Criterion/Bausch & Lomb

The Criterion Manufacturing Company had been manufacturing a line of relatively good quality, inexpensive reflectors for years. Then the company was inspired by the success of others to begin manufacturing its own line of Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. The company was purchased by Bausch & Lomb in 1983 and the telescopes naturally then bore the new name.

Criterion entered the arena in 1972, with introduction of the Dynamax 8. This beige colored 8" diameter f/10 telescope came with a spur gear AC drive, a lightweight fork mount, wedge and 1 1/4" accessories similar to the C8. However another technological step was taken by providing a variable speed drive and a 12v DC converter as standard equipment. A large 8 x 50 finder, photographic tele-extender and carrying case were also included at an impressive introductory price. This telescope sold quite well due to its features and price, although its quality did not quite match that of the competition. The telescope did not include a field tripod as part of the package, but in 1978 the "Golden Pyramid" tripod was offered as an accessory. This was a fine, stable tripod the design of which would later be imitated by competitors.
Dynamax 8
In 1976 a 6" diameter f/10 version was released as the Dynamax 6. This used the same drive base as the 8" but included a smaller 6x30 finder and did not include the drive converter. A carrying case completed the package.
Criterion 4000
After Bausch & Lomb purchased the company, the Criterion 4000 was rolled out. This 4" diameter f/12 optical system came with a spur gear AC drive, fork mount and table top legs in a black finish. All was contained in a hard plastic carrying case. It's drawbacks included having a hybrid diagonal, a small finder and inability of the tube to be fully inverted in the fork mount. Also, some of the initial production models did not have anti-reflective coatings on the corrector plate, which resulted in greater light loss than desirable in a small aperture telescope. Nevertheless it was quite successful due to its portability and low price, and the units with optical coatings were often fairly good telescopes.
In 1984 Bausch & Lomb gave the former Dynamax line a facelift and a new black color like the 4000. The new B&L 6000 and B&L 8000 were basically the same telescope as before, but with a new wedge.
The system was again revamped in 1987 and given a better mount, as well as better coatings. The 8" version was called the B&L 8001 and the 6" and 4" versions were called 6000 Pro and 4000 Pro respectively. It is unfortunate Bausch and Lomb dropped out of the SCT market that at this point in time, because these later units were quite good both optically and mechanically. These units are a good buy when they can be found in the used market.
Bausch&Lomb 8001
Note:Although most accessories are interchangeable between SCT systems, the Criterion/Bausch & Lomb units used a slightly smaller diameter thread on the back of their optical tubes than the competitor's units. Visual backs and tele-extenders for the Bausch & Lomb thread are difficult to find. Therefore try to make sure that at least the visual back accompanies a unit you may consider buying.

© 2001, 2002 - Robert A. Pollock
Page Revised: January 1, 2002