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Doc

Leica Zoom eyepiece Vario 8.9 - 17.8 mm ASPH

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Doc

A friend of my dad's who lives in Scotland is thinking of visiting us at Christmas and he is one of those astronomers who has always had really expensive kit, anyway to cut a long story short he is bringing down his Leica Zoom eyepiece Vario 8.9 - 17.8 mm ASPH so I can have a go at observing with it.

 

Now I was always dubious about zooms but this eyepiece has legendary status and to be honest I have never read one bad report about it. On Cloudy Nights they compare it at the high mag end to Zeiss ZAO-II and on the low mag end to being better then the Televue Ethos range. High praise indeed and one I find very hard to believe but would love to be proved wrong.

 

http://www.apm-telescopes.de/en/eyepieces/zoom-eyepieces/leica-zoom-eyepiece-vario-8.9-17.8-mm-asph.-2-m48-filterthread.html

 

Just wondering if anyone has used one or has any comments to make.

 

 

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BAZ

How much?

I wonder if it's performance is down to the fact it only has around 9mm zoom function. 

Misread it, I thought it was 2kg.

Edited by BAZ

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Doc
7 minutes ago, BAZ said:

How much?

I wonder if it's performance is down to the fact it only has around 9mm zoom function. 

Misread it, I thought it was 2kg.

That would be one huge eyepiece Martyn :lol:

 

It's 17.5 oz in weight which is the same a Televue 10mm Ethos.

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BAZ

I'll be waiting to see how you get on with it Mick, for that price it should include a butler to carry it. :D

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Tweedledee

I reckon you'll enjoy using that. It has to be the best quality you can get in a zoom eyepiece. Also it is a 60 degree FOV throughout the range. Most go from a tiny 40 degrees at the low power to 60 degrees at high power. Don't they sometimes use those on very high end spotting scopes?

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Doc

They do Pete on the Leica birding scopes. According to the specs this one has FOV up to 80°. Also it excells when used with the Baader VIP barlow. Swarovski and Zeiss also make a zoom that can be used for astro but it's not as good as the Leica.

 

 

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Bino-viewer

I have a Baader Mk 4 zoom.

Feel free to borrow it if you want to do 'a shootout'

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BAZ

Is there any major difference between the mkIII and mkIV? I can see they have possibly added the new phantom coating, but everything else appears to be cosmetic rather than optical.

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Bino-viewer

I was told the Mk 4 has a slimmer profile than the Mk 3 which makes them a bit more suitable for bino-viewing.

I believe optically it is pretty much identical.

Here's a bit more from another forum :

 

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/572536-anyone-compare-a-baader-zoom-mark-iv-vs-iii/

 

Here is what's different:

NEW: low weight (290g/10,2oz), slim design of 55mm diameter (perfect for binoviewing)
NEW: Zero-Tilt safety kerfs instead of the hated undercuts in the barrels
NEW: Includes 2" SC-thread for shortest possible adaptation to telescopes or prisms/mirrors
NEW: 4mm backfocus-gain with spotting scope A-Ring (included): the Mark IV focuses with all tested spotting scopes (optional adapters available for most major brands)
NEW: Sufficient distance to clamping screws with telescope adapter B-Ring (included)
NEW: Eyepiece holster with belt strap – hold also firmly on tripod legs

 

I've hardly had any chance to use mine, the weather has been so bad just lately.

EDIT : MODS / ADMIN : if i've broken forum rules by posting bits from other astro forums, please delete, thanks

Edited by Bino-viewer

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BAZ

Why the "hated undercuts in the barrels"? They were there to help provide security and stop the eyepiece dropping out if the clamp screws came loose. I would sooner have an undercut than a dropped eyepiece. I am not sure on whether the safety kerfs (note the word safety) have any additional benefit.

I think there may be some spurious advertising there, who wears a belt on the outside of their coat to keep an eyepiece holster on, it might work in the Nevada desert, but not up Belper.  I take all the sweet wrappers and shopping lists out of my jacket pockets and have one in a pocket either side and one in the scope, it keeps them warm enough to keep the dew at bay as well.

 

If I get chance to bump into you Rob we can do a better side by side performance test, as I have the mkIII. Thanks for the in depth reply. :)

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Bino-viewer

Sure thing Martin, any time.

I'm itching for an observing session as well.

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Bino-viewer

Regarding the 'hated undercuts in the barrels'.....

 

A lot of observers don't like them, me included.

I would much rather have a smooth, straight barrel anytime.

 

Yes, they do provide an element of security, and great if you use screws. Nobody wants damaged gear from a fall.

Problem is, a lot  newer and pricier focusers use compression rings, and you really have to over tighten them to get any sort of purchase on the undercut part of the barrel or diagonal. This is more of an issue with a heavy load of course

 

And when things get cold they can work loose. Its happened to me.

I've never had any trouble with a smooth bore type accessory, and you don't need to overtighten them, a bonus with cold hands.

My £0.02p....

Edited by Bino-viewer

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Doc

I'm with you Rob, I prefer a straight barrel as well.

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