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RB Telescopes

16" Reverse Binocular Newtonian


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Shipping Notes

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14.5" Reverse Binocular Newtonian


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Shipping Notes

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10" Reverse Binocular Newtonian


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6" Reverse Binocular Newtonian


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All Reverse Binoculars

Reverse Binocular

RB Reverse Binocular Telescopes
  Ease of use (no bulky, complicated or expensive mount, just look down into the binocular to see the sky behind you)
  Protective cover
    RB-10 = White (available in black by special order)
    RB-66 = White (available in black by special order)
  Six motors for adjusting inter-ocular (eye) spacing, focusing and optical tube alignment with the touch of a button
  Modified Reverse Crayford focusers
  Fold-away motorcycle-type handlebars for pointing the instrument
  Handlebar and wheels for easy movement of the instrument (optional)
  Compatible with MAX computers (optional)
  Battery operation
  JMI's celebrated quality construction
  Type:  Dual Newtonian reflectors
    RB-16 = Alt-Azimuth on a pier
    RB-14.5 = Alt-Azimuth on a pier
    RB-10 = Alt-Azimuth on a pier
    RB-66 = Alt-Azimuth with Pebble Formica for smooth azimuth operation, Celestron tripod (26" retracted, 42" extended) 
    RB-16 = 16" f/4.5 primary mirror, 3.5" diagonal secondary mirror
    RB-14.5 = 14.5" f/4.5 primary mirror, 3.5" diagonal secondary mirror
    RB-10 = 10" f/5 primary mirror, 2.5" diagonal secondary mirror
    RB-66 = 6" f/5 primary mirror (reviewed in October 2001 Astronomy Magazine), 1.6" diagonal secondary mirror
  Diagonals:  Erect Image or Regular (specify)
  Clearance Between Optical Tubes: 
    RB-16 = 8"
    RB-14.5 = 8"
    RB-10 = 9"
    RB-66 = 9.5"
  Eyepiece Spacing:  Variable from 2" to 3.25"
  Alignment:  Motorized x and y axis for optical tube alignment
  Power:  6vDC operation with a 4.5 amp-hour rechargeable battery and 110vAC/60Hz or 220vAC/50Hz charger (specify).  (Anticipated battery life will be measured in months.)
  Binocular Weight:
    RB-16 =  Approximately 175 lbs
    RB-14.5 = Approximately 155 lbs
    RB-10 = Approximately 70 lbs
    RB-66 = Approximately 49.4 lbs (78.4 lbs with Carrying Case)
  Mount Weight:   
    RB-16 = Approximately 29 lb
    RB-14.5 = Approximately 29 lbs
    RB-10 = Approximately 25 lbs
    RB-66 = Approximately 9.6 lbs
  Binocular Height:
    RB-16 = 77.5" (vertical on pier) or 36" (horizontal on pier)
    RB-14.5 = 69" (vertical on pier) or 34" (horizontal on pier)
    RB-10 = 59" (vertical on pier) and 35" (horizontal on pier)
    RB-66 =  30.25" (from top of tripod to top of binocular with binocular locked into vertical position)
  Binocular Width:
    RB-16 = 46"
    RB-14.5 = 45"
    RB-10 = 34"
    RB-66 = 24.5"
  Binocular Depth:
    RB-16 = 22.5"
    RB-14.5 = 22"
    RB-10 = 12"
    RB-66 = 11" (folded)
  Binocular Tube Length:
    RB-16 = 66"
    RB-14.5 = 59"
    RB-10 = 47"
    RB-66 = 27"
  Shipping Crate or Box Size:
    RB-16 = approximately 50" x 50" x 52" crate
    RB-14.5 = approximately 50" x 50" x 52" crate
    RB-10 = approximately 50" x 50" x 52" crate
    RB-66 Binocular = 36-1/2" x 17-3/4" x 29-1/4" box (85.4 lbs)
RB-66 Tripod Mount = 30-1/2" x 10-1/4" x 11" box (12.2 lbs)
Standard Equipment


    RB-16 = Two Modified 2" RCF-1 Focusers with Motors for motorized focusing
    RB-14.5 = Two Modified 2" RCF-1 Focusers with Motors for motorized focusing
    RB-10 = Two Modified 2" RCF-1 Focusers with Motors for motorized focusing
    RB-66 = Two Modified 1.25" RCF-mini1 Focusers with Motors for motorized focusing
  Eyepieces  (Due to the design of the telescope, we do not recommend using 2" eyepieces or Barlows.)
    RB-16 = Two 1.25" 30mm Wide-Angle  (subject to availability)
    RB-14.5 = Two 1.25" 30mm Wide-Angle  (subject to availability)
    RB-10 = Two 1.25" 30mm Wide-Angle  (subject to availability)
    RB-66 = Two 1.25" 20mm Wide-Angle  (subject to availability)
  Star Pointer Finder Scope
  Battery:  6vDC battery (includes AC charger)
Product Manual
  See our Document Library.
    RB-16 = Document Number 65
    RB-14.5 = Document Number 65
    RB-10 = Document Number 67
    RB-66 = Document Number 64
Pricing and Shipping Notes
  Telescope Prices are for the standard telescope configuration.  Upgrades, Accessories, Crating and Shipping are at additional cost.
  A Deposit in the amount of 10% of the Telescope Price is required with all telescope orders (5% is Non-Refundable).  The remaining amount due (90%) must be paid before the telescope is shipped.
  Crating and Shipping Charges are not included in the listed price.  If the telescope will be shipped to your location, there will be an additional charge for crating (except the 6" RB-66 which requires the purchase of a Carrying Case for shipping) and an additional shipping charge.  Please call for a shipping quote.  Due to fluctuations in the market, the shipping quote is only valid for 30 days.
    RB-16 = $300 crating charge  Buy Now
    RB-14.5 = $300 crating charge  Buy Now
    RB-10 = $250 crating charge  Buy Now
    RB-66 = No crating charge but Carrying Case Required for Shipping (See Below)
  Telescopes are not usually kept in stock and therefore require time to build.

RB Optional Upgrades

No Upgrades
at This Time

No Upgrades at this time

** RFQ = Request for Quote (Ask us for a price quote.)  Upgrade prices are based on upgrading from standard equipment.  << HIDDEN TEXT >>


RB Optional Accessories

Next Generation Computer
NGC-superMAX Complete Installation


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Next Generation Computer
NGC-MAX Complete Installation


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Next Generation Computer
NGC-microMAX Complete Installation


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Software Guided Telescope
SGT-MAX Complete Installation
(PC Operation Only)


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Software Guided Telescope Upgrade for NGC-MAX
Serial Cable
(Allows either PC or Standalone Operation when used with an NGC-MAX)


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Encoders and Hardware Only
For use with any Compatible Guiding Computer


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Next Generation Computer and Software Guided Telescope systems for all RBs

Choose the Next Generation Computer (NGC) or Software Guided Telescope (SGT) system that is right for you.  The NGC and SGT ("MAX") guiding computers (more than just digital setting circles) each have a database of objects and various specialized functions.

The Next Generation Computers are stand-alone computers that can guide you in finding objects in the night sky.

The Software Guided Telescope system interfaces with a personal computer (PC) which guides you in finding objects in the night sky. 
It creates a real-time link with a PC using planetarium software.  The interface can be accomplished with either the NGC-MAX and Serial Cable or an SGT-MAX Complete Installation (including B-Box) and compatible software such as TheSky.

NGC-superMAX with encoders and hardware (Complete Installation), Part Number SUPRB...
NGC-MAX with encoders and hardware (Complete Installation), Part Number NGCRB...
NGC-microMAX with encoders and hardware (Complete Installation), Part Number MICRB...
SGT-MAX with encoders and hardware (using a B-Box), Part Number SGTRB...
     Allows PC Operation Only, using the B-Box (included)
SGT-MAX Upgrade for NGC-MAX (Serial Cable), Part Number CBLBBOX
     Allows PC or Stand-alone Operation, using the NGC-MAX (not included)
Encoders and hardware ONLY for use with any compatible guiding computer, Part Number ENCRB...

NOTE The B-BOX Serial Interface links the telescope with a PC running planetarium software.  It does not act as a stand-alone guiding computer.

The Serial Cable (CBLBBOX) will allow the NGC-MAX computer to be used as a Serial Interface by mimicking the B-BOX Interface.  Of course, the NGC-MAX can also be used alone as a stand-along guiding computer.
The SGT-MAX system requires PC software such as TheSky from Software Bisque.  This is a sample screen image of an old version of TheSky.


Handlebar and Wheels
Wheelbarrow-style Transportation


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Handlebar and Wheels for RB-10, RB-14.5 and RB-16

For easily moving the fully assembled binocular telescope over smooth surfaces.  It uses 5" solid-rubber ball-bearing wheels.

Truss-Rod Light Shrouds
(Set of Two)


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Truss-Rod Light Shrouds for RB-14.5 and RB-16

Blocks stray light and air currents and helps keep dust off of the mirrors.  Made of light-weight black fabric with elastic at both ends.  One for each optical tube.

Carrying Case
for RB-66 ONLY


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Carrying Case for RB-66

This case is required for shipping the RB-66 to your location.

Carrying Case Open
The carrying case for the RB-66, like most JMI cases, includes wheels for easy transport and three handles on the sides for picking up or pulling the case.  The wheels can be seen at the bottom left side of the case in this picture.
Solar Filter Inserts
(Set of Two)
For RB-66 ONLY



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Solar Filter Inserts for RB-66

Durable glass Solar Filters for inserting into the RB-66 aperture openings to view the sun.  They are made from machine-polished optical glass elements and are triple-coated with a scratch-resistant nickel-chromium stainless steel alloy (modified Orion filters).

WARNING:  Do NOT use any telescope device for looking at the sun without appropriate solar filters.  Doing so may cause permanent blindness.

A Solar Filter installed in the RB-66.

Proper Alignment Procedure

The Reverse Binocular Telescope tubes must be aligned properly for comfortable viewing.  Click on the image shown at left to see a graphic illustration of the two-step alignment process.  If the two images you see are not aligned, as represented by the first illustration (step 1), align the images with the horizontal adjustment as indicated by the arrow in step 1.  At this point the two images should be lined up vertically (one image over the other) as shown in the illustration of step 2.  Next, bring the two images together with the vertical adjustment as shown by the arrow in step 2.  If you try to do the two steps backwards (vertical adjustment before horizontal), the eyes will tend to automatically merge the images horizontally which will give you crossed eyes and cause eyestrain.  Proper alignment (3), or any misalignment, will be readily revealed using high-power eyepieces and quickly alternating between the use of the left and right eye.
This picture shows production models of the RB-16, RB-10 and RB-66 all together with Jim Burr, president of JMI Telescopes.



with RB-16

Click this link to see Ed Mullen's Home Observatory that includes an RB-16 and a Planewave CDK20.
The final RB-16 prototype had no substantial difference in design from the production model except width and focal length.
The final RB-16 prototype actually had 12" mirrors for testing and was narrower and about 14" shorter than the final production model.
This is the first RB-16 prototype

The RB-14.5
The RB-14.5
The RB-14.5
The RB-14.5 requires an adjustable-height chair for best viewing.
The RB-14.5 requires an adjustable-height chair for best viewing.

This RB-10 includes the optional handlebar and wheels for easy transport.  The final production version will have a modified handlebar that is attached to the end of the tripod leg rather than separate handles attached to the sides of the leg as shown in this picture.
The handle, included with the handlebar and wheels option, inserts into one of the tripod legs.
This RB-10 includes the optional handlebar and wheels for easy transport.  The final production version has a modified handlebar that is attached to the end of the tripod leg (see above) rather than separate handles attached to the sides of the leg as shown in this picture.
This RB-10 has the top cover removed so you can see inside the reverse binocular.
The RB-10 includes the optional handlebar (not shown) and wheels for easy transport.
The RB-10 prototype (left) is in the final phase of design/construction.  The RB-10 is now in production.

Our production manager, Tom Johnston, is viewing a large sunspot with a prototype RB-66 which has been equipped with solar filters.  This picture shows how easy it is to use the Reverse Binocular.  WARNING:  Do NOT use any telescope device for looking at the sun without appropriate solar filters.  Doing so may cause permanent blindness.
The RB-66 has a handle on the top for carrying.  Here the binocular is being removed from the carrying case.
The RB-66 is relatively easy to pick up (even with the mount attached, as shown in this picture) using the handle located on the top of the instrument.  The binocular should only be lifted at three points;  the top handle (as shown), the base (locked into position) and the folding handlebars (also locked into position).
The RB-66 includes a lock to hold it in the vertical position for transporting.  In this picture the vertical lock is in the unlocked position.
The RB-66 carrying handle must be removed in order to remove the top cover.
The RB-66 top cover can be easily lifted after the handle and two side thumbscrews have been removed.
The RB-66 bottom cover is released by removing four thumbscrews.
The RB-66 bottom cover slides away after the thumbscrews have been removed.
The RB-66 optical tube is held by one screw at the top end.  The bottom end is held by part of  the mirror cell.
Once the mounting screw is removed you can carefully slide the tube away from the mirror just enough to clear the mirror cell.
The RB-66 optical tube can now be carefully lifted around the secondary mirror and removed from the system.
If the diagonals become misaligned, they can be easily realigned by leveling them with the frame of the binocular while in the vertical position.
The RB-66 buttons control the motorized adjustments for tube alignments, eye spacing and focusing.  These buttons are on the handle assembly which folds up next to the binocular for transportation and storage.
The RB-66 is designed for extremely easy viewing without the need for a special chair or binocular support.  It is compatible with the NGC-microMAX, NGC-MAX, SGT-MAX and Pocket PC running TheSky Pocket Edition from Software Bisque.
The RB-66 with Celestron tripod (included).
The RB-66 with Celestron tripod (included).  A carrying handle is positioned on the top of the binocular.
The RB-66 (front view looking inside) showing the primary mirrors, secondary mirrors and focusers.
The RB-66 (side view) showing handle bars folded up and optical system locked into vertical position for transport.
The RB-66 is designed for extremely easy viewing without the need for a special chair or binocular support.
The twelfth and final prototype was very close to the final production design.
Eleven prototypes were built, tested and discarded as improvements were added and refined.  This prototype improved on the original mount and experimented with an open optical tube design.
The first experiment with dual-newtonian binoculars was simply two NGT-6 optical tube assemblies mounted on an alt-az frame.

What is the Reverse Binocular Telescope?

The RB Reverse Binocular telescope allows you to look down into the eyepieces (either sitting or standing) to see what is in the sky behind you, instead of straining to look up as is the case with normal binoculars.  They are built with two aligned Newtonian optical tubes on an alt-az mount creating a very compact and comfortable viewing experience.  The available sizes are 6" (RB-66), 10" (RB-10), 14.5" (RB-14.5) and 16" (RB-16).  (U.S. Patent No. Des. 499,436)

Binocular telescopes show their superiority in two major areas;
     1) enhanced visual clarity
 due to improved contrast and resolution and
     2) complete elimination of eye fatigue.

"According to research, there can be as much as a 40% improvement in resolution of lower contrast visual material when viewing is binocular as compared to monocular."  (Observing Experiments in Vision by Tom Mote in Observatory Techniques, Issue #10, Summer 1994)

Read Bruce Sayre's article "Binocular vision science and why two eyes are better than one."

Reverse Binocular

What is an Alt-Az Mount?

The Reverse Binocular telescope includes an altitude-azimuth mount.  Altitude-azimuth is sometimes abbreviated as alt-azimuth or just alt-az.  An alt-az mount moves in altitude (up and down) on a horizontal axis and in azimuth (left and right) on a vertical axis like a gun turret on a tank.  By comparison, an equatorial mount is essentially an alt-az mount that is tilted to match your latitude, allowing a telescope to track the stars with the addition of a simple clock drive.  Both types of mounts have their advantages.  Which one is best for a particular situation depends mostly on how one intends to use the telescope.

Customer Comments


"I met Jim Burr at the Riverside Telescope Maker's Conference in the spring of 2005.  There I tried out the RB-10 for the first time.  Using two eyes I could see much more detail in Jupiter than using one eye through some larger scopes.  Deep sky was awesome.  ...the RB-16 was out performing it by a factor of 3 to 4 times.  I did find both RBs to operate very well mechanically and very comfortably using both eyes."  (L. W.)

"One of my concerns was handling the very large RB-16 by myself, I'm 62.  However when Kathy, my wife, maneuvered the RB-16 with ease, all my concerns went away."  (L. W.)

"From the RTMC location at Big Bear, the RB-16 was showing detail in the dark lanes between the arms of M51.  After our eyes became dark adapted it started to look like one of Toney Hallas' posters."  (Tom Johnston, Production Manager, JMI)


"It's a home run with bases loaded....  The most outstanding scope I've ever used."  (Ralph Holt)

"I've got the scope (RB-14˝) I've wanted all my life!"  (P. C.)


"The RB-10's continue to be the premier observational instrument for deep sky work in our award-winning astronomy program, it astounds absolutely everyone who sees it - beginners and seasoned observers alike.  Whenever the RB-10's come out, attendance at the lab night events doubles!  The detail and resolution afforded by viewing with both eyes makes it possible for my students to appreciate and seriously study subtle structures in deep sky objects like nebula and galaxies that other scopes only hint at.  I plan on retiring in a few years and I hope to purchase a set for myself when I do - After using these for all this time, the night sky wouldn't be the same without them!  ...  All the best to you, Jim!"  (Daniel E. Barth, PhD, Associate Professor - Astronomy / Physics, Mt. San Jacinto College / Tahquitz High School

"My compliments go to the chef.  I received my RB-10 last week.  It's the most wonderful instrument I've ever had.  It's everything everyone said it would be and more.  My description of it can only be the same that everyone else told me when I asked them what they were like.  It's a whole other thing.  I'm 65 years old and although it makes no astronomical sense to do so, I just couldn't resist putting my eyes to it, grabbing the handlebars, and going from horizon to horizon and spinning in 360's till I started to laugh.  What a wonderful scope.  The image is magnificent.  Thank you for your invention."  (G. B.)

"Got it collimated and converged.  Wow!  I was counting the stars in Messier 4 last night.  Even the 16" LX200 couldn't resolve the cluster like the RB-10.  Fantastic."  (W. P.)

"The Binoviewer is better than using a single eyepiece but viewing through JMI's Reverse Binocular is 10 times better than a Binoviewer."  (Stan McDonald, GA, USA)

See David Levy's blog entry on the RB-10 Binocular Telescope.

"Tell Jim I'm a 'Happy Camper!'  I've looked through hundreds of telescopes in my life and I had never seen the nebulosity around Merope until I used the RB-10, and there it was plainly in site, visually."  (Phone call from Tony Hallas)

"A professor and several of us serious astronomers spent the night trying to find words to describe what we were seeing.  We were dumbstruck, blown away,'s unspeakable.  The views are beyond the power of mere mortals to put into words.  The RB-10 changes everything.  It is the greatest piece of optical equipment I've ever looked through."  (Paul Carmody, RB-10 owner who traded up from a 6" RB-66)

"The RB-10 is primarily a deep space scope.  I have used it to look at galaxy clusters with absolutely breathtaking results.  Imagine seeing four or five 12th magnitude galaxies hanging as if suspended in mid-air!!  You can see the wake of the Swan Nebula without a filter.  The view of Hartley 2 as it passed the Double Cluster was absolutely 3D.  So I was a bit surprised to see the Great Red Spot on Jupiter so clearly from the Okie-Tex Star Party.  Field of view for this scope can be determined by considering that it is just two 10" f/4.7 scopes, so you can use the normal formula....  The included 25mm eyepieces deliver about 48x magnification.  Using a higher power only means the needed  'tweaking' or rather 'refining' takes a few extra seconds (that's right, seconds).  Remember everything is motorized!"  (Tom Johnston, Production Manager, JMI)


"The West Yorkshire Astronomical Society, Pontefract, England, recently purchased a pair of 6-inch reverse binoculars following some outstanding reports about them.  I have to say that everyone using them has been staggered by the improvement they give in the general view of the heavens.  The old saying of 'seeing is believing' is very appropriate.  I cannot describe the improvement in the view, you would really have to look for yourself.  Thank you JMI for another outstanding product."  (Kevin Read FRAS, Chairman WYAS)

"P.S.  We all (club members) thought Sky and Telescope gave you a bad article on the big JMI BINOS!  We were disappointed in that review, and those I have talked to also feel it was "not a fair review."  Anyway, we all disregarded that review as not acceptably accurate information and we astronomers are smart enough to figure out what works and what does not.  I think the big binos are great and I bet that it is a fun experience at the eyepiece."  (D. C.) 

"Thanks for reinventing astronomy....  It's a whole new ballgame now."  (Ralph Holt)

" RB-66 is terrific.  You've invented a great instrument."  (B. K.)

"A group from the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society, while in New Mexico this past September, put our scopes aside and rented JMI's RB-66 for a night.  We all agree with Phil Harrington's assessment of the binoscope's spectacular seeing in the night sky..."  (Ron Kerr, Letters, June 2004 Astronomy)

"Few binoculars can compare to the RB-66.  ...  If you're looking for breathtaking low- and medium-power views of star fields, nebulae, star cluster, and the Moon, give the RB-66 from JMI serious consideration.  For observers who appreciate the wonderful views seen only through a true binocular telescope, the RB-66 is a real bargain.  (Phil Harrington, Telescope Review, February 2004 Astronomy)

"The Swan was hanging suspended in a 3D star field with the bird's wake clearly visible, awesome!"  (Okie-Tex Attendee)

"I could see far more than just the core of M101 ... hinting at spiral structure.  This is impressive contrast for a 6" scope."  (Okie-Tex Attendee)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. I've seen this basic design before.  What makes JMI's binoculars different?
A. Other designs of this type usually involve manual adjustments of some kind for focus, eye spacing and image convergence.  This results in a large amount of time needed to get the system set the way you want it.  Sometimes it takes two people.  We have motorized all of those adjustments and the total "tweak" time is lowered from one or two hours to one or two minutes.  These adjustments are now made by pushing buttons (while you are comfortably seated) and visually watching the results in real time.  This is a huge advantage, especially if more than one person is going to be using the instrument.
Q. Can you give me some Pros and Cons regarding the Reverse Binocular design?
A. Pros
1)  Using both eyes increases contrast by about 40% and gives a 3-D effect (not true 3-dimensional).
2)  Using both eyes is far more relaxing.  Also, this design allows one to comfortably look down into the binocular instead of craning your neck backwards to look up as with regular binoculars.
3)  Alignment with this type of binocular used to take hours but with our motorized design it only takes minutes.
4)  The Altitude and Azimuth axis operate as smooth as silk.  Optical encoders can be installed for use with a guiding computer to easily find objects.
5)  The RB-10, RB-14.5 and RB-16 have an optional Handle Bar and Wheels for easy transport.

1)  You must have two matching eyepieces to use the instrument.
2)  It takes a little "getting used to," since it is so different from what people are used to.
3)  The instruments are a little bulky.  The RB-66 is light enough that most people can pick it up by the handle and move it, even with the tripod attached.  The RB-10 has a Handle Bar and Wheels accessory available as an option.
Q. How does a bino viewer compare to a binocular telescope?
A. A binocular telescope does not lose image quality through:
1)  Splitting the light between two eyes.
2)  Extra corrector lenses, as in a Barlow.
3)  Vignetting.

Based on the experience of many observers, there is a certain "realism" in the view through a true binocular telescope that cannot be duplicated otherwise.