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Equipment Discussions >> Eyepieces

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csrlice12
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5836123 - 05/02/13 11:53 AM

Availability of the 24mm Pan: Walk in with the money, walk out with the eyepiece.

Availability of the ES68* 24mm: May 30 will be my one-year ordering anniversary...

THAT's a BIG difference too.....


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Eddgie
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: linux]
      #5836132 - 05/02/13 11:57 AM

Quote:

Yes, it looks like a knock-off design for sure. If TV were Apple, the patent lawsuits would be flying.





US Patent protection I think only lasts for 20 years.

The Ethos is most likely simply an extension of the original Nagler design which basically uses a Smyth lens as part of the design.

In order to get a new patent, the design usually has to incorporate some new, never before seen design element.


Likewise, the Panoptic design has been around a long time, and is most likely off patent.

Also, someone wishing to compete only has to make a slight "Improvement" somewhere in the design and can get a new patents based on the "Improved" version.

And no one should think it is "Ripping off" Televue.

Patent law allows the inventor to have an exclusive use of the design for a period of time so that their inventiveness is rewarded.

It is the expiration of that patent though that allows for competition , and when this happens, prices almost always fall as a result.

Edited by Eddgie (05/02/13 12:04 PM)


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hfjacinto
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5836140 - 05/02/13 12:00 PM

Quote:


Price of a 24MM 68* ES: $119
Price of a 24MM Panoptic: $330
Difference: $211




So if the 24MM 68* ES was available I could get 3 eyepieces for the price of one Panoptic?


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linux
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5836142 - 05/02/13 12:02 PM

For some reason I assumed that TV was made in the US, but is actually manufactured in Japan and Taiwan. ES is a Chinese owned company based in Arkansas but manufactured in China. Perhaps the cost of living and business taxes in NY affect the prices somewhat compared to Arkansas, but probably not by a factor of 2 or 3.

Edited by linux (05/02/13 12:04 PM)


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: linux]
      #5836155 - 05/02/13 12:07 PM

How do you measure the cost of an eyepiece? For most of us a quality eyepiece is something that will last and be used for many years, in some cases decades. How many hours will it ride in a diagonal over those decades? Thousands probably for an avid and active astronomer. When you look at it that way (and I do) any substantial up front investment in any astronomy equipment is just that, an investment, not a cost or expense. I have about $5,000 in my eyepiece case, and I consider it money very well invested in what I hope will be many years of enjoyable eobserving for me and those who eventually inherit or purchase those eyepieces.

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spongebob@55
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5836156 - 05/02/13 12:07 PM

Saw a $620 price on a 13mm Ethos at NEAF at the OPT booth. Almost pulled the trigger, but just couldn't get over the thought of what else I could buy for that....
I too would like to know when TVs are 'on sale'.
Bob


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Sarkikos
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: spongebob@55]
      #5836175 - 05/02/13 12:21 PM

Yep, 'on sale' is right.

Mike


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russell23
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5836245 - 05/02/13 01:00 PM

I have no problem with TV prices and I agree that they have been a leading innovator in eyepiece design. And if you have the funds, you're loading up with outstanding eyepieces if you go with TV eyepieces and can support them for being an innovator in the eyepiece market.

But as I’ve said before, TV has chosen to focus on the premium wide-field market – not the “economy” wide-field market. Meade, Celestron, and now Explore Scientific have provided the low cost “economy” options for people that cannot afford the TV Naglers and Panoptics. The great thing for TV over the years is that they have provided the lines many people have aspired to someday own because their lines were generally considered superior in all respects to the “economy” lines with similar specifications.

But the game has changed. Explore Scientific now offers eyepiece lines that perform at such a high level that many people no longer feel that they need to “aspire” to reach up for the cost of TV lines. People feel confident that the ES eyepieces are performing at a level close enough to the TV that they are satisfied. People in some cases even like the ES lines more.

I don’t know to what extent TV’s bottom line is being “hurt” by the success of ES, but when you ignore a large segment of the market (economy priced wide-fields), you run the risk that a company that successfully markets to that segment will eventually reach up and tap into your premium segment as well.

I’m not blaming TV for anything here, but I also don’t subscribe to any notion that we should feel sorry for TV because ES is supposedly “stealing” sales from them. By creating the Ethos line, TV actually created the demand that allowed ES to generate such success because a 100 deg AFOV line with such “majesty factor” priced at $600+ each leaves a huge price gap that a competitor can fill – especially one with the business advantages ES is succeeding with. So I don’t feel any need to have my wallet take an unnecessary hit just so that I can support a company that doesn’t have an interest in marketing eyepieces in my primary price range.

Dave


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MRNUTTY
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: russell23]
      #5836261 - 05/02/13 01:08 PM

Well as has been mentioned before low prices, and 'good enough' product built in China has been the bane of many companies. Not all though, if there are sufficient customers for high-end at least a single manufacture of high-end gear can survive, and I hope TV will.

FWIW I thought the ES/68 line was their best.

Edited by MRNUTTY (05/02/13 01:20 PM)


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csrlice12
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #5836331 - 05/02/13 01:35 PM

"So if the 24MM 68* ES was available..."

Therein lies the problem......


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Thomas Karpf
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5836387 - 05/02/13 02:00 PM

Quote:

"So if the 24MM 68* ES was available..."

Therein lies the problem......




They're great quality and a great price for the quality. Not surprising that there's a line...

One of Carl Zambuto's criteria for finding a good deal is 'look for a line of people willing to wait'.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: BillP]
      #5836412 - 05/02/13 02:13 PM

Quote:

Probably in LARGE part due to different supply chains. btw, everyone is in the business for PROFIT...so in that respect all are of the same nature and no vendor is more altruistic than another that's for sure!




I think its worth making a distinction between manufacturers who are amateur astronomers and got into the business because of their interest in amateur astronomy and those that are just in business as a way to make money.

I think both Uncle Al and Roland Christen could have used their talents elsewhere and made buckloads of money but I think for both of them, what they do is a labor of love.

I also think that without their creativity, willingness to stretch the limits, our choices as amateur astronomers would be much more limited.


Jon


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hfjacinto
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: MRNUTTY]
      #5836452 - 05/02/13 02:25 PM

Quote:

Well as has been mentioned before low prices, and 'good enough' product built in China has been the bane of many companies. Not all though, if there are sufficient customers for high-end at least a single manufacture of high-end gear can survive, and I hope TV will.

FWIW I thought the ES/68 line was their best.




Not to pick on this particular post, but there have been several critiquing the Mass Produced Good Enough eyepiece but when I look at the equipment list I see lots of Mass Produced Good Enough telescopes. Shouldn't the critique apply to telescopes also?

Televue makes an excellent product I don't think anyone is saying they don't, the critique is of the current high price and really pricing is up to Televue. What is happening is that at one time the difference was enough to justify the price, but for some of us that difference is either not evident or the price of that difference is higher than some of us will pay.

I for one own more televue eyepieces than any other brand, but after comparing the Ethos and ES 100° I went ES and have no issues with my decision. Considering I've switched eyepieces several times I didn't see the "cost" of an Ethos merited the value. Many of you feel differently, many feel the same.


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Sagitta
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #5836484 - 05/02/13 02:36 PM

As I see it, the Western World is getting poorer while Asian countries (especially China) are getting richer. So Televue have changed their bussiness model: As Americans & Europeans buy affordable "Made in China" EPs, Televue sell their "Made in USA" EPs to the new Asian middle class.

Welcome to the 21st century!


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MRNUTTY
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #5836515 - 05/02/13 02:50 PM

Quote:

Not to pick on this particular post, but there have been several critiquing the Mass Produced Good Enough eyepiece but when I look at the equipment list I see lots of Mass Produced Good Enough telescopes. Shouldn't the critique apply to telescopes also?




Yes, of course. It applies to any product where "cheaper and good enough" drives customers away from higher priced goods of similar or better quality, feature, etc...


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Starman1
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: MRNUTTY]
      #5836522 - 05/02/13 02:53 PM

Well, as a dealer for both lines, I feel I can comment here:

1) The pricing of goods made in mainland China, labor-wise, is a tiny fraction of the significantly higher wages paid in Taiwan, and a much tinier percentage of the labor paid in Japan. You really can't compare products made in China by price alone.

2) If labor were the only difference, it might be foolish to buy Taiwanese or Japanese goods, but labor is not the only difference.

3) There are ways in which the TeleVue products are superior: coatings and light transmission, superior polish, suppression of scattered light (a biggie, in my book), edge-of-field astigmatism correction, edge of field vignetting control, edge of field distortion correction, mechanical construction, lower incidence of dirt in between lenses, tighter tolerances for barrel diameters, individual QC testing, continual improvement of the product without price increases, more expensive glass types used, etc.

4) The pricing of ES eyepieces is below that of the same manufacturer's eyepieces when they were sold by others. There are reasons for that and not every one is related to JOC owning the supply chain. The retail pricing should be a lot higher but isn't because of predatorily low pricing (when ES dropped the 20mm 100 degree from $599 to $299, did the cost go down by 50%? No.). It has driven many other companies out of the eyepiece market (in 2009, there were almost 1600 eyepieces available to the US consumer; now fewer than 1000). The eyepieces would have sold just as well at somewhat higher prices. Some Chinese manufacturers' equivalent products do. In fact, the low prices have resulted in a world-wide shortage, proving that prices could have been higher, given the supply/demand curve realities. If the supply now goes back up, and prices rise just a little, the mfr. will be in a much stronger market position.

5) Whether a price is high or not is in the eye of the beholder. To people on fixed incomes, or who have little discretionary income, TeleVue prices seem high and TeleVue gets picked on incessantly because of that. Yet, Zeiss, Takahashi, Nikon, Docter, Leica, and several other brands are higher (in some cases a LOT higher) yet they don't get picked on for their prices. Are they somehow worth their high prices when TeleVue is not? Or is a lot of the conversation about TeleVue prices because they are actually desired but just difficult to afford? If you compare TeleVue's prices with others, how about comparing them to other companies instead of arbitrarily taking the Chinese company with the lowest prices on similar models? How well does Audi compete with Hyundai on prices? It's probably better to compare Audi with Acura. At least they're comparable. Looked at in that way, TeleVue is the cheapest brand among the high-end companies, and the closest to affordable by everyone.

6) The supposedly high prices for TeleVue really aren't that high. It's that expectations have changed. If you take the average weekly income for a typical American worker, a TeleVue 82 degree Nagler costs less than a week's income. An Erfle eyepiece in 1965 would have been pretty close to the same percentage of a week's income. Yet, the Nagler is better in every single parameter of eyepiece design and manufacture. In a sense, the Nagler is cheaper, if you think in 1965 dollars and only count inflation. With inflation only, a $50 eyepiece in 1965 would be $359 today. Yet, $359 today gets a vastly superior eyepiece to $50 in 1965. We paid $50 for a lot of eyepieces then. Why doesn't everyone look at paying $359 the same way?

7) And along the way, the cost of aluminum, brass, glass, rare earths, coatings, freight, and energy, and labor costs have all gone up, yet most of those cost increases don't show up in the retail prices.

8) So is it possible for a person who has a modest income to be able to afford to buy a TeleVue eyepiece? Sure, but it's all about priorities. When I was young and couldn't afford a car or even a telephone, I had a top-of-the-line bicycle. And that bicycle cost me a month's income. I was racing, and that was my priority. I have friends who fish and golf and race cars, and they all spend vastly larger sums on their hobbies than I spend on astronomy. My friend who races cars spends the equivalent of an Ethos eyepiece every week on racing. Obviously, his income isn't as limited as some people looking at purchasing a TeleVue eyepiece for whom that expenditure would be hard. But it's his priority. I owned over a hundred eyepieces at a time when my income was 1/5 the level it is now. Now I have 8 for 3 scopes and though they are more expensive per unit, I have a lot less money tied up in eyepieces than I did then. Priorities.

9) I can totally understand why purchasing a top-of-the-line eyepiece might not be a priority in your life. But if you felt like you could afford it, would you? And are there other things in your life you spend more money on than astronomy? Then you are merely prioritizing your purchases. Most people I know who work for a living and have a take home pay could afford to buy TeleVue eyepieces. You might buy fewer of them than the inexpensive brands, and your purchases might take more time. But, telescopes come and go, while eyepieces stick around a lot longer (witness the number of CNers who have piles of them).

10) Last, TeleVue does have some lower-priced eyepieces. They are super high quality 50 degree field eyepieces, just not 82 degree.

There is no question that the inexpensive eyepieces have improved in quality over the last couple decades. And that's a good thing for astronomy. Telescopes have gone down and have improved a lot. We have China to thank for that. But if you look at where the top-of-the-line astronomy stuff comes from, it's Japan, USA, Europe, where labor costs are high, and design quality and standards are still higher. Taiwan is transitioning (or has transitioned) into that market. It's no accident the high-end stuff comes from those places.

Just a little different point of view from some posters.


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russell23
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: MRNUTTY]
      #5836531 - 05/02/13 02:57 PM

Quote:

Well as has been mentioned before low prices, and 'good enough' product built in China has been the bane of many companies. Not all though, if there are sufficient customers for high-end at least a single manufacture of high-end gear can survive, and I hope TV will.




I don't have any idea how TV's profits are being impacted. I do know that it is not just a matter of "good enough" where ES eyepieces are concerned. I feel that the 28mm ES68 is superior to the 27mm Panoptic in several optical performance characteristics. I also just received a 20mm ES68 yesterday and I think it is as good as the 28mm ES68. In side by side with a 20mm XW my preliminary take away is that the 20mm ES68 is as good or better in most respects than the 20mm XW for deep sky observations.

The problem this might potentially create for TV is that with the price disparity TV is no longer going to be viewed as a "premium option" but rather as a "luxury item".

Quote:

FWIW I thought the ES/68 line was their best.




I've been extremely impressed with both ES68 eyepieces I've tried. I haven't used the 14mm ES100 enough yet to conclude how I feel about it and I sold the 6.7mm ES82 at one point when I wanted to purchase something else but I found that eyepiece to be outstanding for deep sky and lunar observations.

Dave


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desertlens
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Starman1]
      #5836565 - 05/02/13 03:14 PM

Quote:

There is no question that the inexpensive eyepieces have improved in quality over the last couple decades.




... and the vast majority are well beyond "good enough"... and thanks to TeleVue for raising the bar.


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FirstSight
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #5836620 - 05/02/13 03:50 PM

Quote:

...there have been several critiquing the Mass Produced Good Enough eyepiece but when I look at the equipment list I see lots of Mass Produced Good Enough telescopes. Shouldn't the critique apply to telescopes also?





The principle is the same, but the monetary scale involved is not between higher-end eyepiece purchases and higher-end telescope purchases. Apiece, premium eyepieces are mostly in the $300-$800 range, but for rough order-of-magnitude comparative purposes, $500 is accurate enough for class comparison. Apiece, premium telescopes are in the $3000-$20,000 range. So, the required investment in a premium telescope is between 6x and 40x times the required investment in a premium eyepiece, even though a collection of several premium eyepieces will typically be cumulatively worth $2000-$5000, or anywhere from rough parity with value of a premium scope to a fourth its value.

HOWEVER, there's a key difference between acquiring a collection of premium eyepieces and acquiring a premium telescope: you can progressively acquire the premium eyepiece collection one eyepiece at a time over a stretched-out period of many months or years, averaging $500 investment needed each time. However, acquiring a premium telescope must be done (and fully paid for) in a single transaction, which you have to either have pre-accumulated sufficient discretionary funds for, or else be willing and able to incur considerable indebtedness to finance it via e.g. refinancing your house or some other form of consumer loan.

Most of us find it MUCH easier to accumulate on the order of $500 discretionary cash for a premium eyepiece before some other priority comes along to divert the money to other use than it is to accumulate $5000 to $20,000 discretionary cash before some other personal or family priority comes along and diverts all or a huge chunk of it. OTOH, at least with reflectors, you can sort-of-kind-of incrementally acquire a scope that's optically premium-quality, even though mechanically it's not, by purchasing e.g. an Orion XT12i or XX14i and then having the primary refigured and then the stock secondary replaced by a premium one, and perhaps (if it didn't come with ebony star laminate az bearings) add that too.

True, a similar dynamic on a much lower financial scale is operating when people settle for almost-as-good ES eyepieces rather than pay a substantial premium for Televue eyepieces, but we're talking $100-$400 incremental differences here on each eyepiece, not a 4k to 19k jump over a 1k commercial dob to start with.

Edited by FirstSight (05/02/13 05:07 PM)


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dscarpa
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: linux]
      #5836642 - 05/02/13 04:01 PM

I have a 20 ES100 too, after CN discount about $290. For me the cost of a 21 Ethos is almost 2 weeks pay. I also have a 14 ES82 that cost me $99. That said I've got bunch of TV eyepieces. I tend to go top shelf on eyepieces that like my 13 Ethos are used for lunar-planetary. Even so the 82 ES isn't that far behind my TVs for it. My $220 Chinese made 16 WO UWAN is the equal of my TV and Pentax for everything. David

Edited by dscarpa (05/02/13 04:06 PM)


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