A couple of weeks ago I ordered my first telescope, the Celestron NexStar 8SE. I ordered it, along with tons of accessories from Amazon as they had the best pricing. And for professional camera equipment, I have almost exclusively ordered from B&H over the past 23 years.
The other day I decided to call up High Point Scientific to see if they would price match B&H on the Baader Hyperion 8-24mm Zoom (out of stock currently with B&H, and more expensive with Amazon). Not only did they match the price, my sales consultant (Isaac) helped me with a ton of questions related to future purchasing. As I will eventually jump into Astrophotography (AP), he helped me figure out which imaging upgrades I would need in the future, like a proper Equatorial Mount (EQ) that will not only work for my 8" telescope tube, but will also work for my Canon EOS1DX DSLR when I want to shoot those amazing wide angle Milky Way images.
Customer service in this country (USA) has deteriorated quite a bit over the last couple of decades, so it was nice to have a kind, generous expert help me through the process. Isaac echoed much of what I've seen in these forums with regard to what NOT to buy, which with this hobby is almost as important as what TO buy. For instance, many have said here not to buy the Celestron Wedge in order to 'doctor' my mount to become an EQ mount for AP. Still, I thought it might be a good stop gap, but Isaac assured me it wasn't. He said that until I can afford an EQ mount, that it's better to use my scope and camera with lesser exposure time (under 30 seconds) and just stack the images, and that this would be as good an option as the Wedge. He said the Wedge, along with my camera, would cause significant balancing issues due to the weight.
Of course, the EQ mount is going to run me about $900 (same cost as the scope itself), but nearly $300 of that would have been my bad 'investment' in the Wedge, so I'll just wait and do the EQ thing properly when I have the money. And maybe it's not a bad idea to get used to stacking and the software processes that come with it, then move on to more advanced imaging later on.
Anyway, long story short is that I was very impressed with the service I received from HPS. I thought other newbies to this hobby might want to know. Experts, who do you typically use for product purchases?
- Mike (Go Hoos!)
Scope & EPs: NexStar 8SE, Baader Hyperion Zoom Mark IV 8-24 EP (72°)
Filters, Etc: Celestron f6.3 Corrector-Reducer, Orion Variable Polarizing Filter, Celestron 94244 8" Solar Filter
Astro Gear: Canon EOS1D Mark IV, Ioptron Skyguider Pro EQ Mount
Astro Lenses: Canon 70-200 f2.8, Canon 50mm f1.4, Canon 85mm f1.8, Rokinon 14mm f2.8.