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cotterless45

Practical Astro show.

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I thought I'd put it on here before you did Grommet! ☺

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Looks like it was an awesome event and I'm genuinely gutted that I couldn't attend. 

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Posted (edited)

Well although I enjoyed the day as I met up with a number of old faces as well as some new ones, which I greatly enjoyed, I expected discounts and there were none! At least there were none that were meaningful and on any item I wanted to buy. Looking at the event from a purely financial aspect, it was a relatively expensive venture. A tank full of petrol and a six hour round car journey is not something I would cherish repeating in a hurry, unless there are worthwhile discounts to be had.  I'm mentioning this, not just because of my own disappointment,  but because there may be members here who would have loved to go but couldn't afford to. If you'd had gone to this event in the hope of getting a bargain, you'd have been disappointed, and would actually have been better off staying at home and buying on line!  I bought two eyepieces for which I've effectively paid £35 extra on each due to the cost of fuel. Of course if you wanted to get your hands on an item to get a feel for it, then the effort may have been worth it! 

Edited by mikeDnight
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Totally understand your situation Mike. 

I live local and had my mindset on testing the build quality and feel of a skywatcher sky tee 2.

But didn't see one there. 

I did ask about discounts on another thread on here as I'd never been to an astro show.

Some comments mentioned profit margins are low so not to expect reductions. 

But I did enjoy the day. 

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I found the discounts mixed from vendor to vendor but was happy with the discount I received from Ian at Altair on a Pegasus PPB plus the guys from Pegasus were there to answer any questions I had ??

A free show with free talks and free parking was definitely worth the 120 mile round trip for me and hopefully we will see it as a regular event. 

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There were actually some discounts, but they were on a specific list of items rather than across the entire inventory of any vendor.  I guess if you wanted  to buy any of these specific items you may have been quite pleased.  Of course, it may be worthwhile attending if you wanted to examine any item before buying, or checking out some specific aspect of an item.  At Astrofest I went intending to look at the Celestron NexYZ smartphone holder to see  if it would accommodate my phone and if the adjustments were as good as I thought necessary.  This was the case on both accounts and I bought one, also as it happened it was discounted.  Of course, it would be impossible for vendors to take every item every attending person would like to see, and at least one did say on their website prior to the event for people to contact them if someone wanted to see a particular item, and they would take it along if possible.  If saving money is the only reason for going, then it would be wise to contact any vendor and ask before traveling anyway.

Also of course there is more to going to an event than saving money, a good day out (hopefully), talks if you want to attend them and also to meet old friends and perhaps make new ones, and other reasons.

In the end, it depends if saving money is the only reason for going.  I have been to many shows when I haven't had any substantial amount of money to spend on anything, but there have been other reasons I have thought it worthwhile to go anyway.

 

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Posted (edited)

I found it was as good if not better than any other Astro fest I have been to, especially so considering it was free entry and free talks, I don’t think you should be charged simply to walk around any event.

Just a little comment on profit markings..........my brother and I were looking at some Vixen binos as he wants a set. The Tring Astronomy stall had them for sale at £275 and the adjacent stall had the same pair on sale for £347 !!!  Was that a tactic or just a huge difference?  However in the end we didn’t buy from either because it makes you feel a little uncertain. What was very surprising was that both of the retailers had them cheaper online, so me being me I questioned both retailers about this difference and received the “South Park” type blink as a response ...... It’s a pity FLO we’re not there but I will see if they have the pair my brother wants. 

I am not trying to say any bad practice was going on but it does go to show you might not be getting the bargain you think you are.

Edited by Pig
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55 minutes ago, Pig said:

I found it was as good if not better than any other Astro fest I have been to, especially so considering it was free entry and free talks, I don’t think you should be charged simply to walk around any event.

Just a little comment on profit markings..........my brother and I were looking at some Vixen binos as he wants a set. The Tring Astronomy stall had them for sale at £275 and the adjacent stall had the same pair on sale for £347 !!!  Was that a tactic or just a huge difference?  However in the end we didn’t buy from either because it makes you feel a little uncertain. What was very surprising was that both of the retailers had them cheaper online, so me being me I questioned both retailers about this difference and received the “South Park” type blink as a response ...... It’s a pity FLO we’re not there but I will see if they have the pair my brother wants. 

I am not trying to say any bad practice was going on but it does go to show you might not be getting the bargain you think you are.

It pays to do your research beforehand. If I'm looking for something specific at one of these shows, I always try to come pre-armed with a list of the cheapest internet price, so that I can instantly tell how good an offer really is.

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50 minutes ago, Pig said:

I found it was as good if not better than any other Astro fest I have been to, especially so considering it was free entry and free talks, I don’t think you should be charged simply to walk around any event.

Just a little comment on profit markings..........my brother and I were looking at some Vixen binos as he wants a set. The Tring Astronomy stall had them for sale at £275 and the adjacent stall had the same pair on sale for £347 !!!  Was that a tactic or just a huge difference?  However in the end we didn’t buy from either because it makes you feel a little uncertain. What was very surprising was that both of the retailers had them cheaper online, so me being me I questioned both retailers about this difference and received the “South Park” type blink as a response ...... It’s a pity FLO we’re not there but I will see if they have the pair my brother wants. 

I am not trying to say any bad practice was going on but it does go to show you might not be getting the bargain you think you are.

I did notice a few items identical on separate stalls yet priced different. I also saw folks using their smart phones to check said items online. I do know a certain vendor at the show will also match if not beat any price you care to be interested in if you can show the genuine cheaper offer and they have in stock. So, I agree, not great when one sees such a difference in price and therefore forcing one to check the online price guides.... However, for me, anything over £20 and I will be checking, double checking and asking for a discount ;)  


 

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Posted (edited)

I did think the show was very good. Well laid out, and everything close by.

The only concern I had is that I went with the intention of seeing the two later talks. Due to a few minor delays getting there, we arrived at 10:34am. We were told ALL the tickets had gone for the CMOS talk  Only the Damian Peach tickets were left. Would it be possible, if there is a next time, to have a larger room, more seating, for the talks please? As driving over 100 miles to miss out is no fun really!! 

This is a Conference Centre after all.

Edited by Star101

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Sadly for me I was unable to attend, I had wanted to come along.

It sounds like a success of a show, let us hope it is viable enough to continue, another alternate astro show especially one based on amateur astronomy.

Not talks based upon black holes, physics and mind boggling subjects with a bunch ofprofessors showing how clever they are and lecturing the ‘Students’.

I did not attend last years IAS based on the choice of speakers alone!

 

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2 hours ago, Pig said:

 It’s a pity FLO we’re not there

The main reason for this was because Steve and Grant were at an Admin/Mod meeting sorting out various issues including the next SGL star party

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Thanks to the internet, shows of any kind are increasingly less about 'show prices'.

I understand that the costs of this event were all covered by the vendors paying for space, which means they have to cover that extra cost (and travel , staff time etc.) but eth 'net means prices are already very competitive.

That said, there were some good deals.

I think such shows are more about being able to see things 'in the flesh' that you don't get to see at a club and (in my case) when there isn't a nearby astro shop and being able to discuss products with the sellers. I'm much more likely to consider a star adventurer now, after having been able to examine one in detail.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

 

I think such shows are more about being able to see things 'in the flesh' that you don't get to see at a club and (in my case) when there isn't a nearby astro shop and being able to discuss products with the sellers. I'm much more likely to consider a star adventurer now, after having been able to examine one in detail.

 

 

I totally agree. There were a few items I knew about but had never seen. Computers attached to the OTA for one. Made it much easier to consider now knowing their physical size etc.

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2 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

I bought these, and now it's snowing! :confused3:

20190310_100646.thumb.jpg.3438636a9c188b91e75673d63fdf7991.jpg

Yes, there were some really good deals on plant pots there. 

Mike just included his eyepieces for scale 

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I was tempted by some attractive deals on the Starlight Xpress stand, but resisted. There was a sign that they would last until later today, so perhaps I should.....

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My wife was amazed that I bought nothing, but the one thing I hoped to buy, another counterweight, was not available.

I was fortunate this time in having to travel just 15 miles, and enjoyed looking at all the gear, meeting and  chatting to  people with whom I have conversed on this forum but never met, and of course the guest speakers. I hope this show will become an annual fixture, it was good.

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I agree, the  advent of on-line shopping has all but killed the show discount. The talks were brilliant, I do sympathise with those who travelled a distance and couldn’t get a ticket. 

My previous show was the IAS in 2014, I was fascinated to see how trends how shifted. At that show nearly every telescope vendor had a RC truss tube in pride of place on a mount, yesterday, apart from Peter Shah’s beautiful example they were almost nowhere to be seen, I eventually found two unloved and unmounted items  tucked away next to the scope bags. It really was Refractor  City, forums like SGL really do carry some clout.

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I can't believe the lovely pristine S/H Meade ETX 125 didn't go. It was a good job I didn't have my debit card, just a few grubby notes!

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Echoing the thoughts of others, I thought the show was excellent.  I got there just after 9.30 and had to queue a long time for tickets to the talks, but being as they were free, I don't mind that!

To those that missed out on tickets for some talks - to be fair to the organisers, the advert did say "get there early" to make sure you can get tickets to the talks that you wanted to attend.  Given the fact that this was a freebie and it was the first one, I think the organisers did an excellent job.  Perhaps they might consider hiring the "theatre" part of the centre next year for talks, but that obviously depends if they can afford to do it or if they will have to charge for the talks to cover the additional cost.

I've not been to many Astro shows, but attended loads of the same sort of thing over the years on different subjects; I can say that I thought that this was a really good one, and I'm amazed it was free.

Thanks to the organisers.

Jon

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Really enjoyed the show.

I thought it knocked spots of this years Astrofest (and last years)

I attended the first two talks in the morning : Paul Money never disappoints and had i a chat with Neils afterwards about mounts and scopes. I think he'd forgotten i was a past customer !

Then i had an enjoyable couple of hours mooching around the stalls and chatting with the vendors. Think of big kid in toyshop type thing.

Then i went into the last two talks : The imaging talk was good, but i got a bit stuck with it when the graphs and equations came out. 

Damians talk was very good, hes a very under rated speaker i think. I've seen him do this same talk at the IAS 2 or three years ago, and its fascinating to see how imaging in general has moved on in that fairly short timespace.

Only grumble from me were the seats. They were 'numb bum inducing' after 45 min or so !!!

 

The IAS have a tough act to follow, i think.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 09/03/2019 at 22:27, mikeDnight said:

I expected discounts and there were none

That's strange as everywhere I looked there were discount, I have in front of me the Starlight price list with the show discount averaging 20% and I know that @bob-c bagged a great bargain on a new OTA, like most shows you have to ask!

On 09/03/2019 at 23:45, Danjc said:

A free show with free talks and free parking was definitely worth the 120 mile round trip for me and hopefully we will see it as a regular event. 

Precisely, I travelled to support @peter shah with his new venture 656imaging.co.uk and it was a round trip of about 140 miles for me and apart from coffee and something to eat I didn't spend a penny, it was good to meet and chat with a number of people and will certainly be a show that I will attend in future.

Each show I bump into Angelos and Evons from Pegasus, always a pleasure as these lads always listen and work to keep their products up to date with fixes and software update, Barbara & Tim from Dew Control and W&W Astro dew heaters are always a pleasure and usually have something innovative that they are launching and Barbara's Polish fudge is normally a pleasure but I forgot to ask yesterday.

I bumped into a really lovely elderly gentlemen called Mike whom I met on the way in, it was a pleasure to chat to him about the commission for Dark Skies and hear about their plans to try and get light pollution down.

I had a very interesting chat with Neil from Outsideology, he designs bespoke Obsy's

Ian and and Nick from Altair found the time for a good chat, always a pleasure to chat to these lads.

21 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I think such shows are more about being able to see things 'in the flesh'

Yep Good point Neil, I did find that very useful yesterday.

@Anne SI did meet up with Solarboy and I asked about you, but I'm afraid I never got to meet you, sorry.

@JeremyS I'm sure that if you have a chat with them and say you forgot your wallet ? that you'll find they will honour some of their show prices.

So for me it was an excellent show, thoroughly enjoyed it, I wanted to get into a couple of the talks but time flew so quick I missed them, and as a few have said the IAS have some way to go to better this now.

Edited by Jkulin
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I enjoyed the show and the two talks I went to. Good number of exhibitors and I was able to discuss soem tech issues with some of the vendors who I have bought from. For me it was a relatively easy trip from West Norfolk. There were some discounts, but as has been pointed out, on specific items.

It was also good to catch up with some friends and aquaintances.

I would go again.

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8 hours ago, Jkulin said:

 

@Anne SI did meet up with Solarboy and I asked about you, but I'm afraid I never got to meet you, sorry.

 

I met up with Solarboy but it must have been after you did! I also had a look 656imaging and their scope mounted on the Cem120. Didn't see any big moustaches! Hope you're getting on with your 120.

We had good discounts on my new Cem60ec and my husband's SX Ultrastar camera. Unfortunately Atik weren't there as he wanted to look at their Infinity. We both enjoyed the talks. It was definitely worth the return trip to see eveything. But then we end up travelling long distances to everything! Mount will be due in about a fortnight so don't expect any clear skies after that! Mind the dealer doesn't ship clouds.....

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