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Telescopes seemed much more expensive back then..


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Hi,

Was recently searching through all my boxes, looking for Astronomy stuff (books etc) and came across the following notes I wrote down about Vixen scopes from Oct '95.  Thought it was interesting to share, was very surprised at the cost of stuff back then, people now have it much cheaper! :) 

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So, £1220 for a non-driven GP mounted 4" achromat! Admittedly of fantastic quality (having used one) but still.. I also bought an Icarus 80m for my brother which was also great optically, he still has it somewhere, will have to dig it out..

Tony.

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Hi, Was recently searching through all my boxes, looking for Astronomy stuff (books etc) and came across the following notes I wrote down about Vixen scopes from Oct '95.  Thought it was interest

They were much more expensive and the range of stuff available was much more limited. The Russian and Chinese equipment was not really making an impact back then. I have a 1990 Telescope House ca

But in those days we " had it more often" compared to current weather conditions, so perhaps more cost effective then.  

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They were much more expensive and the range of stuff available was much more limited. The Russian and Chinese equipment was not really making an impact back then.

I have a 1990 Telescope House catalogue and the prices are really eye watering compared to what can be bought today.

"we have never had it so good" :icon_biggrin:

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Computer-assisted manufacturing has also made a HUGE difference. In 1995, when I bought my GP-C8 (motorized, no goto) it cost half the price of a fork-mounted C8 back in 1978, when I first started getting serious about astronomy. That's half the price without taking inflation into account. The Vixen GP mount is far superior in my mind to the fork mount + wedge system of the old C8.

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In about 1971 I got my first telescope, a 40mm refractor, which cost about £4, equivalent to about £56 now. At that time the Charles Frank catalogue offered as its top of the range item a 6" equatorial pier-mounted Newtonian at about £400, equivalent to about £5600 now.

Inflation as calculated here: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1633409/Historic-inflation-calculator-value-money-changed-1900.html

The 50mm Sirius achromat in OP's list that was £125 in 1995 would be £224.42 in today's money.

China changed everything.

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Back in my yoof (late 60s), I used to sleep with the Charles Frank catalogue
and H.W.English "Ex-Government Optical" photocopies under my pillow. :D

When I left school, I had about £12.50 in my Post Office savings. But I do
sense I could have done SOMETHING - rather than nothing for 30 years...
(Just a salutary warning about beginning Astronomy FAR to late in life). :o

Edited by Macavity
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14 minutes ago, acey said:

In about 1971 I got my first telescope, a 40mm refractor, which cost about £4, equivalent to about £56 now. At that time the Charles Frank catalogue offered as its top of the range item a 6" equatorial pier-mounted Newtonian at about £400, equivalent to about £5600 now.

Inflation as calculated here: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1633409/Historic-inflation-calculator-value-money-changed-1900.html

The 50mm Sirius achromat in OP's list that was £125 in 1995 would be £224.42 in today's money.

China changed everything.

I had one of those Charles Frank 6" reflectors on the pillar mount for Christmas in 1972 cost my dad over a months wages.

Alan

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1 hour ago, Alien 13 said:

I had one of those Charles Frank 6" reflectors on the pillar mount for Christmas in 1972 cost my dad over a months wages.

Alan

That was some present (and your dad must have had quite a salary). Mine could only afford the little frac (which I still have) - the 6" was my dream. What became of yours?

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23 minutes ago, acey said:

That was some present (and your dad must have had quite a salary). Mine could only afford the little frac (which I still have) - the 6" was my dream. What became of yours?

I had it for about 4 years and had lots of fun with it but in those days you pretty much had to invent your own targets (no internet) then I discovered motorbikes and girls so it was sold to fund a Kawasaki Samurai.

Alan

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I too remember having a very basic Prinz as a kid - it was passed on to me and never really came to focus very well and the little table top tripod was loose. Quite surprising I ever continued in anything optical or astronomical!

I checked out the price of a Vixen 80mm achro, the A80Mf, which is perhaps similar to the 1995 Icarus, and it's US$249 or about 170 UK pounds. In today's prices, according to Acey's link, the Icarus would cost 815 pounds. That's a serious difference!

And I suspect the further back in time you go, the more expensive telescopes would have been. I shudder to think what a smallish Zeiss would have cost in the 1920s or 30s!

 

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I stepped away from astronomy for about 12 years and by chance I was at a bbq one night and was showing folks the stars. All good fun but a few days later a friend asked me to have a look at some scopes online to recommend something and I was amazed at what was avaiable for the price.

 

In that time a 10inch had dropped to the price of a 6 inch and 16inch scopes were avaiable to amateurs.  so I upgraded my old 6 inch to 16inch and the vjews blew me away.

 

Great stuff.

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My 6in Fullerscope Newtonian took me years to save up for.  I'd salivated over the Fullerscopes brochure for most of my youth and eventually bought their top spec "export"  model in 83 or 84.

I don't remember the price but seem to remember it was over £500.

Although the mirror is a very excellent David Hinds specimen the rest of the OTA has a DIY feel to it. The Mk 3 mount is somewhat bomb proof but never had the features or refinements of modern mounts. 

Today you get what you pay for. Back then there was much less to choose from and money didn't improve the choice much. 

Then the introduction off mass produced US imports changed amateur astronomy for ever! 

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6 hours ago, tbrookes3890 said:

Hmm the problem with the list is that it is Vixen and to this day their prices could hardly be described as rock-bottom .......

You get what you pay for..back then they were one of the best optically, they are now..

Tony.

Edited by t0nedude
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55 minutes ago, t0nedude said:

You get what you pay for..back then they were one of the best optically, they are now..

Tony.

Of course! But by the title it made it seem like telescopes back then in general, it might have been better to use other brands i.e. Celestron, etc as an RPI for telescopes.

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Just now, tbrookes3890 said:

Of course! But by the title it made it seem like telescopes back then in general, it might have been better to use other brands i.e. Celestron, etc as an RPI for telescopes.

Back then they WERE more expensive in general..yes Vixen were more expensive than the average back then but not by as much as you think. The average British 4" refractor (with mount) would set you back at least £600. I know because I bought one as well. Nowadays you have a wealth of choice and the cheaper Chinese imports have brought the prices down which is better for all..

Oh, and back then Celestron refractors cost the same as Vixen because they WERE Vixen...but I assume you knew that...

Tony.

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"Back then" there were no low cost options apart from the sort of scopes they sold in mums catalogue and department stores.

As has been said, during the 1980's and early 1990's Vixen made Celestron's refractors and also the ones sold under the Orion (USA) branding plus some Bresser (Germany) ones and their prices were comparable.

The choice was USA, British, German or Japanese manufacture. When the Russian TAL scopes started to come in together with the Synta ones branded "Helios" the market started to change rapidly and, IMHO, for the better because decent (if not top end) scopes started to become available at more affordable prices.

Some Vixen models are made in China now and for a while there were Vixen branded versions of the Synta ED80 and ED100.

Edited by John
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On 5/20/2016 at 14:45, Alien 13 said:

...................... then I discovered motorbikes and girls so it was sold to fund a Kawasaki Samurai.

Alan

i also made the similar discoveries, in the same order I think. lol :icon_biggrin:

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37 minutes ago, t0nedude said:

Back then they WERE more expensive in general..yes Vixen were more expensive than the average back then but not by as much as you think. The average British 4" refractor (with mount) would set you back at least £600. I know because I bought one as well. Nowadays you have a wealth of choice and the cheaper Chinese imports have brought the prices down which is better for all..

Oh, and back then Celestron refractors cost the same as Vixen because they WERE Vixen...but I assume you knew that...

Tony.

I will swallow my pride and admit that I didn't. I am a newbie to stargazing etc so please excuse my beginner's arrogance. My apologies.

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28 minutes ago, tbrookes3890 said:

I will swallow my pride and admit that I didn't. I am a newbie to stargazing etc so please excuse my beginner's arrogance. My apologies.

No apologies necessary. 

The thread was started in a light-hearted tone, for us oldies to reminisce about more expensive times..:icon_biggrin:

Tony.

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6 minutes ago, t0nedude said:

No apologies necessary. 

The thread was started in a light-hearted tone, for us oldies to reminisce about more expensive times..:icon_biggrin:

Tony.

Makes a change... usually you oldies are reminiscing about how everything used to be cheaper in your day!:grin:

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