STRATEGY 1 – Your No Fuss Orthoscopic Eyepiece Set…
Baader Classic Ortho
If you want a no-fuss eyepiece set, and don’t mind a narrower field of view, the Baader Classic Ortho Set is fantastic. Pick up the bits as you want them, starting with the eyepieces themselves, and you will have a great set of eyepieces that will always have a place. It works with refractors and reflectors, and everything in between, the optics are superb and you can get a barlow that works really well. You also don’t have to spend much at all! Even if you ‘upgrade’ to switch to another set, you will NEVER regret having a fine set of Ortho’s.
STRATEGY 2 – Select one low, mid and high powered eyepiece
Your First Eyepiece – Low Power (24-80mm)
BEST – If you have a Telescope that accepts 2 inch eyepieces, get ONE two inch eyepiece of very high quality. If you don’t, a 1.25” version. Put the MOST money into this eyepiece – it will give you the widest and most exciting views! If you have a very long refractor, you should seriously consider the Mayasuma’s (these spectacular eyepieces perform exceptionally in these telescopes).
Comments: This is one of the wisest and best purchases you can make. It will give you truly spectacular views. A lot of the marvelous things to look at don’t need a high powered eyepiece – but a wide powered one. Deep sky objects are often extended diffuse objects that are best looked at over a wide area.
Do you have a telescope with an obstruction in the middle? If not, skip this paragraph. If you do – read on. You sadly have a limit as to how ‘low can you go’, which is no lower than 35x (so, for example, a mere 20x would give you problems). So, what is the limit for your telescope? Work it out here. https://astronomy.tools/calculators/magnification Stay over 35x. For a typical 200mm f/6 dobsonian, the limit is a 35mm eyepiece. Only our Masuyama eyepieces have crazy wide views (e.g. beyond 40mm) – they are especially recommended for long focus refractors and are lifetime eyepieces to treasure.
If you have a refractor- go for it. As wide as you can – and it’s marvelous.
Oh – one other thing, for this eyepiece, because your likely going to look at objects that cover several degrees in the sky, try and get a wide-field eyepiece – not a narrow-field eyepiece. It’s the difference between looking through a window and a straw.
Here are some quality recommendations:
Your Second Eyepiece – Medium Power (10-22)
BEST – In this range, Plossl and Orthoscopic eyepieces are best. Plossl’s have a wider view, so have a natural advantage, while Orthoscopic (“Ortho’s”) have superb image quality and contrast at the expense of of a narrower field of view (which, may I remind you, if your looking at planets and small objects is irrelevant – plus, remember you have a wide view, low powered eyepiece you can barlow?).
The Baader Morpheus Range is exceptional, with the Hyperion’s close behind. The 2” Kson 25 and 18mm Kellner’s are wonderful for light transmission and very inexpensive if you don’t mind giving up some of the field of view and you’ve gone with a 2” for your low power eyepiece.
Comments: This is an eyepiece that you will use a lot. It will your main eyepiece. As such, it is worth going the extra mile on.
Your Third Eyepiece – High Power (4-9)
BEST – We truly have some amazing eyepieces in this range. Objects you want to look at this closer are small, so fields of view are typically NOT important. What IS important is clarity, light transmission, contrast and perhaps aberration control. Here are the top seven.
Comments: Some warnings about high powered eyepieces – If you have a poor mount, don’t try ultra high powered (3-5mm) eyepieces that will jump out of the field of view constantly and jerk around when you touch your telescope. If you have poor seeing, these eyepieces won’t make it better. A good strategy is to get a 7-9mm eyepiece and use a barlow when conditions are right. Note we have the Fujiyama 9mm there – that’s also available in 7mm,6mm, 5mm and even a 4mm size for those who dare.
.. then add your BARLOW – if you need it.
The Baader Q Barlow is excellent. It has very good optics, and is designed to work especially well with the Baader Classic Ortho range.
The Kson 1.8x, 2x and 3x Barlows are fully multi-coated and also feature very good optics at a great price point.
Have a look at the effect of Barlow if you’ve picked three nicely spaced eyepieces – (1.8x/2x/3x shown). Careful with the 3x. It has a drastic effect.
Low Power 31mm Aspheric (17mm, 15.5mm, 10.3mm)
Mod Power 18mm Kellner 2″(10mm, 9mm, 6mm)
High Power 7mm Kson Plossl (3.8mm, 3.5mm, 2.3 – not recommended)
STRATEGY 3 – As Above, but be a brand lover!
This can be done instead of, or after the above strategy.
E.g. you decide on a 12.5mm Baader Morpheus for your mid, and then you decide to add on the 17.5mm and 6.5mm Morpheus – then add one a quarter until you complete your Morpheus collection).
You can of course, do strategy 2, and then pick your favourite to build your set. The two least favorite can even be put toward the new ones under our “buy back” policy!
STRATEGY 4 – It’s all too hard! I’m grabbing a Zoom!
A good zoom eyepiece is fantastic – spend more time observing and less time fiddling in the dark with eyepieces. A very good zoom is the Baader Zoom Type IV.
A cheaper, poor quality zoom can be temping, but you will never really be happy with it. Don’t go there.
So why not just go a zoom and forget about the suggestions above? It’s because if you really want discriminating views of subtle detail, a zoom will ALWAYS fall somewhat short. Your call.
Addendum – Some important exceptions and things to know.
- If you have a short “fast” focal ratio (f/5-6), you need to get the Hyperions or Morpheus eyepieces as they try and control the optical aberrations your telescope introduces such as coma.
- If you have a long “slow” focal ratio telescope (particularly a refractor), seriously consider the Masuyama’s as an investment. We exclusively have these in Australia and they are amazing eyepieces that offer truly distinctive views on an inky black background, however perform best in f/8 or slower telescopes.
- It’s not wrong to get the cheaper eyepieces first, and try them, and get to know your telescope with them. After that, get some nicer eyepieces when you know what your doing.
- The best eyepieces will do you no good if you don’t know how to collimate your Newtonian telescope, or if you abuse your visual system with alcohol, or light before a viewing session. It takes 20 minutes for your eyes to adapt properly to dark conditions without white light. Don’t use white light when viewing – get a red headlamp, and some mozzie repellant.