1rpd 30mm ST80 Fully Multi-Coated Eyepiece $95 ($85, $75)

A page with a PayPal shopping cart for buying the eyepiece with a credit card, can be accessed by clicking here. It includes correct shipping charges for the US, Canada, and Australia (which can be used for many other countries, if you check the shipping price to your country versus to Australia). I will be adding more countries and shipping methods to the shopping cart. It also includes payment buttons for selecting the latest $95 version, an $85 version (let me know if you intend the unblackened version without bolt case, or a blem with those features), or a cosmetic blem of the older version for $75. In all cases, they have 48mm threads.

Shipping costs for one 30mm ST80

Notes: Additional units are typically only 15-30% additional shipping each, with some exceptions. Shipping prices in the shopping cart take precedence over these, unless due to error. I reserve the right to refund any incorrect shopping cart payment, whether due to customer error in paying via an inappropriate payment button, or Astrobuffet error when entering prices into the software.

$6.60 UPS Ground, fully insured, 48 states. $2 per additional unit.

UPS Air quoted if you provide me your zipcode, but will normally be under $16 2nd Day / $32 Next Day; more for AK/HI/remote locations

USPS Priority Mail strongly discouraged except to Alaska, Hawaii, APO/FPO, and "PO Box only" customers. $10; $3 per additional unit

USPS Global Express Mail/EMS fully insured: $19 Canada; $26 Spain/Mexico/Croatia/Australia/NZ; $35 UK, France & most of Europe; $40 most of Asia/South America; $45 most of Africa & Middle East

or $12 USPS Global Priority Mail to most international destinations (uninsured, not trackable, at customer risk, prepaid, no PayPal, additional units also $12 each)

International buyers are responsible for ensuring the legality of their importation, and paying any import duty, VAT, or other fees their country might charge. By using USPS instead of UPS/FedEx/DHL for international shipments, high private customs brokerage fees are normally avoided, but the duty and taxes are of course still normally collected, and customs brokerage fees might be assessed in your country.

Additional photos and information about the eyepiece can be found below.


Back to Products Page


NOTE: All photos below are of either the prototype without rubber grip, or of the first production version without lens edge blackening and plastic bolt case. The aluminum-colored ring outside the eye lens is visible in the photos on one side only, because it is not in the straight-through light path of a scope. The edge blackening is a nice touch, but has little effect unless stray light comes in the eye end of the eyepiece, as from a street light.

Pardon the slight pixellation/touchup above the top edge of the eyepiece body due to background shadow removal

I have a lot more than are shown here in their custom 1rpd boxes. The soda cans show you the size of these bad boys. Note: the ones in bolt cases are currently shipping without the green boxes, just the bolt cases.

I guess my prototype weighed more than the production version. I just weighed one (June 3) and it was 19-3/4 oz, not 21. My earlier 20-1/4 ounce figure was measured on the same accurate postal scale but must have had both the caps still on! The weight breaks down like this: Body 16.9 oz, chrome barrel 2.85 oz, caps 0.2+ oz each. I'll look into having some shorter/lighter aluminum barrels made as an option for Dob owners and anyone else with balance issues.

That's the 1rpd 30mm ST80 on a TV85 that I bought used from friend (and binoscope dealer) Joe Castoro a couple of years ago. The eyepiece looks pretty awesome in any nice 2" focuser or diagonal, including the Astro-Physics MaxBright shown here. The performance in refractors of any focal ratio never fails to amaze people. Anyone who pooh-poohs this eyepiece on "fast scopes" really must be speaking of fast Newtonians that simply aren't well corrected over a large field diameter at the focal plane. For scopes like that, additional corrector lenses, or a corrector/eyepiece combination named the 31mm Nagler is well justified. Testimonials from the fast refractor crowd have been glowing, from people who extrapolate to guess that "it should be even better on slow f/6 refractors" but they're not quite sure how.

OK, here is what you get for your money: the eyepiece, 2 caps, packaging. Soda not included ;-)

I now include 2 small squares of microfiber cleaning cloth also. Then when you think you notice that the coating has flaked off the lens, you can wipe your eyelash oil (which looks an awful lot more like missing flecks of coating than eyelash oil on these!) off and start your heart beating again. "Why two colors of cloth," you will ask....I did that so you can keep track of which one you've already possibly gotten dirty.

The latest version has a nice plastic bolt case, but only the first shipment of them had a (larger) green box.. Whether I'll be getting more of the larger green boxes to fit the bolt cases is undecided.

Old photo of the prototype without rubber grip, etc. Still, isn't she a beauty, mate?

Left to right for comparison: 35mm Panoptic, 12mm Nagler Type 2, 30mm 1rpd ST80 prototype, 20mm Nagler Type 2

Left to right: 20mm Nagler Type 2, 30mm 1rpd ST80 prototype, 12mm Nagler Type 2, 35mm Panoptic

This is the same lineup, but from the opposite direction, looking toward windows and bright sky. There is a compact fluorescent bulb overhead also. Note the predominantly green multicoatings on the 1rpd, vs the violet/blue coatings on the Naglers. Also note how the Panoptic and 1rpd have fewer reflections than the Naglers. But the Panoptic is only a 68 degree eyepiece, vs. 80 degrees for the 1rpd and 82 degrees for the Naglers.

I'm not trying to claim that this eyepiece is better in every respect than every Tele Vue Nagler. It compares favorably in some ways, unfavorably in others, and holds its own in the majority, including overall! All eyepieces are compromises in many different ways. The designers and manufacturers choose which ones are their top-priority goals.

Unlike most moderately priced eyepieces, this eyepiece achieves world-class results, to the point where it should be obvious that little or no expense was spared in many areas. Now that the price is below $100 due to crazily intense global competition, rather than its original $200 target-market design price....so now it's a no-brainer regardless of whether you were looking for a $100, $200, or $300 wide field 2" eyepiece.

Will anyone be able to find some aspects of the 31mm Nagler's design, construction, or performance that are "better" than the 30mm 1rpd? Certainly. Maybe some of them will be the same things which Uncle Al chose to beat the $1000+ 30mm Leitz at, such as edge performance at f/4. But the reverse is also true, and the 1rpd 30mm 80 degree eyepiece is a world-class eyepiece with significant advantages of its own (even ignoring price) against each and every competing eyepiece that I know of.

Should it be compared to Widescan II and Widescan III also? Yes, of course. In fact this eyepiece is far more similar to them than to anything else. I never demo this eyepiece without bringing along my mint Widescan II. It's easy money for me, as the 1rpd compares favorably overall in the opinion of everyone I've shown both to, on every scope so far, even if imagining that their prices were the same....which they are not! I'm sure I might eventually find someone who disagrees, or maybe a scope where the result is truly different, but if you like Widescans, you need to get the 1rpd also.

I'm confident that most telescope owners will find the price difference to be far more stunning than the sum of all other pros and cons. I believe that this particular eyepiece is the best overall value of ANY 2" diameter eyepiece being sold in the world today!!! Of course, it is only of use for people with scopes which can take 2" eyepieces.

Why is there no 31mm Nagler Type 5 in my comparison photos? Well that's an easy one to answer! I don't own one, nor do I intend to, except perhaps as a demo/comparison piece for trade show use. I personally own some very expensive astro equipment, and I'm never shy about spending money on quality. For instance, I personally own three 20mm Naglers, almost one for each scope I regularly use. But I could never bring myself to hand over the price of a 31 Nagler. For everyone else in that same boat, here is the answer. Buy the 1rpd 30mm instead of the N31T5, and keep the remaining $525 in cash, or even more for most overseas customers.

As for looking through the eyepiece, I've done so and it's excellent! In fact, it's downright great after you make sure to use a scope with a fairly flat field, or a long enough focal length that focal "plane" curvature isn't significant at the edge of the unusually wide field of this eyepiece. A short, 600mm focal length scope such as a TV85, A-P Traveler, or TMB 80mm fluorite triplet, requires either a field flattener, a 2" Barlow, or slight focusing change from edge to center due to the scope's non-planar focal "plane". Despite this, it's still quite a stunning view, and the amount of focus travel from center to edge even in these short refractors, is smaller than you'd think from my critical description. On terrestrial targets where the brain and eyes have "better software" for focusing than they do on star fields, and the eye itself is at a more reasonable pupil size, the whole field appears sharp simultaneously.

My demo setup showing off the 30mm at the NEAF show in May went over extremely well. Both the TV85 and the TMB80 with this eyepiece easily blew away some pretty surprising scope/eyepiece combinations, including the Pentax booth's demo setup. Upon swapping the Pentax eyepiece into my setup (by Pentax, not me) most of the difference was attributed to the scopes, but neither was any fault was found with this eyepiece in comparison to a Pentax 28mm. Sky & Telescope editors couldn't believe how good the 30mm performed, and decided to review it. Thanks to the eyepiece, Sky & Telescope mentioned Astrobuffet in a web article on NEAF, along with only 3 other vendors of the 70 or so there: Coronado, Tele Vue, and Celestron.

I don't know how well the ST80 combines with correctors like Paracorr, but I think we'll find out quite soon judging from who has been buying the eyepiece. I know that the ST80 combines extremely well with a TV 2" 2x Barlow, with or without Panoptic interface. In a TV85, the Trapezium is split anywhere in the field of view either of those ways, without any refocusing required from center to edge. M42 is as awesome with that setup as with anything else I've used on the scope around that power. I'll have to compare it side by side versus an N12 to be sure.

The eye relief is stated as approximately 17mm, although I've also seen it reported as 22mm. I presume this different measurement may be due to where on the curved glass or metal eyecup it is measured from.. I've measured the AFOV via binocular comparison to a 20mm Nagler, and found 80 degrees to be accurate. I have measured the viewable field as 40.8mm from a fixed eye position, and up to 47mm by moving eye position to look though a different part of the eye lens and "move the edge" much like a parallax effect. However, the 47mm figure would apply to very few scopes, and would require shortening of the (removable) 2" barrel. The 47mm measurement is only truly applicable when using it as a magnifying glass on an object placed at the focal plane, such as the pieces of paper and aluminum foil that I used for the measurements. The extreme usable field with most scopes obtainable by "cheating" and moving eye position, I would estimate at 43mm, although I have not yet accurately checked my estimate under field conditions. I think that the 40.8mm which I measured, or the 41mm stated on a German website, are both very good assessments of the actual full field for the fixed, optimal eye position. I'm agreeable to calling the spec 41mm, as calling it 40.8mm would imply a level of precision in my measurement which might not be true. So a 41mm field it is.

When used in a telescope, the field edge is sharply defined, and can be seen around its full circumference at one time, without moving eye position. From all of my earlier playing with the eyepiece to look at pieces of paper, holes in aluminum foil while moving my eye position, I'd incorrectly thought that the edge position was neither sharp nor fixed. But in a telescope, it is both sharp and fixed in position. You can't move the position of the field edge by moving your eye, except by removing the barrel and using it as a magnifying glass on physical objects.

The edge performance is quite excellent. In daytime observing, for instance when looking squarely at the flat, shiny white metal side of my box truck, the entire field of view is very sharp and in focus. With the 1rpd, I can place a truck-body rivet at the absolute field edge, and it is razor sharp as the rivets in the center of the field also are, and it is not covered with false color as when I get a ring of yellow when I do this test with the Widescan. The 1rpd on a flat terrestrial target totally reminded me of the demo Al Nagler gave me on the day the 31 Nagler was announced at Pocono Mountain Optics, using a TV101 flat-field scope indoors. On that day, the N31 beat a 30mm Leitz at the edge in a TV101 looking at an astrophoto 3 yards away. Similarly now, the 1rpd 30mm beat the Widescan II at the edge using a TV85 looking at my truck body 30 yards away. You just don't expect such a super-sharp center and edge simultaneously in these demos of big ultrawide eyepieces on short scopes, so it's awesome to see it.

A local observing buddy (Mike, a Chromacor customer of mine who lives under 10 miles away), and his friend Steve who I'd not met before, tried it out with me at night on their 10" f/5 and (6" f/8 or 8" f/6?) Dobsonians, plus on my TV85. We all preferred it over the Widescan II, mainly due to the area of excellent correction extending out over more of the field. Steve preferred my 35mm Panoptic, and thought the 30 would be redundant with that. But Mike and I thought the 35 Pan was enough of a different animal with lower power and narrower field that the 30mm 1rpd would still be a worthwhile purchase even for current 35 Panoptic owners. And we all agreed that for anyone not wanting to save up the money for a 35 Pan (or presumably a 31 Nagler either) it would be a fine idea to get the 1rpd 30mm ST80 before getting a 55 or 56 Plossl..

 

Back to Products Page


Copyright © 2002-2003 Astrobuffet. All rights reserved.
Information in this document is subject to change without notice.
Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.