Review – TeleVue Nagler Eyepieces

The TeleVue Nagler eyepiece line is an industry standard in the field of astronomy.

Introduction

I was working part-time at a bank when I purchased my first serious telescope and mount in 1997 – a Takahashi FS-78 and a Vixen Great Polaris. Back then I could only afford more economical eyepiece designs that were available from Orion and TeleVue [first Plossls, then Wide-Fields]. While providing satisfying contrast and clarity, I realized there were significant limitations in what I could see with 50° or 65° apparent fields of view. It had always been a goal of mine to save up and move my collection toward an all Nagler one; but to be honest, many of those eyepieces were bulky and heavier than I wanted to handle. Eventually, TeleVue released the Nagler Type 4 eyepiece line which was smaller and lighter than the Type 1’s, and so I finally took the plunge into true wide-field observing.

Design

Eyepieces

TeleVue 31mm Nagler 5:

Focal Length:  31mm
Apparent Field of View:  82°
Eye Relief:  19mm
Field Stop:  42mm
Weight:  2.2 lb. [1.0 kg]

Review:  It’s amazing what you’ll do to justify spending almost $700 on one eyepiece.  I went to a store in Dallas some time ago to size up the 31mm, and was surprised at how 35mm Panopticish it felt; from the eye-relief [it’s actually a little bit less], to the weight, to the bulky size – and of course I had to have it.  So now I’ve come up with a “buy and hold” strategy when it comes to high priced astro-equipment – buy the best now, and hold it forever, or at least until the next upgrade model is available; this way, I don’t skimp on observing gratification, but do replace my previous “buy and sell to buy something better that’s already available” strategy, which only costs more in the long run.

I’m very pleased that the 31mm works so well with the FCT-76; stars are flat to the edge, much more so than I’d anticipated as I hardly saw any elongation. Since my Tak takes only 487mm to come to focus, the largest star clusters come into play like The Pleiades – M 45, Alpha Persei Moving Group – Mel 20, Hyades – Mel 25, and Coma Berenices Star Cluster – Mel 111 [mostly].  The Small Sagittarius Star Cloud – M 24Scutum Star Cloud, and Cygnus Star Clouds made for some great viewing under Ft. Davis’ dark-skies, so many stars you never realized were there. I’m also looking forward to scrutinizing southern objects like the Large & Small Magellanic Clouds with this eyepiece when I go to Australia / New Zealand in a couple of years.  Wide-field observing has never been better.  Start saving your money now!

Priced ~ $695 each.

TeleVue 22mm Nagler 4:

Focal Length:  22mm
Apparent Field of View:  82°
Eye Relief:  19mm
Field Stop:  31.1mm
Weight:  1.5 lb. [.68 kg]

Review:  I was really impressed with this eyepiece which was my first of the Nagler 4 series.  The 22mm beautifully compliments a high-quality telescope by showing stars as colorful points over a flat field [faster scopes may stretch edge stars out a bit].  Eye relief is very nice, as well as the diameter of the glass which makes wide views easier [on the older Nagler series, you have to put your eye closer to the eyepiece to get that “space walk” effect].  Although I could probably get away with having the 31mm, 17mm, and 9mm as a deluxe eyepiece set, I plan on keeping the 22mm because every object has a specific magnification and fov that brings out its best.  For instance, and this is being picky, Collinder 69, the cluster that makes up the head of Orion, looks best through this eyepiece when I’m using the FCT-76.  I’ve tried to like it better through the 17mm, but it’s just not the same. Other objects like Cr 70 – Orion’s SwordCr 132 / 140 under Canis Major, M 44, and M 7 all subjectively fit to perfection in the 22mm.  Every telescope has a different focal length, so try several eyepieces on your favorite objects and then decide which to keep.

Priced ~ $525 each.

TeleVue 17mm Nagler 4:

Focal Length:  17mm
Apparent Field of View:  82°
Eye Relief:  17mm
Field Stop:  24.3 mm
Weight:  1.6 lb. [.73 kg]

Review:  This is probably my favorite wide-field eyepiece because you can get away with using it on almost any object.  Open clusters really shine through the Tak using the 17mm, especially NGC 869 / 884, M 35 / NGC 2158, M 46/ M 47, NGC 2477 / 2451, and NGC 6633.  The eye relief is a bit shorter than the 22mm, but is still very comfortable.  If you’re on a tight budget, consider splitting focal lengths between the 22mm and 12mm Nagler 4’s and buy this one.

Priced ~ $440 each.

TeleVue 12mm Nagler 4:

Focal Length:  12mm
Apparent Field of View:  82°
Eye Relief:  17mm
Field Stop:  17.1mm
Weight:  1.0 lb. [.45 kg]

Review:

Priced ~ $400 each.

TeleVue 9mm Nagler 6:

Focal Length:  9mm
Apparent Field of View:  82°
Eye Relief:  12mm
Field Stop:  12.4mm
Weight:  .42 lb. [.19 kg]

Review:  I wanted to hold out on buying this one hoping Al would come up with a 9mm Nagler 4, but a trip to Prude Ranch required a medium power eyepiece.  The 9mm has been updated to match the streamlined design of the other Nagler Type 6’s, with shorter eye relief when compared to the Nagler Type 4’s [not too short though], smaller glass diameter on top, non-Instadjust [which I prefer, the movement on the Instadjust can be easily forgotten when observing in the early morning hours], and sharp all the way across the fov.  Contrast is also higher than I expected [I sold my 8mm Radian even though it was a little sharper because of the smaller 60° apparent fov compared to the 9mm Nagler’s 82° apparent fov].  It replaces the 9mm Nagler Type 1 which was bulky for it’s focal length, so binoviewing is definitely in the cards here.

Priced ~ $330 each.

One response to “Review – TeleVue Nagler Eyepieces

  1. I like that “buy and hold” strategy – I’ve also adopted that. I’m currently “holding” a TV NP101, a TV76, a Nagler 13 type 6, Nagler 7 type 6, 35 Panoptic, a 24 Panoptic, and a TV Powermate 2.5x. Love it. Nice reviews.

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