I had put off buying a telescope my entire adult life because I knew that you had to spend a good amount of money for quality and that, when it comes to a hobby that revolves around fleeting glimpses of faint and fuzzy objects, you must have confidence in your equipment.
But, I couldn’t forever ignore my easy access to one of the premier dark sky sites in the world. Once you’re resigned to spending enough money for a quality scope, there’s another tension: aperture versus convenience. On the one hand, Dobsonian-mount reflectors are inexpensive per inch of aperture. On the other hand, they’re bulky. I knew that I didn’t want to fall down the rabbit hole of aperture fever, so I decided to get a high-quality refractor.
Considerable research led me to a 102mm Stellarvue ED. I have been absolutely blown away by this scope. But something happened in mid-October — the scope must have been jarred during the ride back from Mauna Kea — and an element in the focuser fell off.
After posting a plaintive “Can I fix this myself?” post on the Stellarvue Yahoo group, Vic Maris of Stellarvue directly contacted me, said “Call me up to talk about this,” walked me through a quick check of the problem on the phone, and then said “Send it in and we’ll take care of it.”
Two weeks later I received a package back from Stellarvue containing an entirely new focuser. Invoice: $0.
I don’t know how long it will be before I buy another refractor, but when I do, it will be from Stellarvue.