RONALD ZINCONE PHOTOGRAPHY | Field Test of the Vixen HR Eyepieces

Field Test of the Vixen HR Eyepieces

March 24, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Vixen came out with a new line of what they call "high resolution" HR eyepieces for lunar and planetary visual observations and imaging.  Bill Paolini, author of the popular book "Choosing and Using Astronomical Eyepieces", part of the Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series, reviewed these eyepieces in October 2016.  Paolini has been actively involved in optics and amateur astronomy for 45 years!  Here is a summary of what his review had to say:

"The new Vixen HR line of eyepieces certainly turned out some surprising performances during my tests.  Given the very high magnifications they will produce in most telescopes, observers need to be aware that precision optics, precise collimation, and above all excellent seeing and transparency are an absolute necessity for them to perform.  Lunar observing however, is a bit of an exception as this target is close enough for rich details, and its surface is so bright and highly contrasted that one can easily get away with lesser seeing and still be treated to impressive results.

Overall, after owning and using more than 300 different eyepieces and conducting numerous reviews, I have not been as thrilled with a planetary eyepiece since my first encounters with the Pentax XO.  After these field tests, I now consider the Vixen HRs as a new best-in-class minimum glass planetary eyepiece.  While their very short focal lengths and smaller 42 degree apparent field of view do not make them appropriate for general observing, they are an excellent specialty eyepiece for lunar, planetary, and extremely tight double star observing.  Cruising the lunar surface with the 1.6mm HR, and exploring the planets with the 2.0mm and 2.4mm HRs was an experience I will long remember as they made me feel more like I was there rather than viewing from afar.

It has been a long time since anyone has produced a precision minimum glass premium planetary eyepiece, and with the Vixen HR lineup they have in my opinion definitely created serious contenders for some of the best specialty planetary eyepieces ever produced.  Their high precision build, over-the-top attention to light suppression and scatter and contrast, comfortable eye relief, very positive focus snap, and uncompromising views make it, in my humble opinion, an optical and engineering work of art.  With a little luck, perhaps one day we will see Vixen offering these precision gems in some longer focal lengths as well.  One can only hope."

 


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