Table of contents :


Newtonian telescope

Dall Kirkham 200 mm F/4- F/15, Mewlon 210 F/2.9-F11.9 and Mewlon 250 F/3-F15

Gregory 250 mm F/3.2-F/28.4

Cassegrain 200 mm F/4-F/15 and Cassegrain 350 F4.9-F29.2

Celestron "classic" and Edge-HD versions overview

Celestron 8 classic and Edge-HD

Celestron 14

Celestron 14 classic and Edge HD

CDK 355 mm F3 - F11.8

Barlow lenses


Five Barlow lenses under analysis : X2 long Barlow, X2 Clavé, Triplet shorty, 4X Telecentric, 2.7X ED coma corrector APM :

with various telescopes : Newtonian 450 mm F/5, Newtonian 300 mm F/7, Newtonian 250 F/8, Dall-Kirham 200 F3-15, classic C8/F2-10, classic C14/F11



a) The 2X "long Barlow lens" - f = - 142.3 mm:

The OSLO model is from [1] :

The field curvature has a radius of 141.1 mm (opposite to the incoming light).

b) The X2 Clavé - f = - 113.4 mm

A Barlow lens of this type was calculated by Maurice Paul in 1935 for a 54 mm diameter (ref : Revue d'Optique Théorique et Instrumentale - Mai 1935 - Page 188). Latter on, Jean Texereau asked Clavé company in Paris to manufacture this type of lens in 27 mm size (1955). This design (Clairaut aplanetic doublet) is corrected from spherical aberration and is intended to correct the coma of Newtonian telescope with F/D > 5. Specifications have been re-calculated by Serge Bertorello for a 25.1 mm diameter based on the original Maurice Paul paper (see :

c) The Triplet "Shorty" Barlow - f = - 54.95 mm

The OSLO model is from [1].

The field curvature has a radius of 97.9 mm (opposite to the incoming light).

d) The 4X telecentric :

The OSLO model is from [1]. Unfortunately, there is no way to check how this design compares to Televue or Siebert telecentric designs.

The field curvature has a radius of 49.6 mm (opposite to the incoming light). This is the smallest radius of curvature of all four Barlow lenses evaluated here.

Performances with a Newton 450 mm F/5 :

Strelh ratio :

- The "long Barlow" and the telecentric X4 perform beautifully down to 350 nm

- Even for on-axis high resolution imaging, Barlow lenses do not like to be used away from their nominal magnification factors. Both Clavé and "long Barlow" are no longer diffraction limited when pushed to X3 instead of nominal X2.

- Two stacked Barlow lens give better results than increasing magnification factor of a single Barlow lens. However, Strehl ratio severely decreases below 400 nm.

- It is clearly better to use a single Barlow lens designed for the expected magnification ratio.

- The triplet "Shorty" Barlow is limited to 0.94 Strelh ratio from 350 to 450 nm (this is still diffraction limited).

Flat field diffraction limited field :


- The longer focal length Barlow lenses significantly expand the flat-field diffraction limited field (eg "long Barlow" and Clavé X2) while the short focal lenght ones decrease it (eg. Telecentric X4 which as a strong field curvature).

- The triplet "Shorty" Barlow is at no advantage compared to the "long Barlow" or the older Clavé.

The "2X long Barlow" lens f = - 141 mm and Newton 450 F/5

There is virtually no LSA introduced by the "long barlow" at X2 factor (left). The reduction of the Strelh ratio at X3 is explained by the spherical aberration introduced by the Barlow lens at X3 (right)

LSA for X2 and X3 factors (450, 550 and 650 nm) :

Chromatic focal shift measured at the focus of Barlow at X2 factor :

The focusing being usually done by moving the Barlow lens and not the detector, the actual focal shift at the focuser is divided by ................;


2X Clavé Barlow lens and Newton 450 mm F/5

As designed, this Barlow lens shows a very small LSA at X2, which explains the high value of Strelh ratio. Increasing the magnification factor to X3 largely increases the LSA which explains the reduction of the Strelh ratio.

LSA are shown below for X2 and X3 factors (and 450, 550 and 650 nm) :

This old design compared well to the modern "long Barlow"using modern glasses with equivalent chromatic focal shift. The chromatic focal shift (here for X2 magnification) is very well contained from 400 to 800 nm. It becomes spectacular under 400 nm. To be checked for Venus UV imaging with a 100 nm bandwith filter ?

X4 Telecentric Barlow and Newton 450 F/5

Strehl ratio and diffraction flat-field field :

LSA from 450, 550 and 650 nm. Chromatic focal shift from 300 to 800 nm.

Performances with a Newton 300 mm F/7 :

The "long Barlow" is still the top performer, while this time the triplet short Barlow gives a larger field than the older Clavé.

Performances with a Newton 250 mm F/8 :

Strelh ratio :

- The Barlow lenses have an easy task at F/8, the Strehl ratio is equal to 1 for all wavelengths and Barlow lenses.

Flat-field diffraction limited field :

- This time, the "long Barlow" gives a much larger diffraction limited field than the other Barlow lenses. Still, this field is smaller than without the Barlow lenses

Performances of the "Long" Barlow lens with a DK 200 nm F3-F15 :

- No impact whatsoever on Strehl ratio nor diffraction limited flat field, probably because of the easy to deal native long F/15 ratio.

Performances with the "Classic Celestron 8 F2-F10 :



- With at F/10 ratio, there is no impact of the Clavé Barlow lens on the Strehl ratio.

- The diffraction limited field is slightly increased by the use of Clavé Barlow (+25% in red light)

Performances with a "Classic Celestron 14 F/11 :


- Both Barlow lenses have no impact on the Strehl ratio.

- Both Barlow lens slightly increase the diffraction limited field.


2.7X ED coma corrector APM

Main conclusions (until now ...) :

- The "X2 long Barlow lens" is clearly the best overall performer when it comes to Strehl ratio versus wavelength range and radius of the diffraction limited flat-field.

- The triplet Shorty design is at no advantage compared to the longer doublet design.

- While having excellent on-axis performance, the Telecentrix X4 design introduces strong field curvature which reduces the size of the diffraction limited flat-field..

- Depending on telescope design, the Barlow lens may increase or decrease the diffraction limited flat field (compared to "without Barlow").

- Barlow lenses have more difficult time at low F/D ratio (eg F/5) and easier time at long ratio (eg F/8).

- Barlow lenses introduce a various amount of spherical aberration depending on their design.

- Even for on axis high resolution imaging, Barlow lenses do not like to be taken away from their nominal magnification factors (eg. X3 instead of X2) because of increasing spherical aberrations and astigmatism.

- Barlow lenses introduce achromatic focal shift to be corrected by refocusing, specially in blue light.

- Barlow lenses introduce fieldl curvature opposite to the incoming light which could offset the field curvature of the instrument (generally concave to the incoming light).

- Coma correcting Barlow lenses such as APM X2.7 ED looks very promising for Newtonian telescopes.



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