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  1. #1
    Carlos_dfc's Avatar
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    Default Barlow comparison



    The UK astro magazine 'Sky at Night' has a very interesting 'group-test' of 8 popular 2x barlows in the April issue.

    Without going too deeply into it - here's a comparison of what IMHO are the most important factors...... Price, and Optical quality.

    Prices are in UK pounds Sterling - but still useful as a direct comparison.

    Celestron Omni ....... £41 ..... Optics 94%
    Celestron Ultima ...... £92 ..... Optics 98%
    SkyWatcher Deluxe .. £30 ..... Optics 88%
    Orion Standard ........ £39 ..... Optics 88%
    Orion Ultrascopic ..... £69 ..... Optics 98%
    Vixen Deluxe ........... £88 ..... Optics 94%
    Meade #126 ........... £42 ..... Optics 97%
    Tele vue ................ £77 ..... Optics 98%

    For years - when asked - I've always recommended the Celestron Ultima as probably the best barlow you can get, without spending 'Televue' money.
    However, now it appears there's a TeleVue available cheaper than the Ultima, at a similar optical quality.
    Also - looking at the table - You gotta say that best bang-for-buck at the moment looks to be the Meade #126 - VERY close to the optical quality of the Televue, Ultima, and Ultrascopic - for around half the price.

    **Notes
    All are 1.25" fit.
    The SkyWatcher Deluxe and Orion Standard are identical apart from marginally better coatings on the SW.
    SW and Orion are both threaded to allow the fitting of a camera with standard T-ring.
    Ultrascopic and Vixen have barrels which are too long to sink fully into a diagonal - TeleVue is borderline, but should be OK in most 2" diags
    TeleVue is the only one with a filter thread.
    Celestron 'Omni' was noted to have a 'loose' eyepiece fit.
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  2. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Carlos_dfc For This Useful Post:

    admin (08-13-2009),GriffinBF (08-13-2009),jairsinho (10-27-2009),LazyEyepiece (08-13-2009),MarkM (08-13-2009),roverich (08-14-2009)

  3. #2
    RussL's Avatar
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    Default

    I have the Celestron Ultima. It does indeed have a loose eyepiece fit. No problems that I've noticed as a result, though. I've even tried to move the eyepiece around to see if I would notice any difference on an image. I really couldn't tell, so no worries.

    BTW, many Barlows are advertised to be apo, the Ultima included, but as far as I know there's no ED glass in them. It's all about coatings, blackened lens edges, and blackened barrels from what I have read. My Ultima is good enough that I have no desire to purchase another Barlow unless it would be a 3x.

  4. #3
    LazyEyepiece's Avatar
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    Default

    Carlos,
    Thanks for this post, I found it useful for deciding on a Barlow.

    I'm going with the Meade #126. I'll report back in a week or so after testing.
    My God, It's full of Stars
    12" Zhumell Deluxe
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    32mm 2" GSO EP
    9mm 1.25" GSO EP
    4mm 1.25" Meade Super Plossl
    2X GSO Barlow (2" - 1.25")
    Switching to Baader Ep's

  5. #4
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    Default

    I wonder where my Seben would fit in that list. The Meade seems the best bang for the buck, @ $30 at OpticsPlanet.

    I doubt that this old mark one eyeball would be able to distinguish any difference among them.
    Meade 16" LightBridge; Celestron G-8N Bird-Jones/motorized EQ5;
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  6. #5
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    Default

    I wish they would have included the Meade Series 5000 TeleXtenders. I have had one on order for a while now. 2 inch 2X. From the time I ordered it at $150 the price jumped up to $230. I will hold their feet to the fire for the $150 but it will be another month for delivery. At any rate for that price it had better be right at the top of the pile as they advertise. I was ready to cancel the order and buy another one until I found they raised the price. What do you think? Jason

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    Off the top of my head..... How much better than 98% can you get:

    As a builder, I have a philosophy that fits many other aspects of life:

    Perfection is a laudable goal, but you can spend 90% of your money chasing the last 10%.
    Last edited by WWPierre; 08-13-2009 at 05:21 PM.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RussL View Post
    I have the Celestron Ultima. It does indeed have a loose eyepiece fit. No problems that I've noticed as a result, though. I've even tried to move the eyepiece around to see if I would notice any difference on an image. I really couldn't tell, so no worries.

    BTW, many Barlows are advertised to be apo, the Ultima included, but as far as I know there's no ED glass in them. It's all about coatings, blackened lens edges, and blackened barrels from what I have read. My Ultima is good enough that I have no desire to purchase another Barlow unless it would be a 3x.
    I also own the Celestron Ultima and have been reasonably pleased with it. Even with a Nagler, the extra optical element you add by attaching a Barlow is going to skew things a bit wrt color and spherical aberration. Cant have it all I guess (have never looked through a Televue Barlow, mind you).
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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WWPierre View Post
    Perfection is a laudable goal, but you can spend 90% of your money chasing the last 10%.
    I hear you well on that point...

    Not so long ago I owned a ED100 refractor, and one night I got the opportunity to test it side-by-side with a TMB 105mm apo refrctor which cost around 5 times as much as my ED100.

    Admittedly, the TMB was marginally crisper - and on the Moon at high power, there was the tiniest hint of a colour-fringe on the limb through the ED100, which wasn't present using the TMB.
    TMB was also obviously better built (as you'd expect from an OTA costing £3,500)
    But were the views FIVE TIMES as good as the humble ED100?

    No way!
    Better? - Yes! But not by a lot.

    As you say - You pay an awful lot more, to get only a couple more percent nearer to perfection.


    Don't get me wrong...
    If I was in the market for a 4" apo - and money was no object - I'd be looking at similar TMBs
    But in the real world, where I have to watch my pennies - I could never justify the huge price difference, for the slight improvement in the views.
    Last edited by Carlos_dfc; 08-13-2009 at 06:45 PM.
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  10. #9
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    Default

    Well I guess it’s down to the Meade 5000 and the Telvue anyway as they make the 2 inch versions. I suspect the 5000 series is at the top of the list as well. The Ultima doesn't come in a 2 inch size. I want the option of plugging in 2 inch eyepieces into the Barlow as well.

    I attended my first "star party" last Saturday and was chatting with a guy “rich guy I guess” and he told me he had collected over 100 eyepieces over the years. He recommended owning one or two high end eyepieces and to hell with all of the rest of them. I am sure he had several high end scopes as well. Must be nice!

  11. #10
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    Yeah, I keep hearing the term "disposable income". Anybody know what that is?
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