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Cheap vrs Expensive Barlows

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24 replies to this topic

#1 patindaytona

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 11:07 AM

When I started out in astronomy 25 years ago, i had bought a Celestron Ultima SV series barlow. I was looking it up just now and estimating it might have cost $50-60? new.

It's outdated for one thing, but was looking at a few nice barlows on Amazon that are not too much more than that.   Should I update?

Do you think it would be worth buying another one? I'm hoping it would make an improvement in image quality since I recently bought a few expensive eye pieces.

By the way would a 2x barlow have any adverse effect on 5.5.mm and 14mm Meade 82 degree eye piece since they are such a curvature on them?



#2 cookjaiii

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 11:34 AM

The Celestron Ultima SV barlows are considered to be good quality and today they sell used for what you paid new years ago.  Newer Barlows may have better coatings, but polish, design, build quality, etc. may not be as good.  A side-by-side comparison is called for, so hopefully someone here can give you one.


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#3 Barlowbill

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 12:01 PM

I have a few Barlows and have always thought they were all about the same.  However, lately I have been trying to really pay attention to see if I can tell the differences.  Looking at what I have, you would expect the Tele Vue 2.5X and the University 2.8X Klee to be the best.  I think they are a little better than some of the others of mine and quite a bit better than some.  Both were bought used here on CN.  The 2.5 was $75 and the Klee was $65.  IMHO, Barlowing a 5.5mm ep would pretty much be a waste of time, curvature or not.  


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#4 CeleNoptic

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 12:11 PM

 

By the way would a 2x barlow have any adverse effect on 5.5.mm and 14mm Meade 82 degree eye piece since they are such a curvature on them?

 

First of all, the shorty Celeston Ultima 2x vignetting the 14mm Meade 5K UWA. Not strongly, but noticeable. Probably, all shortys do that. To avoid vignetting you need a telecentric Barlow/Extender. Although, shorter FL eyepieces are Ok with that Barlow.

 

Also any telenegative Barlow will enhance SAEP (Spherical Aberration in Eye Pupil) causing kidneybeaning in such ultra wide angle eyepieces which show some of this aberration even without a Barlow. Depends on your tolerance limits but for me it's annoying. And a telecentric Barlow also addresses this issue. As for FC, any decent Barlow improves the edges, IMO.


Edited by CeleNoptic, 11 October 2019 - 12:13 PM.


#5 Astro-Master

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 12:14 PM

I bought the Televue 2" Big Barlow about 12 years ago.  Its a good barlow and works great  with Ethos eyepieces.  About 2 years ago I bought the Astro-Physics 2" convertible barlow, I believe its even better.  Everything is just a little bit sharper and brighter.


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#6 CeleNoptic

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 12:22 PM

You can find more info about Barlows in older threads, e.g.

 

https://www.cloudyni...s-best-barlows/

 

https://www.cloudyni...e-3x-tv-barlow/

 

https://www.cloudyni...for-your-money/

 

https://www.cloudyni...-advice-needed/

 

https://www.cloudyni...s/#entry9150978

 


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#7 MartinPond

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 06:05 PM

At the moment, 

basic good shorties from Orion, Meade, or GSO are very good.

I agree that aggrevating EOFB (kidney-beaning) and vignetting can

be issues....but vignetting only appiles to ~35mm and up for fl..

(circa $40)

 

Stepping up a little, Orion Tri-Mag (3x) and Xcel Barlows get raves.

(circa $60)   Many Xcel (3-element) 3x owners are crazy about them..

I think it's the light trap  in there.  Shorter than the Tri-MAg, for sure!

 

Then the plain TV barlows.....the advantage is hard to see compared to

the Tri-Mag or Xcel, but any little advantage multiplies across all the

  eyepieces you can use..

 

The telecentrics/focal extenders can be bulky, but the results

  can be spectacular.   The ES 3X focal extender is relatively

reasonable. I use it   a lot, despite the bulk.. 


Edited by MartinPond, 11 October 2019 - 06:08 PM.

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#8 John Huntley

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 06:14 PM

I've found the Baader Q-Turret 2.25x barlow to have good optical performance for it's price. It seems to have a simple exterior but good quality glass.


Edited by John Huntley, 11 October 2019 - 06:14 PM.

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#9 barbie

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 07:00 PM

I've used my GSO Barlow's extensively for the last two years and they do a fantastic job. For their price, they have quality glass.


Edited by barbie, 11 October 2019 - 07:03 PM.

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#10 25585

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 09:50 AM

I've used my GSO Barlow's extensively for the last two years and they do a fantastic job. For their price, they have quality glass.

My 2" GSO 2x is good, and works with my TV Panoptic Interface ocular. Another good 2" is my Altair 1.6x.


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#11 25585

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 09:56 AM

My 2" GSO 2x is good, and works with my TV Panoptic Interface ocular. Another good 2" is my Altair 1.6x.

https://www.cloudyni...rlow-interface/



#12 j.gardavsky

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 01:39 PM

I've found the Baader Q-Turret 2.25x barlow to have good optical performance for it's price. It seems to have a simple exterior but good quality glass.

I agree,

 

the Baader Q-Turret Barlow is an air-spaced triplet with the new HT technologies, the lenses inside are crystal clear.

A good alternative against the expensive Baader VIP Barlow, my guess, as I have these both Barlows.

 

The Baader Q-Turret Barlow on the BCO 6mm blows up the M13 globular cluster, and the stars have been rising in the field of view of my not tracked scope, like the bubbles in a glass with sparkling wine.

What a phantastic view I have enjoyed,

 

JG


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#13 russell23

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 04:05 PM

Good quality barlows certainly have their value.   The barlows I've used with the best optical quality are:

 

1.6x 1.25" Nikon Barlow

3.0x  1.25" TV barlow

2.4x  2" Vernonscope Dakin barlow

2.5x 2" Siebert telecentric barlow

 

Those are all pricey barlows.

 

If you are looking for something less costly then the 2.5x GSO APO barlow which is actually 2.1x is very good.  It does not have threads for filters if that is a concern.


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#14 25585

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 04:16 PM

I agree,

 

the Baader Q-Turret Barlow is an air-spaced triplet with the new HT technologies, the lenses inside are crystal clear.

A good alternative against the expensive Baader VIP Barlow, my guess, as I have these both Barlows.

 

The Baader Q-Turret Barlow on the BCO 6mm blows up the M13 globular cluster, and the stars have been rising in the field of view of my not tracked scope, like the bubbles in a glass with sparkling wine.

What a phantastic view I have enjoyed,

 

JG

What a great description of M13!   


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#15 25585

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 04:17 PM

Good quality barlows certainly have their value.   The barlows I've used with the best optical quality are:

 

1.6x 1.25" Nikon Barlow

3.0x  1.25" TV barlow

2.4x  2" Vernonscope Dakin barlow

2.5x 2" Siebert telecentric barlow

 

Those are all pricey barlows.

 

If you are looking for something less costly then the 2.5x GSO APO barlow which is actually 2.1x is very good.  It does not have threads for filters if that is a concern.

The Celestron Ultima (Japan) shorty is a good barlow.


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#16 MartinPond

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Posted Yesterday, 11:18 AM

The Celestron Ultima (Japan) shorty is a good barlow.

Interesting:

"Air-spaced, three-element apochromatic design with a 27mm clear aperture"

Similar to the Baader Q.

 

Is listed as unavailable, though...

I wonder if the X-Cel (3 element) Barlow replaced it in the lineup,

  though that is probably not air spaced..

 

The Baader is pretty low-cost, so...intriuging..


Edited by MartinPond, Yesterday, 11:23 AM.


#17 terraclarke

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Posted Yesterday, 11:51 AM

First of all, the shorty Celeston Ultima 2x vignetting the 14mm Meade 5K UWA. Not strongly, but noticeable. Probably, all shortys do that. To avoid vignetting you need a telecentric Barlow/Extender. Although, shorter FL eyepieces are Ok with that Barlow.

 

Also any telenegative Barlow will enhance SAEP (Spherical Aberration in Eye Pupil) causing kidneybeaning in such ultra wide angle eyepieces which show some of this aberration even without a Barlow. Depends on your tolerance limits but for me it's annoying. And a telecentric Barlow also addresses this issue. As for FC, any decent Barlow improves the edges, IMO.

That’s precisely why I use a 2” diagonal and a quality 2” barlow with any eyepiece with an AFOV >65°.


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#18 terraclarke

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Posted Yesterday, 11:59 AM

The Celestron Ultima (Japan) shorty is a good barlow.

The Celestron 1.25” Ultima shorty and the equivalent Orion triplet shorty (both Japanese) are excellent Barlows. I have both (no difference between the two whatsoever) and use them frequently with my Takahashi FC60 and FC76 Fluorite apos and my old circle T volcano-top orthos and notice NO induced aberation of any kind. They are my only 1.25” 2X Barlows. I also have a 1.25” 2.5X Televue Powermate which is excellent, and two very good old Stellarvue Barlows from around 2002-03; one being  1.25” 3X shorty with no labeling on it and a 2” 2X that I would never let go.


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#19 25585

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Posted Yesterday, 12:12 PM

I have the 2" 2× ES Barlow-Extender which is good but heavy, 3x probably is moreso. But generally for 2" I prefer a GSO 2" or Antares 1.6x. The latter magnification in either size is more practical for gentler steps up.



#20 desertlens

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Posted Yesterday, 12:21 PM

Happy birthday Terra, and thanks for the benefit of your experience on this topic and many others.


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#21 terraclarke

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Posted Yesterday, 12:32 PM

Thank you so much! :)



#22 martinl

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Posted Yesterday, 02:06 PM

I have both the Celestron 2x Ultima and the Televue 2.5x Powermate. They are both indistinguishably excellent and I see little reason to upgrade due to image quality. The Ultima (like most/all shorty barlows) does however cause obvious vignetting / fall off with certain EPs, TV Plössls and the 24mm Panoptic for instance. With these EPs the Powermate is clearly superior. On the other hand, my LVW, XL, Ethos, Delos and DeLite EPs all worked well with the Ultima. If you don’t experience any obvious vignetting with your EPs then you’re better off saving your money for more EPs, IMHO.



#23 MartinPond

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Posted Yesterday, 04:08 PM

I have the 2" 2× ES Barlow-Extender which is good but heavy, 3x probably is moreso. But generally for 2" I prefer a GSO 2" or Antares 1.6x. The latter magnification in either size is more practical for gentler steps up.

Not sure about the 2" bulk, but in the

  1.25" line, the ES 3x Focal Extender is  8 ounces,

  the same weight as a DeLite and half the weight of a Delos...

   The 2X is heavier and more expensive (more glass towards the objective for 2X)..

  No vignetting at all...in fact, several 30mm eypieces have their afov increased a bit.

    Not sure how, but I have double and triple checked it.  It may at least be paritially

    due to ES having the output lenses at the whole 1.25" diameter.  

    I love that thing, whatever the weight..

 

For a fantastic 1.5x, I screw the "1.9x  OCA" Burgess nose, intended for a binoviewer before

   the prisms, into the body of a SVBONY 2x  shorty (and toss out the 1-piece

   semi-coated SVBONY negative nosepiece)....That's in 1.25", of course..


Edited by MartinPond, Yesterday, 04:12 PM.

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#24 nicoledoula

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Posted Yesterday, 05:06 PM

The GSO shorty 2X /1.5X 1.25" barlow is good too. Made in Taiwan. lol



#25 vkhastro1

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Posted Yesterday, 06:20 PM

The APM 1.25” 2.7X Coma Correcting Barlow is highly recommended !

 

The 1.25” Zeiss 2X Abbe Barlow (with Baader click stop eyepiece adapter) is awesome !

Totally invisible with my Zeiss 3-element 25mm Aspheric Orthos.

Only issue is the $$$ price tag.




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