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Thread: Zoom Eyepieces - A direct comparison.

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    Default Zoom Eyepieces - A direct comparison.



    Just got the September '09 issue of the BBC's 'Sky at Night' magazine, and noticed they feature a 'group test' of 6 popular zoom eyepieces.

    Obviously, copyright constraints don't allow me to scan, or otherwise fully reproduce the article here....
    But here are the salient points from the test - and a comparison of prices, FOVs, and optical ratings.

    Telescopes used in the test were a 12" Dob - a 10" newt - and a 80m 'ED' refractor

    **note**
    Prices are in UK pounds Sterling - but are all sourced from the same dealer, so for people in other countries, they can still be compared against each other.


    SkyWatcher 8-24mm
    Price - £60
    Optics - 88%
    AFOV - 40°-60°
    Positive - No internal reflections
    Negative - Colours muted

    Celestron 8-24mm
    Price - £76
    Optics - 85%
    AFOV - 40°-60°
    Positive - Good Colour rendition
    Negative - Prominent internal reflections


    Meade series 4000 8-24mm
    Price - £126
    Optics - 93%
    AFOV - 40°-55°
    Positive - Excellent Deep Sky views
    Negative - Some internal reflections


    Televue clickstop 8-24mm
    Price - £185
    Optics - 89%
    AFOV - 40°-55°
    Positive - Small and Light
    Negative - Click stop very stiff


    Baader Hyperion clickstop 8-24
    Price - £189
    Optics - 93%
    AFOV - 50°-68°
    Positive - Nice click action
    Negative - Bulky


    Pentax XW 8-24mm
    Price - £339
    Optics - 93%
    AFOV - 38°-60°
    Positive - Great deep sky views
    Negative - Largest and heaviest on test

    As with all zoom optics - the narrowest apparant field of view (AFOV) comes at lowest magnifications in all these models.

    Of the 6 EPs on test, only the SkyWatcher and the Baader showed no internal reflections at all, when viewing bright objects.
    The Skywatcher was surprisingly sharp, and reflection-free, considering it's the cheapest on test - but did lack colour.
    The Celestron noticeably lacked sharpness at high powers, and showed a lot of internal reflections, but did give the best colour rendition of all (for double stars)
    The Meade 4000, was the sharpest across the FOV of those on test, and gave the best deep-sky views of all. The only criticism was for very faint internal reflections when viewing bright objects.
    The click-stop of the Televue was so tight, that unless the EP-holder was very tight, you could end up rotating the whole EP, instead of zooming, however it's light and compact design makes it great for a portable setup.
    The Baader Hyperion also comes with a 2" adapter, showed no internal reflections at all, had the widest AFOV of all, and also gave the best planetary views of the test.
    The Pentax was probably the best all-rounder, but poor AFOV at low powers, large-heavy design, and high price, all counted against it.

    In conclusion, the tester chose the Meade 4000, as the best in the test, with the Pentax and Baader both very close.
    Personally, I may have been tempted to pay the extra for the superior AFOV of the Baadar - but worth bearing in mind, that the price difference, equates to roughly the cost of a nice 'Ortho' planetary eyepiece.
    Last edited by Carlos_dfc; 08-22-2009 at 07:31 PM.
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    Awesome review carlos ..Thanks for posting it ...I looked at a used pentax at the local astro shop but passed on it ..
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    Carlos, Great review and presentation. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

    Joe
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    Very good information, Karl. Thank you for passing it on .

    6 inch F/5 GEM mounted reflector

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    Outstanding review, Carlos. Much appreciated.

    The narrow FOV's have always kept me away from the zooms. Maybe someday I will own one for high mag if I have a tracking scope.
    Last edited by MarkM; 08-23-2009 at 03:04 PM.
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    I can deff atest to the quality of the Baader Zoom . Well worth the extra monies for the additional FOV. Is a bit heavy mind you AND/BUT you can also attach DSLR lens to it via an adapter , thus making it heavier ( lol ) and not so good for you're heart. Scary stuff indeed.
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    Thanks for the cool review.
    name: Derek

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    Thanks much for taking the time to post the results. It confirmed my beliefs.

    I have the Hyperion 8-24 ClickStop-Zoom and am very satisfied. You don't have to stop at the five different settings. The eye relief is great. The twist up eye guard is nice. I use it in the 2" mode, unless I take the Smythe lense off of my Hyperion 21mm and use it with the CliskStop-Zoom to make it a 4mm-12mm zoom!! I am waiting on my 2" 2x barlow and will compare that instead of the extra Smythe (just easier to switch out). It has threads to be used with cameras. Overall great first eyepiece to use with what came with my scope.

    The negative is that the 24mm setting is admittedly pretty poor. I picked up the 21mm for the added features, but also like the Hyperion 21mm view at 68 degrees instead of the Zoom with the lower field of view at that setting.
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    Next month - their 'group-test' is gonna be 80mm ED refractors

    Ill do a similar summing-up (in the relevant forum) when the mag comes out (mid Sept)
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    thanks can i sticky this!
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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