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ES Eyepieces at a good price

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#1 aeajr

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 08:51 AM

I don't usually post sales and such here but this one I had to post.  If you have been looking for some nice 82 degree eyepieces, AliExpress has Explore Scientific 82s for some amazing prices.  They currently go for $189 and up on most web sites.  But Ali has many of them for $120 and under.  These are the Nitrogen purged models which are the older models.  The current models are Argon purged, but I don't think that makes much of a difference.  Mine are Nitrogen purged.  They must have bought up the left over stock when ES switched over.  They seem to be new.

https://www.aliexpre...witch_new_app=y

 

I also see Argon purged models, also at good prices. 

 

Note that Ali is like Amazon.  There can be multiple listings of the same product so check.  For example I see the 4.7 mm listed for $105 with free shipping and I see it for $140 plus shipping, which is still not a bad deal. 

 

I have three now and love them!   I just ordered the 4.7 mm.  $111.90 with tax and free shipping.

 

Clear skies. 

 

Just a heads up for anyone shopping. 


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#2 CChristakis

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 11:04 AM

Pretty sweet deal!!  I just bought the 8.8mm on the ES Summer sale.



#3 aeajr

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 11:39 AM

Clarification.  This is NOT a sale.  This is their regular prices. 



#4 Starman1

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 03:22 PM

Patience.


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#5 pregulla

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 02:09 AM

I don't believe these are leftover stock. All of the ones I bought are argon purged.

A word of caution - AliExpress is not like Amazon in terms of their return policies. If the item is not as described you will have to pay return shipping.

Out of all the ES eyepieces I bought there only one was a clear quality reject - ES82 30mm had grease on eye lens (that cleaned out) and a couple of spots on field lens. The seller refused to give a partial refund, so I had to go through AliExpress dispute and got 30% back. So I ended up paying $160 for it. Not a bad outcome.

The rest were all in perfect optical and mechanical condition. Some came in not matching ES boxes though.

AliExpress also had sales every couple months or so, when you can bring the price even lower. IIRC next one is some time in August

Edited by pregulla, 10 August 2019 - 02:11 AM.


#6 nva

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 12:05 PM

People just need to be aware of the usual grey market risks. Astronomy gear is horribly price fixed I'm impressed the grey market is not larger and that we don't talk about it more often. This forum is quite civil.


Edited by nva, 10 August 2019 - 12:08 PM.

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#7 CrazyPanda

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 12:43 PM

https://www.aliexpre...2788252471.html

 

Holy cow. $228 for a 30mm ES82?


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#8 aeajr

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 01:38 PM

We will see what happens when I try to register the warranty.

#9 pregulla

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 03:20 PM

I have registered all my ES eyepieces from Aliexpress, except maybe for ES82 30mm, which I don't remember if I bothered registering
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#10 The Luckster

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 06:18 PM

https://www.aliexpre...2788252471.html

 

Holy cow. $228 for a 30mm ES82?

Yeah, that caught my eye, too...

 

 

CS

 

jason



#11 Volvonium

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 01:16 AM

I have to wonder if they are production seconds, or if it's just an effect of the undervalued yuan?   The price is very tempting-- these brand new eps are at or below the used market rate here.  Hopefully ES lowers their prices again; I'd rather these dollars stay in the US and going to local vendors.  The recent price hikes must be hurting sales volume.


Edited by Volvonium, 11 August 2019 - 01:18 AM.


#12 Mr. Mike

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 05:42 AM

People just need to be aware of the usual grey market risks. Astronomy gear is horribly price fixed I'm impressed the grey market is not larger and that we don't talk about it more often. This forum is quite civil.

Not to open the proverbial can of nasty worms but....yeah, this hobby takes price fixing to a whole new level.  It’s sucks for the consumer.  To me it is completely and undeniably NOT free markets when this stuff happens.  Any retailer that buys product from a mfger ought to be able to sell it for whatever they want, including at cost or a small loss.  It’s silly that there are hundreds of vendors that sell the same thing for the exact same price.....even when said item is on sale.  It’s comical and shouldn’t even be legal but it’s too small of a hobby for anyone to really notice I guess.  

 

One thing is for sure: the margins on this stuff for the mfgers much be enormous.  The resellers prolly don’t make much at all.  Or maybe they do? Ah well, some may hate the idea but I’d be fine with amazon getting their hands on some of the premium gear and discounting the crap out of it! Sign me up! wink.gif


Edited by Mr. Mike, 11 August 2019 - 05:43 AM.

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#13 CrazyPanda

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 09:12 AM

Not to open the proverbial can of nasty worms but....yeah, this hobby takes price fixing to a whole new level.  It’s sucks for the consumer.  To me it is completely and undeniably NOT free markets when this stuff happens.  Any retailer that buys product from a mfger ought to be able to sell it for whatever they want, including at cost or a small loss.  It’s silly that there are hundreds of vendors that sell the same thing for the exact same price.....even when said item is on sale.  It’s comical and shouldn’t even be legal but it’s too small of a hobby for anyone to really notice I guess.  

 

One thing is for sure: the margins on this stuff for the mfgers much be enormous.  The resellers prolly don’t make much at all.  Or maybe they do? Ah well, some may hate the idea but I’d be fine with amazon getting their hands on some of the premium gear and discounting the crap out of it! Sign me up! wink.gif

I would argue that the price fixing is how we even have so many vendor options instead of one or two big companies like Amazon and Walmart consistently undercutting everyone else. I can buy from B&H, Opt, Astronomics, Agena and High Point Scientific (which I do rotate between frequently). When I can finally afford some new filters, I'll be buying them from Mr. Pensack for all the help he's given us with eyepieces and filters. Some offer different value adds like free shipping or hand-inspected gear.

 

There's no question that if everyone got in a race-to-the-bottom retail price war, many smaller vendors would go insolvent, and then the one or two that are left would just raise prices back to what we're at now, or higher. Then there would be the Walmart effect, whereby the one or two big retailers that are left would have leverage over the manufacturers and would negotiate less margin for the manufacturers and more margin for themselves. Companies like Tele Vue then are forced to make less money per eyepiece if they want access to the large retail market on Amazon or Walmart. When there are other retailers, Tele Vue has more leverage to set the terms of their wholesale prices.

 

So we wouldn't be saving anything in the long run, but we would have fewer options to buy from and smaller manufacturers would be in a weaker position.

 

I'm perfectly happy paying slightly inflated minimum margins if it means keeping the vendor and manufacturer market healthy. There's always the used market to fall back to for really significant price discounts. There is no free lunch.


Edited by CrazyPanda, 11 August 2019 - 09:19 AM.

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#14 Mr. Mike

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 09:39 AM

I would argue that the price fixing is how we even have so many vendor options instead of one or two big companies like Amazon and Walmart consistently undercutting everyone else. I can buy from B&H, Opt, Astronomics, Agena and High Point Scientific (which I do rotate between frequently). When I can finally afford some new filters, I'll be buying them from Mr. Pensack for all the help he's given us with eyepieces and filters. Some offer different value adds like free shipping or hand-inspected gear.

 

There's no question that if everyone got in a race-to-the-bottom retail price war, many smaller vendors would go insolvent, and then the one or two that are left would just raise prices back to what we're at now, or higher. Then there would be the Walmart effect, whereby the one or two big retailers that are left would have leverage over the manufacturers and would negotiate less margin for the manufacturers and more margin for themselves. Companies like Tele Vue then are forced to make less money per eyepiece if they want access to the large retail market on Amazon or Walmart. When there are other retailers, Tele Vue has more leverage to set the terms of their wholesale prices.

 

So we wouldn't be saving anything in the long run, but we would have fewer options to buy from and smaller manufacturers would be in a weaker position.

 

I'm perfectly happy paying slightly inflated minimum margins if it means keeping the vendor and manufacturer market healthy. There's always the used market to fall back to for really significant price discounts. There is no free lunch.

Well - I sort of agree but also disagree.  Im still a fan, and maybe its old fashioned, of letting the market decide prices of goods.  Once the word "fixed" or "forced" comes into play.... you've just removed part of the free market thing I mentioned.  If you look the "dreaded" Amazon/Wal Mart effect it turns out that plenty of other vendors still exist but they had to adjust.  The consumer wins.  The blu-ray/4K disc market is a good example.  Neither Amazon nor Wallyworld put anyone(or not as many as thought) out of business or raised prices afterwards.  Discs can be bought at plenty of smaller vendors and chains like Best Buy and the deals vary.  The consumer is paying LESS than they ever would for titles without this competition effect.  If price fixing happened then every new 4K release would be $39.99.  Screw that. 

 

I get the desire to "help out" or dare I say "prop up" the cottage industry.  It seems like a good thing to do.  But its still not "naturally" occuring.  Its forced upon us by the price controls in place.  Businesses arent charities either.  Its tough out there for sure but the strong survive and some just wont. Thats how it is in basically every other industry.  I just dont get why astro-gear has to be a protected thing?  Alls it does that I can deduce is that we are stuck forever with $600 eyepieces that *should* sell new for $350 or whatever.  Maybe more or less, not sure but you get the idea.  Yeah, used is great but then those prices are also inflated snce the MSRPs are inflated.  Used would be even cheaper yet.  Not sure how I feel about "propping" up businesses like that out of the kindness of my heart.  I aint getting profit sharing checks every Christmas from any of these places.....right? :D


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#15 mhinagoya

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 09:52 AM

Don Pensack at eyepiecesetc.com for me too. I pay for what is in the box plus 'value added'. Read a few of Don's posts. That's 'value added' in my book.

 

Bill C.


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#16 Starman1

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 10:10 AM

Not to open the proverbial can of nasty worms but....yeah, this hobby takes price fixing to a whole new level.  It’s sucks for the consumer.  To me it is completely and undeniably NOT free markets when this stuff happens.  Any retailer that buys product from a mfger ought to be able to sell it for whatever they want, including at cost or a small loss.  It’s silly that there are hundreds of vendors that sell the same thing for the exact same price.....even when said item is on sale.  It’s comical and shouldn’t even be legal but it’s too small of a hobby for anyone to really notice I guess.  

 

One thing is for sure: the margins on this stuff for the mfgers much be enormous.  The resellers prolly don’t make much at all.  Or maybe they do? Ah well, some may hate the idea but I’d be fine with amazon getting their hands on some of the premium gear and discounting the crap out of it! Sign me up! wink.gif

The reason why so many retailers have closed over the past 25 years is largely because the margins on astronomy equipment are so low, the overhead of having a retail store cannot be brought down enough

to make a brick and mortar retail store profitable.  With only a couple exceptions, the distributors or manufacturers sell direct to consumers and by doing so reduce the sales of the retailers who remain.

MAPs (minimum advertised prices) are an attempt to allow retailers to stay open since prices would literally be at cost if there were none and the market would quickly be distributors only, selling direct to consumers and there would be no retailers at all, either in stores or on-line.

 

I came from another industry many years ago in which margins were 3 to 5 times higher than the astronomy world and still the retailers complained about low margins (there were MAPs in that market, too).  But in that industry, nearly all business was in brick and mortar stores and there were literally thousands of them across the country.  In contrast, the entire astronomy market is tiny, and, for a variety of reasons, is destined to remain that way or even shrink.

 

MAPs have been found legal in the courts as long as the retailers know in advance that these are the terms of doing business.  As they say, we are always free to sell at higher prices--there is no restriction--but, of course, no one does.  You would make no sales.

 

The astro market is an upside down market.  In a mature industry, the lowest margin goes to the manufacturer because they have the highest volume.  The distributor makes a bit higher margin because his sales are lower than the manufacturer.  The retailer, who sells the lowest volume, makes the highest margin.  A classic case is a retail price that has a 50% margin to the dealer, a 25% margin to the distributor, and a 10% margin to the manufacturer.  If the astronomy world were like that, there would be lots of stores selling astronomy equipment all over the place and the average eyepiece would sell for $500 and there would be hundreds of eyepieces selling for over $1000 each.  Instead, the profit distribution is reversed.

 

We have a "cottage industry" in which many manufacturers sell direct to consumers at low margins because the products are quite expensive to make and the marketplace would simply not support the prices they should sell for.  To expand the market, the manufacturers sell to retailers, but there is no longer enough margin to give the retailer more than merely a small "courtesy" discount on the product.

What happens if a market like that matures is that prices go up a lot and the retailers make enough margin to eat and pay for employees.  But that will never happen in this small an industry.

 

And now, we have direct-from-China retail sales below the wholesale costs the US dealer pays.  I should have retired years ago.

 

P.S. If all the astronomy gear were sold on Amazon, prices would go up because Amazon wouldn't stand for the non-profitable profit margins in the business. 

Or, like Hayneedle tried to do, subsidize the loss in the astronomy products with high margins elsewhere.  Eventually, though, an accountant points out where the losses are and the products get dropped.

 

I'll give you one example of a product that retails for $29.95 and costs the dealer $22.  The retailer has to pay for shipping, so from the wonderful $7.95 profit comes the cost of shipping to get it.

Then, when it is sold, the cost of boxes, packing material, and labor come out of whatever is left of that $7.95.  MAP is $29.95, and everyone immediately sells it for that because if you didn't, you'd sell zero.

But, it is not profitable to sell it at all, so why sell it?  Why not raise the price to $44, which, though hardly profitable, would at least make a couple dollars for the retailer after expenses?

Because the consumers think $29.95 for the product is "gouging" and simply won't pay more for it.  If all the retailers decided to stop selling it, then someone who needed it would have to pay a local machine shop to make it, and it would cost $150 or more.


Edited by Starman1, 11 August 2019 - 04:38 PM.

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#17 Starman1

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 10:24 AM

 

 All it does that I can deduce is that we are stuck forever with $600 eyepieces that *should* sell new for $350 or whatever.  Maybe more or less, not sure but you get the idea.  Yeah, used is great but then those prices are also inflated since the MSRPs are inflated.  Used would be even cheaper yet.  Not sure how I feel about "propping" up businesses like that out of the kindness of my heart.  I aint getting profit sharing checks every Christmas from any of these places.....right? laugh.gif

The problem is that the ultra-high quality and ultra-low sales volume combine to make that $600 cost more than $350 to make.

There is a scale of prices in telescope eyepieces from ~$7-8 on the bottom to ~$1500 at the top.

I don't expect every product to be made so I can easily afford it, do you?

50% of all eyepieces sell for <$100 each.  There's a lot of choice available if your wallet is thin.


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#18 havasman

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 10:51 AM

Yep, all y'all that want to buy direct from Ali and go around the support structure that the remaining suppliers to the hobby represent certainly have every right to do so. If enough do that then real change will come to the astro gear marketplace. Our familiar sources will be hard pressed to remain viable and we could easily be left without a forum on which to complain about it. So if you like dealing with Amazon and Ebay and Ali better than folks like Astronomics and their fellows then there's nothing stopping you from taking your short term option. But that, and not solutions, is what they are.

 

If I may be permitted to say so, I think it classically stupid.


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#19 CrazyPanda

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 11:11 AM



Yep, all y'all that want to buy direct from Ali and go around the support structure that the remaining suppliers to the hobby represent certainly have every right to do so. If enough do that then real change will come to the astro gear marketplace. Our familiar sources will be hard pressed to remain viable and we could easily be left without a forum on which to complain about it. So if you like dealing with Amazon and Ebay and Ali better than folks like Astronomics and their fellows then there's nothing stopping you from taking your short term option. But that, and not solutions, is what they are.

 

If I may be permitted to say so, I think it classically stupid.

I tend to agree. I only purchased my Fujiyama eyepieces from AliExpress because Agena was out of stock. Ali, Amazon, and Ebay are last resorts for me if I can't find the product elsewhere. Amazon is also a ripoff. Many of their astro products are fulfilled by places like Agena, who have to charge more because of Amazon's cut. Cheaper to buy direct from Agena, High Point, and Astronomics than from Amazon. No sense in paying Amazon its unfair share. Many astro vendors have as good or better customer service than Amazon in the event the product is defective.

 

In the words of Bob from Office Space: Amazon, what would you say you do here?


Edited by CrazyPanda, 11 August 2019 - 11:13 AM.


#20 Dave Bush

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 12:01 PM

Amazon is also a ripoff. Many of their astro products are fulfilled by places like Agena, who have to charge more because of Amazon's cut. Cheaper to buy direct from Agena, High Point, and Astronomics than from Amazon.

 

Now that's just the opposite of my experience.

 

What I've found is that items that the retailers list on Amazon are typically lower (not but a great deal mind you) than on their own sites.   

 

I've seen this with items that Agena, Adormama and High Point.  



#21 CrazyPanda

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 12:54 PM

Now that's just the opposite of my experience.

 

What I've found is that items that the retailers list on Amazon are typically lower (not but a great deal mind you) than on their own sites.   

 

I've seen this with items that Agena, Adormama and High Point.  

Here is a 7mm DeLite on Agena for $255.01 (free shipping):  https://agenaastro.c...epiece-7mm.html

 

Here is that same 7mm DeLite sold by Agena on Amazon for $256.00 (free shipping): https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B012MAD9QC/

 

Telrad on Agena for $42.00 (free shipping): https://agenaastro.c...lex-finder.html

 

Telrad on Amazon sold by Agena for $46.00 (free shipping):  https://www.amazon.c...t/dp/B0000ALKAN

 

Maybe there are other examples where Agena is more expensive than its store on Amazon, but from the price shopping I've done, Agena's direct retail business is cheaper than their storefront on Amazon.



#22 russell23

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 12:58 PM

The reason why so many retailers have closed over the past 25 years is largely because the margins on astronomy equipment are so low, the overhead of having a retail store cannot be brought down enough

to make a brick and mortar retail store profitable.  With only a couple exceptions, the distributors or manufacturers sell direct to consumers and by doing so reduce the sales of the retailers who remain.

MAPs (minimum advertised prices) are an attempt to allow retailers to stay open since prices would literally be at cost if there were none and the market would quickly be distributors only, selling direct to consumers and there would be no retailers at all, either in stores or on-line.

 

I came from another industry many years ago in which margins were 3 to 5 times higher than the astronomy world and still the retailers complained about low margins (there were MAPs in that market, too).  But in that industry, nearly all business was in brick and mortar stores and there were literally thousands of them across the country.  In contrast, the entire astronomy market is tiny, and, for a variety of reasons, is destined to remain that way or even shrink.

 

MAPs have been found legal in the courts as long as the retailers know in advance that these are the terms of doing business.  As they say, we are always free to sell at higher prices--there is no restriction--but, of course, no one does.  You would make no sales.

 

The astro market is an upside down market.  In a mature industry, the lowest margin goes to the manufacturer because they have the highest volume.  The distributor makes a bit higher margin because his sales are lower than the manufacturer.  The retailer, who sells the lowest volume, makes the highest margin.  A classic case is a retail price that has a 50% margin to the dealer, a 25% margin to the distributor, and a 10% margin to the manufacturer.  If the astronomy world were like that, there would be lots of stores selling astronomy equipment all over the place and the average eyepiece would sell for $500 and there would be hundreds of eyepieces selling for over $1000 each.  Instead, the profit distribution is reversed.

 

We have a "cottage industry" in which many manufacturers sell direct to consumers at low margins because the products are quite expensive to make and the marketplace would simply not support the prices they should sell for.  To expand the market, the manufacturers sell to retailers, but there is no longer enough margin to give the retailer more than merely a small "courtesy" discount on the product.

What happens if a market like that matures is that prices go up a lot and the retailers make enough margin to eat and pay for employees.  But that will never happen in this small an industry.

 

And now, we have direct-from-China retail sales below the wholesale costs the US dealer pays.  I should have retired years ago.

 

P.S. If all the astronomy gear were sold on Amazon, prices would go up because Amazon wouldn't stand for the non-profitable profit margins in the business. 

Or, like Hayneedle tried to do, subsidize the loss in the astronomy products with high margins elsewhere.  Eventually, though, an accountant points out where the loses are and the products get dropped.

 

I'll give you one example of a product that retails for $29.95 and costs the dealer $22.  The retailer has to pay for shipping, so from the wonderful $7.95 profit comes the cost of shipping to get it.

Then, when it is sold, the cost of boxes, packing material, and labor come out of whatever is left of that $7.95.  MAP is $29.95, and everyone immediately sells it for that because if you didn't, you'd sell zero.

But, it is not profitable to sell it at all, so why sell it?  Why not raise the price to $44, which, though hardly profitable, would at least make a couple dollars for the retailer after expenses?

Because the consumers think $29.95 for the product is "gouging" and simply won't pay more for it.  If all the retailers decided to stop selling it, then someone who needed it would have to pay a local machine shop to make it, and it would cost $150 or more.

I understand the desire to look for a deal and take advantage of a great deal when they are offered.  But often times the difference between the sale price and the regular price is not that big a deal in the scheme of things.   If I had to guess, part of the reason that people are looking for deals is because this is one of those hobby's where you are purchasing without trying first (star parties being an exception).   So you have to factor in the possibility that you won't like the item and be forced to take a hit selling used.  That is different than buying clothes where you can try them on in the store, or buying a car where you test drive, or buying most items in a store where you can put your hands on it before purchase. 

 

While I understand all that I still think there is too much "waiting for the sale price" that takes place.   For example, you want a $350 eyepiece and wait for however long for it to go on sale for $300.  Whoopie - you save $50.  Is that $50 going to matter in the long run if you have the eyepiece for a decade or two?  Not really.   But then I guess that goes back to what I said above.  If you don't know if you are going to like the eyepiece then when you sell that $350 eyepiece for $275 used you have just spent $75 to find out you don't like an item.   Whereas if you buy the item for $300 you are only losing $25 selling it used.

 

Still I think to me last year the sale on the AT102ED really brought this home for me.  There was very little talk about the scope at $599.   All of the sudden the scope goes on sale for $499 and there is a huge volume of talk about it.  The scope was an excellent buy at $599.  It was an embarrassingly excellent buy at $499. 

 

I'm kind of swinging back and forth on this.  I do understand why people wait for the good deals on astro-equipment.  For most of us the purchases are not a regular budgeted for item.  Combine that with the limited ability to "test drive" equipment before purchase and there is some sense in trying to get the best deal we can.  However, I also think sometimes we are too unwilling to spend the regular price on items - perhaps to the detriment of the hobby in the long run.  

 

You've certainly highlighted the difficulties facing people that are trying to make a living selling goods in this business.


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#23 Dave Bush

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 01:18 PM

Here is a 7mm DeLite on Agena for $255.01 (free shipping):  https://agenaastro.c...epiece-7mm.html

 

Here is that same 7mm DeLite sold by Agena on Amazon for $256.00 (free shipping): https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B012MAD9QC/

 

Telrad on Agena for $42.00 (free shipping): https://agenaastro.c...lex-finder.html

 

Telrad on Amazon sold by Agena for $46.00 (free shipping):  https://www.amazon.c...t/dp/B0000ALKAN

 

Maybe there are other examples where Agena is more expensive than its store on Amazon, but from the price shopping I've done, Agena's direct retail business is cheaper than their storefront on Amazon.

Well, maybe it's a case of Agena (and others) testing the waters so to speak to help them determine pricing for their own site.



#24 CrazyPanda

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 01:23 PM

Well, maybe it's a case of Agena (and others) testing the waters so to speak to help them determine pricing for their own site.

Maybe, but those prices have been that way for months and months.



#25 nva

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 01:53 PM

I'm no expert and I understand most astronomy gear is low volume so economics of scale do apply here but I firmly believe at the high end equipment is unabashedly overpriced and the hobby tolerates it, simply the market at play. Now this wont count for everything we have optical, mechanical and electrical stuff so the margins are probably all over the place depending on the item.

 

Anyone can simply look at the sale prices for the higher end eyepieces and the margin is around 20%(correction from 30%, probably a bit high) seemingly across the board. The margin on the less expensive eyepieces is probably much less as these are probably being sold much closer to cost, i.e. look at ES's former retail and sale prices vs now. This is also supported by the fact a company like Highpoint will match any other authorized retailers price, their expectation is that nobody sells at a loss, there are likely repercussions for those who do break pricing rules.

 

But we cant really change reality and the grey market is an unfortunate alternative. The sad part is that ES is one of the few companies unable to control their supply chain.

 

Just the facts of life.


Edited by nva, 11 August 2019 - 07:32 PM.



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