I've owned a PortaBall for about 36 months. IT'S SIMPLY THE BEST IN ITS CLASS...PERIOD... END OF STORY! I had a very nice 13" homebuilt with pretty good optics, it had nice motions, etc. I danced all night with a PortaBall at Hidden Hallow meet in Ohio three years ago. But I still decided to go bigger, built a 17.5" ...then sold it after I used it just two nights... could'nt stand climbing ladders, plus now I am planning an Austrailian trip. I just couldn't get the PortaBall off my mind. It had, in the one night, become the standard in which all the others were judged... and found lacking. Yes, I thought about Obsession, Tectron, Starsplitter, I tried them all out... really nice... but not as good. Certainly there are times when I wish I had a larger mirror, but the PortaBall optics are just so fine.
Last Summer we regularly observed comet Shoemaker-Levi's impact sites at 450X, and hand tracking was easy, plus the views blew away anything else I looked through all summer, including a 20" Obsession! The planetary views rival the best refractor views you can imagine. I hope this does not have you salivating too much. Peter Smitka is the "Wizard of TM's". Be prepared, YOU'RE ABOUT TO GO WARP SPEED. The PortaBall always draws crowds, so I hope you like being popular! Ask any of us who own a PortaBall, I'm sure you'll find a level of owner satisfaction that Lexus and Mercedes would drool over! Personally, I plan to be buried in mine...who says you can't take it with you!
Tom Bemus, Camera Dealer; NY
In the new realm of large reflectors, your PortaBall is of the quality that would be produced by Zeiss or Takahashi. Thats what I wanted, and thats what you've made. Last night I viewed M-57 (my first light object), M-27, M-13, M-4, and the planet Jupiter. The views were so spectacular, and telescope so easy to use, I would have stayed up all night had fog not rolled in!!! My home is in fairly light polluted skies, with a limiting magnitude of about five, and the Milky Way just visible from Cassiopea through Aquillla... Still, the image of M-13 in the PortaBall was better than the dark sky view in my 7" refractor!...I'm delighted with every aspect of the telescope. Please feel free to put me on your list of owner contacts for potential new customers. You have the best 12.5 inch Newtonian on the market. It would be a pleasure to explain why this is true to any potential buyer. Thanks again for diong such superb work.
-Ron Smith, Professor of Astronomy; CA