Last updated: 12 February 2010
Meade Series 5000 5.5mm 1.25" Eyepiece (02/12/10)
Meade 12mm Reticle Eyepiece (10/11/08)
ETX 2" eyepiece adapter (09/30/07)
Orion Stratus wide-Field Eyepiece (04/02/06)
Celestron E-Lux 40mm vs 40mm Kellner (01/04/06)
Nagler Type 6 13mm, Televue Powermate 2.5 (09/27/05)
Moonfish 20mm 70° wide angle (Word file) (08/04/05)
High Point Scientific Binoviewer (06/07/05)
Meade 4000 QX 15mm eyepiece (06/22/05)
Celestron 15mm Axiom, Paul Rini 15mm (03/31/05)
University Optics 32mm (PDF) (09/26/04)
Orion Highlight Plossl 32mm (05/31/04)
Denkmeier Binoviewer (05/19/04)
Meade Electronic Eyepiece (10/31/03)
Explorer II Zoom Eyepiece (02/13/03)
Research Grade Orthoscopic Eyepieces (01/03/03)
Lanthanum LV 12mm vs Scopetronix 15mm (01/27/01)
Meade 14mm Ultra Wide Angle (12/26/00)
Swarovski Zoom 7.7-23.1mm Eyepiece (07/15/00)
Nikon Zoom 9-21mm (01/31/01)
Sirius Plossl 40mm (02/04/00)
Celestron 17mm Plossl (10/13/99)
SCS Astro 50 mm wide field Erfle (06/22/99)
"Bolt Style" Eyepiece Containers (04/30/99)
Scopetronix Eyepieces (06/20/04)
Celestron Guide Eyepiece (10/24/98)
5X Powermate (04/03/99)
13mm Super Wide Angle (2/3/98)
Paul Rini Eyepieces (01/08/07)
6.7mm Ultra Wide Angle
Plossl 9.7mm Multi-Coated (05/27/02)
Meade Series 5000 3X TeleXtender 1.25" (02/12/10)
OPT 15mm 1.25" Eyepiece (10/11/08)
Speers-Waler 10mm 1.25" Eyepiece (11/17/06)
Moonfish Binoviewers (03/30/06)
Speers-Waler 14mm/82deg afov (12/31/05)
Surplus Shed 2-Inch 38mm Erfle (12/17/05)
Zhitong 11mm (Word file) (08/22/05)
Pentax XW 7mm eyepiece (06/07/05)
Antares, University Optics orthoscopic eyepieces (04/04/05)
Meade 32mm Super Plossl Eyepiece (01/05/05)
Moonfish 15mm Wide-Angle (PDF) (09/26/04)
Scopetronix Eyepiece Barrel extension (09/04/04)
Meade vs Celestron "Eyepiece Kits" (12/31/03)
Meade Value Pack (08/30/03)
Siebert Optics Eyepieces (01/06/03)
Meade 18mm Super Wide Angle (05/27/02)
Parks Gold Series 7.5mm (12/30/00)
Binocular Viewer (08/20/00)
Spectiva Plossls (02/27/00)
Televue 15mm Plossl and Radian 8mm (10/27/99)
Rigel Systems PulsGuide (07/19/99)
Televue 8-24mm Zoom (01/29/01)
Meade 4000 8-24mm Zoom (02/13/01)
Televue 11mm and 2X Barlow (11/28/98)
Nagler Eyepieces (05/23/02)
Lanthanum 6mm,10mm, & 15mm (07/11/98)
Lanthanum 8-24mm Zoom (07/27/99)
Plossl 26mm LP Multi-Coated (04/04/98)
2x Short-Focus Multi-Coated Barlow
|XW 7mm eyepiece||Pentax||325|
Paul Lenartowicz (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "Checking things on your excellent site from time to time I realised that you have no reports on Pentax eyepieces, so here's one, albeit brief:
I use my ETX125 a lot for planetary observation, and started off with Meade's 'anniversary set' of Super Plossl 4000 eyepieces. My favourite was the 12.4mm, mostly with barlow. On some days I also used the 9.7, though I did not find the latter very comfortable to use. I just could not get on with the 6.4 at all (regardless of Barlow)- far too little eye relief or too small an exit pupil or something. I felt I wanted something better, so after much research I bought one of the newly released Pentax XW range: the 7 mm. The view is absolutely amazing: similar magnification to the Meade 12.7 + Barlow, but brighter, sharper and clearer, with a wide field of view (so if you haven't aligned well any drift is less significant), and so comfortable to use. The high eye relief also made it much easier for my wife with spectacles. It is heavy, but less so than my 35mm camera, and easily counterbalanced (my counterbalance system is described elsewhere on this site). It was also expensive - but the clarity of view and comfort it has given me makes it worth every penny - and it should literally last a lifetime, even if one day I upgrade the ETX to something bigger. (Incidentally, they claim it is waterproof, which may help its longevity.) For completeness I should say that I have no idea how it compares with the Radian 6mm, which is the only other wide angle high eyepoint lens of similar mag that I know of, though cloudynights.com have previously compared the old Pentax XL with the Radian, and found them to be broadly comparable before Pentax improved the XL to become the XW. The only downside is that now I have to start saving for the XW 14 and XW 20 because the Pentax really shows up my other lenses! Currently unavailable in the UK, which a year after I bought the XW by mail order from the USA is still selling the old XL range at a very steep 290!"
|4000 QX 15mm eyepiece||Meade Instruments||$79|
Duncan Rosie (email@example.com) reports: "The Meade 4000 QX 15mm wide angle eyepiece works extremely well in the
ETX-125. The apparent field of view is about 70 degrees compared to the
50 52 degrees for an equivalent focal length plossl - it has the
magnification of a 15mm plossl but the field of view of a 20mm plossl.
Eye relief is quite short but you are rewarded the closer you get with
an expanding vista of stars (but you do get eyelash oil on the large
field lens). Stars are pin sharp to the edge of the field in the f/15
ETX-125 and lunar views are crisp and contrasty better than the 15mm
series 4000 plossl to my eyes..
Build quality is good and the coatings are visibly superior to the
current Meade 4000 plossls. The only problem is that it has made my 15mm
and 20mm series 4000 plossls redundant. I highly recommend the Meade
4000 QX 15mm eyepiece to anyone with an ETX-125.
Meade Series 4000 15mm QX Wide Angle Eyepiece - $79 from Scopetronix
(whose service I highly recommend)."
firstname.lastname@example.org adds: "I recently purchased a Meade QX Wide Angle Eyepiece for my ETX -125EC. I have to say that the construction quality is good, but the eyepiece had particles inside the lens, were I can't reach. Anyway, the viewing is very good; you can see full moon at +130x! The only thing that I don't like is that the eyepiece contrast is the same as the Super Plss, which is good, but I expected more from a fully multicoated, five elements, $79 eyepiece. I tried the eyepiece with Jupiter, M13, M8, M94, and M92, but there was no contrast difference (I could only resolve one additional star in M13)."
|Antares/University Optics orthoscopic eyepiece shoot out||Antares,
|Michael Morris (email@example.com) reports on an Antares/University Optics orthoscopic eyepiece shoot out. Click here to read the Microsoft Word file.|
|Celestron 15mm Axiom vs. Paul Rini 15mm 1.25||Celestron, Paul Rini|
|Chris Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) provides this eyepiece comparison: "I tried, I REALLY tried to tell a real difference in these eyepieces in my ETX-90RA, after all, the Celestron Axiom 15mm is a heavy, super-premium eyepiece, reported to have 7 elements, fully multi-coated elements, a 70 degree field, and a serious sticker price of about $125.00. The RINI, on the other hand, feels like a toy in comparison. It features an ultra-light aluminum barrel, NOT threaded for filters, surplus lenses(must be an Erfle, the field is way too wide for a modified Plossl), extremeaffordablity, and not a name brand or measurement marking anywhere, this is by all means an anonomous eyepiece, until you look through it...The Celestron has definite competition... A little background...The Celestron Axiom was my first real eyepiece. A gift from my wife, who does her homework, I was instantly wowed by it's impossibly wide field and heft, seeing that I was used to Plossls at the time... The Rini came much later...an Astromart package deal that also included a Serius 10mm Plossl, and a Celestron 12.5mm flat-top Ortho, all for just $45.00! The Sirius 10mm had perfect optics, and I sold it to a friend for $20.00. The Ortho turned out to be a super-rare Vixen with a slight reddish tint to its perfect optics, worth the $45.00 price all by itself, and of course, the Rini 15. I had a chance to compare the 15 Rini and the 15 Axiom when the skies finally cleared in my Southern California suburban area. The first test was to see if the Rini was really a 15mm, and Saturn seemed to comfirm this, using the Axiom as a comparison. I was amazed that the details on Saturn, along with the dimmer moons and stars, were very similar in both eyepieces, right down to two stars in the 83.33x field that were averted vision in both eyepieces, the only difference in the eyepieces seemed to be a slight reduction in eye relief through the Rini. Barlowing with a Celestron Ultima (166.66x) revealed the less-than-perfect atmospheric conditions, and a quick switch to my beloved 7mm Celestron Vixen Ortho confirmed that this night shunned high power viewing. I tried M35 next, and I found the dimmest stars to be of identical brightness in both eyepieces! I did notice that The Rini had a slight disadvantage in total FOV, lets guess about 65 degrees, vs the Celestron's claimed 70 degrees, and although the edge-of-field stars were pinpoint in both eyepieces, the Celestron seemed to show these stars a tad brighter, probably due again to the wider field. Next, I aimed my ETX-90RA on Castor, and I was rewarded to an identical split in both eyepieces, and no matter how I tried, I just couldn't see any more detail or hidden stars through the Celestron Axiom! In conclusion, I came away impressed with the Paul Rini eyepiece. I know very little about this older Rini, but I can assume that the lower glass count, compared to the Celestron, is responsible for it's excellent brightness, along with the slightly narrower field of view. This is an excellent eyepiece choice for a small compound telescope such as the ETX-90, and it's wide field will quickly make you forget about the ETX's looooong focal length!!! Highly recommended!!"|
|32mm Super Plossl Eyepiece||Meade||$40|
Patrick Roy (email@example.com) reports: "I've been an happy ETX-125 owner for almost one year and I was looking for an eyepiece that would give me a wider field of view. I finaly decided for the 32 mm Super Plossl from Meade that would give me a true field of vue of 53 arc/min with a 53X magnification. This eyepiece is very big compared with the 26 mm, but the field of view is very good compared with the 42 arc/min given with the standard 26 mm Super Plossl at 73X. It does a very nice job on open clusters, the moon, nebulas and big galaxy. The only thing about that eyepiece is that it does take a while to get use to its very long eye relief. I really recommend that eyepiece. I bought it on E-Bay at 40$, wich is pretty cheap for an eyepiece of that quality. That eyepiece is recommended by Terence Dickinson, a Canadian astronomer who wrote many astronomy books.
Amazing web site."
|Eyepiece Barrel Extension||Scopetronix||STEPEXT||$13|
Michael Morris (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "As most ETX90 owners are aware, the supplied 8 x 21 straight through finderscope is useless when trying to locate an object near the zenith. The solution is to fit a 8 x 25 right angled finderscope. Unfortunately this creates a new problem for the nasally well-endowed. When using short barrelled eyepieces, such as the Meade 9.7mm Plossl, one's hooter hits the prism on the new finderscope. This leaves one with either crick in the neck trying to look through the eyepiece at bizarre angles, or saving up for a nose job! The solution is simple. Scopetronix makes a nice little screw in 1 inch eyepiece barrel extension for $12.95 (item number STEPEXT). The inside of the barrel is baffled. The bottom end of the barrel is threaded to accept filters. I now have these on two eyepieces with no focussing problems. In the UK you can get them for 14.95 + 2.50 postage and packaging from Green Witch."
|Highlight Plossl 32mm||Orion||#08918||$60|
|Ted Kowalczyk (email@example.com) reports: "I recently purchased a 32mm Orion Highlight Plossl. The eyepiece itself is beautiful. I didn't particularly care for the silver finish but seeing it first hand it is sharp. The coatings on the glass are well done and very effective. I used it to view the full moon, it fit very comfortably in the field of view and the entire field was tack sharp with great contrast. I also used it to gain a pleasing view of comet linear. I can't wait for the nebulas of the summer skies! I did not detect any color fringing or ghosting of the brighter objects. I compared it to the 26mm Meade that comes with the ETX(I have the EXT 90) and the only difference that I detected was that the Highlight plossl view had a barely noticable warmer color cast to it(due to the coatings I would presume)and again the sharpness across the field was identical. Over all I feel the Highlight plossl is a very high quality eyepiece and worth it's price. Thanks for the great site!"|
Raimund Wagner (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "My name is Raimund and I live in Austria. I own an ETX 105 and since I was looking the first time through a bino I wanted to have one. But I was afraid that a bino will not work with my ETX 105. I was calling many companies in whole Europe to get the proof that a bino will work with ETX and the most dealer told me that it is
too heavy for the 105. (Considering the Autostar and engines) But one dealer in Switzerland told me that he had tried and proofed this set up (Denkmeier Bino and ETX 105, using a pair of Pentax XL 14, combined with a Scopetronix Piggy Pack as a fixing for a special made counterweight) and he told me if it will not work he will give me the money back. So I bought my Denkmeier Bino II, tried it and was really impressed about the result.
I wrote this because maybe other ETX users are also interest to use a small ETX which is seriously the best to travel without missing the convenience of a bino. Considering the time I have spent to get some information, maybe someone else can save time by seeing these pictures.
For special questions I will be open for answers, please send me an e-mail email@example.com"
Dave Adriance (firstname.lastname@example.org) adds: "After reading all the raves in various journals about looking at the night sky with two eyes instead of just one, I finally caved in to my desires and put down nearly $600 to purchase a Denkmeier Binoviewer. I was concerned that it might not be compatible with the ETX-125 despite manufacturer claims to the contrary. Perhaps my experience will be of use to other potential buyers with similar concerns.
I ordered the binoviewer from Scopetronix together with a 26mm EP to go with the one that I already had. The binoviewer arrived without the EP, but Scopetronix promptly responded to my emails and sent me one soon thereafter. I immediately discovered that the binoviewer together with the two EPs was way too heavy for clamping with the declination knob, so ordered a piggyback camera mount, once more from Scopetronix.
The piggyback mount comes with some small weights which can be attached to it. I was delighted to note that the mount and weights perfectly counterbalanced the weight of the binoviewer coupled with the 26mm EPs. Perhaps as the a result, the ETX is able to slew and align without any noticeable strain to the motor and with the same Go To accuracy that is attained normally (I'm still grateful for Dr. Clay's tune-up which was done nearly 3 years ago).
As for the viewing: the purchase of any new accessory is usually accompanied by prolonged stretches of overcast skies, and so it was this time, particularly as we are in the midst of the rainy season here in E. Africa. However, last night it cleared up and I was able to try out the binoviewer on some of my favorite southern hemisphere DSOs: Eta Carinae nebula; Omega Centauri; NGC 3532 open cluster; and Jewel Box. Tonight I had a few minutes of clear skies to view Jupiter, too.
It's definitely relaxing and enjoyable to view through two eyes, although it took me a few minutes to learn to relax my eyes so that the images from each eye merged into a single image. The three-dimensionality that I had read about is there, too, although it's rather subtle on some objects (seems best on planets, based on my views of Jupiter). What really struck me though, and I don't recall that I've read about this in any of the reviews I've seen, is that colors really seem more evident and multiple stars seem easier to split. Acrux's double was lovely, emerald blue and bright yellow, and the bands on Jupiter were a deeper reddish-brown than I recall when seeing through one eye. Not sure why this would be and whether it is actually an illusion. I'm looking forward to exploring my favorite colored doubles through the binoviewers.
The binoviewers come with the equivalent of a 2X Barlow as well as an addition called "star sweeper" which increases the FOV nicely. Overall they have a very solid feel, nicely machined components. Although the binoviewer adds a few more minutes to set up and take down, I have the feeling that I'm going to spend most of my viewing time in the future looking through them - they definitely have a way of growing on one and I can highly recommend them for use with the ETX-125."
|Meade vs Celestron "Eyepiece Kits"||Meade, Celestron||N/A||$99|
|John Hall (email@example.com) provides the following comparison of the Meade and Celestron "Eyepiece Kits": "I can see from the postings on your site that a few people have mentioned the Celestron eyepiece kits that can sometimes be obtained for $99 (without buying a Celestron telescope!). These kits are a foam lined case containing 32, 15, 9, 6 and 4mm Plossl eyepieces, a 2x Barlow lens and a set of color filters. A while ago I managed to pick up one of these kits, also without buying a Celestron telescope. I've been using these eyepieces for a while on a borrowed 8 inch LX-90, but I have just bought myself a new ETX-90 AT package that came with the Meade $99 eyepiece deal. So now I have had a chance to compare both sets of eyepieces. In my opinion, telescopes like the ETX start to get really useful when you have a good selection of eyepieces. Both of these kits are clearly a bargain at $99 and anyone who doesn't already have a good selection of different eyepieces could do much worse than get either of these kits. The Meade kit is better - it has more eyepieces and I suspect that they are also slightly better quality. But if you aren't eligible for it (e.g. you bought a used ETX), then seek out the Celestron kit. It has fewer eyepieces but there is that 2x Barlow lens and the filters could come in handy. The Meade kit isn't quite perfect though - the 40mm eyepiece is okay on the LX-90 but vignettes on the ETX-90. This means you end up with about the same field of view as the 32mm but with a smaller image! So, for ETX-90 users, this one will probably stay in the box. I presume it would work better on the ETX-105 and 125, but even on the LX-90 the field of view is narrower than I expected, so this one was a little disappointing. The other Meade eyepieces are fine, particularly the 32mm, but none of the others have much eye relief. Like the standard 26mm eyepiece, they are obviously not designed for spectacle wearers! Anyway, I've had some very nice views with the Meade eyepieces, and the range of magnifications (apart from the 40mm perhaps) makes the kit an ideal match for the ETX telescopes. As always, the shorter focal length (higher magnification) eyepieces require good seeing conditions to be useful, but that is to be expected. Conversely, the problem with the Celestron kit is with the shorter focal length eyepieces. I found the 4mm to be unusable on either the LX-90 or the ETX-90. The magnification is simply too great for these 'scopes and the eye relief is almost non-existent! Another one destined to stay in the box then! The 6mm is also a bit borderline on the ETX-90 (208x magnification), and I suspect you might only want to use it for close-up views of the Moon? I suppose that magnification is also beyond the resolution limit for a 3 inch 'scope? I'm not really qualified to comment on the optical quality of these eyepieces, but I did make a direct comparison of the Meade and Celestron 15mm eyepieces. Really, there is not much to choose between them. The Meade has very slightly more eye relief, and a slightly wider field of view, but the image through the Celestron lens had a little more contrast. At least, that's what I thought looking at a terrestrial target in the daytime. Another minor problem with the Celestron eyepieces is that they have quite long chrome barrels, and these hit the 'bottom' of the eyepiece hole in the telescope. So, even if the eyepieces were intended to be parfocal, they won't be on a Meade telescope! This problem is made worse when you attach screw-on filters to the bottom of the eyepieces. Then they stand proud and you have to turn the focus knob quite a long way to get the image back in focus again. Anyway, these little snags are insignificant when you consider that the whole kit costs about the same as a Barlow lens on it's own! So, if you can't get your hands on the Meade eyepiece deal, but you can find the Celestron kit for $99, then go for it. There might be a couple of lenses that stay in the box, but the rest makes up for it."|
Ralph Libby (RLibby@aol.com) reports: "Sometime back I got an "electronic eyepiece", a nice gadget, but of limited use.
It works great on the moon, especially at public star parties..Even with a full moon, the contrast can be adjusted to show details on the surface.
Didnt work so well on Mars...just showed a disc. Using the Orion Color one, showed an orange disc.
Ihavent tried it on some brighter deep space objects, but it did work ok on Albireo. The color one showed colors, of course.
When using the Orion solar filter, it doesnt have enough light to really work well, but I think Thousand Oaks makes one for photo use that should be ok.
Alll in all, a good gadget for showing the moon to groups, not so hot for anything else.
I have been using a small battery operated TV, which runs off a Coleman Battery-jump start . It has two outlets, a recharger, a light, and of course jumpstart cables...I got mine at Target for $20."
Cesar Brischetto (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "I want you and other friends at your website to share this info, on the
I've got the Meade value pack, which consists of three eyepieces, one 2x
Barlow, and 2 Plossl of 4 & 6 mm. According to the Meade box and
Discovery Store, it was intended for all 1.25" telescopes, despite we
know very well they are accesories for ETX 60 & 70 AT. Ok, let's go to
the tests on my ETX 90 EC :
2 X BARLOW : It works very, very fine. To recommend.
PLOSSL 4 & 6 MM. : Don't know on the smaller ETX's, but on the 90, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and the stars were very big, but VERY FUZZY!! Also, light transmission at small lens diameters is quite poor. I was expecting such a response, but anyway I've got the Plossls for free (same price than a 2x Barlow), then selling them and get a free 2x Barlow.
Hope to get enough money for buying a 8-24 mm. zoom Super Plossl!
By the way, I can't find a price and/or features for the electronic B/W eyepiece, although I've read the user comments. From where I can get it?
Mike, thanks again for the magnificent site, I see how all ETX astronomers share the joy and sense of community from your idea and initiative!!!
Mike here: The Meade electronic eyepiece sells for $90 (US). I searched the OPT site and found this page: http://www.optcorp.com/cart/ProductList.asp?SearchFor=electronic+eyepiece&image.x=0&image.y=0
|Explorer II Zoom Eyepiece||Orion||N/A||$41|
|Yolanda Pena (email@example.com) reports "I was a little hesitant about this one, most zoom eyepieces are up to more than $200.00 and this one cost a little less than a single eye piece (Explorer II 21-7mm on sale for $41.00 at www.orion.cm ). I was very impressed, the views on Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon were impressive at all magnifications. I compared the views at 21mm with the 26mm Super Plosh and couldn't notice any big differences. I went a little farther and tried it with a 2x barlow; at 7mm+barlow it exceeds the maximum magnification (355x) but still could see Jupiter bands with no problem. I pointed my ETX-90C to Orion M42 and it look great ant all magnifications. The eye relief is so great that I have to use my glasses at 21-15mm. The field of view is smaller than my 26mm and 10mm Plosh eyepieces, but it's great for planetary and lunar viewing. I'm sure the $200.00+ zoom eyepieces look even better but for a limited budget like mine I have a lot more than I had expected. I visit your web site and I had learn a lot from it, keep the good work!"|
|Siebert Optics Eyepieces||Siebert Optics||N/A||N/A|
|Mike Mladenoff (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "Just wanted to pass off some info to you. I have not seen any information regarding Siebert Optics eyepieces and accessories on this site. Mr. Siebert provides some exceptional quality eyepieces that compete favorbly with Naglers and the like for a fraction of the cost. There are several items on the site that are specifically made for the ETX-since Mr. Siebert owns an ETX-90 himself. I think that this site would be a great resource for any telescope owner to look at. On top of it all he will personally talk to you about what he believes will work best for your viewing needs. I have a couple of eyepieces from him and the optics are top notch. And I just received his 2" eyepiece adapter with a 36mm 2" observatory class eyepiece. Let me tell you--truly exceptional views through the ETX! There is a lot that I could report with specific data, but the website does a good job of that already. Check it out."|
|Research Grade Orthoscopic Eyepieces||Meade||N/A||N/A|
|Chris Brown (email@example.com) reports: "After much searching, I was finally able of acquire three perfect examples of Meade's flagship eyepieces from the early 1980's. My ETX-90M has wonderful optics (Cassini division, 4-star trap, Castor, E-Lyra split , all from 80x!), but I have found that the gas giants were unacceptably dim at 170x-plus when using a barlow with my Plossls, so I searched for less glass elements in my eyepieces, and orthoscopics were the obvious answer! These eyepieces are getting hard to find, but I was lucky to have a friend with a shop who received a 4mm, a 7mm, and a 10.5mm in trade. He is typically a Nagler fan, and when he held these aluminum-barrel marvels, he assumed "cheap", and he offered them to me! (I tried to tell this dear friend of mine that these were VERY valuable eyepieces, yet he remains unconvinced!) Using the 10.5mm in my city front yard with the ETX-90 M, and an "884" tripod, I found excellent eye relief, and perfect sharpness at the very edge. On M-42, The nebulosity filled the eyepiece (119x, 45 degree afov, .39 degrees actual) and showed layers. The big surprise to me was the appearance of a fifth Trapezium star, just skirting the edge of averted vision! Turning to Saturn, I noticed that the Cassini division was sharp and clear, two small moons and Titan were visible, and the general image was quite bright! Next up was the 7mm, (178.5x, .25 degrees actual field) , and very little image breakdown occurred, instead, the banding on the ball was better defined, and the inner and outer rings showed a definite difference in shading. I was down to Titan and one other tiny moon, now, both still direct vision, which is a feat unmatched by my 8mmTeleview Plossl! M42's nebulosity was now grayish, but still very obvious! Switching to the 4mm (312.5x, .14 degrees actual field) proved that I was really pushing it, now. I was now in the realm of image breakdown, however, the Cassini division was still apparent, as was some banding on the ball! M42 was now reduced to the 4 main "trap" stars, which no longer appearing as sharp pinpoints surrounded by a single diffraction ring (this combination is still useful on our moon, as I later found out). The long eye relief of these eyepieces was instantly apparent, even the 4mm produced no squinting! I found that I was able to view Saturn with excellent clarity and contrast with my eye about 1 inch away from the eyepiece! This technique will greatly reduce the field of view, but it is a super-comfortable way to view a planet! I found that the 10.5mm could be barlowed up to 238x, with very good results, weather allowing. These eyepieces were originally offered by Meade for just $39.50, (according to an old s@t,January, 1981), and I routinely see them for sale for around $100.00. I must contend, however, that the ETX-90 is very kind to any eyepiece (maybe because of the long focal length?), and I have had very good luck with lesser Ortho's, costing much less., but if you don't have the cash for the high-dollar German Ortho's, the next best thing is the Meade RG. Happy Star Trails!"|
|18mm Super Wide Angle||Meade||N/A||$150|
|Jason Baker (Jasonjbaker@cs.com) reports: "I cannot say enough good things about the Meade 18mm Super Wide Angle Eyepiece. The first thing you notice when looking into this gem is the huge field of view and the most comfortable eye relief. You can literally roll your eyeball around 360 degrees inside of this thing. the image quality is completely crisp all the way to the very edge with little or no optical distortion or color bleeding or shadowing. It completely blows away any other Meade eyepiece I have looked through. Putting this thing into a 2X barlow will make you wish you never bought that 9.7mm plossl (crap) because you get the same magnification but with all of that splendid eye relief and 67 degree field of view."|
|Lanthanum LV 12mm vs Scopetronix 15mm||See comments||N/A||$115 vs $43|
Richard B. Emerson (firstname.lastname@example.org) provides the following comparison: "I added a Scopetronix 40mm Ploessel to the initial Meade 26mm and 2x
Barlow that came with my ETX-90EC (bought used). The eyepiece works
well and Scopetronix was easy to deal with so, when I decided it was
time to add a shorter eyepiece to my collection, I ordered their 15mm
Ploessel. Again, ordering was easy and the package arrived promptly.
The eyepiece is a little difficult to live with, however.
The eye relief, even without glasses, is a little short, making it
difficult to avoid bumping into the scope and causing the image to
jiggle. With the Barlow in place, I'd be hard pressed to say images
snapped into focus, even taking into account some mirror motion during
focusing. While the 40mm Scopetronix rates an 8 out of a possible 10
(mostly because finding the visual sweet spot is a bit of a challenge
- otherwise it's very nice to use), the 15mm is working hard to get a
5. Relief is a problem as is the overall size of the final lens and a
limited field of view. All of this makes an eyepiece that's not a lot
of fun to use. It isn't a bad eyepiece, it's just not a really good
Today I bought a 12mm Vixen Lanthanum LV eyepiece from Pocono Mountain
Optical. This eyepiece is something else again! Images do come into
place crisply, contrast is excellent, and field of view and relief
(20mm!) make this eyepiece easy to live with. Although I usually
start looking at a target with the Meade 26mm, I found myself leaving
the LV in place and doing my target aquisition quite comfortably with
Mechanically, the Scopetronix eyepieces seem to be well made. There
are no rough edges or pieces that don't fit. Although the LV seems
equally clean and sound mechanically, it's the details that make the
difference. The barrel that fits into the eyepiece holder is a good
point of comparison. On the Scopetronix eyepiece this is a smooth
chrome-plated barrel. The LV's barrel is machined to include a ring,
inset into the barrel, to accept the set screw to hold an eyepiece in
place even if the screw is slightly loose. The edges of the
Scopetronix lenes are left uncoated while the LV's lens edges are
black, eliminating contrast-reducing light scatter. Overall, I give
the LV a strong 9.5 (losing .5 for an eyecup that is difficult to roll
down out of the way).
The LV has lived up to its reputation and I look forward to adding at
least one more LV to my collection some day. Considering the LV's
price is not quite triple that of the Scopetronix eyepiece ($42.95 vs
$115 as of 24 Jan. 2001), it should deliver something extra. It does.
A note about the vendors:
I've placed two orders with Scopetronix. Both were filled promptly
and questions about some details were answered quickly and well.
I picked up the LV from Pocono Mountain Optics directly so I can't
comment on their mail order operations. I did call in advance to be
sure they had the eyepiece in stock and to ask a couple of simple
questions. That went well.
Bottom line: I'll be glad to deal with both vendors again.
(c) Copyright, 2001, Richard B. Emerson, All Rights Reserved."
|Parks Gold Series 7.5mm||Parks Optical||N/A||$89|
|Joshua Parker (email@example.com) reports: "I have purchased a Parks Gold Series 7.5mm for my ETX 90. And would like to know if anyone has had any positive experiences with it? I view with my scope @ Indian Springs NV (middle of nowhere) under almost perfect conditions. Jupiter and Saturn are fuzzy and the eye relief sucks... (I wear glasses) I was told by Scope City that Parks makes one of the best eye pieces but don't see any other Parks eyepieces reviewed on the site, or astronomy mags... It did pretty good with the moon, but I thought my standard 26mm w/barlow did better! My friends 15mm Super Plossl w/barlow was better yet! I don't think I'll be buying another Parks eyepiece anytime soon..."|
|14mm Ultra Wide Angle||Meade||N/A||$300|
|Ells Dutton (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "The temptation of having twice the magnification but the same field of view (almost) as the stock 26 mm e.p. was too much, so I acquired a Meade UWA (Ultra Wide Angle) 14 mm eyepiece for use with the ETX-125, as well as anticipated future use on other scopes. It is impressive in most every application in the ETX, the view of M13 almost blew me away and it is perfect for M42. Also works very well as the search eyepiece on deep sky objects. I cannot attest to a single optical flaw, but am not an expert. It would have to be a personal decision as to whether it is worth the expense; but in general, I believe the views will not get any better than this in an ETX. Of course, sometimes the star images aren't as sharp as in the 26 mm but that is due to the higher magnification and marginal atmospheric conditions. In my 1.2 years experience with the scope, I know realize that the only apparent departure from the otherwise perfect diffraction limited optics is due to the atmosphere, something I didn't understand when I first started using this high-power scope and as reflected in some of my early reports to this site. However, anyone considering buying a UWA 14 for the ETX-125 should be aware of a couple negatives. It is not on the dealers' recommended list for the ETX. For one, the piece does not quite fit all the way into the scope's eyepiece holder because the 2 inch barrel contacts the edge of the main tube. This is not really a big problem since it goes most the way in and the lock screw holds it firmly. Looks like a little machining could fix this completely with out harming the e.p. The main problem is the 14 mm's excessive weight and the effect on the backlash in the dec./elv. axis. This makes exchanging it with other eyepieces troublesome in most orientations. When I do exchange it, a slight (up to about 0.5 deg) adjustment is needed, but with experience you can figure out in which direction the correction is needed and is not too much of a hassle. The larger problem is the effect of the excess weight on the scope when slewing to significantly different portions of the sky, especially in the polar mode (the only mode I've used it in.) Changes in the axis loading are more extreme with this e.p. installed and GOTO pointing is affected accordingly. All-in-all and if it fits the budget, I'd highly recommend this e.p., if you can live with the impact (+- backlash and other "looseness") on GOTO pointing (not short-term tracking) accuracy."|
|Daniel White (DWhite@conocraft.com) reports: "Just wanted to let you know I went ahead and purchased the EconoZoom from Scopetronix. I've only been able to use it once, some quick views of the moon, and must say that I'm very impressed, especially considering it's $65. price tag. I'm sure the $200. versions are better, but for my money, and the fact that I am just starting out, the EconoZoom is a fantastic value. Plus, Scopetronix gets stuff to you very quickly."|
|Zoom 7.7-23.1mm Eyepiece||Swarovski||N/A||$225|
|Andrea Perfetti (email@example.com) reports: "The eyepiece shown here is a Swarovski Zoom 7.7-23.1mm. It's cost is about 25$ more than that from Meade or Vixen but the quality is very high. It has 8 lenses in 4 groups and the coating is deeper than Meade's or Vixen's ones. Despite the lens number it is very bright with a good eye relief (I can use it with my eyeglasses on), absolutely no trace of ghost images on bright objects and no cromathic abberration with the stars perfectly pinpoint and producing a perfect airy disk even at the borders. Also, the frontal lens is slightly smaller which means it has better corrections since it is less curved and the production process is less critic (I'm no sure about this). Of course it is a little bigger but the OTA remains balanced. One drawback is that it is a little hard to rotate to change the focal lenght and it is marked only at 23, 15, 11.5 and 7.7mm so you don't know your exact magnification. As for the field of view I haven't misured it but I'm pretty satisfied."|
|Binocular Viewer||Seven Wonders||N/A||$200|
Leonard Schaustal (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "I did research the binocular type
viewers that is available and found from the most expensive $1000.00 to
the least $198.00( less eye pieces). Since I wanted to see with both
eyes instead of squinting through one lense I wanted an inexpensive bino
viewer and I think I found it with the Bino Viewer, I'll let you know
more as I get to use it.
The less expensive works just as good. I decided to get the $198.00
It's custom made to fit your eyes, Matched eye pieces are $70.00 a set
and they come in 25, 32, and 40mm Plossl"s -$35.00 for each lense, it
comes in many colors and has an aluminum housing to accept the custom
pupil to pupil eye pieces. Its available from Seven Wonders-
800-569-6633/Fax 616-327-4024, I called and talked to a very helpfull
Harry Mason who is the owner/ engineer and makes these units.
Please feel free to add this to your news letter it might be helpfull
to others. I've found the news letter very helpfull."
Leonard Schaustal adds: "I got to use the bino viewer last night at the moon- wow what a difference it makes looking with both eyes. I think the investment was a good one- because I can now use one eye or both for vewing. here is a picture of the bino viewer."
email@example.com comments: "Based on the review from Leonard Schaustal of the Bino Viewer by Seven Wonders, I ordered one to use on my EXT125EC. I echo with an exclamation mark the "wow" remarks by Mr. Schaustal added later. The viewing improvement with a binoviewer has to be experienced to be appreciated. The image seems bigger, has a sense of depth, and is so much more relaxing and enjoyable! This particular bino viewer may be cheaper than other brands but the quality of the image it produces is supurb. It uses mirrors and a beam splitter so there are no prizms to absorb / scatter light. Also the mirrors and its fixed inter-pupilary design make it significantly lighter than other more expensive ones and that's a big plus for use on an ETX scope. I attached several 2" square by 1/4" thick metal plates to the bottom of the scope with a 1/4" screw and they balance the binoviewer with eyepieces. Also this binoviewer will work nicely with any matched set of eyepieces. I use the 26MM Super Plossls that come with the ETX and a pair 17MM Sirius Plossls by Orion, along with a barlow, to get a variety of magnifications. The 26MM eyepiece reaches the full field of view of the binoviewer as vignetting limits viewing any larger field than what the 26MM super Plossls provide. The only downside to the viewer is its fixed interpupilary setting. For anyone thinking of getting a bino viwer for their ETX I think the Bino Viewer by Seven Wonders, is the best choice - even if the cost difference is unimportant. "
|Nikon Zoom 9-21mm||Nikon||N/A||$200|
Bill Boyd (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "I recently purchased a Nikon zoom ep 9mm-21mm. It's 1.25" dia. and 3.3" tall
so it fits the etx nicely. The Nikon is extremely sharp and contrasty when
compared to the 26mm Meade plossel that came with the etx-90ec. For example,
the ring nebula is very bright and well defined with almost no loss even
when zoomed to 9mm. Whereas the 26mm plossel is dim and washed out when
observing this nebula. Detail of the moon is stunning. I should say that I
really can't fault the 26mm plossel which is an excellent ep. The Nikon
field of view is about 50mm or so through out the range and the eye relief
is very good at about 15-18mm. I recommend this eyepiece without
It's available from APM Markus Ludes for $199 plus $15 for shipping from
And from Nitin Joshi (email@example.com): "I also recently bought Nikon zoom eyepiece. Markus at APM had leadtime / availability issues and so I bought the adapter from him for 35$ and the Nikon 7771 fieldscope eyepice locally in US, total cost just under 200$. Using it in ETX125, if you need to buy and find APM has long lead time I suggest you buy the eyepiece in US and adapter from APM"
|Spectiva Plossls||Earth & Sky||N/A||$33/$44|
Robert Van den Heuvel (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "I would like to mention that I have a lead on low-cost eyepieces, since
ETX owners seem to get bitter about spending money once they've shelled
out over $500 for such a "small" scope.
I've had both the 25mm and 40mm versions of the Spectiva plossls
featured on the Earth & Sky website. They seem to have excellent color
correction and field of view, and the price is right - $33 each. I was
reassured of their quality by an eyepiece maker (I think it was Gary
Hand but I can't be sure because I was chatting heavily with Gary
Russell at the time also).
Considering that Paul Rini's eyepieces cost about $20 each, the
Spectivas have better color correction and I think the extra $13 is
worth it. But make no mistake about it - Paul makes the best deal on a
35mm, widest-true-field-low-power eyepiece available. I keep feeling
guilty every time I use it. It's got a 57 degree field of view, 16mm of
eye relief, and it is lightweight. The color is a little subdued (flat)
over a good plossl, and there are dust and dirt specks trapped in the
lenses here and there, but for $24.50 you can't go wrong. Believe it or
not, this eyepiece is now vying for the role of main eyepiece in my
collection, and it would have made it, had not the Spectiva and Meade
plossls clearly beaten it on color richness. Of course, the Celestron
Ultima 35mm at $180 beats everything here, but then again it's $180...
The Scopetronix Econo-Zoom is an interesting animal. I do think it is
worth the $65 I paid for it, but alas it does suffer from slight
color/focus loss at higher powers. I'm a former Fujinon owner, so I can
see good optics. This piece is useful from about 22mm down to about
10mm. After that it gets fuzzy. The field of view is actually pretty
good, and the eye relief is reasonable. There is a bit of yellow/blue
color bleed visible at the edges of the eyepiece when adjusting your
pupil distance as you look thru the eyepiece. I don't know how it stacks
up compared to a dedicated series of plossls for instance. The zoom
feature is very nice to have, and this alone makes it worth buying so
I can play with that feature. It seemed to do pretty decent on the moon,
Anyway, there it is! I'm going to bed. Geez, this hobby burns time! :-)"
Robert adds: "I made a mistake - the 40mm is $44, not $33; only the 25mm is $33."
|Sirius Plossl 40mm||Orion||#8730||$59.95|
|Noah Rashkind (LooneyRoo@aol.com) reports: "I ordered the Sirius - Plossl 40mm from Orion last week and thought I would pass along my experiences. Tonight was my first night out with it (the weather in Gainesville has been pretty bad lately), but the stars were poking out behind a sheet of clouds. I figured that observing with a medium power eyepiece like the 26mm would be out of the question, but I thought it might be a good time to try out the 40mm. I slewed the scope over to M42 and could hardly see a thing with the 26mm. However, when I plopped the 40mm in the scope, the view was about as bright as the 26mm usually is on a good night. The field of view was pretty wide (I got it mainly for diffuse nebulae and open star clusters). Needless to say, I can't wait to see how bright the images will be on a clear night. I'll be sure to write you with more info when I do get a chance to use it on a good night. For the price, this eyepiece is definitely worth it. The "sweet spot" is somewhat hard to find and if you are inexperienced with eyepieces, you might be disappointed. I saw this as only a minor drawback compared to the image brightness and clarity. Hope everything is well for you. Your site is still my #1 bookmark!"|
Tom (email@example.com) reports: "I just received my order of a
televue 15mm plossol, and a 8mm televue radian. Just tried them out in
daylight. The target was a voltage sign on a power pole, about 300 yards
away. The 15mm plossol provides 83x, The voltage sign was very sharp
and clear, with a field of view of .6 degrees. The down side of this
eyepiece is that it is very short, and if you are not careful, your nose
will hit the finder scope. Also, this eyepiece has moderately poor eye
relief. The televue 8mm radian has variable eye relief, which works very
well, you just push it in or pull it out, until the field of view is
comfortable to you. For me, it was best at 4 clicks in. (7 clicks in is
all the way in). It provides 156x with a field of view of .384 degrees.
The view of the voltage sign was very sharp, not quite as sharp as the
plossol, but about 95% as sharp as the plossol. (Excellent for being
almost twice the power of the plossol!!). If there would have been been
an ant on the sign, it would have been very clearly seen. The down side
to this eyepiece is that it is large, and you need to position your eye
properly to avoid black outs. (the adjustable eye relief tremendously
aids to eliminate this problem). As far as optically, both these
earpieces are superb for daytime use, but because of the 15mm plossol
being so short, I wouldn't recommend it for the etx. I plan on trying
out both these eyepiece on the moon, saturn, and Jupiter, possibly
tonight, and also a celestron moon filter. I will get back to you with
Tom (firstname.lastname@example.org) adds: "Just got in from trying out the new 8 mm radian and the new 15mm plossol, and celestron moon filter. Tried the moon filter with a celestron 30mm ultama eyepeice, it worked very well, making the moons brightness bareable to look at. Its a really great filter for looking at a full, or near full moon. Tried the 15mm televue plossol on jupitar and saturn, It provided a nice crisp image of jupitar, with 2-3 cloud bands visable. Saturn was very sharp, but quite small at 83x. Next, I pulled out the 8mm televue radian, it provided a outstanding image of saturn, and a very good image of Jupitar, at 156x. Up to 5 cloud bands could be seen on jupitar when seeing conditions got good. Saturn was very sharp and crisp, with cassies division poping into view, when seeing conditions were good. Compared the 8mm radian to the 7mm nagler, both were equally outstanding, on saturn, it was impossible to pick a winner on saturn. However, the radian was the best on jupitar, showing more cloud bands, and a substantally sharper image. The televue radians sell for 228.00, and the plossols are 82.00, on up, depending on focal lengh. From a optical standpoint I would recommend both the 8mm radian and the 15mm plossol, but from a size standpoint, I wouldnt recommend the 15mm plossol, because it is so short. Well, its getting late, I have to go. I will keep you informed the results of any other "experments" I do the future. Thanks for the great website, keep up the great work."
|Kevin P. Kretsch provides: "First impressions are not startling; well made, well coated, though the printed Celestron Plossl logo does cheapen the look somewhat. Testing this eyepiece side-by-side with the Rini 45mm and the ETX 26mm plossl showed just how nice this eyepiece is. For a while I found it difficult to use, the eye relief is a little longer than the Meade plossl and there is no eyecup. But, particularly after the long eye relief of the Rini this is not a problem at all. No obvious aberrations and the image is sharp to the edge of the field, beating the Meade plossl in edge sharpness, though the field of view is slightly smaller. I don't use this eyepiece much on it's own, images are a little too dark for my skies but with a dark sky it gets a lot of use. Good for increasing contrast of galaxy views, planetary nebulae, and small open clusters. Used with a 2x barlow, this is a great eyepiece for high power binaries, lunar and planetary viewing. Giving 147x with 90mm ETX, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars all showed great details, atmosphere permitting. High power lunar views are beautiful and tight binaries can be split down to diffraction limit. I would prefer higher power at times, but usually atmosphere won't allow this. Bottom Line: In my opinion, at least as good as the Meade plossls. Rubber eye cup would be nice though."|
|PulsGuide Guiding Eyepiece Illuminator||Rigel Systems||N/A||$40|
|Rigel Systems provided a PulsGuide Guiding Eyepiece Illuminator for evaluation. This device will illuminate a reticle in a standard 8mm threaded guiding eyepiece or certain model finderscopes. Adapters for 10mm and 14mm eyepieces are available for $8 from Rigel Systems. The PulsGuide comes with an instruction sheet, battery, and two swappable colored LEDs, one red and the other yellow. Changing the LED requires some disassembly but is not difficult and only takes a couple of minutes. I replaced the illuminator that was standard on the Celestron Guide Eyepiece (see review) with the PulsGuide and upon first use discovered two features that make the PulsGuide superior to the Celestron standard illuminator. The illumination can be made much dimmer than with the Celestron illuminator and it can be set for various pulsing rates. Together, these make manual guide star tracking easier, both on the eyes and on the nerves. I found the yellow LED best for faint star tracking and by properly adjusting the brightness (using the large knurled knob at the end) and the ON and OFF durations (using the two white knobs) it was easy to maintain sight on a faint star using averted vision. With the pulsing, I had no fear that I would lose the star behind one of the reticle lines. The PulsGuide is lightweight (a factor when adding anything to the ETX) and well made. If you have a guiding eyepiece and want a versatile illuminator for manual guide star tracking and corrections when doing long duration piggyback astrophotography with the ETX, consider adding the PulsGuide. It can help you avoid ruined or less than perfect astrophotographs. I look forward to using the PulsGuide a lot in my piggyback astrophotography efforts.|
|50 mm wide field Erfle||SCS Astro||N/A||$129|
|Andy Williams (email@example.com) reports: "I recently purchased this eyepiece from scsastro and I feel I have something to report. This eyepiece cost 75.00 (about $120) and delivers 25* magnification. The apparent field of view is less than a Meade 4000 at only 46 degrees but this gives a true field of a staggering 1.8 degrees. The Erfle design gives a flat field with a little colour right at the edge of the field and has very good eye relief . This means that to see the whole field you move your head around to see into the corners and you dont have to worry too much about loosing the image. I am told that these eyepieces are made in Russia by a single man (rather like Paul Rinni). The workmanship is excellent with a solid metal case and a full inch across of glass. This makes the eyepiece bigger than usual and it weighs a bit more too, but doesnt look out of place on the ETX. Whats the big deal I hear you ask. Well 25 mag is getting very close to central obstruction visibility and I was told it wouldnt work with the ETX, but it does. OK so it isnt a Mead 4000 40mm but it costs a heck of a site less. Its difficult to put into words the breath taking view you get, I suffer with light pollution and petrol haze in a big way living in the middle of a busy city (Leeds UK). I have never been able to use high mag eyepieces, as seeing is never good, so wide angles are usually the order of the evening. I can thoroughly recommend this eyepiece its not a Nagler but who can afford those?"|
Joe Hartley (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports:
"I received my new TeleVue 8-24mm zoom eyepiece yesterday, just in time for my
weekly trip to the local observatory (http://www.frostydrew.org) and the
occultation of Regulus by the moon.
I'd read a lot of posts in sci.astro.amateur and found that people either
loved or hated zooms in general. There are some downsides to this lens,
which also apply to other zooms, such as Meade's current offering. First,
the field of view is narrower than in other eyepieces, such as Plossls.
The Meade 4000 ep's claim a 52 degree apparent field of view on all lenses
from the 6.4mm to the 32mm. The TV zoom goes from 40 degrees at 24mm to
55 degrees at 8mm. I don't know how this compares with Meade's zoom; there's
no information about it on their (notoriously under-maintained) website.
I got the TV zoom for $199 ($20 cheaper than Meade's zoom) at Pocono
Mountain Optics - nice folks!
There also are some contrast issues with the zoom; I don't know how many
elements there are in it, but the images are a bit darker than in my 26mm
Meade 4000 Plossl.
OK, that's the bad stuff. The good news: this is a wonderful eyepiece!
Neither the narrow FOV nor the contrast bothered me a bit last night. The
images are spectacularly sharp (I'd expect nothing less from something with
the TV name on it, even if they don't make it themselves), and the zoom
allows me to find the field of view I like best without fumbling around with
bunches of different lenses.
The views I got last night of the moon were excellent. Just for fun, I
Barlowed the zoom and tried it out. At the equivalent of 4mm (312.5x, or
89x per inch of aperture!) the moon was stunning. As one person said last
night, "Geez, I can see the flag!" [from the moon landings].
Om M13 without the Barlow, I found that about 13mm-14mm was the limit of
usability; beyond that the image was too dark. It's also too dark in my
9.7mm Meade 4000 Plossl. I could tell very little difference other than FOV
between the TV at that setting and my 26mm Meade Plossl with the #126 Barlow.
This eyepiece really fills the gap for me between the 26mm and the 9.7mm,
and does so with a tremendous amount of eye relief - 15mm-20mm depending
on the setting. This is tremendous compared with the 9.7mm eyepiece, which
I have grown to dislike intensely. Its extremely short eye relief and low
profile make it almost impossible for me to use with my right-angle finder
The ETX had absolutely no problem tracking while this eyepiece was in place.
Some folks really bash the ETX's drive, but I've never had a problem with
mine, even with a 12mm Nagler (a real monster of an ep!) on it.
The eyepiece was also tried out in the observatory's 7" Astro-Physics Starfire,
and the reaction to to it was universally favorable, even by those folks who
were initially skeptical.
This eyepiece is a real winner. It'll easily become one of my most-used
Chuck and Jeanne Callaghan (email@example.com) add: "Thanks for the effort you have put in to providing this "newbie" with much valuable information. I received my first telescope (Meade ETX -125) as a surprise Christmas present from my wife (Thanks Jeanne!). She did quite a bit of research and credits your website as one of the main reason for choosing the 125. I would just like to comment our decision for choosing additional eyepieces. We finally decided to go with the TeleVue 8mmX24mm Zoom (from Scopetronix). We are very pleased with the quality and eye relief this eyepiece provides. My experience is limited, but as far as comparing the 26mm eyepiece that comes with the scope and the Zoom at the same setting,we see very little optical difference. The Zoom works seamlessly and the conveniece is a treat. Just my 2 cents. Thanks again for providing us with a web page that is an excellent information resource."
|"Bolt Style" Eyepiece Containers||Scopetronix||N/A||$3|
Several suppliers and dealers offer various types of eyepiece containers. Meade and possibly other manufacturers use the "bolt style" container (or bottle) and so these have become popular for users to store eyepieces from other sources. Now that Scopetronix has a line of excellent eyepieces (see the review below), it made sense for them to offer containers as well. Their containers are the same construction and plastic material as the Meade containers and even look the same as you can see in the photo on the right. The containers are larger than the one that comes with the ETX 26mm eyepiece so that they can be used for eyepieces
longer and wider than the 26mm eyepiece, including the Scopetronix 40mm Plossl eyepiece (shown in photo on the left). The 40mm fits snugly although smaller eyepieces from any source may rattle a little in the holder. Using some type of eyepiece holder is a good idea if you have more than one eyepiece. Using a plastic bag or other material may not be a good choice if there is a possibility of "outgassing" and depositing a residue on the optics. One hopes that containers made for optics will not outgas. At $2.75 for one or $10 for four, Scopetronix has provided a valuable item to protect your eyepiece collection at a minimal price.
Scopetronix supplied the following additional information: "I have just received the poly inserts for the cases which allow you to space them out for shorter EPs. They are round white foam inserts the diameter of the bottles (same manufacturer) and about 9mm thick. So they won't "rattle" if you use the inserts. I have them on my website now at $2.50 for a pack of 10. These foam inserts (and the bottles) are made especially for optical goods and will not outgas or decompose."
|Series 4000 8-24mm Zoom||Meade||N/A||$220|
Alan Marwine (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports "I just returned from a half hour or so of daylight testing the
new Series 4000 zoom eyepiece which I purchased a week ago from
Astronomics. So far, I am astounded by its capabilities and its
quality. During the two years I've owned my ETX, I've purchased the
Meade 13.8 SWA and the 9.7 Super Plossel to go with the 26mm that comes
with the scope. I could compare the 4000 zoom with the 13.8 and the 9.7
because Meade marks the focal length in 1mm increments on the barrel of
the eyepiece. First of all, the eye relief is stunning and the image
bright and sharp right to the edges. Zooming all the way in from 24mm
to 8mm did not require a change of focus and the mechanism was as smooth
as butter. On direct comparisons with the 13.8, I was astounded that
the view was more pleasing in the zoom. In the zoom, at 13.8, I could
comfortably see the exactly same field of view as in the 13.8 SWA.
Although the field of view is wider with the 13.8 SWA, I had to move my
eye around to appreciate it fully. Viewing comfort and image quality
went to the zoom. It was the same with the zoom set at 9.7mm. I
preferred the zoom set at 9.7 to the view in the 9.7 super plossl. It
was a more comfortable and a brighter view through the zoom. The price
for the two single lenses is almost identical to the price on the zoom.
Of course, with the zoom one can also choose any focal length from 24 -
8 mm. The lens looks great on the scope and does not cause a balance
problem. It should be great for moon viewing where I'm always changing
eyepieces. It should also prove stunning for terrestrial applications.
What a treat! Though I've not yet tried it on the night sky, I can
imagine that this will become my eyepiece of choice. We'll see. For
now, I am extremely impressed. I hope to try it out on Mars this
evening. I should be able to match focal lenght with seeing conditions
more precisely than ever before. I'll let you know how it works if the
clouds stay away. I paid $219.95 plus some six bucks shipping. This is the price
listed in the Meade ads in S&T and Astronomy. I believe it was the first
order of these that Astronomics was shipped."
Added later: "Got some fantastic views of the moon and Venus tonight. I used the zoom lens with the #126 Barlow and went right down to the surface (so to speak). I really am getting a real kick out of the zoom with or without the Barlow. Seeing last night was very poor, and it was windy, but I had the sense that I could match the focal length as well as could be expected for the conditions. Spent about an hour looking at a rather fuzzy Mars at about 100 power. Tonight with the Barlow, it was quite easy to push the scope to an effective magnification of 300 with the moon, and also easy to back off to put Venus' phase in the best possible light. It will be interesting to hear from others about splitting double stars and the like to see whether or not the lens really can go toe-to-toe with a single focal length lens. But for moon and planet viewing, it sure is impressive. It's a keeper in my collection."
Stefan Keller-Tuberg (email@example.com) adds: "I received my meade 8-24mm zoom eyepiece yesterday and headed eagerly out last night to give it a run. I had built up some expectation based on the review on your site and unfortunately, the eyepiece did not quite meet the expectation in a couple of aspects. I'm writing not to bag the eyepiece, but to provide more balance to the incredibly positive review on your page. Firstly the eye relief was good, but I could not be comfortable until I removed my glasses. This doesn't worry me in the slightest but it might be of some concern to others. With my particular lens, zooming even a slight tweak necessitates a change in focus and zooming from one extreme to the other requires a *large* change in focus. The previous reviewer indicated that focus is maintained through the range. Having in part based my purchase decision on the previous review, it is this aspect which disappoints me most about the zoom lens. The previous reviewer indicated that the mechanism was as smooth as butter. I'd not quite go this far but to say it's smooth is not unfair. At present, my lens is a little tight and I found that I need to very firmly grip the knurled part and its base in order to zoom it. I'm hoping that it will ease up just a little with use. When comparing the zoom lens with the 9.7mm fixed focal length lens, I also heartily concur with the view that the zoom is superior for viewing comfort and brightness. The size and weight of the lens is perhaps double that of the standard 26mm lens. This combination works fine when not combined with another lens appliance such as the barlow or variable polarising filter. However I had some trouble with the "lens stack bending away from true" at angles greater than about 45 degrees. This is hardly a surprise, but needs to be considered if you're planning to combine its use with a barlow. The viewing unfortunately was poor and I can make no comments about its optical quality at this stage."
Stefan Keller-Tuberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) provides some additional comments: "My first impressions were gathered on an evening when the viewing was poor and I can now update my earlier comments. Firstly, I can't impress upon you how delighted I am with the optical performance of the lens. I found the view through the zoom lens to be equivalent to the experience of using the standard 26mm superplossl that comes with the 'scope. Secondly, I should update my first impression that the focus shifts with changes in zoom. When the seeing was better, I found that if I zoomed to 8mm and focused *carefully* at this magnification, the lens does in fact remain focused through its entire zoom range. This was my biggest disappointment after the first night and I was really happy to learn that I just experienced a bad night. Otherwise, I stand by my earlier comments. For hobbyists interested in obtaining a range of higher power fixed focus lenses to complement their 26 mm, I'd recommend they consider the zoom as an option. If you already own a set of fixed focus lenses, it will be a harder decision for you to make."
Ken Toliver (email@example.com) adds: "I purchased this piece because I have just purchased my 125 and only have the stock 26mm. Since I have not started to collect handfuls of eyepieces, I was drawn to the piece after reading reviews on you great website. I agree wholeheartedly with others who highly recommend this piece. I directly compared the view between my 26mm super plossl and the zoom set at 24mm. I feel that the zoom was clearer and provided superior eye relief. Zooming was smooth and easy and all magnifications provided good crisp views from edge to edge. Not quite parfocal, but I'm not anal about having to make slight focus adjustments. Again, if you don't want to carry a handful of eyepieces around, this is a great investment. I found it for $189 at www.astroptx.com. This is hardly more than the cost of two 4000 series pieces and will provide you with many more magnification levels."
|40mm Plossl Eyepiece, Crosshair Eyepiece||Scopetronix||N/A||$39-50|
Scopetronix (http://www.scopetronix.com) sent me an eyepiece from their new line of Plossl eyepieces. The 40mm eyepiece they provided is a little taller than the standard 26mm Plossl supplied with the ETX (see photo on the right) and so looks rather large on the ETX (photo on the left).
On my first night out with the 40mm eyepiece I only had a limited opportunity to use it before the fog rolled in. But on the near First Quarter Moon it performed amazingly well. The Moon was almost painfully bright through the ETX with this eyepiece but the crater details were extremely sharp even at the 31x that this eyepiece provided. Even stars near the moon were distinct points of light, all the way to the edge of the field-of-view. And speaking of the field-of-view, it was essentially double the size of the moon, or about 1 degree (actual FOV). My second object was M42 in Orion, and though the view was hampered by moonlight, the Trapezium was beautifully clear, with hints of nebulosity extending outwards. I can't wait for a moonless night for this view and views of the Milky Way should be impressive. This eyepiece has a very long "eye relief" (the distance of your eye from the eyepiece), about two fingers width (well, my fingers anyway). As is the case with any very long focal length Plossl eyepiece, the "sweet spot" where you get the maximum view is initially difficult to find but once you do, the view is worth it. I also used the 40mm eyepiece with the Meade 2X Barlow Lens, making for a 20mm equivalent eyepiece. The magnification was similar to that provided with the 26mm eyepiece included with the ETX but the sweet spot for viewing was much more limited. I then attached the 40mm to the Shutan Wide Field Adapter (which reduces the magnification). I received a very nice wide angle and crisp view of the near-full moon. I then turned the ETX to M42 in Orion and was treated a wide view of the area. Unfortunately, the bright moonlit sky made any nebulosity invisible. The view of M42 in a dark sky should be impressive with this combination! The 40mm seems to be well made. I could detect no flaws physically or optically. The optics are fully coated and the tube is metal. And eyeguard is included. Plus, unlike some other low-priced eyepieces that are available from other vendors, the Scopetronix line will accept standard eyepiece filters. The sizes currently available are 40mm, 25mm, 15mm, 9mm, 6mm, and 4mm. If all of Scopetronix's eyepieces are of this quality, and knowing Scopetronix (maker of the wonderful Microstar Dual Axis Drive Controller) I am certain they are, then Paul Rini has some competition in the low-cost, high quality eyepieces. Check out Scopetronix's web site for more info on their eyepieces.
Gary Garland (firstname.lastname@example.org) adds: "Scopetronix is now also a Celestron Dealer, and they have a crosshair eyepiece that is non-illuminated and relatively cheap - It is a 20 mm kellner. I received mine yesterday, and haven't tried it out yet. I've never seen a crosshair eyepiece (other than the finderscope) - it basically has 2 perpindular metal wires that form the crosshair. I have wanted a similar product since getting my etx - now i believe i can perfectly train the scope, and hopefully align - i may take your advise and align slightly outside the crosshairs, rather than blocking my target by the cross' intersection. Cost was approx. $40, and I will try it out soon (I hope). I also expect that for very high precision, I will use the barlow with the piece.... As you can see, I'm very positive towards Scopetronix."
Marcin Bruczkowski (email@example.com) adds: "The other day the much-awaited ScopeTronix 40mm Plossl arrived, in the pocket of my colleague returning from Florida. The eyepiece is very well made quality more like Meade SWA (made in Japan), than Meade SP (made in Taiwan). A light bulb test showed beautiful, even multi-coatings on all optical surfaces. The internal surfaces are painted a very flat black, while parts of Meade eyepieces are covered in chrome inside (even SWAs!) I did some observations through a Meade SP40 borrowed from a colleague and trust me, there's no single good reason to spend over twice more just to have "Meade" printed on the barrel. For once the heavens cooperated. The sky was clear, if a little foggy, seeing moderately good, light pollution over Warsaw - horrible as always. If you wonder what my definition of "horrible" is, imagine having problems seeing Polaris with a naked eye. A nearby restaurant arrogantly shines a beam of light towards the celestial North Pole . Still, finding stars with this eyepiece is easier than with the standard Meade SP26, because it's wider and brighter, a binocular-like quality. I am going to use the 40mm it as my "default" eyepiece for locating objects. Throughout the night the view was bright and clear, with stars on the edge of the field every bit as sharp as those in the center. Did I say the view was wide? In fact exactly the same as Meade SP40mm, which was somewhat surprising, because I thought Meade SPs have a bit wider FOV than mere Plossls. But a quick check with ScopeTronix confirmed that their 40mm Plossl's Apparent Field is 44 degrees, exactly the same as Meade SP40. As has been noted in the previous review, the eyepiece is very high, but it didn't bother me or my scope. The weight is not extreme: 189g - compare that with Radian 10mm (my next purchase, if I find $240 on a sidewalk) which weighs in at 254g. For viewing the Moon I built the highest chimney stack that ever adorned my ETX-125: ScopeTronix 40mm Plossl on top of Meade #905 polarizing filter on top of Meade #126 Barlow. Total height: 21cm, but stable, no bending or rocking. And what a view! Finally I tried taking some pictures via a digital camcorder attached to the 40mm eyepiece via a ScopeTronix Digi-T adapter. Less vignetting than with Meade SWA18. Less magnification, too, but the camera zoom took care of that. Attached is my very first picture of Saturn. Interestingly enough, the top lens is a bit recessed, just like Meade SP26. This does seem to cause some vignetting on the Moon (see the attached photos).
According to Jordan Blessing of ScopeTronix, the recess is a usual feature of low magnification eyepieces to help the observer deal with the long eye relief. In such case it certainly does its job right - finding the "sweet spot" is very instinctive. But for photo use I'd rather get the ScopeTronix MaxView 40 eyepiece which cleverly gets rid of the vignetting problem by allowing a very close coupling of the eyepiece lens and the camera. Any downsides? Only that when the little screw in the eyepiece holder of the telescope is tightened, the eyepiece shifts its angle slightly, but it is a minute shift and has no detrimental effects that I could observe. It could be because of a slight recess in the part of the barrel where the set screw goes in. The recess is actually a very good thing, because with a heavy eyepiece and an even heavier camera attached to it, mere pressure of the set screw against flat barrel might not hold it in place. The recess is a recent addition, I think, because I don't see it in the photo on ScopeTronix' web site. Finally, a word on the vendor: this was my second order from ScopeTronix, and doing business with them is sheer pleasure. The gentleman who handles their phone line is very helpful, friendly and very knowledgeable on equipment and software. Highly recommended."
Allen Sellick (firstname.lastname@example.org) adds: "I just Got my new ScopeTronix 32mm Plossl and love it. I can hardly tell the difference in mag from my Meade SP 26 but it has a lot more AFOV. The sweet spot takes a little getting use to but you cant beet it and at $42.95 what a deal. Thank you for all your time youput in to this sight. I would have been lost with out you and Dr clay. He supercharged my ETX-125 and it is better than ever. Well here's to clear sky's."
Allen Sellick (email@example.com) adds more: "I liked the ScopeTronics 32mm Possl so much I had to order there Maxview Wide Angle 14mm with a AFOV of 66.2 and 19mm eye relief. I shopped around and at $109.00 it was half the cost of others. Last night I took it out for first light Jupiter was amazing and I even tried it out on some fain and fuzzys. It put my Meade SP to shame. I even got the MaxPower lens $39.00 it boost the power by 60% making the 14mm a 9mm. I'm vary pleased with the ScopeTronix and the quality of there eyepieces."
|11mm Plossel Eyepiece
2X Barlow Lens
|Dave Hakamaki (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "Just purchased an 11mm Televue Plossel and a Televue 2x Barlow from Pocono Mountain Optics. First, Pocono is a very professional company. All their assistance was greatly appreciated and I can highly recommend them for purchases. In addition, their prices are comparable to the rest of the suppliers listed in Sky & Telescope. I tried out the Televue 11mm last night (Thanksgiving day eve) and conditions were perfect. Absolutely crystal clear skies with stars everywhere. I view from a small town, where light pollution is at a minimum. Half the moon was visible, as was Jupiter and Saturn. The 11mm Plossel was wonderful for looking "up close and personal" at the craters and moraines of the moon, bands on Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. What they say about Televue's eyepieces is correct -- STUNNING QUALITY! Putting in the 2x Televue Barlow with the standard 26mm SP and the 11mm Televue Plossel allows for a nice range of magnifications. Although the Barlow and 11mm (227x) exceeds the max. suggested power (210x) slightly, there is very little degredation in sharpness or brightness. With this combo, you can really get good views of craters, Jupiter's bands and Saturn's rings. The few extra bucks for Televue optics is well worth it."|
|Micro Guide Eyepiece||Celestron||#94171||$180|
|I decided to improve my piggyback astrophotography using the Blessing MicroStar 1 Dual Axis Drive Corrector and so I purchased a Celestron Micro Guide Eyepiece from Rigel Systems. There are several illuminated reticle eyepiece models available but based on Rigel Systems recommendation I decided to go with this one. It comes with a 12.5mm orthoscopic eyepiece, an illuminated laser-etched reticle, two SR-44 batteries, a slip-off eye guard, and a 12 page, 8-1/4 x 11-1/2 inch printed manual. The manual describes the purpose and use of each of the four reticle styles (the outer ring is not visible in the photo on the left). You can position a guide star near any intersection of lines or in the bullseye. Using the Microstar for drive corrections is extremely easy with the reticle for reference. I found that the bullseye was easiest for me. Especially considering that the eye relief is good enough to let my eye be 4-6 inches from the eyepiece. This position was comfortable for me and still allowed the bullseye and guide star to be visible. Other reticles can be used for measuring separations or width of objects, position angles, or even determine the periodic error of the drive. The brightness of reticle is adjustable through a moderate but adequate range. I will post the piggyback astrophotos on the Astrophotography Gallery - Sky page when they are PhotoCD processed.|
|Nagler 7mm, 13mm||Tele Vue||N/A||$255, $275|
|Tom (email@example.com) reports: "I ordered a televue nagler 7mm eyepiece. It arrived just the other day. I tried it out on the etx. Saturn was absolutly stunning, tack sharp at 178x, so was the moon. Both were the best I have ever seen them in any telescope. I am totaly convinced that this eyepiece is the best on the market for looking at saturn and the moon with the etx. I would be interested in hearing if anyone else has had the same results with this eyepiece on saturn and the moon, when used on the etx."
John Barbour Jr (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "My first scope was the ETX 90 ( two years) and then upgraded to the LX90. After sampling various eyepieces, focal lengths, FOV, etc., I purchased a Nagler 13mm type 6. INMHO, it's smaller (about the size of a 19mm Panoptic), with super contrast and that Nagler "Space Walk" effect that simply envelopes the eye and is a real treat for those who have never experienced it. Its' main competitor is the Meade 14mm UWA. and although similar, the Meade is a huge/heavy piece not really compatible with 1.25" diagonals and will affect the slewing of the ETX . . . maybe. With the Meade, you will experience the "Porthole View" of the universe and not the "Space Walk" effect that the 13mm bestows upon you. They are both great eyepieces and your final decision for purchase will be totally subjective! I see more fuzzies with this eyepiece than any other ocular I have ever owned. I purchased the 13mm Nagler from Adorama, a New York based company http://www.adorama.com/ and paid $275 for it."
|5X Powermate||Tele Vue||N/A||$250|
|Mosher@ecr.net reports: "I wanted to comment on the use of the ETX with Televue's 5X Powermate. I use the Powermate regularly with the ETX. Let me explain. I wear eyeglasses (a bit thicker than normal) and I don't like to take them on and off when observing. I purchased the Meade 4000 series 40mm and 32mm Plossl for use in the daytime (as a spotting scope) because of the long eyerelief. The 40mm gives plenty of eyerelief for eyeglass wearers; I took the rubber eyecup off the 32mm and I can just get the whole field of view with my glasses on with this eyepiece. Both eyepieces are also very useful for low power use in astronomy. With the 5X powermate they give tremendous views of the planets. I can keep my glasses on and get large, bright, crisp views of the planets. The Cassini division is sharp and complete and I can easily see 4-6 cloud bands on Jupiter with some detail (depending on viewing conditions). I don't need to bother with high power eyepieces and the difficulty of seeing through the tiny lenses with your eye pressed so close that your eyelashes get in the way! I use 3 primary eyepieces (40mm, 32mm, 26mm) for nearly everything. I get the following magnifications with the 2XBarlow and the 5XPowermate:
eyepiece only 2XBarlow 5XPowermate 40mm 31X 63X 156X 32mm 39X 78X 195X 26mm 48X 96X 240XThis represents a good range of magnifications without much duplication. The 5XPowermate with the 40mm and the 32mm give excellent views of the planets. The view with the 26mm and the Powermate is OK but not as sharp as the 40mm and 32mm. Technically I also have the Meade 18mmSWA but I find I don't use it as much anymore (since I have to take my glasses of to see the full field through this eyepiece). It gives the following range of magnifications: 69X, 139X, and (347X). With the 18mm eyepiece and 5X Powermate, the view of the planets is not acceptable (empty magnification and somewhat dim). The only disadvantage I have found with the Powermate is that when it is assembled with the low power eyepieces it makes a long and heavy eyepiece tube. This might look a little strange on the ETX but it doesn't seem to bother the performance."
Roderick Kennedy (email@example.com) adds: "I picked up a Tele-vue 2.5x Powermate a couple of months ago to pair with my 10 and 25mm SWA Celestron eyepieces (OK, I'm an apostate lurker with a Celestron C5--but you have the most informative site for small 'scopes on the web). Celestron's stock eyepieces don't match up to Meade's 26 SP, but the combination of the powermate and the 25mm tremendously improved things over the 10mm eyepiece alone. This device provided a crisp field of vision, and focused much more easily. With a better eyepiece (have a couple on order) than Celestron's, this ought to be a great asset."
|Lanthanum 6mm,10mm, and 15mm Eyepieces||Vixen||N/A||$80-150|
| Dave (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "Vixen Lanthanum rare earth lenses are a wonderful cost effective lens when used with the ETX and accessories. The eyepieces have a tremendous, comfortable 20mm eye relief. Although not an eye glass wearer I appreciate the eye relief especially on the higher power lenses. I've used the 6MM,10MM, and 15MM and have just ordered the 20MM (used from an astromart advertiser ...see below) to round out the set. Lanthanum rare earth glass is used in one of the field lenses reduces aberrations to a minimum The optical design uses 6 to 8 elements, depending on the focal length. The lenses are fully multi-coated for bright, high-contrast images. They have a color coded ring which is nice, and a very soft cushioned eyecup which is part of the lens barrel and covers three quarters of the surface. Apparent field is a respectable 50? (9mm-15mm) and 45? (2.5mm-6mm), 1.25" barrels. I've partnered the Meade 45 degree erecting prism and the full size #184 Meade barlow with these lenses with good results. The barlow works well down to the 10MM, but pushes the scope and kills the light when used with the 6MM. The lenses are parafocal so you don't have to adjust focus in a major way when swapping lenses. Their built in eyecup is great for celestial viewing. For terrestrial viewing you still have to shade your eyes in some cases. When focusing the image snaps crisply and is sharp across the field. The lenses are widely available and can be purchased a number of ways:
|Series 4000 13mm Super Wide Angle||Meade||N/A||$140|
|John O'Rear (email@example.com) reports: "My favorite. With this on the 2x barlow, Jupiter really struts it's stuff. The bands are clearly visible, as is the color. Good separation on Saturn's ring. The extra eye relief takes a little getting used to, as you twist your neck to look out the corner. I've been so happy with the 13 SWA, I wouldn't trade it."|
|Paul Rini Eyepieces||Paul Rini||N/A||$18|
|Ian Carney (ICARNEY@us.oracle.com) reports: "Just a quick note - in a short gap in the typical Portland weather, I managed to get a peek at Saturn and Jupiter using a 16mm Rini eyepiece, and a very brief look through a 40mm one. On first impressesion, the eyepieces are very good, and at $17.50 each simply can't be beat. Both planets were clear and sharp through the 16mm. The eyepieces don't have the cosmetic finish of the Meade ones, but they sure work. All I need now is some cloud free nights (in Portland in the winter?) and I'll have a good look."
Ronald Gilbert (rong@pogo.WV.TEK.COM) adds: "I just received a really HOT eyepiece from Paul Rini. He is now making a 13mm Modified Plossl with a field of view of 82 deg., eye relief of 5 mm, 6 element (2 coated), exit apr of around 10mm. Tried it on M42 and was truly amazed at the sight. Very similiar to a super wide angle. This one not only zoomed in on M42, but also the surrounding area. If anyone is interested he will be making these until his stock of lenses run out and that will be it for that type.
Remember this, he uses home-made type materials but the quality is good. At his web site he also has many other eyepieces to choose from. This one was $20.50 + $4 SH."
Michael McGarvey (firstname.lastname@example.org) comments: "I also tried out an eyepiece from Paul Rini. I ordered the 45mm 40' field eyepiece which offers a theoretical 1.44' true field at 28X. Wider than anything else on the market. After trying it out, I am really pleased. I'm not sure if it truly yields a full 1.44' but enough to really help in star hopping, almost double the area of the 26mm Meade. It really excels for looking at large extended objects. The view of Andromeda was excellent and the lower magnification reveals the dust lane which escaped my vision through the 26mm eyepiece. Dark skies are a must. The eye relief is quite long (and a bit tricky, a ruber eyecup would be nice), it would be great for eyeglass wearers. The secondary obstruction becomes a real issue when using it in the light of day, or before your eyes are dark adapted. Anyway, it's a great addition at a great price. I'm going to order the 13mm 82' reviewed recently on your accessories page next. That's a phenomenal bargain."Susan Davis (email@example.com) reports: "The 45mm Rini was a replacement for the 16mm that I originally bought. I found that the 16mm was noticeably less sharp than the rest of my inventory, which isn't a problem out in the deep sky, but is on the Moon and planets, at the magnifications that the 16mm gives, especially through a Barlow. And it duplicated magnifications that other eyepieces provided either alone or with my Barlow. Rini's prices are great, though, and I figured that the sharpness problem would go away at sufficiently low magnifications, so I exchanged the 16mm for the 45mm, which through the ETX gives the widest available true field of any of his 1.25" line. The 45mm is cosmetically a lot more attractive than I expected; the black plastic housing matches the plastic parts of the ETX, and it looks like a natural part of the scope. The clear aperture is significantly greater than that of the ETX finder! The 45mm is a 3-element Kellner design; Rini labels it an "RKE", which it may well in fact be given the amount of Edmund's stuff that he has listed for sale. (Did Edmund's ever have an actual 45mm RKE?) The eye relief is enormous. Rini's specs say 36mm, which doesn't appear to be an exaggeration. I can swing my head from side to side to go from one eye to the other, and not touch the eyepiece with the tip of my nose. The huge eye relief is also mandatory -- if you get any closer or any farther away than exactly 36mm, the image vignettes down to a tiny little circle. It took me a few minutes to realize that that was what was going on; I thought that something was wrong with either the eyepiece or my ETX. You don't look through this eyepiece so much as at it; it's like watching a little TV screen. You have to keep your head lined up with the eyepiece, and just the right distance back, which can be somewhat awkward. It was cloudy the day that the 45mm arrived, so I tested it on the far wall of my living room. With such a close focus, the eyepiece exhibited very severe curvature of field, which worried me a bit. In the field and focused at infinity, however, the field flattened out nicely. With the ETX, the eyepiece gives an 84 arcminute real field at a magnification of 28x, with a 3.4mm exit pupil. The bowl of the Pleiades and most of the sword area in Orion fit nicely in a single bright field, with the green color of M42 very obvious. So much for the ETX being unsuitable as an RFT! Darkness wasn't evident between the stars of the Trapezium, but the correct shape was; other than that, the images were acceptably sharp for relatively undemanding wide field viewing. There was a very thin ring at the extreme edges of the field that suffered from severe astigmatism, but other than that, the image was consistently pretty good out to the edge of the field. 28x with a 3.4mm pupil is what you get from the $90 Apogee Wide Field Adapter with the 26mm Plossl that comes with the ETX; at $17.50, the Rini 45mm is a real bargain. With the 45mm in the WFA, you get 141 arcminutes of field at 17x, with a 5.1 mm exit pupil -- comparable to giant binoculars! And a 45mm Rini plus a reflex sight compares very favorably to the cost of a right-angle modification for the 8x21 ETX finder (which is throwing good money after bad, IMHO)."
Ron McCafferty (firstname.lastname@example.org) notes: "I purchased one of Paul Rini eyepieces. It worked great except it doesn't fit in my Meade barlow. I called Paul who suggested sanding down the aluminum barrel. While I finally did get it to fit I ended up with aluminum dust in my barlow which was a dickens to clean out. I probably should've coated the barrel after sanding. Anyway I thought I'd send this note to let others know what problems they may encounter. It has long been past Paul's 30 days return date so I'm simply not using the eyepiece. I purchased a $33 replacement from the Orion catalog which works great. Actually my wife bought it for me. Orion's policy of emailing an order confirmation is wonderful. I always know what my wife is getting me."
Joe Hartley (email@example.com) adds: "I purchased 3 eyepieces - a 14mm, 40mm and 52mm - from Paul Rini, the New Jersey gentleman offering eyepieces for a phenomenal $17.50 each. The 52mm and 40mm are wonderful for wider fields of view. Large area clusters such as the Pleiades and the Beehive are marvelous in these eyepieces. The stars were sharp, and no chromatic aberration was visible to me, even at the edges. When I tested the eyepieces by viewing the shingles on a neighbor's roof, there was no noticable pincushioning. (For those who don't know, such as myself last week, pincushioning is the name given to the distortion in which horizontal and vertical lines bend toward the middle of the field of view.) The eye relief on these 2 eyepieces is tremendous! The specs on the website give the eye relief distances as 36mm and 26mm for the 52mm and 40mm eyepieces, respectively. This seems correct, though I haven't measured it. I like these because I can use them with my eyeglasses on! The 52mm ep is a little trickier to use than most, since you need to be 36mm away and on axis with the ep. It's easy to lose the view at first; you really need to be in just the right position to see. At that distance from the ep, a lot of the light from your surroundings can make its way into your eye. I'm considering adding rubber eyecups to these 2 eps. The website lists the eyepieces as modified Plossls (MPL), but the 52mm is labeled RKE. This is indicative of a "David Rank-modified Kellner for Edmund" eyepiece. The Astronomics website says "[RKE's] are computer-optimized ... for low to medium power use on telescopes with focal ratios down to f/4. Like all Kellners, however, they still perform best with scopes having focal ratios above f/6, and preferably above f/8." This eyepiece seems to work very well in the ETX at f/13.9. The 14mm is a bit different than the other eyepieces. It exhibited a bit of pincushioning in my "shingle test", and in viewing Saturn, showed some chromatic aberration at the edges. It is also a touch less sharp than the other eyepieces. This is still an excellent eyepiece for the money, though! At $17.50 each, all 3 eyepieces were better than I expected. The 40mm ep is one that no ETX owner should be without, and experimentation with the others is encouraged. With the ability to get 3 or 4 Rini eyepieces for the price of one Meade 4000 series eyepiece, there's nothing to lose!
Eyepieces being sold at www.surplusshack.com.
Kevin P. Kretsch adds: "Rini 45 mm RKE. First impressions: This is a very light eyepiece, and what a big piece of glass! Nicely coated, no blemishes or marks. So far so good. The barrel, as somebody previously mentioned, is a VERY tight fit and will need some work with 600 and 1200 grit wet & dry paper. Testing indoors in a dark room, using my watch as a target and not particularly well lit, this eyepiece gives an exceptionally bright and clean image. The Meade 26mm SP in comparison is positively dull. The image from the Rini is not so much 'sharp' as 'clean', and very pleasingly so. This Rini is approximately parfocal with the 26mm super plossl supplied with the ETX, which is a bonus. The images are good all the way to the edge of the field, with no obvious aberrations or distortion. In fact, it embarrasses the Meade plossl in this respect. The eyerelief is ENORMOUS, a whole nose and a fingers width from the eyepiece. This really takes time to get used to. Testing under a hazy, mildly light polluted sky reveals some of the limitations of the Rini eyepiece. Star images, as expected are no brighter than most eyepieces but the field of view is large enough to take in most of the Pleiades. However, unless you are looking at dense starfields, such as the gamma Cygni region, a dark sky is a must with this eyepice, as the brighter image also accentuates the sky brightness. Finding and holding the image with this eye relief is difficult. With time you get used to it, and then realise just how short the useable eye relief is on the Meade plossl. Using Jupiter and Saturn as test objects confirmed the indoor finding; exceptionally well corrected for aberrations and distortions. Again, the Meade plossl seems poor in this respect. Bottom line: It's obviously not a $100 eyepiece, but with a dark sky and a little practice the Rini 45mm RKE is a valuable addition to the case. For $17.50 + shipping, it would be a bargain at twice the price. (The gang at the Surplus Shack deserve a mention here to, shipping in less than a week to Ireland, at minimal extra cost.)"
Robert Van Den Huevel (firstname.lastname@example.org) provides the following: "I wanted to add some info about the longest focal-length eyepiece that Paul Rini makes in 1.25", the 52mm, which provides a magnification of 24x at an apparent FOV of 30 degrees, which is very narrow, almost like a finderscope or a gunsight. It comes into focus more than an inch away from the barrel. The actual field is not much different than that of a 40mm, only it is smaller and quite a bit noticeably brighter, which is probably the main benefit. The optics are clear and bright, and the design is supposedly "RKE", a modified kellner. This eyepiece costs $17.50. I have not had a chance to view any deep sky objects with it but I will report when the weather clears."
Steve Grosvenor adds: "Having read your eyepiece review pages and quite frankly being fed up with UK rip off prices I decided to have a go at obtaining one of Paul Rini's offerings. I thought that buying over the Internet would be long drawn out and difficult but $17.50+$5 shipping was worth a gamble. I found out somewhere (possibly on your site) that these eyepieces are being sold by Surplus Shed (have internet site) and ordered two: 38mm and 9.5mm. The 38mm arrived here in the UK within a week of the order being confirmed ( the 9.5mm was at the time of writing, out of stock). Fred Lamothe of Surplus Shed was most courteous and confirmed and thanked me for my order via E-mail. Well what did I think of the lens? In short its brilliant! I've read a few reviews discussing the merits of various eyepiece designs, angles of view and other associated clap trap but I slid this one in (good slide fit, no sanding!) and in my humble opinion its better than the Meade plossl. Sharp pin point stars at last! Jupiter and Saturn definately sharper, and I can use it with my specs on. I used it on the Moon tonight with my Barlow which incidently cost me 50 ($80+)! and I could plainly see terracing inside crater walls etc. What can I say? I can't wait to try the 9.5mm!!!!"
Damian Davis email@example.com) reports: "Eyepieces reviewed:- Rini 45mm, Rini 11.4mm 72deg
Having read the reports of the Rini eyepieces on your site, I just had to see what all the fuss was about. I decided to buy the 45mm and the 13mm WA from Surplus Shed.
Slight diversion. I live in England, and e-mailed Fred Lamothe (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Surplus Shed about posting overseas. The next time I switched on my PC, he had replied with all the details. I sent my order, and received another e-mail in double-quick time from Fred saying that Paul Rini no longer makes the 13mm, and offered an 11.4mm 72deg at $28.50 instead. Was I interested? I said "yes", and within the week, I had a postcard from my local mail sorting office requesting 7.78 (approx $12) towards Her Majesty's living expenses. I paid up, and the whole process was really that quick. I cannot praise the lads at Surplus Shed highly enough. It felt like my order actually meant something to them, which is very unusual this side of the Pond!
Plug over, back to the details.
The 45mm had the traditional over large barrel, which responded to some aluminium oxide finishing paper, although some of the paint on the casing came off onto my hand, leaving a mottled finish. Not a problem, it's used at night, when it's dark. The lens is light, and projects 43mm above the eyepiece holder on the ETX. The "eye" lens is 29mm in diameter, and is recessed 10mm into the housing. It's described as "45mm MPL 5 elements" The 11.4mm has a chromed steel barrel, blackened and threaded internally, and is fairly heavy. I couldn't see how many elements it has. The first thing to catch the eye is how low it is. The eyepiece projects just 8mm above the holder. The "eye" lens is 11mm across. There were no fitting problems.
After what has seemed like perpetual cloud cover, the skies cleared last night, so out with the kit at around 2330, when the last bit of blue finally vanished from the sky. Line up on Arcturus and Vega, then goto M57, the Ring Nebula. The Meade 26mm Plossl showed a dim grey "smoke ring". ( The skies where I live suffer from tremendous light pollution. How much? I don't need a torch to use my copy of Norton at midnight!) The nebula was, however, clearly defined. I switched to the 11.4mm Rini, and immediately came across the first problem. Because of the lens' low profile, it was difficult to get close enough without hitting anything. I am 'left-eyed', and have a red dot sight on the right hand side, matching the ETX finder. I had to stand at right angles to the scope, so that my nose was over the rear cell in order to see anything. (eye relief is about 5-6mm) All you normal 'right-eyers' will have a similar problem with the finder, I suspect. The Rini did not cleanly snap into focus, indeed it was difficult to see when exact focus was achieved. The image was very dim, seeming to suffer from lack of contrast, and averted vision had to be used to see M57 at all. None of its structure was discernible. Not too good so far, but I do accept that my polluted sky could be to blame. On to M13, the globular cluster in Hercules. The Meade 26mm gave a clear, well defined view with good contrast, and a black background. The bright core, gradually dimming towards the edges was easy to see. No individual stars were resolved. The 45mm gave a pleasing view of the area, with a grey background as mentioned by another contributor, due to the bright image this lens gives. This is definitely an artefact of light pollution! The field of view looks to be about 40-50% greater than the Meade, but the 'spot size' of the stars was bigger than through the Meade, however. The 11.4mm showed a dim fuzzy blob, which could be viewed 'directly', although averted vision was better. No individual stars could be resolved with this lens either. Compared to the Meade, the image was too dim to see the brightness variations across the cluster. Maybe I'm looking at the "wrong" objects, so it's off to Albireo. The Meade was pin sharp, and the colour contrast was discernible against a black background. The Rini 45mm gave another good view of the starfield, with the grey background. If you knew what colours the two stars are, you could convince yourself that you can see the difference. The 45mm showed no distortions to the edge of the field, but its long eye relief took a little getting used to. Your eye must be in exactly the right spot, or the image vanishes. It is not difficult to achieve, however, and the results are very pleasing. The 11.4mm showed the colours easily, and at last was beginning to give a good account of itself. The spot size was bigger than the Meade's, but with a magnification of nearly 110x, I would expect it to be so. Time for a challenge. Would it split alpha Herculis, with a separation of just 4.6 seconds of arc? Having centred it with the Meade (which unsurprisingly did not split it), the 11.4mm showed the orange 'main' star, and its greenish (by comparison) companion, separated by dark sky. For that focal length eyepiece, in the real world of light pollution, heat rising from roofs, etc., that is not bad at all.
Overall, my first impressions of the 45mm lens were that it gives clean, wide views, with good brightness and contrast. The 11.4mm did not perform well on the extended objects, but was better on double stars. It did lack contrast though.
Value for money? The 45mm cannot be beat at $17.50. The 11.4mm at $28.50 is more debatable. It seems to lack contrast, and doesn't produce that satisfying 'snap' into focus like the Meade. Maybe I'm being too hard on it, as I haven't looked through an 'expensive' eyepiece of similar focal length to make an exact comparison. Maybe what it shows is how good the Meade eyepiece supplied with your scope really is. I will have to wait for the planets to come round again, and the Moon to climb above the trees, and do some more looking.
Damian Davis, London, England"
Jim Oneill (email@example.com) adds a counter opinion: "i have purchased the paul rini 45mm rke e.p. and compared it to my university optics 32 mm konig II e.p. let me tell you the konig II ,32mm blew it away by 50% more f.o.v. i returned the pr45mm.it hought it would give me more f.o.v. but it didn't ,the konig it's worth the 112$ ,i have the entire set as well for the ortho's for EXECELLENT planetary detail . check out uo's website,@ www.universityoptics.com."
Paul Rini advises: "I just wanted to drop you a line that the Rini eyepieces are available again and at almost the same price but the barrels are all machined anodized aluminum and threaded for filters. The new ones can be taken apart ,cleaned and put back together. The website is still under construction for the 1.25" eyepieces but they can be pictured at www.astronomy-mall.com under the private ads. The website is at: www.ganymedeoptics.com I really enjoy your site and appreciate all the great comments. I still believe in making some good affordable eyepieces for those who don't have a lot or for the observatories that can't use their top eyepieces.
Thanks again and clear skies, Paul Rini/Ganymede Optics"
Lora Lind (firstname.lastname@example.org) adds: "I'm glad, that Paul Rini is back in the eyepiece game. I purchased his 45mm eyepiece (ganymedeoptics.com) for $24 + $6 s+h. Wow and double wow. Looking into the very well aluminum machined, black finish with standard threading for filters, 1 1/4" eyepiece is a real plus for looking at large celestial objects--such as: open clusters, globular clusters (the lower magnification seems to show more detail) and double stars (both for the beauty of them plus the age old question--how is the seeing tonight ? Can I separate the double stars with low power? ) The eyepiece is lightweight-so no counterbalance is needed. The field is very flat--almost to the edge. At $30-a-pop this is a real bargain. When I use a Barlow, the eye relief is just like watching a small television picture of live stars. Great Job Paul--Keep em' comming !"
From Paul Rini Optics (email@example.com): "Hi Michael; I just wanted to say thanks for posting my web site information. Recently, I have changed the name of the company to Paul Rini Optics with the new web site at: www.proptics2.com or my e-mail address of: firstname.lastname@example.org I have had some astronomers compliment your site with the lead to my site."
An update from Paul Rini (PROPTICS (email@example.com): "I have change my web site address because I have a new type of site that will handle the different available web browsers. The new address is: http://proptics.ieasysite.com Thank you for the link so other observers can try my 1.25" 45mm which seems to excellent for use with the ETX. Thanks again and clear skies, Paul Rini"
Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "Paul Rini eyepieces are available from Bill Vorce (also known as "telescope warehouse") (and his email is: email@example.com ). His eBay site is: http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQfrppZ25QQsassZscopehed1 and he's happy to ship outside of the USA."
|Lanthanum 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece||Vixen||N/A||$200|
|Ray Wartinger (Ray_Wartinger@wb.xerox.com) reports: "I finally got caught up on the feedback for the last couple of weeks. Someone was asking about zoom eyepieces so I thought I'd send you something about mine. I bought a Vixen Lanthanum 8-24mm zoom eyepiece from Orion. I think it cost me about $200. Turns out I paid too much since I've seen it advertised from Adorama for $175. I really like this eyepiece. First of all its very convenient not having to switch eyepieces. On the ETX I can go from 50x to 150x without moving my eye or disturbing the scope and with very little refocusing needed. This really helps when trying to locate faint objects. It also has very long eye relief which is very important to me since I wear glasses. I know all the objections to zoom eyepieces, that design tradeoffs must result in inferior quality, but to my eye, the image is very good. I'm not an expert in this area and I don't have that much experience looking through supposedly superior optics, so I'd welcome any feedback regarding this eyepiece from anyone else who's tried it."
Wayne Hale (WayneH7974@aol.com) adds: "I'm not sure I'm happy with the Zoom eyepiece, the image seems pretty good at the longer focal lenghts but the image seems to really fall apart at the shortest 8MM setting. I'd like to compare notes with anyone else using the Vixen Lanthanum zoom eyepiece. Perhaps 8MM is just pushing the limit of magnification for the ETX in general. There is some focus shift going from one extreme to the other but not to bad. It does not focus at the same point as the stock 26MM eyepiece either, which seems to be somewhat normal from reading other user comments."Jerry Bame (firstname.lastname@example.org) adds: "I'm extremely happy with the Zoom eyepiece. The convenience of not having to switch eyepieces and hunt for your target make observing a lot more enjoyable. So far the images seem on par with the 26MM and eye relief is great. The focus shift Wayne mentioned will happen with any zoom if you focus at the longest focal length. Focus at the shortest focal length and then zoom. Seeing has to be good for the 8MM (156x) setting to provide a crisp image which is no suprise. Thanks to Ray's comments about Adorama having the lens for $175 I got a local shop to sell it to me for that plus tax. Their normal price was $259! I also got them to throw in a ultima 5mm for $70."
Noah (LooneyRoo@aol.com) notes: "While at a star party last Saturday, a fellow stargazer allowed me to try out his Vixen zoom eyepiece. The views were great! I looked at M57 at low magnification and zoomed in on it w/out having to adjust the focus. I only had to make minor adjustments as the object shifted slightly as I zoomed. I was very impressed, however, by how smooth the zoom apparatus was. It created minimal vibration and may be on my list of future purchases. Just thought I'd pass this info along."
|Series 4000 6.7mm Ultra Wide Angle Eyepiece||Meade||N/A||$200|
|BirdoB@aol.com reports: "Just purchased the Meade Series 4000 6.7mm Ultra Wide Angle Lens for our ETX and used it for the first time last night with Jupiter as our target. Was able to see Jupiter and it's four Galilean satellites in the same field of view at 187X. Was very pleased with the quality of the image but must admit I have never "seen" an astronomical object through anything but a lens manufactured by Meade. Currently our lens collection consists of the standard 26mm and the 18mm SWA, 15mm, 9.7 mm and 6.7mm UWA. I notice that focusing is required when switching lenses (I understand the standard 26mm has been modified by Meade "to make the scope more attractive to the consumer"...translated...to make the consumer buy another lens which is parafocal) and is not parafocal with the other lenses in the 4000 series) but I wonder why refocusing is needed when shifting the other lenses around. Can't wait to get a chance to use the 6.7 UWA on the Moon and am considering trading in the 26mm, 15mm and the 9.7 for a 24.5mm SWA."|
I finally decided to "expand" my eyepiece collection, not by purchasing additional eyepieces but by using some 35-year old eyepieces I already had! These eyepieces are 0.965" in diameter, not the 1.25" that the ETX (and most high quality telescopes) uses. So I went on a search at some local stores and found a converter from 0.965 to 1.25. This little device is convenient and lightweight. Just insert a small eyepiece into its tube, tighten the setscrew, and insert into the ETX's eyepiece holder. It even works with the Barlow Lens described below. I now have magnifications of 48x, 66x, 98x, 128x, and 197x, without doubling. So, if you have some 0.965 eyepieces consider getting a converter to use them with the ETX.
|Gregory Randall (Greg_Randall@msn.com) reports that he has used the following eyepieces with success: "Celestron 12.5 mm Plossl (not the Ultima) - good clear resolution edge to edge. Vixen Lanthanum 9mm and 5mm - these work very well with unbelievable eye relief. Saturn with the 5mm is very crisp with 2 or three bands visible on the planet disc and clear shadow of the planet on the rings. No Cassini division, but seeing here in Seattle has been the pits since September (no clear days in November at all....). The only real problem with these eyepieces is that they have so much eye relief that they take getting used to. Also used an old Meade 2x - 3x barlow (model 127) that I've had kicking around for years. It's 'way too big for the ETX, but it works. Only used it with the 26mm that comes with the ETX and the 12.5 mm Celestron. Haven't had the chance to try pushing the Vixens yet (seems kind of silly)."
Ken Bertschy (email@example.com) writes: "I spent two nights doing actual astronomical viewing with my homemade 96mm eyepiece adaptor for the ETX. Viewing heavenly bodies really seperates the men from the boys when it comes to eyepieces. The 9mm Huygenian, 22mm Kellner, and 4mm Ramsden all performed "adequately" (which means that I could actually see stuff through them), but they were obviously inferior to my Meade and Orion Plossels. The chromatic abberations these cheaper eyepiece designs are known for really did not affect viewing very much - Until I started aiming at nebulae and clusters. Then they were disappointing. I think the hight f rating for this scope helped make the cheaper eyepieces perform better that they should. I scanned the moon at 2x with the barlowed 4mm Ramsden. I concentrated on the terminator which was cutting through the Rupes Recia region just east of Mare Nubium. I was very surprised at how much detail I could see at 600+ power! In the ETX, 250 power seem to give the largest "uesable" images, and for that, I use a 5mm Orion Ultrascopic. But the 4mm wasn't too shabby. There was pronounced blurring and dimming of the image at 2mm, only sleight blurring at 4mm and nice, crispy images with the Orion 5mm. These cheap eyepieces were useless when viewing Mars. The 5mm Orion Plossel showed a bright orange disk with surface features and a polar ice cap (occasionally). The 4mm showed an orange, featureless ball (all the time). The Meade 6.7 Plossel showed the sharpest view with the most magnification, showing quite a few Martian features and a well defined polar ice cap. Lower powers produced sharp images, but they were too small to be useable. The barlowed 9mm Huygenian showed a lot of chromatic abberation which it didn't show earlier, and there was blurring. The cheap eyepieces were useless for star work. There's just too much distortion, blurring, and reflections off the lenses themselves to be of any use at all. So, to sum up, these cheap lenses (which are very representative of department store lenses), work adequately in the ETX for terresterial work and the moon, but you can forget about using them for the planets and deep sky work. This is probably not news to anybody, but it's nice to find out for myself just how much better a $100.00 eyepiece is than one that shipped with a department store scope. On the other side of the coin, I could live with the department store eyepieces if I had to. Keep the scope under 200 power and these cheap lenses perform quite adequately for lunar and planetary observation. It's the more expensive, high quality eyepieces that are allowing users to extend the useability of the ETX far beyond the "rated" magnification. And the expensive eyepiece is a must if you're going to hunt Messier objects with an ETX."
|Super Plossl 26mm LP Multi-Coated Eyepiece||Meade||N/A||Included|
This is the standard eyepiece that comes with the ETX. It provides 48x with an apparent field of 52-degrees. It provides very high quality views of bright and dim objects. It is a long eyepiece and requires a focus adjustment when switching to it from my other eyepiece. It has good eye-relief, which makes it easy to do the hand-held eyepiece projection photographs shown in the Gallery.
Pete Zimmerman (firstname.lastname@example.org) adds this valuable tip: "The 26mm Super Ploessl supplied by Meade has its large diameter barrel reduced in length by one quarter inch in order to provide the user with the dubious benefit of a lower profile instrument, according to the instruction book. That means that the eyepiece is not parfocal with the rest of the line. There is an easy fix which should get you within a fraction of a turn of the focus knob. Simply purchase a roll of quarter inch wide "Dymo" labelling tape, cut a strip a bit longer than 3 inches (to be more accurate, pi*1.25 inches), strip off the protective backing, and wrap it around the chrome barrel making sure that it touches the black barrel at all points. This will replace the quarter inch Meade took away. Alternatively, you can get some quarter inch lucite and bore a 1.25" diameter hole in it and file off any rough edges. Hundredths of an inch error will be of little importance since you will be fixing an error of tenths of an inch. Cost, about a buck."
|Super Plossl 9.7mm Multi-Coated Eyepiece||Meade||N/A||$85|
This is my second eyepiece for the ETX. It provides 128x with an apparent field of 52-degrees. It provides very good views of bright and dim objects. It is a short eyepiece and requires a focus adjustment when switching to it from the 26mm eyepiece. It has poor eye-relief, which makes it very difficult to do the hand-held eyepiece projection photographs shown in the Gallery.
Jason Baker (Jasonjbaker@cs.com) adds: "I just bought a Meade 9.7mm Super Plossl and thought I would pass these comments along for your eyepiece review section. I guess I am rather dissapointed in the quality of the image this piece produces. I have a 15 year old 7mm Meade Ortho that gives MUCH better contrast and an overall sharper image than the 9.7mm. Of course, the Plossl gives a wider field of view, but the eye relief is soooo bad on this 9.7mm that the extra FOV the Plossl gives is wasted. I would highly recommend, instead, that you invest in an 18mm SWA eyepiece that can be barlowed 2X for the same magnification as the 9.7mm but with HUGE eye relief and a crisper image. The 18mm SWA is an excellent product. See my review of the 18mm SWA..."
|2x Short-Focus Multi-Coated Barlow Lens||Meade||126||$53|
This 2x Barlow Lens is a useful accessory for anyone's telescope. As its name implies, it doubles the magnification of any inserted eyepiece. This means that my 48x eyepiece becomes 96x and my 128x eyepiece becomes 256x. The Barlow Lens is also of high quality. When used for hand-held eyepiece projection it works well, especially at 96x. The tube has a set-screw (visible in the photograph) for locking the eyepiece into place. The ETX also has an eyepiece tube set-screw for securing an eyepiece or the Barlow Lens.
Go back to my ETX Home Page.