Meade Series 5000 40mm & 6.5mm Review
By: Vlad Fedosov
From what I can gather the Meade series 5000 eyepieces are the direct replacement for the series 4000 Super Plossl eyepieces that defined an era for the first set of eyepieces that many of us started out with. I looked forward to trying out the new 5000 series eyepieces that increase the FOV from 52° to 60°. I had a chance to test the 40mm and 6.5mm series 5000 eyepieces.
The eyepieces were tested in my mag 4 backyard with a full moon. Transparency was a bit below average as was seeing. I used a Meade 5000 Plossl 40mm(20.65x) and a Meade 5000 HD-60 6.5mm(127x) eyepieces for the test in an Explore Scientific AR127 5” achromat. Orion was well positioned and I could not resist taking a look at the Great Orion Nebula as my first look with the 40mm. A magnificent view at 20x! All the stars where pinpoints and good contrast across the FOV. The moon was next in line. The view was very bright but high in contrast with very finely defined lunar features. So far I had a good feeling about the new series 5000 eyepieces.
I now decided to switch over to the 6.5mm which produces a relatively moderate 127x. 120-130x is my favorite magnification for most DSO viewing. The view of the moon was sharp in the AR127 but the chromatic aberration was just out of control making testing the 6.5mm a bit of a challenge on the moon. The craters that were visible on the edge of the moon had washed out contrast due to the secondary color. Overall the detail was sharp from edge to edge. On to m42. The view of the Orion Nebula was pretty and plenty of nebulosity was visible even under these un-ideal conditions. The central part of the nebula displayed a good amount of detail. I did note that the eye placement is a bit more critical with the 6.5mm compared to the 40mm which was a surprise.
The overall build quality of the eyepieces is very nice, I think it's on par with the older series 4000 eyepieces. The coatings on the eyepieces are nice looking and they seem to do a good job of helping with light transmission. The barrels are threaded for filters as expected. These do weight more then the comparable focal length series 4000 eyepieces but the eye relief is also a lot better in the lower focal lengths.
From my experience with the series 5000 eyepieces, I can confidently say that they are a nice move in the right direction from the series 4000 eyepieces. The FOV is slightly wider, and this makes a big difference in framing the object. Eye relief is also a lot better in the lower focal lengths.The view looks just as sharp to me as the super Plossl eyepieces that they replace. I would not hesitate to recommend these to someone looking to start a solid eyepiece collection.