I am looking for some eyepiece recommendations for my Orion XT8. There are so many kinds out there, and I am not quite sure what to get as recommendations vary wildly. Here are some Q&As that hopefully can give some insight into what I am looking for. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.

What kind of telescope do you have?

Orion XT8. Focal length 1200 mm, F/5.9.

I have had it for a little less than a year. Before that I had a 4 inch Orion tabletop reflector.

What kind of eyepieces do you have today?

I have a kit of eyepieces from Canada Telescopes, which seems to be a rebranded imported kit. I can't say much about the quality. It has 6, 9, 15 and 20 mm eyepieces. They have approx 68 deg FOV. The 20 mm is the only semi-usable one, the others aren't really sharp enough.

I also came across a used Celestron Luminos 15 mm. It is nice, but I was underwhelmed by the wider 82 deg FOV. I have heard that these eyepieces do better on other kinds of telescopes that Newtonian reflectors, but I don't know if it is true or not.

What kind of objects do you observe?

Previously it has mostly been the moon and planets. I have spent countless hours looking at Saturn and Jupiter, and recently also Mars that it has been in opposition.

Since a month or so ago, I decided to spend a year trying to observe and check off everything in the book "Turn Left at Orion". That is when the eyepiece problems began :-). The Pleiades requires something wider than I have, and some of the double stars I have been trying to see require higher quality eyepieces for the magnification (dark skies aside).

So, literally a little bit of everything right now.

What magnifications are you looking for?

Low (40x), medium (75x) and high (150x). This means about 30 mm, 16 mm and 8 mm.

Do you wear glasses?

Yes, but I can take them off while observing if that increases my options.

Do you plan to use the eyepieces with another telescope?

Sometime in the future, I'd like to upgrade to a 10 or 12 inch Newtonian. I have been toying with the idea of astrophotography, so perhaps something that would work with a SCT too. But that is much lower priority.

What is your budget?

So hard to answer.

If the recommendation would be for general purpose eyepieces that will help me during my year of visual observation with the XT8 only, then I would like something below 200 USD/eyepiece. Meaning, that if they would be of less value on a 12 inch scope looking at DSOs or a smaller SCT looking at planets, then I'd like to limit the spend.

If the recommendation would be for "forever eyepieces" that are great no matter if it is the XT8, a 12 inch dob or a SCT, then I am more flexible on price because I would know that I could hang on to them for a longer period of time. Perhaps 500 USD/eyepiece maximum (but that would hurt...).

I hope you this gives some valuable context! Thanks!

  • $\begingroup$ In the niche market of astronomy eyepieces there are only a handful of manufacturers. At the low end (under US$200) most brands just sell rebadged mass-produced stuff: an SVONY will be the same as an Orion. The first big jump in quality comes, in my opinion, with the Baader Morpheus at around $250-ish. APM have some great eyepieces in this price range. Then, at $300+ come the Pentax XW range and the Tele Vue Delite range. The next price range is $500-$1000, comprising the Tele Vue Delos and Ethos, the two Nikon NAV HW, and the Docter 12.5 (soon to be gone as Noblex is bankrupt). $\endgroup$
    – Aaron F
    Nov 22, 2020 at 19:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (not sure how that comment got mangled to such an extent! I'll try and write a real answer in the next day or two!) $\endgroup$
    – Aaron F
    Nov 22, 2020 at 20:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AaronF it's all the dollar sign, segments of comment were converted to MathJax (if you click on it (at least in a full browser on a computer) you can see it highlights in a special way). We have to "trap" dollar signs with a "\" immediately before it (no space). You'll see that the slash disappears when viewing but the dollar sign no longer triggers MathJax. \$ see no problem, but $ this is a problem because the 2nd $ turns on MathJax However -$ doesn't for some reason. The dash successfully traps the dollar sign but does not become invisible like the slash does. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Nov 22, 2020 at 21:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ thanks @uhoh ! I'll stick to Euros in future :-D $\endgroup$
    – Aaron F
    Nov 23, 2020 at 22:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh ah I see, thanks again! (I did wonder why I was getting the equation formatting, which I had previously believed to require a backslash then dollar sign to activate, but "\\$" is the limit of my mathjax :-D ) $\endgroup$
    – Aaron F
    Nov 23, 2020 at 23:20

1 Answer 1


This is all subjective. Ask three different people about eyepieces and you'll get three different opinions. My answer is not the right answer, it's just my view as an amateur who has a case full of eyepieces.

The main difference between the less expensive and the more expensive eyepieces is in the quality of the view towards the edges.

Almost all eyepieces will give good views in the centre of the view. It's towards the edges that the view starts to degrade.

Wide field eyepieces need more lenses to provide a well-corrected view to your eye. But the more glass you add, the more surfaces you have which can reflect light back and away from your eyes, so this glass needs to be well-polished.

This is why the expensive eyepieces cost as much as they do. To provide a wide field that's well corrected at the edges needs lots of quality glass, and a good QA process.

Finally, there are definitely diminishing returns when paying more money. The difference between a €50 eyepiece and a €200 eyepiece will be more apparent than the difference between a €500 and a €1000 eyepiece.

I see three main groups of eyepieces:

  • €1 to €199
  • €200 to €399
  • €400+

The first group consists of a lot of different brand names all selling pretty much the same eyepieces.

Generally speaking, a factory in China makes a batch of eyepieces, and different brands buy these eyepieces and pay the manufacturer to put their brand names on the eyepieces they buy.

The brands who pay more money probably get to pick the better eyepieces from a production run.

Or take the case of Explore Scientific, who are partnered with Jinghua Optical Corporation (JOC), which suggests a closer relationship and explains why some of Explore Scientific's eyepieces (the 92°, 120°, and 3" 100°) aren't available under other names.

The eyepieces in this group are mostly all much of a muchness, but there are some gems to be found (the 8.8mm 82° offered by ES and Meade, or the Orion E-series 7-21mm zoom).

Also, it's perfectly possible to buy a €50 eyepiece and get lucky with a great manufacturing sample that gives eyepieces ten times its price a run for their money.

The middle group begins where I see a noticeable increase in optical quality.

The Baader Morpheus 76° eyepieces are at the lower end, and are an example of some fine "forever eyepieces", as you put it, which won't break the bank. (They're slightly more expensive in the USA than Europe, I believe, which might make the Pentax XW a better option if you're in the Americas)

APM have some good eyepieces in this price range, too, such as their 100° series (which many experienced observers have said are the second-best 100° eyepieces available today) and their 12.5mm 84° eyepiece.

Pentax's 70° XW range are well-regarded, with eyepieces from 3.5mm to 40mm.

Also Tele Vue have their "budget" Delite 62° eyepieces in this price range.

The expensive group contains the Tele Vue Delos 72°, Nagler 82, and Ethos 100° ranges.

Right at the top are the Tele Vue Apollo 11mm and the Nikon NAV HW with 102° FoV, which comes in only two focal lengths - 12.5mm and 17mm - but comes with a screw-in lens to give an extra focal length, allowing for 10mm and 14mm.

So, having said all of that, what would I recommend?

Low power I would recommend the APM UFF 30mm. Other options are the Pentax XW, Explore Scientific, and Tele Vue Nagler. (You could go up to 40mm if your pupil dilates to 6.5mm in the dark).
By the way, at low magnifications a FoV of ~70° is wide enough, so don't feel that you have to go for an expensive ~80° eyepiece here.

Medium power I would recommend the Baader Morpheus 17.5mm. Another option is the APM Hi-FW 12.5mm. (I have both of these, and am therefore biased towards them, but they are my most-used and favourite eyepieces)
There are many different options in this range. Anything from 10mm to 20mm would be good.
You might even want to wait a while before buying a medium power eyepiece. Get the low power and high power ones and use them for a while, and you'll get a much better idea of what you'll want out of a medium power eyepiece.

High power I would recommend the Baader Morpheus 6.5mm. Other options are the APM 100° 7mm, the Pentax XW 7mm, the aforementioned Meade/ES 8.8mm.
There are quite a few different options in this range, too.

(At high magnifications the main thing you'll want to consider is minimising "time to nudge": when observing a planet you want to be able to have it drift across the field of view for as long as possible before you have to nudge your telescope to bring it back into view.
For this you'll need a high FoV eyepiece - 82° is a comfortable minimum these days, now such a relatively high FoV is widely available at reasonable prices.)

This answer has become a lot longer than I thought it would. And I haven't even mentioned zoom eyepieces yet! (You could get a zoom. And a Barlow. And a low power eyepiece.)

Another option is to buy a set of SVBONY eyepieces and use them for a while, and gradually replace your most-used focal lengths with better quality versions.

But I'll wrap up. To conclude: don't take my word for it! Get some more points of view. Read some reviews. Spend some time with the astronomy.tools FoV calculator to plan the focal lengths you want to have in your eyepiece collection.

(And if you decide to go for the expensive eyepieces then look at the second hand market - people generally take good care of their expensive eyepieces, and some brands maintain good resale value)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I feel that I've written too much but at the same time not written enough to do the topic justice. It's not easy to summarise something which is discussed at great length by many people on a daily basis. Entire books have been written on the subject! :-) Also I only own two of the eyepieces that I recommend. The others I recommend based only on hearsay, effectively. Still, I hope this helps $\endgroup$
    – Aaron F
    Nov 23, 2020 at 22:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you so much. This was probably the most informative piece I have read in a while, and I have spent some time investigating the differences between different brands and kinds since. I think I know what I am looking for now. Thanks! $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2020 at 2:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ that's very kind of you to say, thank you @DavidPettersson , I'm glad I could help! Btw, I just re-read your question and what you said about the Luminos 15mm stood out as something I hadn't addressed. The Luminos is a well-regarded budget line, but the stated FoV is greater than the real FoV, resulting in a narrow feeling 82°. The Morpheus, on the other hand, has a very wide feeling 76°, and some of the focal lengths have been measured to have a slightly wider FoV than stated ( reference ) $\endgroup$
    – Aaron F
    Nov 26, 2020 at 23:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .