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Offline Phalangium

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Historical prices of NB filters
« on: 08:00:02, 01 November, 2017 »
I did try and ask this question on another astro-forum, but the thread got taken over by someone insisting on talking about LP filters instead. So will try here.

I was having a conversation with someone about narrowband imaging filters. I was saying that I thought that the humble H? filter, that we can now pick up for a couple of hundred quid, would probably have cost well into four figures when it first hit the amateur market (in the early years of the millenium?). Unfortunately, I have no actual evidence to back-up this assertion, just the feeling that, as it has become more popular, with greater numbers now being made, it seems reasonable that the price would have dropped A LOT. But my feelings are not evidence.

So, do any long-standing imagers here know whether I am right or not?


Offline chris.bailey

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Re: Historical prices of NB filters
« Reply #1 on: 08:42:12, 01 November, 2017 »
I don't think that logic has followed through. Early narrowband filters (and wideband for that matter) tended to be spatter coated and cut from larger coated sheets. The coatings tended to be quite soft and subject to ageing. Modern quality filters use more esoteric coating methods and are made individually. The coatings are much harder and don't age. The very early narrowband filters were very wide bandpass (around 30 nm) as the coating method didn't allow for the manufacture of very narrowband filters. We now get filters down to a bandpass of 3nm!

I bought my first 7nm Baader narrowband set about 8 years ago and that same set is now about 25% more than I paid. So despite there being more players in the market (competition), the specialised nature of filters means that prices have held up. In fact, there is an argument that new entries to the market have tended to be at the higher price point and competing on quality rather than price viz Astrodon.

Bottom line is that there is no point waiting in there vain hope that prices will drop and as most of the filters are made in foreign shores, we may well see prices in the UK jump post Brexit (I can't see a trade deal on astronomical filters being high on anyones priority list).

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Offline Phalangium

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Re: Historical prices of NB filters
« Reply #2 on: 14:56:18, 01 November, 2017 »
Thanks, Chris.
True. I had not considered the fact that they have improved immeasurably since they first hit the market. Your Baader comparison is very telling.
I guess the only ones that might profit from Brexit are those imported from the US. We already have to pay import duty on those, so a trade deal with the US might ease things a little. Then again ...

Offline Nomis Elfactem

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Re: Historical prices of NB filters
« Reply #3 on: 15:05:32, 02 November, 2017 »
"Then again" indeed....

Sadly it's pretty certain that the strength of the pound (or not as the case may be) will also compound things and whilst a trade deal with the US will potentially reduce the import duty the exchange rate will almost certainly off-set any gains IMHO ;-)

The other thing is that for market forces (supply and demand) to drive down prices, economy of scale is needed which in turn drives down costs of production and distribution.  Whilst it's certainly the case that Baader etc will sell considerably more than they did even 5 years ago, in order for commoditisation to take place it would need to break out from being a niche product (which it's probably safe to say it still is relatively speaking) to selling many millions of units.

One way of course to do that is the same as companies like Imaging Source does for CCD cameras and indeed Baader does for other types of filters and sell in other verticals other than astro-imaging..... narrow band filters in specific spectral band passes is always going to be a challenge though ;-)


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