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Barlows, yeay, nay and which?


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I know barlows can be a useful bit of kit but in reading some of the older threads it seems there are a few who don't seem to bother with them, instead opting to acquire the relevant EP.

I was just wondering on their reasons and would ask why (if i may).

Although it does not end there as this is a double barrelled question, quality of the various barlows out there, I have my eye on some Televue EPs and I am now in a bit of a muddle on weather to get Televue x2+3 barlow or stick with the TAL brand.

Thoughts and opinions would be, as always, appreciated.

Thanks

Regards,

Nick

Edited by nicnac
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A good barlow will work well I'm sure. The 2x Tal gets a good rep, and at a very good price.

Here's a nice pic of one at the new, still being constructed Tal(NPZ) factory website.

You may need to translate the page if your browser doesn't do it semi-automatically.

http://tinyurl.com/yff5clp

The Televue's will of course be of top quality.

But.

I'm in the 'less glass between the scope and my eyeball the better' camp. I've never seemed to 'get on' with barlows. I prefer to pick up the 4 or 5 needed eyepieces for use in my scope.

eg: For my 200K, I have a 32mm, 20mm, 12mm, 9mm and 7mm. This gives 62x, 100x, 166x, 222x and 286x.

Hopefully someone will offer a pro barlow opinion.

Cheers,

Andy

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I never had ANY luck using my 2X Celestron barlow with my 90mm scope (f11,f/l 1000). Image was dim and blurred. Now i am using the same 2X barlow with my SkyWatcher 130P (f5,f/l 650) and i am having a great time with it observing the moon. It works so well with the new scope that i am also using a 6mm EP with it. More often then not though, i am also of the 'less glass between the scope and my eyeball the better' camp.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I got a 3x barlow with my Celestron 114, I have given up with it as it is easier to swap EPs than put in the barlow and then wind in the focus only to find that the image has degraded so much it wasn't worth the bother. I'm sure that a good quality 2x would be far more useful though.

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I am in the eyepiece only camp. Similar to previous I also believe in the less glass the better. Well perhaps not better but to get good results the glass needs to be well designed.

Spherical surfaces are not ideal, they may be good but they are not the best. Aspheric lens are better but they cost!!

So you start out on a little of a compromise and adding more glass, in the form of a barlow, has to make it more of a compromise - more "imperfect" surfaces.;)

Then we get to the EP that you use. A good expensive high quality barlow will be limited by the EP. In effect the barlow abberations may be insignificant but the EP ones may not.;):evil6:

So little point in the best most expensive barlow unless the EP is also high quality. So again expensive.:):icon_scratch:

I suppose that if you had say just 3 good EP's then a good barlow is worthwhile.:D

Edited by Capricorn
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I'm in the Barlow camp :)

You have to remember that it effectively doubles your range of magnifications. I have 5 eyepieces. But with a Barlow I have a range of 10 different magnifications.

What I will say is the quality of the Barlow and the EP you put into it really does make a difference. I bought myself a Meade 5000 Telextender (2x) recently. It outperforms my old Vixen barlow very easily. That said, it was worth the investment rather than spending double what I did on new decent eyepieces. :D

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it seems the barlow camp is out numbered at the minute.

My EP choice at the minute is pretty much covered by Televue Radians, im led to believe they are a fine EP, will i have to buy the entire range?, well, that remains to be seen.

Lets see how this thread fares :)

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Till recently it was a big NAY for me, but then again my barlow was under 30£.

I recently decided to upgrade my EPs and the most I was willing (and allowed by SWMBO) to spend was 1000€ (~900£). Since I don't have the previlage of having any other amateur astronomers in a 1600 km radious that own high quality EPs (such as WO UWAN or SW Nirvanas) that I could try, I decided not to take risks and go for the ones most people say are best. I could only afford two, 2nd hand, and 2 good barlows, with that budget.

I got a Nagler 31mm, an Ethos 10mm, a TV Big barlow 2x and an Antares 1.6x 2" barlow on the way. I hope I'll change my mind about barlows! But if I had the money I wouldn't depend on it and get 4 quality EPs instead.

Reviews to come once I get my gear, should be a couple of weeks though, cause some of it comes from the US.

Edited by pvaz
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I agree that the less glass the better BUT sometimes you need a barlow for high mags.

I have an old Skywatcher barlow that is 'not good' but it was free and got me going.

The Tal barlows are good value for money but lack contrast.

The Celestron Ultima and Televues are optically a step up with superb contrast but cost more.

A fellow forum member loaned me a Klee barlow that was also excellent.

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I agree that the less glass the better BUT sometimes you need a barlow for high mags.

A fellow forum member loaned me a Klee barlow that was also excellent.

A klee barlow is currently on sale on ebay at the moment.

I use a TeleVue Nagler zoom for the high mag stuff on my refractors. Not cheap, but is the equivalent of quite a few eyepieces. So when you think about it that way it's quite reasonable. Nearly killed me to splash that amount of cash, though. :) Very good optical quality.

Cheers,

Andy

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I used barlows for a long time and found the good ones worked pretty well. My favourites were the Celestron Ultima 2x and later the Tele Vue Powermate 2.5x. I decided a while ago that I would prefer the "eyepiece only" route so bought 5mm and 3.5mm Nagler Type 6's.

The new eyepieces work very well but I really can't see any improvement over longer focal length ones used with the 2.5x Powermate if I'm honest. The main benefit is not having to fiddle around with another piece of expensive kit in the dark.

I am still toying with the idea of getting an Antares 2" 1.6x barlow to use with my 13mm Ethos as I really can't justify the cost of another Ethos. This combination is reported to work rather well.

Edited by John
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I'm in the less glass camp for viewing DSO's but for planetry or lunar work I'm more than happy to use my 12T4 with either my x2 or x3 barlows giving me x200 or x300. As we all know the planets or the moon are nice and bright so the views are more than good enough for me. The two barlows cost me something like £160 in total if I'd got a couple of type 6 Televue's I would have had no change out of £400.

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I'am with the last post, a barlow is an essential for an ep case (unless you have unlimited funds) but you need to spend money on a good barlow, the Ultima & TV powermates are very good preformers, but 1 step up are the best 2 barlows the Ziess 2X and the TMB 1.8X, these barlows are in a class on there own, you won't know it's there apart from your 16mm became 7-8mm. a good quality barlow should be viewed as any other ep don't expect it to preform very well for just a few pounds. I would not be without my TMB 1.8 & I would have had to spent many times what i paid for the barlow to aquire the same in FL eyepieces, both of these barlows are now discontinued, hard to find, expensive, but still offer great value when you consider the saving in buying 3 or 4 extra ep's.

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Why would you buy "3 or 4 extra eyepieces"??????

You only ever need/ use probably three maybe four for any telescope:

Low power

Medium power

High power

and for those very tight double stars

Extra High power.

That's it!

The rest will end up just looking pretty in the box!

My 2c

Ken

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I have three primary eps in my kit, a 24mm Antares SW, a 7.5mm of the same make, and a 4.8mm Nagler S1. I use an Antares Apo Barlow to fill in the gaps, and it works fine. I don't think I really needed to get the Apo Barlow, and sometimes wish I'd got the cheaper one that doesn't significantly change the focus of the lens.

Before this, I had two cheaper Celestron Barlows, one came with the kit, and one I bought. They both worked fine.

With my f/5 Newt, the 7.5mm ep, and the 2x Barlow I get 200x, and it is AWESOME on the Moon. It is also very good if I'm looking at most of the available DSOs from my back garden (there ren't very many.)

Considering the quality of the eps you are considering, you don't want to put a cheap Barlow behind them, but you could consider the Celestron Ultima, or even a Powermate.

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I have three primary eps in my kit, a 24mm Antares SW, a 7.5mm of the same make, and a 4.8mm Nagler S1. I use an Antares Apo Barlow to fill in the gaps, and it works fine. I don't think I really needed to get the Apo Barlow, and sometimes wish I'd got the cheaper one that doesn't significantly change the focus of the lens.

Before this, I had two cheaper Celestron Barlows, one came with the kit, and one I bought. They both worked fine.

With my f/5 Newt, the 7.5mm ep, and the 2x Barlow I get 200x, and it is AWESOME on the Moon. It is also very good if I'm looking at most of the available DSOs from my back garden (there ren't very many.)

Considering the quality of the eps you are considering, you don't want to put a cheap Barlow behind them, but you could consider the Celestron Ultima, or even a Powermate.

That's my experience too. I have the Ultima and it's very nice but i struggle to see an improvement over the view a cheaper GSO barlow gives. Like others, i find my medium power eyepieces barlow nicely to give a view that is hard to tell apart from the dedicated high power eyepiece. Or in other words a worthy addition to the kit bag without a doubt.

Russ

Edited by russ
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