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Criterion scopes

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#1 Dom Guglielmo

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 09:54 AM

Hello all,

I'm very new here - first post to the forums as a registered user as a matter of fact. In any case I love old scopes. I just decided to start collecting and only have 2 other collectable (to me) scopes. My old scopes are a not too old (about 1990) Meade refractor (my first scope) and a 13" red tube coulter signed by John Dobson. I did have an old Meade 8800 an 8" on a GEM from the 80's, and I am upset that I sold it about a year ago, before deciding to start collecting. For observing I am really a goto person, the old scopes will be just for collecting and may see use very rarely. I'm not too interested in their desirability or value retention, its just a personal interest.

I am specifically interested in Criterion scopes because I live in Connecticut. I see them come up from time to time and want to get a couple, but first want to learn more about their history.

I have a few questions and please excuse my ignorance; I do not mean to offend anyone and just want more info.

First are there any good sites, books or other references that contain the history of the company?

Secondly, I’ve read that their reputation isn’t that good as far as optics are concerned and am looking for any articles, info, or opinions. Please, I don’t mean to offend anyone, this is just from what I remember of their reputation. I have also heard the same thing about Coulter, but I love that scope.


Thanks,

dom

#2 blandp11

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 10:16 AM

Criterion's Newtonian telescopes have a very good reputation. Their SCT however, were awful. They came out with them toward the end of the companies life, largely in order to compete with celestron's SCT.

Here is a site for RV-6 enthusiasts: http://home.wmis.net/~rv6/

I still have my RV-6 from ~1975 and occasionally still use it. It gives views as good as any 6" f/8 Newt I have looked through, although the mount is a bit heavy.

#3 Dom Guglielmo

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 12:15 PM

I thought I heard that, but didn't want to offend anyone. The only thing I was able to find was:
http://www.lpl.arizo.../criterion.html

and that is mostly the history of the product line, not the company..

#4 FAB

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 02:36 PM

I owned an RV6 from the early 1960s until the early 90s, Dom. I gave it to my youngest son, now age 42. He's still using it. It's optically superb, and the original drive still functions. The mirrors have never been resurfaced. Until they were almost out of business Criterion made excellent products. The lpl.arizona.edu link above is the closest thing to a history I've been able to find. Perhaps an inquiry on the RV6 users website would yield a better result. Please don't feel uncomfortable asking questions on CN. You won't offend anyone. Welcome to CN, and good luck with your collection.
FAB

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 10:18 PM

The only Criterion I ever owned was the 4", $50 Dynascope and I wasn't too impressed by that model. (mount was poor) However the RV-6 was truly a fine scope. I had the opportunity to use one briefly, but couldn't afford one. (this was back in the 60's) The RV-6 was definitely superior to many of the other popular 6" models of the time. :grin:

#6 bobbie

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 07:15 AM

Hi Dom, I don't think you'll have much trouble getting a full set of the SCT's (4", 6" and 8") !!!! There were two 8" Criterions though, the 8000 (like mine) and the 8001 which just had B and L tags on it if I remember right, (ie no Criterion logo). From what I hear the 8001 is a good 'scope and not to many people part with them. (One will probably cost you - I don't think you'll find an 8001 on a rubbish dump!) Cheers.

#7 Averted

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 01:21 AM

I wish I never sold my RV-6. But then again, I was a stupid kid. I can't speak personally for the optics. it was too long ago and I probably never collimated that thing. I do remember teh out-of-focus star looking like a badmitten birdie, so that's probably not a good sign. i do remember though that it had a distinct "new scope smell" adn mechanically seemed quite nice.

Good luck with your search!

#8 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 08:17 AM

I wish I never sold my RV-6. But then again, I was a stupid kid. I can't speak personally for the optics. it was too long ago and I probably never collimated that thing. I do remember teh out-of-focus star looking like a badmitten birdie, so that's probably not a good sign. i do remember though that it had a distinct "new scope smell" adn mechanically seemed quite nice.

Good luck with your search!


When I worked at a scope store during the '80's we saw several Criterion Dynascopes come and go. The biggest was a 10" f/8, on a very substantial pedestal! That was one beeeeeeeeg Dynascope!!
It sat in the store's display window for nearly a year before someone was brave enough to take it on. :jump:
The RV-6's were nice instruments. I liked them, but the mounts seemed a little undergunned. The Criterion SCTs were another story.
We mainly carried the B&L 4000 (4" SCT). It was a cute little package and seemed to be trying to mimic a Questar... from the Neolithic period. :grin:

FWIW, I very, VERY nearly ordered a Criterion 6" Dynamax in the late '70's. Was just about to purchase the money order, when I heard about someone in a local astronomy club selling an 8" Dynamax. We arranged for an observing session with the 8". Optically, it seemed OK, but mechanically, it wasn't impressive. The focus action had plenty of deadness when changing direction. Locking the R.A. axis caused the image to jump half way across the FOV. The "Golden Pyramid Field Tripod" *was* very good. Perhaps the best part of the scope.
A few months later, me and a buddy placed a joint order for C-8's from Edwin Hirsch.
Phew!!! Close call!! ;)

#9 Trever

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 10:14 PM

There is a complete 8" Dynamax SCT for sale for about 600 dollars right now on AM. It looks to be in pretty good shape. Someone can snap that one up for pretty cheap.

#10 Mitrovarr

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 10:01 PM

As someone who bought a 8" Dynamax for $600, I wouldn't exactly recommend the idea. You can get a good 8" newtonian for that much, and it'll have better optics. Or better yet, buy mine so I can upgrade to something better :p ; I don't feel good about selling it to anyone who doesn't know what they're getting into.

#11 bobbie

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 10:36 PM

$600 US dollars is tooo muuuch!

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 12:19 PM

i own a dynamax 8 with the wedge and golden eagle tripod i have all the original eyepieces plus 3 others. i would like to sell it but have no idea what its worth can you help shed some light.

#13 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 07:42 PM

Hi Nickokc,

If you are interested in selling the Golden tripod separately, I'd love to talk with you further (I have a Dynamax 6, but no mount).

#14 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 08:19 PM


First are there any good sites, books or other references that contain the history of the company?

http://www.dynascope.com/

#15 Lew Chilton

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 09:53 PM

Here's my 1st Criterion, purchased through a 1957 ad in Mechanics Illustrated. :roflmao:

Lew Chilton

P.S. The aperture was 32mm!!
To change magnification, you had to remove the brass eyepiece end ring, remove the single element lenses and cardboard spacer, then reconfigure for another magnification. Mickey Mouse to the MAX!! :lol:

Attached Thumbnails

  • 663051-CRITERION AD, 1957 copy.jpg


#16 FAB

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 01:53 PM

Here's my 1st Criterion, purchased through a 1957 ad in Mechanics Illustrated. :roflmao:

Lew Chilton


Great ad! Especially the, "magic star finder dial."
FAB ;)

#17 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:39 PM

Here's my 1st Criterion, purchased through a 1957 ad in Mechanics Illustrated. :roflmao:

Lew Chilton


Amazingly, the aperture of the scope isn't mentioned in the ad. :foreheadslap:
220x and 400x eyepieces *are* provided... I guess that's the most important thing. ;)

Thanks for the IGY moment!

#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 02:42 PM

Amazingly, the aperture of the scope isn't mentioned in the ad.
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Clive:

Good observation, they do mention the 4x30 finder though. From the drawing, it looks like the scope is not a great deal bigger than the finder...

jon

#19 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 02:42 PM

Amazingly, the aperture of the scope isn't mentioned in the ad.
----------

Clive:

Good observation, they do mention the 4x30 finder though. From the drawing, it looks like the scope is not a great deal bigger than the finder...

jon

#20 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 04:19 PM

Amazingly, the aperture of the scope isn't mentioned in the ad.
----------

Clive:

Good observation, they do mention the 4x30 finder though. From the drawing, it looks like the scope is not a great deal bigger than the finder...

jon


That's it, Jon.
Maybe 40 or 45mm aperture? 400x?! Yoinks!!
How much does $18.95 (circa 1957) translate into today's money? $200??
You can get a 6" Dobsonian nowadays for that.
We're spoiled! :p

#21 FAB

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 06:26 PM

Amazingly, the aperture of the scope isn't mentioned in the ad.
----------

Clive:

Good observation, they do mention the 4x30 finder though. From the drawing, it looks like the scope is not a great deal bigger than the finder...

jon


That's it, Jon.
Maybe 40 or 45mm aperture? 400x?! Yoinks!!
How much does $18.95 (circa 1957) translate into today's money? $200??
You can get a 6" Dobsonian nowadays for that.
We're spoiled! :p


It looks a lot like a 40mm cardboard tube refractor I had in the 1940s. Mine, however, was not an achromat, but I thought the colors around bright objects were beautiful (I was only eight or nine!) I built a 4" newt circa 1950 or 51. I bought the primary and secondary from Jaegers. As I recall the pair were $12.00. The primary was a spherical f/13, but yielded very good images right up through about 175X. I think much of the advantage we have today lies in computer assisted grinding and polishing. I tried creating an 8" manually in the early sixties, but found I lacked the necessary patience (probably also lacked the skill.)
FAB

#22 Chris G

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 09:42 PM

Dom, I had a Coulter 10.1" dob from 1991, it had a very good primary. The story there seemed to be that if you got a mirror that the owner figured it was very good, if someone else figure it, well it was a *Word deleted by the CN gnaughties gnomes* shoot.

Wish I'd kept it, it wasn't pretty but really gave good views.

#23 qwerty

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 10:09 PM

Here's my 1st Criterion, purchased through a 1957 ad in Mechanics Illustrated. :roflmao:

Lew Chilton

Thanks for the memories. I just came back in from observing mars with my 4" APO (clouds rolled in). I owned both of those scopes in the AD. They were a lot of enjoyment, but I don't remember much more them looking at the moon. I then purchased a Dynamax 8 in the 70s.

ron

#24 offshore79

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 09:35 AM

I'm new here also and have found alot of usefull information but unfortunaly a bit to late.
I just recently purchased a dynamax 8 but have not had the chance to view anything as I'm missing the corrector plate.
It's a project scope that was purchased prior to finding out the entire history on these. I am however optimistic and that it was all just a collmination problem. Any way, I cant lend any pros or cons to your interst but good luck.
If any of you out there have any knowledge of a dynamax corrector and/or assorted internal fork and drive component's, (parts scope?) give me a shout.
Thanks

#25 offshore79

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 09:47 AM

Hi,
I just recently aquired a dynamax 8 and am looking for parts or a parts scope. I really dont want to invest much in my project with an optical reputation like this scope has but give me a shout at jol67@tds.net to disscuss.
Thanks


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