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Equipment Discussions >> Eyepieces

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Binojunky
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 12/25/10

Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5838056 - 05/03/13 10:43 AM

Lots of the usual waffle about the pros and comes of competing makes, myself I would rather save my money to travel to better and darker skies, lots of people out there who spend a fortune on high end gear who never move out of their light polluted back yard. Another aspect are the poor b#####s who have had to dispose of their gear because of impending blindness from say Macular Degenaration or other eye disease, they probably don,t give a toss who,s name is on the barrel or its country of origin.
I speak personally of eye disease by the way, with a ongoing fight with Glaucoma, JMPOV, DA.


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
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Reged: 12/26/04

Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Binojunky]
      #5838185 - 05/03/13 11:45 AM

I just ordered a 28mm ES...Can't wait to try it out. It's really sad to see people here bashing non-TV products. What a shame, because a lot of eyepieces are put together overseas anyways....

Cheers,


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russell23
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Reged: 05/31/09

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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5838285 - 05/03/13 12:32 PM

Don,
Great post! Thanks for taking the time to outline all this. Comments following your numbered points are not necessarily disagreement – just my perspective.
Quote:

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.



Labor costs alone give made in China products a huge advantage. Unfortunately, not all the products coming out of China are of high or durable quality. Every year I have to go to buy new fans for the summer because the fans bought the previous year have worn out. The supplies I get from vendors for my chemistry lab that come from China are vastly inferior to the older made in the USA materials.
In the case of ES eyepieces, I’ve been very impressed by the high quality – especially the ES68’s.

Quote:

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.



Yes – TV eyepieces are superior in many respects, but what I have found is that they are not superior in all respects and it certainly depends upon the line. What matters the most is an individual’s preferences. My experience is that it is not correct to say that all TV products are superior in all respects to all similar specification lines from lower cost options. In other words people shouldn’t assume that by spending the extra $$ for the TV they are going to gain satisfaction in every performance characteristic.
For example, for me, the 27mm Panoptic is inferior to the 28mm ES68 in important optical characteristics. The difference in the level of pincushion is staggering. There is hardly any pincushion in the 28mm ES68 whereas the 27mm Pan left me feeling like I was bobbing on the ocean. The 27mm Pan made the image seem dim whereas the 28mm ES68 seems very bright. BillP reported the same in comparing the 24mm ES68 to the 24mm Pan in his review. That would seem to imply that for the Panoptic line transmission at least is not superior.
Another thing that is interesting to me is the variations across eyepiece FL within lines (not just TV). I found the 10mm Delos to be just about the closest thing to perfection I’ve ever looked through and it barlowed well so I got this idea that I would sell the 10mm Delos, grab a 17.3mm Delos and get more value for my $$ because I could have the one eyepiece and barlow it to 3 or 4 magnifications. But the 17.3mm Delos did not rise to the level of the 10mm Delos. I didn’t like it – some edge brightening and not as sharp near the edges – weird barrel effect near the edges too. None of those things were present in the 10mm Delos.

Quote:

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.



Yes – Meade and Celestron are going to have to up their game to compete – not necessarily in terms of pricing, but in terms of quality of product. The 19mm Luminos was inferior to TV products in every respect that I care about. Not so with the ES68’s.

Quote:

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.



I agree. I don’t understand the inconsistency in all this. I do not have an issue with TV prices – just the notion that the higher price means that every TV eyepiece is better and therefore that people that can’t afford them should aspire to find the means to eventually own them. Maybe it has something to do with the limited options those other manufacturers have to offer – so they are seen as more of a luxury item and therefore a high price should be expected.

Quote:

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?



Good point. Here’s a hypothesis on this – people get used to the idea of prices coming down for items with similar specifications. As an example, when I bought my first modern flat screen LCD TV (Sony Bravia) 5 or 6 years ago I spent $1180 on a 32” model. A few weeks ago we were browsing the TV’s in Best Buy and a 40” Sony Bravia LED TV (newer technology) costs $500.
I’m not saying we should expect the eyepiece market to work the same way, but in effect that is what is happening. My $150 28mm ES68 would then be a $1077 in 1965 $. So just like the Televisions we’re getting significantly improved quality and performance for much less equivalent cost. If $50 was a premium eyepiece price in the 1960’s, then $359 is a premium eyepiece price today – which is about what the average TV eyepiece costs.

Quote:

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.



This is the reason – as the ES sale has gone on and supplies of certain FL have dwindled to nothing - that I have finally come to accept the conclusion that ES eyepieces are being underpriced. Last fall when people were complaining, it was still possible to get most of the FL. At this point the ES100’s, and long FL 82’s and 68’s are all you can count on finding. I also think at this point the idea of spending $119, 129, 139 on these shorter FL ES82’s doesn’t seem like a big deal.

Quote:

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).



I absolutely understand what you are saying. As I said – I have no problems with the TV prices. But I also don’t think most people that find TV eyepieces a price stretch would see it simply as a matter of prioritizing other frivolous expenses over eyepieces. It might be more a matter of prioritizing bills and groceries over their hobby.

Quote:

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



People do want the wide-field experience – not just the 50 deg experience. And people want quality as well. TV’s business approach has been to let others handle the lower cost wide-field experience – perhaps assuming that the quality of those low cost options would always leave people wanting to eventually “move up to” a TV. That’s fine, but if ES has through a variety of factors been able to make the idea of saving up for a Nagler less attractive by offering very high quality affordable 82 deg lines, then TV is losing out because of their own business choice. TV could have a long time ago chosen to market an economy line of 82 deg eyepieces – perhaps even use a design developed by someone else instead of Nagler himself and just enforce strict QC on the manufacturer. If they had done so they might have prevented Celestron, Meade, and ES from gaining any significant foothold in the 82 deg market. And they could have done so at any point because people do trust the TV name.

Dave


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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/17/08

Loc: United Kingdom
Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5838302 - 05/03/13 12:41 PM

Passs the popcorn please

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PJ Anway
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Reged: 06/04/03

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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5838449 - 05/03/13 01:59 PM

Quote:

Passs the popcorn please



You can have the rest of mine, I've eaten enough....


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BillP
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5838546 - 05/03/13 02:58 PM

Quote:

It's really sad to see people here bashing non-TV products. What a shame, because a lot of eyepieces are put together overseas anyways....





Excellent point!! Not only is it a shame...it's shameful as well. Bashing something because of its point of manufacture or country of origin I believe fits the definitions of prejudice and bias quite well. China, Taiwan, Japan, and the USA all make both poor products and great products.


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MRNUTTY
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/22/11

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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: BillP]
      #5838590 - 05/03/13 03:15 PM

I don't see any bashing.

Bill, 'stereotyping' would be a less confrontational word.


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
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Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: DrBoring]
      #5838600 - 05/03/13 03:19 PM

Quote:

I've really enjoyed reading this thread! The x-ray link was super cool!

One point that has not been brought up yet ... You can rest assured that purchasing TV EP will not leave you with buyers remorse for the quality of your purchase. Reviews compare TV EP vs any other and show marginal differences ... Well, nobody gets a lemon. If you live alone in a cave as I do, then a TV EP purchase brings no further concern.

Second ... The ethos are their top of the line EP, so they are the most expensive. It's not going to be in everyone's budget, the way a celestron CGE PRO 1400 edge HD Telescope isn't in everyone's budget (msrp $9999.00).




And that pretty much sums it up.

The only additional point I would make is that I have compared the ES68 line in the field with other eyepieces of similar focal length. Despite the comments from others, I find they have significant problems with stray light and do not produce the contrast in the image of the comparable TeleVues.
Especially when the Moon is up or a really bright star is just outside the field of view.
[I used to give binoculars the "streetlight test"--you put a streetlight just outside the field of view and see if 1) you can tell there is a streetlight outside the field of view and 2) what direction the streetlight lies. Nearly every binocular at every price failed the first test, and many, if not most, failed the second as well. With one particular Leica, when the streetlight was outside the field of view, it simply disappeared from reality. It was the only binocular I ever tested that passed that test with an "Excellent".]
So it is with the ES68s. They're not bad eyepieces in general, and better than most in the price range, but they only get a "poor" rating from me on the "bright star outside the field of view" test. In contrast, the equivalent Panoptics rated much higher. The brightness seen is more an overall field brightness than it is the revelation of fainter stars.


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Monoeil
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Reged: 08/01/11

Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: BillP]
      #5838653 - 05/03/13 03:59 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It's really sad to see people here bashing non-TV products. What a shame, because a lot of eyepieces are put together overseas anyways....





Excellent point!! Not only is it a shame...it's shameful as well. Bashing something because of its point of manufacture or country of origin I believe fits the definitions of prejudice and bias quite well. China, Taiwan, Japan, and the USA all make both poor products and great products.




If it were true, I would read bad comments on Takahashi, Vixen or Baader Instruments products and commercial practices... Don't find many of them, I wonder why.


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BillP
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5838792 - 05/03/13 05:29 PM

Quote:

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 think they are both doing just fine in the money department and neither is "just getting by" I also don't see the labor-of-love aspect as they both are good businessmen and good professionals in their chosen fields and doing quite better than well compared to the median standard I'd say. Of course it's always good when a business professional also enjoys their work from a hobby perspective also. But when the rubber hits the road, its usually on a dollar.


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linux
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Loc: Evans, Ga.
Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Sagitta]
      #5838931 - 05/03/13 07:17 PM

Quote:

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!




Near as I've been able to tell, TV eyepieces are not made in the USA, but in Japan and Taiwan.


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linux
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Reged: 01/04/13

Loc: Evans, Ga.
Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: linux]
      #5839062 - 05/03/13 09:06 PM

Wow. Given that I was really just grousing about the price of the Ethos 21, this has turned into quite a thread. I'm one of those 60's and retired guys as one reply pointed out, but everybody has a price threshold whether it's $895 or $1895 for an eyepiece. Being a believer of quality and investment, I'll likely buy more Ethoi at $650 or $615 each, but I just could not pull the trigger on the 21 for a $600 difference.

As far as made in China, Taiwan, Japan or USA, it's interesting to consider which counties have the lowest labor costs or best quality, but buyers don't really care. If the design and build quality is good, price is competitive and has a good warranty, they'll do well. And being made in China does not mean you'll have poor quality. It's a matter of the design, build process and culture. Ask Apple.

I only have the one ES100-20 now, so I'm not a fan boy and it may be my last, but the 100 line seems to have a great following. As I'll likely be an "investor" in TV, I want them to to succeed, but they had better pay attention to who's nipping at their heels. Asking a hefty premium for a 5% difference and selling to fewer and fewer people who are willing to pay for that difference is a recipe for trouble.

Just my 2 cents.


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Bakes
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Loc: Stratford, CT
Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: linux]
      #5839132 - 05/03/13 09:46 PM

I wonder if ES has already caused TV to review their business model? In a world without ES, would the Delos line be priced as they are? Sure, the Delos has a narrower FOV, but most reviews suggest improved contrast and sharpness. Not to mention the improved eye relief.

Conversely, where ES has a unique product, the 9mm ES120, they are willing to charge a premium.

I'm just engaging in some idle speculation here. Take it for what little it is worth.


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linux
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Reged: 01/04/13

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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Bakes]
      #5839146 - 05/03/13 09:54 PM

Bakes, I notice that you have the exact same Ethos set that I have planned: Ethos, 21mm, 13mm, 8mm, 4.7mm

I started with the 13mm, got cold feet with the 21 (and hence this thread about buying the ES 20 instead), and plan next on the 8, then maybe the 4.7. I also thought about the 17 but that's about $1900 away

Are you satisfied with your choices?


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Bakes
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: linux]
      #5839208 - 05/03/13 10:24 PM

Hi linux,

To provide context, please understand I observe from a white zone backyard with middle-aged, astigmatic eyes. Having said that, I find the 21, 13, 8, 4.7 to provide a useful range of magnification and exit pupils. With my XT10 I can get a mag range of 56X to 254X. Exit pupils range 4.5mm to 1mm. Neither too big nor too small for my site and eyes. I would prefer they had more eye relief. But I still can take in the whole field of view with eyeglasses. I just need to get in close.

I see you already have the 13mm, a good choice! It is the Ethos FL that Uncle Al started with. It is also my most used eyepiece.

To answer your question. I am quite satisfied with this set. I have no plans to buy any other Ethoi. Though if I was to move someplace with truly dark skies, I'd pick up a 31mm Nagler to extend my set.


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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5839320 - 05/03/13 11:21 PM

Quote:


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.




Yep. I have all the Ethoi (most bought used) and think they are great, but this price model cannot last. The TV 102 succumbed to the market, and I'm afraid, given cheap and competent overseas optical labor, the TV eyepieces may also. Interesting that TV seems to be concentrating on the less expensive Delos line now, rather than the pricey Ethoi.

Bill



Edited by la200o (05/03/13 11:24 PM)


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Geo31
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Reged: 01/28/13

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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: la200o]
      #5839435 - 05/04/13 01:25 AM

Quality is not a matter of where something is made. Quality is a management decision. The quality you get (buy) is dependent upon what management will accept for variances and you will pay for that as well.

I posted something similar to the following but the moderators apparently felt they should delete it because in another post I made a comment that could be taken as political (I can see killing that post, but why the one that had zero reference to apparent politics seems silly).

One aspect of buying from TV that hasn't been discussed is it's a "safe" purchase. TV EPs are largely considered to be of consistently high quality. There is also a strong secondary market for them. As such, they tend to retain more of their value in the secondary market. It was this that helped me to decide to buy TV EPs as I have just returned to this endeavor after 35 years on the sidelines. I was having a lot of trouble deciding what to buy and a good deal surfaced on 3 TV Plossls. It was a no-brainer because I could be pretty confident in the quality and if I decide to go another direction, I'm confident I'll get my money back. That cannot be said of most other brands.

There will always be a strong market for brands considered consistently among the best, even if the prices seem high.


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Astrojensen
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces new [Re: Geo31]
      #5839519 - 05/04/13 03:43 AM

Quote:

One aspect of buying from TV that hasn't been discussed is it's a "safe" purchase. TV EPs are largely considered to be of consistently high quality. There is also a strong secondary market for them. As such, they tend to retain more of their value in the secondary market. It was this that helped me to decide to buy TV EPs as I have just returned to this endeavor after 35 years on the sidelines. I was having a lot of trouble deciding what to buy and a good deal surfaced on 3 TV Plossls. It was a no-brainer because I could be pretty confident in the quality and if I decide to go another direction, I'm confident I'll get my money back. That cannot be said of most other brands.




For me, the resale value of an eyepiece is of extremely minor importance, if any. When I shopped for my ES82's, I knew I had two weeks to find out whether they were up to snuff or not, and if not, I could safely return them and get all my money back. And if they did live up to expectations (which they certainly have), then I want to keep them for a very long time. And while they may not retain their value as well as TeleVue eyepieces do, they are still very good eyepieces and their value will never drop to zero (I think, but who can accurately predict the future...).

But I absolutely agree that TeleVue is a safe buy quality-wise, perhaps the safest one out there.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces [Re: russell23]
      #5839604 - 05/04/13 06:03 AM

Quote:

TV could have a long time ago chosen to market an economy line of 82 deg eyepieces – perhaps even use a design developed by someone else instead of Nagler himself and just enforce strict QC on the manufacturer. If they had done so they might have prevented Celestron, Meade, and ES from gaining any significant foothold in the 82 deg market. And they could have done so at any point because people do trust the TV name.




A few thoughts:

- The reason people trust the TeleVue name is that they have not chosen to compromise quality in the interest of market share.

- Economy widefield eyepieces are actually a boon to TeleVue, they provide people with a taste of what is possible. At some point, they are likely to want something better.

- TeleVue is a small company and certainly doesn't seem to be interested in dominating the marketplace by offering products of lesser quality. Knowing what I know of Al Nagler, I imagine he is just so happy to see that his vision of amateur astronomy has become so pervasive, such a dominant vision among the community.

For example, it's easy to forget how important TeleVue was to the development of the modern large Dobsonian. Without the Paracorr, without the Naglers, F/4 Newtonians that provided clean, sharp views across the field of view would not have been possible. And now with the Paracorr II and the Ethos eyepieces, it makes the compact F/3 Dob possible, flat foot scopes that are 20 inches and larger...

When a company builds products that are on the front line, that change the face of the hobby, that enable new developments other parts of the hobby, it doesn't make a lot of sense to cut corners, you let other people do that... If Al Nagler had been interested in making a pile of money, he would not have chosen Amateur Astronomy for his focus. But as a life long amateur astronomer, he had a vision and his vision has transformed this wonderful hobby.



Jon Isaacs


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Paul G
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Re: Cost of Televue Eyepieces [Re: Starman1]
      #5839618 - 05/04/13 06:23 AM

Quote:

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.




Great post. In my other hobby that involves optics, photography, a $1200 lens would be considered very moderately priced. Top of the line lenses may cost 10X that much.


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