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My 1st NEAF impressions by a Nexstar owner

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#1 hopskipson

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:35 PM

NEAF impressions
Remember I’m a new comer and this was my first NEAF. I’ve been to other trade shows so I knew what to expect. I’m by no means a reporter and I get intimidated a little being a newbie so I kind of just look around.
I got up early on Saturday so I could spend a few hours at NEAF before getting back to work and family. Would have arrived at 8:30 a.m. but my son woke up and needed attention. Got there by 9 and headed for the Astronomics booth. They had all different colo(u)red AT 72mm refractors on alt-az mounts. I was interested in the TMB 92 SS. My goodness, this thing looked impressive, built like a tank and a thing of beauty. The focuser looks like it could lift a tank! The OTA weighs in at 12+ pounds, but seems heavier. I didn’t realize how big and heavy refractors are. It really makes you appreciate the compactness and light weight of a SCT. The price put me off, it originally goes for $1999 and at the show it was $1799 a nice little discount but that’s just the OTA no accessories(tube rings, dovetail, finder and diagonal).
I didn’t have much time so I checked the rest of their scopes and moved over to Explore Scientific. They had a nice display plus an additional trailer parked outside with all their scopes and EP’s. They were running a special on the 102 mm doublet and triplet. The original price of the doublet $499 new price $399 the triplet was $1399 show price $999. I was leaning towards the triplet. It looked like a nice package with the diagonal, finder, dovetail mount and a hard case. I asked about how flat the field is and the assured me I would not need a flattener for the dslr I was using, but I’ll see. They also had a carbon fiber prototype for the 80 and 102mm triplets, sorry no prices yet, but very light weight.
Next up was Stellarvue. There was a new 50mm refractor that looked very cute and would look nice as a finder on my C8. They had some very nice looking scopes but their prices were not listed and the rep I saw was having a few issues so I moved on. They were also having a raffle, but one needed to be present to collect so I didn’t bother.
I walked past some really big scopes by Planewave. Very intimidating! One woman was talking with the rep about a .7 meter($150,000) or 24” ($50,000)scope. I thought I had aperture fever! I’m guessing she has added a huge wing onto her mansion and needs a conversation piece(tongue firmly in cheek). I checked out a few other booths and checked a few prices at some retailers. I guess since it was early some of the vendors were not set up or were not ready for customers. I checked out the birds at the Talons booth. A mean looking hawk(?) or falcon(?) was checking me out. The owls didn’t want to pose so no pics. The Meade booth was well staffed but did not seem to be getting much traffic. Celestron seemed busier to me.
While I was walking around I was going through all my options. I wanted to purchase a CG-5 mount and a nice refractor. I finally ended up at a retail vendor who was willing to talk to me. I won’t mention names but they are local to my tri-state area. I had decided on the ES 102 EDT triplet refractor. I was talking to the sales person about mounts and he was trying to steer me to the iOptron EQ 30 and 45. They didn’t have a CG-5 in stock. He said they were problematic and noisy under load. He did have a CGEM at the show price of $1290. Well I talked him down to $1250 plus a cash discount on my entire purchase. He had a point that if I was going to do imaging that the CG-5 was going to be a challenge. The CGEM would be better suited for the C8 and refractor/guide scope combo. I added a few other accessories and I was ready to head back to my other realities of work and family.
I regret not having more time especially since I didn’t get to do any solar viewing. Next year I think I’ll a lot more time and bring the family along.

James (now I need to update my signature)

#2 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:42 AM

I missed NEAF this year for the first time in a long time...

I learned my first time to spend the night Friday night and also stay on Saturday night because I have never ever seen "everything" in one day ( I also do not buy anything "usually" on Friday...

So I hit the show on Saturday morning and that is when I spend my money ..

My only complaint is that they do not have spaces set up outside for guys like me and you to sell our excess stuff...

I'm used to going to Car Swap meets

Bob G.
OH and BTW...Happy Birthday...

#3 Skip

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 01:47 PM

I read somewhere the NEAF this year was a little scant on vendors. Never been to one and I seriously considered going this year, but now I'm glad I didn't drop the bucks on airfare and hotel/car. It was gonna be right at a grand and if it was a slow year, that would have been disappointing.

#4 Smittty692k4

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:57 PM

Im with you Skip. Would love to go to a convention like that. Too bad there isn't one in Houston annually.

Idea...

We shall start one.
It will be called S.E.A.T.S
South Eastern Astronomy Trade Show

BRILLIANT!!

#5 MikeBOKC

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 03:17 PM

Check down in the vendor forum -- Astronomics is looking at starting an annual NAEF-like show in Norman, which would be very reasonable for folks in Baja Oklahoma (Texas to non-Okies.)

#6 MikeBOKC

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 03:17 PM

Check down in the vendor forum -- Astronomics is looking at starting an annual NAEF-like show in Norman, which would be very reasonable for folks in Baja Oklahoma (Texas to non-Okies.)

#7 Smittty692k4

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 03:23 PM

Thanks Mike.

Gettin closer to home.

#8 Skip

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:51 PM

That would be great, Mike. Especially since I'm an Okie transplant living in Baja-Oklahoma. Norman's a great town - both of my daughters are OU Sooner gals. I was raised (from 11 yo) in Tulsa.

#9 svtdoug

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:16 PM

James,

Congratulations on your latest acquisitions - the CGEM and ES 102mm APO Triplet! Hope you have some great viewing and/or imaging with that combo!

Your comment on the Explorer Scientific 102mm APO Triplet got me looking around on the internet, and I found that several of the mail order venders (OPT, Astronomics and Telescopes.com) have that scope on sale for $999. Now I am weighing whether to get the Triplet or an AT8IN! But the AT8IN is back-ordered everywhere :( The Orion 8" Astrograph is essentially the same... Decisions, decisions!

Anyway, thanks for the nice report!

Doug

#10 Doc Willie

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:26 PM

I read somewhere the NEAF this year was a little scant on vendors. Never been to one and I seriously considered going this year, but now I'm glad I didn't drop the bucks on airfare and hotel/car. It was gonna be right at a grand and if it was a slow year, that would have been disappointing.

There may have been a few less vendors, but there was still plenty there to keep one occupied for the two days, especially if you went to some of the presentations. It would still be worth the trip IMHO.

#11 jrcrilly

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 06:23 PM

I read somewhere the NEAF this year was a little scant on vendors.


I dunno; I've been going for over ten years and I've never been disappointed. I'd be willing to consider dropping NEAF and selecting a different show if they can come up with a more interesting exhibitor list than this, though.

http://www.rocklanda...af/vendors.html

#12 Scott in NC

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:16 PM

:funny:






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