Plössl Eyepiece Set
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"An eyepiece is an eyepiece – why spend any more than you have to on them?" said a friend of mine when I mentioned I had just purchased a set of Tele-Vue eyepieces. Certainly at $55 each, the price is enough to make anyone stop and think twice. But I am satisfied because the Tele-Vue Plössls are the sharpest I've ever used.
For years I've gotten along with a pretty ratty set of eyepieces, some that I bought 20 years ago, some that came with various telescopes, and a big Erfle I bought a few years ago. I've looked at, and been tempted by, newer ones, but whenever I've compared them at ATM meetings, I haven't seen any that gave sharper images than those I already own.
The Plössls arrived looking beautiful. Nothing was loose; nothing rattled or shook. They were extremely clean and dust-free. For a quick check, I tried all four in my Astroscan – then I knew I had something good! Even with the f/4.5 optical system of the Astroscan, the images were crisp and sharp nearly to the edges of the field. When I focused, the image seemed to "snap" at the moment of best focus instead of mushing through focus as do many eyepieces used on a fast optical system.
I frequently use the Astroscan for projecting the solar image. My trusty old 28mm Kellner eyepiece does a terrible job – the image is mushy and has color fringes.
The 28mm RKE is a vast improvement – but it still is a bit soft through focus and some detail is lost. The 26mm Plössl does a superb job – tiny low-contrast details in sunspot penumbrae stand out sharply.
Used with my 12" f/7 telescope, the Plössls deliver crisp images of the planets. I have the distinct impression that the eyepiece adds no optical errors to the image I'm viewing, and that I am seeing everything the mirror can deliver. This is an impression I've never had with any other eyepiece.
Tele-Vue's Plössls also look handsome. They are quite heavy, feel solid, and possess details of fine workmanship. Their shape fits my eye quite comfortably. Although the 26mm can be used with glasses on, I must remove mine to use the others. Without glasses on, I must refocus slightly when I switch from one eyepiece to another. One slight note of caution: the barrels of these eyepieces are exactly 1.250" in diameter. Since one focuser I own is undersize by several thousandths of an inch, the Plössls do not fit it properly. If you buy these eyepieces, you may also have to upgrade your focuser.
Are these eyepieces worth their price? If you are using a slow optical system, most eyepieces will give you a satisfactory image. With fast optics, however, I haven't seen anything to match them.
— Berry, R. "Plössl Eyepiece Set". Astronomy, (August 1981). p66-67.
Reprinted with permission. © 1981 AstroMedia Corp. All rights reserved.