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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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bilgebay
Post Laureate
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Reged: 11/06/08

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Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: ur7x]
      #5832403 - 04/30/13 01:55 PM

Come on! This will kill David's business

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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: bilgebay]
      #5833307 - 04/30/13 10:08 PM

Maybe, but imagine if every SCT dealer bought one and offered a $20 collimation service... or imagine if every star club bought one on a similar "club" deal...

I'm much more likely to drop a few hundred on this gizmo if I actually could try before I could buy... If I collimate with this thing and it produces the best views of Jupiter my 925 has ever produced then I'm very likely to buy one for my garage.


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WesC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: La Crescenta, CA
Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: ur7x]
      #5834571 - 05/01/13 02:46 PM

This thing is cool, but its really overpriced.

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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: WesC]
      #5834703 - 05/01/13 04:00 PM

Quote:

This thing is cool, but its really overpriced.




Given the cost of the scopes that could most benefit from the device, I agree. However, it's likely not worth building, marketing and shipping it at a far lower price point.


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: WesC]
      #5835166 - 05/01/13 08:30 PM

Quote:

This thing is cool, but its really overpriced.



What should the price be?


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WesC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: La Crescenta, CA
Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5835208 - 05/01/13 08:53 PM

$300 seems a bit more reasonable to me.

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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5835265 - 05/01/13 09:25 PM

Given that some (many, most even) can (and do) collimate SCT's with a faint star basically for free...

Or with an artificial star that ranges in price from next to nothing to $25 for a really fancy LED flashlight with laser cut tiny holes...

They are basically marketing this tool to people who either have lots and lots of SCTs (like a dealer or a club) or to people who have such extreme weather conditions that they need every second under a clear sky... Or people with lots and lots of cash and nothing better to spend it on...

That and given the most people recommend collimation with the scope strait up (to minimize mirror flop) and this tool collimates with the scope "level"

If was $100 new I might consider it... at $500 new $300+ used... it is way down on my gear "want" list.

Still as I said... If I could try it out and see how my scope works with a horizontal laser collimation, and if it took my scope from "very very good" to "freaking amazing" then I would consider $500... Till then I will try for a clear night, a faint star and my 2X barlow.


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pk759
member


Reged: 07/30/10

Loc: Below Rigel
Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: ur7x]
      #5836715 - 05/02/13 04:45 PM

For me this was worth money. I had my SCT for 3 years and never collimated it. I was always afraid to collimate in the dark because I did not want to ruin anything.

I developed my collimation phobia when I had my first scope. A reflector. I know people say it gets easier, but for me it did not. It seemed like all I did was make things worse each time I tried. That was why I went for the SCT. Refractors are too much money for aperature and at least the SCT held collimation better.

Was the Hotech expensive? Yes. Was there a learning curve? Yes, but not as steep as collimating a reflector. For me at least. I no longer panic when it comes time to collimate


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: ur7x]
      #5836809 - 05/02/13 05:33 PM

Quote:


That and given the most people recommend collimation with the scope strait up...




No they don't, and it's not necessary. You must run with quite a different crowd, cause I ain't NEVER seen anybody do that.


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: WesC]
      #5837415 - 05/02/13 10:55 PM

Quote:

$300 seems a bit more reasonable to me.



How much do you think it cost to design this thing, test it with probable engineering changes, manufacture it in China or Taiwan, ship it to the U.S., and sell it both directly and through dealers (e.g. OPT), allowing a profit for each? Do you think this can be done for a retail price of $300?


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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5838248 - 05/03/13 12:16 PM

I've seen lots sites recommend using Polaris to collimate since it is more up than down. I've also seen "experts" recommend that for the best of Jupiter (for example) you are to line up with Jupiter, and then collimate on the closest star and then back to the gas giant...

Truth be told, I've collimated my scope flat, up, angled.. whatever... never had much of challenge with this... And never noticed any difference.

That too is another reason why I look at this with one eyebrow up... I collimated my old school Newtonian the old school way.. was never all that sure how close I was... Had nice round stars with the expected 4 Newtonian spikes... got a $30 laser gizmo for Christmas... stuck it in and what do you know... it was pretty much bang on.

I would hate to spend $500 only to discover that my free "faint star" effort or my (way over priced) $25 fancy shmancy laser cut holes LED flash light, which BTW looks very much like the kind they sell for $2, (or give away) at Harbor Freight... Is already bang on...

Again in my opinion, this should be offered as a walk-in service at telescope dealers... for something like $20... Like a quicky oil change... That's how both the manufacture and the dealers can make money with this thing...

And yes you can add me to the list of people who are nervous about having a Philips head screwdriver take a divot out of the corrector plate, but I have never had issue with a freebee LED flash light in the left hand and a stubby Philips in the right... It is a terrible design, Allen headed screws would have been better... Still I haven't sprung for a set of bobs knobs either.


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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5838291 - 05/03/13 12:37 PM

Yes, given the cost to manufacture things in China it is probably profitable at even $100 per...

When the Newtonian lasers first came out they were very cost prohibitive. Most were well over $150 (many still are) and yet you can buy an Antares (or other Chinese made Newt collimator laser) for around $50, some are around $30. Funny how they all kinda look and work the same... You know like just maybe they are all built in the same factory and you are paying for the "manufactures" logo...

There is typically lots of profit built into "luxury" or "hobby" products.

It all depends on how many you can sell..

What is a fair price for this thing... I guess if people are willing to buy it at $500 new, then that's a fair price... Me, I would rather put that $500 toward a new Canon DSLR.

Oh and Agena and OPT have it on sale for $400... so yes it is likely very profitable at $300 given that the $400 price include free shipping to your door (at least at Agena it does).


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: ur7x]
      #5838324 - 05/03/13 12:49 PM

Quote:

Yes, given the cost to manufacture things in China it is probably profitable at even $100 per...etc.



I'm sure David Ho would be happy to have you on his team, since you clearly know more about his business than he does.


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
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Reged: 05/07/07

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Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: ur7x]
      #5838397 - 05/03/13 01:26 PM

Quote:

There is typically lots of profit built into "luxury" or "hobby" products.




I would say that on average that is not true in this hobby, particularly when it comes to high quality products produced by small companies. Retail profits in this business are small and manufacturing generally just makes enough to get by. Most people making products can't even consider the R&D time or their hourly time in production if they want to feel like they make a profit at all. Having something manufactured in China requires huge volumes to ever be practical. Adding dealers only reduces profit in hopes of increasing sales to make up the difference. Many people in this business can only rely on it as a side line to their regular job or their spouse's job since there is simply not enough profit. I've seen at least three very high quality manufacturers shut down recently and that says a lot.

Many products have to be priced at what they will bring without regard to what they might actually cost to produce. That might make you ask "why bother?" but we do it because we enjoy it and because of the satisfaction in making a good product that people appreciate. Everybody wants it high quality but cheap. It would be great if we could all make a fortune in this business, but I don't know of anyone who does. I doubt that David is getting rich of any of his products, but they are well though out and very well made.


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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5838418 - 05/03/13 01:41 PM

Sure whatever, lets just ignore that they have come down over $100 in price in the last 2 years. So Agena is selling them at a loss now?

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Kevdog
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: ur7x]
      #5843676 - 05/06/13 02:03 PM

Quote:

They are basically marketing this tool to people who either have lots and lots of SCTs (like a dealer or a club) or to people who have such extreme weather conditions that they need every second under a clear sky... Or people with lots and lots of cash and nothing better to spend it on...

That and given the most people recommend collimation with the scope strait up (to minimize mirror flop) and this tool collimates with the scope "level"

If was $100 new I might consider it... at $500 new $300+ used... it is way down on my gear "want" list.

Still as I said... If I could try it out and see how my scope works with a horizontal laser collimation, and if it took my scope from "very very good" to "freaking amazing" then I would consider $500... Till then I will try for a clear night, a faint star and my 2X barlow.




Or they are marketing it to people who haven't done an SCT collimation and aren't sure they "have it right". So on my $3000 C11, spending $400 to make sure I "have it right" isn't such a bad thing. Sure after I've done it a few times, I may be confident I had it right in the first place and then I might sell it along to another newbie.

You can collimate with the tool at 30 deg or so to keep the mirror in about the right place for much of your viewing. Just the first time it's recommended to do it level to reduce the variables for lining up the tool.

I'll probably look for a used one at around $300 and consider it money well spent. And if I later sell it for $250, then I just spent $50 to learn how to collimate my scope by myself. Not a bad deal.


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WesC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: La Crescenta, CA
Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: Kevdog]
      #5843849 - 05/06/13 03:43 PM

I don't think products are marked up because this is a "hobby." I think products are marked up (or down) in order to balance between cost, profit and sales volume.

Astronomy, and even more so astrophotography, is a niche market. In order to make any kind of profit you either have to sell at a higher price or sell a LOT of product. Its about balancing that with cost. And there can be other reasons for products to be priced higher that have nothing to do with quality or value. Things such as the ability of a retailers to buy in enough volume to drive down their wholesale costs, the ability to negotiate good contracts for manufacturing component suppliers, the success of a manufacturer in accurately forecasting demand and producing the correct amount of product, etc...

There are reasonably-priced products, there are expensive products of high value and then there are products that are overpriced for their value, regardless of what they actually cost to design and manufacture. Sometimes its just a bad business decision to produce something that, while cool, costs too much to manufacture than its value in the market can sustain. Sometimes its just plain old greed.

In the end the market will determine if a product will survive, or will eventually balance its price/value point. The fact that this collimation tool has dropped in price by $100 indicates to me that the manufacturer may not be selling enough of these at $500 and is adjusting the price to see if that will improve sales over the long term.

At $500+ I personally don't feel that this product's value is in balance with its price. Its value to me feels more like $300. To someone else it may be less or more. If the manufacturer finds the sweet spot for this product, then sales will improve. There will always be a segment of the market that doesn't find the price right for them, no matter what it is.

C'est la vie!


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Kevdog
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: WesC]
      #5843897 - 05/06/13 04:12 PM

Early adopters always pay some of the development costs. Yes, to me $300 seems the sweet spot, but he had to recoup some of the development and tooling costs, which I imagine is why it is still $400 retail.

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Christopher Erickson
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Reged: 05/08/06

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Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: Kevdog]
      #5844955 - 05/07/13 06:08 AM

Knowing that David Ho is a guy who really cares about his customers, I doubt that it is priced one dollar higher than it has to be to keep it as a viable product on the market.

And another point to consider. If it really was overpriced for what it is, David's arch-competitors would come up with a cheap Chinese clone of it and try to undercut his market.

And all of my HotechUSA products say "Made in USA" on them.

I hope this helps.


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: HoTech SCT Laser Collimator? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5845087 - 05/07/13 08:26 AM

Quote:

Knowing that David Ho is a guy who really cares about his customers, I doubt that it is priced one dollar higher than it has to be to keep it as a viable product on the market.

And another point to consider. If it really was overpriced for what it is, David's arch-competitors would come up with a cheap Chinese clone of it and try to undercut his market.

And all of my HotechUSA products say "Made in USA" on them.

I hope this helps.




Bingo. The collimator is also _very_ well made.


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