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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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Cyclop_si
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 03/13/08

Loc: Slovenia
Re: AP 175 new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5326436 - 07/20/12 07:48 AM

Quote:

... He could just charge what the market will bear but he has chosen this model....




I am wondering how many good astro images, made with Astro-Physic refractors, would we see in this case?

There is a lot of rich peoples that can drive price of AP scopes in the sky, but this does not make them good astro-photographers, since knowledge, dedication and talent can not be purchased, even if you have to much money to spend.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: AP 175 new [Re: Cyclop_si]
      #5326607 - 07/20/12 10:12 AM

More to the point, the only reason anyone knows who Roland is or cares what he makes is it ISN'T coming from marketers following the latest fad from the Harvard School of Business.

Yes, there are major corners he could cut and save cash. There are outsourcing shops over the horizon he could tap to make glass and do machining. We'd have another version or Meade and no Astro Physics.

-Rich


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RodgerHouTex
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/02/09

Loc: Houston, Texas, USA
Re: AP 175 new [Re: Paul G]
      #5326652 - 07/20/12 10:41 AM

Gus,

I would suggest they ramp up production to meet demand. Astro-physics is throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in lost sales.

Edited by RodgerHouTex (07/20/12 10:42 AM)


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LivingNDixie
TSP Chowhound
*****

Reged: 04/23/03

Loc: Trussville, AL
Re: AP 175 new [Re: Paul G]
      #5326674 - 07/20/12 10:52 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

In the 175EDF offer letter mailed to me it asks that a receiver of a new 175EDF not resell it for quick profit.



Has Mr Christen commented on his reasoning for this? Im just curious as to why he cares. If I waited almost 20 years for a scope Id like to think I could do whatever I wanted with it once it was mine. (not that Id let something like that go, but if someone who didnt wait on the list wanted it bad enough to pay more than 20K, why shouldnt they get to?)




I would think it is because you didn't really wait. It isn't like an investment. You paid no money, no deposit, did nothing, nada, other than say at some point 20 or so years ago "Hey that sounds nice, let me know if you make one."

I personally don't know why that ancient dusty list still exists. In my opinion, it is a joke with worthless notification lists going back 10, 15, 20 years.




In my case, I didn't carelessly put my name on the notification lists. I had specific plans for each instrument, and purchased them when I was told I had the chance (I still have the OTAs). I believe the lists are the fairest way to distribute a relatively scarce commodity, and it's up to AP how it conducts business.




Yes, some people pass up on scopes they do not require, others, likely the vast majority, do not. What is sad about this scenario is that while Roland professes to put out instruments into amateurs hands at a reasonable price for a super-premium optic, the notification lists fail miserably at allowing anyone prior to signing up 15 plus years ago access to any of these items. Why are we who signed up, so many years back so blessed? Were production keeping up with interest in even a remote manner, this would be different, but it patently is not. At this point, such interest lists are a farce and I know of many people whom discuss it disparagingly. While Astro-Physics can and will do as it pleases, and has the complete right to operate as it pleases, I personally feel such adherence to these lists actually hurts their image at this point. That is my personal opinion and I personally don't care one way or another as I have absolutely no vested interest, but I am being an advocate for those whom have entered the amateur astronomy field within the past 20 years, hear about and possibly even see such telescopes at star parties, but whom have absolutely no hope of ever being able to purchase one. Just my possibly skewed point of view, but I retain my right to speak it.




That fact that their lists persist suggests AP's reputation isn't harmed at all by allocating scarce products to those who expressed interest first. High end products from the hands of a master craftsman in other fields have long waiting lists as well. Musical instruments are but one example. Some have longer waiting lists than AP. That some people weren't old enough, interested enough, or prescient enough to get on the list at an appropriate time is really their problem, not the manufacturer's. They can always buy it used and pay the premium for getting it now.

AP has tried other avenues, they drew names from a hat for the f5 Stowaways but that generated even more angst. First come first served is a long standing method of distributing scarce items.

How would you propose to do it?




The thing that rubbed me the wrong way about the Stowaways, was that the names who were drawn for the them were not just random people, it was people who had bought at least one product for them. Considering Roland knew he wasn't going to make the Traveler at that point, he should have given those folks first shot.

I admire Roland and his craft, even own a nice star diagonal his company makes.

When I was younger I really wanted an AP scope, but today considering the market and the quality of other scopes out there, I would rather buy something that is actually available then hope and dream for something that will probably never be a reality.

The best thing Roland could do is shut down the scope line and just focus on mounts. If he wants to makes scopes, he needs to get serious and start charging deposits and show he is really in business to make them and get rid of the lookyloos who make these lists insane.

However being Roland has chosen his business model, it has made room for other companies to produce products that people can actually buy... and that is a good thing.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: AP 175 new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5326701 - 07/20/12 11:05 AM

Quote:

Gus,

I would suggest they ramp up production to meet demand. Astro-physics is throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in lost sales.




I don't think Astro-Physics primary concern is their sales figures. If that were the case, they would have chosen a different business model or probably a different business as it's pretty clear that Roland would succeed at what ever he chose.

Does Roland still do the final figuring and testing of each scope?

Jon


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: AP 175 new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5326715 - 07/20/12 11:12 AM

Quote:

Gus,

I would suggest they ramp up production to meet demand. Astro-physics is throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in lost sales.




I believe that A-P has a business model that they are happy with. They appear to be happy with current profits, providing good livings for their employees and are still able to maintain quality. I think that's important to them - all of them. Not just Rolando. Everyone at A-P cares about quality. At least in my experience. In another forum recently someone asked Roland about getting a useless lens for them junk pile. You know, as a souvenir. Roland said he had many, however Marj would never allow him to send something out that wasn't the best that A-P had to offer.

Along that line. I didn't now that from the glass they receive, they don't just hold it up to a light look through it and decide, "that's a good one". They have to (Rolando) grind and polish it to a point they can test and THEN they find they just lost a piece of expensive glass and a ton of labor. And the rejection rate - 10-50% - per Roland. That's a scary operating margin.

Joe


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vahe
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/27/05

Loc: Houston, Texas
Re: AP 175 new [Re: jmiele]
      #5326788 - 07/20/12 12:01 PM

Quote:

And the rejection rate - 10-50% - per Roland. That's a scary operating margin.




The high rejection rate is not all that scary, it is a fact of life and there should be no surprises, it is what it is and it is not going to change.

That said the ultimate cost of high rejection rate is amortized in the final price structure of the refractors that are released to the marketplace. The very high cost of AP175, compared to previous AP refractors, in my opinion reflects that fact.

Another example is TEC Maks, Yuri stated that one reason for stopping their production was the glass rejection rates, but he also stated that if he ever re-introduced 10” Maks again the price would be roughly equal to 180FL or essentially double of what these fat cats were priced while in production.

Vahe


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Scott99
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: New England
Re: AP 175 new [Re: Peter Natscher]
      #5326789 - 07/20/12 12:01 PM

>>>>Yeah, I know of a telescope collector in AZ who has patiently acquired four AP 10" Mak-Cass'es since 2001. He stores them away for investment. I don't understand why he is doing this, some sort of obsession with owning more samples of the same OTA.

that's unfortunate, but it looks like APM/Mattias Wirth have been inspired to do a "revival" run of 10-inch f/14.6, 23% CO Maks. Looks interesting. Weight is supposed to be below 30 pounds.


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vahe
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/27/05

Loc: Houston, Texas
Re: AP 175 new [Re: Paul G]
      #5326811 - 07/20/12 12:17 PM

Quote:


AP has tried other avenues, they drew names from a hat for the f5 Stowaways but that generated even more angst. First come first served is a long standing method of distributing scarce items.





Shorty after AP175 announcement on ap-ug, as expected, intense discussions started by all usual suspects including the big question of who are going to get this latest refractor. The waiting list was again revisited and discussed, in one of his replies Roland indicated that they are going to do away with their current waiting list in favor of something different, but this will happen after AP175.
AP is beginning to realize that the current waiting list is not the best approach and something needs to be done about it.

Vahe


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: AP 175 new [Re: vahe]
      #5326863 - 07/20/12 12:49 PM

Vahe, I didn't mean to imply it was a surprise. Just stating the facts. It's part of the deal, however as Roland said, one has to decide if they way to take the risk. The bigger the blank and production run - the greater the potential gain or loss. If you are happy with your current situation, why take big risks.. If he didn't have the blanks, I don't think the current 175 run happens. But he did have them.

Joe


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Paul G
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/08/03

Loc: Freedonia
Re: AP 175 new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5326915 - 07/20/12 01:31 PM

Quote:

Gus,

I would suggest they ramp up production to meet demand. Astro-physics is throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in lost sales.




If profit were his overriding motive he would do a lot of things differently. But if he ramped up production of scopes he would not be able to do the final figuring on each objective and AP scopes would lose a big part of what sets AP apart. There are plenty of mass produced scopes produced by other companies, AP fills a different niche in the market.


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saemark30
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/21/12

Re: AP 175 new [Re: Paul G]
      #5327285 - 07/20/12 06:09 PM

AP business model is primarily a mount manufacturer!

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: AP 175 new [Re: saemark30]
      #5327312 - 07/20/12 06:21 PM

Quote:

AP business model is primarily a mount manufacturer!




It may be that way now but certainly that was not how it began.

Jon


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johnnyha
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 11/12/06

Loc: Sherman Oaks, CA
Re: AP 175 new [Re: M13 Observer]
      #5327380 - 07/20/12 07:37 PM

Quote:

Yes, some people pass up on scopes they do not require, others, likely the vast majority, do not. What is sad about this scenario is that while Roland professes to put out instruments into amateurs hands at a reasonable price for a super-premium optic, the notification lists fail miserably at allowing anyone prior to signing up 15 plus years ago access to any of these items. Why are we who signed up, so many years back so blessed? Were production keeping up with interest in even a remote manner, this would be different, but it patently is not. At this point, such interest lists are a farce and I know of many people whom discuss it disparagingly. While Astro-Physics can and will do as it pleases, and has the complete right to operate as it pleases, I personally feel such adherence to these lists actually hurts their image at this point. That is my personal opinion and I personally don't care one way or another as I have absolutely no vested interest, but I am being an advocate for those whom have entered the amateur astronomy field within the past 20 years, hear about and possibly even see such telescopes at star parties, but whom have absolutely no hope of ever being able to purchase one. Just my possibly skewed point of view, but I retain my right to speak it.




OK, Roland has a lot of people who want his scopes so he has them put their names on a list. Assuming when their name comes up they do not want the scope, the HONORABLE thing to do is bow out and offer the scope to the next guy on the list - not buy it with no intention of using it and sell it to an opportunist!

And this is not democratic why?? There could be nothing more American than this list. How can you not see that the HONORABLE, FAIR thing to do is let the next guy on the list have it if you don't want it?!

And even so, incredible scopes from AP are available daily on Astromart to the highest bidder... they are available. But circumventing the list is somehow your concern? Your concern is that the new amateur astronomer cannot immediately step ahead of the long established protocol and get these wonderful scopes, because of this confounded list?

How does an "amateur" or first-timer rate getting the new AP175 over someone who wanted one twelve years ago and signed up to get one? You want to snatch that away from that poor guy at the last second after he has waited twelve years WHY? Because now suddenly YOU want it? So did he - TWELVE YEARS AGO!


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Peter Natscher
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/28/06

Loc: Central Coast California
Re: AP 175 new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5327616 - 07/20/12 10:57 PM

Roland is running things perfectly honorable by attending to the one's who expressed interest in his products the earliest...and by placing their names on his interest list at that time. It was in 1995 that I expressed enough interest to ask Marj over the phone that my name be put on the 180EDT list, and any large APO list if one was going to be created.

I thought we were all amateurs. Who's a professional here?

Quote:

OK, Roland has a lot of people who want his scopes so he has them put their names on a list. Assuming when their name comes up they do not want the scope, the HONORABLE thing to do is bow out and offer the scope to the next guy on the list - not buy it with no intention of using it and sell it to an opportunist!

And this is not democratic why?? There could be nothing more American than this list. How can you not see that the HONORABLE, FAIR thing to do is let the next guy on the list have it if you don't want it?!

And even so, incredible scopes from AP are available daily on Astromart to the highest bidder... they are available. But circumventing the list is somehow your concern? Your concern is that the new amateur astronomer cannot immediately step ahead of the long established protocol and get these wonderful scopes, because of this confounded list?

How does an "amateur" or first-timer rate getting the new AP175 over someone who wanted one twelve years ago and signed up to get one? You want to snatch that away from that poor guy at the last second after he has waited twelve years WHY? Because now suddenly YOU want it? So did he - TWELVE YEARS AGO!




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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: AP 175 new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5328040 - 07/21/12 10:49 AM

Correct. Primarily because Roland has employed people capable of building mounts to his quality specification.

And, although he has tried, he's not been able to find another opticion to make lens to his satisfaction.

Quote:

Quote:

AP business model is primarily a mount manufacturer!




It may be that way now but certainly that was not how it began.

Jon




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Svezda
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/01/07

Loc: Texas
Re: AP 175 new [Re: idealistic]
      #5328404 - 07/21/12 03:02 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Because perhaps he feels that as these are the last big scopes he will make, he wants to ensure they are going to folks that waited and now will enjoy them. Not exploit them to make money. He could just as easily have asked the market value they are worth and had people pay 35-40k for them new. He didn't even if it is his ability and attention to detail that warrants the high hight. Maybe it's because he cares about his work and wants it to be affordable so people can enjoy it. Maybe because he feels if he isn't going to exploit his talent you shouldn't.

IDK, it is your money........Joe



Well he should obviously let the people who waited have the first chance at them. And yes, he could have charged more, not that 19.8k is "affordabe", Im sure hes gearing up for retirement and making more GP than ever on this run. Once he sets the price, a customer cant be accused of "exploiting" his talent, especially if hes waited patienly for 20 years then pony'd up 20 grand for a scope that cost less than 6 when he signed up for it. You seem like a free market guy, Im still confused as to why he cares. Hes done his part, produced and distributed his labor of love. What happens next shoudnt concern him.



I am a degreed and 'sometimes' professional artist. I feel the same way that I imagine Rolando feels - that if I created true masterpieces of the painter's art (as he does in the optical 'art') then I'd want them to go to people who love and appreciate them, not to investors. The reason is that when I paint I paint not as a businessman trying simply to earn money but also as an artist. If I made iron fences or did body work or made some other kind of utilitarian object I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't care what people did with my work after I sold it to them, even if they sold it for twice my price...but as an artist (like Roland is) there is a whole other dimension to his work: there is a desire to have people appreciate his telescopes and to enjoy them for somewhat 'spiritual' and aesthetic reasons, which are counter to the desire to buy such art objects simply to see how much one can profit from them.

Of course, it is my right to sell a painting or a telescope at any time and for as much as I can get (for one thing, I might really need the money for a serious reason) but I think Roland /hopes/ that his customers don't buy his telescopes simply with the /intention/ to sell them as they might sell a car or a boat just to make a huge profit on them. That's my take on it.


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Alvan Clark
sage


Reged: 03/13/10

Re: AP 175 new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5328477 - 07/21/12 03:53 PM

Quote:

Gus,

I would suggest they ramp up production to meet demand. Astro-physics is throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in lost sales.




It seems he doesn't want to do that. So, that leaves the other method. Raise the price. If he's doing a run of fifty, he could do a dutch auction. Fifty highest bidders get the scopes. No waiting list required.


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Svezda
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/01/07

Loc: Texas
Re: AP 175 new [Re: Alvan Clark]
      #5328688 - 07/21/12 06:37 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Gus,

I would suggest they ramp up production to meet demand. Astro-physics is throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in lost sales.




It seems he doesn't want to do that. So, that leaves the other method. Raise the price. If he's doing a run of fifty, he could do a dutch auction. Fifty highest bidders get the scopes. No waiting list required.



People don't realize how generous Roland is, I think. There is a similar situation among the best classical guitar makers. They often only produce very limited numbers of instruments, since, like Roland, they make these by hand with a lot of individual attention to the final product, kind of like Roland's hand figuring.

These makers charge $~12 to ~20K for these guitars, and there are often similar waiting lists to AP's, in some cases going for ten years. These makers charge what they can get for these instruments, because, as far as I know, there is no 'flipping' of guitars, even though they are very hard to get and very much in demand. The people who buy them are either professionals or serious amateurs who really use them. The new price more clearly reflects the real value, I think, or else one might tend to see flipping of new, unused super high-end classical guitars, but I never see it or hear of it.

Roland could charge almost ridiculous prices for his scopes, and he'd still sell them all. There would be little flipping because the new price would already be so high that the seller would have little chance of earning a profit. There'd be sales due to changes in life circumstances, health reasons, etc. but not to make a quick buck. I think it's amazing that Roland doesn't just 'charge what the market will bear' and I applaud him for it since it makes his scopes available to more than just the richest of amateur astronomers (or investors).


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gillmj24
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 12/06/05

Loc: PA
Re: AP 175 new [Re: Svezda]
      #5328797 - 07/21/12 07:50 PM

Well said.

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