates a 60-90 dollar eyepiece from a 250-500 dollar eyepiece. One of my favorite DSO's is ironically the only one I can see with the naked eye from my driveway - The Pleiades (M45). While I got a huge field of view, focused on the center of M45 causes the brightest stars to go out of focus at the edge of the eyepiece. Kind of disappointing in a way, but again, for the amount I paid, certainly within reason. Putting the bright stars in the center gives a crisp view with nice light spikes around the stars. Second, is that the 20/30 mm eyepiece is hard to use in the driveway due to the ridiculous street light 150 feet away, I got a lot of reflection in the glass from the street light. (trust me, its a lot of glass and very heavy).

    To compare in terms of field of view, it seems that the sweet spot in field of view with regards to less expensive eyepieces seems to be the Zhumell Z's at 55 degrees, where the quality was good and the stars only go out of focus at the extreme edge of your view, making it hardly noticeable - I really had to look and compare, and I am still not satisfied with my testing and really cannot wait for this coming Thursday for Astrofest.

    Overall, I am happy with the eyepieces. I understand what their limitations are, and it was a good lesson in eyepieces for me. It seems that there is no one single eyepiece that will do everything you want on every object you want to see, especially when it comes to DSO's and all of the different ones out there. One some DSO's you are going to want a certain field of view, others will be different. Now I understand why lots of people in this hobby have a huge eyepiece collection. I could probably spend my lifetime refining which DSO looks the best in which eyepiece. I guess thats what makes the hobby so interesting and makes the shareholders of telescope and eyepiece companies rich .
    --- Jason ---
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  3. #2
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    JB,

    Thanks for the report. I have been keenly following your posts with respect to eyepieces because I am in the market to upgrade mine.
    I am also interested primarily in DSOs and was looking at getting a zhumell 9 mm and a Smart Astronomy 16mm flat field eyepiece
    **NEW EF (EXTRA FLAT FIELD) TELESCOPE EYEPIECES
    which is the same as the one Orion sells for $ 105 as its Edge-on eyepiece.

    I think I am going to go with the smart astronomy eyepiece, still deciding if one or two, the 16 mm and 27 mm and a nine mm zhumell.
    What do you think?
    Balu.
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    jb32828's Avatar
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    Well, I cannot speak to the specific eyepieces, but I had an excellent buying experience with them in regards to their 2.5x and 5x barlow kit. The stuff shipped literally like 5 minutes after I ordered it. Very nice people there, and they have the standard 30 day money back guarantee...you wont be out anything but the shipping if you don't like them.

    Perhaps Hernando has one of those eyepieces in his collection and can speak to them...

    You will love the 9MM Planetary Z though.

    I would love to hear what you have to say about those eyepieces when you get them.
    --- Jason ---
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    By the way, Bob G. gets the credit for the recommendation on trying the Agena eyepieces. Thanks Bob!
    --- Jason ---
    Meade SN-6, Orion XX12g, Orion ST-80
    Atlas EQ-G
    Nagler 9T1, 12mmT4, 17mmT4, Panoptic 22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb32828 View Post
    Perhaps Hernando has one of those eyepieces in his collection and can speak to them...
    Yes, I have one Smart Astronomy EP - the 17mm but it's not yet with me and it is of the plossl type. With regards to the EF's, that part about it being "flat field" is more marketing pitch than anything as most EP's generally have flat fields, it's just that some EP's react better being paired with certain scopes and whose own curvature will somehow neutralize/cancel out the curvature the scope thus yielding a flat field.

    One very telling post that I've come across regarding the EF's is this:

    The only important issue with these new low-priced eyepieces is how they deal with faster light cones, and the jury has already rendered a verdict there--they don't.

    But in a longer f/ratio? Might be some good bargains
    And another post using the EF on a fast F/5 Dob:

    Only the central 60% of the field showed good star images and the outer 15 or 20% was truly poor with stars showing flares that were 10 or 15 arcseconds in size. Putting the Pleiades in the field were there are 4th magnitude stars are the edge of the field of 27mm, it was a poor view. Those bright stars really made it obvious that that was no sharp point of focus for the stars. Asking a 75 dollar eyepiece to show excellent images with an f/5 light cone may be asking too much.
    As I've mentioned in another thread, there's a hidden cost to owning a Dob, one that is not mentioned often, and that is that one will have to spend for expensive EP's well corrected to the edge, like the Naglers, (which offsets in a big way the oft-cited "cheapest-cost-per-aperture" precept regarding Dobs) to handle the steeply curved light cones of these fast scopes.

    Best,

    Hernando

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    Quote Originally Posted by ibase View Post
    One very telling post that I've come across regarding the EF's is this:



    And another post using the EF on a fast F/5 Dob:



    As I've mentioned in another thread, there's a hidden cost to owning a Dob, one that is not mentioned often, and that is that one will have to spend for expensive EP's well corrected to the edge, like the Naglers, (which offsets in a big way the oft-cited "cheapest-cost-per-aperture" precept regarding Dobs) to handle the steeply curved light cones of these fast scopes.

    Best,

    Hernando
    Thanks Hernando. I think I will just buy one Hyperion at a time. Or may be try one flatfield and a couple of zhumell planetaries. Decisions..... tough to make a call when on a very tight budget but at the same time improve observations a little.
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    I was looking at the Agena 80 FOV 30mm myself but the Meade 2" 30mm is by far superior visually with pinpoint stars to the edge tho its 70 FOV is slightly smaller. Im going the 5 element Meade myself. Price between them is close.
    Dave
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    When my meade 2" 30mm UWA QX comes in Ill test it against the Zhumell 2" 30mm that came with my Zhumell dob. I know part of the problems associated with these types of eyepieces in fast dobs is edge of field probs. These eyepieces work best in a slow focal ratio like a SCT or a refractor higher then f/7 etc...but it would be an interesting test of the Zhumell 30mm against another brand. Im hoping I can get a good field of view of 70-80% with my f/5.9 mirror.
    Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibase View Post
    As I've mentioned in another thread, there's a hidden cost to owning a Dob, one that is not mentioned often, and that is that one will have to spend for expensive EP's well corrected to the edge, like the Naglers, (which offsets in a big way the oft-cited "cheapest-cost-per-aperture" precept regarding Dobs) to handle the steeply curved light cones of these fast scopes.
    I don't know if I'll like the huge FOV of the Naglers. I've been eyeballing the 35, 24, 19 Panoptics and the 12, 8 Radians. Probably not until the tax man gives me my money back. Until then the Stratus will do.

    I'm going to complete my Televue plossl set first, sans the 55mm and 40mm. I already sold off my UO Orthos on ebay last night.
    Last edited by TCA; 10-02-2010 at 09:54 PM.

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    I had another viewing session tonight. I did a lot of comparing and I have come to the conclusion that I REALLY like the SWA 26mm eyepiece.

    I am struggling with the UWA eyepieces and It may simply be a function of being stuck observing in my neighborhood...but the glass reflects way too much light for me. To get the best view I have to have my eye exactly a certain distance from the glass otherwise I cant see anything, or I get LP glare.

    The SWA 26 gives me none of these problems. It is much more forgiving, with much better eye relief.

    I dont think it has anything to do with the eyepiece as much as where the bulk of my observing is done, but I think I am going to call Agena Monday and see if they will switch me out, letting me return the 30/20 and 15 UWA for the 38 and 32 SWA. I really wanted to come to a decision earlier than this as Astrofest starts Thursday, but the weather really did not cooperate with me last week. I am really gonna be pushing it to get eyepieces by the time I leave.

    I will say this, that GSO 2" ED Barlow is a wonderful barlow. I wasnt much of a barlow fan but it is really a good barlow. Much better than the one that came in the kit. This is another reason I think I am going with the SWA's.
    --- Jason ---
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