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Refractors source country

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#26 SeattleScott

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 01:12 PM

Vixen is the more modern economic approach of making the glass and tube in Japan but importing the less critical components like Finderscope, rings and dovetail from China at much lower cost than the Takahashi made in Japan accessories. Consequently an accessorized Vixen 4” doublet Apo is $2k where the Tak is at least 50% higher with the necessary accessories.

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#27 Eigen

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 01:14 PM

Vixen is the more modern economic approach of making the glass and tube in Japan but importing the less critical components like Finderscope, rings and dovetail from China at much lower cost than the Takahashi made in Japan accessories. Consequently an accessorized Vixen 4” doublet Apo is $2k where the Tak is at least 50% higher with the necessary accessories.

Scott

Yes, should have added that with higher end Vixen only the important stuff (glass and tube) is Japan, with Takahashi it is all Japan.

 

Vixen used to be all Japan as well, until they outsourced to China and were robbed of their intellectual property. 


Edited by Eigen, 16 May 2020 - 01:15 PM.


#28 39.1N84.5W

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 01:16 PM

So you don't buy anything made in China? Then how do you surf the internet and post questions on forums?
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#29 kmparsons

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 01:16 PM

I live just south of Houston near the Gulf coast. I got some frozen shrimp at the grocery store not long ago, and noticed that they were marked "Product of Thailand." So, the Kroger store in Friendswood, TX can get frozen shrimp cheaper from Thailand than from the Gulf of Mexico thirty miles away. I assume that what is true of frozen shrimp holds for telescopes. 


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#30 Eigen

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 01:19 PM

So you don't buy anything made in China? Then how do you surf the internet and post questions on forums?

 

Who's saying not to buy in China? It's unavoidable...for most things. I have nothing against "Made in China", but for some products I prefer to pay a bit extra to buy a product engineered and manufactured without compromise, even if that means it comes at a price.

 

My phone and electronics? I couldn't care less where they are manufactured.


Edited by Eigen, 16 May 2020 - 01:39 PM.


#31 Don W

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 01:34 PM

Reminder!

 

No politics!


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#32 mikeDnight

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 02:36 PM

Like many, you could always pimp a great scope such as a Tak TSA120 or FC100DZ by adding a Feather Touch focuser, and mounting it on a Losmandy EQ or Altaz', or similar. That way you can have the best of both worlds.


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#33 MarkGregory

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 03:33 PM

You mean the BRAND on your cars is American.  There are no 100% American cars.  Most American branded models for the last 20 or so years have used very large percentages of non-US made parts, and in many cases, not even "final assembly" happens in the US.  Ironically Honda, Toyota and Subaru models assembled in the US often use far more "American made" content than anything bearing an American brand.

 

It's not easy to actually know where ANY manufactured item is actually made at the materials, components and even sub-assemblies level; Japanese branded cameras are often loaded with Chinese-made components, included optics, no matter where the "made-in" label says.

 

Not even bespoke TEC or A-P high end US-made refractors or Televue's more broadly available refractors  (the latter bearing a little foil "Made in USA" sticker  with a three color old glory in the background), are entirely of US made content.  The fluorite and/or fancy optical glasses, metals and attachment hardware used, paint, etc., are generally NOT of US origin.  In Televue's case the tube assemblies are assembled here, but the materials used to make the tubes likely don't originate here.  The optics are made by a company called Lens Pro in Japan out of Japanese and Chinese made components, and then shipped to and installed in the tube assemblies by Televue.     

 

In a global economy as we have had for decades the concept of "made in" is anachronistic to be honest.  As often as not when you put too much faith in country of origin marketing, you are being mislead and end up paying more for something that you've been hoodwinked into assuming but is not actually true.  I wish there was a "domestic jobs quotient" instead where a manufacture good bears a number calculated using a standard formula to indicate what percentage of the LABOR that went into putting an item on the shelf was domestic, but even that would be misleading with our unions and labor regulations, our workers tend to be more highly compensated than their peers in other places, so you couldn't use cost as your basis.  Instead I think it would have to be based on time.  How many hours of human labor went into production, and of those hours how many were contributed by domestic labor.  But even that would be only a rough proxy.  Some workers are more productive per unit of time than others.

 

As a result I generally ignore jingoist marketing ploys using "made in" themes.  My 2013 Ram pickup was "imported from Detroit" per MOPAR's advertising at the time, and on the owner's manual it says "Guts, Glory, RAM!" (yee haw!), but almost all of the metal used in the truck was made in China, the transmission was manufactured by ZF in Germany (thanks Daimler!) though likely out of many non-German components, under US law MOPAR was forced to admit on the sticker that 1/3 of the "content" was "hecho in Mexico", most of the wire and small electronic components used in larger electronic systems are Chinese and those electronc systems themselves assembled in Japan, China or SE Asia, etc.  MOPAR's silly, ethnocentric marketing was not a motivating factor in my purchase and in fact might have been a slight detriment in my decision - I don't want people who understand present-day economics to think I was suckered - so with the truck as with all other purchases I bought the truck based solely on price and the degree to which the vehicle had the features I wanted/needed for my intended use (primarily outdoor recreational).

 

My advice - in telescopes and trucks anyway - ignore country of origin marketing "noise" and buy based on price/features/reliability/long term cost of ownership/value retention.  A great way to figure out quickly what to buy is to look at what an item costs new and what it sells for used a couple of years old.  The aggregate experience of consumers in the marketplace tends to weed out fanboism and misplaced reliance on fanciful marketing passed off as fact.  Items that hold their value well are probably the best values irrespective of branding.  And honestly I think companies that deliver the best value deserve my business - "best" knows no borders.

 

Best,

 

Jim

Well thought out and presented response. Mark



#34 rgsalinger

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 07:57 PM

 

You mean the BRAND on your cars is American.  There are no 100% American cars.  Most American branded models for the last 20 or so years have used very large percentages of non-US made parts, and in many cases, not even "final assembly" happens in the US.  Ironically Honda, Toyota and Subaru models assembled in the US often use far more "American made" content than anything bearing an American brand.

Please use the "quote" feature to just quote small portions of long posts as I did above. Reposting the whole thing over and over again just clutters the site. Might take an extra minute but please take it to quote only the relevant or most important portions of the post.

Rgrds-Ross


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#35 213Cobra

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 09:22 PM

Some consumers (and governments) for various reasons grounded and ungrounded in reality, are trying to buy "not-China," while others see value in restricting purchases when possible from sources in their home country. This is, as has been pointed out, difficult to be pure about, particularly if your budget keeps you from the very high end. As a general objective, you are then better off focusing on where the greatest domestic economic leverage exists for your spending dollar (or GBP, Mark, Franc, etc.).

 

Generally the value chain is most captured in design, and distribution. Apple captures much more of the economic leverage in the value chain of an iPhone than does Foxconn or anyone else in Asia supplying parts. You buy an iPhone and some of your cash stays in China, but the high value IP developed by design staff in California and other places in the West is where the the real leverage of your spending resides. If Apple assembled iPhones in the US, they'd be considerably more expensive, and relatively few new jobs would be created, compared to the scale of shifting the US from producing 0 iPhones to producing millions. Apple is already capturing the greatest share of value by owning the IP and dominating distribution for iPhones.

 

So, if the OP just doesn't want to buy a telescope from Chinese sources, Takahashi is an excellent option as it sources, makes and assembles virtually everything in Japan. If the OP wants to more narrowly buy USA, AP, TEC, Stellarvue and Tele-Vue support the relatively high compensation required for design or invention, and they capture all or part of the distribution wealth. Assembly is a bonus in these cases, and they are very small operations in the grand scheme of the economy. In the case of Astronomics, they capture much or all of the distribution wealth, which supports an American company (and this forum). If you were German or EU oriented, you'd think of TS the same way.

 

Manufacturing certainly matters for many social and strategic reasons, and can support middle class economics. But automation steadily reduces the labor intensiveness that made manufacturing such a solid foundation for middle class economies in large countries. As a domestic buyer choosing to prioritize maximum support for the domestic economy, considering manufacturing is a worthwhile cause, and it has more leverage in complex items like automobiles, than in low-parts-count ones like telescopes. But it's no mistake that Wal-Mart employs vastly more people than any automaker and has a market value 10X GM's, and Apple fluctuates around $1T. A big fat part of the consumer goods value chain is in distribution, so when you can't be pure about domestic sourcing, think about design and distribution before where glass is poured and parts are screwed together. For complex products, that kind of analysis weights where it's build somewhat more. But you really want the high wage invention and management jobs in your own country if you can't have the manufacturing.

 

IF what you care about is strictly domestic economic leverage for your telescope spending, don't worry about glass. You have US options but they have a price premium associated with them.

 

Phil


Edited by 213Cobra, 16 May 2020 - 10:16 PM.

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#36 RichA

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 10:54 PM

Good luck trying to find a scope and ALL parts made in the USA. The world is very small place  these days and most manufacturers have some parts sourced from overseas. Wondering, you said you are particular about buying your products from the USA only. What kind of cell phone do you use? 

Not a real argument.  You can't buy what never may have existed from a certain country or hasn't existed for a long time.  It's like trying to buy rare-earth materials from the U.S. when most of the mines closed in 1955.  Something as ubiquitous as a cellphone, are they still making them in Finland?  But this doesn't stop someone from (for example) not buying $5.00 T-shirts made in sweat-shops because there are alternatives that aren't. 



#37 peleuba

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 08:58 AM

 

My advice - in telescopes and trucks anyway - ignore country of origin marketing "noise" and buy based on price/features/reliability/long term cost of ownership/value retention.  A great way to figure out quickly what to buy is to look at what an item costs new and what it sells for used a couple of years old.  The aggregate experience of consumers in the marketplace tends to weed out fanboism and misplaced reliance on fanciful marketing passed off as fact.  Items that hold their value well are probably the best values irrespective of branding.  And honestly I think companies that deliver the best value deserve my business - "best" knows no borders.

 

 

Agree with this!   Buy on reputation and learn to test it yourself.  And, don't buy a telescope as an investment. 


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#38 YAOG

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 06:47 PM

I thought that Stellarvue sourced its lenses from Taiwan.

You are behind the times. Stellarvue has been cutting and grinding their own lenses for some time. The last of the imported lenses were Access doublets (which are excellent BTW) were blown out before Christmas. Stellarvue is using the best glass from Japan last I checked. Look on the website all X series scopes are USA made in Northern California as is almost the entire telescope including the focusers. You pay a premium but it is a real made in the USA product unlike almost everything else which is largely just assembled in the US.  



#39 sunnyday

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 06:51 PM

everyone responds, but the topic starter hummmm.


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#40 YAOG

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 06:58 PM

everyone responds, but the topic starter hummmm.

Maybe he's busy elsewhere on the system? Or maybe he was not happy with the responses he got. In any case it's an older account so maybe he is just not into the world as it works today. I'm sure the OP will speak up when they have something to say.


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#41 OldManSky

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 09:08 PM

You are behind the times. Stellarvue has been cutting and grinding their own lenses for some time. The last of the imported lenses were Access doublets (which are excellent BTW) were blown out before Christmas. Stellarvue is using the best glass from Japan last I checked. Look on the website all X series scopes are USA made in Northern California as is almost the entire telescope including the focusers. You pay a premium but it is a real made in the USA product unlike almost everything else which is largely just assembled in the US.  

I'll just note that while Stellarvue uses Ohara glass (mostly), and Ohara is a Japanese company, not all of Ohara's glass is made in Japan. As was pointed out up there aways :)

And while they do machine some of their own parts, they don't do all of their own part machining -- they buy rings, tubes, etc. from suppliers, many of whom are not in the US.

None of that is a "knock" against Stellarvue...but the "real made in USA product" is, in this case as in most others, not entirely factual.


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#42 YAOG

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 09:48 AM

The rings used on their actual telescopes are all made in-house here in California. The focusers are also made here, I have not asked where the tube stock comes from but at least they cut their own tubes. There is very little that is not cut and fabricated in house on the SVX telescopes. 

 

Things like the eyepieces, diagonals and 50mm and 60mm finders are commodity items for sure but they are some of the best commodity finders on the market, I basically bought them all and tested them and these and the straight through silver metal ES finders are optically the best. 



#43 KevH

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 09:59 AM

The focusers look like imports to me. The 2.5” SV focuser is definitely made by Sharpstar. I’m not sure of the big 3.5” model but it certainly looks like the Kunming United focusers I’ve seen. While they clearly state “US made” rings, the focusers use vague language like “our” focuser.

Where are you getting the info that they are US made?

Edited by KevH, 20 May 2020 - 10:00 AM.


#44 YAOG

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 10:15 AM

The focusers look like imports to me. The 2.5” SV focuser is definitely made by Sharpstar. I’m not sure of the big 3.5” model but it certainly looks like the Kunming United focusers I’ve seen. While they clearly state “US made” rings, the focusers use vague language like “our” focuser.

Where are you getting the info that they are US made?

Hi KevH,

 

The smaller scopes and 2.5" focusers are slowly on their way out, the evergreen Stellarvue 80mm f/6 has the in-house 3" focuser as another model or as an upgrade option so that when they can produce enough 3" and 3.5" they can stop offering the imported 2.5" focuser.  

 

All 3.0" and larger focusers are made in-house or sourced from known US makers like SI and Moonlite. 


Edited by YAOG, 20 May 2020 - 12:24 PM.


#45 GOLGO13

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 10:28 AM

Hello.  I'm pretty sensitive to where items I purchase are made. EG All my cars are American, my camera gear all made in Japan or Thailand.  I just purchased a Losmandy which is, as I understand it, is made in USA.  Now I'm in the market for a good refractor (not TOO good) something like this: Orion EON 115mm ED Triplet.  But I know that is made in China.  Stellarvue I know makes some of it's scopes here in California.

 

But I'm wondering who knows which other refractors are made here in the good old USA? Thanks.

I think it's OK to have this opinion, although Chinese scopes have improved quite a bit in quality. And there are American companies that sell them do benefit (like our sponsor Astronomics.com with the Astrotech line).

 

I think you would feel fairly good with Tele Vue.

 

My personal opinion on this topic is if all things are equal I'll go for the American product. But rarely is that the case. Not a huge fan of American cars, though some seem to have improved a bit lately. Of course it's kind of like Harley Davidson. It's "American made", but there are way too much parts that are not American in them nowadays. But it is a global economy at this point and pretty hard to avoid it.


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#46 rgsalinger

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 02:32 PM

If you want to discuss refractors, where they are made, etc. that's what this thread is for. It's not about the global supply chain as it pertains to cars or other products.  Please stay on the topic or don't post in this thread. Please.


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