“ Manufacturer: William Optics / Type: Wide View Eyepiece / Size: 7mm „
There are two essentials that any self respecting planetary/Lunar eyepiece should have, a nice wide field of view and a good low focal length. The UWAN 7mm has both and throws yet a third element into the mix, it won't cost you more than £150!!!
For years the wide field eyepiece market very much belonged to the Massive Televue company. It was Televues founder Al Nagler who first coined the term 'spacewalk' when refering to the view one gets through a truly wide eyepiece. I often liken the views I get through my wide field eyepieces as gazing out at the cosmos through the porthole of a spaceship.
Times are changing and a new competitor has entered the fray, claiming to offer the utmost in quality at a fraction of the cost. I have to say that Televues stranglehold on the wide field eyepiece market may have been loosened somewhat by the plucky Taiwanese brothers, founders of William Optics.
William Optics have captured that 'Spacewalk' feeling in their 7mm UWAN eyepiece, after all UWAN stands for Ultra Wide Angle.
At 7mm you get a good high magnification in whatever scope you're using. In my 12 inch Dobsonian it yields 214x which is high enough without going over the 250x limit imposed by the Earths own atmosphere. You can only use magnifications higher than around 250x on very rare occasions when turbulance in the atmosphere settles for a few moments.
The glass used in the lense elements is superb, I have been able to pluck exquisite detail from Jupiter and the subtle differences in pastel shading of Saturns atmospheric bands.
I used to be sceptical of wide field eyepieces, to obtain wider views manufacturers must introduce extra lenses to the system, up until fairly recently I would have said that using anymore glass than is absolutely neccessary was a big no no and could only serve to deteriorate image quality. I'm very happy to have been proved wrong by the UWAN series. Despite having 7 lenses the images I've got with this little beauty have been absolutely remarkable.
But not only does this eyepiece excell optically, it's also incredibly comfortable to look through, with an eye relief of around 12mm it means you don't have to keep your eyeball squared up against the eyepiece to enjoy the view. It has an eye lense diameter of 20mm, I can't stand eyepieces that force you to observe through little more than a pin prick not so with the UWANs, far from it in fact. 20mm is an ample amount for easy comfortable viewing.
One thing to consider though, not a gripe as it's unavoidable when using so many elements, the 7mm weighs half a pound which may cause balance issues when suddenly swapped with a much lighter eyepiece. Many a time I've forgotten about this only to see the top end of my telescope hurtling towards the floor as the enormous bulk of this eyepiece is placed onto it. As I say not a negative point just something to be aware of.
As long as you keep the weight difference in mind what you're left is a low cost eyepiece with an apparent field of view of 82 degrees that exudes quality and is an absolute joy to use.