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Dakin Barlow

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#1 Jim Rosenstock

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 08:59 PM

Hey folks, let's see how many Brandon threads we can "keep in the air" at once! :D

Dakin barlows, of course, are Vernonscope's house-brand barlow, that match their Brandon eyepieces.

In the past, I've not been much of a barlow guy. I have a nice UO Klee 2.8X, and a couple of old-school Criterion 2Xs (that get their most use barlowing lasers), but mostly I've preferred not to barlow...

...well, I recently got a like-new Dakin 2.4X barlow for a really nice price (thanks again, Doug!), and I'm having a lot of fun with it! The 2.4X factor makes most eyepiece combos non-duplicative, and this barlow, more than others, seems to "get out of the way" really well, too! It has turned my 16mm and 12mm Brandons into amazingly nice high-power planetary eyepieces! :jump:

The 16mm barlowed functions at 6.7mm, and the 12mm becomes a 5mm in the Dakin. I was surprised that these barlowed combos pretty much held their own with my Meade RG Ortho 7mm, Brandon 6mm, and UO HD Ortho 5mm, respectively.

Perhaps the dedicated high power eyepieces had a tiny edge in sharpness over the barlowed combos; I'm reporting from two nights' observing Jupiter under mixed conditions, and wouldn't dare make definitive pronouncements. But, the cleanness of the barlowed views was impressive to me, and for my eyeglasses-wearing friends, the extra eye-relief will be quite welcome.

I know little about the Dakin barlows, other than that they're the Vernonscope house brand. Is their design different in any important way from "generic" barlows? Do they have the same superior polish spec's as Brandons? Who was Dakin, anyway? And, am I starting to sound like Dale?? :question:







:cool:

Jim

#2 Alan French

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 09:43 PM

Ralph K. Dakin, who worked for Bausch and Lomb in Rochester, NY, and was an active ATM, and frequent visitor to Stellafane. He was a bit before my time.

Clear skies, Alan

#3 Pierre Stromberg

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 11:08 PM

Hi Jim. I have a 35 year old Dakin barlow that I've babied through the years. But I have to be honest with you. I never have been impressed by its performance. Instead of using it in conjunction with my eyepieces, I just purchased shorter length eyepieces. I didn't really find it to be a stellar performer considering its exorbitant price.

I've tried using it recently for lunar and planetary imaging but again, I just wasn't terribly impressed by its performance. I've actually had better experiences with my Owl barlow compared to the Dakin based on the Owl's versatility.

This is not to say that the Dakin is a bad barlow. It's very high quality. I simply think that its performance doesn't match its price.

P

#4 Rick Woods

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 12:49 AM

Or, didn't 35 years ago.

I have a Dakin, but truth told I've hardly used it yet. I'm of the same mind as Pierre about just using a higher-power eyepiece. Of course, I use a big SCT most of the time and high power is almost unavoidable.

#5 Pierre Stromberg

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 01:33 AM

Good point. I've also traditionally used SCTs but only recently obtained a short, f/6 William Optics refractor. I should try it on that scope and see how it performs.

P

#6 Erik Bakker

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 04:33 AM

Had one for about 15 years, nice and light. Never quite matched my 2" Astro-Physics 2x Barlow for clarity and freedom of chromatic aberration.

My all-time favorite barlow is the VernonScope 1.6x barlow in the Questar 7. Stunning companion to the Questar and Questar Brandons. It introduced nothing but clean, pure magnification :bow:

#7 Blake Andrews

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 10:48 PM

Interesting post.

I'm not a heavy barlow user. But I recently acquired a 2x Dakin Barlow. Mostly for the novelty. I believe it is from the early 1960's. It features a friction lock for the eyepiece and stows in its handy black anodized screw-in aluminum tube. I've not had a good night to audition it as of yet.

Cheers!
Blake

#8 Geo31

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:54 PM

Old thread, I know...

Had to say a few words about Ralph Dakin.

I am originally from Rochester, NY and was a member of the junior section of the Rochester Academy of Science (astronomy) in the mid-seventies. I was in my early teens.

I don't remember now how I met Ralph. I probably just introduced myself to him at a senior section astronomy club meeting. Although I was just a young teen, and by that time Ralph was middle aged, he always had great patience for me and was always willing to teach anyone willing to learn. He even had time for me when I would run into him at Stellafane, a place where it seems everyone wanted some of his time. I still have a 6" (approx) homemade brass worm gear set Ralph gave me and hopefully soon it will drive a new home-built telescope.

By my mid to late teens photography took over as the great passion of my life (which I arrived at through astronomy) and, sadly, I lost touch with Ralph and never saw him again. Here, some 40 years later, myself entering the trailing edge of middle age, I remember him well and still remember the lesson of teaching those willing to learn and to not dismiss someone because of their age.

So, not a technical run-down of the Dakin barlow, but I hope I helped answer: "Who was Ralph Dakin?"

Oh, and if you like ATM history, he was a contemporary of George T. Keene, also of the Rochester Academy of Science astronomy club. George built a 20" telescope when almost NO amateur had one and scopes that size were still used as professional instruments.

#9 Blake Andrews

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:50 PM

An oldie, but a goodie. :grin:

Thanks for sharing those memories. We sometimes take the equipment for granted and lose site of the folks that contribute their passion to push the boundaries of amateur astronomy.

Cheers!
Blake

#10 Jim Rosenstock

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:50 PM

Hey Geo31,

I see this is your first post on Cloudy Nights. Welcome!!! :jump: :jump: :jump:

And, many thanks for sharing your memories of Mr. Dakin. You're fortunate to have had a pioneer like him for a mentor. :bow:

Cheers,

Jim

#11 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:32 PM

Over the years I've been on again/off again on barlows. Not so much for performance, but for hassle factor.

The last couple of years I have been boing back to them. I'm rather pleased with the Dakin, a great tool for double star observing and an awesome combo with the 24 Brandon. I prefer it to the 10 Delos for planetary/double star observing.

Regarding performance vs. other barlows, the only other one I have is the AP Barcon (1.7x). They would seem to be comparable in clarity.

#12 russell23

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:56 PM

I have both the 1.25" and the 2" 2.4x Dakin barlows. The latter is Don's original prototype barrel with a new lense in it. The performance is outstanding - every bit as good as a powermate for visual use. The only drawback with the 2" version is that I have to put it in front of my star diagonal to reach focus.

Dave

#13 PJ Anway

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:35 PM

I have a 2X Dakin and it's one off my favorites. Very light and sharp.

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#14 Geo31

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

Thanks for the welcome. Astronomy is a dormant passion. The passion isn't gone, but other things in life have pushed it to the back burner. When I moved to Houston 17 years ago I worked with someone prominent in the Houston Astronomical Society. I thought that was going to draw me back in, but we both left the company and lost touch. I keep looking off and on for a decent 8" or 6" f/5 (give or take) mirror. At some point I'll find one for a price I can't resist and build a nice portable scope. I never finished my 10" scope. At 14 years old the project was larger than I was and I eventually sold the mirrors (still kick myself). I had a nice Coulter mirror. About 10 years after I sold the mirror I found myself in Idyllwild, CA, home of Coulter and even made my way to the shop. Sadly, the owner had passed already (somewhat recently at that point IIRC). I probably would have bought an 8" mirror on the spot otherwise.

Yes, I has very fortunate. Ralph was a great guy as were almost all the folks I met in the senior astronomy section. A friend of mine at the time was mentored by George Keene to make his 8" mirror and scope. Fun times. Sorry for the rambling. Brings back great memories. Perhaps I can find a good mirror and be back at this again soon.

George

Hey Geo31,

I see this is your first post on Cloudy Nights. Welcome!!! :jump: :jump: :jump:

And, many thanks for sharing your memories of Mr. Dakin. You're fortunate to have had a pioneer like him for a mentor. :bow:

Cheers,

Jim



#15 mvw

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:23 AM

Ralph K. Dakin, who worked for Bausch and Lomb in Rochester, NY, and was an active ATM, and frequent visitor to Stellafane. He was a bit before my time.

Clear skies, Alan

Interesting. Like to know more about him or if he published.

#16 hfjacinto

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:46 AM

I could have tested the Dakin vs a powermate and we could have a definitive test as I would have used each for planetary imaging, but I never did and I sold the Dakin, so we will never know.

#17 mvw

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 10:11 AM

Well there are some nice reviews here, I'm sorry you sold yours. Not much about Mr. Dakin online or if he published.

#18 hfjacinto

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:25 AM

Well there are some nice reviews here, I'm sorry you sold yours. Not much about Mr. Dakin online or if he published.


I wasn't impressed with the Brandons as most of the people here, so they went. I am a big believer in that if I don't use it sell it. The only eyepiece I have that I rarely use is the 6MM Radian and that might go one day.

#19 mvw

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:33 AM

The Brandons are good but like all eyepieces they have their limitations.

#20 russell23

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 01:43 PM

I could have tested the Dakin vs a powermate and we could have a definitive test as I would have used each for planetary imaging, but I never did and I sold the Dakin, so we will never know.


I don't do any imaging, but for visual on the Moon I find the 2.4x 2" Dakin to be sharper and with more contast than the 2.5x Powermate.

Dave

#21 Geo31

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 02:38 PM

Regarding publishing, IIRC Ralph published a few articles in Sky & Telescope, I think mostly in the 60s (hey, it's been a long time). I do know that he did publish some work now and then. He was a frequent speaker at Stellafane I believe (and I know he was sought after as an optical quality judge).

Interestingly, since my first response in February, I've reentered this endeavor by purchasing a Celestron Super C8. So much has changed in the last 35 years. I've purchased an Explore Scientific multiplier, but I know a Dakin Barlow is in my future just because of my connection with Ralph.

#22 mvw

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:25 PM

Interesting, thanks for the share.

#23 Richard Keene

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 06:25 PM

Yup, Ralf Dakin in Rochester was my God Father. A great guy. His basement was so cool. A nice workshop for both optics and electronics. Their old house in Bushnels Basin had natural wild Marijuana that grew wild in the front yard. In about the 60s the police tore it all out. lol.






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