Courtesy of
Ralph Holt
October 2005

Ralph Holt's
Letter to Sky and Telescope



Ms. Susan Lit
Sky and Telescope
49 Bay State Rd
Cambridge, MA  02138-1200

In Re:  Alan MacRobert's review of JMI's RB-66 Binocular Telescope

Dear Ms. Lit,

With all due respect, I take issue with Alan MacRobert's assessment of the 6" reverse binocular telescope from JMI.  Mr. MacRobert's review appeared in the September, 2005 issue.

I am 58 years old and have been viewing since I built my first telescope in fifth grade.  I have owned and built all sorts of telescopes since then.  I view regularly and often.

I can categorically state that the view from these binoculars is the BEST VIEW I HAVE EVER HAD.  The view is so good that I sold my 6 inch model in favor of the 10 inch model.  I view with the Pentax XW 7mm, 10mm, 14mm and 20mm eyepieces.  With these eyepieces, the view is far superior to any Schmidt-Cassegrain or Maksutov that I have ever owned, from 7" to 11".  And in NO conceivable way is it even remotely comparable to the aforementioned scopes with a bino viewer.

Mr. MacRobert simply missed the boat in his review.

1)  The large wheel option, which he did not mention, works great on rough ground.  (8th paragraph)

2)  The instructions are easy to understand and straight forward even for a beginner. (9th paragraph)

3)  True, the scope is large, but look at what you are doing.  Each eye has a 6" or 10" Newtonian telescope!  The finish is just fine, being designed for lightness.  (9th paragraph)

4)  Mr. MacRobert is correct, it is an "OMIGOD" type view, particularly with wide field of view, varying focal length eyepieces.  (10th paragraph)

5)  The electric motors for interpupilary distance, alignment and focus should be praised, not criticized.  If done in that order, all functions are quick and easy.  Trust me, the motors work better than if the adjustments were all mechanical.  After the first time, it is a snap!  (11th-14th paragraphs)

6)  The largest error of the review comes with the statement in the Considerations to Weight {sic} section that an 8 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain with a bino viewer gives you a comparable view.  NONSENSE!

First, when have you ever truly had a really sharp, quality view from a Schmidt or even a Maksutov?  A Newtonian simply gives the viewer a superior, sharper image.

Secondly, the bino viewer soaks up much more light than Mr. MacRobert seems to think.  A bino on an 8" S-C produces a MUCH dimmer view than that of the RB-66.  The trade off for the convenience of a smaller scope comes at the price of a much dimmer and less sharp image.  (21st paragraph)

Ms. Lit, I do not know Sky & Telescope's mission statement, but somewhere along the line it should make "enhancing the viewing excellence of the amateur" a priority.  Here we have a product that does this and your magazine pans the product?  For shame.

This, along with the solar scopes from Coronado, should be championed by your magazine as the best two products for the amateur, to enhance their viewing enjoyment, that have come along in light years.

Thank you for taking the time to review this.  I apologize for the length, but trying to help the amateur enjoy viewing is important to me.  Please call if you have any questions.


Ralph Holt

Focus Camera
Hardin Optical
High Point
Oceanside Photo & Telescope
S&S Optika
Scope City
Woodland Hills