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Velbon CX-686 tripod - opinions?

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Old Monday 24th March 2008, 12:54   #1
The Octagon
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Velbon CX-686 tripod - opinions?

Having read many of the invaluable threads on this site, I am considering buying a Nikon ED50 pinkoscope from In Focus. They don't list a price for the body of this scope alone: it is only available in bundles, and the cheapest bundle is 199 for the scope plus either an In Focus stay-on case, or a Velbon CX-686 tripod. Googling led me to this Bristol Cameras page, which shows that this is a video tripod, which they are selling for 45.00. I am definitely not interested in the SOC, as I would prefer to get the CleySpy SOC, which seems to be of much higher quality. So if I go for either of these bundles, it would be the one with the tripod. (I am not interested in any of the eyepiece bundles listed, none of which includes the 50x wide (27x on the ED50) eyepiece that I think I would want if I were to plump for an ED50.) Could someone answer a couple of questions for me, please?
  1. Does anyone here have any experience of using this tripod? Is it any good? I already have a rubbish camera tripod, which I have had for years. It's good enough for pointing at the garden bird table and the fields on the other side of the garden fence, but would probably be a nightmare to use in the field (and when rotating it, it has a habit of jumping back a little way from where you just adjusted it to, so you have to play a game of "guess where the tripod will jump back to" in order to fix it where you want ). I certainly intend to buy another tripod, but the old Argos special could tide me over for a while if I need some time to dither. I just don't intend to buy another piece of rubbish, even if it is part of a discounted bundle.
  2. I have never dealt with In Focus before. If I make enquiries with them, are they likely to offer me the pinkoscope body alone, for less than the 199 bundle price, or perhaps an alternative bundle with the 50x wide -- or do they like to stick to their advertised bundles?
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Old Friday 28th March 2008, 21:27   #2
The Octagon
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Velbon CX-686 tripod - opinions?

After a little battle, I managed to get In Focus to tell me whether or not they would sell me the Nikon ED50 pinkoscope alone, unbundled, nett of any other items. The answer, in a nutshell, is No. The longer version (pasted below because I would be interested to know if anyone else has had similar difficulties in getting information out of them by email) is as follows.

Message 1. Me to them:
Quote:
Hello. Could you please let me know if you sell the Nikon ED50 straight rose-pink fieldscope (the body only) on its own as opposed to in a bundle? The offers on your site only seem to offer it as part of a bundle, but I am not interested in any of the other items that are part of the various bundles. If you do offer it separately, could you let me know the price, please? If not, would you offer it bundled with the Nikon 50x wide MC fieldscope lens (which gives a magnification of 27x on the ED50)? I can see what appears to be the standard version of that lens on your site, but I am interested in the wide-angle version.

(My apologies if you received a similar message from me yesterday. I have sent this message from my email client, but yesterday I asked the same question via your online enquiry form ( http://www.at-infocus.co.uk/enquiries.html ). On clicking the "Send to In Focus" button, it simply returned to the same enquiries.html page, with no confirmation that my message had been submitted. I am using the Firefox web browser and don't normally have any problems with web forms: it might be worth checking out if that is not the expected behaviour of your enquiry form.)

Regards,

etc.
Message 2. Them to me:
Quote:
Yes we can supply this on it's own with a stay on case for 199.00
Hope this answers your enquiry
The 27x on the ED 50 is 179.00 (40x on a 60mm nikon)
In Focus
Main Street
Titchwell
Nr King's Lynn
Norfolk
PE31 8BB
01485 210101
Message 3. Me to them:
Quote:
Hi again,

Sorry, that doesn't answer my question. I had seen your offer of the ED50 with the stay-on case for 199.00, before I sent yesterday's email: it's at the top of your list of ED50 bundle offers. But that plainly isn't on its own: it's bundled with a stay-on case, for which you charge 39.00 when you sell it separately. What I was asking was, do you sell the rose-pink ED50 body *on its own*, i.e. without any stay-on case, or anything else? I am not interested in the stay-on case, as I have read bad reviews of it on birdforum.net and would prefer to buy a different one elsewhere.

Regards,

etc.
Message 4. Them to me:
Quote:
Our offer is 199.00 for the scope body and you get the stay on case as well. If you don't want the case there is no discount, perhaps you could sell it ?

We note your comments about the case but would reply that we have sold hundres to people who are very pleased with them. However it is a matter of personal preference, though I would suggest you had a look at one rather than relying on comments on Bird Forum which are also an individuals assessment.

Thank you for your enquiry.

In Focus
Main Street
Titchwell
Nr King's Lynn
Norfolk
PE31 8BB
01485 210101
I am still considering buying the pinkoscope, because, even with the SOC included, it seems to be the cheapest brand-new ED50 available in the UK. I certainly won't be buying any lenses from them, because, even after I made a distinction between the wide and standard lenses, the person answering my enquiry failed to do so -- so I couldn't be sure of what I might receive if I ordered it.

There's still the option of the CX-686 tripod, though. No answers to my original message yet! Has no one tried it or seen it?
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Old Sunday 30th March 2008, 23:47   #3
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Problem with these bundled offers is that the seller often gets them that way. Everything prepackaged. No idea whether that is the case here, but I can understand a certain "lack of flexibility" here. Overall, they did not treat you quite that badly as it came across before reading the actual replies. But it's clear they may not even be aware of two versions of that eyepiece. (I had to look it up too, but then, I am not in the business of selling such items.) Having compared the specs, it is obvious that you are interested to get the wide version. Are there any order numbers you could go by? Or could the version be inferred from the price?

As for the tripod, I have no idea. But the fact that you got no replies here indicates it may be a slow seller.
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Old Monday 31st March 2008, 22:15   #4
The Octagon
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Hold the stay-on case

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swissboy View Post
Problem with these bundled offers is that the seller often gets them that way. Everything prepackaged. No idea whether that is the case here, but I can understand a certain "lack of flexibility" here. Overall, they did not treat you quite that badly as it came across before reading the actual replies. But it's clear they may not even be aware of two versions of that eyepiece. (I had to look it up too, but then, I am not in the business of selling such items.) Having compared the specs, it is obvious that you are interested to get the wide version. Are there any order numbers you could go by? Or could the version be inferred from the price?

As for the tripod, I have no idea. But the fact that you got no replies here indicates it may be a slow seller.
I don't think In Focus are being supplied with the items pre-bundled: I think I read in another thread (though I can't find it now) that they were previously offering the pinkoscope with a different tripod; and these posts ( 1, 2 ) suggest that the stay-on case is one of their own-brand items which is really intended for an Opticron scope.

I didn't mean to give the impression that they had treated me badly, just that it took too much effort to get them to tell me that they wouldn't sell me the scope on its own. I dislike sales flimflammery. "We can supply this on its own with a stay-on case" reminds me a bit of Henry Ford's "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black", and also of the classic "Hold the chicken" scene (appropriate for this forum) in the Jack Nicholson film Five Easy Pieces.

Waitress [putting hands on hips]: "You want me to hold the chicken, huh?"
Nicholson: "I want you to hold it [effect Nicholson sneer here] between your knees."

Last edited by The Octagon : Monday 31st March 2008 at 22:22. Reason: Added link
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