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Cost of Televue Eyepieces

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#1 linux

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:06 PM

Not knowing about the pricing history of TV Ethos eyepieces, I wonder if anybody could say if their prices ever go down. I know they're great and I'd pretty much decided to pace myself and get all Ethoi over a period of time (partially a function of my wife...).

Anyway, I read so many good things about the 13mm that I just went and bought it from Astronomics. I love it and I love the wide field. So my plan was sort of: 13mm -> 21mm ->8mm -> 17mm -> 4.7mm. I don't know if I'll get to the end anytime soon, but when it came time to go for the 21, I was (sticker) shocked at the price. $900!

To make a long story short, I wound up getting an ES100 20mm for $277 (a second, but normally $300). I just could not justify a $600 difference. Seems to me that buyers have to "really" appreciate and want that EP very badly. Everything I've read says the ES is darn close. I was kinda bummed out because I want the Ethos, but...

Anyway, I don't have a problem with TV's business model and pricing decisions at all. It's their business and their products are top notch and the warranty is lifetime, but I think they will lose a lot of business on the 21 that they otherwise could pick up.

I read that the ES100 20mm started higher (like at $500 or something) and went down over time. Does that every happen to the TV products.

#2 johnnyha

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:30 PM

Don't feel bad. I bought the 21mm Ethos and didn't like it, I was getting "brownouts". Sold it within a few months and took a $120 hit. There are many eyepieces I like better that cost a whole lot less.

#3 jack45

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:50 AM

That's a big price difference!

Clear Skies!

#4 Astrojensen

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 02:37 AM

To make a long story short, I wound up getting an ES100 20mm for $277 (a second, but normally $300). I just could not justify a $600 difference. Seems to me that buyers have to "really" appreciate and want that EP very badly. Everything I've read says the ES is darn close. I was kinda bummed out because I want the Ethos, but...



Welcome in the club. You are not alone.


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Thomas, Denmark

#5 ibase

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 03:21 AM

Linux, the ES 100's are very good value EP's; have the 14mm, quite a performer. It's interesting also to see an x-ray of your Ethos 13mm and the 100ES14mm, click here.

Best,

#6 Teal'c

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 04:59 AM

Televue prices have always been high but over the past couple of years prices have gone beyond what I'm willing to pay. When I bought the 21mm ethos, the reg price (if memory serves) was $720.00.....now, $895.00

As to the TV compared to the ES?...I had the 21,13,and 8mm ethos and the 20, 14 and 9mm ES. Optically, they were very close but the Ethos were easier to use due to slightly better eye relief. ES should get away from the deep well ring on these eyepieces as is would close the gap even more.

IMO.....there is not a justified $600.00 performance difference between the TV 21 and ES 20

#7 RGM

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:18 AM

I own several TV EPs, but have not bought another for many years. I completed my collection with ES and XW. Cost was the primary reason.

I participated in a blind test between an ES14 and Ethos 13 when the ES first came out. After about 30 minutes, and observing many objects, I picked the ES14. I was quite surprised, and somewhat embarrassed. Have not bought a TV since.

#8 johntrob

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:21 AM

Nice article, thanks Hernando.

#9 GOLGO13

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:28 AM

If you don't mind the used market, they depreciate quite a bit. There is certainly a high demand for them. But there are other good eyepieces out there.

Sad to say I don't have any Televue eyepieces right now. I had the 26mm type 5 Nagler and it was very good. I had the 13mm Type 6 and didn't really like it (but I was less experienced back then).

Right now my only expensive eyepiece is the 10mm Pentax XW. I really like it and it really works well with all my telescopes. I understand the Delos is pretty close to the Pentax, but the pentax is a little cheaper new on Adorma camera.

I do think the Televue eyepieces are consistently good. So you do pay a little for quality. But if people keep buying them, they will keep prices high.

Funny thing for me though...I've been really enjoying value eyepieces like the Edmund RKEs and University Optics Orthos. They are not wide fields, but the views are very sharp. Combined with my Pentax XW and a few Meade 5000 SWA and UWA I'm pretty good to go.

#10 Illinois

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:33 AM

Tele Vue eyepieces always high price and I dont buy it. I have several TV Plossls because I can afford it in early 1980's. Now I have ES 82degrees 24mm, 14mm, 11mm, 8.8mm and 6.7mm eyepieces. I love it! I test 24mm and look at star way by edge of the view. Stars still pinpoint and I am happy. I always heard that TV is little better is because its in your head and pay 500 dollars more!

#11 Mark9473

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:40 AM

I'm still interested in the original question: do Televue prices ever go down? (I'd like to pick up a 22 Nagler one day)

#12 Eddgie

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:42 AM

In general, I do not believe that Televue ever reduces the MSRP of their eyepeices. If they ever have, I have not seen it.

Usually there will be a sale price (not a reduced MSRP) preceeding the next price increase, but that is about as close as you can get.

I have not used the ES 100 degree or 80 degree AFOV eyepeices, but I have used the latest ES 68 degree eyepeices in 16mm and 20mm focal lenghts, and I have to say that side by side with similar focal lenght Panoptics (I have owned all but the 15mm Pans) I found the performance to be pretty similar.

I liked the 16mm and 20mm 68 degree ES eyepcieces so much that I have a pair on order for my Binoviwer.

Televue pricing I think is going to hurt them. ES is offerening hard to resist pricing and excellent warranty.

I have always been a big Televue fan. They make excellent excellent eyepeices.

That being said, I believe they price model will ultimatly erode their customer base with en-masse defections to what appear to be similarly good eyepeices for a fraction of the price.

#13 t.r.

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:10 AM

IMO.....there is not a justified $600.00 performance difference between the TV 21 and ES 20


I agree...had Ethos, sold for ES 100 Power set. Yes, from time to time, TV has a sale and drops the price about 10%. It is now expected by customers and I think many simply wait until these sales to do their purchasing in quantity. The sale usually proceeds a price hike. It is a tricky game that I think TV will ultimately loose.

#14 nevy

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:38 AM

I think the prices will go up rather than down, I'm glad I got mine just as the last sale was ending , I paid £420 for the 21mm and I thought that was expensive , now the price is £750 ish , but once you have them and look after them they will last a lifetime and more.

#15 careysub

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:44 AM

The have offered 25% off sales in the past.

When I got back into doing astronomy after many years, two and a half years ago, TeleVue had a 25% off sale, and their base prices were 25% lower as well.

I bought 5 pieces of TeleVue optics at that time: a Paracorr 1, the 2X and 4X Powermates, a Nagler 20mm, and a 27mm Panoptic, at a price ineffct 40% off of current prices.

My reasoning was that with the two Powermates and the two medium-long focus EPs (which were among their lowest priced wide fields EPs, the Powermates are also cheaper than nearly all TV WF EPs) I could get "TeleViews" at 27mm, 20mm, 13.5mm, 10mm, 6.75mm, and 5mm covering most of the range of usable magnifications in most scopes I was ever likely to own, and also all being usable in any telescope I was ever likely to own (you have to get below F/3.9 with Paracorr before I would experience vignetting from my ~6mm pupil).

I could have gone cheaper with the 19mm Panoptic instead of the 20mm Nagler, but wanted to give the vaunted Nagler corrections a try.

The major limitation on my strategy is that it ties me to using 2" focusers - not that big a problem since only some small and inexpensive scopes don't have them and can't take them easily.

At this point I am unlikely to buy another TeleVue unless it is a Plossl (their cheapest EPs, mostly to give it a comparison with cheaper Plossls of identical FL), or a Radian at a good discount (used or if/when the have another 25% off sale). I would like to follow my strategy of getting one of each type at a discount, in which case the Delos would be next. I would like to try a 13mm Ethos, but even discounted the price is so high (even if I get 25% off the current street price, it is still $510) it would be sort of my "last EP ever".

#16 russell23

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:52 AM

Televue prices have always been high but over the past couple of years prices have gone beyond what I'm willing to pay. When I bought the 21mm ethos, the reg price (if memory serves) was $720.00.....now, $895.00

As to the TV compared to the ES?...I had the 21,13,and 8mm ethos and the 20, 14 and 9mm ES. Optically, they were very close but the Ethos were easier to use due to slightly better eye relief. ES should get away from the deep well ring on these eyepieces as is would close the gap even more.

IMO.....there is not a justified $600.00 performance difference between the TV 21 and ES 20


I think ES has done such a good job with their eyepieces that it is not even necessarily a matter of 90% of the TV performance at 1/3 the price. In the case of the 28mm ES68 I think it is actually better in a number of performance characteristics than the 27mm Pan. That is something relatively new. It used to be that you knew you were getting an all around superior eyepiece for the premium price. With TV vs ES comparisons it turns out not to be the case anymore.

Dave

#17 hfjacinto

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:16 AM

I own several TeleVue eyepieces and they are very good. I wanted to go to 100* eyepieces and was thinking Ethos, but after trying the Explore Scientific, I was really impressed and couldn't justify paying 2.5 more times for an Ethos, for the price of a 21MM Ethos, I got a 9,14 and 20MM ES.

As to the pricing, at times, Televue had specials (like I got the 17MM T4 and 31MMT5 on sale). A few NEAFs ago they had Blems so I got a 3.5MM Nagler T6 and a 6MM Radian for very good prices. The other T6's I own, I was able to buy new but with coupons (telescopes.com used to give 10% off coupons) so they were good priced also. Paying full price for a Televue is a lot to spend on an eyepiece.

Although I don't want to critique TV as they price the products accordingly, the current price point seems to be too high compared to the ES when the difference isn't that much, if at all.

#18 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:22 AM

I own several TV EPs, but have not bought another for many years. I completed my collection with ES and XW. Cost was the primary reason.

I participated in a blind test between an ES14 and Ethos 13 when the ES first came out. After about 30 minutes, and observing many objects, I picked the ES14. I was quite surprised, and somewhat embarrassed. Have not bought a TV since.


One of my observing buddies usually wants to use his ES eyepieces in my scope with a fine Royce mirror. One night we did a comparison with my 13 Ethos. After two minutes he pronounced the ES the winner.

OTOH, I found the ES underwhelming. 90% as good maybe. Which in absolute standards would have been great 10 years ago.

I can't say that cost/value does not play a key role here. His eyepiece strategy is to have lots of them, and despite a well-off retirement he doesn't like to spend a lot on equipment. For him ES is a great value.

My eyepiece strategy involves fewer eyepieces so I am willing to pay more for finer ones (or willing to go to the used market to stretch my money). Given the limited time I have for the hobby and the effort I put in (building scopes, driving to the dark site, being exhausted the next day) I'm not very forgiving on so/so performance. It has to be great or it wastes my precious time.

#19 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:54 AM

Televue pricing I think is going to hurt them. ES is offerening hard to resist pricing and excellent warranty.

I have always been a big Televue fan. They make excellent excellent eyepeices.

That being said, I believe they price model will ultimatly erode their customer base with en-masse defections to what appear to be similarly good eyepeices for a fraction of the price.


Yes, buying TeleVue has been about the safest bet there is in eyepieces.

But these are hard times, standards of living have been on the decline for years. This has opened a great window for low cost competitors. The erosion you speak of is well under way. At star parties ES eyepieces are nearly as common as Tele Vue.

In a few years TeleVue may become as niche player. Or they may not make it at all. As a privately held company we can only speculate at their revenues, expense structure, and staying power.

But one has to wonder if Tele Vue folds - for how many decades will eyepiece design stagnate? In 1940 the Erfle was the best there was. And in the late 1970's it still was the best.

A small innovator would be crazy to risk his livelihood in a market where a large foreign cloner can copy his optical design at substantially lower prices, and customers flock to it.

#20 BillP

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:11 AM

But one has to wonder if Tele Vue folds - for how many decades will eyepiece design stagnate? In 1940 the Erfle was the best there was. And in the late 1970's it still was the best.


Actually, IMO I think that except for levels of polish that eyepieces made from glass are about as perfect in their execution as possible and practical. Might be able to get a few more percent transmission with some exotic coating technologies, but other than that and a few more degrees of AFOV I feel the state of the current art is at its limit. So until electronics and/or exotic non-glass or metamaterials are used, I feel this is about as good as it can get. And I don't feel any of the current mainstream companies will be the first to break into the more exotic approaches that will be needed for a truly next generation eyepiece. Instead some new newbie will.

#21 ibase

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:48 AM

Nice article, thanks Hernando.


You're welcome, 'twas fascinating to see the x-ray the 1st time, still is. So, reverse-engineered? Copied? Cloned? Obvious? Answer is as good as anyone else's maybe.

Best,

#22 Brian Schmidt

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:18 PM

I know what you're talking about. I recently sold a 12 Nagler, and have a sale pending on my 8 Ethos, with the idea of replacing both with the 10 Ethos. I experienced sticker shock when I started shopping around for the 10 New, and saw that it was $650. :jawdrop: The cost will bem mostly paid from the sale of the other two eyepieces, but this may be my last Ethos at this price. I seem to remember the mid focal length Ethos coasting around the $475 price point in the not so distant past.

#23 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:44 PM

Over the years I have had very good luck on the used market (and not just on Tele Vue). About half of my eyepieces were bought this way.

As to the OP: The costs of manufactured goods (excepting electronics) rarely go down over time (unless of course the design changes to cut manufacturing processes). And you'll miss a lot of great observing waiting for a sale.

It is what it is.

#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:52 PM

Anyway, I don't have a problem with TV's business model and pricing decisions at all. It's their business and their products are top notch and the warranty is lifetime, but I think they will lose a lot of business on the 21 that they otherwise could pick up.



I am not one who keeps up with the latest and greatest. I have several sets of eyepieces but my main set consists of 8 Naglers ranging from the 31mm to the 3.5mm, there's a couple of Barlows and a Paracorr in there too. I purchased them all used and all told, I have more than $2000 in that case. But I built it up over a period of probably 7 or 8 years, an eyepiece at a time, slowly replacing other eyepieces, learning what I liked, what I didn't like.

I think the market for TeleVue is for those who have a significant investment in their equipment so that the eyepieces represent a smaller fraction of the total investment.

For example, if one has a few thousand dollars invested in an NP-101 in order to have that wide, flat field of view, then investing in the 31mm Nagler rather than the ES-30 makes sense. Or say you are Mel Bartel's and you have built an 13 inch F/3 Newtontian designed to provide the richest possible field of view, the 21mm Ethos would seem to be worth the investment, the scope was designed around that particular eyepiece.

If one is looking for the best value, maybe TeleVue is not the best choice unless purchased used.

Jon

#25 Binojunky

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:19 PM

I picked up a nice new 14mm Radian last year from a star party vendor at 60% of the regular price, all my other TV eyepieces are bought used with the exception of a couple of plossls, as for the scopes , lovely but too rich for me,its not that I can,t afford them, its just I not prepared to pay the price,too each his own,DA.






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