Oculars by Price Class
By Chuck Hawks
Naturally, the price of individual eyepieces varies from retailer to retailer, so the categories below are only approximate. The price classes used in this article are based on the selling prices from major online telescope retailers, such as Optics Planet, OPT, Astronomics and Woodland Hills Telescope at the time of publication.
Prices frequently change, which is why I have not attempted to attach dollar amounts to the various price classes. Instead, I have relied on general categories and star ratings. You may have a different idea of what constitutes, say, a medium price ocular, but the ocular brands and lines in any given category should remain the same, regardless of what the category is called. For example, if you are willing to spend up to $100 for a new ocular, you should be looking at those in what I have labeled the medium-low (three-star) price class.
The price categories/ratings below are based on 1.25" (mount barrel diameter) oculars. 2" oculars in any given line are more expensive to manufacture than 1.25" oculars and will typically jump up one price class, although they are not of higher quality. The same applies to zoom (variable focal length) eyepieces.
Not every brand and line of eyepiece appears below, but the majority of the widely distributed brands and lines are included. No one-star oculars are listed. These would be simple two element, achromatic designs of the sort sometimes supplied with cheap department store telescopes. They are not suitable for any sort of serious astronomical viewing and should not be considered for use in any name brand astronomical telescope.
Ultra-Deluxe Price Class (Five-Star-Plus)
Deluxe Price Class (Five-Star)
High Price Class (Four-Star-Plus)
Medium-High Price Class (Four-Star)
Medium Price Class (Three-Star-Plus)
Medium-Low Price Class (Three-Star)
Low Price Class (Two-Star)
Copyright 2009, 2011 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.