Had a question for everyone: what's your favorite barlow lens for $200 or under? I've been observing for years, and have a great optical train that I'd like to add a barlow to. I'm aiming at planetary/lunar work, so wide fields aren't a concern. I'm looking for maximum detail. I'm on the fence with getting a few extra eyepieces, or a barlow. I'm looking for a high quality image, and initially, given my experience with cheap barlows, stayed away from them. Lately I've been eyeing the TV series, as well as the Siebert ones. Any thoughts?
My main scope is a 12.5" f/5 Mag 1 Portaball with a Zambuto mirror (the views are INCREDIBLE), and I also frequently use an Astrotech 102mm ED "semi apo" f/7 refractor, as well as a cool old Criterion 8" f/8 that's now a dob. But, the Portaball is my main scope.
For current eyepieces in the mid/higher power range, I use a 12mm T2 Nagler, 9mm T1 Nagler, 9mm UO Ortho, 7mm XW Pentax, 5mm Vixen LV, and 4mm UO Ortho (THAT thing is hard to use!) I also use a Televue binoviewer with 12.5mm UO Orthos for high power views.
The 5mm Vixen and 4mm UO Ortho really aren't cutting it with quality and ease of use, respectively. Part of me thinks I should invest in a 3.5 XW, but then well, it would be nice to have the 5 AND the 3.5, but then what about minimal glass, and then the binoviewers, and then....I've sold my car to pay for this. Lol!
So, it seems a decent barlow would be a nice thing to have in the case. Is the TV 2x barlow on par with the premium offerings from Siebert? (I can get one of these used for less than half the price of the Siebert.)
Thanks in advance for the thoughts!