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11-20-2019, 04:28 PM   #1
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Anybody smart about Pentax Eyepieces for telescopes?

(Mods, please freeze or re-position this thread if I have overlooked a dedicated Spotting Scope thread.)

I'm starting an astrophotography meetup (meteor showers, planets, the moon), and I want to buy a decent "starter" telescope for viewing. At present, I think I'll keep the photo gear separate from the telescope gear, at least until I learn what I'm doing. So I'm not planning to take pictures through the telescope just yet.

I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about photography, but uninformed about telescopes. I'm trying not to let my confidence in one subject area taint my ignorance in the other. One point seems to be that telescopes run from $50 to $5000, but nearly all of them benefit from a good eyepiece, and there seems to be a uniform standard across telescope brands for eyepiece attachments: 1.25" or 31.7mm .

Pentax offers 31.7mm eyepieces for Pentax spotting scopes. Might a $130 Pentax eyepiece on a $100 telescope get me better results than a $250 telescope with the "kit" eyepiece that comes with it?

11-20-2019, 04:59 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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In short: no. Pentax makes some wonderful eyepieces including the XW series (I own the 40, 30, and 20). The XR series are also good for their intended purpose in spotting scopes. Eyepieces make a big difference if the main optics allow it. The objective or mirror will define the limiting magnitude and color correction (with small refractors). I would invest in the telescope that suits your observing or imaging goals. After this, you can upgrade eyepieces. In longer focal length scopes, even cheap eyepieces work fine. In shorter focal length scopes.....not so much....you need good eyepieces to get the most out those scopes.
11-20-2019, 05:01 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Maybe... but probably not. That $250 telescope probably has a bigger, better objective lens. That's the part of the telescope that gathers the light and has a huge effect on the brightness and sharpness of what you see. A good eyepiece can help but it can't overcome the poor light gathering abilities of a cheap objective lens.
11-20-2019, 08:39 PM   #4
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This may be a bit off-topic, but I'll throw it out there anyway. Pentax made a converter that would turn your telephoto lens into a telescope:
PENTAX Monocular Converter K reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
I have a 400mm lens bought during my film days. If a 50mm lens gives a standard field of view on a FF camera, then a 400mm gives you 8X magnification. The converter gives 5X, so the combo is 40X. Not a powerful telescope, but better than no telescope. The problem is, these converters seem to be as rare as hens teeth. I've been looking for one for two years. I saw one for sale in Europe some time ago, but I'm in the US and didn't want to risk getting a lemon from across the pond. This may be useless info to the OP. Still, it's a Pentax eyepiece of sorts. There are cheap knockoffs for sale on e-bay also.

11-20-2019, 09:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apet-Sure Quote
This may be a bit off-topic, but I'll throw it out there anyway. Pentax made a converter that would turn your telephoto lens into a telescope:
PENTAX Monocular Converter K reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
I have a 400mm lens bought during my film days. If a 50mm lens gives a standard field of view on a FF camera, then a 400mm gives you 8X magnification. The converter gives 5X, so the combo is 40X. Not a powerful telescope, but better than no telescope. The problem is, these converters seem to be as rare as hens teeth. I've been looking for one for two years. I saw one for sale in Europe some time ago, but I'm in the US and didn't want to risk getting a lemon from across the pond. This may be useless info to the OP. Still, it's a Pentax eyepiece of sorts. There are cheap knockoffs for sale on e-bay also.
I have a 3rd party one and it is no substitute for an actual scope. It's very hard to use. Dark, limited field of view etc. But maybe the Pentax is better...
11-20-2019, 11:07 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PocketPixels Quote
Might a $130 Pentax eyepiece on a $100 telescope get me better results than a $250 telescope with the "kit" eyepiece that comes with it?
If $250 is your budget, get the $250 telescope. The kit eyepieces are okay to get started. As you use the telescope you'll figure out whether you need an eyepiece with a wider field of view to help find things, more magnification, more eye relief (how close your eye has to be to the eyepiece) for comfort or to accommodate eyeglasses, or something else.

With respect to Pentax eyepieces I have no direct experience with them. Good eyepiece brands I have used include Baader, Explore Scientific, and Televue.


Be forewarned that the weakest link in many cheap telescopes is the mount. Some mounts are so shaky as to be unusable because when you magnify objects you also magnify the amount of vibration you see. Here's a 4" refractor on a reasonable mount under $200. Meade Infinity 102mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope
11-21-2019, 06:01 AM   #7
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I agree with DeadJohn, first focus on the telescope and spend as much as you can on that (and the mount; better get a good Alt-Az mount than a crappy equatorial mount). The eyepieces that come with it will be functional. Then decide on what you really wantto do. Pentax make some pretty good eyepieces, but I'd save that money for the moment where you've actually found out what you need for your astronomy needs. There are some really good astronomy fora out there where you'll find more information than you'll ever need. Good luck with this and enjoy astronomy!

11-21-2019, 06:55 AM   #8
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DeadJohn's Meade telescope looks quite reasonable for the price. As a bonus, it has a finder - something absolutely necessary for a beginner!

Check around for a local astronomy club. It will be full of folks who will fall all over themselves to help a newbie! You can see all kinds of equipment in action (and somebody might even be eager to sell you one of their older telescopes at a nice price).
11-21-2019, 11:14 AM   #9
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If you're using a shaky mount, the sharpest eyepieces in the world will not save you.
11-21-2019, 03:39 PM   #10
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We can debate whether that's the precise telescope I need, but that High Point Scientific website is A+ awesome for information and selection. Thank you for that link! I see they sell Pentax eyepieces in addition to the brands you name.

Thank you all. I'll spend ~$200$250 for the telescope and see what that gets me.

QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
If $250 is your budget, get the $250 telescope. The kit eyepieces are okay to get started. As you use the telescope you'll figure out whether you need an eyepiece with a wider field of view to help find things, more magnification, more eye relief (how close your eye has to be to the eyepiece) for comfort or to accommodate eyeglasses, or something else.

With respect to Pentax eyepieces I have no direct experience with them. Good eyepiece brands I have used include Baader, Explore Scientific, and Televue.


Be forewarned that the weakest link in many cheap telescopes is the mount. Some mounts are so shaky as to be unusable because when you magnify objects you also magnify the amount of vibration you see. Here's a 4" refractor on a reasonable mount under $200. Meade Infinity 102mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope
11-22-2019, 03:17 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by PocketPixels Quote
...High Point Scientific website is A+ awesome...
It's not just their website that's awesome. Their tech support has been perfect for me; they've been able to resolve issues (software problems with an astronomy camera) after the manufacture wasn't able to figure their own product out.
11-28-2019, 08:50 AM   #12
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You might also check out Astronomics. Great people, been around quite some time, and also sponsor an astronomy website; Cloudy Nights.
11-29-2019, 02:00 AM   #13
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Astrophotography is a very expensive and specialist field, requiring huge amounts of time patience and experience (not to mention money). You need to be experienced with observing before you'll get good results (most use dedicated astro imaging camera modules designed for scope eyepieces).

Observing is hugely rewarding but everything moved very quickly at high magnifications, unless you want to get very hands-on one of the computer driven alt azimuth mounts makes it so much easier - they can be relatively inexpensive.

That said, most of more accessible scopes used for astrophotography are high quality refractors using ED glass (searching for 'skywatcher evostar' should give you the general idea). The benefit of an 'inline' scope being you may be able to use Astrotracer with it.

I have an 4.5" Newtonian reflector which, with a good eyepiece gives similar views at 45x as my Tamron 500/8 mirror lens with a scope adapter (45 degree Kenko Lenz2Scope giving 50x).
12-09-2019, 11:07 AM   #14
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Trust me on this astrophotography is one very expensive and time consuming hobby. First try visual astronomy and if you get hooked go into astrophotography.

If you can find them in stock, Explore Scientific has a First Light series that is a really good starting point. Good optics, good eyepieces and reasonable mounts. They are around 150 to 200 for a whole package

---------- Post added 12-09-19 at 01:08 PM ----------

Also much cheaper is to start with Pentax astrotracer and a fixed tripod if want to start into astrophotography
12-12-2019, 05:28 PM   #15
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Another good cheap option for a starter telescope is the Astronomers Without Borders One Sky reflector. Not only is it a decent little scope, it helps support a good cause.
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