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Best Telescope Eyepieces 2023 (57 Best Choices): Buyer’s Guide

A premium eyepiece that costs nearly as much as your telescope itself may seem silly, but it’s more sensible than getting a low-quality ocular you’ll quickly find yourself putting away or getting rid of when you grow unhappy with its performance.

Most telescopes come with one or two eyepieces, which gives you one or two magnification options. However, if you want to optimize your viewing experience, you’ll need to invest in a better-quality eyepiece. By having a range of magnifications, you can optimize the image, which means you need more eyepieces.

I want to help you select the best eyepieces for your telescope and your budget. So, I am going to organize the guide around five questions and four formulas.

As we go along, I will refer back to these, so don’t worry if you can’t answer the questions or understand the formulas now. Once we are done, they will make sense.

Questions:

Formulas:

  • Magnification or power = focal length of telescope / focal length of eyepiece
  • True field of view, or FOV = Apparent field of view (AFOV) of the eyepiece / magnification
  • Focal ratio = focal length of telescope / aperture of telescope
  • The maximum practical magnification of a telescope is typically 40-60x per inch of aperture, or 1.6-2.5x per mm.
  • Exit pupil = telescope focal ratio / focal length of eyepiece

Don’t worry about the math, as it’s simple stuff you can do with any calculator, on paper, or perhaps in your head. These are things you will want to know and use.

If you just want the best eyepiece recommendations and don’t care about the details, I’m adding that section right below before we go into the specifications that answer the above questions and make use of the formulas. But I think you will feel more confident about your purchases and be less likely to be disappointed if you read through the guide.

Recommendations – The Best Telescope Eyepieces We Know

To get the best performance, you have to be willing to pay the price. But the difference in price to get to the next level is high, and the performance difference may be small. But some people demand the very best, and it is available, at a price.

When selecting the best eyepiece for your telescope, consider:

  • Your budget
  • The magnification range that is appropriate for your scope.
  • Know what diameter eyepieces your scope takes.
  • Pay attention to the eye relief, especially if you will be observing with glasses. Note that unless you have severe astigmatism, glasses are unnecessary; the only effect of severe near- or far-sightedness is a different focus placement than people with good vision, though in more mild cases this effect is negligible.
  • Look at the apparent field of view specs and understand what this means for the field of view.
  • Be aware of the focal ratio of your scope.

Eyepieces are standardized, so whatever investment you make today, the eyepieces will continue to serve you in any future scopes you may own.

List of Best Eyepieces

What follows are specific eyepieces that I have tried, own, or have read so many good reports about that I feel very comfortable recommending them. Note that the price categories are approximate, as prices can vary between retailers.

Best Under ~$50-$65

$50 to $100 Price Range

Think of these as your Ford, Chevy, and Toyota of eyepieces.

$100 to $170 Price Range

This is your Lexus, Acura, and Infinity types that offer more features, better build, and a bit more polish.

$175 to $300 Price Range

$300 Above

Here we get into the BMW, Cadillac, Porsche, and Ferrari of eyepieces.

1. Under ~$50-$65, Choice A: Redline/Goldline Eyepieces

4.7/5
Goldline series of eyepieces provides the best value in this price range, better than Plossls and Astromania/BST Planetary Eyepieces.
SVBONY Telescope Eyepiece Fully Mutil Coated 1.25 inches Telescope Accessories Set 66 Degree Ultra Wide Angle HD 20mm for Astronomy Telescope
  • Edges of the optics are blackened for increased contrast, which prevents internal reflections
  • Anti-reflection, fully multi-coated optics provide enhanced light transmission for bright and clear images
  • Wide 66+ degree apparent field
  • Plenty of eye relief

This series of eyepieces may provide the best possible value in their price range. They can be recognized by a thin gold or red line just below the eye cup.  Many brands of eyepieces are available, including SVBONY UltraWide, Astromania UltraWide Angle, Agena Astro StarGuider Enhanced UltraWide Angle, and others. They can also be found as Orion Expanse, sporting a blue line rather than gold. They are all made by the same OEM manufacturer. These companies rebranded them under their own names. Other trustworthy brands selling these oculars include MEOPTEX, NEEWER, Yosoo, and Omegon.  We recommend picking up the SVBONY version if you are in the US, since it is the cheapest of all.

The “redline” and “goldline” eyepieces have minimal differences optically, but the redlines are a little more well-constructed not to mention looking quite a bit prettier.

These eyepieces are available in 6mm, 9mm, 15mm, and 20mm focal lengths. You can read a thorough review of goldline/redline eyepieces here. The 20mm and 6mm boast a 66-degree apparent field, while that of the 9mm and 15mm is closer to 70 degrees, despite claimed specs. The 20mm and 15mm are of the Erfle design and do not work great in telescopes faster than f/5-f/6, while the 9mm and 6mm are outstanding in pretty much any telescope.

The average 66-degree AFOV of the goldline/redline series provides a 32% wider field than Plossl eyepieces. This wider field of view will make it easier to find your targets, allow you to view larger deep-sky objects, and provide a more immersive experience for everything that you view. These oculars also offer better eye relief than Plossl eyepieces, especially at the shorter focal lengths. 

Cons
  • 20mm especially poor in fast telescopes
  • 6mm tricky with eye positioning
  • Not available in longer focal lengths
Available 1.25” focal lengths: 20mm, 15mm, 9mm, 6mm

2. Under ~$50-$65, Choice B: Astromania/BST Planetary Eyepieces

4.6/5
Astromania 1.25' 8mm 58-Degree Planetary Eyepiece for Telescope
  • Wide 58-degree apparent field
  • Plenty of eye relief
  • Decent performance

The Astromania/BST/TMB planetary eyepieces are a design based on the Konig with a built-in Barlow/Smyth lens for the shorter focal lengths. This results in a consistently long eye relief across the series, around 16mm or so. These are great eyepieces at almost any focal ratio, and the short focal length ones are ideal budget high-power oculars for fast tabletop Dobsonians, providing superior views to a cheap Barlow and moderate focal length eyepiece.

Cons
  • QC issues occasionally
  • 58-degree field isn’t the widest
Available 1.25” focal lengths: 25mm, 20mm, 15mm, 9mm, 8mm, 7mm, 6mm, 5mm, 4.5mm, 4mm, 3.2mm, 2.5mm

Under $50 – Choice C: SVBONY SV207 Plossl

4.5/5

Plossl eyepieces are a popular choice among amateur and professional astronomers due to their simple yet effective design. The SVBONY SV207 Plossls offer superior quality to many of the cheaper Plossl options out there, featuring wide, comfortable rubber eyecups that facilitate viewing both with and without eyeglasses. They also boast slightly increased eye relief compared to rival models and deliver outstanding sharpness, making them excellent value for your money.

  • Affordable
  • Sharp optically
  • Comfortable eyeguards

Cons

  • 50-degree apparent field is rather narrow
  • A little more expensive than competitors
  • 8mm has poor eye relief

Under $50 – Choice D: Apertura Plossl/GSO Plossl

4.5/5

Apertura’s Plossls, made by GSO and sold under other brands as well, are a high-quality and affordable eyepiece option. They’re sharp at almost any focal ratio and are a substantial upgrade over many cheap kit Kellner or Plossl oculars. While many people will stay with and add Plossls to their eyepiece set, we would recommend not going below 10 mm focal length as the eye relief gets quite short.

  • Affordable
  • Sharp optically

Cons:

  • 52-degree apparent field is rather narrow
  • Poor eye relief at focal lengths under 12.5mm

Under $50 – Choice E: Celestron Omni Plossl

4.5/5

The Celestron Omni Plossls are very similar to the Apertura/GSO eyepieces but often aren’t quite as good of a deal. A 2”, 56mm focal length version is available for SCT owners, however.  It is crucial not to mistake these for the generic Plossl eyepieces included in Celestron’s kits or with entry-level telescopes, which differ significantly in overall quality. The “E-Lux” 25mm and 40mm Plossls Celestron bundles with some scopes, however, are merely rebranded Omni Plossls.

  • Affordable
  • Sharp optically
  • 2” 56mm ideal low-power eyepiece for Schmidt-Cassegrain users

Cons:

  • 52-degree apparent field is rather narrow
  • Poor eye relief at focal lengths under 12.5mm
  • Not always the best value for the money

Under $50 – Choice F: Orion Sirius Plossl

4.4/5

The Orion Sirius Plossls are another excellent choice for Plossl eyepieces.

  • Affordable
  • Sharp optically

Cons:

  • 52-degree apparent field is rather narrow
  • Poor eye relief at focal lengths under 12.5mm

Under $50: Vixen NPL Plossls

4.2/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 40mm, 30mm, 25mm, 20mm, 15mm, 10mm, 8mm, 6mm, 4mm

Under $50: Meade Series 4000 Plossl

4.1/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 40mm, 32mm, 26mm, 20mm, 15mm, 12.4mm, 9.7mm, 6.4mm

Under $50: SVBONY Plossl

4/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 40mm, 32mm, 15mm, 12.5mm, 9mm, 6mm, 4mm

Under $50: iOptron Plossl

4/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 40mm, 32mm, 15mm, 12.5mm, 9mm, 6mm, 4mm

Under $50: Aspheric Eyepieces

3.8/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 23mm, 10mm, 4mm

Under $50: Orion E-Series – Not Recommend (2 stars)

3. $50 to $100 Price Range – Choice A: Agena Astro Starguider Dual ED

4.8/5
Agena 1.25' Starguider Dual ED Eyepiece - 15mm
  • Affordable
  • Sharp views
  • Long eye relief
  • 60-degree apparent field of view

Cons:

  • 60-degree field isn’t the widest option there is

Tip – It’s almost always cheaper to buy directly from Agena Astro instead of Amazon.

The Agena Starguiders and the essentially identical AT Paradigm are universally praised as good quality eyepieces with a wide 60-degree apparent field of view. They also offer more eye relief than Plossls at the shorter focal lengths and use ED glass for sharper images than the budget “planetary eyepieces”, along with a twist-up eyecup. If you want a very good eyepiece with a bit wider field of view but are on a budget, these are very good choices.

4. $50 to $100 Price Range – Choice B: GSO SuperView

4.7/5
GSO 2' SuperView Eyepiece - 30mm
  • Affordable
  • Sharp views
  • Decent eye relief
  • 68-degree apparent field of view (except in 50mm, which is only a 55-degree AFOV)

Cons:

  • Some off-axis astigmatism in 2” units
  • Field curvature/sharpness issues at faster f/ratios

The GSO SuperView and similar “SWA” eyepieces are budget-friendly wide-field Erfle-type designs suitable for slower f/ratio telescopes due to their simple optical configuration. They perform well at f/15 or f/10 and adequately down to f/6. However, below f/6, the edge-of-field sharpness decreases, exhibiting typical astigmatism of more affordable wide-field eyepieces. The 15mm SuperView shows noticeable “pin-cushion” distortion (field curvature) in fast scopes, which may or may not be bothersome.

Between $50-$100: Choice C – Apertura SWA

4.6/5

Apertura’s SWAs are essentially Erfle eyepieces, a design also used by the GSO SuperView and “goldline” or “redline” eyepieces, although the 9mm and 6mm goldline/redline models employ an internal Barlow lens to enhance eye relief and edge-of-field correction. Erfle eyepieces perform best at focal ratios of f/8 or above. With a 70-degree apparent field of view, Apertura SWAs exhibit noticeable astigmatism in telescopes faster than f/8, which becomes significantly detrimental to the view at f/6. Shorter focal lengths only begin to experience issues at f/6 or faster, but still perform acceptably at around f/4.5.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 70-degree apparent field of view
  • Comfortable twist-up eyecups

Cons

  • Sharpness falls off towards field of view edges, especially with 2” units and faster scopes
  • 10mm short on eye relief
  • 15mm and 20mm are essentially just goldline/redline clones

Between $50-$100: Choice D – Agena SWA

4.6/5

Another SWA option, the Agena SWAs are identical in design and performance to the Apertura SWAs but lack the Aperturas’ twist-up eyecups.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 70-degree apparent field of view

Cons

  • Sharpness falls off towards field of view edges
  • 10mm short on eye relief
  • 15mm and 20mm are essentially just goldline/redline clones

Between $50-$100: Choice E – Orion Q70

4.6/5

The Orion Q70s are carbon copies of the Apertura/Agena SWA eyepieces but only the 2” versions are available from Orion.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 70-degree apparent field of view

Cons

  • Sharpness falls off towards field of view edges
  • Not always the best value for your money

Between $50-$100: Choice F – Explore Scientific 62-Degree

4.4/5

The Explore Scientific 62-degree series is an attempt to create an equivalent of the Tele-Vue Delite design, featuring long eye relief and a 62-degree apparent field of view. The shorter focal length ES62 eyepieces are ideal for planetary viewing, but they aren’t exceptional, and for the same price, you could find something with a larger field of view if that’s your preference.

Pros

  • Wide 62-degree apparent field
  • Long eye relief at all focal lengths
  • Fairly lightweight/compact
  • Argon purging prevents fog or fungus

Cons

  • Longer focal lengths not as immersive or sharp as ES68 equivalents
  • Regular roll-up eyecups are not as ideal for this eyepiece design
  • Some slight glare/scatter

Between $50-$100: Choice G – Explore Scientific 52-Degree

4.3/5

The Explore Scientific 52-degree series eyepieces, essentially Plossls, incorporate an internal Smyth/Barlow lens in the shorter focal length models to maintain eye relief of 15mm or more, as seen in many other “planetary” eyepieces. They come in. Although they offer slightly better sharpness than cheaper “planetary” eyepieces, they are ultimately above-average Plossl-like eyepieces. The 52-degree apparent field of view may not appeal to observers, as it lacks immersion for low-power deep-sky viewing and objects drift out of the field more quickly with a manual scope compared to wide-angle eyepieces at high power. These eyepieces are good, but most observers find a 60-degree or wider apparent field of view more comfortable.

Pros

  • Sharp 52-degree apparent field
  • Long eye relief at all focal lengths, unlike a regular Plossl
  • Fairly lightweight/compact
  • Argon purging prevents fog or fungus

Cons

  • 52-degree apparent field is kind of narrow
  • Cheaper equivalents available, or you could get a wide-angle eyepiece for the same price
  • Slight chromatic aberration

Lunt Flat Field

4.2/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 27mm, 19mm, 16mm, 12mm, 8mm

Orion DeepView

4.2/5

Available 2” focal lengths: 35mm, 28mm

Celestron E-Lux

4.2/5

Available 2” focal lengths: 40mm, 32mm, 26mm

Long Perng LER

4.2/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 18mm, 14.5mm, 12.5mm, 9mm, 6mm, 5mm, 3mm

Orion Edge-On Planetary

4.2/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 14.5mm, 12.5mm, 9mm, 6mm, 5mm, 3mm

Baader Classic Orthoscopic/Plossl

4.2/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 32mm, 18mm, 10mm, 6mm

Fujiyama Orthoscopic

4.2/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 25mm, 18mm, 12.5mm, 9mm, 7mm, 6mm, 5mm, 4mm

Celestron 8-24mm Zoom

4/5

Coronado Cemax

3.9/5

Available 1.25” focal lengths: 25mm, 18mm, 12mm

5. $100 to $170 Price Range – Choice A: Meade PWA

4.7/5
Meade Series 5000 PWA Telescope Eyepiece

Pros:

  • Wide 82-degree apparent field of view
  • Cheaper than most other 82-degree eyepieces 
  • Reasonably sharp in fast telescopes

Cons:

  • Eye relief is not great
  • Some field curvature particularly in 16mm unit
  • Some lateral chromatic aberration

The Meade PWA eyepiece line is a budget option for those looking for well-corrected 82-degree AFOV eyepieces. They work surprisingly well in telescopes as fast as f/4. Compared to more expensive 82-degree eyepieces such as those from Explore Scientific and Tele-Vue, there are fewer focal length options, eye relief is shorter, and there is pronounced field curvature in the 16mm model. However, for the price, performance is superb. The 7mm PWA is also identical to the Celestron 7mm Luminos optically.

6. $100 to $170 Price Range – Choice B: Celestron Ultima Edge

4.7/5
Celestron Ultima Edge - 24mm Flat Field Eyepiece - 1.25'

Pros:

  • Wide 60-70 degree apparent field of view with no field curvature
  • 24mm provides near maximum true field achievable in a 1.25” format
  • Sharp in fast f/ratio telescopes


Cons:

  • 15mm and 10mm have narrower AFOV, poor eye relief and some lateral chromatic aberration, and are just clones of other cheaper eyepieces
  • A little more expensive than other wide-angle offerings

Celestron’s Ultima Edge series eyepieces are a high-quality lineup of wide-field oculars – or at least the 30mm, 24mm, and 18mm are. The 30mm features a 70-degree apparent field, the 24mm and 18mm a 65-degree one, and the 15mm/10mm have a 60-degree apparent field. The 15mm and 10mm are just generic SWA eyepieces (clones of the cheaper Apertura/Agena units) but the longer focal lengths are really quite exceptional, and we highly recommend them.

$100 to $170 Price Range: Orion Ultra Flat Field

4.7/5

The Orion UFF eyepieces are exactly the same as the Celestron Ultima Edge, but with fewer focal length selections and either at lower/higher prices.

Pros:

  • Wide 60-65 degree apparent field of view with no field curvature
  • 24mm provides near maximum true field achievable in a 1.25” format
  • Sharp in fast f/ratio telescopes


Cons:

  • 15mm and 10mm have narrower AFOV, poor eye relief and some lateral chromatic aberration, and are just clones of other cheaper eyepieces
  • A little more expensive than other wide-angle offerings

$100 to $170 Price Range: Meade Series 5000 UHD

4.6/5

The Meade Series 5000 UHD eyepieces are also copies of the Celestron Ultima Edge/Orion UFF but in a pointlessly beefy and odd-shaped housing, and usually at a markup.

Pros:

  • Wide 60-70 degree apparent field of view with no field curvature
  • 24mm provides near maximum true field achievable in a 1.25” format
  • Sharp in fast f/ratio telescopes


Cons:

  • 15mm and 10mm have narrower AFOV, poor eye relief and some lateral chromatic aberration, and are just clones of other cheaper eyepieces
  • A little more expensive than other wide-angle offerings
  • Bulkier than other identical offerings from other brands

$100 to $170 Price Range: Explore Scientific 68-Degree

4.3/5

The Explore Scientific 68-degree series eyepieces are copycats of the Tele-Vue Panoptic eyepieces, which are essentially corrected Erfle/SWA designs. Field curvature can be an issue in faster telescopes, but for slower instruments, these eyepieces are ideal and cost-effective low-power options. The 24mm ES68 is an excellent low-power eyepiece for telescopes limited to a 1.25″ focuser.

Pros:

  • Wide 68-degree apparent field, remains fairly sharp in fast f/ratio telescopes
  • Maximum true field achievable in respective formats with 40mm and 24mm focal lengths
  • Argon purging prevents fog or fungus


Cons:

  • Pincushion distortion/field curvature can be annoying
  • 2” focal lengths too long for fast f/ratio telescopes
  • Heavy

$100 to $170 Price Range: Baader Hyperion

4.3/5

Baader’s Hyperions are budget-friendly wide-field Erfle-type eyepieces designed for slower f/ratio telescopes due to their low prices combined with the large eye lenses and long eye relief that limit other optical design aspects. They perform well at f/15 or f/10 and adequately down to f/6. However, below f/6, the edge-of-field sharpness decreases, exhibiting typical astigmatism of more affordable wide-field eyepieces. The 21mm, 17mm, 13mm, 10mm, and 8mm Hyperions show noticeable “pin-cushion” distortion (field curvature) in fast scopes, which may or may not be bothersome.

Pros:

  • Wide 68-degree apparent field of view
  • Long eye relief
  • Option for multiple focal lengths with Fine Tuning Ring system

Cons:

  • Inconsistent performance between focal lengths and at fast f/ratios
  • Bulky
  • 2”/1.25” hybrid barrels can be confusing with reaching focus properly, especially if used in conjunction with regular 2” eyepieces and/or coma corrector
  • Fine Tuning Ring system is impractical to actually use

$100 to $170 Price Range: Celestron Luminos

4.3/5

Celestron’s Luminos eyepieces, an ultra-wide-angle line, have faced strong competition from other UWA eyepieces but remain a reasonable choice for an ultra-wide-angle design. All Luminos eyepieces perform relatively well at nearly any focal ratio, with the only aberrations in slower scopes being field curvature and minor lateral chromatic aberration. However, edge-of-field astigmatism can become visible in telescopes faster than around f/4.5 with all Luminos eyepieces, regardless of whether a coma corrector is used.

Pros:

  • Wide 82-degree apparent field of view
  • Cheaper than most other 82-degree eyepieces 
  • Sharp at relatively fast f/ratios

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Eye relief is not the best
  • Edge-of-field brightening/angular magnification distortion issues

$100 to $170 Price Range: Tele-Vue Plossl

4.3/5

Tele-Vue Plossls, the company’s original product, have remained mostly unchanged and offer excellent performance, though they come at a higher price. Given the availability of equally sharp alternatives with longer eye relief, such as the “redline”, Agena Starguider, and even similarly priced UWA eyepieces, Tele-Vue Plossls are really only meant for the most demanding observers who cannot afford Tele-Vue’s more expensive wide-field offerings.

Pros:

  • Extremely sharp 50-degree apparent field
  • Simple and lightweight design
  • Extremely good quality control


Cons:

  • 50-degree apparent field can be claustrophobic
  • Short eye relief at focal lengths under 20mm
  • Not particularly economical

$100 to $170 Price Range – Vixen SLV

4.3/5

The Vixen SLV eyepieces share a similar optical design with the Astromania planetary and ES52 eyepieces, but they are made to Vixen’s high-quality standards and employ lanthanum glass to enhance contrast and minimize light scatter. These eyepieces provide remarkably sharp views, and the consistent 20mm eye relief, coupled with the twist-up eyecup, ensures a comfortable experience.

Pros:

  • Extremely sharp 50-degree apparent field
  • Long eye relief at all focal lengths, unlike a regular Plossl
  • Features simple twist-up eyecup
  • Lanthanum glass for maximum sharpness


Cons:

  • 50-degree apparent field can be claustrophobic
  • Really expensive for what you get
  • You could just get a wide-angle eyepiece for the same price, and the central 50 degrees will be at least as sharp

William Optics SWAN

4.2/5
  • Available 2” focal lengths: 40mm, 33mm
  • Available 1.25” focal lengths: 20mm, 15mm

Celestron X-Cel LX

4/5
  • Available 1.25” focal lengths: 25mm, 18mm, 12mm, 9mm, 7mm, 5mm, 2.3mm

Bresser 70-Degree Series

4/5
  • Available 2″ focal lengths: 35mm, 30mm, and 25mm
  • Available 1.25” focal lengths: 20mm, 15mm, and 10mm

7. $175 to $300 Price Range – Explore Scientific 82-Degree

4.7/5

Pros:

  • Wide 82-degree apparent field of view
  • Cheaper than many other 82-degree eyepieces and sharper than bargain-basement models
  • Argon purging prevents fog or fungus

Cons:

  • Eye relief at some focal lengths is extremely short
  • Some performance issues with certain focal lengths
  • Somewhat heavy partly thanks to heavier-than-air argon purging

The ES 82s are some of our favorite eyepieces, especially in the 1.25” format. These are clones of the Tele-Vue Nagler design. Many compare these favorably to eyepieces that are much higher priced. The ES82 design is comparable to the Type 4 and Type 5 Nagler eyepieces and performs well in fairly fast f/ratio telescopes. However, the 14mm unit is known to have slight edge-of-field aberrations and field curvature, while the 11mm unit has limited eye relief.

Explore Scientific recently extended this offering by adding a series of 82 degree eyepieces labeled LER, or Long Eye Relief, in 8.5mm, 6.5mm, and 4.5mm focal lengths supplanting the 8.8mm, 6.7mm, and 4.7mm. These eyepieces, based off the Nagler Type 6, are more comfortable to look through and considerably sharper too.

8. $175 to $300 Price Range – Pentax SMC XW

4.7/5
Pentax 70513 SMC-XW 7 1.25-Inch Eyepiece for Telescopes and Pentax Spotting Scopes

Pros:

  • Wide 85/70-degree apparent field of view
  • Extremely sharp at any f/ratio
  • Long eye relief

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Bulky

The renowned Pentax XW eyepieces are highly valued by dedicated observers for their crisp, high-contrast images, longer eye relief, and wide apparent field of view. The XW23 and XW16.5 eyepieces boast an 85-degree apparent field of view, while other focal lengths in the PENTAX XW series offer a 70-degree apparent field of view. The entire series provides an extended 20mm eye relief, delivering an exhilarating wide-perspective image, and the twist-up eyecup makes it easy to put your eye at exactly the right distance and makes for a firm grip when holding these eyepieces too.

$175 to $300 Price Range: Baader Hyperion

4.7/5

Baader Planetarium’s Morpheus line of eyepieces surpasses their more affordable Hyperions in performance, especially in faster scopes. The Morpheus oculars exhibit a plethora of features, including lightweight design, watertight construction, a 76-degree apparent field of view (AFOV), and a generous eye relief ranging from 17.5mm to 21mm. These eyepieces are comparable to the Pentax XW series, but with a slightly wider field of view than most of the XW oculars. However, without a twist-up eyecup, the long eye relief of the Morpheus oculars can actually be a little uncomfortable, and you may need to purchase an eyeguard extender to use them without glasses.

Pros:

  • Wide 76-degree apparent field of view
  • Extremely sharp at any f/ratio
  • Long eye relief
  • Premium build quality with glow-in-the-dark focal length labels

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Eye relief can actually be uncomfortably long for some users
  • 2”/1.25” hybrid barrels can be confusing with reaching focus properly, especially if used in conjunction with regular 2” eyepieces and/or coma corrector

$175 to $300 Price Range: Tele-Vue DeLite

4.6/5

For telescopes with tracking and a fast focal ratio that necessitate well-corrected and ultra-short focal length eyepieces, the Tele-Vue DeLite eyepieces are likely the most optimal choice for observing planets and double stars within their price bracket, slightly outperforming the Pentax and Baader offerings and with equally comfortable eye relief too. However, if you are more of a deep-sky observer and/or your telescope lacks motorized tracking, you may prefer an eyepiece with a wider apparent field in this price range, particularly when using a slower scope where edge-of-field correction is less crucial.

Pros:

  • Sharp 62-degree apparent field of view
  • Good performance in fast scopes
  • Long eye relief
  • Premium build and optical quality

Cons:

  • Twist-up eyecup takes some getting used to
  • 62-degree apparent field isn’t exactly the most immersive
  • Expensive for what you get

$175 to $300 Price Range: Tele-Vue Panoptic

4.3/5

Panoptic eyepieces, like the Explore Scientific 68-degree eyepieces that copy them, are slightly sharper variants of the Erfle or “SWA” design used in many inexpensive wide-angle eyepieces. With a 68-degree apparent field of view, they work best with telescopes featuring focal ratios of f/4.5 or slower. The 24mm and 19mm models are suitable for binoviewers or small telescopes with 1.25″ eyepieces, while the 2” 41mm and 35mm Panoptics are better suited for large Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, where their larger exit pupils and lower magnification accommodate big f/10 SCTs. The 2” 27mm is a bit pointless.

Pros:

  • Wide 68-degree apparent field, remains fairly sharp in fast f/ratio telescopes
  • Maximum true field achievable in respective 2”/1.25” size formats with 41mm and 24mm focal lengths
  • Extremely high standard of quality typical of Tele-Vue products


Cons:

  • Pincushion distortion/field curvature can be annoying
  • 2” focal lengths too long for fast f/ratio telescopes
  • Heavy

Nikon NAV-SW

4.2/5
  • Available 1.25” focal lengths: 17.5mm, 14mm, 10mm, 7mm, 5mm

Long Perng UWA

4.2/5
  • Available 1.25” focal lengths: 9mm, 6mm, 4mm

Baader Hyperion 8-24mm Zoom

4.2/5
  • Available 1.25” focal lengths: 32mm, 25mm

Masuyama 85-Degree

4/5
  • Available 2” focal lengths: 26mm
  • Available 1.25” focal lengths: 10mm

Baader Hyperion Aspheric

4/5
  • Available 2” focal lengths: 36mm, 31mm

Vernonscope Brandon

4/5
  • Available 2” focal lengths: 48mm
  • Available 1.25” focal lengths: 32mm, 25mm

9. Over $300 – Choice A: Nikon NAV-HW

5/5
NAV-HW Eyepiece

Pros:

  • Sharp, wide, extremely immersive 102-degree apparent field of view
  • Excellent performance at all focal ratios
  • Long eye relief
  • Premium build and optical quality
  • Glow in the dark eyeguard
  • 2-for-1 package thanks to provided Barlow/tele-extender lens

Cons:

  • Winged eyecup takes some getting used to
  • 17mm has issues with spacing/back focus if you use a coma corrector or star diagonal
  • Expensive
  • Weird caps

Nikon’s internationally successful NAV-SW series has paved the way for the new NAV-HW series, boasting an ultra-wide 102-degree field of view. This series features two focal lengths: the 1.25″/2″ 12.5mm NAV-12.5HW and the 2″ 17mm NAV-17HW. Each eyepiece comes with a specially designed “EiC” tele-extender lens at no extra cost, which can be screwed onto the bottom of each eyepiece, reducing the focal length of the 17mm HW to 14mm and the 12.5mm to 10mm. This means you effectively receive two eyepieces for the price of one!

The 17mm NAV-HW’s barrel is unnecessarily long, and for use with a coma corrector like the Tele-Vue Paracorr or ES HRCC, you may end up having to install a parfocalizing ring to keep the bottom of the eyepiece as close as possible to the coma corrector lens without actually touching it. Nikon provides one, but it is actually too thick for this purpose, though it is necessary to avoid hitting the mirror/prism in a 2” star diagonal.

Compared to the Tele-Vue Ethos eyepieces (below) the NAV-HW eyepieces are just a little comfier, a little crisper, and offer a slightly wider field. Since prices are similar, by all means go with the Nikons if you are choosing between the 17mm/13mm/10mm Ethos and the NAV-HWs. These eyepieces are extremely immersive and sharp even in the fastest f/ratio scopes.

10. Over $300 – Choice B: Tele-Vue Ethos

4.9/5

Pros:

  • Sharp, wide, extremely immersive 100/110-degree apparent field of view
  • Excellent performance at all focal ratios
  • Premium build and optical quality

Cons:

  • Not the best with eye relief
  • 2”/1.25” hybrid barrels with 6/8/10/13mm can be confusing with reaching focus properly, especially if used in conjunction with regular 2” eyepieces and/or coma corrector
  • Expensive

The Tele-Vue Ethos design employs over eight lens components to attain an incredibly sharp, well-corrected apparent field of view spanning 100 degrees. The 3.7mm and 4.7mm Ethos-SX eyepieces offer an even broader 110-degree apparent field of view. Compatible with telescopes as fast as f/2.6, the Ethos design exhibits minimal aberrations, with only some moderate field curvature in the longer focal lengths. All models provide a satisfactory amount of eye relief. The shorter Ethos eyepieces’ 100-degree and 110-degree apparent fields prove particularly useful in non-tracking telescopes like Dobsonians, extending the duration objects remain in view and enhancing the immersive experience when observing the Moon and large, luminous deep-sky objects like the Orion Nebula.

11. Over $300 – Choice C: Tele-Vue Nagler Type 6

4.9/5

Pros:

  • Wide, sharp 82-degree apparent field of view
  • Premium Tele-Vue quality
  • 1.25” Type 6 Naglers are compact and lightweight

Cons:

  • 31mm Nagler is extremely heavy/bulky
  • Type 6 1.25” Naglers have rather short eye relief
  • Expensive

The Tele-Vue Naglers are 82-degree AFOV eyepieces. In that respect, they are similar to the Explore Scientific 82-degree line mentioned earlier. However, for your extra money, you get the finest manufacture, the best polish and coatings available, and more consistent quality and eye relief across all of the available focal lengths. Nagler eyepieces can be used with excellent results with any telescope, and the 1.25” Type 6 units are fairly compact too.

Above $300 Price Range: Explore Scientific 92-Degree

4.8/5

Explore Scientific’s 92-degree eyepieces share similarities with the Ethos/ES100 optical design but sacrifice some of their apparent field of view to achieve increased eye relief, resulting in a much more comfortable viewing experience. The eye lenses are also larger.

Pros:

  • Huge 92-degree apparent field which is sharp at any focal ratio
  • Plenty of eye relief, with large eye cups
  • Argon purging prevents fog or fungus

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Not as immersive as 100-degree apparent field
  • Only two focal lengths available

Above $300 Price Range: Tele-Vue Delos

4.5/5

Tele-Vue’s Delos eyepieces share the same optical design as the Ethos eyepieces but have narrower lenses and a narrower resulting field of view, resulting in a more affordable eyepiece with extended eye relief. Boasting a 72-degree apparent field of view, Delos eyepieces offer near-perfect views with minimal aberrations at any focal ratio and in any telescope type. They are ideal for those who wear eyeglasses at the eyepiece due to astigmatism, although Tele-Vue also offers Dioptrix correctors. Other than the longer eye relief, they really aren’t much different from the cheaper Pentax and Baader 70-degree-class offerings in performance however.

Pros:

  • Sharp 72-degree apparent field of view
  • Good performance in fast scopes
  • Long eye relief
  • Premium build and optical quality

Cons:

  • Twist-up eyecup takes some getting used to
  • Eye relief can actually be too much for some users
  • Expensive for what you get

Above $300 Price Range: Explore Scientific 100-Degree

4.4/5

Explore Scientific’s 100-degree eyepieces are, to some extent, inspired by the Tele-Vue Ethos design, boasting the same 100-degree apparent field of view, except for the 25mm eyepiece, which offers a slightly narrower field of 95 degrees due to optical design constraints. The main difference between the ES100 and Ethos eyepieces is the use of a concave eye lens in the ES100 series, which results in about 4mm less effective eye relief than any of the measurements specified. Consequently, they may not be as suitable for outreach events or eyeglass wearers. Moreover, the concave eye lens is more susceptible to reflecting glare from light pollution, the Moon, or other sources. Many of the ES100s are priced similarly to the Tele-Vue Ethos eyepieces, which offer sharper views and do not exhibit the drawbacks of concave eye lenses.

Pros:

  • Huge 95/100/120-degree apparent field (depending on focal length)
  • Some focal lengths sharp even in super-fast f/3 instruments
  • Argon/nitrogen purging prevents fog or fungus

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Most focal lengths not cost-effective compared to other options
  • Glare and eye relief issues due to concave eye lens

Helpful Tips For Buying Telescope Eyepieces

Budget

Whether it is cars or telescope eyepieces, there are inexpensive ones, upgraded models, and very expensive ones. They all work, but as you go up in price, you gain features or performance or both. Do you need to have the best to enjoy astronomy? That is up to you and your budget. I don’t think so.

Over time, you will likely spend more on eyepieces than on the telescope. But don’t fear that you will waste your investment as eyepieces are standard sizes. If you upgrade the telescope or add a second one, the eyepieces will work on that telescope too.

Eyepieces under $100 each are generally considered budget or low-cost eyepieces. There are some very good choices in this range. Think of these as your Ford, Chevy, and Toyota of eyepieces. They work great every day and get you where you want to go, but don’t have what the higher priced models have.

Between $100 and $250, I will call it mid-range. This is your Lexus, Acura, and Infinity types that offer more features, better build, and a bit more polish. Many approach the quality of the premium brands. Here we have very good eyepieces with some extra features.

Over $250, I will label premium eyepieces. Here we get into the BMW, Cadillac, Porsche, and Ferrari of eyepieces. The price can run to over $1000 per eyepiece. These are the best in optical performance and build quality. It costs a lot to get that last 10% of performance. If you are very demanding and must have the very best, this is where you want to be.

What Diameter Eyepiece Should I Buy?

Most modern telescopes use a focuser, or diagonal, that accepts 1.25” eyepieces. Some accept 2” and have an adapter that allows you to also use 1.25”. These sizes have become the industry’s standard sizes. Take a look at your manual or user’s guide. It should list what size eyepieces you can use. Or take one of your eyepieces and measure across the bottom of the barrel.

Why two sizes? A 2” barrel on the eyepiece will allow the manufacturer to create an eyepiece that provides a wider field of view. But just because an eyepiece is 2” doesn’t mean it has a wider field of view than one that is 1.25”. We will talk more about the field of view later, but note that if you can use 2” eyepieces, you will typically only have one or two for very low power wide field views. All the rest will likely be 1.25”. It doesn’t matter what type of telescope you have, as long as your scope takes these standard sizes.

Your eyepieces do not need to be the same brand as your telescope. You have a very wide choice of brands and styles to choose from. There is no problem using a Celestron eyepiece in a Meade telescope, for example.

If your scope uses eyepieces that are closer to 1”, then you have an old style .965” that is now obsolete. You can still get eyepieces, but there are few choices. There are inexpensive adapters that will let you use standard 1.25” eyepieces in a .965” focuser/diagonal. However, there can be a problem bringing the eyepiece into focus. I haven’t addressed .965” eyepieces in the recommendations.

What Focal Length Eyepieces Should I Buy?

Most telescopes come with one or two eyepieces. Typically, these will be 25 mm and 10 mm or something close to that. This will give you a lower power and a medium to high power eyepiece, depending on the focal length of your scope. But these are only intended to get you started.

Each eyepiece gives you a unique magnification based on the formula listed at the start:

  • Focal length telescope / focal length eyepiece = magnification or power

Why do you need more than two eyepieces?  Because some objects look better at low power, some at medium power, some at high power, and some at very high power. It is as simple as that. Not everything in the sky benefits from high magnification.

You typically want to use an eyepiece providing an exit pupil of 2-4mm for galaxies, 4-7mm for emission nebulae and open star clusters (if your skies are dark and/or a filter is used), and 1-2mm for globular star clusters. Larger exit pupils provide a brighter background (worsening contrast, especially under light polluted skies) and lower power but condense the brightness of dimmer extended objects. Your eyes can’t dilate much over 7mm (or 6mm if you’re elderly) so you’re losing light if you go over this amount.

Very small exit pupils (and thus high powers) are ideal for the Moon, planets, double stars, and planetary nebulae, but it can be tricky to line your eye up, higher magnifications are more affected by atmospheric turbulence and your telescope’s optical performance, and in the case of the Moon and planets, the small floaters in your eyeball become more pronounced as they are large in relation to a small, sub-mm exit pupil and can be an irritant, eclipsing your view or causing a headache.

Also, atmospheric conditions can limit how much magnification you can use on a given night. If you look up transparency and “seeing” in the context of telescopes you can learn more about how atmospheric conditions will affect what magnifications you will choose on any given night. The bottom line is that it is best to have several magnification choices so you can optimize the view.

To determine a magnification range, we will start with the aperture of the telescope, the size of the front lens, or the mirror in the back. This determines how much light the telescope will gather. The more light that is gathered, the more magnification that can be applied to the image, up to the limits that are imposed by the atmosphere.

To estimate the highest practical magnification for your telescope, you take the aperture in millimeters, mm, and multiply it by two. This will give you a maximum target for planning purposes. Nothing will stop you from trying to go higher, but in all likelihood, the image will be poor and not worth the cost of eyepieces to achieve it.

For example:

  • 70 mm scope will have a max of 140X for planning purposes.
  • 130 mm scope will have a max of 260X for planning purposes.

There is no guarantee that you will be able to get a good image of any given target at that level of magnification on any given night. This is just a planning target. The atmosphere is typically the limiting factor as we get to higher magnifications. Even big telescopes are subject to limitations imposed by the atmosphere. It is unlikely you will be able to use over 300x under even good skies fairly frequently and magnifications above 500x are seldom useful for anything but planetary nebulae and the tightest double stars. Above 800-1000x is almost never required or possible.

Now we have a maximum established. Let’s look at the minimum. In this case, I am going to define this by the focuser and eyepiece size.

If your focuser/diagonal only accepts 1.25” eyepieces, I would recommend you use a 32mm as your longest focal length, lowest power eyepiece. I usually recommend a 32 mm Plossl type eyepiece as that provides about the widest view you can achieve with a 1.25” focuser. Plossl eyepieces are very good and fairly inexpensive, typically between $25 and $50 each.

If your focuser/diagonal will accept 2” eyepieces, then I will suggest you get one or two 2” eyepieces for your low power wide view eyepieces. Consider something between 35 and 40 mm in focal length with an AFOV of 65 degrees or wider for your lowest power eyepiece for your telescope. In the next section, we will talk about the AFOV of an eyepiece.

Now we can establish a target magnification range.

Let’s give an example. We will use a 100 mm telescope with a 600 mm focal length that only takes 1.25” eyepieces.

Low Mag = 600 mm FL / 32 mm = 18.75X

To achieve a maximum of 200X (2X the aperture of 100 mm), we solve for the focal length.

600 mm / 200X = 3 mm   This will be the focal length of our highest power eyepiece.

We have a range of 32 mm to 3 mm. Now we just divide it up and fill in some sample focal lengths. You could base this on 3, 4, 5, 6 or more focal lengths/magnifications. I am going to use 6. Some people have more than 6 and some have as few as 3. Note that as we get into the higher magnifications, the millimeter jumps between eyepiece focal lengths gets smaller.

32 mm = 18.75X
12 mm = 50X
8 mm = 75X
6 mm = 100X
4 mm = 150X
3 mm = 200X

If your telescope’s focal length is different, just change the focal length in the formula. If you have a longer focal length telescope, your shortest focal length eyepiece will be a higher number than what I have shown here. Just start with 32 mm for your low-power eyepiece. Then set your maximum based on your aperture and split it up. Focus on the magnifications rather than the mm of the eyepieces.

Zoom eyepieces make things simpler.

A zoom eyepiece works like the zoom lens on a camera. They provide a range of magnifications with one eyepiece. A typical zoom eyepiece has a focal length range of 8 mm to 24 mm. If we look at the range I provided above, we see that we could replace several eyepieces with one zoom. And the zoom provides every magnification in that range without having to change eyepieces. My most used eyepiece is an 8-24 mm zoom.

A Barlow lens can save you money and add flexibility.

A Barlow lens is an optical device that goes between the eyepiece and the focuser. It was named after Peter Barlow who invented it in the 1800s, so it is usually capitalized. It allows each eyepiece to provide two magnifications. For visual use, 1.5X, 2X, 2.5X, and 3X Barlow lenses are common. Higher than 3X is usually reserved for astrophotography. Cheaper Barlows can often be low quality and any Barlow may result in issues with reaching focus, your focuser itself sagging, balance, etc. and as such we usually recommend a fixed focal length eyepiece in lieu of a Barlow, but a good Barlow or focal extender can serve you well.

For example, if you put a 30 mm eyepiece in a 3X Barlow, it will triple the magnification you get from that eyepiece. Another way to look at it is that a 30 mm eyepiece in a 3X Barlow works like a 10 mm eyepiece.

To achieve six magnifications, you can have six eyepieces. Or, you can have three properly sized eyepieces and use a Barlow lens to achieve three more magnifications, which is usually a less expensive way to go.

I often recommend the use of a barlow to achieve the higher range of magnifications. In the beginning, you are not going to know what the atmospheric conditions might be in your area. In our example, we targeted 200X as the top magnification. But you may only be able to achieve that rarely. So perhaps you do your line up like this.

  • 32 mm = 18.75X 16 mm = 37.5X (32 mm eyepiece with a 2X barlow)
  • 12 mm = 50X (If you have a 25 mm that came with your scope, use Barlow for 12.5 mm)
  • 8 mm = 75X
  • 6 mm = 100X
  • 4 mm = 150X (8 mm eyepiece with a 2X Barlow)
  • 3 mm = 200X (6 mm eyepiece with a 2X Barlow)

Using this approach, you would buy a 2X Barlow and hold off on the 4 mm and 3 mm to see if you can reach these magnifications often enough to justify buying an eyepiece. Or, you may find that you like the 8 mm and 6 mm used with the Barlow and can avoid the expense of two eyepieces.

Note that we also gained a 16 mm magnification at no additional cost. This gives us more flexibility at the low end of the magnification range.

If we combine a Barlow with an 8-24 mm zoom eyepiece, we have an amazing range.

  • 24 mm = 25X (the low power end of the zoom)
  • Every magnification down to 8 mm
  • 8 mm = 75X

Now put the zoom on a 3X barlow and you have:

  • 8 mm = 75X (24 mm zoom setting in a 3X Barlow)
  • every magnification down to 2.66 mm
  • 2.66 mm = 225X (8 mm zoom setting in a 3X Barlow)

Using the zoom approach with a Barlow your eyepiece set would consisit of a 32 mm low power eyepiece. You use the 8-24 zoom for the midrange. Put the zoom on the Barlow for the high range.

If you go this route, you can always add single focal length eyepieces along the way to serve specialized purposes. But with 2 eyepieces and a Barlow, you have the full effective range of your telescope.

How you divide up your magnification range is up to you. But, if you have a plan, you can fill in those slots, working toward a well-balanced set of magnifications. This saves money and helps you shop in an organized manner.

What Field of View and Eye Relief do I Want?

We will now discuss the specifications of eye relief and apparent field of view. These are two very important considerations when you are looking for eyepieces.

Eye Relief: This refers to how close your eye has to be to the lens in order to see the full field of view. Most people will be fairly comfortable with eye relief of 12 mm or higher. However, some eyepieces have an eye relief as short as 5 mm. They are usable, but your eye will be extremely close to the top lens glass.

If you are a glasses wearer and plan to keep your glasses on while you are observing, then you will likely want eyepieces with at least 17 mm of eye relief, and some glasses wearers prefer at least 20 mm. With your glasses on, you simply can’t get your eye close enough to an eyepiece that only has 10 mm of eye relief.

Apparent Field of View: This is a measure of how wide a view the eyepiece will provide as compared to alternate eyepieces. This number can range from 30 degrees to 120 degrees.

This is where the second formula comes into play.

  • True field of view or FOV = Apparent field of view (AFOV) eyepiece / magnification

Let’s illustrate with an example using a 1200 mm FL telescope. We will use 10 mm as the eyepiece focal length, but we will look at three different 10 mm eyepieces, each with a different apparent field of view, AFOV.

Note that the full moon appears to be approximately .5 degrees across, so use that as a mental reference when looking at the numbers. Imagine you are looking at the moon with each of these eyepieces and consider what you would see.

1200 mm FL scope / 10 mm FL eyepiece = 120X

40 degree AFOV / 120X = .33 degrees (less than 1 full moon wide)

60 degree AFOV / 120X = .5 degree FOV (about one full moon with no space around it)

82 degree AFOV / 120X = .68 degree FOV (about one full moon with a star field around it to frame it)

In general terms, the higher the AFOV number, the more the eyepiece will cost. And, in general terms, the higher the AFOV, the harder it is to make an eyepiece that will present a good image all across the field of view, which also drives up the cost.

When discussing eyepieces, you will hear people comment on how well the eyepiece is “corrected”. They are referring to how much or how little distortion is visible as you look from the center of the image out toward the edge.

We can see that 2” eyepieces have an advantage over 1.25” eyepieces when designers are making wide-view eyepieces. The larger barrel allows them to create an eyepiece with a higher AFOV. That is why I suggest, if you can use 2” eyepieces, you will want one or two low power wide view 2” eyepieces. If you can’t use 2”, that 32 mm Plossl, which has a 50 degree AFOV, will give you about as wide a field of view as you can get in a 1.25” eyepiece.

When you add eyepieces to your collection, you will want to consider what field of view you want and how much you are willing to pay for it. Note that many cheap eyepieces promise a wide AFOV but deliver a view with a lot of distortion or aberration as you move away from the center of the field of view.

Here are a few types of eyepieces you may read about and their typical AFOV. I’ve added comments on where you may find and use them.

Eyepiece table

There are many more designs that are associated with specific brands, but the ones above are designs that are produced by many companies in one form or another. And new proprietary designs come out from time to time.

I consider the Plossl to be the minimum standard for a good eyepiece. You can build a full set of these with good results, but be aware of eye relief, especially if you wear glasses.

After these, we have mostly proprietary designs from various eyepiece companies. In most cases, these are eyepieces that are focused on wider AFOV or better correction for low focal ratio scopes. These tend to run toward the more expensive price range.

How will my telescope’s focal ratio affect my purchases?

In simple terms, high focal ratio scopes, say those over F6, tend to be less demanding on eyepieces than those below F6. Depending on how fussy you are about having a completely clean image across the visual field, if you have a lower focal ratio scope you will want to look for eyepieces with a reputation for being “better corrected” in low focal ratio scopes.

Low focal ratio scopes deliver the light rays to the eyepiece at an ever-increasing angle as the focal ratio number goes down. As a result, this can cause aberrations in the image as you move from the center of the view toward the edges. I won’t go into all the types of aberrations that can be there. Let’s just say that once you get below F5, it is really hard for the eyepiece to deliver a clean image to the edge.

Also, as the apparent field of view gets wider, the image will require more correction. Again, this is more noticeable in lower focal ratio scopes.

So, if your scope is F6 or lower, you may want to consider some of the higher priced, better corrected eyepieces if you want the best image to the edge of the field. If you are looking at eyepieces that are wider than 55 degrees AFOV, you will again need to consider looking at the better corrected, and typically more expensive, eyepieces.

It all comes down to cost-benefit. You have to decide how fussy you are about the edges and what your budget can tolerate.

Does the type of target matter?

Perhaps you have read about planetary eyepieces, DSO eyepieces, and other types of specific eyepieces. Do you need a 10 mm planetary and a 10 mm DSO eyepiece? In my opinion, you do not.

Unless you are a professional astronomer or extremely demanding, you can select your eyepieces based on magnification, the apparent field of view, eye relief, and price. You can use the same eyepiece on planets and deep-sky objects (DSOs). Over time, you may wish to add a specialty eyepiece here or there, but I would not make that a priority until you have filled out your magnification range.

56 thoughts on “Best Telescope Eyepieces 2023 (57 Best Choices): Buyer’s Guide”

      • You alluded to them, but you never mentioned Tele Vue. As the clear cut worlds best eyepiece manufacturer, their name should at least be mentioned in an article like this.

        Reply
      • Hello sir, thanks for your article it’s realy helpful. I need your advice on it. I wants to install one in house(fixed place) another I need movable. I want these as possible as wide, magnification and astrophotography purpose. Can you suggest the total . I am looking for as much as best I can buy. No price limit. Can you help me. You can email me also.

        Reply
        • No price limit? That is a wonderful expression. I hope I can say that someday. And certainly, if you are getting into AP you are going to need that big budget.

          Sorry but I am not offering a configuration and pricing service. Even if we were next-door neighbors this would take weeks of discussion and planning. And I am a visually observing focused person. I don’t dabble in AP. Perhaps you should seek out help from your local astronomy club.

          Remember that visual and AP have very different requirements, so plan on at least two different optical tubes. But for AP you should really start your planning with the mount.
          https://telescopicwatch.com/best-telescope-mounts-for-astrophotography/

          Then you look at the optical tubes. This might contain more of what you need.
          https://telescopicwatch.com/best-astrophotography-telescopes/

          Visual astronomy is all about aperture, the more the better. AP is all about the mount and accurate tracking.

          Best of luck.

          Reply
  1. OHHH, now i get it! now it all makes sense, you did a great job explaining all this information it was a lot to take in but i have it now. thanks Ed

    Reply
  2. ES 82 degree series plus 1 meade uwa @20 mm – with 1800 focal length optical tube – lowest mag 51 x / highest mag 300

    EP-mm = magnification = afov
    6.7 = 268 = .3
    8.8 = 240 = .34
    11 = 163 = .5
    14 = 128 = .6
    20 = 90 = .8
    30 = 60 = 1.3
    did i pass? thanks for all your help.

    Reply
    • Outstanding job Jack. You really understood the material.

      Now, for my one or two low power eyepieces, I also like to know the field of view provided by that eyepiece. This can be very helpful for star hopping.

      Take the AFOV of the eyepiece (provided by the mfg) in your case 82 degrees
      Divide that by the magnification of that eyepiece in that scope

      So, for your 30 mm, 82/60 = 1.36 degrees. It may be a bit less than that in reality but for practical purposes that is close enough. So if you need to go to Arcturus and then go 2 degrees to the right to find your target, you can use the FOV of the eyepiece to estimate 2 degrees.

      Again, I only do this for my low power wide views. In your case, I would do this for the 30 and the 20.

      Hope you find this useful.

      Reply
  3. There is always more to learn but it helps if you go in with a good base understanding, and that was my goal.

    I continue to be very pleased with the ES82 eyepieces. I just added the 4.7 mm. And I continue to read excellent reports on the AT Paradigm and similar under different labels.

    Reply
  4. Hi Ed,
    Very nice article. I would like to know what is best for a 7 year old that would be getting his first telescope.

    -Joe

    Reply
    • As you saw in the article, they eyepieces that would be best for you, or your child, is based on your budget and what your goals are. Age is not part of the equation.

      If you want to buy him $200 eyepieces so he can grow into them, that works. If you would prefer to buy him $60 eyepieces or even $30 eyepieces because he is only 7 and he can upgrade later, that is also OK. It is all about your budget, your goals, and your objectives, as outlined in the article.

      Reply
    • As a kid, I loved looking at the moon (which can be seen any time of day, regardless of one’s bedtime)… so make sure that the field of view is wide enough to see the whole shebang.

      Also, children do not often have highly developed motor skills–so I would avoid the frustration of switching out eyepieces, and consider a zoom lens.

      One last thing, as a kid I used my telescope to watch squirrels and birds (which was interesting because the image was flipped around :-)… so, you might consider getting an eyepiece that flips things the right way around so that navigating terrestrial nature is easier to manage.

      PS. I don’t know if they make anything like this anymore, but as a kid, I had plastic slides with images on them (the Milky Way, Horse Head Nebula, etc.) that I could slide into my telescope and look at.

      Reply
      • Interesting points Philip. I agree with your comment on zooms for kids. Us big kids like zooms too. 🙂

        With a refractor, SCT or MCT, it is usually better to get a correct image diagonal than a correcting eyepiece. I expect such eyepieces are available but I have never seen or used one. I am not aware of any such solutions for Newtonian reflectors.

        Reply
    • One more thing… if you haven’t purchased a telescope yet, I would recommend a tabletop version, since they are easier for kids to move than the fiddley ones with spindly legs and complicated dials.

      Reply
      • As for tabletop scopes, don’t forget that you need a table, stool, or bench to place them. If that surface is wobbly the scope will be almost useless. So plan this into such a purchase.

        Reply
  5. Excellent article, thank you very much for taking the time to publish it. My understanding of eyepieces was very limited until I read this article, you explain things in a clear and understandable way which made my understanding so much clearer.

    Reply
    • Yes, eyepieces is a large and complex topic. We often end up spending more on eyepieces than we did on the telescope. Fortunately, the investment can be leveraged with future scopes since eyepieces are standard sizes so they work in almost any telescope.

      Reply
  6. This was very useful, I got a meade infinity 90mm – ( after read the review here 🙂 -. Now looking for a couple of decent eyepieces. Thinking in a super ploss 32mm and maybe something between 9mm and 15mm .

    Hayppy that now I have more facts to put in my decision.

    Again thank you very much for all the information in the page, excellent notes.

    Reply
  7. Hi Ed,
    Great article on eyepieces but I am still undecided exactly what eyepiece & Barlow to buy and from where since some buying sites don’t provide all the info you cite in your article. I purchased the Celestron Starsense 102mm refractor, focal length 660mm, stated highest useful magnification is 240x; it should arrive in about 2 weeks. It comes with 1.25” Plossls 25mm (26x) and 10mm (66x) eyepieces.
    I am considering buying another eyepiece, maybe 6mm, and a Barlow, maybe 2x, to give me a wider and higher range of magnification.
    You noted eye relief is important for those wearing glasses. I am very near-sighted, barely see the big E on the vision chart without glasses. However, i can read very well without my glasses with almost microscopic vision and can use my binoculars without glasses. However, sometimes i am at the end of the range of the binocular focus adjustment.
    Can you give me any specific recommendations on what to buy and from where? With regards to budget, whatever works well and is on par with the quality & capability of the telescope. Thanks, Angelo M.

    Reply
    • You picked a great first scope. My friend has one and he really likes it, and it is his third telescope.

      In terms of eyepieces, my best advice is provided in the article. I would wait till you get the scope and use the included eyepieces. See if you will observe with or without your glasses. That is the critical factor.

      If you are going to wear your glasses when you observe, you want at least 18 mm of eye relief and 20 mm is better. Why not go back to the people who sold you the scope and get their help. Or, if you are buying from an online like Amazon, then look at the eyepieces I recommend and see if any suit your needs. But you need to know, first, if you will be wearing glasses when you observe.

      As for Barlow Lenses, take a look at this article.

      Understanding and using a Barlow Lens
      https://telescopicwatch.com/?s=barlow

      Best of luck with your new telescope. I think you will love it! Just give yourself some time to learn the app and to understand the scope. If you stumble the first few uses, don’t be discouraged. Every new skill takes time. And remember, when all else fails, read the instructions. 😉

      Clear skies!

      Reply
      • Hi Ed,

        I’ve read, and re-read, and re-re-read this page. I cannot thank you enough! Sooooo helpful!

        I also just bought the Celestron Starsense 102mm refractor (650mm focal length, f/6.5) as a first scope for me and my kids. We also joined our local Astronomy Club and look forward to joining others under the night sky when the opportunity presents itself again.

        Being a total novice, I love the StarSense app and technology. It has made learning the Constellations and star-hopping more fun and engaging for my whole family — exactly what I was hoping for.

        I’ve read reviews about my scope. Every review suggests replacing the 10mm Kellner eyepiece (and possibly 25mm Kellner) that comes with it. Some reviews also suggest replacing the diagonal.

        https://telescopicwatch.com/celestron-starsense-explorer-dx-102-130-reviewed/

        If I was to upgrade these lenses, I was planning on working toward something like this:
        2x Barlow
        6.5-ish mm (100x & 200x)
        8.5-ish mm (75x & 150x)
        32mm (20x & 40x)

        I guess my curiosity is mostly about the diagonal. I couldn’t find any suggestions on your site about diagonal recommendations. I’m also uncertain about what to expect from an additional investment? We enjoy binoculars for the moon, but having never looked through another telescope, my kids and I do not know what internal reflection, ghosting, vignettes, or diffraction spikes look like! For our experience level, would you recommend changing anything right now? As we continue, what would you recommend adding first? Second? Etc.?

        Thank you so much for taking the time to provide all this information!

        Reply
        • You have selected a very good starting telescope that will serve you for many years to come. I often recommend it.

          I don’t have a specific diagonal to recommend and I am not aware of any specific issues with the one that is included with the scope. Any 1.25″ diagonal should work. Prices can run from $20 to $200 so the field is pretty broad.

          If there is a local club, I would suggest you visit and consider joining. Just search on Astronomy Club and you will probably find one in your area. Not only is it good to share the experience but you can get first-hand advice on things like diagonals and may even be able to try one in your scope to see if it makes a difference.

          If you feel the need to buy something now, consider this Orion diagonal. I don’t own nor have I used it, but Orion has a very good reputation. If you are upgrading, avoid ones that say correct image as these add a prism system into the diagonal which can reduce the light transmission. The image will be reversed left to right so you will need to get used to that. Correct image diagonals are easier for beginners and they are great for using the scope during the day, but experience people don’t use them for astronomy.
          https://www.amazon.com/Orion-8879-1-25-Inch-Enhanced-Telescope/dp/B000BMPBLK/ref=sr_1_8?crid=3KKUJRXYYN7DI&dchild=1&keywords=telescope+diagonal+1.25&qid=1610887695&sprefix=telescope+diagonal%2Caps%2C512&sr=8-8

          Reply
  8. Excellent article and very good recommendations. But I have one little niggle. Using your example: “We will use a 100 mm telescope with a 600 mm focal length” and “Another way to look at it is that a 30 mm eyepiece in a 3X Barlow works like a 10 mm eyepiece.”

    As I’m sure you know, a Barlow actually narrows the cone of light that enters the eyepiece, hence it affects the apparent focal length and thus the f/ratio of the telescope objective. So your 600 mm example (f/6) becomes, in effect, an 1800 mm focal length, f/18 but it does not change the focal length of the eyepiece.

    Thus the 30 mm eyepiece in a 600 mm telescope produces 600/30 = 20X magnification while with the Barlow, we have 1800/30 = 60X. The magnification and field of view is the same as a 10 mm eyepiece (AFoV being unchanged) in a 600 mm telescope but the eye relief is that of a 30 mm eyepiece.

    Reply
    • You are talking about the technical details of how a Barlow works, and I agree. But the conventional way of expressing it is in terms of eyepiece focal lengths. The result in magnification is the same and the eye relief associated with the eyepiece is retained or, in some cases, actually lengthened a bit.

      Suggesting an F6 scope becomes an F18 would also imply things like reduced CA in a refractor. A Barlow lens will not reduce the CA in a low FR achromat refractor so to speak of it changing the focal ratio would, I think, introduce confusion in most situations.

      So speaking of the Barlow as if it modifies the FL of the eyepiece, while technically not correct, does provide an easier model to understand the net effect. And since this article is intended as an aid to beginners rather than a rigorous optics lesson, I think the context I provided works well enough. But your point is well taken.

      In High School, they told me that F=MA In college I learned that F=dp/dt But F=MA works well enough for most situations and that is how I think of it.

      Clear skies!

      Reply
  9. Hi Ed. Very nice review. Thanks

    You mentioned regarding ORTHO eyepieces: “Excellent specialty eyepieces, usually for planets. They have a narrow AFOV but have a reputation for being very sharp.”

    Question: would an 18mm Baader Classic Ortho mostly used for Moon and planets loose sharpness and contrast if used with a short F5 telescope like the Celestron Astro-Fi 130?

    Question: would it perform well with 1.5/2x and 3x Barlows?

    Reply
  10. You are asking about a very specific eyepiece in a very specific scope combined sometimes with a Barlow. I can’t answer that specifically as I have no experience with that eyepiece in that scope.

    What I can say is that, in general, eyepiece characteristics are inherent to the eyepiece. If we want to get VERY specific to a combination then inherent aberrations of this scope and that eyepiece could produce a unique result. That can only be shown through actual testing.

    Where a difference can show up is that a lower number focal ratio scope will make it harder for an eyepiece to provide a uniformly good, in-focus image all the way across the field of view due to the steeper angle that the light arrives at the edges of the eyepiece with a low focal ratio scope, as compared to a high focal ratio scope.

    To say it a different way, in general, an F5 scope will place more demands on the eyepiece around the edge of the field of view than an F10 scope. This will become more apparent the wider the AFOV is of the eyepiece, in my experience. And, the quality of the eyepiece clearly comes into play here. So we say that an F5 scope benefits from “better corrected” eyepieces more than the F10 scope. Or we say that F10 would be easier or less demanding on the eyepiece than the F5.

    This is where the cheap eyepiece will frequently fail to deliver a good image, around the edges.

    Typically a Barlow does not add or subtract from this, but there again we have bad Barlows and Good Barlows. So you would have to test the set to see the actual result.

    Reply
    • Thanks Ed for your valuable comments.

      With a 130mm-F5 I would use a Plossl 32mm for its low-mag-wide-view. But for the targets requiring higher mag I’m still undecided between:
      – a Celestron 8-24 Zoom with a 2x Barlow
      – or a Baader Classic Ortho 18mm with both a 1.5/2x Barlow and 3x Barlow.

      Both solutions offer somewhat similar mag-fov-er-price.

      But will the Baader CO with 1.5-2-3x Barlows deliver a visibly sharper and more contrast view of the Moon and planets than the zoom lens with a 2x Barlow, to compensate for the zoom’s convenience… that is the question!

      Do you have any additional comments to help me?

      Reply
  11. I am a BIG fan of zoom eyepieces, especially if you don’t have many. I have Celestron and the Baader Hyperion. Depending on your budget, if you only have limited funds and are just starting to fill out your eyepiece collection I would go with the zoom, then zoom with Barlow. You can add the specialty single FL eyepieces later if you wish.

    This can be debated 100 ways, but that is my advice.

    Reply
  12. Another really helpful article, Ed. Our previous exchange convinced me to start out with an 80mm refractor. Though not the Meade. I decided to jump in with both feet and get an Orion ED80 (600mm f7.5 with a 2” focuser, So that I can move into astrophotography down the road.

    I must say I’m quite confused about eyepieces. I think I’d really enjoy a zoom for all the reasons you mention, But I’m having a difficult time assessing how much weight to put on the field of view of given eyepieces. Is it just about finding and framing, or do wide fov EPs create a more immersive experience? Like going from a 32” TV to a 65”? The Baader offers wider fov, but at quite the price premium.

    How does that field of view impact the viewing experience? Besides fov, How would you compare the optical quality of the Celestron to the Baader?

    What should one opt for a 2” EP over a 1.25? I see that there are some optical limits to how wide an FOV a 1.25 EP can manage at bigger (like 32mm) focal lengths. Again, does it create a more immersive viewing experience? If you had to choose 1 low-power 2” EP for chasing deep sky objects (again, at 600mm f7.5), what size piece would you go for? Are there any good low-cost 2” EPS out there?

    Sorry for another wish list 🙂

    Reply
    • Field of view, is about finding, framing, drift time, and context. These are matters of individual preference and budget. As to a more immersive experience, yes, I would say a wider FOV does provide a more immersive experience.

      I have to say that your questions are answered in the article. Perhaps another review would be helpful.

      Reply
  13. Hi, I have recently bought a Orion XT8 and am trying to work out which eyepieces to add to what is provided with the scope. The telescope comes with a 2x Barlow so I was thinking of getting one of the zooms you recommended. Is there much of a difference between the celestron and haader? I’m fairly picky so would extend budget for better eyepieces if its worth it. Does this sound like something you would recommend based on the telescope I have? I am very interested in viewing Nebulae – do you think this set up will work well for that or do I need other eyepieces or filters? Also worth mentioning i wear glasses which I will wear while observing. Many thanks, Sophie

    Reply
    • I owned an XT8 Intelliscope which is the same optical tube on a PushTo mount.

      Orion SkyQuest XT8 Intelliscope Review
      https://telescopicwatch.com/orion-skyquest-xt8-intelliscope-review/

      My Baader Hyperion Zoom is my most used and favorite eyepiece. If I had to give them all up and keep only one eyepiece, It would be the BH Zoom.

      With the XT8i I usually used the zoom configured with a 1.5X Barlow giving me a 75X to 225X which I found to be nearly perfect for that scope. Under my sky it was rare that I would be able to get over 225X and still maintain a good quality image, except on the Moon. My Barlow is a 2X with a removeable Barlow element that can be screwed right onto an eyepiece giving a 1.5X effect. So you ended up with:
      50 – 150X, no Barlow
      75-225X, 1.5X Barlow
      100-300X, 2X Barlow.

      My other eyepieces, ES and Meade 82 degree, stayed in the eyepiece case most of the time. I have since moved up to a 12″ Dob but I use the same eyepieces and the BH Zoom continues to be my most used.

      I would suggest you also get a 2″ low power wide view. Something in the 30 to 38 mm range with a 65 to 70 degree AFOV. Orion Q70 38 mm works well. Explore Scientific 68 34 mm or ES 82 30 mm would also be good choices at a significantly higher price but with better edge correction. I like my 38/70.

      I hope that helps.

      Reply
      • Hi Ed, that is really helpful 🙂 sorry if this is a daft question but is the baader hyperion 2″ or 1.25 or can it be both? This is the link to the one I plan to buy as I know some others come with add ons: https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/baader-hyperion-mark-iv-8-24mm-universal-zoom-eyepiece.html

        Thats great you had an XT8i that makes me feel confident I got a good telescope 🙂

        Is there anyway you could include links to the eyepieces you mentioned in the last paragraph of your reply as I’m totally new so worried about buying the wrong thing!

        Thank you for all your help 🙂

        Many thanks
        Sophie

        Reply
        • The BH zoom is optically a 1.25″ eyepiece. However the package includes a 1.25 to 2″ adapter so if you have a 2″ focuser you can treat this like a 2″ eyepiece leaving the adapter normally included with the scope for use with other 1.25″ eyepieces. The BHZ 2″ Adapter has threads on it so you can attach filters to it allowing you to use 2″ filters with the zoom. Any 1.25″ eyepiece will work with the BH Zoom 2″ adapter. The zoom can be used with any 1.25″ focuser too.

          You can find the eyepieces I use and recommend in this article. They include links to them where they can be ordered. The only one not in the article is the Orion Q70 which is available in 38 mm, 32 mm and 26 mm. I have the 38 mm and recommend it often.
          https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Orion+Q70&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

          Understanding Telescope Eyepieces- There are recommendations, based on budget,
          but the meat of the article is about understanding the considerations and specifications to know when selecting eyepieces.
          https://telescopicwatch.com/best-telescope-eyepieces/

          Reply
      • Hi Ed,

        I tested out my BH zoom yesterday for the first time and it is a great eyepiece so thank you for the recommendation!

        I found an ES 70 degree AFOV 35mm eyepiece and am wondering whether I should get this or the Orion 38 70. The ES is actually slightly cheaper than the Orion but my understanding from your reviews and replies is that ES might actually be the better eyepiece – have I got that right? This is the link to the eyepiece I am looking at potentially buying, would you recommend this over the Orion one or vice versa do you think?

        https://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/explore-scientific-70-eyepieces.html

        Thanks again,
        Sophie

        Reply
        • Explore Scientific, like many eyepiece providers, have higher-priced and budget lines. I am not aware of an ES branded 70 degree series in the USA, but they do have a Bresser branded 70-degree series. I beleive this is the same as they ones you asked about. They are just OK, but I don’t recommend them, especially in a low focal ratio scope. I had one and sold it.

          I would recommend the Orion Q70 series over that. I have used these in my F6 and F5 Dobs and find them a good value for the price. Not perfect to the edge but better than the Bresser, in my opinion.
          https://www.amazon.com/Orion-8829-Wide-Field-Telescope-Eyepiece/dp/B000M89H7C/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Orion+Q70&qid=1606584502&sr=8-2

          The Explore Scientific 68 degree series would be better but at a much higher price.
          https://www.amazon.com/Explore-Scientific-68%C2%B0-40mm-Eyepiece/dp/B007LMG3F6/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=explore+scientific+68&qid=1606584676&sr=8-1

          Reply
          • Hi Ed,

            Thanks for your reply, I think I will go for the Orion Q70 🙂

            Do you think it would be sensible for me to look at getting a higher magnification specific eyepiece? I saw Jupiter today and its 4 moons but when I looked at saturn I struggled to get a really clear image and it was very small. I also struggled to see features on both (gas bands on Jupiter and clear rings on saturn). Would a higher magnification eyepiece help do you think or am I already pushing my telescope (XT8) to highest sensible magnification I can with BH zoom on setting 8mm and 2x Barlow?

            Many thanks
            Sophie

          • Jupiter and Saturn are low in the sky now. You are looking through a LOT of atmosphere which distorts the image. This has nothing to do with your scope or eyepiece.

            The BHZ in a 2X Barlow will take an XT8 to 300X. On many occasions, that will be too high power for the atmospheric conditions. I often had to drop back to about 180X because of poor seeing and transparency. Look those up, “seeing” and “transparency” in the context of astronomy.

  14. Ah I see what you are saying, I had wondered whether this might have had an impact as I’ve seen it mentioned before but don’t fully understand it so will do some research, thank you 🙂

    Reply
  15. Was compairing the Apertura standard 15mm Plossl with their 15mm super wide angle eyepiece (70 afov). I already got the 10mm super wide because of the added eye relief but at 15mm both have the same eye relief. I also have a 25mm plossl and am happy with that. Does having a 70 vs 52 fov make a noticeable difference for double the price? These will eventually be used in an 8in dob whenever it arrives.

    Reply
    • If you read the article you know how to calculate the magnification and field of view. Both will provide the same magnification. You can do the calculation which will show that the 70 will have a significantly wider field of view as compared to the 52.

      Reply
  16. Do you think the Baader Hyperion Zoom would work OK with the Skywatcher 150p? Or is this overkill and am I better off saving money and going forward something like the Celestron Zoom? Many thanks.

    Reply
    • I would recommend the Baader Hyperion Zoom for any telescope. However, your budget must guide your purchases.

      A key thing to remember is that eyepieces are universal. You can buy eyepieces specifically focused on a particular scope or you can buy eyepieces that you expect to use with this and all future scopes.

      When I started, I purchased less expensive eyepieces to learn about them and how I would use them. I started with the Celestron zoom. I still have it and still use it from time to time. Once I knew how much I liked the zoom I upgraded to the Baader Hyperion Zoom.

      I have a variety of eyepieces, including Explore Scientific and Meade 82 degree series so I have choices. However, the BH Zoom is by far my most used eyepiece. If you are investing for the future, get the BH zoom. If you are just testing the waters or on a tight budget, get the Celestron, which is still pretty good. I recommend it often to beginners on a tight budget.

      I recently purchased the SVBony 7-21 zoom from Amazon. This is a fairly inexpensive zoom that I wanted to try. I have not had an opportunity to test it yet but the general discussions have favorable. I would expect it to be similar to the Celestron in image quality. If that is the case, it will give me another reasonably good, inexpensive zoom to recommend to beginners. Most likely it will be used as a loaner eyepiece to go with one of my two loaner telescopes.

      Reply
      • OK that makes sense, many thanks. I think I will go for the BHZ because, as you say, I will be able to use it now and into the future.

        Reply
  17. Thanks for a very helpful guide. I’m just starting out with astronomy and this really helped my understanding.
    I have seen elsewhere discussions about the exit pupil of eyepieces. How important a consideration is this when deciding on an eyepiece? What happens if you use an eyepiece that has a the ‘wrong’ exit pupil?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • You will get varying opinions on this but I would not worry too much about this. In my opinion, there are no wrong exit pupils.

      Any exit pupil between 7 mm and .5 mm is just fine. However, I have eyepieces that have larger exit pupils than 7 mm and they work well. Below .5 mm exit pupil, floaters in the eye become more apparent and can be bothersome. However, I have eyepieces with much smaller exit pupils and they work fine.

      The one exception I would keep in mind would be when working with Newtonian reflector telescopes below F5. An exit pupil larger than 6 mm may start to show a shadow of the secondary mirror. This is not a hard and fast rule, just a cautionary note. I have an F4 Newtonian reflector and if I use an eyepiece of longer than 25 mm, an exit pupil of 6.25, I start to get a dark area in the center of the field of view which is a shadow of the secondary mirror.

      I often recommend a 32 mm Plossl as a good low power wide view eyepiece for scopes with a 1.25″ focuser. But in this scope, the 32 mm doesn’t work well.

      I hope that was helpful.

      Reply
  18. a breath of fresh air! THANK YOU x 12!
    i didn’t have all this simply-put information when i bought my orion st-80 as my christmas present to myself in 2020. i started out with several pair of binoculars i bought used off ebay, then bought the scope. i still use the binos.
    still, i somehow managed to avoid the eyepiece pitfalls when buying used off ebay. i don’t have 1 of everything, and i bought the best i could afford on a low budget; meade and orion. i did buy an astro-tech 3.2 paradigm ed from a cloudynights.com forum member. very happy.

    thanks again, and merry christmas 2021!

    rodney

    Reply

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