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Thread: 40mm Plossls Shootout

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    Default 40mm Plossls Shootout



    For various reasons, including extreme OCD, insatiable curiosity, and possible insanity I’ve decided to have a 40mm Plossl shootout. I find 40mm Plossls extremely useful in Maksutov scopes for gaining decent sized exit pupils. I can also get a four arc degree field of view in an ST80 for a binocular-like 10x magnification. 40m Plossls all have certain things in common; predominantly ridiculously long eye relief and a limited field of view. Many people hate them, but I find that they have their place and can be extremely useful. The Plossls are: a TeleVue (with eyeguard extender), a Vixen NPL, a Revelation Astro (GSO), a Celestron (Barsta) and an SvBony.

    40mmshootout.jpg

    All of these perform well in a 102mm Maksutov, and give very similar images, so most of it boils down to overall ergonomics in use. I think the slightly darker coatings on the TeleVue are noticeable, but they don’t detract from the view for me. At 187g the TeleVue is the heaviest of them. It has a 43 AFOV, 27mm field stop and an eye relief of 28mm. Eye positioning isn’t too difficult when used with the eyeguard extender. I’ve owned this EP for over three years and its large eye lens and general build quality make it a joy to use. The chromed brass drawtube has an undercut with a flared lower lip. This makes it no problem to extract from any adapter with a compression ring in my experience.

    The Vixen weighs in at 119g, and this is noticeable compared to the TeleVue, with an ST80 mounted on a Sky-Watcher AZ5. The field of view is slightly smaller than the TeleVue at exactly 40, and according to the Vixen site it has a 36mm eye relief. The plastic twist-up eyeguards always seem a bit rickety at first but I’ve owned NPL’s for several years and they’re hardier than they first appear. As always with NPL’s the image is sharp, bright, well contrasted and easily the equal to the TeleVue. The NPL also has a large eye lens and when the eyeguard is twisted up to its maximum is incredibly comfortable to observe with. In fact, it’s the most pleasant 40mm Plossl I’ve used to date, and eye placement feels very natural, especially with my cheek just touching the top of the eyeguard. Its drawtube has a wide shallow undercut which causes no problems for me.

    According to GSO the ‘Revelation Astro’ has a 45 AFOV and it does seem larger than the Vixen, although I’m not sure it’s a whole 5 more, and appears virtually identical to the Celestron Plossl. The field stop width looks very much like the TeleVue to me and I suspect they’re all around the same size. However, the focal points of the Revelation and the Celestron are different and I think the Revelation has a very slight performance edge in my ST80. I can’t really tell any difference between the two in slower scopes. The Celestron came included with my SCT. It now sports a (cannibalised) GSO smooth aluminium drawtube and a GSO rubber eyeguard. The Revelation and Celestron both have a purported 31mm eye relief although Celestron only claim a 43 AFOV. The coating looks ‘greener’ on the Revelation when the EP is held up to a light source and viewed obliquely, although most GSO coatings look the same to me. They both seem an identical weight, GSO claim 156g on their site.

    The SvBony is a bit of an oddball. It’s the least expensive of them all and physically smaller. The lens coating seems basic but the overall build quality is relatively decent. Like the Celestron it seems to perform better in slow scopes. Mine has been customised slightly with a new eyeguard and a smooth chromed brass drawtube.

    svb1.jpg

    Unusually; it can be unthreaded mid-housing allowing greater access to the field lens. Eye placement can be a little awkward at times, as with the Revelation and the Celestron though. I find that these petite, lightweight ‘SvBony’ (I have no idea who the OEM is) eyepieces are good when utilised either as a bino pair on larger Maksutov scopes or singly in my 90mm Orion StarMax mounted on a tabletop Dobsonian.



    And the winner is ...

    Well, to be honest, there’s nothing intrinsically bad about any of these eyepieces and they all have their respective merits. Of course, the TeleVue is the best in terms of build quality and is my second favourite 40mm Plossl of all time.

    I’m going with the Vixen NPL though. Mainly because it has a big eye lens and is just so comfortable to use.

    NPLel.jpg
    IMG_20180309_111446.jpg
    TS Optics: 150mm, f/6 Newtonian (GSO SVD series). Altair: Starwave 102ED-R. Sky-Watcher: SkyMax 102mm, SkyMax 127mm, Evostar 72ED DS Pro, Evostar 80ED DS Pro, ST80 (TS Focuser), ST102 (TS Focuser), EQ5 Deluxe, AZ5 Deluxe. Vixen: Porta II, SXG Hal-130. Orion: 90mm StarMax , ST80 (TS Focuser). Celestron: NexStar Evolution 9.25". William Optics: E-BINO-P Binoviewer. A shed load of eyepieces including: Antares, Astro Hutech, Baader, Bresser, BST, Bushnell, Celestron, Explore Scientific, GSO, Kokusai, Meade, Orion, Sky-Watcher, Solomark, SvBony, TeleVue, Vixen & one or two I'm not sure of.

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    Default Re: 40mm Plossls Shootout

    I have a Orion Sirius 40mm Plossl that I bought and a Celestron 40mm Plossl that came with my C11 SCT. Other than the printing of the brand name they are identical eyepieces.
    They work OK in my 102mm MCT and other scopes. However in my ST80 the stars look like seagulls. When I go to focus the seagulls get smaller and smaller and when I get to the point were I'm just about in focus the seagulls change direction by 90 degrees and start growing again. My ST80 works OK with other eyepieces. I assume
    Ylem and Trombatissimo like this.
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    Default Re: 40mm Plossls Shootout

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauls72 View Post
    I have a Orion Sirius 40mm Plossl that I bought and a Celestron 40mm Plossl that came with my C11 SCT. Other than the printing of the brand name they are identical eyepieces.
    They work OK in my 102mm MCT and other scopes. However in my ST80 the stars look like seagulls. When I go to focus the seagulls get smaller and smaller and when I get to the point were I'm just about in focus the seagulls change direction by 90 degrees and start growing again. My ST80 works OK with other eyepieces. I assume
    Yes, the Orion and Celestron Plossls are both manufactured by Barsta and don't do well in anything faster than f/6.
    TS Optics: 150mm, f/6 Newtonian (GSO SVD series). Altair: Starwave 102ED-R. Sky-Watcher: SkyMax 102mm, SkyMax 127mm, Evostar 72ED DS Pro, Evostar 80ED DS Pro, ST80 (TS Focuser), ST102 (TS Focuser), EQ5 Deluxe, AZ5 Deluxe. Vixen: Porta II, SXG Hal-130. Orion: 90mm StarMax , ST80 (TS Focuser). Celestron: NexStar Evolution 9.25". William Optics: E-BINO-P Binoviewer. A shed load of eyepieces including: Antares, Astro Hutech, Baader, Bresser, BST, Bushnell, Celestron, Explore Scientific, GSO, Kokusai, Meade, Orion, Sky-Watcher, Solomark, SvBony, TeleVue, Vixen & one or two I'm not sure of.

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    Default Re: 40mm Plossls Shootout

    Thanks for the review of your 40's. Do you have any idea where the Meade Series 4000 super Plossl would align with the set you reviewed?
    John

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    Default Re: 40mm Plossls Shootout

    I assume this is just a compatibility problem with the design.
    Mounts: EQ1, LXD55, Atlas EQ-G (one with Rowan belt mod, EQ6-Rail and one without)
    Scopes: C11, 8" Reflector, 102mm MCT, ST80, W.O. FLT98, 6" RC, Lunt LS50THa/B400
    Cameras: Canon XTi, DSI-C, DSI, ST402, QHY8L, QHY183C, QHY163M, ASI120MC-S (Allsky)
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    Default Re: 40mm Plossls Shootout

    Quote Originally Posted by JML View Post
    Thanks for the review of your 40's. Do you have any idea where the Meade Series 4000 super Plossl would align with the set you reviewed?
    You're welcome. Unfortunately the Meade 4000 is the one 40mm Plossl I don't have. I would have bought one but the 40mm Plossl I saw had an undercut on the drawtube. I'm guessing it would be similar in performance with the GSO 40mm though. I'm pretty sure Meade Plossls utilise JOC glass.
    JML and Trombatissimo like this.
    TS Optics: 150mm, f/6 Newtonian (GSO SVD series). Altair: Starwave 102ED-R. Sky-Watcher: SkyMax 102mm, SkyMax 127mm, Evostar 72ED DS Pro, Evostar 80ED DS Pro, ST80 (TS Focuser), ST102 (TS Focuser), EQ5 Deluxe, AZ5 Deluxe. Vixen: Porta II, SXG Hal-130. Orion: 90mm StarMax , ST80 (TS Focuser). Celestron: NexStar Evolution 9.25". William Optics: E-BINO-P Binoviewer. A shed load of eyepieces including: Antares, Astro Hutech, Baader, Bresser, BST, Bushnell, Celestron, Explore Scientific, GSO, Kokusai, Meade, Orion, Sky-Watcher, Solomark, SvBony, TeleVue, Vixen & one or two I'm not sure of.

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    Default Re: 40mm Plossls Shootout

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauls72 View Post
    I assume this is just a compatibility problem with the design.
    I really don't know. In the UK some retailers don't recommend Barsta made Plossls (Sky-Watcher, Orion, Celestron etc) with scopes faster than f/6. The Barsta Plossls are generally slightly cheaper than their Meade and GSO counterparts. It might be more expensive to mass produce lenses that correct properly for faster and more demanding scopes. So the Barsta made Plossls are aimed at being used in slower scopes. It's interesting that Sky-Watcher don't normally supply Plossls with their faster refractors, but sometimes include a 58 Barsta EP like this below:

    IMG_20170609_123953.jpg

    These are actually marketed as 'Sky-Watcher' in the UK.
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    Default Re: 40mm Plossls Shootout

    Thanks for the review. I too like the NPLs.
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    Default Re: 40mm Plossls Shootout

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauls72 View Post
    I have a Orion Sirius 40mm Plossl that I bought and a Celestron 40mm Plossl that came with my C11 SCT. Other than the printing of the brand name they are identical eyepieces.
    They work OK in my 102mm MCT and other scopes. However in my ST80 the stars look like seagulls. When I go to focus the seagulls get smaller and smaller and when I get to the point were I'm just about in focus the seagulls change direction by 90 degrees and start growing again. My ST80 works OK with other eyepieces. I assume
    Poorly made, low power eyepieces combined with a short focal length telescope will show astigmatism in the eyepiece.
    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
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    Default Re: 40mm Plossls Shootout

    Quote Originally Posted by not_Fritz_Argelander View Post
    Thanks for the review. I too like the NPLs.
    You're welcome. I only need the 4mm and 20mm now for the set! Damn my OCD lol.
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