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MarsG76

Celestron better than Televue SHOCK!!!!

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Hello Astronomers,

After a long time I finally had a chance to do some good fashioned observing and I noticed something that is VERY surprising.... I spent most of the time observing Jupiter than Saturn, trying to pick-out as much details as possible... I was observing them through my 14" Skywatcher with a Televue 11mm Nagler Type 6 eyepiece and 2X Powermate.. the views were great and detailed, fine detail in Jupiter, the GRS as clear as the nose on my face and a shadow of Io on the NEB.. but this is not what this post is about....

During Saturn observation I replaced the 2X PM with the Celestron 2X Barlow out of curiosity, the Ultima version, and to my surprise even at the same magnification the Barlow showed more detail.?!?!?!?!.. it was only a slight improvement but a visible improvement nonetheless .. I always thought that TV was the premium equipment but the Celestron barlow had the edge on clarity, stability and details.... 

Did anyone experience this?

  Celestron Ultima Series 2x Barlow

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A Powermate will give 2x wherever it’s fitted but a barlow’s actual magnification is dependant on the distance from the eyepiece so your 2X barlow may be giving more than 2X.

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1 minute ago, johninderby said:

A Powermate will give 2x wherever it’s fitted but a barlow’s actual magnification is dependant on the distance from the eyepiece so your 2X barlow may be giving more than 2X.

If it does than it's so little that it's not noticeable... but you might be right.... some have claimed that the Ultima barlows are more like 2.2X.. it's still a testament to the quality of Celestron's barlow that cost me 1/4 the price of a 2" Televue 2X Powermate.

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The Celestron Ultima eyepieces and Barlow were Japanese made and very nice quality. I once sold a caseful of them for way below their proper value because I didn't know better. Wish I had not.

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I've got the Celestron Ultima 2x Barlow as well and good though it undoubtedly is I prefer the views without it. I've never used any TV equipment so I can't compare to it. 

We did discuss recently in another thread about certain brands of EP being more suited to certain brands of telescope. I know with my Skywatcher 12 inch Dob that I much prefer the views through my Skywatcher and Baader EP's than through my Explore Scientific 82 degree EP.

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This does not surprise me at all. I feel its down to what sits well with different makes & style of equipment. I personally own 2 Barlows. The Orion shorty Plus APO is just outstanding!. I'll never part with it.

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21 minutes ago, Stu said:

The Celestron Ultima eyepieces and Barlow were Japanese made and very nice quality. I once sold a caseful of them for way below their proper value because I didn't know better. Wish I had not.

Definitely.. anything with "Made in Japan" stamped on it is a keeper... it's mostly Chinese and Taiwanese poor quality knock off these days... or Japanese/USA made with a premium price tag.

 

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2 minutes ago, MarsG76 said:

I recommend to buy it if in the market for a barlow...

Ditto on this!. They are becoming harder to find now!. My Orion is a Japan model. Its effectively an Ultima also.

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55 minutes ago, Geoff Barnes said:

I've got the Celestron Ultima 2x Barlow as well and good though it undoubtedly is I prefer the views without it. I've never used any TV equipment so I can't compare to it. 

We did discuss recently in another thread about certain brands of EP being more suited to certain brands of telescope. I know with my Skywatcher 12 inch Dob that I much prefer the views through my Skywatcher and Baader EP's than through my Explore Scientific 82 degree EP.

 

45 minutes ago, Rob said:

This does not surprise me at all. I feel its down to what sits well with different makes & style of equipment. I personally own 2 Barlows. The Orion shorty Plus APO is just outstanding!. I'll never part with it.

It might be a combo of slightly more magnification revealing finer detail, and/or perhaps works better with the 14" Skywatcher??... 

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1 minute ago, Rob said:

Ditto on this!. They are becoming harder to find now!. My Orion is a Japan model. Its effectively an Ultima also.

Made during a time when there was pride in quality.  

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The Celestron Ultima 2x is a nice optic but I found the Powermates slightly better in all honesty. I've owned a few of each type over the years.

The Ultima is actually a 2.2x amplifier I believe despite the labelling.

The Powermates that I've used were simply invisible apart from the amplification wheras I always knew when the Ultima was in use due to a slight increase in light scatter around bright objects and the change to the focal position and eye relief. The Ultima would also vignette eyepieces with close to max field stop sizes I found.

But such things can vary person to person, target to target and session to session on on this occasion your Ultima was the one that ticked all the boxes so thats great :smiley:

 

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14 hours ago, MarsG76 said:

After a long time I finally had a chance to do some good fashioned observing and I noticed something that is VERY surprising.... I spent most of the time observing Jupiter than Saturn, trying to pick-out as much details as possible... I was observing them through my 14" Skywatcher with a Televue 11mm Nagler Type 6 eyepiece and 2X Powermate.. the views were great and detailed, fine detail in Jupiter, the GRS as clear as the nose on my face and a shadow of Io on the NEB.. but this is not what this post is about....

During Saturn observation I replaced the 2X PM with the Celestron 2X Barlow out of curiosity, the Ultima version, and to my surprise even at the same magnification the Barlow showed more detail.?!?!?!?!.. it was only a slight improvement but a visible improvement nonetheless .. I always thought that TV was the premium equipment but the Celestron barlow had the edge on clarity, stability and details.... 

Your next experiment should be to compare the 11mm+2x combos with premium 4.5mm to 6mm eyepieces to see which is better.  I've found my 3.5mm Pentax XW and 5.2mm Pentax XL to perform better contrast and sharpness wise than barlowing any of my 10mm to 12mm premium eyepieces.  It's close with the best Japanese made barlows from the 90s, but the designed together combinations (negative-positive eyepiece designs) still work better.  I don't have any short focal length, positive-only eyepieces like orthos or monos to compare because even at a 1mm exit pupil, I still see some residual issues with my observing eye's massive astigmatism so I wear eyeglasses at the eyepiece even at high powers.  By 0.7mm the effect is largely gone, but floaters then become a huge issue for me.

I will say that at highest powers, my 2" GSO ED 2x barlow plus TV PBI combination is not as sharp as my 2" or 1.25" Orion Deluxe fully baffled Japanese barlows, 1.25" TV 2x barlow, or 1.25" Meade 140 APO 2x barlow.  I don't know if it is a case of less is more or that the slight mismatch between the GSO and PBI becomes apparent at high powers, but it is there.  On the other hand, as @John noted above, ordinary barlows noticeably vignette on large field stop eyepieces while the telecentric GSO+PBI combination (Powermate-like) does not and yields beautiful views with widest or near widest field eyepieces.  I have yet to try the Celestron Ultima 2x barlow because everyone over here wants over $50 for them, and I can't justify spending more than $35 on a barlow simply for comparison purposes.

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9 hours ago, Geoff Barnes said:

We did discuss recently in another thread about certain brands of EP being more suited to certain brands of telescope. I know with my Skywatcher 12 inch Dob that I much prefer the views through my Skywatcher and Baader EP's than through my Explore Scientific 82 degree EP.

Do you have a link to the thread please?

9 hours ago, Rob said:

This does not surprise me at all. I feel its down to what sits well with different makes & style of equipment.

Can someone explain this phenomenon to me please?

I understand there can be variation between faster and slower 'scopes, but this is usually because the slower 'scopes are less demanding so it is harder to see the difference.

But are you suggesting this would be the same in two 'scopes of identical aperture and focal length but different makes?

In which case would it be that the deluxe ep is just identifying the flaws in the 'scope that the less deluxe ep isn't?! :D

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Yes, the interaction of a barlow with the curved field of a refractor would be different than the interaction of the same barlow and a flatter field reflector or perhaps a refractor with a field flattener.

Likewise, the spherical or chromatic aberration of the telescope objective would play differently after passage through the lens.

Then, the position of the focal plane in the eyepiece barrel will determine the exact amplification power of the Barlow, so it might vary from eyepiece to eyepiece.

I owned one of these 3 element short Japanese Barlows in the '90s, and they were quite good (sold as Parks Gold Series, Celestron Ultima, Orion Shorty Plus, etc.).

But they weren't quite the equal of a few of today's top Barlows (e.g. Baader VIP, TeleVue PowerMate) when it came to being essentially the same, optically, as a short focal length eyepiece without a Barlow.

Still, a very good Barlow and it sounds like a good "find".

 

 

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