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My latest (used) EP purchase. Meade 5000 UWA.


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During the past few months I have been attempting to upgrade the EPs that came with my scope by utilising the ‘used’ market. This has proved to be quite fun, enabling me to try different EPs and move on any that didn’t suit me. Whilst most of my purchases have been restricted to EPs that didn’t break the bank (eg Starguiders), I did wonder what it would be like to try an EP with a wider field of view. Unfortunately that took me into the territory of expensive EPs, particularly as one of my scopes is an F5 (ST 120) and from I have read it would easily show up the shortcomings in anything but a decent quality wide angle eyepiece. 

Then, on an auction site, I saw a Meade series 5000 8.8mm UWA (82deg) EP.  I kept an eye on it and firmly believed it would go well beyond my budget. To my amazement mine was the winning bid! When it arrived I was very pleased with the condition. The seller had been honest about a slight mark on the barrel where it had been held in the diagonal, but other than that it was unmarked.

I had not seen one of these EPs on the used market before so I was also pleased that I had managed to obtain something that didn’t come up very often. Then, to my surprise, another one came up a few days later. A 6.7mm version of the same. I set myself the same budget and again I managed to obtain the EP. When this one arrived it was immaculate. Not a mark on it and within the box was the Meade info pamphlet that came with it. 

From my research there were two ‘runs’ of these EPs. The second run reduced the number of EPs in the range by about half. The 8.8mm was common to both runs, but the 6.7mm is from the first run and therefore a slightly rarer piece.



Whilst this is not a review as I have limited experience and definitely have no similar EPs to compare them to, I thought I would give some comments on the build and how I found using such a wide angle EP.

Compared to any other EP I have, these things are like a medicine balls: they are noticeably spherical and weighty. I actually like this as they feel solid, purposeful, sit nicely in the hand and feel like they would be difficult to fumble.

They have a twist up eyepiece design, which although is practical as it enables you to achieve a comfortable position, i did find it awkward to use: this is due to the entire outer shell of the EP moving rather that merely an upper section as with many similar designs.


As for my experience with such a wide angle view: With my other EPs, which mostly have FOVs of approx 58 to 60deg, I am used to looking into them and seeing a view surrounded and framed by a perfect black circle. (The field stop I believe). With the 82 deg view there was no such framing. The edge of the field could only be seen by making an effort to move my eye position. At first I wasn’t sure about this as it wasn’t what I was used to, but then I realised that the whole experience felt more natural, even if I was actually losing the outer few degrees by not seeing the view extending all the way out to the edge (field stop). I have one other EP with a wide FOV of 68 deg. With that EP I can see the edge of the view (field stop) but only just. This does make me wonder weather I would be just as happy with something of about 70deg as I am with the 82deg field of view.

I also found the Meade UWAs to give a clear view without distortion, virtually right across the view from edge to edge.


I am pleased with these EPs, especially compared to the others I have and also taking into account for what I paid. 


I would be be interested if anyone else has experience of the Meade UWA EPs especially if they have been able to compare them to other similar wide angle EPs by other brands etc.






Edited by Marmot
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Congratulations on the Meade purchases, they look great. I'm pretty sure those old Meade UWA 5000's were made by JOC and have the same lens groups as the ES equivalent focal lengths. I have one of the more modern 12mm 5000 HD 60° which supposedly have the same internal organs as the X-Cel LX range (Celestron). Both are 60°. Apparently you have to actually move your eyeball to see the field stop at more than 65° field.




The only real differences between the UWA Meade EP's and the ES 82° series are that the latter have a rubber flip-up eyeguard instead of the weird Meade one and are filled with kryptonite gas or something. 




IIRC the Meade 82° EP's gained an almost legendary reputation and are virtually collector's items nowadays. I actually bought 9mm and 7mm Nagler T 6's to replace my 8.8mm and 6.7mm ES equivalents but actually tend to prefer the ES and thus kept them. The 8.8mm is one of my favourites and many believe it  to be the best of the line. In fact, I was using the 6.7mm and 8.8mm early this morning on M42 and the Double Cluster. I had a superb view of the Andromeda Galaxy with the 6.7mm. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy using those Meade 5000 UWA eyepieces.

Edited by Nightspore
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