* Prices may differ from that shown
In the arsenal of any keen but frugal astronomer should be at least three budget (or low cost as I prefer to call them) eyepieces. A long focal length, to view star clusters and sweeping lunar vistas, a mid range eyepiece for small galaxies and planetary nebulas and a short focal length for close ups of the planets. The 6.4mm plossl from Meade falls perfectly into the latter category. 6.4mm is an excellent focal length, any shorter and the eyepiece could only be used in the rare moments of perfect seeing, while any longer and the eyepiece would fail to deliver the level of magnification required for the careful discernment of fine planetary detail. Meade have favoured the use of four elements in their design, some companies use 5 or sometimes even 6 pieces of glass in their plossls, usually to increase field of view or to increase eye relief, Meade's more traditional 4 lens design means they have been able to keep the cost down which really is key to the eyepieces appeal. With 4 elements the apparent field of view is 52 degrees (as opposed to the actual field of view which will depend on the focal length of your telescope). Second to it's low cost, the 4000 series boasts an excellent feature, all eyepieces upto the 32mm are parfocal, that is to say when swapping between numerous members of the super plossl family you wont have to change focus, which is great, especially at high magnifications with a Dobsonian scope, where the slightest nudge of the telescope can send the object hurtling out of the field of view. Optically the 6.4mm performs well, there are slight problems that occur in the outer portions of the field of view, stars take on a 'seagull' shape in an abberation known as coma which becomes more noticeable in faster scopes. It's important to consider the issue of coma in the context of price, when matched alongside other low cost eyepieces the Meade comes out very well indeed producing relatively clear and sharp images that far exceed its diminutive price. I have a personal love of the Skywatcher brand of plossl, but personal bias aside the Meade, similarly priced, is a great contender and as such makes an excellent low cost performer.