barlow vs powermate

Barlow VS Powermate: Which Lens Should You Get?


For magnification, there are two types of lenses; Barlow and Powermate. They help you achieve improved resolution at a higher magnification. But before making the final decision, you may want to compare them. 

What are the differences between Barlow vs. Powermate

You can get Barlow and Powermate lenses for around $145 and $270, respectively. The Barlow lens only has a negative doublet because of 2 optical elements. This provides a decent image but less. But Powermate has both positive and negative couple. It produces no vignette and ray diverging, resulting in a better image. 

Anyhow, that was only a short answer to the discussion. Please stay with us if you want to know more about these two lenses. 

Let’s jump right into it-

Barlow VS Powermate: Noteworthy Differences

Both lenses are made to provide better image clarity at a higher magnification. But it’s not so easy comparing them without doing the homework. 

There’s a lot to know about, and heading directly into that will create confusion. Even comparing something like Cassegrain and Newtonian isn’t easy. 

That’s why we’ve decided to make a short table just for you- 

Aspects  Barlow Powermate
Price Range $144.90 (2.5x lens) $269.59 (2.5x lens)
Image Quality Decent Better
Compatible Focal Length Short & Medium Long
Optical Elements 4
Ray Diverging Yes No
Vignette Higher None
Refocusing Yes Only once 

These are the main differences that you’re going to face. Which lens is impressing you more?

Barlow vs. Powermate: Head-to-Head Comparison

Need to familiarize yourself with the terms or need a better explanation? Well, we can certainly do that for you! 

We’ve elaborated on each aspect and provided a much clearer comparison. Just sit back, relax, and go through the entire discussion!

Price Range

Price range is the most important out of all categories. Optical telescopes can be used in different ways due to the various features of every telescope. But the higher prices can make it all worthless.

Starting with Barlow lenses are available in different magnifications. We’ve decided to compare the prices of 2.5x magnification here. The rest of the lineups have the same price gaps. So, no need to worry about that.  

A Barlow lens with 2.5x magnification can be found for $145. Remember that there are different types of brands that sell these lenses. But $145 is a great price in between. So, you should easily fetch one of these. 

On the other side, Powermate lenses are super expensive. They usually cost $100 more on average for all magnifications. Depending on brands, you may see a bigger price gap. 

Winner: Barlow lens takes this round.

Image Quality

The price is probably too much for Powermate. To be honest, it is. But I think you might think about this after this category. 

When capturing lunar or planetary images, our main goal is to capture clear images. That’s why image quality is always prioritized, even for apochromatic and achromatic lenses. 

Normally, if you zoom in on a captured image, it gets blurry easily. But with a magnification lens, you don’t have to face this problem. 

Barlow has a two-element negative doublet lens. This creates diverging rays on the eyepiece. It may hurt your eye relief. But under the correct focal length, it can be beneficial. 

For the Barlow lens, the compatible focal lengths are short to medium. Consider the Barlow lens if you’re using a focal length of this range. 

However, the Powermate lenses have both negative and positive doublets. They consist of 4 optical elements. Because of this, it creates no ray divergence. 

As a result, it produces better-quality images. So, if you can afford the extra price, you can go for Powermate lenses. 

Winner: Powermate lenses are the clear victor here. 


Vignette is the arch-nemesis of photography. It means a brighter image around the center. This causes a darker background around the sides of the picture. 

Vignettes can also be caused by poor eyepiece construction. By using a good eyepiece in Celestron 8SE, you can avoid this problem. 

We’ve already mentioned the Barlow lens creating diverging rays. These rays can cause a vignette. But this only happens to eyepieces with long focal lengths. 

To avoid this problem, move the exit pupil and adjust it. 

On the other hand, the Powermate lenses do not produce any vignettes. So you don’t have to worry about that at all. 

It’s because of the positive doublets that it contains. It fixes all the diverging rays right away. 

If you don’t want to adjust lenses, Powermate may be worth the extra price! It’ll give you pure results immediately! 

Winner: Powermate wins the round here.


Question: Does a Barlow affect the exit pupil?

Answer: Yes, it does. The Barlow lens creates diverging rays. These rays push the exit pupil further into the back. Barlows with higher magnification tend to make the problem worse. 

Question: Can you stack barlow lenses?

Answer: Stacking Barlow lenses can increase the focal length. It’s done by increasing the independent focal length. It’s a very common practice and done by many. 

Question: Are 5x Barlow lenses any good?

Answer: Their image quality isn’t anything better. But it’s acceptable to a certain degree. 5x Barlow lenses aren’t as good as 2x lenses. It’s also slightly worse than 3x magnification. 

Parting Words

That was everything we could provide on Barlow vs. Powermate. Hopefully, that was enough to push you to a final decision. 

Keeping the lens clean is also important for maintaining photo quality. So, don’t forget that. With a maintained system, you can score a clear image easily.

Finally, have a nice day!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top