NEAF shopping advice
Posted 24 March 2013 - 05:46 PM
So my question is this, if you had some astro budget cash set aside what are the best deals to be had at NEAF ? I know some of the astro vendors have stuff to lug back on Sunday, so maybe you can bargain a bit? Do some of the manufacturers like ES or iOptron sell their stuff at a bargain price there or just a bit below list?
Sure I like going to see all the goodies up close, but I hate buying something and then seeing a slightly used version show up,on Amart or here for like 30% less!
I can live without any bargains but,,I sure would spend more if there were some doozies!
Posted 25 March 2013 - 08:50 AM
Posted 26 March 2013 - 12:40 PM
For the most part, the large manufacturers (Celestron, Explore Scientific, etc) don’t sell stuff at NEAF, and refer you to one of the dealers. Some of the smaller “specialty makers” do sell stuff, and at ‘show special’ prices. I can think of ADM and Denkmeier off the top of my head, but there are others. You can usually get a good deal on the home domes if you take it yourself.
One nice thing is that you can talk directly to the rep’s and often get hands-on guidance. One year I brought my home-made 6-inch Newt to the show and Moonlite helped me with buying exactly what I needed in a focuser that would fit. VERNONscope (Don Yeier) has sold Brandon ‘blems’ the last few years, but they often sell out during the first hour on Saturday. He also often has some antique instruments (like from his auctions) for sale at NEAF. The book publishers offer good discounts, including sometimes author autographed copies.
I’ve found that the ‘store-type’ vendors (OPT, Hand’s, etc) sometimes have special deals supported by the manufacturers who are there, or on their own. I got a super deal on a Stellarvue finder from OPT 2 years ago. Even at the ‘normal price’, buying at NEAF avoids shipping (and its attendant damage risk), you can see the item before buying, ask questions, you can use it the next day, etc. I consider that a big advantage. For the most part the Vendors “eat” the NY sales tax, but one of the book publishers hit me with it.
The ‘good stuff’ goes early. You can sometimes get a little more off large heavy stuff (say a display special item like a C-11) on Sunday afternoon. Basically, the store is saving the shipping home, and you get that.
If there is some specific item you want (say an odd cover for your scope), call a vendor like OPT and ask them to bring it for you, and hold it until you arrive. I’ve done that on a number of items that they would have otherwise not brought.
Posted 30 March 2013 - 09:37 AM
Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:58 PM
The later on Sunday it is, the better the deals. Make sure you're nice, but a little haggling is a good thing.
Look around for close out items. Have a mental list of what might be useful to you.
Have a smartphone handy to see what's a discounted item or not.
Remember it's far more valuable to get a good deal on something expensive than a great deal on something which was pretty cheap, anyway. In that category, I'd have bought the AT 150mm triplet Astronomics brought if I hadn't spent so much going there. :-(. Yuri from TEC had a beautiful TEC 106mm refractor one could buy right there (wow is that a great scope). So, know what you could be interested in and be prepared to act. You will see everything there, so being prepared means knowing what your "Someday" items are.
Look a kits of goodies- some will offer specials on sets of things.
Be aware specials exist elsewhere. Southern Stars had made Sky Safari free for the basic version and deeply discounted the upgraded versions or NEAF (fantastic scope controlling planetarium app on iOS, android, and Mac).
Posted 30 March 2013 - 02:24 PM
The word from my sources is that there will be no more Televue "blems." My source says their quality control program has reduced the number of these available to insignificance.
You’re probably right.
I’m not sure that all of those Televue ‘blem’ eyepieces really had anything wrong with them. I have two, and I can’t see anything wrong with them. They were guaranteed to perform as well as the normal eyepieces, but the deal was cash-only, and no returns. At times they also sold unusual items like the rubber eyecups for older (and current) eyepieces. I got some of that stuff too.
I did heard Al Nagler say that he did the blem sale just to help out his astronomy club. Al’s been a member there since before Televue, and he was one of the RAC founders of NEAF, so he had a personal interest in seeing it grow. Unfortunately, the ‘blem sale’ caused problems with long lines, with people at the end missing the really big stuff, and folks buying dozens of eyepieces, and then re-selling them for a profit.
Posted 30 March 2013 - 03:01 PM
One thing to consider when shopping is that some of the vendors will have the same specials on their website during NEAF weekend as they have at the show. So if you miss out on the last of something, you may still be able to order online if you've got a computer handy (or the vendor may take an order at the booth, I don't know). This won't apply to "greater" discounts on Sunday when many vendors are looking to get rid of product so they don't have to ship it home, but just as an FYI.
Posted 12 April 2013 - 08:03 PM
Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:31 PM
Posted 13 April 2013 - 12:04 PM
Posted 18 April 2013 - 11:08 AM
What is the swap policy if any at NEAF. I plan to bring some odds and ends up to trade or sell if possible. This is the first time I am going to the show. I plan on buying a CG5 and I am looking for that "one last eyepiece" for my sky 90. Any tips would be helpful. By the way I am going Saturday as its the only day I can go..
I don't remember seeing a 'swap meet' last year, or the year before. Most people list stuff on A'mart as 'pick up at NEAF'. You can arrange to meet at the Crowne or another hotel too. I've never tried it, but it should work if you have each other's cell number.
Posted 18 April 2013 - 11:18 AM
I go every year but have never found anything discounted enough to tempt me. ......
On the other hand, I buy almost *all* of my new astro gear, books, etc, at NEAF each year. The discounts are nice, but picking up the stuff and taking it home (no waiting, no shipping cost or damage), along with advice from the makers (for the most part) is even better. In a few cases I've been able to have makers look at an ATM telescope I've brought along and recommend exactly what focuser, etc, I need to upgrade it. One friend had an astro software vendor load the latest program right on his laptop at NEAF. Most of the magazines and org's (like IDA, and Astro Tech Today) will take membership dues at NEAF. I've gotten author autographed books (like Uranometria) at NEAF.
I also buy new stuff at star parties, but not as much as at NEAF. For the rest of the year I mostly buy 'used'.
Posted 18 April 2013 - 05:38 PM
come on 7, Daddy needs another low profile focuser...
Posted 18 April 2013 - 07:57 PM
.....we shall see....
Posted 19 April 2013 - 12:02 PM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:30 AM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:51 PM
Don't believe any 'smokin' deals! .....
OPT was offering "20% off of everything" based on current prices on their website. A friend looking to buy Ethos eyepieces mentioned this to Woodland and they immediately offered even a lower price - claimed to be their cost!
I would not expect OPT, or any reputable dealer, to out-n-out lie about a sale price. Making $40 is not worth loosing their reputation as a fair and honest seller. They would loose far more in the end.