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FLO

Es Reid checked telescopes

71 posts in this topic

Around five years ago it became possible to buy triplet refractors at prices <£1,000.  This caused us some concern because triplets are significantly more difficult (expensive) to manufacture than doublets.  We were not confident manufacturers could produce them to a consistently high optical quality below £1k.  When we say 'consistently' we mean off-the-shelf telescopes performing as well as the ones reviewed in magazines.  Today, our own experience suggests our concerns were well founded, the return rate of <£1k triplets is significantly higher than more expensive models and comments, from owners, posted here at SGL appear to confirm this. Now we also have 4-element and 5-element refractors selling at around £1k! 

However, there can no doubt when they are good they are really good!  The optics are well figured and free of colour, sometimes there is a little over or under corrected spherical aberration, probably due to airspacing errors, but astigmatism (the bane of any optical system) is pretty-much unheard of. 

So, we thought, what to do... The aberrations experienced (usually misshapen stars) are almost always due to misalignment so we needed to find someone able to realign them, and the someone had to be here in the UK.  Es Reid is highly regarded in the optical business, his name is synonymous with high quality optics and his recent work for us here at FLO has been exceptionally good.  So, after speaking with Es, here is what we propose: 

Beginning with the William Optics GT81 triplet, the GT-102 triplet and the soon to be re-released William Optics Star-71, the telescopes will be delivered direct to Es Reid.  Es will assess them on his bench and make any corrections required.  Doing this will ensure all GT81, GT102 and Star-71 telescopes purchased from FLO will be 100% AOK. 

Here's the clever part - Es Reid's work isn't cheap but a percentage of the telescopes will test okay so will not require adjustment. The cost of assessing a telescope's performance is less than for the work required to re-align one.  If we send 'all' GT81 and Star-71 to Es then average the costs it will add only £75 to each telescope's retail price.  We might need to tweak the price up/down a little but £75 should be about right.  We will also warranty Es' work for two years so if the telescope should need re-alignment after, say, an unusually cold night under the stars, we will return it to Es for re-alignment free of charge. 

We will update our prices and product descriptions Monday, from then onwards all our GT81, GT102 and Star-71 telescopes will be checked and, if necessary, tuned by Es Reid. 

There will always be those who consider only price when purchasing a telescope but we think most will consider this additional cost a small price to pay for absolute peace of mind. 

Steve & the FLO team :smile: 

 

EDIT: The service is now also available for Sky-Watcher Esprit telescopes

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This arrangement between Es Reid and ourselves, to check and tune our telescopes, is exclusive to FLO.  Not as a result of negotiation, persuasion or bribery but because there is only one Es Reid, he has other commitments and there aren't enough hours in the day for him to do the same for another retailer. 

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That is a fantastic idea and removes the biggest concern one can have when purchasing a scope at the lower end of the pricing spectrum.  I would suggest that for the peace of mind, that small cost is minimal compared to the protection and lack of stress it provides.

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This is exactly why I got my cheap Chinese triplet from a retailer who checks everything is in perfect alignment before shipping. Very good idea from FLO.

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This is a good idea - adding the missing, but necessary, quality assurance. I hope that everyone buying one of these "budget" 'scopes will seriously consider the small extra cost to be a good investment.

 

 

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A good plan, to the benefit of all concerned.

Are you likely to get any total rejects? I presume if so, they will be returned to supplier.

Ian

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3 minutes ago, The Admiral said:

Are you likely to get any total rejects? I presume if so, they will be returned to supplier.

Yes. If the cell is assembled in such a way that prevents adjustment or if an aberration is in the glass (this is rare but it can happen) the telescope will not be sold, it will be returned to the manufacturer for replacement. 

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This is a brillliant idea - I would gladly pay the extra.

Might be a nice touch if he signed each 'scope or issues a wee certificate ??

I can foresee a raft of scopes being advertised for sale as 'Es Reid' checked when they have been no such thing. (Thats the cynic in me !!)

 

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Just now, Skipper Billy said:

This is a brillliant idea - I would gladly pay the extra.

Might be a nice touch if he signed each 'scope or issues a wee certificate ??

I can foresee a raft of scopes being advertised for sale as 'Es Reid' checked when they have been no such thing. (Thats the cynic in me !!)

That is a good point. Hadn't thought of that. It will certainly enhance the telescope's resale value. Our receipt will identify the telescope as one that has been checked by Es Reid but we probably ought to consider a sticker, or something like that. 

Thank-you for the suggestion :smile: 

Steve 

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1 hour ago, FLO said:

Around five years ago it became possible to buy triplet refractors at prices <£1,000.  This caused us some concern because triplets are significantly more difficult (expensive) to manufacture than doublets.  We were not confident manufacturers could produce them to a consistently high optical quality below £1k.  When we say 'consistently' we mean off-the-shelf telescopes performing as well as the ones reviewed in magazines.  Today, our own experience suggests our concerns were well founded, the return rate of <£1k triplets is significantly higher than more expensive models. And comments, from owners, posted here at SGL appear to confirm this. And now we also have 4-element and 5-element refractors selling at around £1k! 

However, there can no doubt when they are good they are really good!  The optics are well figured and free of colour, sometimes there is a little over or under corrected spherical aberration, probably due to airspacing errors, but astigmatism (the bane of any optical system) is pretty-much unheard of. 

So, we thought, what to do... The aberrations experienced (usually misshapen stars) are almost always due to misalignment so we needed to find someone able to realign them, and the someone had to be here in the UK.  Es Reid is highly regarded in the optical business, his name is synonymous with high quality optics and his recent work for us here at FLO has been exceptionally good.  So, after speaking with Es, here is what we propose: 

Beginning with the William Optics GT81 triplet, the GT-102 triplet and the soon to be re-released William Optics Star-71, the telescopes will be delivered direct to Es Reid.  Es will assess them on his bench and make any corrections required.  Doing this will ensure all GT81, GT102 and Star-71 telescopes purchased from FLO will be 100% AOK. 

Here's the clever part - Es Reid's work isn't cheap but a percentage of the telescopes will test okay so will not require adjustment. The cost of assessing a telescope's performance is less than for the work required to re-align one.  If we send 'all' GT81 and Star-71 to Es then average the costs it will add only £75 to each telescope's retail price.  We might need to tweak the price up/down a little but £75 should be about right.  We will also warranty Es' work for two years so if the telescope should need re-alignment after, say, an unusually cold night under the stars, we will return it to Es for re-alignment free of charge. 

We will update our prices and product descriptions Monday, from then onwards all our GT81, GT102 and Star-71 telescopes will be checked and, if necessary, tuned by Es Reid. 

There will always be those who consider only price when purchasing a telescope but we think most will consider this additional cost a small price to pay for absolute peace of mind. 

Steve & the FLO team :smile: 

Does this mean they new star 71 will be released for UK sale on Monday or are you just updating your prices on Monday?

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1 minute ago, geordie85 said:

Does this mean they new star 71 will be released for UK sale on Monday or are you just updating your prices on Monday?

We had decided to wait a while before listing the new Star-71 but, now we have this new arrangement with Es, we will jump in as soon as it becomes available. Unfortunately we don't yet know when that will be, James is doing his best to obtain a price and ETA from WO as I type. 

There are a lot of people waiting on the new Star-71 so we will start a thread here at SGL as soon as we have news. 

We will be offering the first of three Es Reid tuned original model Star-71 later this afternoon. They are customer-returns so will have minor signs of use, perhaps a scuffed dovetail and scruffy packaging, but will otherwise be perfect and are covered by the manufacture's two year warranty. They will also be available at £100 less than the regular price and the Es Reid tuning is effectively free of charge :smile: 

Steve 

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Fantastic.

I don't suppose you'll be taking reservations on them?

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5 minutes ago, geordie85 said:

Fantastic.

I don't suppose you'll be taking reservations on them?

Our clearance system is part of our inventory system and is automated. Will you be at your desk at 14:50? I can set the first to appear then. If not please PM me a time when you are available. 

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Unfortunately I won't be.

OK I'll pm you when I'm available if you have any left.

Thanks

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All sounds like a great arrangement given that it's necessary. My only concern is whether or not it actually is necessary...

Won't WO take them back under warranty and fix/replace/refund if a scope is poorly aligned?

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16 minutes ago, brantuk said:

All sounds like a great arrangement given that it's necessary. My only concern is whether or not it actually is necessary...

Unfortunately, it is. A quick search here at SGL will find plenty of evidence. 

16 minutes ago, brantuk said:

Won't WO take them back under warranty and fix/replace/refund if a scope is poorly aligned?

WO will accept faulty telescopes back but their factories are in Taiwan and China and their nearest distribution centre is in the US. We need something more local. 

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It is a great Idea the issues with scopes like is that it could take several weeks before it gets 1st light and even then a smaller sensor might not show any significant errors straight away, the knowledge that the scope is A1 from the start is well worth any small fee.

I do think the sticker/certificate is also a good idea and would certainly add value later on if it was sold so the extra up front would pay for itself.

Alan

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I probably should mention our doing this with Es Reid should not be seen as a thinly veiled pop at WO. It isn't. Quite the opposite. We have supported WO through thick and thin because they, we think, are most able to lean on the factories to ensure a better result. There are a number of similar models, from the same factories, wearing various badges. All claim to be "the same as" William Optics but we don't think they are. Our experience is they are often made to a lower specification and vary more batch-to-batch. I remember a few years back, one such telescope received a very favourable review in one of the magazines and was often recommended here at SGL for about a year afterwards, but the entire industry new it was pants! Even the manufacturer admitted they "struggled with that one". I think at one time it was sold with a certificate declaring it's prowess! I am not blaming the reviewer, I daresay the one he had was marvellous, and I won't say which telescope because the design will have improved over the years but it does hi-light how difficult it is for a retailer to plot a course through the trees. We think we have done that. The arrangement we have with Es will enable us to stock and sell with confidence, and our customers to buy with confidence. 

HTH, 

Steve 

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38 minutes ago, Alien 13 said:

It is a great Idea the issues with scopes like is that it could take several weeks before it gets 1st light and even then a smaller sensor might not show any significant errors straight away, the knowledge that the scope is A1 from the start is well worth any small fee.

That is a good point worth repeating. Often someone will buy a telescope for imaging with a small sensor camera then later upgrade to a camera with a larger sensor. Edge of field aberrations not visible when using a smaller sensor can then become strikingly apparent. Knowing the scope is AOK from the start and is supported by ourselves and Es Reid will, we hope, provide peace of mind. 

Steve 

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Oh sure Steve - I wasn't doubting the evidence - rather i was querying if you really need to go to all the trouble when WO should take the responsibility. But I can see that the turn around would be horrendous and the problem being solved is more of a logistical one than QA. And I'm sure I would prefer to pay a little extra for such a check and fix, rather than waiting ages to get an overseas return sorted out. :)

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To me, this just highlights the desire for flo to provide as near perfect service as is reasonably possible. I only wish a service such as this was available when I bought my <£1000 triplet :(.
possibly the best £75 you could hope to spend :D. Well done flo

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Although I am not (currently!) in the market for a new refractor, this is music to my ears! I have long lamented here and elsewhere that I would be happy to pay the right price for a correct optic rather than a silly low price for one that may or may not be a good'un. From my own ownership of WO refractors, IMHO, FLO have chosen the right company to do this special service on and I applaud their motive and determination to sort this crazy issue out once and for all. This is a win-win for everyone involved both buying and selling.

A proper, numbered certificate that ties in to the telescope's serial number to accompany each telescope that has undergone this service is a must I feel.

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good to see this service i can imagine a few "Quads" that would of benefieted from this as they were hit and miss to say the least... in fact if i was in the market for a scope a calibrated TS quad woudl be on the list.

 

Edited by Earl

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This seems like a good idea. It arises from an honest look at the reality of the present situation. The manufacturers are underpricing and failing to achieve the QC their designs deserve. We can argue about whether that's their fault or our fault or we can give FLO's idea a chance. If I were in the market for one of the scopes in question I would, without any hesitation, give this deal a try.

Olly

 

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I think this is an excellent idea and I applaud FLO for coming up with it. Would I pay extra for peace of mind that the scope had been checked by Es and was given an OK rating? You bet I would. What a great USP :)

@FLO Is this something you would consider doing for any scope that you sell if the buyer is willing to pay for the cost to ensure peace of mind? 

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