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Thread: Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm

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    Default Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm



    Just a few days ago I purchased a Baader Morpheus 12.5mm eyepiece. I have been wanting one of these eyepieces ever since they were announced, as the reviews have been extremely complementary when compared with the Televue Delos and the Pentax XW. Generally the reviews conclude that the Delos and XW are better...but not by much. And with the Morpheus series coming in $100 less than its competition, I couldn't find any problems in the reviews that suggested it was worth spending the extra money for a Pentax or Televue.

    First, why did I choose the 12.5mm model? In my f/11 C14, the 1.14mm exit pupil and 312x magnification sits comfortably at the top end of the magnification range for the scope (ideal for planetary observation) without going too far past the "300x barrier" that seeing conditions tend to impose. In my f/5 12.5" Portaball, the 2.5mm exit pupil and 120x magnification is ideal for observing faint galaxies and nebulae, and slots in very nicely between my Explore Scientific 100 degree 9mm (which I have found to be a bit too much magnification for some DSOs in my Portaball), and my Explore Scientific 82 degree 18mm (which I have found to not be quite enough magnification for some DSOs). And finally, the long eye relief, huge eye lens, and "floating exit pupil" optical design make this a great eyepiece to pair with my 6SE when used for outreach, as inexperienced observers and children will find it a lot easier to see the image in the eyepiece.

    Packaging and physical design

    The Morpheus ships in a very nice hinged cardboard box. Inside the box is a foam cutout that holds the eyepiece, that even has finger holes to make it easier to retrieve the eyepiece. Under the eyepiece are the accessories: a nylon "holster" style eyepiece holder, two rubber eyecups (a standard one and a winged one), two lens covers (one for each type of eye cup) and a rear lens cover. Once all the accessories are removed from the box, the top layer of foam has double-sided tape attached: just remove the paper backing and the foam inserts can be stuck together so you can use the box in the field without worrying about the foam flying away. Clearly, lots of thought went into the packaging, and it shows.

    The eyepiece itself is sturdily designed, and like all of Baader's stuff, has their proprietary M43 threads around the eye lens for attaching accessories.

    The eyepiece uses a novel "safety kerf" system instead of the usual "undercut" used by most eyepiece manufacturers. I have never liked the undercuts -- the Explore Scientific bevels are slightly better than the usual undercuts...but I tend to prefer a "smooth-side" barrel. I honestly don't see how the "safety kerfs" would keep an eyepiece from falling out of the focuser if not properly secured...but then again I don't see how undercuts do this either. At any rate, the "safety kerfs" are there, and they don't get in the way, so whatever.

    There is a rubber grip around the upper part of the eyepiece: I found it very easy to handle and never felt like it was going to slip out of my hand.

    The lettering on the side of the eyepiece is supposed to glow in the dark, but I suspect that this requires that the eyepiece be exposed to bright light (sunlight) for some time before it gets dark. As I store my eyepieces in a closed case (as I'm sure most of you do), you'll probably never see the lettering glow either.

    Like many modern eyepiece designs, the Morpheus can be installed in either a 1.25" or 2" focuser. There are "safety kerfs" on both the 1.25" and 2" barrel.

    Test environment

    My first real test took place at a dark-sky site, with a SQM-L reading of ~21.15 mag/arcsec2. It was breezy, so seeing was awful -- stars were just boiling blobs.

    I used the Morpheus in my Portaball 12.5" f/5 with Zambuto optics. I don't own any other eyepieces in the 12mm range, but as noted above, the reason I purchased this eyepiece was to address a gap in my eyepiece selection between my ES100-9mm (which is sometimes too much magnification for some DSOs) and my ES82-18mm (which for those objects, is usually not enough magnification). I also expect to use the Morpheus extensively in my C14 for planetary observation, but I have not had a chance to do this yet.

    Field stop

    I started out at dusk, while the sky was still illuminated, observing a blurry fuzzball that was supposed to be Saturn (damn wind!!). As opposed to other reviews I've read, I actually found the field stop to be sharp and dark. That said, I don't really care if the field stop is razor-sharp on an eyepiece.

    Scatter / ghosting

    I placed a few bright objects (Saturn, Altair, Vega) near and just beyond the field stop to see if I could detect any internal reflections or scatter. I was not able to detect any at all.

    Color

    One of the things I've always liked about by Baader Hyperion 24mm is its Phantom coatings, which yield a bright, neutral color. This is as compared to Explore Scientific's coatings, which have a tendency to make the view a bit of a "dingy" yellow color. Observing Albireo, I was pleased with the bright and clear color transmission, which I found to be superior to both the ES82-18 and the ES100-9.

    Field flatness and sharpness

    It was difficult to get a good read on field flatness or sharpness, since the poor seeing conditions made everything look fuzzy, which meant I was constantly tweaking the focus while observing. However, I can say that the Morpheus is at least as sharp as my ES82-18. And when observing globular clusters (namely, M15), the Morpheus out

    Contrast

    This is one area where I really think the Morpheus shined when compared to the ES82-18 and the ES100-9. I observed a number of difficult objects, and in nearly every case, I found that the Morpheus allowed me to see the objects more easily, and with better edge definition. Some notable examples:
    • NGC7678 - a small, face-on spiral galaxy in Pegasus nestled neatly inside a triangle of foreground stars. While I was able to see the galaxy in both the ES82-18 and the ES100-9 as a gray smudge using averted vision, with the Morpheus I was able to see the smudge with direct vision, and I was able to see a hint of spiral structure using averted vision.
    • NGC7741 - a small, barred spiral galaxy in Pegasus. This one was barely visible using averted vision in the ES82-18. It was still only visible with averted vision in the Morpheus, but had better defined edges. It was not visible at all in the ES100-9mm as the field got too dim (too small of an exit pupil).
    • HCG92 (Stephan's Quintet) - this is the first time I've actually been able to see the members of HCG92 rather than just an indistinct gray smudge. Very impressive. Again, the ES82-18 showed just a gray smudge with averted vision, and the ES100-9 showed nothing at all.


    Comfort

    This is one area where I'm very disappointed in the Morpheus. From what I had read in the reviews, and based on how it has been favorably compared with the Pentax XW, I was expecting a very comfortable viewing experience. This was unfortunately what I got.

    First, the rubber eyecups that Baader ships, are just awful. They're made of the thinnest rubber you could possibly imagine, fit very loosely on the eyepiece, and don't sit high enough from the eye lens to prevent you from bumping against the glass. The winged eyecup seems like a good idea, but in practice I found it little more than a gimmick. The "standard" eyecup is a little better, as it sits higher than the winged eyecup, but is still not high enough to block stray light from around you. The ES82 and ES100 both have durable, thick rubber eyecups that you can lightly rest your head on, giving you a stable platform to line up over the exit pupil.

    Next, while the eye lens on the Morpheus is indeed huge and it's pretty easy to locate your eye over the exit pupil, I found that it was surprisingly difficult to stay "centered" over the exit pupil. If I moved my eye too close to the eyelens (which was very easy to do because of the crappy short eyecups), I would get really bad kidney beaning. Moving my eye further from the eyelens did indeed create the gorgeous "eyepiece disappears" experience, but even slight movements of my head relative to the eyepiece would cause blackouts. Eye placement is apparently *very* touchy with this design.

    Just to be sure it wasn't just the crappy eyecups that were causing the issue, I tried using my ES82-18 and ES100-9 with the eyecups folded down. Without the tactile feedback of an eyecup pressed against my eye, I did find that my head wobbled around more than when comfortably pressed into the eyecup. However, I didn't have any trouble with blackouts or kidney beaning with either ES eyepiece, and I found it quite easy to keep the full field in view.

    Conclusion

    I was really excited to try out my new Morpheus eyepiece. And on most accounts, I would say that I tend to agree with other reviewers -- it really is a well-made eyepiece that puts up beautiful views. The shape of the exit pupil is really unique -- the eyepiece really does "disappear" when you look through it.

    But the optical design requires very close attention to eye position -- slight deviation away causes annoying blackouts. I found that I really couldn't use the eyepiece at all unless I was sitting down, to keep my head movements to a minimum.

    I believe the problem with eye position could be solved with an adjustable eyecup. Just having tactile feedback from the eyecup against your eye socket, is enough to stay comfortably centered over the exit pupil on most eyepieces. This simple design change could really take this eyepiece from "good" to "great".

    As it stands, the eye positioning issue may be a deal-breaker for me. I am considering sending it back, and spending the extra $100 for a Delos.

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    Default Re: Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm

    Very thorough and informative review, Paul. Much appreciated!
    Bryan

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    Default Re: Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm

    Thank you for the review Skaven.
    If it is in the budget, you may find the 12.5mm Docter a better eyepiece than the 12mm Delos.
    Last edited by Gabby76; 10-15-2017 at 07:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm

    Oh I forgot to add one other thing to the review...

    It turns out that the 2" shoulder on the eyepiece is virtually useless, for those of us using Newtonian telescopes. The focal plane of the eyepiece is right around the 1.25" shoulder: I found the Morpheus to be more or less parfocal with my other 1.25" eyepieces (notably the Meade Series 5000 HD-60) when used in 12.5" mode.

    That means when I remove the 1.25" adapter and drop the eyepiece into the 2" focuser, I need to draw the focus tube out a long way to bring the eyepiece to focus. I was actually unable to get the Morpheus to focus in 2" mode, as my Portaball's Feathertouch lacked the out-focus capacity. I could add a parfocalizing ring so that the Morpheus doesn't insert all the way into the focuser, but it would still mean that it would be very far from the focus point of my other 2" eyepieces.

    The net result is that every time I switched from one of my wide field eyepieces, I had to reach for a 1.25" adapter. Very annoying.

    On an SCT or refractor, I imagine it's not an issue due to the very wide range of focus travel. But for a Newt, I can't imagine that most telescopes have sufficient out-focus to bring the Morpheus to focus when used in 2" mode.
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    Default Re: Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabby76 View Post
    Thank you for the review Skaven.
    If it is in the budget, you may find the 12.5mm Docter a better eyepiece than the 13mm Delos.
    Wow, over $700! Yeah, that's not in budget. The Morpheus was "only" $260, and a Delos is $350. But I have read that the Morpheus' optical design compares favorably to the Docter eyepieces, which is quite high praise! And I definitely think the Morpheus has excellent optics. Baader just seems to have messed up the usability, with respect to the eyecups and eye positioning.

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    Default Re: Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm

    Quote Originally Posted by skaven View Post
    Wow, over $700! Yeah, that's not in budget. The Morpheus was "only" $260, and a Delos is $350. But I have read that the Morpheus' optical design compares favorably to the Docter eyepieces, which is quite high praise! And I definitely think the Morpheus has excellent optics. Baader just seems to have messed up the usability, with respect to the eyecups and eye positioning.
    Delos might not be Docter but they are quite nice. My standard equipment for using my Z12 is Panoptics and Delos.
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    Default Re: Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm

    I had very similar experience to yours, Paul. Holding eye position was hard and I was getting blackouts even from looking at the edge of FOV. For me it did not even make to the night. I sent it back after a short daylight testing. And I agree it is not just eye cap or long eye relieve issue. I tested many different EP designs and this one is in the top three most uncomfortable ever.

    Also, I find Baader Hyperion and Aspheric very comfortable to use, so I wonder how did they manage to messed up Morpheus so badly.
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    Default Re: Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigzmey View Post
    I had very similar experience to yours, Paul. Holding eye position was hard and I was getting blackouts even from looking at the edge of FOV. For me it did not even make to the night. I sent it back after a short daylight testing. And I agree it is not just eye cap or long eye relieve issue. I tested many different EP designs and this one is in the top three most uncomfortable ever.

    Also, I find Baader Hyperion and Aspheric very comfortable to use, so I wonder how did they manage to messed up Morpheus so badly.
    So it's not just me! Glad to know I wasn't over-thinking it. I'm waiting to hear back from High Point Scientific to see what their return/exchange policy is. If it's favorable then I'll probably go ahead and exchange it for a Delos.
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    Default Re: Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm

    Quote Originally Posted by skaven View Post
    So it's not just me! Glad to know I wasn't over-thinking it. I'm waiting to hear back from High Point Scientific to see what their return/exchange policy is. If it's favorable then I'll probably go ahead and exchange it for a Delos.
    Hello Paul,

    this would be a much better option.

    That's why I am keeping with the Zeiss D 30x/40x B WW f=12,8 FOV 68° in the 12mm up to 13mm focus range
    https://www.idealo.de/preisvergleich...40x-zeiss.html ,
    and not even thinking of anything else. With 230g and 77mm lengths/height it is still a compact EP
    The adapter bayonet/2" or /1.25" increases the costs when it comes from Zeiss, of course.

    Fingers crossed for the return/exchange,

    JG
    Last edited by j.gardavsky; 10-17-2017 at 07:58 PM. Reason: typo
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    Default Re: Review of Baader Morpheus 76° 12.5mm

    It looks like High Point Scientific will accept a return, but I have to pay return shipping and will likely have to pay a restocking fee (because I guess they won't be able to re-sell the eyepiece as "new"). That's a rather expensive way to find out whether or not I like an eyepiece

    I'm going to start trolling the CloudyNights and AstroMart classifieds to see if a Delos 12mm comes up...hopefully I can get one for around the same price as a new Morpheus.
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    C10-N/C14+Losmandy G11; Portaball 12.5"; NexStar 6SE; Meade ETX125; Stellarvue F80
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