TeleVue 24mm Panoptic VS Explore Scientific 24mm 68° Review
By: Vlad Fedosov
I have owned and reviewed panoptic eyepiece in the past. I have always liked them for their simplicity of use and great views. The 24mm Panoptic focal length is on that I have never had though. This one is one of the most highly regarded ones in the line and when one popped up for sale locally I had to pull the trigger on it even though I already owned a pair of Explore Scientific 24mm 68° that I use and love in my 16” binoscope. The 24mm Panoptic weights in at .5lb, enjoys 15mm of eye relief, and is priced at ~$320. So how does the Panoptic stack up to the Explore Scientific competition? Let’s find out!
I conducted the comparison test of these two eyepieces in my mag 6 simi-dark sky back yard in Silverlake, WA. The seeing was fairly good this night as was the transparency. The scope used was my Meade 178ED APO. As a bit of background, I have owned and used the 24mm Explore Scientific 68° for a number of years now and was always happy with its performance. In general, I do not find too much of a difference in performance between Explore Scientific eyepiece and TeleVue after comparing quite a few side-by-side. I was not expecting to see much of a difference here as well.
Upon inserting the 24mm Panoptic into the diagonal I was excited to take my first look. Since it was fall Cassiopeia was well placed in the sky with its riches of star clusters. I figured that they would make great targets for the evaluation. My first look was at the Double Double cluster. The view in the Panoptic was very nice as the clusters just fit into the FOV at 67x. I noted how vivid orange/red the two carbon stars that are in this cluster looked. The view was overall very sharp and contrasty and it was just like I remembered other Panoptic eyepieces I had owned previously. I did not expect the Explore Scientific to best this view but I also did not expect it to be much worst.
Once the Explore Scientific was in the diagonal I immediately noticed that the outer ~30% of the FOV was not nearly as sharp as the Panoptic. In fact, I was kind of shocked by the difference! I swapped the eyepieces out back and forth and the Panoptic’s FOV was just clinically sharp all the way to the edge. The Explore Scientific looked like a junior performer in all honesty as far as the edge correction. The edge correction is better controlled in other TeleVue eyepieces that I have tried but this pair had quite a bigger disparity in performance than I had noticed before.
Well, I next decided to compare the center of the FOV performance in regards to contrast/sharpness and light scatter control. Try as I might going from Mars, to the ET cluster, to some bright stars in the area I really could not come up with a winner… They were both very good! I should make a mention of the eye relief of these guys. I found them both quite comfortable. This is one thing that I really enjoy about the 68° eyepieces in how easy it is to take in the entire FOV all at once compared to 82° and especially 100° eyepieces.
In conclusion, is the Panoptic worth the extra price of admission over the Explore Scientific? I would say that it is, especially in the case of the 24mm. The edge correction is quite a bit better in the Panoptic! Also, the other thing worth considering is if you plan to binoview the Panoptic is physically smaller and is more tapered by the eye end. Happy viewing!
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