Telescopes are optical instruments which use lenses, mirrors, or a combination of both to produce an image of a distant object or to observe one. The telescope has played a very significant role in the advancement of astronomical sciences and continues to play this role today in collecting data and analysing distant celestial bodies. Telescopes are of three main types which include refracting telescopes, Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, and Newtonian telescopes.
Telescope eyepieces are ocular lenses which are fixated on a telescope. Lenses in telescopes have a wide range of variety from Plössel eyepiece to Barlow eyepiece for different user purposes. It would be an understatement to say that lenses are a significant part of your telescope. As such, in this buying guide, we are going to discuss what lenses are popular in telescopes and which ones work the best so that your telescope provides you with the best results for your intended use.
Types of Lenses in Telescopes
Before moving onto discussing what lenses are popular in telescopes, let us talk about what are the primary types of lenses in telescopes. So, there are three main types and each with different features and user experience.
Orthoscopic lenses are a 4-element eyepiece and are also called Abbe lens. This lens offers top-notch clarity, sharpness, and as such, a perfect viewing and image quality for the user. It also offers a solid eye relief and has a very low distortion degree relative to other lenses in telescopes. It is suitable for detailed observation of planetary bodies as the field of view is flush and there is no murkiness.
However, among so many pros of this type of telescopic lens, there is also a downside. The orthoscopic lens offers a limited field of view which is restricted to about 40 to 45 degrees. Nevertheless, it is still a popular eyepiece for surveying the details of planetary bodies.
The Plössel lenses are said to be the most popular type of lenses in telescopes and often are the ones that come pre-attached with many telescopes. It is made up of a two sets of doublet lenses and consequently this type of lens is also referred to as symmetrical. In contrast with the orthoscopic lenses, the Plössel provides a larger field of view which is about 50 degrees, and this lens is a solid choice for newcomers. This lens, because of the wide FOV, is a great choice for observing a range of different objects. In addition to this, the lens also offers a good eye relief.
But the Plössel lens still does not offer as good of an image quality as compared to Orthoscopic lens. So, it is a trade off between top image quality and field of view. So, the choice between the two is up to the user’s purpose.
Lastly, we discuss the wide-angle lenses. As the name implies, this type of lens a wide field of view and it is an ideal choice for someone who plans on observing vast star clusters and deep-sky bodies. This lens offers a more realistic image quality and therefore the user experience is great.
The field of view of this lens is between 65 degrees to up to 120 degrees which will depend on the exact type of wide-angle lens you use in your telescope.
Popular Lenses in Telescopes
After having discussed the main types of lenses in telescopes, let us move on to talking about some of the most popular lenses in telescopes so that you can make an informed decision after reading this buying guide. Without further ado, here are some of the popular lenses in telescopes.
This telescope eyepiece set by SVBONY comprises of a 1.25” with focal lengths of 6.3mm, 32mm, and 40mm Plossel eyepiece which offers an excellent field of view and good image quality with variations in magnification for observing different targets and offers a great eye relief.
The set also comes with a Barlow lens which is attach-on, and it doubles the magnification of the 1.25” Plossel eyepiece. Moreover, the lenses have rubber edges for further user comfort and has blackened edges for better contrast and reduction of stray light scattering. As such, this telescope eyepiece set by SVBONY is an excellent choice for sharp image and observing quality.
The Orion Telescope Accessory Kit is a mega assortment of telescope lenses, Barlow lens, and telescope filters. Although on a higher price point, it offers a wide range of astronomy accessories that you will need for a great telescope user experience. It has 1.25” accessories with 5 telescope eyepieces, 6 eyepiece filters, and a Barlow lens.
The eyepieces have focal lengths of 6.3mm, 7.5mm, 10mm, 17mm, and 40mm for five magnification variations. As for the filters, it has 5 colour planetary filters with a 13% neutral-density Moon filter for capturing or observing nearby celestial bodies attached to the 1.25” eyepieces. Lastly, the Barlow lens is a 2x one which means it would double the magnification of the attached 1.25” eyepiece with good number of variations. All in all, an excellent choice for a premium experience but with a higher price point relatively.
This is another accessory kit similar to the Orion 08890 one discussed above. The kit includes 5 top-grade Plossel telescope lenses with focal lengths of 6mm, 8mm, 13mm, 17mm, and 32mm; each of the eyepiece offer a 52-degree field of view and made up of 4 elements. The kit also includes a 2x Barlow lens which will double the magnification of any 1.25” attached eyepiece which makes for a great variation in magnification for the user and improves the view thus the image quality.
The kit also includes coloured filters which again improves the user experience and image quality as the filters allow the user to pick up on more details on the surface or clouds of a planet. In addition, the case that comes with kit is an easy-to-carry and solid which protects the telescope lens and other equipment inside.
The SVBONY SV135 Telescope lens packs a wide range of focal lengths in a single eyepiece, offering 7 to 21mm. As such, it offers a very good variation in magnification and offers a comfortable user experience with high-contrast image quality. In addition, the telescope lens offers an eye relief of 18mm – 16.3mm making it a comfortable one for users who wear glasses and for viewing landscapes & celestial bodies’ surfaces.
The telescope lens offers 6 element designs for better performance than an average Plossel lens. It includes a regular 1.25” eyepiece. It offers a manual focus and weighs around 0.55 pounds. This SVBONY Telescope Lens is a cost-effective solution with a field of view from 40 to 57 degrees, a great telescope lens for beginners.
Telescope lenses make or break your observing experiences and image qualities. As such, in this post, we have discussed about the main types of telescope lenses, and more importantly, what are the most popular telescope lenses.
If you have a limited budget, you should buy the SVBONY SV135 Telescope Lens because of the different focal lengths that are included in a single eyepiece. However, if you are willing to purchase a kit, then we would recommend going for the Celestron one as it offers a good range of focal lengths but again it may not suit you so the decision lies on you and the focal lengths will be primary determinator.