During the Chung-yeung festival, we want wild-camping at Chek-king. Tonight, I've brought with me only two eyepieces. They're the 32mm Sirius Plossl (to provide me with the largest possible FoV) and the new Tele Vue 8-24mm Zoom. I've also taken the 5x Tele Vue Powermate. After the whole night, I found that the 32mm was left alone in my eyepiece case.
The Pleaides and the Orion Nebula were superb in the Tele Vue zoom. I don't quite affected by the narrower field of view at low magnification of the zoom. Maybe it's because I has not been "spoiled" by the wider-field eyepieces, yet. The view of Jupiter and Saturn were very good as well, at least not a bit poorer than my 20mm Tele Vue Plossl. The zoom capability was really convenient and also useful. Once the target was found, I could zoom in-and-out until I found the optimal magnification. Since clouds moved in occassionally, I found I couldn't see the planets long enough to figure out the real performance of the zoom at higher power. I didn't get a chance to use the Powermate as well, but I've a feeling that the 2x Orion Shorty Barlow might be a better couple with the zoom. The 5x Powermate should be a bit too high, at 100x even at the lowest (24mm) setting with the Ranger.
I also got a chance to watch the sun on the next afternoon using the zoom, the view was excellent. That was the first time I watch the sunspots with my scope, several sunspots (at least seven) were easily visible. I could also look the the detail of each of the spots, and they looked circular with smaller spots inside. So, there were actually several sunspot groups available. I had also taken some photographs with my friend's digital camera, and they can be found at my astrophotography page.
In conclusion, I love my zoom and my Ranger, as well as the new solar filter. Oh, yes... and also the new Gitzo G106 tripod, it was very light and compact, make it extremely portable. So, I sold my Manfrotto 055C in the next week. :)