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#1 debarb

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:07 AM

Hello all,
Just trying to get a sense what's the norm for Orion. The situation is this: I bent one of the two bolts/knobs that secures my telescope tube (xt12i) to the mount--so much so that it won't fit through the hole in the arm of the mount. I called Orion a week ago, and spoke to someone who seems only to take messages. No response for two days, so then I wrote an email explaining that I'd like to purchase a replacement knob. A quick automated email acknowledging my note, and then an email from a real person asks me when I purchased my telescope and from whom. I responded immediately and told them that I bought my telescope used, and only need to purchase a knob. Nothing in response so far. Is this standard procedure at Orion, or is it just the holidays? All this for a knob worth about 2.25.
 

#2 Pauls72

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:49 AM

I had good luck with them when I ordered a part for my mount. My only disappointment was the cost of shipping.

McMaster-Carr has pretty much any hardware you can imagine.
http://www.mcmaster.com/#
http://www.mcmaster....t-knobs/=kwcc81

You will also be surprised that many hardware stores have an assortment of threaded knobs. If nothing else, take one with and you can find out what the thread size is and order from McMaster Carr if they don't have what you need. It's probably metric.
 

#3 debarb

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:56 AM

Thanks, Pauls72--that's a good idea.
 

#4 okieav8r

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:00 AM

Good luck if you told them you bought it used. Orion has a policy of selling replacement parts only to original owners. I and many others here have already ridden that merry-go-round with Orion.
 

#5 coopman

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:00 AM

If you're not the original purchaser of the scope, there is a 99.9999% chance that they will not help you.
 

#6 debarb

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:14 PM

If you're not the original purchaser of the scope, there is a 99.9999% chance that they will not help you.


That's astonishing,especially in this day and age. The other companies I've been dealing with for the last 20 years--in flyfishing, cycling, etc...--have without exception (at least I can't think of one off hand) been responsive regardless of whether I bought new or used. I can understand non-transferable warranties, though at least 1/2 the companies I've dealt with even honor warranties to a second owner, so long as time limit hasn't run out. But not to offer replacement parts to second-hand owners? I've really never heard of such a thing. After all, I'm not asking to get it for free.

In any case, it's a brilliant business strategy: penalize someone who buys your product 2nd hand so that they'll be sure to look elsewhere when it comes to buying something new. I'd thought about buying a new xt8 next year, but this pretty much seals the deal. So, does anyone other than Orion make a good Dob w/ and 8-inch aperture?
 

#7 BDS316

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:41 PM

If you're not the original purchaser of the scope, there is a 99.9999% chance that they will not help you.


That's astonishing,especially in this day and age. The other companies I've been dealing with for the last 20 years--in flyfishing, cycling, etc...--have without exception (at least I can't think of one off hand) been responsive regardless of whether I bought new or used. I can understand non-transferable warranties, though at least 1/2 the companies I've dealt with even honor warranties to a second owner, so long as time limit hasn't run out. But not to offer replacement parts to second-hand owners? I've really never heard of such a thing. After all, I'm not asking to get it for free.

In any case, it's a brilliant business strategy: penalize someone who buys your product 2nd hand so that they'll be sure to look elsewhere when it comes to buying something new. I'd thought about buying a new xt8 next year, but this pretty much seals the deal. So, does anyone other than Orion make a good Dob w/ and 8-inch aperture?


There was a mega thread about this about a year or so ago. Orion doesn't really make anything. They sell stuff made in Asia, mostly Synta, though it used to be GSO, but that's a whole other saga.

The title of the mega thread was "Orion won't sell spare
parts?" dated 12-02-11 IIRC and the op was Dr. Megabyte. It's an interesting read if you have a half an hour or so...

Their policy has had an affect on me. I uesd to look forward to receiving my Orion catalog. I got one in the mail a couple of days ago, saw that they were selling eyepieces that look the same as Astro Tech Paradigms for $20 plus more than everyone else, then threw the catalog away.

In fairness, I will state for the record that my XT8 was purchased new, not used, and that my astronomy club buys 6 inch Dobs and binoculars from them for our Young Astronomer's Program. But then again, no one else is selling 6 inch dobs now as far as I know.

To address your question, the ultimate 8 inch dobs are made by Rob Teeter and Normand Fullum. There are true premium lifetime scopes with superb optics and mechanics not to mention fit and finish. Among the econodobs, the GSO offerings from Astro Tech, Zhumell and Apetura are better deals than Orion.

Welcome to CN, BTW.
 

#8 gonzosc1

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:11 PM

you could try the orion chat service. I had some questions about a new atlas mount that I got from them. I found the live chat app on there site and was chating with a tech inside of 5 minutes.

as far as bent bolts go, that may not be something that is stocked on the shelf..
 

#9 tecmage

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:29 PM

Several posters here have stated Orion's policy on supporting used equipment. Orion ha decided not to sell parts to owners of used Orion branded equipment. Whatever we think of Orion's support policy, Orion chose it and has to live with it.
 

#10 cn register 5

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:39 PM

You may be better off telling Orion what you think about this than us. They are in a better position than us to do something about it.

After all it's the sort of thing that affects the resale price and so affects the decision to buy from them.

Chris
 

#11 aolo

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:58 PM

I have purchased several telescopes , mounts, and items from them over the years. There customer service is not what it once was. I can no longer recommend them based on my own experience. They will not service even original equipment owners like they use too (I even had the original receipt and was willing to purchase).

I recently wanted to purchase an item and had questions. It was very difficult to get an answers and got passed along. The person who gave me the final assessment sounded like a juvenal and had no tack.

I don't think they care.
 

#12 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:17 PM

Worst customer service on the planet earth. I take their catalog and RTS it and put won't sell parts to second owners and send it back
 

#13 FirstSight

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:41 AM

Hello all,
Just trying to get a sense what's the norm for Orion. The situation is this: I bent one of the two bolts/knobs that secures my telescope tube (xt12i) to the mount--so much so that it won't fit through the hole in the arm of the mount.


I also once inadvertently bent one of the knobbed bolts holding the OTA of my 12XTi to the base at the altitude axis. Orion does sell replacements for the knobbed bolts (you get the pair) at a reasonable price with prompt shipment, but OTOH I am an original owner of the scope.

If you bought your scope secondhand from someone nearby, perhaps you could persuade them to place the order for you at Orion. If not, it's worth a try to call Orion; for a minor part like this perhaps they'd bend on their policy, even while they wouldn't on a more major structural, optical, or electronic part such as encoders.

Another thing you could do is garage-engineer a replacement bolt/knob assembly yourself, provided you kept the bent bolt for sizing. Visit a TrueValue hardware store (which keeps a far better variety of miscellaneous mechanical nuts and bolts than the big-box stores do) and see if you can find something which matches the size, length, and threading of the original. You could probably also find a knob that would thread or be epoxy-glued onto the end of it. BTW: if the knob that bent was also the one that had the insta-adjust bearing on it, that can be threaded off the bolt, albeit with some effort involved, and put on the new one.

I could perhaps understand Orion's "original owner" replacement policy with respect to their encoders and COL hardware, but I'm dumbfounded why they don't realize they're shooting themselves in the foot with respect to other components. An increasing number of people are becoming hesitant to become new owners of Orion scopes because as word of mouth spreads about their original-owners-only replacment parts policy, it becomes harder to resell the scope if the owner wants to upgrade someday.
 

#14 BDS316

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:55 AM

I could perhaps understand Orion's "original owner" replacement policy with respect to their encoders and COL hardware, but I'm dumbfounded why they don't realize they're shooting themselves in the foot with respect to other components. An increasing number of people are becoming hesitant to become new owners of Orion scopes because as word of mouth spreads about their original-owners-only replacment parts policy, it becomes harder to resell the scope if the owner wants to upgrade someday.


This is an interesting point that is worth further discussion.


When newbies are first bitten by the astronomy bug, it is likely that Orion is the first company that they hear about; they become aware about other options after discovering CN, going to local club meetings(if there are any), getting a national magazine,etc, and then they discover that many of the items sold by Orion are available elsewhere, for example:

GSO econodobs with better accessories included

Eyepieces/accessories from Agena/Owl/Astronomics/Scope Stuff at lower prices and free shipping to boot.

etc etc

So maybe Orion (who must review these threads, or at least I would think they would) realizes that they will need to make most of their profit on newbies before they become more seasoned(educated), and this becomes a part of their corporate strategy. An example of this is the "build a Scope" program, which locks the buyer into Orion brand accessories, rather than, say, Televue, even though Orion is a TV dealer.

I've noticed that people are often very surprised when they first learn about Orion's "support and replacement parts for original owners only" policy. I had to hunt around the website for a little while before I found a statement that clarifies that their products are covered by a "limited, non-transferrable warranty". So this, then, is the statement that implies that they won't sell parts to owners of used Orion scopes.

Some of my friends have purchased used Orion scopes, but they were aware of the policy at the time of purchase. None of the sellers from whom they purchased these scopes were aware of the policy and when they were informed, they were pretty unhappy because they knew that they would have to lower their selling prices significantly. They also had to agree to act as a go-between with Orion in case parts purchases for these scopes would be needed in the future.

Caveat Emptor.
 

#15 FirstSight

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:09 PM

So maybe Orion (who must review these threads, or at least I would think they would) realizes that they will need to make most of their profit on newbies before they become more seasoned(educated), and this becomes a part of their corporate strategy. An example of this is the "build a Scope" program, which locks the buyer into Orion brand accessories, rather than, say, Televue, even though Orion is a TV dealer.

I've noticed that people are often very surprised when they first learn about Orion's "support and replacement parts for original owners only" policy. I had to hunt around the website for a little while before I found a statement that clarifies that their products are covered by a "limited, non-transferrable warranty". So this, then, is the statement that implies that they won't sell parts to owners of used Orion scopes.


Perhaps Orion's reasoning for limiting sale of replacement parts to original customers is reluctance to open the door to becoming a de facto ATM parts dealer for homebrewed scopes, viewing that as a low-to-no-profit proposition that might require either maintaining a larger parts inventory or else risk not having critical parts timely on hand to service original owner needs (whether under warranty or post-warranty). If so, the "build-a-scope" option at first seems a curious proposition, but a look at the actual details of this option reveals that there's nothing optional whatever in the "build-a-scope" program regarding the components of the telescope itself (e.g. focuser choice). Rather, the program is nothing more than an expanded accessory bundling deal whose only advantage is giving you more options for your choice among Orion-brand finderscopes and your choice of "included" eyepiece(s), but choosing "none" of either is not an allowed option. So there's virtually *nothing* ATM-ish whatsoever about the "build-a-scope" option; it's nothing more than an attempt to address potential customers who wished they could have a RACI finderscope on models where a straight-through one was stock, or vice-versa, or else get a RDF instead of either, etc, without giving the option to go elsewhere for that part entirely.

I was at first curious about your comment about Orion's build-a-scope program channeling buyers into Orion accessories instead of Televue, since Televue doesn't really make accessories for dobs (other than their eyepieces). However, when when I took a closer look at the Orion build-a-dob required components and realized eyepiece selections were a mandatory part thereof, your point suddenly made sense.

In any case, Orion's policy seems penny-wise and pound-foolish to me. I was for years one of Orion's biggest word-of-mouth fans and enthusiastic recommender of their scopes for folks wanting to get into the hobby, but I've really chilled on that since the implications of their replacement parts policy have become clearer to me. BTW: Televue does in fact lurk in CN forums; Uncle Al knows more than you might suppose about what the CN community thinks about stuff. Orion would be foolish to not similarly keep their ear to the ground here at CN.

I'm fortunate in that it's doubtful I'll ever be selling my 12XTi; I've done way too much custom upgrading (including the optics) to ever realize a worthwhile return on investment on the resale, and if I ever come into enough money to comfortably afford a full-fledged larger-aperture premium scope e.g. Starmaster, I have enough quality non-Orion components (e.g. the Protostar spider w/heated secondary, SV60 finderscope) that I'd eventually use those parts to create a compactly portable truss scope with it. THE PROBLEM HERE for anyone starting down the upgrade path with the existing 12XTi structure is that fairly quickly, you wind up with significantly more investment in attempting to turn it into a more premium-performance scope than you could ever recoup if you someday decided to resell it to invest in a more full-fledged upgrade in quality or aperture. From a pure financial standpoint, upgrades to the existing 12XTi structure don't pay off.
 

#16 BDS316

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:38 PM

1st Sight Said:

"I was at first curious about your comment about Orion's build-a-scope program channeling buyers into Orion accessories instead of Televue, since Televue doesn't really make accessories for dobs (other than their eyepieces). However, when when I took a closer look at the Orion build-a-dob required components and realized eyepiece selections were a mandatory part thereof, your point suddenly made sense. "

Yep. I would like to see Orion offer a build-a-scope with the option of NO eyepieces, so those that already own eyepieces with which they are happy don't need to buy more, and with NO finderscope, so customers would have the option of using a Telrad, which Orion doesn't sell.

" In any case, Orion's policy seems penny-wise and pound-foolish to me. I was for years one of Orion's biggest word-of-mouth fans and enthusiastic recommender of their scopes for folks wanting to get into the hobby, but I've really chilled on that since the implications of their replacement parts policy have become clearer to me. BTW: Televue does in fact lurk in CN forums; Uncle Al knows more than you might suppose about what the CN community thinks about stuff. Orion would be foolish to not similarly keep their ear to the ground here at CN. "

This is interesting. On a few occasions some of my club members, when speaking to Orion tech support, asked them if they follow CN and the skyquest yahoo group and they denied doing so.

Our astronomy club has a Young Astronomer's Program which awards anywhere from five to seven 6"Dobs to deserving youngsters every year. We get the scopes from Orion because no one else makes 6 inch Dobs. Buschnell briefly offered a 6 inch Dob and we got one to test it. We liked it but when we tried to buy more of them we found that the product was mysteriously discontinued. We award Orion binoculars to the runner-ups. Last year we bought 6 binoculars and one of them had to be returned because it was misaligned.

If a newbie asks me what to buy, I suggest Teeter STS if they can afford it and an 8-10" GSO econodob if they can't. Orion is the only marketer of 6 inch dobs as far as I know with the demise of the Buschnell 6 incher. Please correct me if this is not true.

" I'm fortunate in that it's doubtful I'll ever be selling my 12XTi; I've done way too much custom upgrading (including the optics) to ever realize a worthwhile return on investment on the resale, and if I ever come into enough money to comfortably afford a full-fledged larger-aperture premium scope e.g. Starmaster, I have enough quality non-Orion components (e.g. the Protostar spider w/heated secondary, SV60 finderscope) that I'd eventually use those parts to create a compactly portable truss scope with it. THE PROBLEM HERE for anyone starting down the upgrade path with the existing 12XTi structure is that fairly quickly, you wind up with significantly more investment in attempting to turn it into a more premium-performance scope than you could ever recoup if you someday decided to resell it to invest in a more full-fledged upgrade in quality or aperture. From a pure financial standpoint, upgrades to the existing 12XTi structure don't pay off. "

I am basically in the same boat with my heavily modified XT8, GoldenEye. It has a custom baltic birch mount and a Moonlite focuser and a Telrad, as well as other upgrades (see sig and picture below.) If I were to sell it, I would never recoup what it is worth unless I were to sell the premium parts individually (or use them for a future scope and put the original focuser and finder back on the XT8)

Last night I saw 6 stars in the Trapezium at only 140x and split some one second double stars at higher magnifications. Excellent views of Jupiter as well. I can track near Dobson's hole at 300x. I'm keeping GoldenEye. It's going to be my post-retirement "geezer scope" because of its elegant simplicity and ease of use in the tradition of the legendary Starmaster Oak Classic, which was the inspiration for all the upgrades.

http://www.astrogood...e.goldeneye.jpg
 

#17 debarb

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:38 PM

I had good luck with them when I ordered a part for my mount. My only disappointment was the cost of shipping.

McMaster-Carr has pretty much any hardware you can imagine.
http://www.mcmaster.com/#



http://www.mcmaster....t-knobs/=kwcc81

You will also be surprised that many hardware stores have an assortment of threaded knobs. If nothing else, take one with and you can find out what the thread size is and order from McMaster Carr if they don't have what you need. It's probably metric.




I've got an order from McMaster-Carr on the way: knobs very similar to the originals for less than a dollar each. Thanks again for the link: I hadn't known about McMaster-Carr, which seems to sell everything--including the kitchen sink.
 

#18 CJK

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:02 PM

McMaster-Carr is the bomb. They have any hardware item you could possibly think of, and many that you would never think of!

-- Chris
 

#19 mmclure

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:25 PM

When Orion wouldn't sell me a replacement XT10i vertical stop, McMaster-Carr saved my bacon. They sell knobs covered with very firm rubber which I think are better suited to the task than the original vertical stop! They're listed in their catalog as "Black Comfort-Grip Polypropylene with Steel Stud". If I ever need to replace the OTA support knobs on my scope, I'll probably use those as well - the rubbery coating should work really nicely to ensure a good grip with gloves.
 

#20 Scott in NC

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:25 PM

Thanks for the heads-up on that, Manuel! I'll keep them in mind if I ever need a part like that for my XT12i.
 

#21 bobmarleyou812

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:20 PM

My experience differs from others posted here.
I bought a new case that had some loose threads on the inside of it. Not a month later the bag started to fall apart so I left a negative review on Orions website. They contacted me and offered a replacement. I did have to pay for shipping the bag back to them, but they made an attempt to make it right, and initiated the contact none the less. The new bag has the same flaws as the old one, but I still use it. I give them kudos for initiating contact with me and trying to make it right. The QC of this one product stinks, but everything else I have that has the Orion name on it (Mak, Sirius, Atlas) is top notch for China import IMO. That was about 5 years ago. No experience with customer service since, haven't needed it.
 

#22 debarb

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:01 AM

My experience differs from others posted here.
I bought a new case that had some loose threads on the inside of it. Not a month later the bag started to fall apart so I left a negative review on Orions website. They contacted me and offered a replacement. I did have to pay for shipping the bag back to them, but they made an attempt to make it right, and initiated the contact none the less. The new bag has the same flaws as the old one, but I still use it. I give them kudos for initiating contact with me and trying to make it right. The QC of this one product stinks, but everything else I have that has the Orion name on it (Mak, Sirius, Atlas) is top notch for China import IMO. That was about 5 years ago. No experience with customer service since, haven't needed it.


They send you a badly made bag,require you to pay the postage to send it back to them, and then they send another one that's just as poorly made? With due respect,that qualifies as bad customer service in my book.

On the other hand, McMaster-Carr is, as others have said, da bomb. I order knobs on Monday, in my hands on Wednesday, and the price for two knobs including 2-day shipping: $6.59. If McMaster-Carr only made telescopes!
 

#23 bobmarleyou812

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:46 PM

My experience differs from others posted here.
I bought a new case that had some loose threads on the inside of it. Not a month later the bag started to fall apart so I left a negative review on Orions website. They contacted me and offered a replacement. I did have to pay for shipping the bag back to them, but they made an attempt to make it right, and initiated the contact none the less. The new bag has the same flaws as the old one, but I still use it. I give them kudos for initiating contact with me and trying to make it right. The QC of this one product stinks, but everything else I have that has the Orion name on it (Mak, Sirius, Atlas) is top notch for China import IMO. That was about 5 years ago. No experience with customer service since, haven't needed it.


They send you a badly made bag,require you to pay the postage to send it back to them, and then they send another one that's just as poorly made? With due respect,that qualifies as bad customer service in my book.

On the other hand, McMaster-Carr is, as others have said, da bomb. I order knobs on Monday, in my hands on Wednesday, and the price for two knobs including 2-day shipping: $6.59. If McMaster-Carr only made telescopes!



Well like I said - I think it is more of a Quality Control issue and I only experienced bad Quality Control from Orion on that one single item out of many products purchased them.

I guess I just appreciated the fact that Customer Service CONTACTED ME and offered a replacement. Interpret it how you wish though.
 

#24 Jim Rosenstock

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:38 PM

Orion doesn't necessarily continue to support their products to original purchasers, either. Their product line changes over time, and, as others have noted, Orion doesn't manufacture anything, nor do they keep large quantities of spare parts on hand indefinitely. So, original purchaser or not, you'll likely be in "fix it yourself" mode with many Orion products no longer in their catalog.

Fortunately, many if not most of us in the amateur astronomy community have gotten pretty good at "fix it yourself"....

Orion's huge "plus" is that it provides "one-stop shopping" for somebody wanting an initial setup to do astronomy. I used them, ....then moved on from there. Most of us do....

Two big Orion "minuses" are the lack of ongoing product support, and their regularly excessive shipping fees.

It is what it is....and they're good for....what they're good for, and that's about it. :shrug:

Jim
 

#25 CJK

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:57 PM

I think you've pretty much summed it up, Jim.

I'm very pleased with what I've purchased from Orion, but most of my subsequent shopping has been from places like Astronomics, OPT, and Agena Astro.

-- Chris
 






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