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Thread: First light Vixen LVW 17mm

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    Default First light Vixen LVW 17mm



    8/4/18

    My main DSO hunting set consists of ES82/Meade 5000 UWA EPs. These are fine EPs, but eye relief is a bit short for viewing with glasses, so I can never see whole FOV. I have been looking for wide field alternatives which could provide more comfortable viewing with glasses. Tested so far Baader Hyperion, Morpheus, and TV Delos. Unfortunately, these lines did not click with me one way or another. I am not bushing them and there are many fans of those (in particular Delos and Morpheus). But hey! The heart wants what it wants.

    Recently I was acquainted with Vixen SLVs and got hooked on the quality of views and ergonomics of this line. Which started me thinking about LVWs. For those not familiar with them, LVWs are 65 deg, 20mm ER, 8 elements EPs, 3.5mm to 22mm in 1.25” and 42mm in 2” format. They have great following on forums. LVWs were manufactured in Japan and out of production now; but them or Orion rebrands could be found on classifieds or eBay.

    Last week I picked 17mm LVW in like new shape. The triggered clouds curse was localized to San Diego, so I was able to use it almost immediately by driving to the desert. . It was tested against Meade 5000 UWA 82 deg 18mm on DSOs and BCO 18mm on planets.



    LVW appears well built. At 10cm height and weight of 12.8oz, it feels substantial but still comfortable to use. In fact it gets A+ for ergonomics. Eye position feels natural, no blackouts or kidney beans; and with eye guard rolled down I can comfortably see whole FOV (and sharp field stop) with glasses on.

    I tested LVW and UWA 18mm on rich star field around M4. Both deliver good views. The stars were a tad sharper and cleaner in LVW, the sky was a tad darker to. I like neutral colors of both EPs. No edge of field artefacts were present in LVW, other than very mild filed curvature. It likely came from 150R 6” F5 achro scope. UWA had a bit more field curvature (not distracting in any way from the views), which is given considering larger, 82 deg FOV.

    Light transmission and contrast were tested on several galaxies (NGC5480, 5481, 5490 and 5523) using 8” F10 SCT. Both LVW and UWA delivered nice views. The views with LVW appeared a bit more refined with a bit sharper and cleaner stars and a bit more contrast and darker sky. Brighter cores in galaxies were better resolved from fainter disks in LVW. UWA however had a slight edge over LVW in transmission. The faint galaxies disks extended a bit further in UWA vs LVW.

    Planetary performance of LVW was tested on Jupiter against 18mm BCO using 8” SCT and Baader Moon and Sky Glow + Contrast Booster filters combo. At ~120x Jupiter disk was smallish, but in terms of sharpness, level of details and color saturation, both EPs delivered very similar and excellent views.

    So far in terms of ergonomics and image quality I am very satisfied with LVW. One unexpected thing was that it requires significantly more inward focuser travel than 18mm UWA (couple of turns of focuser knob or so). This becomes somewhat an issue with manual mount. With my current EP set when I am stepping up from ES68 24mm to Meade UWA 18mm and again to UWA 14mm only slight adjustments of focuser are required. Stepping from ES68 24mm to LVW 17mm and to UWA 14mm will require two major focuser adjustments. Of cause I could get LVW 22mm and 13mm to resolve this issue.
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    Default Re: First light Vixen LVW 17mm

    Great review and first light on the LVW, Andrey!

    I've been eyeballing the SLVs and SSWs. I need more money.
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    Default Re: First light Vixen LVW 17mm

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post
    Great review and first light on the LVW, Andrey!

    I've been eyeballing the SLVs and SSWs. I need more money.
    Thanks Bryan. SSWs are a bit too rich for my valet, they are also part of tight ER/82 (or 83) degree bunch. But SLVs are great and priced right. I wonder if $106 sale price (which has been there since Feb) is now the new everyday price.
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    Default Re: First light Vixen LVW 17mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigzmey View Post
    Thanks Bryan. SSWs are a bit too rich for my valet, they are also part of tight ER/82 (or 83) degree bunch. But SLVs are great and priced right. I wonder if $106 sale price (which has been there since Feb) is now the new everyday price.
    Yeah, I think the SSWs are a little rich for mine as well. Hopefully the SLVs can stay reasonably priced.

    Ultimately, I am trying to hold out for more KK Orthos...

    So many eyepieces, so little extra cash.
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    Default Re: First light Vixen LVW 17mm

    Thanks for the write-up on the LVW 17mm Andrey. I have always heard glowing things about the LVW 22mm. Some folks make the mistake of trying to compare the quality of the Baader Hyperions and Orion Stratus to the Vixens. While the design of the Hyperions and Stratus are similar, they are not the same as the LVWs. In every comparison of the three lines that I've read, the Vixens always easily triumphed with the Hyperions coming in second and the Stratus at the end of the pack.

    Personally I've never owned an LVW, but have owned four Hyperions and one Stratus. While serviceable, I was never satisfied with them in my f/4.5 and f/5 dobs. Even when ignoring the AFOV differences, they are clearly no match for the ES 82s in my scopes.
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    Default Re: First light Vixen LVW 17mm

    Quote Originally Posted by KT4HX View Post
    Thanks for the write-up on the LVW 17mm Andrey. I have always heard glowing things about the LVW 22mm. Some folks make the mistake of trying to compare the quality of the Baader Hyperions and Orion Stratus to the Vixens. While the design of the Hyperions and Stratus are similar, they are not the same as the LVWs. In every comparison of the three lines that I've read, the Vixens always easily triumphed with the Hyperions coming in second and the Stratus at the end of the pack.

    Personally I've never owned an LVW, but have owned four Hyperions and one Stratus. While serviceable, I was never satisfied with them in my f/4.5 and f/5 dobs. Even when ignoring the AFOV differences, they are clearly no match for the ES 82s in my scopes.
    Never tried Stratus, but Hyperions defenetly no much for ES82.
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    Default Re: First light Vixen LVW 17mm

    Hello Andrey,

    and thanks for the review, very helpful!

    I have seen several sets of the LVWs at TS, it might be 15 years ago,
    but one of the honest TS engineers has told me out to take them for my fast achro.

    The fast achros are lovely, but there is a curse upon them, when selecting the right EPs.
    The last, the 33rd EP is on the way to me, but it will be the last EP, I tell you.


    Enjoy your new LVW,

    JG
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    Default Re: First light Vixen LVW 17mm

    The Vixen LVWs are very nice! Glad it's working out well for you. Definitely a case where the clones aren't as good as the original.
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    Default Re: First light Vixen LVW 17mm

    Quote Originally Posted by j.gardavsky View Post
    Hello Andrey,

    and thanks for the review, very helpful!

    I have seen several sets of the LVWs at TS, it might be 15 years ago,
    but one of the honest TS engineers has told me out to take them for my fast achro.

    The fast achros are lovely, but there is a curse upon them, when selecting the right EPs.
    The last, the 33rd EP is on the way to me, but it will be the last EP, I tell you.


    Enjoy your new LVW,

    JG
    Yes, fast achro is a self-contradicting design. They are designed with wide field views in mind, but can't handle many of wild field EPs.
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    Default Re: First light Vixen LVW 17mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigzmey View Post
    Yes, fast achro is a self-contradicting design. They are designed with wide field views in mind, but can't handle many of wild field EPs.
    Yes Andrey,

    these have been for me expensive lessons learned.

    I know, that there are people considering the Vixen LVWs as being heads on with the Pentax XWs, and at some focus lengths, even better.
    The LVWs have been manufactured still in Japan with the high quality glass materials, unfortunately discontinued.

    Once again, congratulations on the purchase,

    JG
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