Astrobuffet

Background, Contact Info, Product Catalog, Owner's Message

 

Astrobuffet is a registered Massachusetts business, engaged in sales of astronomical equipment, primarily online and secondarily at shows.

1rpd™ is a brand wholly owned by Astrobuffet. 1rpd.com and the 1rpd logo are also the property of Astrobuffet.

 

Contact Information

http://www.astrobuffet.com

sales@astrobuffet.com (This is also our PayPal.com payment address.)

Mailed Payment Address: Astrobuffet, P.O. Box 510, Pepperell MA 01463 USA

eBay auctions are conducted via eBay user researchagent, accepting PayPal and BidPay


Product Line

The above Plossls have a surprisingly narrow field, closer to 40 degrees than to 50 degrees, but they have extremely good resolution and contrast. The multicoated ones especially, should be treated as equivalent to really good Orthoscopics, or even better than most Orthos due to the modern coatings. Plossls have better eye relief than Orthoscopics of the same focal length, but in the 4mm you're still jamming against the eyepiece to see the full field, so having a 50 or 52 degree field would give you little advantage over these. For anyone who cannot afford Zeiss Abbe Orthos, and that includes just about everyone, the 4mm and 10mm are a steal for planetary work. The 15mm also is, except that by 15mm focal length you might be starting to miss having a wider field than these have. Still, binoviewer folks love getting pairs of all lengths due to the quality and price.

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Great starting-point Amateur Astronomy Links

Customer sites showing Astrobuffet products in action

Astrobuffet family of businesses

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Orders, Questions, Comments,

Please email Astrobuffet if you have questions, comments, or would like to place an order. Please include your zipcode if you want an exact shipping amount quoted, especially for heavy items like the hard cases which don't have fixed shipping rates already quoted.

Owner's Message

Welcome to Astrobuffet, and also to 1rpd !!

Astrobuffet will continue to be primarily associated with retailing the unique lines of products it is known for, from exotic ARIES optical accessories requiring a "special type of dealer", to military-spec cases for SCTs, to hand-made Baader solar filters to fit many scopes, to Hoya 2" eyepiece filters. Having established several such specialty niches already, Astrobuffet will continue to add more of them.

We are expanding into selling some of the more traditional bread-and-butter product lines (scopes and eyepieces for instance!!) carried by other astronomical-equipment dealers, now that more and more manufacturers, exporters, importers, and fellow dealers "know we're real" and are not about to dump their products on eBay at wholesale as a non-profit favor to the public. However, there is still an oppressive amount of discrimination against online dealers who choose not to open a storefront also. Let's face it, the largest "storefront" dealers do the great majority of their business online nowadays anyway. Yes, the storefront model guarantees against someone gaining access with near-zero entry cost, but it's crazy to also shut out real dealers who make their serious business investments more in tune with their own business model, rather than the camera-store business model. My investment in this business went into 6 figures long ago, is heading for 7 figures at a frightening pace, yet there are several famous companies that refuse to sell me even a windfall order such as $20,000 worth of diagonals at once, unless I pay retail and go through a dealer. Get real! I'm done with pursuing business with folks like that.

1rpd was created in order to showcase those products which Astrobuffet will primarily sell via wholesaling to other dealers. These products are initially going to be the types of products that I've had difficulty in obtaining "famous brand" dealerships for, and my target market includes both other predominantly e-commerce dealers, a few respected specialty dealers who march to a different drummer, and traditional dealers who carry many brands yet too few real choices. Astrobuffet will of course be a 1rpd dealer as well. In fairness to our dealer network, after introductory pricing ends, Astrobuffet will neither undercut the prevailing street-price ranges which emerge from competition among other dealers, nor be singled out for special treatment above any other dealers who get up to speed with selling the product. 1rpd will promote its products and dealer network with marketing and advertising activities, separately from Astrobuffet's dealership marketing and advertising activities.

I expect that the 1rpd brand product line will be more important to non-storefront dealers, than it is to dealers who already carry all the usual storefront-only brands. The non-storefront dealers, Astrobuffet included, will be very actively selling 1rpd products. I expect some to rank among the largest 1rpd dealers, due to a level playing field and their lack of distraction from the lure of selling popular higher-priced, storefront-only brands.

To date, I've not branded any products as Astrobuffet. Astrobuffet is just the name of my whole astro business, the domain name for this website, and the business name for the tax IDs, EIN, bank account, P.O. Box, truck USDOT number, etc.

Today, Astrobuffet is best known to the public for being an Internet retailer who does some importing of exotic optical stuff, run by the guy who runs the MAPUG mailing list. It will be best known to astro dealers as the business entity they will write their checks out to, when they buy 1rpd products at wholesale. And it's already quite well known worldwide as the place manufacturers, dealers, and importers/exporters can turn to for quick wholesale transactions in one direction or the other, for certain types of astro products, especially ARIES accessories, 2" diagonals, 48mm Hoya filters, Gitzo carbon fiber tripods, large Chinese achromats, Plossls, etc.

In one sense, 1rpd is simply a way of leveraging my technical and importing expertise to become a wholesale supplier of products which I need for my own dealership, and which other dealers are also capable of selling. In another sense, it's a bid to upset the apple cart of complacent suppliers who have grown out of touch with the world market in astronomical goods, and have perhaps been thinking to themselves "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" for too long.

One area where the Astrobuffet and 1rpd efforts will be combined, is by providing house-branding services to dealers and manufacturers. For dealers considering starting their own house brand, or manufacturers wanting to complement their product line with products they neither feel like manufacturing nor selling someone else's brand of, we can help reduce the time to market, and save the cost of mistakes you would otherwise make.

Well, the gauntlet has been thrown. In addition to starting the new 1rpd brand, a long-term advertising commitment was recently made by Astrobuffet to Sky and Telescope. Expect a large flurry of activity, and maybe a little controversy, as Astrobuffet and 1rpd set off in quest of changing the landscape of the astronomical equipment market.

Adding new ideas and a little more competition into the marketplace is good, right? If/when prices come down further on some of the goods I bring to market at previously-unheard-of low prices, please bear in mind the good that has come to you from my foray. I'm sure that along the way, some "entrenched incumbents" will undercut prices to a crazy degree to try to stifle the new competition.

(April 30 note: The above was prophetic. The big 30mm ultrawide eyepieces have dropped from their $195/$225/$295 prices a month ago, to just $99/$225?/$295? after I announced a $159 introductory price which stepped on some toes and triggered a knee jerk reaction or two.)

I will do my best to meet or beat legitimate, advertised prices of competitors. But price competition alone can be undermined by dumping, predatory pricing, or just a brunt-force attack of a larger competitor wishing to wage a battle of non-profit financial attrition. Bear in mind that a real price for an item physically in stock ready to ship, especially if advertised in a major magazine, is quite different from any price associated with a removable online classified ad, or any ad "taking names for a waitlist", "expecting some in stock soon", "limited quantity at this price", "call for best price", and other games like that.

Right now, I'm not totally thrilled about shipping out my beloved 1rpd ST80 eyepieces at $99 just because a West Coast competitor thought I'd not match his huge price moves on a competing brand well before he even had any in stock. But it's part of the business, so I've done it, and I did make eyepiece sales to his normally loyal customer base who got tired of being waitlisted and hearing "two more weeks"..

Regards,

John Hopper, Owner

P.S. Building the business has taken precedence over building my personal observatory, so you will notice some high-end equipment for sale. It is brand new, having been imported a while back (when I had "a day job" rather than this 24x7 job!) to build my personal observatory, which simply isn't happening anytime soon!

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Copyright Astrobuffet 2001-2003.
Last revised: April 15, 2007