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Buying a Powermate?


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I'm considering getting a 1.25'' TV 2.5x Powermate for Christmas, to extend my magnification range a bit on the planetary side.

As you can see from my signature, right now I have a number of standard plossls and two ES, a 82° 11mm and the 68° Maxvicsion 20mm, on a  8'' f/5.9 dobsonian.

Now, I have read the theory about the advantages of a Powermate over a more standard and clearly cheaper Barlow lens design and about how a Powermate would be a lifetime companion and as such an investment diluted over the years. However, being that a student with very infrequent income like me will always be a bit tight on the wallet and being that even second hand TV's retain a good 90% of the original value (which is great when you sell but less so when you are buying and desperately looking for a bargain!), what would be your competent and experience-driven advice?

Given my current eyepiece rack and scope would you then say that investing on a Powermate instead of a Barlow is indeed advisable and not just some unjustified animalesque instinct stirred by those pretty green writings on black background?

Thank you all, as always!

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I have the 2.5x 1.25" PowerMate which sits nicely between my Meade 2x and 3x TeleXtenders (the same kind of tele-centric design) for planetary imaging. All three are superb. The Meade designs are now

Well, it's over! I found a guy on AB&S who sold his 1.25'' 2.5x Powermate + TRin for 125£, shipping included. I'm quite happy with this deal.

About 4 minutes actually Steve!

Posted Images

Slightly off centre, but I purchased a 2.5x powermate for use in planetary imaging earlier this year. It is worth absolutely every penny. So, if you are vaguely considering it, go for it, you won't regret it. We quickly forget how much good things cost, but we remember every penny wasted on duff gear... (That's what my therapist - retail therapist - suggests I repeat frequently!).

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Slightly off centre, but I purchased a 2.5x powermate for use in planetary imaging earlier this year. It is worth absolutely every penny. So, if you are vaguely considering it, go for it, you won't regret it. We quickly forget how much good things cost, but we remember every penny wasted on duff gear... (That's what my therapist - retail therapist - suggests I repeat frequently!).

I wouldn't want to derail my own thread, but let me just tell you that your photos (can't just resist a flickr link on an astronomy website, can we?) are absolutely jaw-dropping! I'm especially drawn to the Heart Nebula picture, I really like the vibrancy of the red and the contrast in the dark regions. By the way, it's a target that has been eluding me visually so far, to my dismay.

More to the point, as I've never looked through a Barlow or a Powermate, how much of a degradation of the image is to be expected visually? (clearly considering only lenses of sensible quality)

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A Powermate just gets out of the way. Apart from the magnification increase it's as if it's not there. I've owned the 2.5x and 2x PM's. Superb optical devices. No vignetting either, even with 100 degree eyepieces.

If bought new you will loose around 25% of the value. Buy a used one and you will probably be able to recoup all your investment if you choose to sell it at some point.

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difference between powermate and barlow is that Powermate doesnt increase the eye relief ,but barlow does.If your aim is high power planetary viewing and you are struggling with high power planetary EP`s with short eye relief(in likes of plossls,orthos etc),your best bit would be to go for barlow and not powermate.And Televue barlow is not really that cheap of a piece of glass but really good quality one.Different design to powermate yes,but visually still off very high quality :)

visually a good quality barlow or powermate will not degrade image quality.

And instead of going for 1.25" format of powermate if you do choose that one,i would go for the 2" model as then you are future proof if you decide to upgrade your eye piece collection to other models what could be a 2" fit only.

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Thank you @wasteland! Get out there searching for the Heart... It's in prime position at the moment. It is a faint target, so good luck!

Some interesting responses that certainly indicate the PM to be top quality. Though interesting about eye relief and barlows.

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I had the 2 inch X2 but sold it for no other reason than I had too many eyepieces covering every corner. It is as good as everyone says and I am not going to disagree. 

It is however worth bearing in mind advice from Dude With the Tube, if you sruggle with ER, I do a bit on the 5mm Ortho and I don't find my 11mm TV Plossl too kind to me but it's a superb eyepiece.

Alan

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I have a GSO 3x barlow, a Skywatcher 'deluxe' 2x barlow and a TV 5x powermate.  I think the GSO barlow is a nice compromise between price and quality.  The skywatcher 2x is the only one I'm thinking of replacing at the moment.  Personally if I were you I'd get something around the 50 pounds mark and spend the other £110 on something else.

"extend my magnification range a bit on the planetary side"  - you could just get some more EPs for the money I guess.

Edited by Joseki
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A Powermate just gets out of the way. Apart from the magnification increase it's as if it's not there. I've owned the 2.5x and 2x PM's. Superb optical devices. No vignetting either, even with 100 degree eyepieces.

If bought new you will loose around 25% of the value. Buy a used one and you will probably be able to recoup all your investment if you choose to sell it at some point.

John said it as well as could be said. The PM (and the TeleVue Barlows - 2x & 3x) "gets out of the way" And that is the real criteria for these devices. All to many lower-quality Barlows will dim the view and blur the image you see. PM is really a different animal from Barlows, but I'm not familiar with the other brands that people may see are there equals. But there are some other Barlows out there that people claim do match the TV ones.

I won't say if you should, or should not, pull the trigger and buy one of these rather costly items. Instead I'll only council you to try to buy the last one you'll ever buy. Many people purchase a lower quality one, and then sell it and buy another lower quality one. And so it goes. Until they finally buy a TeleVue or other highly respected brand. But by then, they will have lost enough money to have financed the best in the first place. So I usually suggest that one use the used-markets for a lower costing Barlow. This way you'll be able to recoup your initial investment(s).

Happy hunting -

Dave

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Hi

I use the 2" x2 powermate. It is the linchpin in my eyepiece collection. 

Building an eyepiece collection around a powermate allows me to save considerable money. I cannot afford an extensive eyepiece range so the powermate fills gaps.

Using a powermate with a couple of eyepieces is all I ever need. I would recommend getting the 2" version. Simply because it works with all eyepieces. Just check your scope/focuser can handle the weight. 

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I agree too - advise you get one and if you do - go for the 2" version of Powermate. I've had just about every type of barlow out there and once I got the 2x PM I never used any of the others any more. The PM can be used for imaging too using a TV adaptor ring. That reminds me - I should really sell my collection of other barlows lol. :)

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I have the 2.5x 1.25" PowerMate which sits nicely between my Meade 2x and 3x TeleXtenders (the same kind of tele-centric design) for planetary imaging. All three are superb. The Meade designs are now sold as Bresser SA Barlows and the Explore Scientific Focal Extender are of the same tele-centric type. I managed this shot of Jupiter with the 2.5x PowerMate

post-5655-0-61385000-1423813725.jpg
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My advice would be to keep an eye on the second hand market for a TV powermate, there are very good deals to be had.

I recently got a mint condition 2.5x and 5x for less than the price of a single new one, you have to be quick though......

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There are 2 designs of 2.5x Powermate. The earlier design is on the left and the newer one is on the right in the picture below. Optically they are the same but the newer design allows a 1.25" filter to be fitted to the bottom of the chrome barrel. Some of the early ones seemed to lack a compression ring as well:

post-118-0-62895600-1444921601_thumb.jpg

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I have a powermate 2.5x (new model). As many others above said, I also think it is a great tool! :)

One point though.

With your eyepiece set, I reckon you will use it with your 20mm (=>8mm) and 15mm (=>6mm). The other options seem to be already covered to me: 

10mm => 4mm (usable?? mm.. )

11mm => 4.4mm (usable?? mm.. )

25mm => 10mm (you have the plossl sirius, unless you want more eye relief)

32mm => 12.8mm (it seems quite close to the 11mm which is also 82deg..)

To me a PM2.5x is super, but I would have a thought whether you really need it with your current eyepiece set, unless you plan to upgrade this in the future. 

Just my 2 pennies of course.

Piero

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I am going to go against the trend here and suggest you don't get a powermate or indeed a barlow.

I find they make the chain cumbersome and things stick out from the focuser far too much.

Personally, I prefer individual eyepieces and use the attached spreadsheet to gauge the most suitable focal lengths for my scopes. Just complete the yellow boxes and it calculates for you. looking at your existing eyepieces, you could probably sell a couple (the sirius plossls) and with your budget on top buy perhaps an 8mm and 6mm eyepieces and have more than enough range to cover almost all objects.

eyepieces and scopes.xls

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I agree with Moonshane .I find U loose a

lot of light, from using a Barlow for imaging.

The best images I have got, are with out a

Barlow. I have got 4 EPs ,which I use all

the time on my CPC 800. 20, 13,11.,8.5.mm

About  £400, s/hand these were. U only

pay for what U get.

Steve

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While the Powermate's I've used do (as do barlows) cause the "stack" sticking out of the focuser to increase in length and do (again as barlows do) add some weight ot the focusers load, I don't think a Powermate degrades the image quality nor does it cause the transmitted light to drop in any noticable way or add light scattter or any false colour to the image.

Other barlows mabye, but not the Powermates.

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