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    lamannamal's Avatar
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    Default looking to upgrade my eyepieces



    I have purchased my first telescope a couple months ago, it is an Orion XT8 F/5.9 and I am now wanting to upgrade and add to my eyepieces. I currently own 2 eyepieces. an Orion Sirius plossl 25mm and a Celestron Omni 15mm.

    I have been doing a lot of research but the amount of information available is overwhelming.

    What I have been able to gather is that you want eyepieces that will deliver the following exit pupil sizes. One that is around 7mm for low power, one around 2mm for moderate power for DSO and such, and one around 1mm for planetary viewing. I have read that if you live in the south you can go down to about .5mm exit pupil but I live at about 42 degrees north latitude.

    On my F/5.9 scope, a 12mm eyepiece will give me a 2.03 exit pupil.
    some eyepieces that I have been looking at in this rage is
    Meade 5000 HD-60 12mm
    Celestron X-cel LX 12mm
    Agena starguider dual ed 12mm

    For my low power eyepiece I was considering a 32mm Televue plossl which would give me a 5.4 exit pupil or a 40mm which would give me a 6.7mm exit pupil, but everything I seem to read says that you should go with 32mm over 40mm eyepieces.

    So if I purchse a 12mm eyepiece and a 32mm eyepiece and a good barlow that would give me a 5.42mm exit pupil, a 2.71mm exit pupil, a 2.03mm exit pupil and a 1.01mm exit pupil.

    if I purchased the 40mm instead, I would get 6.77mm, 3.35mm, 2.03mm, and 1.01mm which seems like a better range.

    Am I on the right path with this information or am I way off. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Out of all the eyepieces I listed, which ones would be my best bet? And if none of these are good, what would you recommend in the $100 range. I would be willing to spend a little more than that on an eyepiece but only if the difference between the two is a great one.

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    Default Re: looking to upgrade my eyepieces

    There are many threads on here on eyepieces if you do a search. It may enlighten. I'm really into vintage Orthos right now for planetary but the extremely short eye relief is not for everyone. I usually only use them when I'm alone. They are quite a value. I also love TV Radians which have an amazing FOV and eye relief. Baader makes some great eyepieces as well. Most times you'll have to try a few out to see whats right for you. Maybe at a star party?
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    Default Re: looking to upgrade my eyepieces

    There are many excellent threads on here about ep's. I would also consider explore scientific (es) ep's - excellent quality and reasonably priced. They have a number of series that offer various afov. You also need to consider if you want 2" or 1.25" ep's which depends on your focuser ans ep focal length. Good luck and happy research!
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    EPs: 30mm, ES 82* 18 mm, 14 mm, 11 mm and 8.8 mm, 9 mm Plossel,.965 ep 20mm, 12.5mm, 9mm, 6mm, 3x barlow
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    Default Re: looking to upgrade my eyepieces

    Just a word of advice: most of us desire to improve our view at the eyepiece. We sometimes tell ourselves, "If I could just get one of those nifty XJX 12mm Super-Ortho Complexes everyone raves about on the forum......." We finally get one, only to find that the view isn't appreciably better. The reason, usually, is that we have surpassed the effective magnifying capacity of our optical tube. As we get below 16 mm on modest quality systems, the view usually tells us that we have it about as good as its going to get. And that's when the seeing above is consistently excellent. It never is. Sometimes it is exceptional, but those nights are rare, and then you will find, as I have, that your original equipment is actually pretty good.

    When I purchased my first telescope, an 11" SCT, I had to wait for it to be ordered. I purchased from the retailer that day a Meade 8mm wonder. I don't mean it was really a plug...it was a superb eyepiece and cost me a bundle. It was huge. And shiny. and it only ever afforded me those once-in-a-lifetime gee-whiz views...well....once...that I can remember. Otherwise the seeing was simply not that good.

    It's of little utility to purchase exceptional quality eyepieces and place them into an average quality/hobbyist erector diagonal at the back. Or to have it under an objective that is not of excellent quality.

    I'm not trying to dissuade you, especially from purchases that bring excitement and perhaps improvements to your viewing pleasure. If they work, wonderful! But I have learned that the reality is otherwise. Our scopes are really integrated systems, each component offording only a portion to the greater whole of the viewing experience. Be realistic and let this upgrade be a commencement, a process, of general improvement, and then hope like hell that the Gods favour you with consistently good nights of seeing after spending all that money.

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    Default Re: looking to upgrade my eyepieces

    So is what you are saying is that I will have just as good views through, say, a celestron omni eyepiece as I would through a higher end eyepiece? I understand that the xt8 isnt an exceptional scope and is regarded as a fairly decent beginner scope but does that mean that the views through the scope won't be better through more higher end eyepieces?
    If that is the case then I guess I have to decide whether or not to get Lowe end or higher end eyepieces... I guess the deciding factor would be whether or not I plan on getting a better scope the future

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    Default Re: looking to upgrade my eyepieces

    My friend has that exact scope and I've spent quite a lot of time looking through it. It will definitely improve the views to get a quality EP. The X-Cels will perform good with that scope. The ES 68s and 82s will perform great with that scope. If you get a standard plossl then there is no benefit going longer than 32mm as the EP barrel becomes the field stop, a 40mm has the same view (only smaller scale) as a 32mm. I would spend the extra money on the ES 82s, they will perform well in any scope you get, but you will be amazed at how they perform in your scope. I have several high end scopes that perform very well and I am very pleased with my friends scope, it gives very good views with the ES line of EPs.

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    Default Re: looking to upgrade my eyepieces

    I have a similar scope and use the Celestron X cell LX 7 and 18 as well as a 5 mm Astro-Tech paradigm for planets all have a FOV of around 60 and work well considering their price.
    But I live in RSA and have great clear sky here so best you try some out before purchase
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    Default Re: looking to upgrade my eyepieces

    The Celestron Omni 15mm is actually a decent EP. It loses out to the equivalent Televue Plossl at the field stop which I found a bit fuzzy in the Omni and it did not carry quite the same brightness over the entire view imho. However, the stars were certainly equally sharp and defined with good colour definition. Obviously it's limiting factor is its FOV at 52 degrees.

    A 40mm EP with almost 7mm exit pupil will be too much and you will see the central obstruction as well as likely vignetting. A 32 or perhaps 34mm will be your limit.

    see if you can try some eyepieces first before committing to see the difference in a wide FOV eyepiece to a Plossl for example.

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    Default Re: looking to upgrade my eyepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by lamannamal View Post
    So if I purchse a 12mm eyepiece and a 32mm eyepiece and a good barlow that would give me a 5.42mm exit pupil, a 2.71mm exit pupil, a 2.03mm exit pupil and a 1.01mm exit pupil.

    if I purchased the 40mm instead, I would get 6.77mm, 3.35mm, 2.03mm, and 1.01mm which seems like a better range.

    Am I on the right path with this information or am I way off. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Whether the 40mm choice gives you a better range depends on how much your pupil dilates. If you are young and dilate to 7mm then yes it covers more of what you might see. BUT if you are older and only dilate to 5mm then you are stopping down your aperture effectively. Your 8" becomes a 8*5/6.77 inch or a 6" scope for example.

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    Default Re: looking to upgrade my eyepieces

    Quote Originally Posted by lamannamal View Post


    So if I purchse a 12mm eyepiece and a 32mm eyepiece and a good barlow that would give me a 5.42mm exit pupil, a 2.71mm exit pupil, a 2.03mm exit pupil and a 1.01mm exit pupil.

    if I purchased the 40mm instead, I would get 6.77mm, 3.35mm, 2.03mm, and 1.01mm which seems like a better range.
    A lot depends on what your eye's pupil will dilate to. If you're a youngster, then you may manage 7mm, but if you're older then you may only manage 5mm or so - in which case if your eye limits you to around 5mm, the 30mm will give you the same extended object brightness but at more magnification.

    If you can manage it, the suggestion to visit a star party and see how the various eyepieces work for you is a good one.

    As far as quality goes - assuming you're not aiming for more magnification than the scope and your seeing will support - yes, a better eyepiece will usually give you better views - but you're limited by the rest of the optical system. It's like multiplying things together - you start off with a perfect image. That gets degraded by the atmosphere (seeing and transparency), then degraded some more by the scope optics, then the eyepiece, and then by your eyes.

    Improving one element - like the eyepiece - helps preserve the quality of the view, but can't get rid of defects in the rest of the chain, so you may not see as much improvement with an average scope as you would with a high end scope, simply because the average scope probably won't have quite as good an image to start off with as you'd get with a higher quality one. But you should still see an improvement.

    One thing I've learned over the years - once you're sure that astronomy is for you, and you're in it for the long haul, then it's worth investing in good eyepieces when you can (keeping an eye on the used market can bring costs down). It's quite likely that you'll eventually end up changing or adding scopes, and you can use a good eyepiece with any of them (as long as the focal length of the eyepiece is in the sensible range for the scope).

    Look at it this way - the scope is big, and obvious, and easier to justify spending money on. But the eyepiece is the other half of the optical system, and can make a big difference to the feel of the end result.

    Eyepiece choice also tends to be a fairly personal thing - different folk like different eyepiece types. Best advice is to visit a star party and look through some (in a similar type of scope - some that work well in a slow scope like an SCT struggle in a fast scope). It's also worth looking through some of the wide (68 degree) or ultrawide (82, or 100+ degree) AFOV eyepieces to see what all the fuss is about and whether you think they're worth the higher price tags.
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