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are lasers becoming cheaper?

ixfd64

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As some of you know, Optotronics recently started selling high-powered pen-style lasers for low prices (150 mW at $200). While there are even cheaper lasers, they are generally of lower quality and don't compare to that of the more reputable companies. The products of companies that were known for low prices (such as NOVAlasers' 'X' series) now seem pretty expensive in comparison.

Since a highly reputable company is now selling lasers for a much lower price than ever, does this mean we should expect a price drop from other companies as well?
 

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This question isn't as easy to answer as one would assume ... There is (and always has been) a distinct difference between cheap "Chinese" laser pointers and quality handhelds marketed by more reputable companies such as Laserglow and Optotronics, both quality and price-wise. While it is true that the prices have gone WAY down on the Chinese "budget lasers ($0.50/mW greens are everywhere these days), the manufacturing costs of quality, consistant and well-built lasers from manufacturers such as CNI, etc is still a relatively complicated and expensive proposition, and as a rule of thumb, this is the type of manufacturer the "Good" laser companies rely on.

Many of the true "Quality" handhelds (such as the LG Hercules and the OP RPL) are built to exacting, rigid specifications in limited quantities, to ensure top quality and performance, as well as reliability - this costs the "good guys" many times more than it costs companied like DX, KD, etc to purchase bulk, mass-produced lasers with no guaranteed output or quality assurances and throw them out on the market with limited profit margins (the lower costs generally mean higher sales volume, which is where they make the $$ on the cheap pointers). As the consumer, it is up to you to decide if you want to "roll the dice" and take what you get at a low price, or if you want to pay a bit more for a quality product from a company that will stand behind it 100% ...

Here's a little insight into how some companies are now offering seriously discounted pointers in addition to their standard, higher-priced styles - We'll use the FP 200mW pointer as an example, $60-70 all over the web from less-than-reputable suppliers. I have purchased several of these and tested them, and while one actually came through ith a 140mW+ output, the others were severely inconsistant, 88mW and 65mW respectively. Now, as a reseller, I have a real problem in that I have 3pcs of 200mW green that I can't sell as 200mW, therefore I lose, right? Wrong. I now have 1 "60mW", 1 80mW, and 1 140mW pointer that I can sell as "guaranteed output", so I adjust my margins accordingly, sell the 60's at just above cost, the 80's at a more standard markup, and the 140 at a healthy profit... And I'm selling a ton more pointers now as they are guaranteed, as well as lower cost to me than ordering individual, guaranteed-to-spec pointers from my normal manufacturer. As always, my company is standing behind the output of our lasers, we're just not spending 2X or more to our manufacturers to ensure we get what we ordered, we are "rolling the dice" for the consumer ourselves, and reaping higher volume sales accordingly.

Which of course, means that when the consumer decides to buy a higher-powered, quality laser, they already trust us and will be willing to spend a bit more to buy one of our guaranteed styles that we have always sold, at prices similar to what they have always been...

I for one find it refershing that the "Good Guys" are finally able to offer a "loss leader" to help bring people into the hobby yet still maintain integrity and honesty in sales (unlike the Chinese discounters who offer you one thing, send another, and reaaly don't care WHAT you think about it...)

ONE MAJOR EXCEPTION - Susie at O-like (www.o-like.com) - she has an incredible, consistant, proven track record of providing us with impeccable customer service, guaranteed specs and quality control, and excellent pricing on her lasers and modules - Just thought I'd throw that in to compensate for what sounds a bit like an "Anti-Chinese-Supplier" rant :cool:

High-quality KTP crystal sets, high-powered C-mount IR diodes, quality hosts, optics, etc as well as stringent quality control has come down just a bit price-wise, but is still very expensive (and desevedly so) - mass produced "you get what you get" parts that are slapped together with the only prerequisite being that they emit green beams of some sort are definitely becoming cheaper, because many, many resellers have jumped on that bandwagon (as described above).

Hope this helped, anyone want to chime in or add to the theory?
 
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You pretty much nailed it, BCM.. The only thing I could add is that all technology drops in price over time. I believe that has a little to do with what you're describing, idfx64. As green pointers become more and more commonplace, even the high-end systems drop in price (though you'll probably never see CNI units for under $20).
 
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Lasers are definitely dropping in price. I think that in addition to the fact that the high-end companies are trying to get more business, manufacturing of laser parts is becoming less and less expensive as it becomes more mass-produced. If you can produce parts in bulk, and you already have established good from bad, it becomes much cheaper, and therefore, the price drops.

-Mark
 

iewed

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ixfd- You're comparing New Wish lasers to CNI lasers. The quality difference is immeasurable.
 

GooeyGus

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BrewCityMusic said:
This question isn't as easy to answer as one would assume ... There is (and always has been) a distinct difference between cheap "Chinese" laser pointers and quality handhelds marketed by more reputable companies such as Laserglow and Optotronics, both quality and price-wise. While it is true that the prices have gone WAY down on the Chinese "budget lasers ($0.50/mW greens are everywhere these days), the manufacturing costs of quality, consistant and well-built lasers from manufacturers such as CNI, etc is still a relatively complicated and expensive proposition, and as a rule of thumb, this is the type of manufacturer the "Good" laser companies rely on.
The way you say "chinese" laser kind of bugs me. Even the 'super high quality lasers frmo opto and laserglow' that you speak of are from china. They way you are saying it makes it seem like everything from china is cheap crap and doesn't meet specs. OPTO lasers are from CHINA. Laserglow lasers are from CHINA. It's just like the USA, some of it sucks and some of it is nice. It's the distributors responsibility to ensure that what they are selling meets power specs, so dont blame the country blame the people distributing the products. The reason we get the cheaper distributors in here is because the good stuff is mostly out of everyone's price point. Just because it's from china doesn't mean it's cheap and it sucks. This is the attitude that has pushed away many vendors in the past, almost including susie from o-like.

Every laser that we buy here is a 'budget chinese laser', IMO. There is such a thing as a 'better' budget laser, but even the viasho and cni handhelds are budget lasers. The quality isn't bad, but its not super impressive either. I've taken apart many 'RPLs' and 'aries' and 'x-series', and they are not what I would consider superior quality. They do their job and they are nice and solid and they are priced (directly from the manufacturer) as they should be because a really 'high quality' laser would be much more expensive.

High-quality KTP crystal sets, high-powered C-mount IR diodes, quality hosts, optics, etc as well as stringent quality control has come down just a bit price-wise, but is still very expensive
I tend to think the exact opposite on this. Components are CHEAP, big crystals, nice pumps etc etc can be had at a very good price. The price difference between and QUALITY laser and a cheaper laser is time spent. Time is money. You can take a cheap crappy pen laser and get 200mW out of it pretty easily but the reason they dont put out much power originally is because they are built as fast as possible, which means not taking the time to properly align everything to ensure the highest possible power.

Look at blue lasers, LBO and YAG dont really cost too much more than KTP and yag or YVO4. The difference is that the blue laser needs much more precision alignment and therefore takes much more time to create and perfect, justifying the higher price tag.

Processes have been improving and new technology has allowed them to spend less time perfecting both blue and green lasers which has been bringing down the price.
 
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rocketparrotlet said:
Lasers are definitely dropping in price. I think that in addition to the fact that the high-end companies are trying to get more business, manufacturing of laser parts is becoming less and less expensive as it becomes more mass-produced. If you can produce parts in bulk, and you already have established good from bad, it becomes much cheaper, and therefore, the price drops.

-Mark
While it does not relate to me particularly for lasers...it does for me when you see prices drop over 50% for true sine inverters
the nature of manufacturing inverters is not unlike that of the lasers :p
 




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