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Thread: EyePiece Brand Quality

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    Default EyePiece Brand Quality



    Hey everyone. I'm sure the answers to my question can be found in the forum, if I search hard enough. I did attempt to search, but figured it would be easier to ask, and get fresh info.

    I'm courious to what you fine forum members consider the top 3 eyepiece brands and lines. I don't necessarily mean the most expensive brand. Quality to value ratio applies here you could say.

    A million thanks in advanced

    John
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    Default Re: EyePiece Brand Quality

    I have become partial to Explore Scientific and their 82 degree series. Definitely not inexpensive, but they perform really good and are more affordable that some others.
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    Craig

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    : Zhumell Z12,
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    Skyquest XT8 Classic, ES FL-AR127/1200, Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102, Tasco 8v
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    and an old Meade 2080 GEM
    Eyepieces: Explore Scientific 82˚18mm, 11mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm, 70˚ 25mm, Kokusai Kohki 12.5mm, 9mm HD-OR, Orion Plossl 25mm, Agena EWA 9mm, Zhumell 30mm


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    Default

    Televue are one of the best brands - Al Nagler, the founder, basically started the trend for ultrawide apparent field of view eyepieces (and previously worked on optics for the lunar lander and Air Force simulators). Lines include the Nagler 82 AFOV and ethos 100 AFOV ranges. They also do high quality plossls, and several wide AFOV ranges.

    I also like Vixen's 68 AFOV LVW range.

    Many of our US members like the ES eyepieces - they seem to be much cheaper in the States than they are here in the UK.

    Pentax and Takahashi also make some fine - if expensive - eyepieces.

    My personal favourites are the Televue Naglers (especially the type 4 ones, with longer eye relief) at 82, and the Vixen LVWs at 68 - hard to pick a third, since there are several I also like.
    (By the way, both my Naglers and LVWs were bought second hand - it's worth keeping an eye on the used market, you can often save money that way).

    It's also worth pointing out that eyepiece choice tends to depend a lot on personal preference - for example, some people love the ultrawide AFOV eyepieces, while others prefer ones around 68.

    The type of scope you use can also be a factor - narrow AFOV eyepieces can be great for planets if your scope has a tracking mount, but at high magnifications things will drift out of view quickly with an undriven mount.

    Best advice, if you can, is to visit some star parties and look through the different types for yourself (in a similar type of scope, if possible - fast focal ratio scopes are more demanding, while slower f ratio scopes (like SCTs) can often get good results from eyepieces that struggle in fast scopes.

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    Default Re: EyePiece Brand Quality

    Unfortunately ES are not easily available in Oz, but the one that I do have, the 20mm 100, stacks up very well to its main rival, the 21mm Ethos.

    I have a number of Televue eyepieces, and they are very good, but not cheap. These are my "go-to" eyepieces, and I have gradually added to them over many years. The only one I had problems with was the 19mm Panoptic, which I returned in favour of the 18mm Radian (no longer available).

    On the cheaper end, GSO and Long Perng have some nice eyepieces, although often the wider the AFOV, the poorer the edge quality in the cheaper brands, and I am a bit wary of anything over 60 AFOV. Depends how fussy you are! The new 82 SkyWatcher range look very good too. In particular I have found the Long Perng planetary range (same as the Orion or Williams, but 1/2 the price) to be very competitive: nice and sharp, good contrast and great eye relief. You will find that in general the slower the telescope, the less it matters with eyepiece quality- and the GSO's and others work very well in f8 and slower, but not as well in fast Newts.

    It is horses for courses too: if you want the best high-power views then the "traditional" orthos are hard to beat. Narrow FOV, small eye-relief, but super sharp and contrasty. Zeiss (the gold standard), Baader, Takahashi and Fujiyama (to name a few) are all producing these- and I suspect the Fujiyama would be the best value for money.

    So many brands out there! In addition to the above, you can get Swarovski, Takahashi, Pentax, Vixen, Williams, Meade, Celestron, Orion (in vague order of cost)... the list seems to go on forever- and all of them have their adherents! In general it is you get what you pay for, but the cheaper ones have improved over the years (lots of "clones" of the best ones!) and like most things optical you have to pay a lot more to get a relatively small increase in quality. Plus of course the type of telescope you use can make a big difference. In a lot of cases the branding is the only difference (e.g.: Williams vs Orion vs Long Perng "planetaries"), with the "name" brands asking a lot more for the same eyepieces. (You find the same with binoculars and refractors too: a lot of them come from the same factories and are simply re-branded.)

    So, no easy answer to your question! If you want the best wide field and low power, the best medium power, and the best high power I think you will be going for different brands. Likewise if you have a very fast scope (say f4 and faster) vs a slower one.

    I am a firm believer in joining an Astro club and losing through different scopes and eyepieces before you commit yourself to big bucks.

    All the best,

    Dean

    (PS: I was writing this while jerryTheC was posting: so "What he said"...

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    Default Re: EyePiece Brand Quality

    There are many good quality eyepieces available but they must also be "matched" to the scope you are using. What scope are you going to be using John?
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    Refractors: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNG 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen SD115s f/7.7
    Mounts: Celestron SLT w/ pier mod & EQ-3 tripod, Celestron hypertuned CG-5 w/ tracking motor & Argo Navis, Manfrotto 028B w/ Stellarvue M2C, Manfrotto 055PRO w/ 128RC, TAL-1 HD EQ, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 SXG & half pier
    Diagonals: 2" Astro-Physics MaxBright, 2" Zeiss/ Baader prism, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (Photo Version), 2" Orion Amici prism, 2" Stellarvue Dielectric, 2" TeleVue Everbrite
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    The weakest link in the optical chain is the large nut located directly behind the eyepiece/ camera. - Gabrielle
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    thing in some balance of perspective. Apos are awesome, but long focus Achros aren't that far behind them - Siriusandthepup (CN)

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    Default Re: EyePiece Brand Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabby76 View Post
    There are many good quality eyepieces available but they must also be "matched" to the scope you are using. What scope are you going to be using John?
    Hi Gabby...I'll be using a Celestron 9 1/4 SC.

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    Default Re: EyePiece Brand Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Lear View Post
    Hi Gabby...I'll be using a Celestron 9 1/4 SC.
    Hi John, they are a great scope, but they come with the standard Celestron 1 1/4" star diagonal prism. I don't know why they do this, because its quality is a bit average, and it detracts from the otherwise excellent optics. You will need to upgrade if you want to use 2" eyepieces. I got the GSO 2" QTZ dielectric one for my 8" Celestron SCT, and it made a huge difference in the quality of the view. (Make sure you order an SCT diagonal, as it has a screw thread to attach to the scope.)

    The good news with the f10 SCT's like yours is that they are very forgiving of eyepiece quality, and you don't need to spend big bucks to get excellent views. The mid-range (price-wise) eyepieces like the Celestron X-Cel, Meade, Vixen, Williams, Orion, Baader Hyperion etc. will all work really well.

    Regards,

    Dean

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    Default Re: EyePiece Brand Quality

    Many good/great brands out there, but in most cases it depends on which eyepiece line you're looking at, and/or which scope a specific eyepiece will be used in whether the brand is great or simply good. I'm also going to only mention brands currently in production so that leaves out ZAO's.

    1. For starters, my first choice will be Tele Vue pretty much across the board. Hard to go wrong with anything of theirs, though there are better choices than their Plossl's IMO - see #3 below.

    2. I've not used ES eyepieces so can't speak on them or list them as a great brand, so Pentax would be my second brand choice though I don't know how long XW's will still be available new.

    3. Any of the Japanese Abbe Ortho lines up, whether it's Takahashi, the KK Fujiyama's, or UO.

    4. Vernonscope Brandons, but they are really dependent on the scope. It's not a good eyepiece/brand if you have a short focal ratio scope like a dob; but it's a great line/brand for long focal ratio scopes.
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    Default Re: EyePiece Brand Quality

    Late to the discussion but Dean has covered the point nicely. With the longer focal length of the SCT you can get some nice eyepieces for a lot less money since you do not require highly corrected widefield eyepieces to get great views.
    The Vixen and Baader are great eyepieces, I have not used the X-Cel but they have a very good reputation.
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    Refractors: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNG 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen SD115s f/7.7
    Mounts: Celestron SLT w/ pier mod & EQ-3 tripod, Celestron hypertuned CG-5 w/ tracking motor & Argo Navis, Manfrotto 028B w/ Stellarvue M2C, Manfrotto 055PRO w/ 128RC, TAL-1 HD EQ, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 SXG & half pier
    Diagonals: 2" Astro-Physics MaxBright, 2" Zeiss/ Baader prism, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (Photo Version), 2" Orion Amici prism, 2" Stellarvue Dielectric, 2" TeleVue Everbrite
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    The weakest link in the optical chain is the large nut located directly behind the eyepiece/ camera. - Gabrielle
    Ya gotta keep this Apo/
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    thing in some balance of perspective. Apos are awesome, but long focus Achros aren't that far behind them - Siriusandthepup (CN)

    Refractors kick arse precisely because they don't hide behind excuses. That is, they have no obstructions to hide behind. - Jon Isaacs (CN)

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    Default Re: EyePiece Brand Quality

    Thanks everyone, this is a great forum!

    I truly appreciate everyone joining in. Totally feel like I'm not shopping blind now.

 

 
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