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  1. #1
    Djarum's Avatar
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    Default AT Paradigm 25/18mm mini-review..



    I picked these up from astronomics last week. I had a chance to try them out on my celestron 130EQ Tuesday night. These are 60 degree decent ER designed eyepieces on sale for 60 bucks.

    I was actually looking for some economy 65 degree plus eyepieces, but from many reviews and forum members on cloudy nights, it was suggested that I should stay away from these because that some of these cheaper eyepieces start showing astigmatism 50 percent of the FOV away from center. That these eyepieces are only really decent in slower scopes.

    I needed a 15-20mm range EP, so I chose the 18mm. The 25mm I picked up was really just to replace my 32mm plossl EP.

    Both these eyepieces are excelent for the money. The 25 mm was sharp to about 85 percent, and the 18 about 90 percent. Barlowed, the 25mm improves edge sharpness, and the 18mm is sharp almost to the edge of field. From other reviewers, the shorter focal lengths even get sharper.

    On axis these were sharper than the few plossls I had. The other thing to note was that these eyepiece seemed really bright and contrasty compared to my plossls.

    The fit and finish were outstanding and excelent blackening of the barrels and field stops. The finish was flat, and I mean extreme flat black. I used to be in the paint business, and even flat black does have some reflectance. These had almost none. Compared to my GSO plossl, for example, which are blackend but does show some reflection.

    For slower scopes economy widefields may work just fine, but those with faster scopes looking for a good EP for a reasonable price, these are the ticket. They have about 13 or 14mm ER. I don't wear glasses, but my gf wears glasses, and had no problems using them.

    I posted a lengthier review on cloudy nights forums, and I will copy that one and post here when their site comes back up.

    I've never tried naglers or pentax EP's, and I'm sure they are much better, but they are better than some 100 dollar EP's that have come along, even though they aren't as widefield as others.

    Dj

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  3. #2
    Djarum's Avatar
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    OK, cloudy nights is now up. So, this was my detailed preliminary review of both of these eyepieces that I posted in the EP forum on cloudy nights.

    First, some background. I was in the market for a 17-20mm wide angle eyepiece for my f/5 reflector. I don't personally have the kind of money to spend on expensive or even the more upscale Hyperion type eyepieces. But I was truly missing out with my observing sessions by not having an eyepiece in this range. Most of the reviews on the economy type widefields seemed to all indicate that the economy widefields are not all that good for fast systems. That anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of the field of view was all that was useable. So in comes the AT Paradigm.

    I felt that I wouldn't mind giving up some AFOV for a sharper eyepiece, especially if they had a large usable field of view and were sharp on axis. Obviously the 18mm fits the focal length I was looking for. I decided that I wouldn't mind replacing my 32mm Plossl which I use mostly as a finder eyepiece. I also use this eyepiece in my home brewed finderscope. So, I typically would switch the EP between the finder scope and the telescope locating an object.

    The 25mm and 18mm used with a 2x barlow also gives me 12.5 and 9mm focal lengths, respectively which would fit in between some of my other eyepieces.

    On to the review.

    I received these yesterday evening. They were well packed. I must say I was rather impressed with the overall fit and finish of these eyepieces. As a novice, I have never used any premium eyepieces, so my opinions I suppose at this point are purely subjective. But in saying that, the barrels were extremly well blackened. Comparing the 25mm AT to my GS0 32mm plossl shows that the AT 25 barrels and field stops reflected a lot less light than the 32mm. The 18mm presented the same outstanding characteristics. The coatings were of the "green" type, similar to my 32mm plossl, unlike more of the bluish/purple color that my synta 6mm EWA eyepiece has. From all appearances, the coatings seemed good.

    Viewing conditions: Transparancy was good for this time of year, but overall average. The transparancy is better during the winter, but with the cold front which has moved in, its better than it has been all September. I was able to discern Mag 5 at the zenith and 3.5 close to the horizon.

    Viewing Observations:

    25mm AT Paradigm

    M24 Starcloud - This is an easy one for me to compare to my 32mm plossl. Keep in mind that TFOV is similar, 2.3* and 2.5* respectively. The 25mm AT Paradigm encompassed most of the starcloud. Many stars were visible. The brighter stars were crisp. In comparison to my 32mm Plossl, there is a world of difference in the level of brightness between the EP. The brighter stars of this starfield were brighter in the AT 25 vs the 32mm plossl. So much so that I swapped EP several times. The star cloud seemed twice as rich in the 25mm EP vs the 32mm plossl. To some degree, this seemed expected since there is a slight increase in magnification between the two EP. 20x for the 32mm plossl and 26x for the AT 25mm. But, the brighter stars appeared brighter. Typcially, increasing magnification, at least in my limited experience, on stars usually dims them, while increasing contrast. In regards to the edge sharpness while viewing M24, the 25mm was sharp to about 85 percent of the field. I At about 85 percent, some "seagulling" was barely apparent, and at 95 percent there seemed to be a good bit of distortion. I could focus some of the edge out, but I was then left with Coma at the edges. Comparitively, the 32mm plossl performed to about 90 percent to the edge.

    Double Cluster - Lets just say, after using the AT 25, I fell like I've seen it for the first time. The level of detail and the number of stars present in the double cluster was significantly more than the 32mm ploss. When barlowing the 25mm to resolve more detail in one of the clusters of the double cluster, I was able to resolve lots of faint and bright stars on-axis. The edge performance also improved to sharpness in about 95 percent of the field of view. The only issue I had was there was some slight kidney bean, but it was not bad once I used the twisht up eyecup for eye positioning.

    Lagoon/trifid Nebula - This EP easily encompases both nebula. I saw some nebulosity with the lagoon, but none with the trifid nebula. At this point, these two objects were only about 20 degrees above the horizon, in some LP washout.

    Ring Nebula - Yes, I realize this is extremly low magnification for this object. But, I've had a hard time finding it in my little 5 inch scope. However, I picked it out easily with the 25mm EP before moving to more magnification. I swapped in and out the 32mm, and I just could not detect a hint of it in the 32mm. Again this eyepiece just seems bright. I've yet concluded if its increase in contrast or light throughput, or both.

    18mm AT Paradigm:

    Double Cluster - This EP only really encompases once side of the double cluster. I did not see any seagulling until about the last 10 percent of the FOV. Again, this EP like the 25mm seemed bright. I don't have an EP really to compare this too.

    M25 - This cluster was perfect for getting more magnification with this EP. I first spotted it with the 25mm and moved to the 18mm. I then barlowed the 18mm and M25 became impressive. Just for curiosity, I put in my 10mm plossl. The central stars were brighter in the AT 18mm

    Wild Duck Cluster - In my previous sessions with this cluster, this object has presented more like a globular than an open cluster in my scope. I could not resolve any individual stars, until tonight. I spotted it using the AT 25mm. It looked like a snow ball. I then used the 18mm. Still a snow ball. I then barlowed the 18mm. Once I did this, I was able to resolve 5 or 6 brighter stars in the group. Moving to my 10mm plossl for comparison, I was only able to resolve 3 stars. I tried higher magnification with my other EP, including my 5mm TMB, but the image turned to mush pushing any thing higher. The individual stars that I could see were running together.

    Preliminary Conclusion:

    The AT 25mm presents an exclenent value for those wanting to replace a standard 1.25 inch finder type EP. The eye relief was good but there was some kidney beaning when this EP was barlowed. The eyeplacement becomes a little more critical. Just for comparison, barlowing my 32mm plossl is almost unusable because the eyeplacement has to be dead on. The edge was slightly softer than with the 18mm. The eyecups had smooth rotation to them.

    The AT 18mm I think for more critical viewing will get the most use. I used it the most last night while I was using the 25mm as a finder EP. I used the 18mm on the moon, Andromeda Galaxy as well as a few caldwell objects. This EP in my scope gives 1.6* FOV which it seems many bright/larger objects frame nicely in. Barlowed, this EP has no kidney beaning. My original choice was the 17mm Series 6, but I think I am glad I picked this one up instead.

    In general, these EP have good coatings and good fit and finish. They have good ER and are relatively sharp in fast systems. I personally am impressed with the brighter views and on-axis sharpness compared to the few plossls I do have.

    On one other note, my girlfriend was viewing with me last with her glasses on, and noticed how nice these EP are. The only thing I could not figure out, compared to my other EP, is that when I focus objects for myself, she doesn't have to refocus when she wears glasses. However, she occasionally had to slightly refocus on objects even with her glasses on compared to my other EP. This is the only sort of "anomoly" I could find with these EP compared to the others I have.

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  5. #3
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    Thanks Djarum--that is a good review.
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    Thanks DJ great review!!

    thanks for sharing your views with everyone,
    clear skies!!
    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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    Good review Djarum. Thanks.
    Len
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