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Orion Optics UK - disheartening "story"


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Mine is too ūüėČ I've only had a couple of dealings with Orion when I got my mirror coated and bought a secondary from them. Overall it was o.k.¬†and the secondary was fine but I did get it test

If I were buying a mirror these days I would most likely go for a John Nichol one. You can be sure of a superb mirror and great service. https://nicholoptical.co.uk

I ordered a 300mm 1/10w mirror from OO last March, it arrived in October. While I have no complaints about the views it's given me (quite the contrary actually), I did complain about its packaging and

Posted Images

From OO‚Äôs perspective can understand why they wouldn‚Äôt comment.¬†¬†It‚Äôs a no win situation for them. Once you¬†do that it just gives credence to the report.¬†Wonder if the report author is a competitor of¬†OO? ūü§Ē You just don‚Äôt know.

Personally I wouldn't hesitate to get another OO scope. I‚Äôve had zero problems with them. ūüĎćūüŹĽ

Edited by johninderby
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I would never go back to OO after they allegedly serviced my SW reflector, I‚Äôm convinced they never touched it......oh and his parting words when I picked it up....‚ÄĚmaybe we‚Äôll see you again with a real scope ‚Äú....

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Was the 24" substrate the real problem? Astigmatism can easily be caused by a poorly annealed blank.
A thin, 24" blank would need to be very well supported for working and testing.
Otherwise the blank will distort under its own weight. Mirror blank support is a steadily developing "art."

I once worked flats onto three 8.75" Monax blank to find one was hideously twisted.
So badly, that it couldn't even be used for cold pressing the pitch lap.
It made the other two flats worse when used for figuring in rotation.

The aforementioned "tester" also gave a damning report on one iStar refractor objective.
Heaven only knows how that affected sales of a "narrow interest" product.
From a sample base of only two iStar lenses I have been delighted with both of mine.
Despite being warned off by a professional, manufacturing optician who shall remain nameless.

Both iStar objectives easily doubled the average usable power over my [Secondhand] "dealer selected" Celestron 6".
For which I had blamed "local seeing" for well over a decade.
The Celestron could never be used above 120x on the Moon or Planets.

It is said that a satisfied customer tells only one other person about their satisfaction with the product.
While an unhappy customer tells 7 billion others. Now everybody has a voice!

Ask yourself: Does the manufacturer repeatedly sell their products to professional users?
Perhaps the cynic would probably suggest that these products are "specially selected?"

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I've only had one dealing with Orion Optics back in 2013.  I purchased a secondary mirror to "upgrade" my 200p to 200pds spec... The supplied one of their 1/10th wavelength mirrors, and mounted it to the block in the correct location to aid fitting to the spider.  From memory I don't think I had any issue with the order, or the delivery.  The new mirror resolved my issue with the stock 200p secondary (which was well documented on here) and I'm pleased with the results.

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Just to add my two penny worth,  I've owned an OO 8" reflector for about 10 years. Optics are first rate and still in pristine condition. Mechanics leave a lot to be desired though. The primary mirror adjustments are very primitive and awkward, and the tube diameter is a bit on the small side - there should be something like an inch between mirror and tube to allow air currents to spiral up clear of the light path - mine has less than half that. And OO tend to size their secondary mirrors on the small side. Ok for visual but for imaging you are going to want a couple of sizes larger - which they will do for you.

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I once drove my OMC200 up to them to have the collimation checked, something they offer as a service. It was about a 7 hour round trip as I recall.

They gave it a quick tweak on the secondary, telling me not to worry that the primary was partially clipped ie clearly not round, before sending me on my way. Not sure I even got a cup of tea for my trouble. I did not know enough at the time to challenge what was being said

Just before I sold it several years later, I took it apart (not easy to remove the front corrector plate) and found that a grub screw had come loose from the collar holding the primary which was sitting at an angle ie it had never been operating correctly and at its full potential. I refitted the grub screw and fastened it in place and surprise surprise, it could be properly collimated. That could have been checked properly when I took the scope back, and I very much regret that it wasn’t.

Their kit can be excellent, and normally is, but there is often an interesting attitude towards the ‚Äėcustomer always being right‚Äô shall we say.

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My experience with Orion Optics UK is recent (August 2020).

OOUK performed a complete service of my Celestron Evolution OTA including realignment of my corrector plate and secondary mirror holder,  refurbishment of mirrors etc. What really impressed me is that without extra charge they replaced my Bob's Knobs (ghastly devices) with Allen bolts and lined my loose dust cover with felt to make it more secure. I was delighted with the results, service, speed and price. Whilst at the factory, I was shown models their own range and how they do stuff. Really impressed, indeed envious.

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Whats interesting about my image of the mirror and cell is the nylon supports screwed all the way down and replaced with small dabs of silicone. Why was this done?

The mirror is touching the clips, with no room to raise the mirror up on the nylon supports.. Of course this is just a guess on my part.

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7 hours ago, jetstream said:

Whats interesting about my image of the mirror and cell is the nylon supports screwed all the way down and replaced with small dabs of silicone. Why was this done?

The mirror is touching the clips, with no room to raise the mirror up on the nylon supports.. Of course this is just a guess on my part.

One of my newts had the mirror very firmly taped in place, using very sticky tape. Was a right pain to remove it when I cleaned the mirror. No idea why it was needed.

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21 minutes ago, Stu said:

One of my newts had the mirror very firmly taped in place, using very sticky tape. Was a right pain to remove it when I cleaned the mirror. No idea why it was needed.

The way mine was set up gave massive astigmatism and signs of pinched optics. If I remember this mirror had the tape too.

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Personally, I wouldn't buy an OO telescope for the following reasons:

- quite shocking reported experience with customer service 

- I know that here in the UK a lot of people have a solid tube (due to the fact that OO uses solid tubes for nearly all their VX series...), but to me a solid tube for anything above 10" (with exception for a 12" F4) is an obsolete design.

- their mirror cell does not seem particularly impressive to me either. I wonder how many have the same issues experienced by Gerry and don't even know. That would explain the lack of care for coma correctors, thermal issues, collimation tools, etc..

- optics.. if a mirror is poorly supported, it will not perform better than average. I have rarely noticed people here paying serious attention to the way their primary and secondary mirrors are supported. If I don't read about this, how they tackle thermal issues and collimation, I take their comments with skepticism.

- PV 1/10 ... Sorry, but I trust the RMS more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can only speak from personal experience but I have always had excellent customer service from OO..I have found them very accommodating in making any changes to suit me. They do have an old fashioned approach to customer service but I‚Äôve found that asking for help works. ūüĎćūüŹĽ

Their mirror cells are top class and mirrors have excellent support.

In the real world Iheir optics are very impressive and deliver great performance. 

i would buy another OO scope without hesitation and that’s based on personsl experience not hearsay.

 

Edited by johninderby
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1 hour ago, johninderby said:

Can only speak from personal experience but I have always had excellent customer service from OO..I have found them very accommodating in making any changes to suit me. They do have an old fashioned approach to customer service but I‚Äôve found that asking for help works. ūüĎćūüŹĽ

Their mirror cells are top class and mirrors have excellent support.

In the real world Iheir optics are very impressive and deliver great performance. 

i would buy another OO scope without hesitation and that’s based on personsl experience not hearsay.

 

I’m sure your experiences have been good John. Mine too are based on personal experience rather than hearsay so please don’t suggest otherwise. Asking for help (as I did) does not always get the desired response.

The frustrating thing is that I’m just willing them on to be the company they could and should be, they just need a more customer centric approach and better communication.

I have had excellent OO products too, bought secondhand, and have had good experiences mixed with bad. I sent a 12‚ÄĚ f6 mirror back to them for testing and recoating and that went very well. But, having spent about ¬£4.4K years ago¬†with them for a new OMC200 and mount, finding¬†out a long time later that it never performed properly due to a loose grub screw and unseated primary is a bit hard to stomach, and yes as you‚Äôve read, I did ask for help. It was not forthcoming.

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I've owned three, all bought secondhand, two VX10s, 1/6 wave and then 1/10 wave, and more recently a CT10 1/10 wave.

All have produced great images and I see close  doubles split in my images which appear as a blob in most other scopes.  I've never looked through any of them so can't comment on the visual performance.

The build quality of the CT10 is very good and being a carbon tube means I only need to refocus every 5¬įC, compared to every 1.5¬įC with the aluminium tube VX10s.

They're a bargain secondhand when they come up, but you rarely see them, I paid around 1/3 of new price for all three of mine.

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8 minutes ago, Stu said:

I’m sure your experiences have been good John. Mine too are based on personal experience rather than hearsay so please don’t suggest otherwise. Asking for help (as I did) does not always get the desired response.

The frustrating thing is that I’m just willing them on to be the company they could and should be, they just need a more customer centric approach and better communication.

I have had excellent OO products too, bought secondhand, and have had good experiences mixed with bad. I sent a 12‚ÄĚ f6 mirror back to them for testing and recoating and that went very well. But, having spent about ¬£4.4K years ago¬†with them for a new OMC200 and mount, finding¬†out a long time later that it never performed properly due to a loose grub screw and unseated primary is a bit hard to stomach, and yes as you‚Äôve read, I did ask for help. It was not forthcoming.

They could be so much bigger / better, perhaps they don't want to be and are happy with their lot.

My brother suggested I speak to them about working for them or consulting for them to help get them there but I never did. I'm not an optician but my background is in manufacturing process and quality control and more recently in e-commerce, which is another area where they could improve.

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I had an OMC-140. The optics, 1/8th wave, were excellent.

However, it had a very slack focusser which was next to useless. It went back twice and all they did was put grease on it. Their customer service was dreadful - I felt like I was speaking to a con artist.
Until I learned enough about scopes to take it to pieces and fix it myself, I used to use Plössls and unscrew to top to fine focus.

Not to mention the special order metal dew shield. It took five months to arrive and when it did, it was the wrong colour and poorly finished.

I will never buy anything from them again, no matter how good the optics are.

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Seeking advice through telephone enquiries, my personal experience, over the years, has been good. Recently the PTFE bearings on the friction brake of my 14" dob base had smoothed, glazed over too much causing the (bottom heavy) tube to move upright. There are grub screws for tensioning, but the bearings had become the problem. Unfortunately, would had meant buying an entire brake unit and not just the separate bearings, which would had been very costly. The advice was to use coarse sandpaper, which I duly did and has revamped the life span of the bearings tensioning, stiction control. 

Solid tube, is a personal preference dependent on various circumstances. OO-VX tubes are light and can enable, such as the VX-14, transporting for setting up quickly when at dark sky sites. The collimation is overall retained, set beforehand, I do not like collimating when typically arriving after dark. The VX8L / dob mount is convenient for just lifting the whole unit and taking it outside. 

Mirror cells, with each of my VX reflectors are fine, having taken them out of the tube and detaching the mirror a number of times. I agree with the above comments that they are a traditional, quite old fashioned in some ways and some of their service might be a bit rough and ready perhaps, yet the views through each of my 1/10 pv wave mirrors have been and are excellent.

 

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More reports from the 200mm f3.8 would be happening if the focuser worked- I might mention that the dob base ordered was not shipped with the scope. Thankfully Wolf at TS came through and had one to me a a very short time.

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I happily stay away from orion optics.

Bresser has nice offers for small dobsonians.

For medium size, one is better off to build his/her own telescope in my opinion.. a) it is a great experience, and b) one does not have to compromise with other builders' design / crazy ideas.. you just make what you want.

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Theres more to a telescope than just the optics. Thats what i've told myself plenty of times.

I've owned 3 OO Newtonians

2 x 10 inch and one 12 inch. The first 10" was an F/4.8 (1/4 wave),  the second 10" was an F6.3  The last scope i had from OO was a 12" F4 (both the 10 F6.3 and the 12 F4 were 1/10 wave)

All of them optically have been excellent, limited in my case, by a combination of grotty UK seeing and poor thermal management. Therein lies  the problem.

The first 10" was purchased 20 years ago (new) and came on a very shaky generic EQ mount. The tube wasn't open at the bottom, and i kept it in an upstairs room.

It probably had the thermal characteristics of a stove pipe, and never performed at any sort of magnification for that reason.

But i was new to the hobby then and still learning my way around telescopes and didn't really know what i was doing. To a certain extent, i'm much the same today !¬†ūüėɬ†(only a little more experienced)

However, once i purchased a decent low power eyepiece (Vixen LVW 22mm) and the scope had cooled a bit it gave excellent low power views.

 

The second scope came 15 years later, second hand and another 10" but this time the longer tubed VX 10 L OTA

I purchased a Dob base for it from Orion, and away i went.

I was mainly interested in how it performed with high power planetary viewing, but i never really had anything memorable out of it.

I spent a lot of time viewing Jupiter, but it never really impressed me. Once again, i'm sure mediocre seeing and thermal issues played their part in that.

 

I sold that scope after a year to Gain Lee, one of the UKs top astro imagers.

I put the funds from that towards a VX12 F4, with the intention of using it for rich field, wide angle, low power observing, and to that extent it performed very well.

On good nights at our dark sites it gave me spectacular views of all the showpiece clusters, globs and nebulae.

It was a handful though, and at 52 i knew i didn't want the hassle of another large, solid tube Newtonian so in due course i sold that as well.

 

Summing up then, the scopes themselves.

Although i'm obviously no expert all 3 scopes from an optical point of view have been excellent to me. They are called Orion OPTICS after all.

Talking mechanics though, and things go downhill. 

The first 2 scopes' focusers were rubbish. Ok, they functioned, but that was it. Not even enough travel to reach focus. A Moonlite on scope No3 cured that issue.

The tubes. Poorly and cheaply constructed (albeit lightweight) but with a tendency to flex, i'm sure. 

Secondary holder and spider. Consistent here : all 3 complete rubbish. Basically toy store quality.

Mirror cell. These are now much improved but perhaps a little over rated for what they are. The mirror retaining clips are huge all producing significant diffraction. Fans are an afterthought and are basically cheap as chips.

The Dob mounts. Mechanically crude, but effective in most cases. The friction brake, also crude, worked as long as the eyepiece end is not too taxing weight wise. With a big heavy bino rig, forget it. I often observed with my knee supporting the tube at lower altitudes.

 

Face to face or telephone contact. I've never really had an issue. John has always been helpful, and i have plenty of respect for him.

He did try and sell me a OMC 200 once (at a still substantial discounted price) but i politely declined !¬†ūüôā

 

Would i buy another OO scope....? 

I won't be buying a new one from OO now, but would certainly consider something second hand if the right scope came up in the 8 - 10" size.

If i were to buy new, i'd go with TS in Germany and order one of their custom scopes with specs to suit.

Although i miss the aperture i don't miss the bulk and hassle of lengthy cooldowns and collimation.

I much prefer refractors and love the 'tight' stars they give and most of the time now i'm mainly a lunar, planetary and double star observer.

I've never yet had planetary views from a reflector that have bettered my refractors. And thats in 20 years of casual, yet keen, amateur observing.

I've compared high power views of Jupiter and Saturn with my old OO VX12 and my current TEC140 and the TEC buried the big Newt every time.

Sorry if this has turned in to an essay ! To conclude from me : Great optics, poor mechanics. And expensive !! Buy second hand if you can, as there's quite a bit of depreciation factor here. Rather like buying a new car !

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Space Hopper
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I am grateful we have companies like Orion optics still making and resilvering mirrors in the UK.

They resilvered my 16 inch and the results were superb.

Mark490610720_lightbridgemirrorsaftercoating.jpg.7fe84f770ccfe530607c376edfbe75ac.jpg

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