Pentax SMC-XW 14mm


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Brand and Model:Pentax SMC-XW 14mm
Price ($USD):339
Type:Ultra Wide Angle
Focal Length:14 mm
Barrel Size:1.25
Apparent FOV:70.0 degrees
Field Stop Dia.:17.6 mm
Eye Relief:20 mm
Elements:7
Weight (lbs):12.9 oz
Description:

Vote Highlights Vote
Pentax SMC-XW 14mm
Pentax's own data indicate that the XW14 and XW20 have the most field curvature of the XW series, so people who complain of this have some justification. Nonetheless everything has field curvature, and I do not judge the effect severe in an f/6.5 102mm apo or in the f/11 C14.

I simply go by what I grab for. Once upon a time the Meade UWA was my prized eyepiece. When the 17mm Nagler T4 joined the box, the UWA got used a lot less. When the 14mm XW came along, the 14mm UWA got sold and now the 17mm Nagler has now taken a back seat, even though in theory it has an advantage because of lower magnification and wider field.

The crisp sharpness of this eyepiece is as distinct to the eye as a fresh premium peach is to the tongue after a lifetime of the canned version. It's a lovely planet-viewing eyepiece for the mid focal lengths, showing color (reds, blues, yellows) and contrast on Jupiter in a way not matched by the others. You can see the color saturation of Saturn and pick off its moons. When you deploy the Nagler 17mm on Jupiter or the Meade 14 there is always this feeling that "maybe I should use something else"--to get a bit more clarity or a little less reflection/ghosting. With the 14XW I just look and take it in.

I am however keeping the Nagler 17 and the Pan 24 because the XW series has focal length "holes" in the high teens and mid-20s. I think both the XL and XW series are superb contributions to amateur astronomy.

After reviewing the excelsis comments about Pentax, which in the main echo my own, I find myself puzzled at the rather 2nd tier status to which these eyepieces are relegated on Cloudy Nights. Reviewers there always say "a lovely eyepiece but" and end up endorsing the radians.

The XLs and XWs blow away the radians. Your mileage may vary.....

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: gnowell
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=507065


Pentax SMC-XW 14mm
Excellent eyepiece series. Very high contrast and throughput with nice sharp images. Top-notch construction quality with long er that will spoil you forever. Some field-curvature evident but the 10mm is very flat in our 16 inch f/4.6.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Value:9
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: darkskyfarm
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=472123

>Excellent eyepiece series. Very high contrast and throughput with nice sharp images. Construction quality top-notch and the long er will spoil you forever. The 10mm is especially nice in our 16 inch f/4.6.

Pentax SMC-XW 14mm
I looked specifically for edge astigmatism and curvature of the field that i hated about the 14mm XL, and had heard about the 14mm XW. I bought it brand new in April 2005, and looked very carefully. I watched open and globular clusters from the center all the way out, and they stayed tack sharp, even half way in/out of the field.

This is a top notch EP. Very comfortable in a 10" F/5.6 dob.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: buddha2490
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=431590


Pentax SMC-XW 14mm
I would like to give the Pentax a high rating, but in my 6" Apos there was considerable curvature of field. Had I not looked at the moon my rating might have been higher, but when I focused at the center of the field of view the edges were out of focus, and when I focused at the edge the center was not sharp. A very frustrating experience for such an expensive eyepiece. I had seen Saturn through the 82" at McDonald observatory through a friend's previous generation Pentax - it was spectacular - and I was expecting an even better eyepiece in the new generation. Using it for terrestial viewing during the day I never noticed this effect.

Overall Rating: 5
Optics:6 Value:5
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.4.16)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=420675

>I would like to give the Pentax a high rating, but in my 6" Apos there was considerable curvature of field.  Had I not looked at the moon my rating might have been higher, but when I focused at the center of the field of view the edges were out of focus, and when I focused at the edge the center was not sharp. A very frustrating experience for such an expensive eyepiece.  I had seen Saturn through the 82" at McDonald observatory through a friend's previous generation Pentax - it was spectacular - and I was expecting an even better eyepiece in the new generation.  Using it for terrestial viewing during the day I never noticed this effect.
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I also tested this EP out on my 12" f/5 reflector and the field curvature was very prominent 80% of the way out. Still, the contrast is amazing and I saw a wealth of detail on Mars this morning when it was 17" large. Galaxies also have better contrast if you dont mind field curvature when looking in this particular EP.
I would rate it a 10/10 for contrast and 7/10 for flatness from edge to edge.

Pentax SMC-XW 14mm
After a lot of thought took a friends advice and bought this eyepiece. Was considering a Nagler 13mm type 6. Views through this eyepiece are stunning. Very sharp accross the field,very good eyerelief and super contrast. I've used a lot of eyepieces and this instantly became my alltime favorite. I consider it the best of its class which is saying a lot since it's class is the top of the line eyepieces. Some have larger FOV's but this combines everything I want in an eyepiece. I have tried it out in fast refractors and SCT's usually an N% or an N11GPS. Most others who try it have the same "wow" reaction I did. Most of those who looked through it said it was the best tey had ever used, others preferred some other eyepiece but all agreed it was among the best available. Expensive but in my mind worth it. I don't hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.140.168)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=387764


Pentax SMC-XW 14mm
Needing to replace my 15mm Panoptic, with its extremely low eye relief becoming more of a pain as I age, pointed me in the direction of the highly regarded Pentax XL series but just as I entered the market for it they were replaced by these XW series. As these are still fairly new I didn't get a chance to use any in the field nor were there any indepth reviews of these new eps. I decided to take the leap and hauled the 15 Pan, a hardly ever used 12mm Nagler II and a beater Plossl down to the local astro candy store.
It was a straight across trade and this ep blows both Televues away optically and matches their construction quality. The eye relief is so very comfortable with the screw top adjustment and the HUGE lens with flawless coatings. These are bigger than the Radians and are quite heavy for 1.25" eps but still downright compact compared to the Pans, the classic 14mm Meade UW and type 4 and 5 Naglers. In both reflectors the f/5 scope at 135X and the f/6 scope at 110x the ep provides almost perfect performance with only a very slightly softer edge performance in the f/5. Stars are not stretched or otherwise seagulled at all just a bit "bloated" at the very outer 5%. At f/6 I do not notice any edge distortion at all. No ghosting or flares are seen even with Venus blazing at crescent phase in either scope. You do have to get used to the strong smell of rubber as the entire top half of the ep is covered with it.
It is just about the most comfortable med power ep I have used. No blackouts. No kidney beans. The field is a very wide 70 deg but seems MUCH larger than that compared to 68 deg of the Pans and not so much smaller than the 82 deg Naglers. Contrast is stunning. It pops globulars better than any other type of ep I have used. These objects take on a 3d quality and very faint, small galaxies are easier to pull out of the background to my eyes than the type 4s and 5s.
These are expensive. Very much so for 1.25" but they do fit nicely in between the Radians and Pans on the lower price side and the higher Nagler type 4s and 5s. Please make sure you at least take a look through one of these when you are in the market for a premium, wide-field, high eye relief ep. They are truly among the finest on the current market.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Value:8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.116.202)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=356845

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