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25mm Celestron X-Cel LX


Nightspore

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The Celestron X-Cel LX has an apparent field of view of 60º. There are six internal elements. I have no information on the amount of groups. The eyepiece body is made of black anodised aluminium with orange and white lettering. Celestron declares that it has a 16mm eye relief. They also claim the X-Cel LX are parfocal with the others in the range. Although this is not strictly true in my experience with them. I paid £109 for the 25mm back in early April. 

 

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The housing (including barrel) is approximately 85mm in length and 95mm with the ‘twist-up’ eyeguard extended. It has a generous eye lens and I make the field stop about 26mm. The housing sports a novel equatorial treaded rubber grip reminiscent of a tractor tyre. The barrel includes a filter thread, adequate baffling and a shallow undercut. The eyepiece weighs around 170g according to my scales and is supplied with its own bolt case.  

 

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I now own several X-Cel LX eyepieces. About six years ago I acquired the 9mm.

 

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It was the first X-Cel LX I bought. As it had a 60º FOV, I tended to use it predominantly as a planetary eyepiece, often in conjunction with a Barlow. It was only years later that I discovered just how good the 9mm X-Cel was for rich field observing, particularly in short tube refractors. 

 

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The original Celestron X-Cel eyepiece range were reputedly among the worst designed eyepieces in the world. They were not successful. Celestron eventually released a new range with the X-Cel brand name but with the letters ‘LX’ added. So, no confusion there then! These LX versions generally have a very good reputation. Although I have had quality control problems with them in the past. Three or four years ago I had to return three 7mm focal length LX’s consecutively due to visible debris in the field. This was a known problem with some other focal lengths as well. Apparently due to a bad batch. I’ve not had the same problem with recent purchases.

 

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X-Cel LX eye lens dust caps are very close fitting. This seems to be the same throughout the range. The upside is that the cap won’t come off if the eyepiece is in your pocket. The downside is that you may lose a fingernail trying to remove the cap in the first place. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. The field lens caps are fine. 

 

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I got first light with the 25mm X-Cel LX in my 72ED DS Pro Evostar around 00:30 BST on June 13th. It gave 16.8x for 3º, 34’ FOV and a 4.3mm exit pupil. My main observing was in the Summer Triangle and the rich star fields within and around it. Collinder 399 (Coathanger Cluster), M57, M29 and M27 were all duly observed. I used an Explore Scientific broadband OIII filter for the Dumbbell/Applecore Nebula and the Veil Nebula. The overall sharpness and colour separation were superb. It is a well corrected eyepiece and showed very little edge astigmatism and no lateral colour. I’d say it had a slight edge on my 25mm TS Optics Planetary HR which has a similar field of 58º. I found the eye placement excellent with no problems, although the 16mm eye relief is a little long for me. The twist-up eyeguard helped with ameliorating this however. I’ve always liked the X-Cel eyeguards. They have an elegant simplicity that works well during actual observing.

 

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Overall this is an enjoyable eyepiece to use and I specifically bought it for the 72ED, primarily due to its comparatively light weight. I’ve had it out in the field for three sessions now. It’s definitely a keeper.

 

Edited by Nightspore
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Another nice review.

The first thing I have to say is that it is becoming quite clear that you must have a room full of eyepieces! Is there any range of EPs that you don’t have?

I should also stop reading your reviews as they just want to make me buy more stuff😃

 

On a serious note, I again found this interesting for a number of reasons: This is a focal length that I don’t have represented in my small collection, other than the skywatcher super 26 that came with my scope.

Also, before spending too much on EPs I did, and still am doing, a fair bit of research. I opted to buy some EPs from the BST starguider range and whilst reading reviews etc, they were on many occasions put up against the X-Cel LX range. I opted for the Starguiders on both cost (bit cheaper) and there seemed to be more info, reviews etc available on them, all of which was positive. However, as I have mentioned previously, I have held back from the 25mm Starguider due to some negative comments, but from your review, the X Cel LX looks like another decent alternative.

 

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Thanks. Well, I only have one Delos lol. The 25mm StarGuider shows a lot of astigmatism in fast scopes. I suspect its lack of a negative Smyth barrel lens has something to do with it. I was surprised how good the 25mm TS Planetary HR was in the 72ED though. The 25mm X-Cel was a bit of an indulgence but has slightly better performance. I like its ergonomics, which I believe are as important as performance in many respects. An eyepiece that is unpleasant or difficult to use often stays in the bolt case regardless of its performance. I have a 9mm Orion Expanse, the best of the range. 

 

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It's small, compact, well corrected, sharp, has a 66º AFOV and works well in fast scopes. Eye placement is not easy however, it is conducive to blackouts, some kidney beaning, and takes some getting used to. It hasn't been out for years, I'm not even sure where I put it. lol

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44 minutes ago, MarkAR said:

Sounds like they're a decent mid range EP, I've got 3 but nothing to compare then to. Sounds like it's worthwhile adding a few more unless some TV's come up stupid cheap.

 

 

Yeah, they're worth the spondoolies. The Barlows are pretty good as well.

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On 6/18/2021 at 6:33 PM, Nightspore said:

 

Yeah, they're worth the spondoolies. The Barlows are pretty good as well.

 

Snap! 🙂

 

As I have mentioned previously, I have a gap in my EP collection for something in the 25mm Range. I have avoided the 25mm Starguider due to mixed reviews. You initially gave a good alternative in the 25mm planetary (mentioned in your Mavis Laven review) and then you gave the Ex cel a good review that was supported by other members. Consequently I decided to keep an eye out on the used market for either, being prepared to wait until either came up. Strangely enough, an Ex cel came up on the used market virtually immediately. (Well known auction site!). I managed to get it within my budget and it arrived today. It appears immaculate, even without the slightest of dust on the optics. Tried it in daylight on my usual test targets and the view is clear and comfortable.

Thanks Nightspore.........you are responsible for me spending more money,,,,,,,but on the right thing🙂

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9 minutes ago, Marmot said:

 

Snap! 🙂

 

As I have mentioned previously, I have a gap in my EP collection for something in the 25mm Range. I have avoided the 25mm Starguider due to mixed reviews. You initially gave a good alternative in the 25mm planetary (mentioned in your Mavis Laven review) and then you gave the Ex cel a good review that was supported by other members. Consequently I decided to keep an eye out on the used market for either, being prepared to wait until either came up. Strangely enough, an Ex cel came up on the used market virtually immediately. (Well known auction site!). I managed to get it within my budget and it arrived today. It appears immaculate, even without the slightest of dust on the optics. Tried it in daylight on my usual test targets and the view is clear and comfortable.

Thanks Nightspore.........you are responsible for me spending more money,,,,,,,but on the right thing🙂

31E1AFC5-0298-44FF-8656-DF7C42A8E2A0.jpeg

 

It's always a pleasure to help people spend money lol. Is it the 25mm? Hopefully I'll get mine out later tonight to look at IC 4665 (among others) aka the Summer Beehive if the Moon doesn't get in the way. I don't recall observing it this year.

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Yes it’s the 25mm, so it fills the gap that I had to fill in my EP collection.

I have purchased a couple of EPs due to your reviews and none of them have disappointed, so you can be assured that your reviews are worthwhile and are of assistance to those new to the hobby (ie me!) 🙂

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8 hours ago, Marmot said:

Yes it’s the 25mm, so it fills the gap that I had to fill in my EP collection.

I have purchased a couple of EPs due to your reviews and none of them have disappointed, so you can be assured that your reviews are worthwhile and are of assistance to those new to the hobby (ie me!) 🙂

 

Glad to be a help. I got my 25mm X-Cel out and did indeed find the Summer Beehive. 

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17 minutes ago, Marmot said:

Could I ask which of your scopes you were using in combination with the eyepiece?

Sky-Watcher Evostar 72ED DS Pro rev #2.

 

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The EP was used in a 1.25" Everbrite dielectric for a 16.8x magnification, 3 arc degrees, 34 minutes and 17 seconds of TFOV with a 4.31mm exit pupil. 

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