Meade Ultra Wide 14mm Review

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In recent years there have been an explosion of wide field eyepieces available to the eager astronomer. Due to this massive influx of quality widefielders the price of such eyepieces has been steadily driven down so that now it's not only the richest astronomers who can afford 'spacewalk' views.

Aesthetically the ultra wide angle (or UWA) looks a little like Frankenstein's monster, like two different eyepieces mashed together. The top half is big, black and bulbous while the barrel is thin, tapered and silver.

There are little divots cut into the body to help with gripping as this is a heavy eyepiece (at 289g). The weight comes from the large number of lens elements used to create that stunning 84 degree field. 7 elements have been used.

Usually putting such a lot of glass between an object and an observer only serves to degrade image quality but in this case Meade have used a high quality glass then multi coated it to make each lens as effective as it can be.

Optically the Meade performs very well indeed, the field is sharp even right out at the fringes (although there is a slight loss of sharpness in the very outer 10%). Loss of sharpness is not as significant as in some other wide fielders I've looked through and is certainly not enough to spoil this eyepiece. Contrast is excellent which is important as this eyepiece will mainly be used to observe faint deep sky objects (due to it's 14mm focal length).

Due to it's massive 84 degree field the 5000 can be used to great effect on the moon, showing a large area whilst still providing a reasonable magnification.

14mm is starting to get a little low powered for serious planetary observation but if you enjoy low power views of our nearest neighbours (there is something satisfying about observing Saturn as a tiny little ball) the 84 degree field will ensure the planet stays within the field of view for a long time.

But it is as a deep space eyepiece that the 5000 excels. Plucking elusive galaxies out of the murk as well as extended emission nebula. M31 in particular has never looked so good.

Thankfully the 5000 is quite comfortable to look through, the objective lens is large and the eye relief is around 10mm making it suitable for spectacle wearers.

Definitely recommended even at it's seemingly high £170 price tag. Sharp and contrasty images are backed up by a decent eye relief and good sized objective to make a winning eyepiece.

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