Skywatcher is a company I use regularly, their products seem to be of a consistent quality. As such I’ve come to assosciate them with reliability so I expected the LER to be a quality eyepiece despite it’s meager price tag of just £30. Being a massive fan of the GSO made super plossl I knew it was possible to make a great eyepiece for around that price.
The LER however does not live up to Skywatchers otherwise high standards and it’s certainly not a patch on the GSO plossl. What the LER strives to achieve is viewing comfort as well as optical performance and while it does succeed on the former it falls down on the latter.
For an eyepiece to be comfortable it must have a longish eye relief which as the LER name suggests (Long Eye Relief) it does. Eye relief is the distance from the lens ones eye must be to take in the whole field of view, a short eye relief will force the observer to push their eye very close to the lens which can be quite restrictive and uncomfortable. The LER has 20mm of eye relief which is certainly ample, it also has an oversized lens to observe through so no need to feel like you’re observing through a pin prick.
Comfort is the only saving grace of this eyepiece (although I wish Skywatcher had gone for the more common style of roll up rubber eye shields rather than the sharp edged rigid rubber cup that adorns the LER. The observers comfort should never be overlooked as I’ve used plenty of eyepieces that are optically quite good but give me a headache after viewing through them for a few minutes. The LER is the opposite, very comfortable to look through but lack the field of view and optical performance to make it worth the while.
Optically the LER feels cheap, if it weren’t for GSO and their plossls I would chalk this down to the price but they have proved you don’t necessarily need to skimp on quality even in the budget category of eyepiece. Stars became smeared unless right in the centre of the tiny 45 degree field and contrast is uninspiring at best.
In case you can’t believe your eyes the field of view is 45 degrees! Far too small and for observers without a clock drive the constant need to readjust the telescope to keep an object centered would fast became a chore.
My reccomendation is to go for the GSO super plossl as it beats the LER hands down on every front. While I continue to use Skywatchers products it has to be said the LER is a momentary blip in an otherwise impressive record.