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Anyone use the new XF 6.5-19.5 zoom yet?!

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Old Thursday 19th May 2005, 15:39   #1
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Anyone use the new XF 6.5-19.5 zoom yet?!

Has anyone had a chance to use the new compact Pentax XF 6.5-19.5 zoom yet? And in particular, has anyone who wears glasses had a chance to try this zoom? I'm considering getting one for use with my PF65-ED, and would love to know how the optical quality compares to other Pentax eyepieces or to the Vixen/Televue zoom. I'd also like to know whether this zoom would be as hard to use while wearing eyeglasses as the 11-15mm eye relief spec suggests. Someone at Pentax tech support claimed that he used this eyepiece while wearing eyeglasses and actually preferred it to the Pentax 8-24mm zoom (which has MUCH higher eye relief), but I think he used it only to view shooting targets and thus may have not cared to much about losing a chunk of the FOV!

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Old Thursday 19th May 2005, 18:23   #2
Humboldt Jim
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Hi Zak.
I passed on the XF zoom due to the small eye relief and got the 12x. I am also considering the Vixen Lanthanum Zoom and am also waiting or for someone else to report on it as used on the PF 65-ED. Frankly though, how it compares is not important to me, only how well it works for me.

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Old Monday 6th June 2005, 14:24   #3
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A brief first-hand report on XF zoom

Someone recently posted a Pentax XF zoom for sale on Astromart, and I emailed asking about his experiences with the eyepiece, asking specifically about eye relief. He sent me back the following and gave me permission to repost it here. (He asked me to stress that he used the eyepiece only briefly and did not do any detailed comparisons; also, he tested it only for astronomical use and not for daytime terrestial use):

"The er was 11 at 19.5mm and 15 at 6.5mm. I found it to be very comfortable, but I don't wear glasses. I have several eps in the same er range, 10-12mm, and thought the Pentax was more comfortable. It probably would be tight for glasses though. It has an adjustable eyecup that I used in the up position all the time.

Please note that all my impressions are based on a very brief session 2 nights ago on Jupiter and some random star fields. I didn't do any detailed comparisons.

I thought the XF was sharp and contrast was pretty good. It seemed slightly sharper with a blacker background than my TV [Televue, optically same as Vixen and Meade] 8-24 zoom. However, it exhibited lateral color probably half way from the edge on Jupiter. Most eyepieces have this, but only at the very edge, not in the outer half of the field. I also noticed either internal reflections or eyeball glint on Jupiter. Both of these probably wouldn't be an issue except on the brightest objects and probably not at all during the day. But, for my purposes, an all-around astronomy eyepiece for quick looks, travel and with kids, it wasn't suitable.

The televue isn't perfect, but it's a good all-around eyepiece. It has much more er than the XF, probably 20mm or so if I recall [actually 15mm-20mm]. It doesn't suffer from the same reflection and color issues as the Pentax. From my experience, I'd go with that. Also, I think the Pentax XW 8-24 zoom would be excellent (I have XLs and XWs and love them), but it is big and expensive.

[Again], please keep in mind that I didn't perform any lengthy or detailed comparisons, but I can say that my brief experience with it was enough to tell me that I didn't need to spend more time with it. For astronomical use, I didn't care for it. For daytime use, it may be better."
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