The Survey Says … !

Opening screen of Eyepiece Survey.

In the last blog post we asked you to take a brief survey on Eyepiece Features and you came through with over 700 responses. That’s more than we expected and most everyone had an opinion for every question (the most votes the “No Opinion” option received was 4%). So why is this so important to people? Look at the diagram below. At a glance, where does the telescope end and eyepiece begin?

One is useless without the other for visual use. As astrophysicist and Lumicon founder Dr. Jack Marling said many years ago and still holds true, “your eyepiece is half the telescope, use the best – Tele Vue.” What follows is a look at the results for each of the questions in the survey.

1) Having adjustable height eyeguard on long eye-relief eyepieces?
Long eye-relief eyepieces are great for eyeglass wearers, but viewers without glasses find hovering too far over the eyeguard disconcerting. Hovering above the eyepiece can allow extraneous light to interfere with contrast of the image. That’s why all our long eye-relief eyepieces (Nagler Type-4, DeLite, Delos, 55mm Plössl and 41mm Panoptic) include an adjustable eyeguard that aids in properly positioning your eye to the exit pupil, minimizing “pupil shadowing” and reducing stray light to give you the highest contrast for those “faint fuzzies.” This feature works by sliding the eyeguard barrel, while looking through the eyepiece, until you just see the full field with your peripheral vision. This adjustability does add extra size, weight, and cost to the eyepiece – is it worth it to our survey takers? Yes it is: over three-quarters of poll respondents rated this feature as “Very important” or “Somewhat important” on a long eye-relief eyepiece.

2) Having rubber grip rings on eyepieces?
Where possible, the black anodized, aluminum upper barrels of our eyepieces have rubber grip rings. Grip rings help you hold onto the eyepiece in cold weather and under warm weather dewing conditions. Over 80% deemed this feature “Very important” or “Somewhat important”.

Minimize Scope Rebalancing Issues

BEC-0005: 2″ to 1¼” bronze Equalizer

Our lovely bronze Equalizer (BEC-0005) 2″ to 1.25″ adapter minimizes telescope rebalancing when switching between heavy 2″ and lighter 1.25″ eyepieces. The Equalizer weighs 12 oz / 340 g which is three times what our comparable aluminum model weighs. Just put your smaller eyepieces into the Equalizer and use it interchangeably with your 2″ eyepieces.

3) Having safety undercuts in the eyepiece barrel?
Our chrome plated 2″ and 1.25″eyepiece barrels include safety undercuts. It turns out only a trivial percentage of respondents had “No Opinion” on the utility of safety undercuts. This left the results evenly split into two camps: the “Very important” and “Somewhat important” respondents versus the “Not Important.” The “Very important” and “Somewhat important” camp has a slim 0.4% lead – but we’ll call it a tie. The “Not Important” group though was distinguished by submitting many more comments on the subject.

4) The eyepiece weight?
5) The eyepiece size?

Some eyepiece design types are “scaled,” that is, one form is “scaled” to provide a range of focal lengths. Note that eye-relief, size, and weight “scale” along, but image quality and apparent field remain constant. Examples of “scaled” Tele Vue designs are Plössls, Panoptics and the Nagler Type 5. The longest focal lengths of these models are weighty indeed! The remaining designs set a particular characteristic, such as eye relief, and tailor each focal length in the series as individual designs. The size, weight and number of lens elements will vary little within a given series. Recent examples of these are our Ethos, Delos and DeLite series. In our survey, consideration of weight and size drew similar responses: over half of respondents rated these properties as “Somewhat important” with “Not Important” being the second highest choice for more than a quarter of the respondents.

6) The country of manufacture?
Only a quarter of those surveyed thought this was “Not Important”. The “Very important” and “Somewhat important” votes differed by less than 1% and together were almost three-quarters of the vote.

7) The brand reputation?
We are gratified that Tele Vue eyepiece designs over the past four decades have maintained their reputation for innovative designs and high quality. How do we do it? All Tele Vue eyepiece designs are created in-house and manufactured in factories that do not make competitive products. To assure outstanding manufacturing and flawless image quality, our staff in New York performs optical and cosmetic testing on every eyepiece made. We even ship Japanese-made eyepieces to our Chester, NY facility for 100% quality control and then re-ship them back to our Tele Vue Japan distributor for sales in Japan! Our poll-takers by far gave the “Brand Reputation” question the highest selection of “Very Important” votes of all the questions. If we add in the “Somewhat important” vote, the results were close to 100% that brand reputation matters.

Input basic information about your telescope into Tele Vue’s Eyepiece Calculator (mobile site) to generate a custom listing showing the performance of Tele Vue eyepieces in your scope.

8) The length of warranty period?
We are pleased to offer a Lifetime Limited Warranty on all eyepieces, Barlows, Powermates, and Paracorr products for the original owner. Is that important to you? Our survey shows that over 80% of the responses fell into the “Very important” and “Somewhat important” camp with a very low turnout for the “Not Important” choice.

9) Scratch resistance of the 1.25″ or 2″ barrel?
We use chrome plated brass barrels throughout the line, which resist scratching and marring better than anodized aluminum barrels. Over three-quarters of the voters thought this feature was “Very” to “Somewhat” important.

A Note About Comments
Thank you for all the comments submitted on the Eyepiece Survey blog post. We’ve read every one. We did not publish comments with opinions on the survey questions in order to keep the survey page neutral ground. We also didn’t want to become involved in moderating responses if an impassioned discussion thread emerged – that’s best left for the established online astronomy forums. Overly long comments or those with many questions that would best be answered over the phone were also not posted.

A Final Word
Again, thanks for the impressive response to our survey. Since the biggest response came from our blog newsletter followers, the results reflect the opinions of these followers more than the general astronomical community.

Tele Vue Optics, founded in 1977, has been thrilling amateur astronomers since 1979 and our mission has never wavered. It’s in the materials we choose, the designs we create, the craftsmanship we demonstrate…the images we deliver. Above all, we want your Tele Vue experience to be “…even better than you imagined.” Thanks everyone!

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