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Old Saturday 3rd May 2014, 10:52   #1
Patchbirder
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Are Opticron fixed EPs any improvement on SDLv2 for HR80?

Hi all,

Just been given a large Amazon voucher as a thanks for some work I did, and wondering whether, given this opportunity to spend some pocket-money, a fixed mag EP for my Opticron HR80 scope would be worthwhile accessory to my HR80 + SDLv2 combo.

I called Opticron and, to their on-going credit for excellent service, they seemed to think that there would be little point, seeing that I already have their top-of-range zoom. But just wanted a 2nd opinion.

I don't digiscope (not very likely to), and am quite happy with SDLv2 all round, though tend to use it in the x33 to x48 range for best results. So you may be wondering why I'd even bother considering a fixed EP - and I wouldn't except that I don't want to waste the Amazon voucher on something 'sensible'

So I'd like to know if the HDF 40858 or 40809 give any significant better field of view, brightness and clarity than the zoom at comparable magnifications? OR, am I going to get out into the field and wonder why I'd bothered buying a new EP?

Thanks!
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Old Saturday 3rd May 2014, 11:48   #2
Patchbirder
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Re-reading my own post, please don't misunderstand:

When I said, "I called Opticron and, to their on-going credit for excellent service, they seemed to think that there would be little point, seeing that I already have their top-of-range zoom"

This was NOT meant sarcastically - I think Opticron do themselves great credit when they put customers' interests above an opportunity for an easy sale.
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Old Saturday 3rd May 2014, 12:30   #3
btooze
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I have an Opticron IS 60 ED which I purchased with a 16x-48x Zoom.
I found that I was using it mostly at the lower magnification settings and so I have just purchased a 25xW.
Although I have only used it in my garden and not "in the field", I find the image much better than the 25x setting on my zoom EP. I hope this helps.
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Old Sunday 4th May 2014, 09:22   #4
Patchbirder
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Thanks, btooze. A good start to the discussion. But it seems I have asked a question hardly anyone knows the answer to!

Last edited by Patchbirder : Sunday 4th May 2014 at 22:22.
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Old Tuesday 6th May 2014, 17:29   #5
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I bought a GS665 GA ED with the SDL v1 zoom. At high mags the zoom gave a predictable shrinking EP that I found difficult to use. Most of my work was at lower mags. I tried a couple of fixed eye-pieces around the 25x mag. Although the HR2 gave a nice view, its CA was a little distracting. The HDF eyepiece (don't know what model, marked 28x HR66, 38x HR80) gives as sharp an image as the SDL zoom (which says a lot for the SLD zoom!), very little CA and with a significantly wider field of view that I find very appealing. The FOV of the HDF was more than that of the SDL zoom at its lowest mag (on my scope).
I didn't use the zoom again, so I sold it.

Dave
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Old Tuesday 6th May 2014, 17:48   #6
Boogieshrew
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I used to use an Opticron ES80 ED with fized e/ps rather than the HDF zoom I bought it with.

Fixed mags were 23x and 32x. I loved the 23x, lovely bright image.

Hope that helps.
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Old Tuesday 6th May 2014, 19:30   #7
Perry Grin
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As always, optics are a personal choice - I've never really got on with zooms, others can't live without them. Amazon have a good returns policy - buy it, play with it and then decide to return or keep it!
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Old Wednesday 7th May 2014, 12:25   #8
Patchbirder
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That's really helpful, guys, thank you. I may take advantage of Amazon's returns policy in lieu of being able to 'try before you buy'. Cluster's experience may be close to the kind of pointer I was looking for.
:)

Anyone else, while we are on the subject?

Patch
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Old Wednesday 7th May 2014, 14:47   #9
Chris Galvin
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If it is any use for you, then I use a 40809 on my HR 66 which gives it a 28x mag if I am digiscoping or seawatching but for general birding use I use the SDL.

Chris Galvin
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Old Friday 9th May 2014, 12:52   #10
Patchbirder
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I have just been out with my scope again (on a very windy day), and I think that I am probably more interested to see if a fixed eyepiece is any better at higher mags.

The SDLv2 is unquestionably excellent all-round, but I usually use it between x33 and x48, as below that the FOV is a bit narrow for the magnification, and above that is hard to obtain a usefully clear image except on bright days. It does go up to x72, which is impressive enough, but the conditions have to be very good for this to be any use.

The HDF 40858 gives a x52 mag on the HR80, which is the mag I would be looking for a clearer image than what I have - the kind of thing for when you want to sit on a bird for a good while, picking out its plumage details at leisure.

Chris, if you're from Opticron, what's your expert opinion?
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Old Friday 9th May 2014, 20:34   #11
Chris Galvin
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Patch,

I don't think my opinion matters here, as you will be using that magnification. The best advice that I could give would be to either go to a specialist retailer, checking that they have the 40858 in stock. Or, failing that attend one of the very many Optics Events that are held around the country so that you can try before you buy in field conditions.

Chris Galvin
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Old Saturday 10th May 2014, 13:01   #12
Patchbirder
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Ok, thanks everyone for your help. Still mulling it over.

Patch
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Old Thursday 22nd May 2014, 12:36   #13
Cluster
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Wondering what you did, and how it works for you.

I've just bought another eyepiece to try on my GS665. Although I prefer the fixed HDF EP to the SDL zoom, the HDF still gives a slightly yellow cast that I'm not fond of. I bought one of these
It gives a very good view, not as flat as the HDF and with a smaller sweet spot but better contrast and possibly wider at slightly less mag. Well worth the price of 30 inc post, I think.

Dave
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Old Wednesday 11th June 2014, 08:48   #14
Patchbirder
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Sorry for delayed reply. I just (yesterday) received the HDF 40858 through the post. I only managed a quick test before going out for an evening meeting, but even just a cursory comparison indicates this was a good choice. I went for the higher mag (it is x52 on my HR80 scope), because it is above 45-50 that I start getting the loss of brightness and clarity on the zoom and that's when I want to sit on a bird and pick out plumage details on waders. The SDLv2 zoom is still excellent at an equivalent setting, but the new fixed ep was immediately brighter and wider, and focussing through a heat haze on a distant tree was easier. My guess is that the difference will become more marked on darker, gloomier days. I plan to use the zoom mosty, then when I find something I want to take a closer look at, pop the fixed ep on. If I didn't have a big fat Amazon voucher to spend I certainly wouldn't have forked out the money because the difference in clarity is a luxury of detail, but I am glad I got it. I will let you know how I get on.
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