The Plossl is possibly the most widespread eyepiece type of modern astronomy, it’s simple but effective design has made it the popular choice for spectacular views at a low cost. Meade are well known for their quality and consistency so the Meade 5000 super Plossl range has the potential to be very exciting.
The 9mm uses 5 lenses (or elements as they are known) in it’s design so while not a traditional layout there are few enough elements that views remain unspoiled by excess glass. Generally speaking the fewer lenses present in an optical system the sharper the image quality. A high quality coating has been applied to the lenses making for a high light transmission, this means images remain bright and clear.
Optically the 9mm is very good although it does suffer from a degree of degradation towards the outer portions of the field of view. This may be a problem for some as even though there’s a generous 60 degree field of view the outer 10% is less than pin sharp. Apart from the outer fringes objects are very well defined and crisp. The 9mm handles colours well, Jupiter has a wealth of subtle colour differences which the 5000 had no problems picking out.
An eyepiece isn’t only about optical performance though, it must also be comfortable to look through. While the 9mm isn’t the most comfortable eyepiece I’ve ever looked through it is by no means the least. It has a fairly typical eye relief of around 8mm and a generous objective lens diameter. Towards lower focal lengths it can sometimes feel like you’re peering through a pin prick but thanks to Meade’s generous objective diameter there’s no need to give yourself eyestrain when observing with this eyepiece.
There is one gripe with this Plossl and that’s the hard plastic roll up eye cup, these are less comfortable than the fold down soft rubber type and while not unbearable a softer eye cup would have been preferable.
Overall the Meade 5000 9mm Super Plossl is a great eyepiece but one issue keeps it from perfection. An outer field that’s less than tack sharp. If you can overlook that single flaw then the 9mm is a vital edition to any astronomers eyepiece collection. Reasonably comfortable to look through and providing sharp and contrasty images for 90% of the field. A definite recommendation and certainly worth it’s £60 price tag.