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those cheap 70/300 refractors

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#51 GGK

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 11:33 AM

$40 is $40.  People buy expensive refractors and eyepieces and then review them.. The world doesn't really need another review of a 4 inch Takahashi or a 21 mm Ethos...

 

But a 70 mm x 300 mm refractor that costs $40, there's a need because no one has done a serious review. When someone with $40 to looks it up, they get a bunch of Amazon reviews and comments by people who've never looked through one.

 

There's an opportunity here to make a difference that's meaningful.

 

Jon

I am actually very interested in your review of this scope. My first years in astronomy were with 10x25 pocket binoculars and back then I’m sure I would have considered any 70mm cheap telescope an upgrade. Will this scope show more than binoculars which are often recommended as a starter? 



#52 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 11:43 AM

I certainly don't disagree there (and frankly I still struggle to see where there are any disagreement elsewhere, but all good- perhaps just a case of violent agreement which can make forum-posting such a pleasure).  Hopefully you'll be able to publish your feedback on Amazon (assuming you bought from there?) to help with the front-end expectation management.  Plenty of reviews out there written by those who are trying to figure out the telescopes AND astronomy, but I don't see much from people who already know how to make astronomy.

 

I think there are some disagreements.

 

"These sellers are predatory with those practices, their products are weapons-grade hobby killers that are deceptively marketed as beginner telescopes while being nothing more than facilities."

 

Jon


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#53 xvariablestarx

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 11:49 AM

 

I see an even cheaper scope on ebay, but I think Amazon would be a better place for a review.

What you think of this ?

 

https://www.amazon.d...lv_ov_lig_dp_it



#54 Creedence

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 12:02 PM

I think there are some disagreements.

 

"These sellers are predatory with those practices, their products are weapons-grade hobby killers that are deceptively marketed as beginner telescopes while being nothing more than facilities."

 

Jon

 

Ah, there it is!  I stand by this, and I hope you'll be able to see where the distinction lies...

 

There is a group of people who play arbitrage with products (and as I say up-thread, they are wholly product agnostic) who hock goods that they can arrange a deal on to make a profit.  On the surface, you might say that's business- and it certainly is for them; it's how they make their money. 

 

BUT- and here's the central thesis, they are not of the astronomy community and they peddle these telescope facsimiles (arguably) more adeptly on Amazon than the credible manufacturers do.  They absolutely ARE predatory because they offer compensation to people who leave them one-star reviews, they engage in gamesmanship of the Amazon algorithms with their high-low pricing schemes, among other surprisingly sophisticated  practices that are all designed to lure people to their goods (again, most of them would- and likely do the exact same thing for toasters, selfie sticks, sporting goods, you name it).  The Wallstreet Journal offers an expose- since I cannot post a link, Google "How Scammers in China Manipulate Amazon- WSJ" to see it and learn.  Image for a moment the outrage this community would express if Celestron or our favorite retailers did something like that.  Who among us wouldn't be clamoring to be first in line to call that predatory?  That introduces a tier of products that serve to derail the interest of curious, potential astronomy enthusiasts at a far higher rate than the products we like to call beginner telescopes.  And as I said in the post that seems to have originally caught your eye, the Big Names have nothing to offer that is effective at preserving market space from these products.

 

I am not passing judgement on things that don't achieve TOA150 standards.  They barely approximate the standards of Meade or Celestron beginner scopes, but that's not the core problem.  If there's a disagreement with me, it would have to be that these sellers are offering an honest product as credible suppliers, and that these telescopes are being marketed responsibly.  I say I struggle to see where the disagreement lies, because I KNOW you cannot believe that to be true.  You seem to be arguing that value can be pulled from these telescopes- and that's a different offshoot of the discussion.  It potentially could to some degree- with the appropriate front-side expectation management that doesn't exist.


Edited by Creedence, 23 July 2021 - 12:57 PM.


#55 Ihtegla Sar

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 01:20 PM

$40 is $40. People buy expensive refractors and eyepieces and then review them.. The world doesn't really need another review of a 4 inch Takahashi or a 21 mm Ethos...

But a 70 mm x 300 mm refractor that costs $40, there's a need because no one has done a serious review. When someone with $40 to looks it up, they get a bunch of Amazon reviews and comments by people who've never looked through one.

There's an opportunity here to make a difference that's meaningful.

Jon


My hunch is that the weakest link in the optical train of this scope will be the eyepieces and diaganol. If you find those to be lacking but the objective to be otherwise servicable, you might also want to purchase an inexpensive Svbony diagonal and their 10mm and 23mm aspheric eyepieces to see what the scope can do with upgraded accessories in the same price range.

I imagine that would be helpful to someone with $40 in their pocket to know if it is worth upgrading the scope and to have some guidance on a meaningful and cost effective upgrade path.
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#56 MisterDan

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 02:16 PM

Ah, there it is!  I stand by this, and I hope you'll be able to see where the distinction lies...

 

There is a group of people who play arbitrage with products (and as I say up-thread, they are wholly product agnostic) who hock goods that they can arrange a deal on to make a profit.  On the surface, you might say that's business- and it certainly is for them; it's how they make their money. 

 

BUT- and here's the central thesis, they are not of the astronomy community and they peddle these telescope facsimiles (arguably) more adeptly on Amazon than the credible manufacturers do.  They absolutely ARE predatory because they offer compensation to people who leave them one-star reviews, they engage in gamesmanship of the Amazon algorithms with their high-low pricing schemes, among other surprisingly sophisticated  practices that are all designed to lure people to their goods (again, most of them would- and likely do the exact same thing for toasters, selfie sticks, sporting goods, you name it).  The Wallstreet Journal offers an expose- since I cannot post a link, Google "How Scammers in China Manipulate Amazon- WSJ" to see it and learn.  Image for a moment the outrage this community would express if Celestron or our favorite retailers did something like that.  Who among us wouldn't be clamoring to be first in line to call that predatory?  That introduces a tier of products that serve to derail the interest of curious, potential astronomy enthusiasts at a far higher rate than the products we like to call beginner telescopes.  And as I said in the post that seems to have originally caught your eye, the Big Names have nothing to offer that is effective at preserving market space from these products.

 

I am not passing judgement on things that don't achieve TOA150 standards.  They barely approximate the standards of Meade or Celestron beginner scopes, but that's not the core problem.  If there's a disagreement with me, it would have to be that these sellers are offering an honest product as credible suppliers, and that these telescopes are being marketed responsibly.  I say I struggle to see where the disagreement lies, because I KNOW you cannot believe that to be true.  You seem to be arguing that value can be pulled from these telescopes- and that's a different offshoot of the discussion.  It potentially could to some degree- with the appropriate front-side expectation management that doesn't exist.

 

I held my tongue, yesterday, but since you asked, and you're standing by your statement, allow me...

 

A facsimile is an exact copy.  A facsimile of a telescope is, itself, a telescope.  These are telescopes.  If your meaning of "facsimile" is more akin to "fake" or "false" or "counterfeit," then that, too, is not true.

 

"Weapons-grade" is a term specific to nuclear material which is used in atomic bombs.  If your intent was humor, you failed.  "Weapons-grade hobby killer" is meaningless hyperbole.  You declared the telescopes to be "weapons-grade hobby killers" - not the sellers.  -Not even some of the sellers.  You've associated the image of a mushroom cloud and the context of nuclear weapons with the likes of Diego - who clearly and respectfully relayed his impressions and satisfaction with his own "facsimile" - and the anonymous boy who declares "Cool!" when he sees Saturn in his own "facsimile."  Your term is inappropriate and insulting.  Feel free to stand by it.

 

Dan.


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#57 Creedence

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 02:34 PM

We're nearing peak silliness, and while I certainly do love it all, you're taking your responses well off the Amazon 70mm scope topic. With your sage summary of mushroom clouds this becoming a facsimile of a weapons-grade semantics fest. If someone would have told me that I'd be spending more than 6 minutes of my day talking to folks who defend predatory sellers on Amazon with an allergy to hyperbole, I'd have said they were crazy.

I'd love to continue this enriching dialogue with you in your quest to defend these articles, but I sadly have better things to do than debate $40 telescopes. My assertions relate to something that adversely impacts the community writ large, using these items, but a few seem to harbor some sort of emotional connection to them, so have at it. If I manage to chip away at the more pressing items (I need to get around to cataloguing my pocket lint according to granular density), I'll be sure to poke my head in an read Jon's book field report.

I wish you clear skies, and you've all earned 7 Astropoints for entertaining me (redeemable should we run into each other at NEAF for 1 medium Ovaltine) with your take on the dregs of Amazon retail offerings and their sellers who pay to eliminate poor reviews.

Edited by Creedence, 23 July 2021 - 05:03 PM.


#58 Bowlerhat

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 05:17 PM

$40 is $40.  People buy expensive refractors and eyepieces and then review them.. The world doesn't really need another review of a 4 inch Takahashi or a 21 mm Ethos...

 

But a 70 mm x 300 mm refractor that costs $40, there's a need because no one has done a serious review. When someone with $40 to looks it up, they get a bunch of Amazon reviews and comments by people who've never looked through one.

 

There's an opportunity here to make a difference that's meaningful.

 

Jon

Ed ting actually reviewed the celestron 50AZ..then tasco 4vte. You're right.



#59 Bowlerhat

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 05:20 PM

I keep telling myself "you know better, don't buy this junk", then I read something like this and I think " I want to experiment with this scope and see what it can do". lol.gif

Sky Muse has a great thread supercharging the dreadred 127mm powerseeker. (did he make one about 114eq too? I forgot)


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#60 xvariablestarx

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 05:55 PM

Sky Muse has a great thread supercharging the dreadred 127mm powerseeker. (did he make one about 114eq too? I forgot)

I am a big fan of that thread.


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#61 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 06:00 PM

We're nearing peak silliness, and while I certainly do love it all, you're taking your responses well off the Amazon 70mm scope topic. With your sage summary of mushroom clouds this becoming a facsimile of a weapons-grade semantics fest.

 

 

You are the one who wrote that these 70mm F/4.3 refractors were "weapons grade hobby killers."  

 

If you did not mean that these scopes were serious "hobby killers" then please explain just what you did mean because this is a point of disagreement.  

 

There are just too many serious observers who started with very poor scopes and too many who started with much better scopes and did not continue to consider them as hobby killers..  It's not the scope that makes or breaks this hobby. 

 

Jon


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#62 Bowlerhat

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 09:40 PM

 "How Scammers in China Manipulate Amazon- WSJ" to see it and learn.  Image for a moment the outrage this community would express if Celestron or our favorite retailers did something like that.  Who among us wouldn't be clamoring to be first in line to call that predatory?  That introduces a tier of products that serve to derail the interest of curious, potential astronomy enthusiasts at a far higher rate than the products we like to call beginner telescopes.  And as I said in the post that seems to have originally caught your eye, the Big Names have nothing to offer that is effective at preserving market space from these products.

Nice trade war article, but I fail to get your line. Are we talking about manufacturers..or the retailers?

The 70mm f400 scopes available as travelscopes also are being sold by these cheap retailers. It's probably the same item from same company OEM. So..is it predatory? it's even worse somehow, because you would buy a celestron version marked up 300% on retail with same quality. Isn't it worse?

 

Here's an example. Who's predatory now? 

 

The practice of selling low grade astronomical equipments

 

I'd say celestron is worse. In fact, I think I would go other direction: Without these OEM sellers people won't be able to get scopes for such low prices. In the latest two years we have opened the gate to many OEM brands that offer cheaper products. There are innovations, even items which eventually adopted by branded astronomy sellers.

 

Don't believe they're the same?

This is my SVbony aspherics which came in celestron box.

svbony aspherics

 

I suspect she was frustrated by something else, other than the telescope..


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#63 MisterDan

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 10:09 PM

I suspect she was frustrated by something else, other than the telescope..

bow.gif



#64 Creedence

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 10:28 PM

Pocket lint sorting is going well (so well in fact that I even extracted a fine sample from the charging port in my phone that has adversely impacted its recharging time) time to join my favorite subset of astronomers- the Amazon facsimile telescope evangelists!

Let me get this straight... Female coworker fails to accomplish anything with her toy telescope. Brings it to the office and I show her how to use it. In your collective dream world, I should have driven to Tampa at night to split double stars with a single female coworker? I know, I can tell my wife that the guys on the telescope forum recommended it.

I gave her an overview of the features and functions in the office and that gave me an opportunity to use the article in the OP. I then went to Amazon and saw how they are marketed, learned of the deceptive practices, and mentioned it here.

You are now vexed that the reputation of resellers on Amazon who pay to manipulate product ratings has been sullied? Jon, I applaud you and admire the amount of time you have in your day to buy a $40 telescope and offer a book report!

I am relishing in the discourse. Who said telescope guff couldn’t be fun?

Edited by Creedence, 23 July 2021 - 10:41 PM.


#65 Creedence

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 10:33 PM

Bowler, you did hit a good question worth offering clarity on.

I don’t have a negative view of those who manufacture the product, nor are the products without use (children, splitting cars in the garage, birding, seeing the moon in slightly more glory than the naked eye)- the disdain is to the resellers who pay to manipulate Amazon reviews and end up steering those who don’t know what to avoid to a product that yields a higher rate of attrition from the hobby than our traditional hobby killers.

For our friends who struggle with hyperbole: Hobby killers are our colloquialism for beginner telescopes and we all fondly remember how we overcame those issues.

These are hobby killers just like all the others, but they earn the weapons-grade designation because they are deceptively marketed. That is why I would hope to see Jon’s report posted on Amazon where it might actually do something.

Edited by Creedence, 23 July 2021 - 10:42 PM.


#66 MisterDan

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 01:19 AM

Every reseller of cheap, plutonium-enriched telescopes is a predatory, deceptive seller who posts fake reviews and bribes buyers.  -Because it's Amazon.  -And they're from China.

 

THAT is your thesis?



#67 Bowlerhat

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 04:57 AM

I don’t have a negative view of those who manufacture the product, nor are the products without use (children, splitting cars in the garage, birding, seeing the moon in slightly more glory than the naked eye)- the disdain is to the resellers who pay to manipulate Amazon reviews and end up steering those who don’t know what to avoid to a product that yields a higher rate of attrition from the hobby than our traditional hobby killers.

So now you claimed that you don't have the problem with the product itself, not even the manufacturers, but the resellers? After all that drivel, it comes to this?


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#68 xvariablestarx

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 06:04 AM

I risk showing my politics here, but however. Capitalism dictates that one exploit resources, so be it the original manufacturer, reselling companies, or even a bloke selling a mixture of products on Ebay, all WILL exploit that resource, in this case the beginner astronomy, if given half the chance. Now the question in contention here, is if these cheap refractors are any more exploitative than any other product? The short answer would be No, the longer answer would be that the quality of the telescopes is obscured by deception, but big manufacturers also do this, for example the Powerseeker line of telescopes, so it is not just off-brand scopes on Amazon you need to be careful with.

 

However, I have become sympathetic to the idea, that the scope itself will not kill the hobby, and that a future astronomer needs a certain drive and curiosity in them, that will not be extinguished by a mere $50 disappointment.



#69 Creedence

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 05:54 PM

So now you claimed that you don't have the problem with the product itself, not even the manufacturers, but the resellers? After all that drivel, it comes to this?

Days in the making and we’re getting there!!

The product is not a good fit for the people who are being duped into buying them (those who don’t know what to select or avoid) by predatory and unethical practices- paying to manipulate product reviews, etc. I’m glad you finally managed to grasp the point!

14 more Astropoints for your accomplishment! Keep it up and you may earn large Ovaltine.

Edited by Creedence, 24 July 2021 - 06:01 PM.


#70 Creedence

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 05:57 PM

Every reseller of cheap, plutonium-enriched telescopes is a predatory, deceptive seller who posts fake reviews and bribes buyers. -Because it's Amazon. -And they're from China.

THAT is your thesis?

Bingo!! I’m optimistic that my Amazon facsimile evangelists can indeed absorb information- although it seems to take a while.

And finishing the thought because everyone seems to still be working to grasp the conclusion....

That causes people who would otherwise end up with a traditional (as per our understanding of the products) beginner telescope and.... (dramatic conclusion) in my estimation causes a higher rate of attrition from the hobby before they get a start.

(Looking forward to hearing how you rationalize the practice of paying negative reviewers to retract their reviews... because it sounds like you contend it’s acceptable because it’s Amazon (you actually say China but I’m not touching that). I await in rapture.

3 Astropoints for you!

(Starting to feel like Oprah... Look under your seat. YOU get an Astropoint, YOU get an astropoint!!, and yes, YOU get an astropoint!!!). This is good discourse, I feel like we’re getting somewhere that relates to the OP. The product and Amazon and their impact on the hobby.

Edited by Creedence, 24 July 2021 - 06:05 PM.


#71 MisterDan

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 06:51 PM

Your "Bingo!!" sounded exactly like "China," to me.

 

I am in no way condoning false ratings, bribery, or other attacks on Amazon or any other online marketplace.

 

It took a while, Captain Obvious, because your thesis was poorly stated, often rambling, and wholly unsupported.

 

I now understand your thesis.


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#72 Creedence

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 07:08 PM

Hooray!! You, my friend have earned a medium Ovaltine.

And suggest you not get all your exercise from jumping to conclusions. China was your word. I am discussing amazon and how it’s used in relation to the products from the OP.

Edited by Creedence, 24 July 2021 - 07:13 PM.


#73 kel123

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 07:20 PM

I guess this thread is getting to that point.
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#74 Nate1701

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 02:46 PM

I started with a cheap 4" Newt. I appreciated a faint center of Andromeda, Saturns rings, faint glow of Orion, Jupe's moons. Most around just did not get excited or interested like i did. 

I've had better optics and still do - but I've circled back to a Synta 80mm F5.

 

I had the appreciation for what i was looking at back then - and the appreciation has grown - for me that means i can enjoy even less aperture than what i started with. I'm just delighted with this little 80. 

 

It's not the size of the aperture, its the size of the appreciation. 

 

Maybe out of the box the 70 is not so great, but one can slowly upgrade - add better diagonal, tripod, eyepiece. 

That's half of what this hobby is about anyway! So in that case it's a perfect introduction! 

 

Even the well-respected ED120's could do with upgrades, like better focuser etc. So might as well learn early how to shop and research. wink.gif


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#75 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 08:05 PM

Jon, I applaud you and admire the amount of time you have in your day to buy a $40 telescope and offer a book report!

 

 

I bought, I got it.  I will not be reporting anything here except to say that it's not a very good scope but usable.  This thread is a total mess. 

 

For the record:

 

I do not write book reports, I write equipment reviews.  I measure things, I make tests, I make observations I compare equipment, I write them up. 

 

I have time to review equipment.  I am retired and I spend between 500 and 600 hours a year observing.. That's an average of about an hour and a half every night of the year.. It actually works out to an average of 3 hours a night about half the nights of the year.  Spending a few nights with a scope like this is quite enjoyable.  It takes me back to the beginning.  Reminds me that I don't need $10,000 worth of telescope and eyepieces to have a good time.

 

Jon


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