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Sammyb

Astro accessories are over priced!

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Until recently, I haven't been too outraged by the costs - the hobby *can* be enjoyed on a budget. But now I've bought a CCD, I genuinely feel nauseous whenever I think about how much money has gone and what else it could have been used for! Even though it's a great piece of kit and I'm obsessed with the hobby, a part of me regrets it.

The dangerous bit is developing an unhealthy blindness to the costs involved; I recently bought a T-threaded extension for £32 without even blinking... That's a week's food shopping! It's true that you do not get much for your money with some accessories and this can really add up.

Having said that, many hobbies are equally overpriced and I can understand the position of the manufacturers in respect to the low volumes.

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Exactly the same in astro: eyepieces at £500 each, CCDs at £3000, mounts at £5k, filters at £200, even adaptors at £60.

True, but at the other end you can get a very decent 6" dob for £200 which will last you for years of stargazing without actually needing any other accessories at all. In comparison, £200 will buy you a bike which is the equivalent of the National Geographic scope, or as cyclists call them a BSO (Bike Shaped Object!) Let's face it, any hobby has a vastly expensive side but astronomy is one of the few hobbies where there is genuinely no need to spend a fortune. Consumables? Well maybe batteries for the red torch. Upgrades? I bought a couple of EPs - Vixen and Baader Hyperion - which totalled about £150. And that's about it. I''ll get some filters at some point soon but they will be around £40-50. Hardly bankrupting. In two years of owning my dob I've spent less than £250 I reckon. In comparison, for cycling - £56 for a wheel for my cyclocross bike, £30 for a tyre for my MTB, £45 chain and cassette for MTB, £50 for the same for my other MTB, £20 for bushings on the MTB, £100 for a crankset for the same bike, £50 for a jersey and £25 for a very cheap pair of shorts. This is just what springs to mind since May - FOUR MONTHS! I know I ride a lot more than stargaze, but bear in mind that these are mainly consumables, not luxuries, and very much mid-lower end kit.

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I bought a couple of EPs - Vixen and Baader Hyperion - which totalled about £150. And that's about it. I''ll get some filters at some point soon but they will be around £40-50. Hardly bankrupting. In two years of owning my dob I've spent less than £250 I reckon. In comparison, for cycling - £56 for a wheel for my cyclocross bike, £30 for a tyre for my MTB, £45 chain and cassette for MTB, £50 for the same for my other MTB, £20 for bushings on the MTB, £100 for a crankset for the same bike, £50 for a jersey and £25 for a very cheap pair of shorts. This is just what springs to mind since May - FOUR MONTHS! I know I ride a lot more than stargaze, but bear in mind that these are mainly consumables, not luxuries, and very much mid-lower end kit.

Knowing nothing about cycling, I guess I'll have to take your word for it, but could not the same argument apply? Would it not be possible to spend £300 on a bike and helmet and "genuinely not need" to spend any more? That would get you from A to B and give an okay ride, just as a £300 dob with stock eyepieces could show this and that object and give an okay view?

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Tonight on our weekly night ride, my riding buddies will almost entirely be using lights that cost £200+. Cheaper lights just aren't reliable enough when plummeting through a pitch black forest. Yesterday the guy I was riding with was on a £5000+ carbon Ibis. Those sorts of prices ardn't unusual these days. Shorts priced at £200? Gloves at £60? Wheels at £2000? All easily available.

Cycling has always been expensive if you want good reliable stuff that can take a year-round battering.

By comparison I find astronomy gear cheap, almost pocket money cheap. I don't take photos and don't need Delos level EPs, so most of my kit is workable mid-range stuff.

Absolutely. I think accessories for many hobbies seem/are expensive compared to your initial outlay, but generally you get what you pay for. Bringing up the bike lights example was actually a bad choice because as mentioned above (MTB is my main hobby and I go on off-road night rides all year round) they are not cheap. Most of my group spent £80-£100 on a helmet light because anything less just does not cut it when you are riding on trails after dark. But then when I consider what I get for the money I think all my group would agree it is money well spent and good value. It is the same with astronomy.

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Just because something else is even more expensive, doesn't mean I have to be grateful for being fleeced to a slightly lesser extent.

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Knowing nothing about cycling, I guess I'll have to take your word for it, but could not the same argument apply? Would it not be possible to spend £300 on a bike and helmet and "genuinely not need" to spend any more? That would get you from A to B and give an okay ride,

I wish. The big expense with biking (especially MTB) is everything is a consummable, not upgrades, just wearing things out. eg I buy a rear cassette and two chains every year.
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Knowing nothing about cycling, I guess I'll have to take your word for it, but could not the same argument apply? Would it not be possible to spend £300 on a bike and helmet and "genuinely not need" to spend any more? That would get you from A to B and give an okay ride, just as a £300 dob with stock eyepieces could show this and that object and give an okay view?

Maybe, but I genuinely think that you get better value entry level kit in astronomy when compared to most other hobbies. And you could justify higher prices - lenses, electronics etc surely cost more to produce? As I said above, I've only had a dob for a couple of years despite a lifetime of passing interest. The reason I didn't buy a scope sooner was simply that I didn't know how affordable the kit was. I'd mistakenly always assumed that a reasonable sized scope would cost a fortune. When I've taken it along to starparties for the general public, people are always amazed at the low price. And to answer you question directly, if you asked me how much you need to pay for a mountain bike that would be capable off-road, I'd answer that you need to spend £500 at least, and expect to be buying another within a year if you got the bug and realised the limitations of the £500 bike. (Apologies for the whole block of text - my laptop isn't allowing me to make new paragraphs on this site! :confused: )

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I wish. The big expense with biking (especially MTB) is everything is a consummable, not upgrades, just wearing things out. eg I buy a rear cassette and two chains every year.

Yes, that is a plus for astronomy. I almost exclusively buy astro kit second hand and could easily recoup most of my investment by selling it all off. Consumables, let me think... 2 bottles of Optical Wonder... 5 litres of distilled water... a handful of AAA batteries, one dud power pack... can't think of anything else.

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Yes, that is a plus for astronomy. I almost exclusively buy astro kit second hand and could easily recoup most of my investment by selling it all off. Consumables, let me think... 2 bottles of Optical Wonder... 5 litres of distilled water... a handful of AAA batteries, one dud power pack... can't think of anything else.

I seem to spend a lot of time looking for a decent red light!

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The consumable side of MTB is what made me sell my full suspension bike and buy a HEQ5 :) Totally fed up of replacing chains, cassettes, hubs, wheels, headsets, BBs etc.

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If accessories weren't so expensive then we wouldn't have the wonderful DIY spirit that runs through amateur astronomy :grin:. Having said that, I've always thought they should ship a Cheshire with newts... especially the market entry models; much more use than some of the poor quality barlows that get flung in to the deal.

Shipping with collimators is probably going to up the cost of a scope by £20ish....why would someone with 4 newts want 4 collimators? :)

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Shipping with collimators is probably going to up the cost of a scope by £20ish....why would someone with 4 newts want 4 collimators? :)

A better option would be to have some extras you can buy optionally as part of a package, but that you do not have to buy. Scopes 'n' skies do this and actually quite like that. You order a scope and you can buy a few optional extras at a discount. The way you could do it, the more you buy, an even bigger scope, you can buy some even bigger extras items at a discount like an eyepiece.

An offer pack might be something like buy a 200p Dob, buy a cheshire for 22 if it was 26 pounds normally, or a premium Cheshire may be 30 if it was 36 normally, a 10% - 20% off rule, that way you are not forced to buy or if you do want to buy, but you can pick the right thing if it is there on offer. An alternative pack might to offer a shroud, or something else. Plenty room for a little creativity in sales :smiley:

Edited by AlexB67
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Is there a typo in there, because I don't exactly get your point?

Yes indeed, typo - should read 'save' not 'same'. I'm saying that things like cheap springs and knobs surely doesn't save much money - seems bizarre to be really cheap on cheap parts.

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Yes indeed, typo - should read 'save' not 'same'. I'm saying that things like cheap springs and knobs surely doesn't save much money - seems bizarre to be really cheap on cheap parts.

Especially parts that are critical to the performance. I'm thinking of the collimation springs in 12" GSO produced dobs like the Lightbridge and the Revelation. The issue was reported by an experienced reviewer in 2006 and, as far as I know, they are still shipped with the same springs !

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Yes indeed, typo - should read 'save' not 'same'. I'm saying that things like cheap springs and knobs surely doesn't save much money - seems bizarre to be really cheap on cheap parts.

Absolutely.

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you can spend as much as you want to or as little as you want it all depends on what you want to do. for instance an led torch from the pound shop with a little bit of red film on the front £1. a ps3 eyetoy £2.50 for a guidecam on the 50mm finderscope, microsoft life cam £10 fitted to an old 500mm reflector telephoto lens from a charity shop £15 for guiding or video capture, it just goes on and on, if you just have a go at bodging you can safe £££££s. but there will be times when you need to spend to get the stuff you just cant bodge.

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the problem is do they ship a Cheshire or a laser, a RACI or a straight finder, a telrad or a skysurfer 3, etc etc. personally, I think that optional extras and a bare OTA would be best but it's up to the sellers/distributors currently. it's one reason I buy used as that's effectively what I get. just OTA or dob and then I use / buy my accessories to match requirements.

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