Riceviamo nella nostra mailbox da un noto artigiano di oltreoceano e condividiamo volentieri con i nostri lettori la nuova frontiera dei telescopi di qualita' a poco prezzo.
La discussione la potete leggere per intero a http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/zambutomirrorgroup/messages/12560?threaded=1&m=e&var=1&tidx=1
ve ne riportiamo degli stralci per vostra comodita'.
"E' da un po' di tempo che stavamo pensando a una cosa. Quando abbiamo iniziato facevamo delle serie di specchi piccoli e a fuoco piu' lungo. Se avessimo un mercato, potremmo venderli a un prezzo conveniente. Ma cosa ne facciamo?" E ci si risponde: potremmo fare dei telescopi da marciapiede (sic) di materiali a bassissimo costo e metterci sopra le nostre ottiche premium (cosi' vengono autodefinite dal nostro collega)
Quote: Hey gang, we've been kicking an idea around here for some time, now. In the early days we used to do large production runs of smaller, longer focus mirrors. If we had a venue/market for these again, they could possibly be supplied at substantial discount. The question is, what it that venue?
I've considered for some time making a simple sidewalk telescope out of very cheap materials and equipping it with our premium optics, to demonstrate that the mirror is really the thing, and that anyone who wants this kind of performance but does not wish to afford a premium telescope can still have it. The problem is, no one is making those telescopes.
My question to you is, if a relatively inexpensive Zambuto-powered Dobsonian of 8", 10" and 12.5" aperture were to become available, sporting the same kind of performance we are used to otherwise, would there be a market for it?
We notice that mass market telescopes are pretty cheap out there. Take away the optic, and what do you think the scope's representative cost might be? Now add in a Zambuto primary, and possibly a secondary we have approved, and do that for example at a 20% discount over current website mirror prices, due to longer focal ratio and large production runs, like the old days, when we did a dozen at a time. Could we possibly be looking at a finished telescope which costs not a lot more than a one-each custom mirror made to order at today's current prices?
If you think there is a market for that, or perhaps more important, if you yourselves would want to buy one, say so and we might look into a way to make that possible.
Quote: A couple of follow-up points on this idea. We note that Starmaster used to sell the Oak Classic Dobsonian, and there have been many requests to bring it back, so there was demand there. Starsplitter used to furnish tube Dobs with Zambuto mirrors and they sold them. Not a large number, but they did sell. I notice the Discovery PDHQ telescope is a nice-looking item, in a price range near our former Pyrex mirror pricing. Could be a nice kind of scope for one of our primaries.
Un cliente a questo punto suggerisce di servirsi dei telescopi che sono gia' stati venduti in numeri significativi, segnatamente i dobson Orion e Meade, con una azione di marketing che spinga il cliente a effettuare un "upgrade" e sostituire lo specchio. Il cliente spiega che lui stesso aveva un GSO sul cui specchio ha fatto effettuare una ricottura del blank (??) e successiva rifiguratura da un artigiano statunitense. (NortheK lascia ai lettori di ragionare e commentare su questo.) Invita quindi a scegliere misure identiche ai mass market citati.
Quote: You mention Orion, Meade and Guan Sheng. Strangely we have 200, 250 and 300 mm blanks here in BK7 that Ed was going to use for replacement upgrades. We started annealing them but never finished.
Would you happen to know off-hand what scopes (brand and size) take these mm diameters, and what their stock focal lengths are? I expect these would fit the Guan Sheng scopes, because I believe that is where the glass came from. We would have to look into the other two.
We could certainly look at doing these mirrors in production runs and offering them at a nice discount.
Quindi i blank sono gia' disponibili e vengono dalla fabbrica di vetri da cui GSO si serve.
A questo punto interviene un cliente entusiasta che ci spiega come i veri esperti lo sanno: i telescopi devono essere semplici, e il 90-95% del loro successo (sic) e' determinato dalle ottiche. (Non lo sappiamo se e' vero, ma se e' vero, abbiamo capito che genere di ottiche sono. Persino i vecchi dobsoniani meade a prezzo stracciato e con ottiche tutt'altro che premium che quelli non tanto giovani forse ricorderanno, se tolti dal sonotube e sistemati un po' meglio, si avevano cambiamenti favolosi.... come dite? sonotube? Pazientate un attimo e intanto leggete questo.)
I still have on my mind, the picture on the home page of this group. It was Mr. John Dobson... The Father of all dobs... The Master... Using just a simple custom raw telescope to show a boy the wonders of the universe. Excellent photo....
But wait... that simple raw dob, got a secret... It got a 12.5" @ F7 made by the Master... Zambuto!!!
And the message here was expressed by the photo itself of Mr. Dobson... Keep it Simple!!!
A good friend of myself, Armando Caussade, Society of Astronomy of Puerto Rico, told me when I began in this adventure various years from now that... "...90 to 95 percent of success of a telescope are the Optics." Still I'm in agree with him.
I agree also this this initiative, which looks wise and could start the engines for many new ATM's projects.
Il cliente aggiunge inoltre che molti acquirenti, insoddisfatti dal primo telescopio, si mettono a cercarne un altro "con un'ottica migliore".
Qualcun altro aggiunge che e' ottimale acquistare uno strumento commerciale e poi cambiare solo lo specchio, in maniera da avere a basso prezzo tutto cio' che accompagna lo specchio: cercatore, elettronica goto per gli intelliscope e simili (mi si dice che non funziona), e anche se non viene detto, un'intubazione alla meno peggio. "Per il cliente consapevole e attento al miglior rapporto qualita'-prezzo".
Un altro lettore scrive che se l'artigiano ottico telefonasse al produttore mass maker e dicesse che intende produrre specchi cosi' e cosa', il centralinista lo trasferirebbe immediatamente al decisore o CEO. (Verissimo. Dopodiche' pero' il decisore liquiderebbe la questione, cercando di farlo in fretta per non scoppiare in maniera maleducata a ridere.)
Altri clienti sostengono l'idea delle ottiche in sostituzione di quelle cinesi, suggerendo pero' di limitarsi a 6" 8" e 10", in quanto sono i tipici telescopi da newbie. (NortheK lascia ai lettori di analizzare le implicazioni di questo.)
Qualcuno pero' gli fa notare che aveva un 16" autocostruito e ha preso uno strumento piu' piccolo dell'artigiano prestigioso; poi pero' lo ha venduto e si e' tenuto il proprio. Dunque l'artigiano e' costretto a intervenire.
Quote: Dale, thank you for your input. I understand and appreciate this view, and yes, many folks feel this way. That 16" is likely a rather decent mirror. And yes, aperture does show more, when its quality is sufficient.
We have a customer in our queue right now who is having a replacement mirror made for his 10" Orion Skyquest, which is part of what has gotten our attention. I did a search on the Skyquest Yahoo Group and saw my name mentioned 176 times, although many were repeats because of thread copies. So this notion does appear to exist.
There are certainly different camps of people when it comes to priorities. There are those who love aperture as a priority. Then there is the refractor crowd, who loves a particular pristine, highest-contrast kind of look-and-feel no matter the aperture. Myself, in a sense I belong to that crowd where I would much rather have the most pristine, top quality view possible, and sacrifice aperture for it. There is a "feeling" way down deep in the gut that takes place when we see it. One of our survey respondents, Sebastian, said it in a way I've never seen it said, and his unsolicited quote is going up on the mirror page on our website:
"Carl, I've owned and used one of your magical creations for about 10 years now. I am a true believer in buying reputation, and your reputation is very well deserved. The contrast produced by this mirror is just insane. After 10 years, it still feels like the first time, every time I use it."
No matter what the aperture, I feel the same way when I observe. I recall very well a night of intense transparency where probably all the moisture was frozen out of the air. I believe it was 12 degrees F, in our back yard. Chuck and myself were looking at the Orion Nebula and we both saw the same thing- the cotton-candy-like filaments were strange and delicate and beautiful. I had not seen that effect at any aperture. What's important to me is the reason we saw that was we had the scope in the right place at the right time. And when that time came, the contrast of that mirror delivered in a way we never expected. I hope the person you sold that 12.5" scope to has the opportunity one day to see that mirror perform in the way that we did.
Thanks again for your input. We sincerely appreciate it.
Non e' facile spiegare come mai le performances non hanno differenze notevoli quando i prezzi sono cosi' diversi, e infatti non lo si spiega, si insiste sul solito refrain del contrasto e dei clienti innamorati.
Un altro lettore interviene suggerendo due strategie: mass market upgrade oppure strumenti completi da proporre come "premium" planetari, da 10" e da 6".
A questo punto un intervento con le idee piu' chiare si focalizza sulla pubblicita' che e' l'anima del commercio e rileva come, pur possedendo parecchi telescopi, tutti gli amici che li vanno a trovare vogliono vedere, e si dicono estasiati, uno strumento che a suo tempo avevano venduto come "speciale" ecc ecc
Quote: >>Finally, you could go with a smaller ultra-premium upgrade in an 6" F8 that could
>> be marketed as an exceptional high contrast "planet killer" or some such. I like the
>> last one, because at entry level, performance on planets and the moon for in city
>> viewing is probably more attractive.
I agree (although I would have probably bracketed it into the 8-10” size).. Sometimes the advertising wordage makes a big difference with marketing. I have a vintage 12.5” Starmaster and one of the factors that makes several of my friends lust after my ‘scope and encourage me to trade it in on something larger (so they could have mine!) is that the mirror is one of a group that was advertised as a special “planetary run” (whatever that means <g> -- actually it has a slightly longer focal length than normal) that Carl did about a decade ago. My husband and I have a stable of telescopes from 3” to 22” but among them is an 8” f/10 home built telescope with a small secondary that he has subtitled his “Cassegrain Killer”. It *is* an excellent telescope but sometimes I think that the name gets observer’s attention as much as anything.
I think the main thing purchasers might consider would be if the price is competitive (considering the quality) with other makers of premium optics. IE, “Can I convert my [name your mass market producer telescope’] into something equivalent to such-and-such’s product vs selling my entry level telescope and just buying one of theirs?”
A questo punto l'artigiano replica chiedendo consigli su come creare una nicchia di mercato che non esiste (se ha ragione di esistere, lo lasciamo ai lettori) con ottiche presunte premium e meccaniche... pazientate ancora un attimo)
Alan, thank you for a good discussion. I agree with you this group might not be the best place for the discussion, however this group is our tribe, and your feedback is important and valuable to us. Its at least a place to start, and it doesn't cost a lot to do it.
I'm not certain we're looking at the mass telescope market. What I'm looking at is the potential of a Zambuto market that is untapped, waiting for something that does not presently exist. When we first came on the scene, something happened that was not expected. We found a vacuum that existed, and a line formed very quickly. We had 100 mirrors on backorder for several years.
Rick and I have had the discussion. He would no longer be the telescope maker for an entry level model. His logistics don't fit that so much. Discovery Telescopes as a general category example is a better fit, as far as what they produce and how they have it priced.
Used Oak Classics were selling for about $1,800.00, as I recall. That was for a 7" Zambuto plate glass mirror in the telescope (with a poor anneal but a good figure). The Discovery PDHQ is a birch base, if I understand right. It appears to be a nice telescope. Take for example the 10" at $1,349.00. Their 10" F/6 mirrors sell for $600.00, so as it appears on the surface, for a production run model 10" mirror from this shop (at discount) add about $600.00 and that becomes a Zambuto equipped telescope. So for $1,949.00 someone could get into our kind of performance at 10" of aperture. Where else can someone do that, if they don't build it themselves?
The custom telescope makers are probably not the place to do this, unless one of our younger, hungry lads decides to diversify and has a CNC wood cutter that can stamp out parts quickly.
Thank you again for your points. Generally speaking, I have to agree with them. But on the other hand, I'm just that kind of renegade who sometimes goes so far in their mind to think they can actually create a market with something that didn't exist before, in order to help make folks' lives better and more satisfying.
e adesso attenzione
Quote: We sure appreciate everyone's feedback.
After we ingest all the feedback, sometimes we gotta just follow our instincts. I recently re-read Debbi Field's autobiography. Would you believe that in the beginning, when she asked everyone around her what they thought of her actually selling those marvelous (they were actually good at one time) cookies everyone was polishing off the plate, that the unanimous reply was, "Its a bad idea. It will never work". Good for her she followed her instinct. Even her husband and first banker thought it would fail, but that it would be good for her to at least do it and get it out of her system.
This is preliminary, but my instinct tells me to offer a line of introductory good old fashioned cardboard tube Dobsonians with premium optics in them, at a truly affordable price with respect to what's on the market today that has our mirrors in it. It will be properly built- simple, but with excellent mechanical performance. We're working with a premium scope maker who is interested. They have the CNC machinery to cut the wood parts, and they have the capability to make the mirror cells and secondary holders and spiders, all in-house.
Again, this is preliminary, as its only in the concept stage right now, but we've begun looking seriously at doing this. I think we're talking about the ballpark of 1/2 the price of a current truss telescope that has our mirrors in it, OEM. And what's exciting to us is, we're working on figuring out how to do it with premium glass- Schott Supremax.
-More as this develops.
"Dobson coi tubi di cartone vecchia maniera con ottiche premium dentro, a un prezzo veramente conveniente rispetto a quello che c'e' sul mercato adesso che monta i nostri specchi" ma attenzione "sara' costruito adeguatamente - semplice ma con performance meccaniche eccellenti." Prendiamo nota cari amici che abbiamo tutti da imparare. "Stiamo lavorando con un produttore di telescopi premium che e' interessato. Hanno i macchinari CNC per tagliare il legno" (sic) "e hanno la capacita' di produrre celle e supporto del secondario e spider in proprio."
A questo punto un utente interviene evidenziando la "coincidenza" che un altro artigiano statunitense ha avuto una idea simile. Discute inoltre come abbia spuntato un ottimo prezzo (4K) per il suo Starmaster Oak Classic con specchio Zambuto su cui pero' aveva fatto un grosso lavoro di miglioramento estetico e restauro oltre che customizzazione con vari miglioramenti. Gli appassionati e i collezionisti sono sempre esistiti.
Un altro utente fa notare come il mercato potenziale e' enorme ma difficile da raggiungere: solo una percentuale bassa di astrofili vanno agli star party o leggono i forum.
L'artigiano prestigioso ci dice qualcosa di piu' su questa potenziale novita'
Quote: Ryan, thanks for replying. We're actually looking at doing both replacement mirrors, and the possibility of a new line of entry level scopes. It can't hurt, and we have the glass to do it. We will be annealing batches of 200, 250 and 300 mm BK7 blanks shortly, for the replacement mirrors. We're going to target the focal lengths of the main body of the scopes, such as 1200 mm for the 8" and probably the 10" as well.
Why all the activity? Well, a couple of reasons, one of which I'll share. We have someone new coming on board who has a good deal of optical experience, and we're going to give it a try. The formal announcement will come soon. We would like to use this opportunity to diversify our offerings. Its time to grow Zambuto Optical and do some branching out.
Un altro utente ancora, che lavora presso un commerciante di telescopi, osserva come quasi tutti i telescopi propongano upgrades, ma non i dobson. Esprime pero' un certo scetticismo sul discorso dell'upgrade mediante sostituzione dell'ottica e suggerisce una partnership con i produttori mass market (beh facile a dirsi! una partnership si forma quando entrambe le parti la ritengono vantaggiosa!) Fa anche notare che c'e' un grosso gap tra i 900$ del 12" mass market e i 3K del 12.5" artigianale.
Don, fabulous posting. Right on target, I believe, and the reason would be, you're speaking from experience in the marketplace. I have to agree with everything you've said. The exception is, we're not going to attempt to sell to the beginner market. For all the reasons you state, it simply doesn't work. They're simply not ready for that. FWIW, I have never attempted to sell a beginner on a Zambuto equipped telescope. I mean, when people ask me about this, I point them to the cheap Dob market to get started. I tell them what we do is not for the beginner.
It might be fair to say we work for folks who have spent some amount of time at the eyepiece and want and are ready for better performance. They have spent enough time to recognize "better" when they see it.
The market we're looking at, IF it exists, is folks who know about us, have perhaps viewed through scopes with our mirrors in them, and certainly want one, but not to the tune of over $4K just to get started. In short, we have a reputation, and I'm interested in selling based on that. You called it a niche market. I have to agree.
One more thing- Zambuto Optical Company obviously doesn't mass-produce optics like the imports. I recall one Guan Sheng Dealer telling me some years back that at that time Guan Sheng was importing 10,000 telescopes every six months. But these hands don't need those huge numbers to keep this shop going. Some of those folks who bought those scopes are wanting to upgrade. And I see the same problem you do, that there is a gap there. We want to try to fill it, and see if it wants to be filled. And I would like to employ the expertise of a seasoned premium scope maker to apply their skills to the simple and functional.
The beauty of this is, there is little risk in this endeavor. We have our core work we do, which is custom one-each mirror fabrication. That remains.
Thanks for your input, and thank you for your candor. It is appreciated.
Molto chiaro e molto occidentale (gli italiani, pero', non lo avrebbero mai messo per iscritto nero su bianco). Lasciamo faticare i cinesi: noi vogliamo vendere con un overhead migliore e producendo numeri piccoli, grazie alla nostra reputazione.
"L'essenza della liberta' e' la matematica"