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Thread: 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?

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    Default 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?



    I was hoping to do research on my own. I have looked at the two sticky notes on this Forum, but I'm concerned they are now several years old. Has nothing changed since 2009?

    Anyway, here's what I've found doing my research. The big dog in the ring seems to be the Baader Hyperion. Tele Vue no longer makes their 8-24mm zoom. Vixen no longer makes the NLV 8-24mm zoom, but does make the LV 8-24mm zoom currently. The Meade Series 4000 8-24mm zoom is still available, but appears in two incarnations. One is brightly marked and has a chrome nosepiece, and the other is a "blackened" version with a black nosepiece, and quite muted markings. The Celestron 8-24mm zoom is available everywhere at extremely low prices.

    I am a Celestron fan, but the extremely low price is bothering me. My alarms are going off. If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't true.

    There are comparisons and reviews out there on the Internet that indicate the Celestron and the Meade are very good eyepieces, and were not very much worse than the Baader. I am having a hard time completely accepting that.

    I'd like to pick the middle of the road, and go with the Vixen, but it is not in stock anywhere at the moment, and I don't know how long I'll have to wait.

    The Baader is currently in stock at Agena Astro for $289. Not a bad price for it, considering that I've seen it for sale at up to $389.

    So I'm asking for opinions and advice. My viewing is planetary and DSO mostly (really: I want to do planetary and DSO, but the weather in New England...). It's a lot of money for the eyepiece. I'd like more opinions that are up to date before I plunge.

    Thanks for listening.

    smp
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    Default Re: 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?

    The ONLY use I would have for a zoom EP is in a small quick grab and go set up and NOT my regular observing set up.

    I much prefer dedicated EPs and you will get better performance from them. 3-4 quality EPs (and possibly Barlow) would serve you much better.
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    Default Re: 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?

    I have the Vixen zoom and it is a very nice eyepiece but I side with Ozman on zooms. Over the course of a summer the zoom ended up relegated to solar viewing only and is rarely used as I tend to go for fixed focal lengths first.
    The only 2 "zoom" eyepieces I do like are the TV 3-6mm and the Antares Series 1 Speers-Waler 5-8mm zoom. The TV maintains a constant 50° AFOV and the Antares maintains a 82° AFOV
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    Default Re: 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?

    As a planetary EP, I would consider that TV 3-6mm for my ES 102APO, that is if I had the $$$s for that.

    Right now the ES 82s are on sale and two of them could be had for less than the Hyperion zoom. I would much, much prefer that.
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    Default Re: 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?

    OK, I get it. I respect the position that zoom eyepieces are inferior to two or three fixed FL eyepieces, It seemed like a good idea to me, but I must hear the opinions that I've already found and I'm getting again here. I guess the zoom eyepiece is a no-go for me.

    The Tele Vue eyepieces are sooooo expensive!

    I am attracted to the ES 82 degree FOV eyepieces (especially with their sale prices!) Right now, I have only the TV 20mm Plossl that came with my TV-85, and a standard set of Celestron Plossls: 32mm (blackouts!), 24mm (came with the NexStar 5i), 15mm (favorite), 9mm, 6mm, 4mm. So, for my new TV-85, along with the TV 20mm, what two ES eyepieces would you suggest? 14mm and 6.7mm? Maybe 14mm and 4.7mm?

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

    smp

    UPDATE: I see another thread discussing the ES eyepieces. Looks like some good info on eye relief in that thread.
    Last edited by spereira; 04-04-2017 at 12:32 AM. Reason: added the update...
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    Default Re: 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?

    I think I might get the 14mm and 11mm. Put that with a 2x Barlow for 7mm and 5.5mm. Add a few others later as you can afford them.

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    Default Re: 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?

    I agree with the above recommendation for checking out the ES 82 degree sale. I use the Celestron 8-24 for outreach and it is outstanding value for the current $50 prices found on Fleabay. I think the main reason that you find so many good opinions for the cheaper zooms is that it is very easy to keep aberrations under control in any design with a very narrow field of view. The narrow field also permits decent eye relief, so a zoom is often recommended as a step up in comfort for a beginner who has a set of cheap Plossls that start getting tight at the 8mm - 10mm end of the spectrum. A lot of close squinting will reveal the superior throughput, lower scatter and greater resolution of the Baader, but most people want a zoom for grab and go use, so the difference is not noticed until you settle in for some serious scrutiny. Once you start this process, serious observation will reveal a distinct gain across the board with the Leica Aspheric, but that is a whole other class of crazy spending. There are many generations of Nikon Field Scope Zooms that are good performers, and many forum threads on how to adapt their smaller diameter barrels for astronomy. The Nikons are very color neutral if that is important for you. If you want a CHEAP AND GOOD ($62 shipping included from his website) zoom, look at the 8-16 mm Russell Optics which offers a wider 50 to 60ish degree field range and it barlows well, but for reasons only clear in Gary's mind it is only made in a 2 inch mount. It is also has a little tighter eye relief than the others. The higher priced zooms really are hard to justify when compared to the same expenditure spread across three fixed focal length eyepieces.
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    Default Re: 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?

    I'm a big fan of the Celestron 8-24mm zoom. So much so, I own two of them. I use one for visual and the other one is for planetary/moon afocal photography as it threads right onto my Canon camera's threaded adapter. It allows me to switch between photography and visual at a moment's notice (I have others who like looks through my scope too). While I have other dedicated EP's like my favorite, my Meade Series 5000 UWA 5.5mm and my Televue 32mm Plossl, I find that with my zoom I can instantly change up magnification as the seeing conditions change, which sometimes happen quite suddenly. It also allows me to just check out what magnification is best on any given night, or moment should I want to switch to a fixed EP. My zoom isn't the best EP, but simply the most versatile and it's my Swiss Army Knife of EP's. I also have a 2X Barlow, so I can quickly go from 4mm up to 24mm quickly. Nothing I can do about the low prices on them, but I'm a big fan.

    Here's my lunar photography setup (with the Celestron 8-24mm zoom attached to camera)...

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    Default Re: 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?

    The Zhumell = new Meade = Celestron 8-24mm zoom eyepieces are a lot of fun to use, at a bargain basement price. I use mine mainly for solar observing that allows me to quickly "zoom" into the perfect magnification for the current seeing conditions. And, with the built-in t-threads, it makes it very easy to take quick eyepiece projection photos.

    Here's a couple of photos of a partial solar eclipse at sunset, taken with a DSLR camera attached to a Zhumell 8-24mm zoom through an inexpensive 70mm f/5.7 refractor.

    Zoom set at 24mm:

    solar_eclipse_24mm_sm.jpg

    Zoom set at 10mm:

    solar_eclipse_10mm_sm.jpg

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    Default Re: 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece?

    I have used the Celestron 8-24 for two main purposes. Because the end is threaded to take a t ring, it was used for eyepiece projection AP. Also it is handy for initial alignment. Use it at 24 to get the alignment star in the field of view, then twist it to 8 for precise alignment.

    As others have said, it is seviceable, but not a great EP.

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