A Barlow lens is a low-cost way to increase the magnification of your telescope. As a result, by selecting the best one for your needs, you can enhance your backyard’s astronomical observing capabilities.
Are you considering going the low-cost route? Or are you looking for a higher-quality Barlow lens? In any case, the final decision is yours.
To assist you, here is a short buying guide and the Top 10 Best Barlow Lens.
Best 1.25-inch Barlow lenses
SVBONY 1.25” 2X Barlow lens
Best Price 1.25-inch Barlow lens
There are numerous possibilities for extremely low-cost Barlows, but the quality suffers. However, this one from SVBONY provides good visual quality at a reasonable price that will not empty your wallet.
It improves power and image contrast when used with Celestron Cosmos FirstScope, for example.
The machining of its parts and housing is quite intricate. Its compression ring, thread, and anodized black aluminum body are all well-made.
It effectively boosts the power of the eyepiece. For example, while using this Barlow, a 20x power becomes a 40x power.
Overall, this lens represents good value for money. You can use this as your primary Barlow or as a backup to a more expensive one, a great addition to a beginner’s telescope.
Celestron 93529 x-cel 1.25” 2x
Best All-Around 1.25” Barlow Lens
This Barlow has the functionality and capability to be an all-around Barlow lens for astronomical observation at a reasonable price. With its three-element optic system that decreases color distortions, it also works with diagonals.
It pairs well with any eyepiece, even better than the Ultima. The image’s sharpness and contrast are great for the price.
The elegant central rubber grip provides a good grip on the lens’s exterior. Furthermore, its compression ring and thumb screw adjustment function effectively in securing the eyepiece’s grasp.
It is an excellent Barlow for any astronomical observations.
Astromania 1.25” 3x shorty Barlow
Best for Budget Short Barlow Lens 1.25.”
Astromania is a well-known manufacturer of high-quality Barlow lenses. This short-focus lens is a low-cost solution for those on a tight budget.
Even when the wattage is increased threefold, you still receive a lovely, clean image.
This lens can be used to increase the ocular power of a Canon T5 DSLR and SkyWatcher 8-inch Dob. This accessory’s parts and housing are well-polished and machined.
The anodized black body is also useful for increasing image contrast.
It is a good lens at a reasonable price that provides superb views. It is a good lens for telescopes with focal lengths greater than 90mm.
However, make certain that you will be able to return it if it does not focus on your telescope. You could also try the 2X unit.
Orion 1.25″ 2x 4-element Barlow
Best 1.25” Barlow Lens with 2-Day Shipping
This Barlow has a good optic and magnification increase, and the extra benefit of 2-day shipping. Orion is a well-known brand that produces high-quality telescopes.
This Barlow is a 4-element multi-coated lens with a 2x magnification.
It provides a highly sharp and contrasted view. The compression ring and thumb screw adjustment do an excellent job of keeping your eyepiece secure.
Using this Barlow with a 25-mm eyepiece, you receive a magnification equal to a 12.5-mm eyepiece without losing any light through the aperture.
Overall, it’s a great Barlow lens for extending the capabilities of high-quality telescopes. It is recommended for telescopes with apertures of at least 130mm.
Baader planetarium 1.25” 2x vip barlow
Best High-End 1.25” Barlow Lens
This Baader Barlow is the way to go if you are prepared to go the additional mile for quality and pricing. It has a sharp, clear vision that is ideal for astrophotography.
If you want to gain a good image of those DSOs, buying a high-quality Baader Barlow is the most sensible option.
For the price, this lens can accept one eyepiece and one focuser. This lens’ whole housing is black coated to reduce internal reflection and color fringing.
The four-element optic system can significantly reduce spherical and chromatic aberrations, both of which alter image quality. It is designed to maintain a flat field of view.
Meanwhile, I like how the thumbscrews and compression ring are designed. It keeps the eyepiece securely in position.
When you hold it in your hand and feel how well-built and machined it is, you can tell it’s for a premium piece. This lens is recommended for the “professional” amateur astronomer.
Best 2-inch Barlow lenses
Astromania 2” ed 2x Barlow lens
Best Price Long Tube Barlow Lens
This long tube 2-inch Barlow lens offers exceptional optics, and we believe it is incomparable for the price.
This lens’ overall structure and machining are of high quality and constructed of long-lasting materials.
Its ED glass element is effective in reducing color aberrations which reduce image sharpness for astrophotography.
This Barlow can be used on a Canon T5 DLSR to improve focus, when paired with a SkyWatcher 8-inch Dobs. This lens is also ideal for supplementing the slight back focus of any reflector.
The aperture size of this lens provides enough light for sharper image contrast.
Another feature of this lens that we like is that you can unscrew one piece of the lens to get a reduced magnification, roughly 1.5x. This can be useful when focusing on specific telescopes or adjusting for that view.
The only complaint I heard was that it was incompatible with an Orion 2-inch 38-mm Q70 eyepiece. I couldn’t measure them with a micrometer to see who was out of tolerance.
Just an incredibly low-cost 2′′ Barlow!
Celestron 93436 luminous 2-inch 2.5x Barlow
Best All-Around 2” Barlow Lens
Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional astronomer, this Barlow is your best bet for a well-priced comprehensive tool for observational astronomy. The size is adequate, and the weight is appropriate for the function.
Its 1.25” adaptor, on the other hand, secures everything firmly in place.
This one is ideal for an 8-inch Dob with a 28-mm wide-angle lens. It improves the image’s magnification and contrast.
This Barlow’s complete assembly has high-quality machining, including its compression ring, anodized aluminum body, and central rubber grip.
When comparing its quality and pricing to its competitors, we believe it offers a significantly superior trade-off and cost-efficiency.
Furthermore, its 4-element optics perform admirably in terms of eliminating chromatic aberrations.
Reaching for it was also simple in low light. When it’s a different hue in the dim light, it’s easy to tell which one is your Barlow.
Zhumell 2-Inch 2X ED Barlow +1.25” adapter
Budget-Friendly 2-Inch Shorty Barlow Lens
For people on a tight budget who want a good quality Barlow for great viewing, this Zhumell 2-inch “shorty” Barlow is excellent.
You obtain a sharp image contrast with your astronomical adventure for a lower cost.
The general characteristics of this “shorty” lens efficiently deliver a clear, crisp image of the object with minimal light loss. Its thread or compression ring can securely retain a 2′′ or 1.25′′ eyepiece without scratching the rim.
Furthermore, its ED optics allow it to minimize color aberrations, aiding high-contrast photos.
Orion 08471 high-power 2-inch 2x 4-element
Best Barlow Lens with 2-Day Shipping
This is one of Orion’s finest Barlow lenses, and it is available in 2-days. When you consider its features and performance, the pricing is affordable.
With its adapter, this lens can be used for a 2′′ or 1.25′′ eyepiece. The brass compression rings also handle a 1.25” eyepiece and adapter excellently.
It has four-element optics and multi-coated lenses to minimize color and spherical aberrations. It increases the eyepiece’s power without sacrificing the viewer’s eye health or the clarity of the vision.
This Barlow also has an attractive central rubber grip design that allows you to hold it comfortably and securely in the event of dew buildup.
We believe that this lens will successfully provide a superior vision for your 1.25” or 2” eyepieces.
Televue pmt22002x Powermate 2-inch
Best High-End Optic Barlow Lens
The cost of an optic is directly proportional to its quality. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line optic system Barlow lens for your telescope, this one from Televue is one of the best.
If you are ready to spend on high-quality optics, the price is irrelevant. Your viewing and astrophotography will benefit.
This Barlow is ideal for use with CMOS astrophotography equipment. It lives up to its boast of offering a clean and clear image with no light loss.
The black edge of the lenses aids in maintaining a high contrast of your vision. So far, I have not heard of any complaints about incompatibility or quality.
It also comes in larger magnifications for straight astrophotography without the use of eyepieces.
The tube’s recess part keeps the Barlow from falling when positioned on a flat surface. It has a clean and well-polished overall machining.
What is a Barlow lens?
A Barlow lens is simply a small optical tube that allows you to magnify your telescope. The tube is filled with a concave lens.
When this lens is inserted between the lens of your telescope and its eyepiece, it magnifies the lens by the stated magnification (most Barlow lenses come in 2x, 3x, and 5x magnifications).
Buying guide: how do I choose the best Barlow lens?
Before you make any purchases, let’s go through what constitutes a decent Barlow lens. When shopping, there are three important factors to consider: tube size, magnification, and pricing.
- Tube size
The first thing you should know is the size of the Barlow lens that will fit perfectly in the focusing tube, as well as the size of the eyepieces you presently have. 1.25” and 2” are the two typical sizes.
A quick suggestion: if you can accommodate a 2′′ Barlow in the focusing tube, it will let more light flow through to your eyepiece.
The second thing to take into account is the magnification of the lens. Barlow lenses are usually available in three magnifications: 2x, 3x, and 5x. We recommend 2x power or something close to it for most novices.
You won’t be able to focus if you have too much X power (a 5x, for instance), or your field of view will be too restricted.
Price rises with quality, as it does with any other product. So, knowing a budget before buying a Barlow can be beneficial; for example, understanding how much you are willing to invest depending on the telescope you currently own.
There are still several low-cost, high-quality Barlows on the market, with prices starting at under $20. Prices start around $58 and rise if you want a middle-of-the-road product. Meanwhile, high-quality Barlow lenses start at $200 and go up.
- Number of lenses/elements
Barlows at the entry-level will have two. The advanced ones can have up to four.
- Optics correction
A good pair of blows will correct any optical distortions caused by having an extra device in your optics system.
- Additional features.
Some Barlows offer methods for reducing reflections and even improving the image coming from your eyepiece.
Why did these Barlows make this list?
These Barlow lenses made this list because they met the requirements for exceptional construction and lens quality. Achromatic reduction coatings, optical quality, housing material, and overall quality are important factors to consider.
These coatings are put in the Barlow lens to reduce the reflection of colors and light inside, improving the clarity and purity of the observed image.
Furthermore, it improves visual quality and eye comfort for the viewer.
This refers to the Barlow lens’ inherent quality. Typically, more expensive models have higher lens quality than less expensive models on the market.
However, you might always go for a lens with a mid-range quality.
The majority of Barlow lenses have an anodized black body and excellent aluminum housing. Some, on the other hand, have a strong plastic body.
Check the inside of the tube for any shiny plastic.
To provide a good grip, rubber insulation might be put around its body. The compression ring on the interior is constructed of brass and guarantees that the eyepiece is securely kept in place while preventing or minimizing scratching.
At this point, you should evaluate everything discussed previously and how it considerably increases the value of your specific Barlow lens. This is sometimes most obvious when you hold it in your hand.
How does a Barlow lens work?
At its most basic, an element Barlow lens is simply a diverging lens used to increase your telescope’s lens’ magnification or focal length.
Position it between your lens and the eyepiece, and it can significantly change your magnification when paired with different eyepieces.
Even though they are not extremely powerful, a decent Barlow lens can produce good image quality.
They are designed to work well with the eyepieces you already have for your telescope; they are not intended to be a replacement. They have a much lower magnification than a normal eyepiece.
When used together, though, you may utilize your telescope to very high power and see far further into the night sky. A good Barlow lens will be useful for identifying planets.
Do I need a Barlow lens?
One of the most frequently asked issues concerning Barlow lenses is if they are truly necessary for astronomy. Do you need a Barlow lens if the bulk of telescope sets include eyepieces?
A Barlow lens, in my opinion, is still a necessary piece of equipment for any astronomer, and it works best in conjunction with an eyepiece. For example, you have two choices if you have a 10mm and an 18mm eyepiece.
However, if you have a 10mm and an 18mm eyepiece and a 2x and a 3x Barlow, you will have more possibilities (10mm, 10mm x 2, 10mm x 3, etc.).
Pros of using a Barlow lens
- A Barlow lens can easily duplicate the number of magnifications achievable with the eyepieces you already have, and combining 2 Barlows with 3 or more eyepieces gives you a truly good range of magnifications at a low price.
- They let you obtain extremely high magnifications at the lowest possible cost, which is critical if you have a tight budget.
- With an inexpensive telescope, you can stack Barlow lenses together to gain even more power, which is great for getting up close and personal views.
Cons of using a Barlow lens
- In the long run, most individuals end up with a diverse set of eyepieces to choose from and rarely utilize a Barlow lens.
- Because Barlow lenses can be fairly large and bulky, many astronomers choose to use eyepieces in the long term.
- Cheap Barlows can be bad, so it’s a good idea to browse around for one with a good build quality and reasonable price.
What is the difference between Barlow and zoom lenses?
Because Barlow lenses and zoom lenses are quite similar and practically achieve the same thing, they are easily confused. However, there are some key distinctions between Barlow and zoom lenses.
- Some Barlow lenses may be changed to provide different magnifications. The magnification of standard Barlow lenses is fixed at 2x, 3x, or 5x. Zoom lenses, on the other hand, can change the level of magnification.
- A Barlow lens’ field of vision is often less than that of a zoom lens.
- All lenses are susceptible to optical faults, one of which is chromatic aberration. Achromatic correction is achieved by the employment of several glass elements in both Barlow and zoom lenses. Zoom lenses often feature more glass elements than Barlow lenses because the shifting focal length makes chromatic aberration correction more difficult. Because of the additional glass parts, zoom lenses are larger, heavier, and more expensive.
- Barlow lenses are unquestionably better suited for beginning amateur astronomers. They are easy to use and can frequently deliver higher-quality views at a lower cost than zoom lenses.
What does achromatic mean with a Barlow?
When we say a Barlow lens is achromatic, we mean that it is made up of two lenses joined together to form one. It is usually made up of convex and concave lenses.
Overall performance is improved by efficiently minimizing chromatic aberration or splitting colors and lights in different directions.
An achromatic lens for a Barlow is made up of at least two lenses. An apochromatic Barlow usually has three or more lenses.
Meanwhile, achromatic coatings on a Barlow lens indicate that the coating aids in the elimination of internal reflection within the glass. As a result, the image is crisper and clearer.
What is the difference between 2, 3, and 4 lenses?
In the field of lenses, an “element” is a single lens that makes up the entire optic system. A 2-element Barlow lens, for example, signifies that the entire optic system is made up of two different lenses attached together.
A 3- and 4-element Barlow lens, on the other hand, merely means that the complete optic is made up of three and four separate lenses put together, respectively.
How to determine the quality of Barlow
An ocular evaluation of a Barlow lens’ construction quality can be seen on its inside and external polish. The majority of high-quality Barlows feature housings made of high-quality aluminum with rubberized grip insulation wrapped around them.
There is a non-reflective black surface and a brass compression ring to grip and secure the eyepieces inside the tube.
Some of these lenses also include safety grooves to prevent them from falling. There are other threads on the thumbscrews that are strong enough not to pull or strip.
Of course, securing an eyepiece with a quality brass ring does not require much force.
Is it worth it to invest in a Barlow lens?
If you’re wondering if you need a Barlow lens, the answer is: probably. A Barlow lens is a cheap option to boost the magnification of your telescope, and beginners need to be able to do so.
Which is better: a Barlow lens or an eyepiece?
Another frequently asked question is if a Barlow lens is superior to an eyepiece. For example, a 10mm eyepiece with a Barlow lens is equivalent to a 20mm eyepiece, correct?
But which one is superior? Many old-school astronomers prefer to collect eyepieces of various magnifications – it’s all part of their enjoyment.
There won’t be much of a difference between the two in most circumstances, although eyepieces are often manufactured for the telescope brand so that they may be a little better.
Can I use two Barlow lenses at the same time? (Barlows stacked)
Many people question if they can utilize two Barlow lenses simultaneously. The answer is, of course, you can!
When you combine a 2x with a 3x Barlow lens, you get a 6x magnification (this is approximate).
However, keep in mind that stacking your Barlows together like this can make it much more difficult to focus your telescope.
Is it possible to stack Barlow lenses?
Yes! You can try out different Barlow lens configurations. Make sure they have the same barrel size (1.25′′ or 2′′) and use the maximum useful magnification formula described in the preceding section.
Last update on 2022-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API