Considering similar OTA price point when comparing scopes

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Gary
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Considering similar OTA price point when comparing scopes

Post by Gary »

Hi Mooey and friends. I am starting this thread to continue the discussion from the Tak Sky90 thread ( http://www.singastro.org/viewtopic.php?t=9983 ).
MooEy wrote:If we purely compare what we can get for the same amount of money, it seems that you can always get a much bigger Celestron. This is what I mean in theory.
This is not just theory. It is fact too.
The celestron would always seem to give more value.
Depends on what the owner prefers to see/image and whether he is willing to take the compromises involved as there is no perfect telescope.
However we have to be practical, given the same amount of bulk that you are going to carry, a 4" refractor would be similar to a 8" cassegrain. At this point we have to carefully decide, which would provide better views?
Better views of what exactly? Faint DSOs?
Cost of the OTA may seem like a factor initially, but once you start moving up in terms of size and quality, it quickly becomes obvious that money spent on a cheaper scope vs a premium scope quickly becomes a non-issue.
Did not really understand what you mean.
There are alot other cost involved. The price of the eyepieces and mount comes into the picture. Given a nice goto mount cost in the range of 3-4k, the cost of eyepiece are hovering in the 300-600 usd ranges, does a 1-2k difference in the price of the ota matters anymore?
A Nexstar 8SE Goto system costs USD$1199. That is a tracking mount plus a 8" SCT: http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid ... xstar&st=2. This is already half the price of the 3-4K mount that is used for a premium refactor.

Moreover, a 8" SCT generally has a longer focal ratio which means even sub $100 eyepiece can work decently well with it.

Thus, a 1-2K difference in OTA + another 1-2K difference in goto mount + a few hundred dollars saving from eyepieces matters to me.
Let's also not forget the cost of transportation. How much does that shiny car cost you? Even that taxi trip is money. That trip up to north is money too. Even if we ignore the cost of transport, the effort to carry scopes should also be considerations. How many of us can just lug out a C11 every other day?
Totally agree a C11 is more cumbersome to carry than a 4" APO.

Can we ignore all these and say, for the price of 3k i could get either the Tak 102 or the C11? Is there any value in comparing these 2 scopes? Does the C11 truly provides better value? I strongly disagree.
You disagree that C11 provides better value than a Tak 102. YESSS!!!! you are finally comparing apples with apples now - a Tak 102 and C11. Which was my whole point. Not "bullying" a 8" SCT by comparing it with a Tak 102. You are totally entitled to whatever conclusions you draw from a Tak 102 vs C11 comparison but at least it is much *fairer* now.

There is value in comparing *under the right conditions*. Why do you assume all amateur astronomers in Singapore or other countries are only die-hard pure grab-and-go hobbyist? What about those who can afford a permanent pier in their house and have a nice view of the sky? Or mini home observatory? Or have scope buggy setup to minimise OTA lugging everyday? Under such conditions, *IF* the user prefers to see the best views of DSOs or do planetary imaging and chooses a $3K C11 over a $3K 4" Tak, would you not agree the C11 is a better value for him/her?

Neither the CPC9.25 nor the C11 gets as much use as the smaller scopes. If we were to charge $10 per inch per session, 30-40 bucks for use of the smaller refractors and 110 bucks for the use of the larger SCT, you will notice that we will get alot more money from the smaller refractors. Bang for the bucks, I would say the big celestrons are very poor.


Charge who? A veteran group of astronomers with scope comparison in mind? Or the general public who are much less discerning? Looking at what objects when you are charging them? Galaxies, globular clusters under a dark clear sky? Drawing a hypothetical pay-per-use scenario and concluding that big SCTs are poor in terms of bang for the buck is quite intriguing to me. I prefer to stick to more objective and scientific methodology like measuring light grasp and resolution.

In any case, with your club resources, it will be really fun to actually conduct such sessions and observe the results. We can replace the money part with a voting sticker. All viewers are given one sticker. They have to look through all scopes at the same object and give their vote to what they think its the best view. Like those Taiwanese variety shows we see on TV. LOL :)

How about a sticker competition between your club's CPC9.25 and the Tak FS-102 on Jupiter for this upcoming Jupiter opposition? What say you? :)
Who wouldn't want a 17" CDK over a puny 4" Tak? The question to ask is, how practical is it?

Anyway, let's bring this somewhere else, the original poster is asking abt sky90, not sct vs refractors.

~MooEy~
My point was not about practicality in this specific scenario, but the unfair comparison of scopes that have significant price difference. In the last sentence of your original post which triggered my subsequent replies, you compared a $2.5K - $3K Tak FS-102 with a $900 8" SCT.

So similarly, when analysing whether to own a Planewave CDK 17 over a 4" Tak, the glaring price difference should have stand out in one's mind (approx $22K vs $2-3K) without much need to further analysis issues of practicality and size.
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"The importance of a telescope is not how big it is, how well made it is.
It is how many people, less fortunate than you, got to look through it."
-- John Dobson.

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MooEy
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Post by MooEy »

1stly, do not quote equipment that you do not own or have never used. Marketing info and reviews from others may sounds alot better than it is. As taught by one of my most respected astronomer in sg, 2nd hand smoke is worthless and may mislead. If you have not used it, don't quote it.


I like your idea of side by side comparison, but the scopes belong to different clubs, logistics is going to be a big issue. I'll see if i can arrange something that doesn't involves too many parties.

~MooEy~

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Gary
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Post by Gary »

MooEy wrote:1stly, do not quote equipment that you do not own or have never used.
If the comparisons are about well-known objectively verifiable tangible details, I do not see why one cannot do so regardless he/she own or used the scopes before. For example, the physical dimensions and weight of different scopes to compare which is heavier to lift up when mounting it onto a mount. Or the light grasp of 2 pieces of mirror of different diameter.
MooEy wrote:Marketing info and reviews from others may sounds alot better than it is.


Totally agree.
MooEy wrote: As taught by one of my most respected astronomer in sg, 2nd hand smoke is worthless and may mislead. If you have not used it, don't quote it.
I do not own or used a 11-inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Let me quote a veteran observer who does. He has written a non-product-review article and who has seemingly no business interest with Celestron and thus have no bias to make any scope sounds alot better than it is.

His name is David A. Rodger. Let's see his credentials:

"David A. Rodger, the first Director of Vancouver's H. R. Mac-Millan Planetarium, has been a serious amateur since the great Mars opposition of 1956."

The article is "In Praise of the Great Dark North" published in the September 2011 issue of Sky & Telescope.

From page 68 (emphasis mine for ease of focus later):

"My Orion EON 120-mm and Tele Vue 127-mm refractors are ideal for bright, wide-field star clusters. Sometimes I go in search of planetary nebulae, especially the most compact ones, whose light is sometimes concentrated enough to penetrate the city sky. On a night when the sky is especially transparent, I'll seek out faint galaxies. Galaxies and planetary nebulae want aperture; they look their best in my 11-inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain."

I have mentioned in earlier posts a Takahashi TSA-102S Refractor Telescope OTA cost about USD $3,095 and is comparable in pricing to a Celestron EdgeHD 1100 OTA (USD $3,059).

A Televue 127mm has a bigger aperture than a Tak TSA-102 or Tak FS-102. It also cost much higher (about USD $7199). Televue is also another premium high quality brand like Takahashi.

Thus, a TV127 will beat a TSA-102 or FS-102 in overall performance. If you disagree, please explain. The author prefers a 11-inch Celestron SCT for galaxies and planetary nebulae during an especially transparent sky over a TV127.

So it is perfectly logical to deduce that the author in the same situation will also prefer a 11-inch Celestron SCT over a TSA-102 or FS-102 if he owns one or both. If you do not agree with this logical deduction, please explain.

Btw, David Rodger is also a CN member since 2003. You may also find his posts there interesting especially the one about a beginner who wanted the very best telescope he could get for a certain price and bought a premium brand 4" refractor and then felt disappointed.
MooEy wrote:I like your idea of side by side comparison, but the scopes belong to different clubs, logistics is going to be a big issue. I'll see if i can arrange something that doesn't involves too many parties. ~MooEy~
Appreciate your trying and hope to be invited to attend if you do succeed.
Last edited by Gary on Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:35 am, edited 3 times in total.
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"The importance of a telescope is not how big it is, how well made it is.
It is how many people, less fortunate than you, got to look through it."
-- John Dobson.

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Post by Gary »

Posted my reply in the post above as promised.
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"The importance of a telescope is not how big it is, how well made it is.
It is how many people, less fortunate than you, got to look through it."
-- John Dobson.

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Post by MooEy »

I have to correct you on the prices. The Tak FS-102 cost only $1895, the C8 was $999.

It's interesting that most people did not consider the FS-102 back then but jump on every other 102mm ED from China today.

~MooEy~

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Post by Gary »

MooEy wrote:I have to correct you on the prices. The Tak FS-102 cost only $1895, the C8 was $999.
Not sure where this need for correction is coming from as I don't remember stating how much Tak FS-102 costs in my replies. This is because it is already out of production and I did not manage to find an online source of reference. Thus, I used a similar and independently verifiable Takahashi TSA-102S retail pricing and a C8's for a fair comparison to illustrate my points.

Could you provide the reference or link for prices you have quoted? Roughly which year's pricing are you referring to?

In any case, for me personally considering what type of objects I enjoy viewing more and the skies that I have access to, for a USD$1895 budget, I would have bought a C8 and spend the remaining USD$896 on the best refractor that I can buy at that time. In today's pricing context, that could be a Explorer Scientific 80mm F/6 air-spaced triplet APO (USD$799.95 -- http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=1-637-640-12194 ). No doubt it has a smaller aperture than a FS-102 (by 22mm), but I would have access to a 8" SCT and a 3" refractor and enjoy the views for what these two scopes are good at under the right sky conditions.
MooEy wrote:It's interesting that most people did not consider the FS-102 back then but jump on every other 102mm ED from China today. ~MooEy~
As of now, I have not interacted long enough with a large group of owners of made-in-china 102mm ED refractor. But these are my pure speculations and wild guesses so please kindly ignore if it doesn't make sense or reflect the real situation on the ground.

For ease of discussion here, I will refer to these made-in-china 102mm refractors as OEM102.

(1) Perhaps they want to verify for themselves first-hand what is the difference between between a FS-102 and a OEM102 and draw conclusions if the price difference is worth it to them. They may have a friend who already owns a FS-102 and can do a side-by-side comparison after their purchase of a OEM102. So this curiosity alone may have driven sales.

Similar to the recent HP TouchPad fire sales. People may be asking themselves, "USD$99 for a 10.1" 16GB storage tablet? Sure, it is not an iPad but why not at USD$99?".

IIRC, one of our forum members brought a similar OEM to Punggai, did some observations and shared the view with the rest there. AFAIK, he is still not selling that scope.

(2) Perhaps they don't really care how superior the FS-102 is over the OEM102. By staying to their budget, they can afford the best refractor they can buy with the remaining funds after the purchase of non-refractor(s). And the best refractor for the remaining funds just happen to cover the cost of a OEM102. Having one refractor to enjoy is much better than not having any.

Incidentally, Astrobargains just recently updated their price list with some new OEM products. Perhaps it is a reflection of existing or anticipated upcoming demand from more value-for-money buyers.
Last edited by Gary on Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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"The importance of a telescope is not how big it is, how well made it is.
It is how many people, less fortunate than you, got to look through it."
-- John Dobson.

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Post by MooEy »

I have nothing against the OEM102, infact if I could, I will buy one for every club. It's a very fun scope, nice and wide field, light and portable. Visually i like it alot.

The reason I brought up the issue of the prices is because you have been quoting TSA-102 and comparing it to every other scopes. Yes, it is alot more expensive than the FS-102. I did not endorse it, but neither will i bash it. One has to decide whether it's worth the premium.

No, I'm not google, and I do not have a cache copy of the price. But that is roughly what we paid for many many years back,somewhere 2005/2006.

Nope, I wouldn't take a 3" ES together with a C8 over the FS-102. And as I have previously mentioned, do not quote products that you have not used/owned.

You have not seen thru the product and may not be aware of any shortcoming that may exist. Such endorsement will lead newcomers to purchase the product as it is "endorsed" by you. Should the newcomer be unsastified, would you be willing to be held accountable for your advice?

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Post by andeelym »

MooEy, care to explain why you wouldn't take a 3" ES + C8 over FS-102?

Personally, I might want the reach of the C8 for planets and the 3" refractor for widefield. Ok, I own a 8" SCT but not a 3" refractor.

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Post by orly_andico »

i think mooey's point is - 3" 2nd-tier scope + C8 2nd tier, vs 4" first-tier.

like i said in the other post, some people really want 1st tier all the way.

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Post by MooEy »

I can't comment.

~MooEy~

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