Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

What does optical quality cost?

refractor optics
  • Please log in to reply
94 replies to this topic

#76 LDW47

LDW47

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,933
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2012
  • Loc: North Bay,Ontario,Canada

Posted 12 June 2020 - 08:33 PM

Somebody has touched a nerve ?

Nerves of steel ! The bad part is rhe number of nerves thats been touched !  Clear steal skize !


Edited by LDW47, 12 June 2020 - 08:48 PM.


#77 John Huntley

John Huntley

    Mercury-Atlas

  • ***--
  • Posts: 2,611
  • Joined: 16 Jul 2006
  • Loc: SW England

Posted 12 June 2020 - 08:53 PM

Skies, I think you meant wink.gif

 

Oh, and I think "the" rather than "rhe" but that's quickfire typing for you !

 

Clear skies to you as well smile.gif



#78 3 i Guy

3 i Guy

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 505
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Blanket, Texas

Posted 12 June 2020 - 09:00 PM

Please mods, let’s “86” this thread. The OP’s question was answered brilliantly by Paul and Matt. Intrinsic value was not part of the equation but it keeps popping back up like bad oysters.

 

 

mark


  • doctordub, John Huntley, eros312 and 1 other like this

#79 John Huntley

John Huntley

    Mercury-Atlas

  • ***--
  • Posts: 2,611
  • Joined: 16 Jul 2006
  • Loc: SW England

Posted 12 June 2020 - 09:04 PM

Please mods, let’s “86” this thread. The OP’s question was answered brilliantly by Paul and Matt. Intrinsic value was not part of the equation but it keeps popping back up like bad oysters.

 

 

mark

I had to look that one up:

 

https://en.wikipedia.../wiki/86_(term)

 

Good idea waytogo.gif



#80 LDW47

LDW47

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,933
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2012
  • Loc: North Bay,Ontario,Canada

Posted 12 June 2020 - 10:31 PM

It should have been canned a long time ago !  Clear great skiys !



#81 LDW47

LDW47

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,933
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2012
  • Loc: North Bay,Ontario,Canada

Posted 12 June 2020 - 10:32 PM

Skies, I think you meant wink.gif

 

Oh, and I think "the" rather than "rhe" but that's quickfire typing for you !

 

Clear skies to you as well smile.gif

Talk about hitting a nerve !  Clear skize !



#82 bobhen

bobhen

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,153
  • Joined: 25 Jun 2005

Posted 13 June 2020 - 07:12 AM

Hello Bob, 

 

As much as that may make sense to you - it does not amount to evidence. 

 

skybsd 

The evidence might be circumstantial but it is "strong" circumstantial evidence and "a far more likely scenario" than considering the alternative. And strong circumstantial evidence is accepted even in a court of law – unless you have some other evidence to the contrary.

 

Bob 


Edited by bobhen, 13 June 2020 - 11:44 AM.


#83 Creedence

Creedence

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 367
  • Joined: 09 Jan 2018
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 13 June 2020 - 08:30 AM

It’s a shame this otherwise interesting and informative thread is being derailed; I’d hate to see it locked.

We astronomers may not be a large enough community to merit documentaries on the production of our optics, but the photography community apparently is! As a raging Takaholic, I spent some time searching for Canon Optron production videos and got pretty close. Canon has a series of videos on telephoto lens production that have plenty of parallels for us.

The thing that strikes me the most is the amount of non recurring engineering that went into the automated production machinery and equipment along with acquisition costs. That obviously has to be recuperated, as does the investment committed developing the intellectual property (as discussed previously in the thread) like the fluorite production techniques highlighted in the video.

I have to wonder how big an impact labor has relative to the costs I just mentioned. Let’s say (using napkin math) we’re paying a Japanese optical “artisan” $100 an hour and a Chinese optical “journeyman” $10. They both spend 5 hours on a lens assembly to correct the figure, space, align, etc (I’m overestimating slightly to highlight the point). That’s $50 in labor in the Chinese product and $500 for the Japanese product. I’ll avoid getting in the how the companies burden their rates, etc, but that’s a $450 delta. Based on that little thought experiment, I don’t think the labor is the main culprit.

I have to think it’s raw materials, recouping the cost of capital assets, IP, and the percent of product rejected are the biggest cost drivers followed by labor rates. It’s then pretty simple to draw conclusions or assumptions in what levers different tier manufacturers apply.

The 3 parts series of videos I based my thoughts on:

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=MKNFW0YwDYw

Edited by Creedence, 13 June 2020 - 09:27 AM.

  • rustynpp, eros312, Bomber Bob and 1 other like this

#84 daquad

daquad

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,683
  • Joined: 14 May 2008

Posted 13 June 2020 - 09:33 AM

It’s a shame this otherwise interesting and informative thread is being derailed; I’d hate to see it locked.

We astronomers may not be a large enough community to merit documentaries on the production of our optics, but the photography community apparently is! As a raging Takaholic, I spent some time searching for Canon Optron production videos and got pretty close. Canon has a series of videos on telephoto lens production that have plenty of parallels for us.

The thing that strikes me the most is the amount of non recurring engineering that went into the automated production machinery and equipment along with acquisition costs. That obviously has to be recuperated, as does the investment committed developing the intellectual property (as discussed previously in the thread) like the fluorite production techniques highlighted in the video.

I have to wonder how big an impact labor has relative to the costs I just mentioned. Let’s say (using napkin math) we’re paying a Japanese optical “artisan” $100 an hour and a Chinese optical “journeyman” $10. They both spend 5 hours on a lens assembly to correct the figure, space, align, etc (I’m overestimating slightly to highlight the point). That’s $50 in labor in the Chinese product and $500 for the Japanese product. I’ll avoid getting in the how the companies burden their rates, etc, but that’s a $450 delta. Based on that little thought experiment, I don’t think the labor is the main culprit.

I have to think it’s raw materials, recouping the cost of capital assets, IP, and the percent of product rejected are the biggest cost drivers followed by labor rates. It’s then pretty simple to draw conclusions or assumptions in what levers different tier manufacturers apply.

The 3 parts series of videos I based my thoughts on:

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=MKNFW0YwDYw

But the labor involves more than just fine figuring a lens.  There is marketing, packing and shipping, equipment maintenance, set up time, etc.  Would that not increase the delta substantially?

 

Dom Q.


  • Creedence and organge like this

#85 skybsd

skybsd

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,828
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2008

Posted 13 June 2020 - 11:54 AM

Hello, 

 

The evidence might be circumstantial but it is "strong" circumstantial evidence and "a far more likely scenario" than considering the alternative. And strong circumstantial evidence is accepted even in a court of law – unless you have some other evidence to the contrary.

 

Bob 

I am not the one pontificating - and therefore am not so burdened nor obligated. 

 

skybsd 


Edited by skybsd, 13 June 2020 - 12:21 PM.


#86 bobhen

bobhen

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,153
  • Joined: 25 Jun 2005

Posted 13 June 2020 - 01:05 PM

Hello, 

 

I am not the one pontificating - and therefore am not so burdened nor obligated. 

 

skybsd 

I’m not pontificating – I presented evidence that points to a reasonable conclusion.

 

You can disagree but without presenting evidence to support you point of view or statements your argument is just a singular opinion and therefor holds no weight.

 

Bob



#87 RichA

RichA

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,765
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2010
  • Loc: Toronto, Canada

Posted 13 June 2020 - 01:12 PM

Much of the price we pay for high-quality refractors is due to optical quality, i.e. the quality of lens figure and polish. Of course, the cost of glass/fluorite blanks also depends on material quality. It is my understanding, however, that we pay more for the workmanship going into the optical surface than the material they are made of. Optical quality doesn't occur by accident but by quality workmanship. Experience at the eyepiece also confirms that optical quality is a real thing, and more expensive optics perform better than inexpensive optics.

 

But I wonder how long time and how much effort it actually takes to manufacture a premium-quality optic, say a Tak FC-100 versus a more common ”run-of-the-mill” optic (say, something like a ED100).

 

In other words, what is the manufacturing costs of optical quality? Supposing a given premium optic is priced at 3-4x more than a run-of-the-mill optic, would that also imply that the premium optic is 3-4x as expensive to make, because of the additional attention to lens figure and polish? And is the additional cost incurred because of extra time for hand-finishing high-end optics, or is the cost simply incurred by needing machines to work longer and slower on the lenses for a better finish?

 

Can anyone offer some reliable information about that? Any insights as to the cost-breakdown of making high-end optics?

 

Thanks,

Daniel

It costs much less today than it did  20 years ago.  Much more advanced lens and mirror grinding machines help as well as (admittedly) relocating production to cheaper countries (not that that's a good thing in all respects).  Buy an SCT today you have a very good chance of getting an excellent one, as an example.  Top, top scopes still feature better  specs on average than lower models though. 
 


  • db2005 likes this

#88 Creedence

Creedence

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 367
  • Joined: 09 Jan 2018
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 13 June 2020 - 01:47 PM

But the labor involves more than just fine figuring a lens. There is marketing, packing and shipping, equipment maintenance, set up time, etc. Would that not increase the delta substantially?

Dom Q.

Absolutely Dom, and a valid consideration. The marketing, maintenance of facilities and equipment, etc are all indirect labor which are part of the burden applied to the direct labor rates. They are absolutely incorporated into the final cost In addition to the profit itself. I avoided accounting for those costs because they can (and do) vary so wildly that it makes an apples to apples comparison of direct cost drivers difficult, but they certainly are baked in the price.

The best analogue I can think of with the indirect costs is the watch making industry (I.e. consider how fleets of Breitling-owned fighter jets for air show demos, high-end Rolex and Panerai owned/sponsored racing yachts, etc, impact the sales price of each watch beyond the manufacturing expense). It’s enough to make understanding the manufacturing costs almost impossible (probably not accidental). There is certainly some amount of this in the telescope manufacturing industry, and it too makes discussion of optics manufacturing costs more difficult.

Edited by Creedence, 13 June 2020 - 04:36 PM.

  • daquad and db2005 like this

#89 Creedence

Creedence

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 367
  • Joined: 09 Jan 2018
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 15 June 2020 - 09:47 PM

While I lamented the thought of this thread being locked by the bickering, I had no idea that I would kill it with my boring posts! 😧

#90 Kunama

Kunama

    Aussie at large

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,607
  • Joined: 22 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Canberra, Australia

Posted 16 June 2020 - 01:25 AM

While I lamented the thought of this thread being locked by the bickering, I had no idea that I would kill it with my boring posts!

Just in case it does get locked I thought you would like a definitive answer to the age old question of: "What does optical quality cost?"
 
The answer to this is of course:     € 9895  and can be found here:  https://www.apm-tele...-cnc-lw-ii.html



#91 Whichwayisnorth

Whichwayisnorth

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,074
  • Joined: 04 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 20 June 2020 - 03:57 PM

You guys that haven't seen this video will learn a bit about what it takes to make a great lens.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=xKIPFWVxvNc



#92 Eigen

Eigen

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 189
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2012

Posted 20 June 2020 - 04:33 PM

Let us also not forget that optical glass comes in grades (acceptable bubbles and inclusions within glass) , which differ considerably when it comes to price.

Presumably the premium manufacturers have stricter criteria for their glass than less premium manufacturers and also pay a notably higher price for those blanks. Inclusions and bubbles are detrimental to contrast due to increased scatter.

A 120mm blank of FPL-53 =/= another FPL-53 blank.

In addition to the labor input, blank quality must also be considered when accounting for the cost of premium optics, imo.

Regards,
Eigen
  • John Huntley, Rollo, Bomber Bob and 1 other like this

#93 John Huntley

John Huntley

    Mercury-Atlas

  • ***--
  • Posts: 2,611
  • Joined: 16 Jul 2006
  • Loc: SW England

Posted 20 June 2020 - 04:54 PM

Let us also not forget that optical glass comes in grades (acceptable bubbles and inclusions within glass) , which differ considerably when it comes to price.

Presumably the premium manufacturers have stricter criteria for their glass than less premium manufacturers and also pay a notably higher price for those blanks. Inclusions and bubbles are detrimental to contrast due to increased scatter.

A 120mm blank of FPL-53 =/= another FPL-53 blank.

In addition to the labor input, blank quality must also be considered when accounting for the cost of premium optics, imo.

Regards,
Eigen

Out of interest, this is APM's specification for LZOS objectives:

 

https://www.apm-tele...ifikationen.pdf


  • Eigen and Bomber Bob like this

#94 Rollo

Rollo

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 880
  • Joined: 16 Aug 2006
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 20 June 2020 - 06:51 PM

Let us also not forget that optical glass comes in grades (acceptable bubbles and inclusions within glass) , which differ considerably when it comes to price.

Presumably the premium manufacturers have stricter criteria for their glass than less premium manufacturers and also pay a notably higher price for those blanks. Inclusions and bubbles are detrimental to contrast due to increased scatter.

A 120mm blank of FPL-53 =/= another FPL-53 blank.

In addition to the labor input, blank quality must also be considered when accounting for the cost of premium optics, imo.

Regards,
Eigen

Good point.   Kind of like buying a high quality diamond.  


  • Eigen likes this

#95 Eigen

Eigen

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 189
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2012

Posted 22 June 2020 - 03:09 PM

Good point.   Kind of like buying a high quality diamond.  

Yeah pretty much exactly like it. :) Except with glass you also have striae (areas of glass with differing refractive index) as it is not a crystal.

 

A very interesting read from Schott on how they class and sell optical glass is available at the following link for anyone who might be interested in a quick read on the topic:

 

https://www.schott.c...y-2016-row.pdf 




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: refractor, optics



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics