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18mm Paradigm Reviewed

Started by Rod Kaufman, 12/19/2017 08:40PM
Posted 12/19/2017 08:40PM | Edited 12/19/2017 08:44PM Opening Post
I recently obtained an 18mm paradigm eyepiece branded as a starguider eyepiece from Agena Astro. I viewed several objects in front of my home with my 16" F4.5 dob and had some interesting findings.
First, I did brief review of the reviews on the web and found a good one from CN:
https://www.cloudynights.com/articles/cat/cn-reports/eyepiece-reports/first-look-astro-tech-paradigm-eyepieces-r1845
Since the author deemed the 18mm optically superior to the others in the series, I opted for this focal length. I used a paracorr with the eyepieces in my evaluation because I believe most serious observers would do so with a fast scope like mine. I noted some edge distortion but it was acceptable and didn't distract from the view. One reviewer felt the eyepiece was similar to the 17mm Hyperion but I disagree. The 18mm unit has a smaller field of view, approximately 60 degrees, and it looks like a 1.25" eyepiece while the 17mm Hyperion looks like a 2" eyepiece and performs like one with its wider 68 degree AFOV. There's a significant difference in the form and feel of these eyepieces while observing through them. Similarities include blackouts due to the relatively long eye relief so head placement can initially be a concern but you quickly adapt to it in either eyepiece.
Getting past the aforementioned aesthetics, I compared eyepieces with objects. For the uninitiated, the UO ortho series have been known to be "significantly brighter" in light throughput than many other eyepieces and I found this to be the case in observing NGC 1023, a SBO galaxy in Perseus. I'd say the galaxy appeared a lot brighter through the UO ortho which didn't surprise me since I've seen details through them that I couldn't observe with other eyepieces such as a faint moon of a planet or details in a Jovian band. Not to outdone though, I was surprised to see how much more blue color transmission occurred though the 18mm paradigm eyepiece on NGC 40, a 12.4 magnitude planetary in Cepheus. I observed this object first through the 17MM Hyperion and then the 18mm UO ortho and finally through the 18mm Paradigm and I was so surprised on how much bluer the planetary appeared through the latter that I had to go back and consult volume one of the Observer's Guide to verify the color rendition. I then switched back to the Hyperion and UO ortho and did recognize some blue color but no where near the amount transmitted by the 18mm paradigm. Perhaps the glass composition has something to do with it.
I observed several more winter planetaries and galaxies through these eyepieces and noticed some subtle differences but nowhere near as much as the above.
I like the 18mm paradigm/starguider eyepiece. I call it the blue magnet!...