Tele Vue Powermates
With freedom from aberrations, greater magnification potential, and compact size, Powermates pick up from where Barlows can go no further.
Concept: While Barlows are powerful tools, the negative element defining them also limits their ability. The simple negative element Barlow increases eyepiece eye-relief. With short focal length eyepieces the effect is negligible. However, on long focal length eyepieces the exit pupil position moves well beyond the designer's intended position, resulting in vignetting with many eyepieces. This is why "Shorty" Barlows in particular, with their strong negative element often vignette and degrade long focus eyepieces. My 4-element form picks up where the Barlow concept can go no further. Powermate™ is a technically universal solution, using a positive field lens to redirect field rays. The result is an exit pupil that stays where the eyepiece designer intended. With freedom from aberrations, greater magnification potential, and compact size, I hope you'll agree Powermate™ raises the standard for image amplification. — Al Nagler.
Powermate™ vs. Barlow.
A high quality Barlow must be properly designed and manufactured in order to avoid compromising a telescope's color and spherical aberration corrections. The "invisibility" of Tele Vue's 2-element Barlows has been noted in test reports in the astronomy magazines. However, by the nature of its negative power lens, a Barlow will do more than just increase magnification, regardless of the number of elements.
The diverging rays leaving the Barlow result in moving the exit pupil further out, thereby extending the eye relief. In short to medium focal length eyepieces the change is not noticeable. However, in the case of long focal length eyepieces, the increase can be significant and not without performance consequences.
Vignetting can occur due to the altered ray path, when the eyepiece's lenses are not large enough in diameter to allow all the rays to make it through. Shorter Barlows, or ones with too much magnification, only exacerbate the problem because the ray path entering the eyepiece is steeper.
We had to go beyond the Barlow concept to achieve the goal of a compact, high power, fully corrected image amplifier. The Powermate™ consists of a negative doublet plus a positive "pupil-correcting" doublet. This 4-element system provides the magnifying function of a Barlow without its limitations by restoring the field rays back to their original direction, as if the Powermate™ were not there. The result is a pure magnification increase.
(4x Powermate™ shown for illustration. All 2" models include 1¼" adapters (left). Standard Eyepiece Adapter (middle-top) is removable to allow Photo/Visual assembly (right) to use optional T-Ring Adapters (middle-bottom) for imaging.) (4x Powermate™ photo setup with T-Ring adapter (left). 4x Powermate™ visual setup with 1¼" adapter (right).
If, for example, you own a 24mm Panoptic, you'll have the power of a 12mm focal length eyepiece with the 2.0x Powermate™, 9.6mm with the 2.5x Powermate™, a 6mm with the 4x Powermate™, or a 4.8mm with the 5x Powermate™!
Imaging the Solar System with Powermates™
For astro-imagers, the chart on the left indicates the magnification for each Powermate™ (2x, 2.5x, 4x & 5x) as a function of distance from the Powermate™ top surface to the imaging surface (CCD or film).
1¼" Powermates™: 2.5x & 5x
The 5x Powermate™ is ideal for long focus CCD and film photography, magnifying about 7.7x. It's an attractive, high performance alternative to eyepiece projection. The 5x is also perfect for slowing down your scope for Hydrogen-Alpha solar observing.
2" Powermates™: 2x & 4x
Excellent with long eye-relief, 2" eyepieces. Using the 4x model, imagine the quality of a 35mm Panoptic at 8.8mm with 25mm of eye relief! The Powermate™ is NOT a Barlow so the Panoptic-Barlow Interface is not needed! The 2" Powermate™ fits all the way into 2" Star Diagonals, requiring minimal refocus compared to a 2" Barlow.
Note for Dobsonian/Newtonian Owners: When using Tele Vue's Paracorr coma corrector, the 2.5x or 5x Powermate™ should be inserted into the Paracorr's 1¼" adapter (i.e., between the Paracorr and the eyepiece). For 2x and 4x 2" Powermates™, first insert the Powermate™ into the focuser, then the Paracorr into the Powermates™.