Jump to content


Photo

Is CGE Worth Twice The Price Of The Orion Atlas?

  • Please log in to reply
28 replies to this topic

#1 Jeff55

Jeff55

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 564
  • Joined: 14 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Boston MA

Posted 19 September 2008 - 09:10 AM

Is the quality of components and fit and finish that much higher in the Celestron CGE...be curious to hear opinions.

#2 mclewis1

mclewis1

    Thread Killer

  • ****-
  • Posts: 10875
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006
  • Loc: New Brunswick, Canada

Posted 19 September 2008 - 09:30 AM

Heavier and larger bearings, heavier tripod, larger motors, larger worm and spur gear, larger saddle, larger diameter counterweight shaft. Mount capacity is 65lbs vs 40 for the Atlas/EQ-6. That is what you are paying for. Fit and finish? Well I can't see any difference in the dark.

#3 Eddgie

Eddgie

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12647
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2006

Posted 19 September 2008 - 09:50 AM

Have owned both.. Like the packageing of the Atlas in some ways, hated it in others.

I thought that the Atlas "Fit and Finish" was nice. It is a much different design approach than the CGE though, so it makes comparisons quite difficult.

The CGE is intended for heavier loads, so most of the components are heavier duty in nature.

I owned a Generation 1 Atlas Go-To, and it was abundantly clear that the Celestron had far more refined software than the Atlas had (though I am sure that the gap has closed in later versions). But to me, "Fit and Finish" today also means things like the code under the covers.

So, a very difficult comparison to make because the Atlas design is packaged so differently. Even the dovetail arrangement defies comparison....

Having owned both, I can say that I vastly prefer the CGE though.

#4 jrcrilly

jrcrilly

    Refractor wienie no more

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 33791
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2003
  • Loc: NE Ohio

Posted 19 September 2008 - 11:56 AM

Is the quality of components and fit and finish that much higher in the Celestron CGE...be curious to hear opinions.


Having owned both, I'd say yes.

#5 Eddgie

Eddgie

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12647
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2006

Posted 19 September 2008 - 04:22 PM

And as to the question if it is worth twice the price, well, here is an analogy..

Suppose you want to transport an 8 Lb Cow Patty. Do you spend $1 dollar on a 5 lb carry weight bag, or $2 on a 10 Lb carry weight bag?

Most of us would Of course you will get the 10 Lb capacity bag...

So, if you have a telescope that won't hold still on an Atlas, then suddenly, the CGE doesn't seem all that expensive, does it?

#6 Steve Fisher

Steve Fisher

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2806
  • Joined: 12 Aug 2006
  • Loc: Utah

Posted 19 September 2008 - 10:22 PM

Since I currently own both of the mounts you mention, I'll answer you with my take on it.

First of all though you should know that I am purely a visual observer. No cameras no video.

The EQ-6 Pro (Atlas) is the perfect mount for my FLT 132. While it is a heavy mount and tripod it is quite portable, well priced and delivers deadly accurate goto's when properly aligned.

It would be overkill to insist on a CGE for this scope. It would simply be "overmounted".

Attached Files



#7 Steve Fisher

Steve Fisher

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2806
  • Joined: 12 Aug 2006
  • Loc: Utah

Posted 19 September 2008 - 10:30 PM

On the other hand, if you want to mount a 6" f/12 you would not want to mount it on an Atlas. I tried, just for fun. It could hardly be controlled. It is simply undermounted and you would have to sell the Atlas and move up.

Honestly the CGE does not handle the 6" as well as I would like. More work to come.

So in my opinion, the CGE MAY be worth double the price. I bought my EQ6-Pro new and the CGE used for about 140% of the price of the Atlas. Both are currently serving their purpose.

If you want to talk about AP that is probably where the biggest difference is. (at least that would be my guess)

Attached Files



#8 jay52

jay52

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2514
  • Joined: 26 Sep 2004

Posted 19 September 2008 - 11:28 PM

Yes.

#9 LarsZ

LarsZ

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 213
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Sweden

Posted 20 September 2008 - 06:44 AM

I have a new CGE and last years model of the Atlas and use them only for imaging with a SCT. The total load I use on mount is about 13 kg.
The Atlas uncorrected PE out-of-the-box was 3 times as much as the CGE, but when using an autoguider camera, it's hard to see much difference on the PE-curves or the photos since the guider camera seems to have no problems with the Atlas PE-curve. The CGE gives a very slightly better performance and is not so sensitive to balance with this load.
I do prefer Celestrons software compared to the Atlas and the quality of the CGE feels better in my opinion.
So to answer your question: Is it worth twice the money?
For me no. Not with my set-up.
With a heavier or bulkier set-up? Probably yes.
/Lars

#10 David Pavlich

David Pavlich

    Transmographied

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 27482
  • Joined: 18 May 2005
  • Loc: Mandeville, LA USA

Posted 20 September 2008 - 08:17 AM

With a light load and an autoguider for imaging, the Atlas is fine. Get the load around 45lbs, then the CGE is worth double the money. I've imaged with 70lbs on my CGE, but that's nothing compared to our own Jerry Wise who is our resident CGE torturer. I'm sure he'll post a picture or two of his CGE under load. :jawdrop:

David

#11 Eddgie

Eddgie

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12647
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2006

Posted 20 September 2008 - 12:03 PM

I went to a Meade LXD 750 for my 6" f/8. I think that it might be a great value choice for your 6". If you are purely a visual observer and don't care about PE (which I think is maybe not as good as more modern mounts) the LXD is a big, stable mount.

I also put a 6" scope (Meade 152ED) and it was Ok, but not reallly OK.. I lived with it because I bought the mount for the scope, but in the end, I realized that it just wasn't enough mount.

The LXD 750s turn up used for as little as $1700.

I have to confess that I like mine so much that I even considerd getting a second on for my C14... But in the end, the CGE WORKS for the C14, and I decided to leave well enough alone..

But consider an LXD 750 for your scope.. It was built to hold a 7" f/9 refractor, and is probably about as good a mount as you can find for your long tube...

Regards.

#12 rmollise

rmollise

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15554
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2007

Posted 20 September 2008 - 07:35 PM

Is the quality of components and fit and finish that much higher in the Celestron CGE...be curious to hear opinions.


Yep. Combine the much better HC firmware, considerably more robust tripod, better bearings and gears, and, yeah, it may be worth the extra moola. OTOH, the current Atlas is just SWEET; particularly when coupled with EQMOD. Depends on your requirements. If you are gonna be imaging with long/heavy OTAs, get the CGE.

#13 JerryWise

JerryWise

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9545
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2003
  • Loc: Lexington, SC

Posted 20 September 2008 - 07:39 PM

For David.....

Never had an Atlas but sure had a lot of fun with a CGE. That mount can take a load. Here are the questions I've gone through:

1: Is a CGE worth as much as my fork mounted C8 Celestron and 6 times my CG-5 Answer = Yes
2: Is a Tak NJP worth twice the CGE. For astrophotography = yes. Visual = no.
3: Is an AP-1200 worth 3 times a CGE. Astrophotography = Yes, Visual = Yes

The biggest thing I learned going through all these mounts? None of them work worth of toot for Astrophotography if you don't drift align them. Well, maybe the Tak with it's fantastic polar scope. Would I get another CGE.... shoot yes. Great mount for the money and about the cheapest way you can "get in the game" for some serious photography.

I wouldn't try some of these loads with an Atlas:

Attached Files



#14 David Pavlich

David Pavlich

    Transmographied

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 27482
  • Joined: 18 May 2005
  • Loc: Mandeville, LA USA

Posted 21 September 2008 - 01:43 PM

For David.....

Never had an Atlas but sure had a lot of fun with a CGE. That mount can take a load. Here are the questions I've gone through:

1: Is a CGE worth as much as my fork mounted C8 Celestron and 6 times my CG-5 Answer = Yes
2: Is a Tak NJP worth twice the CGE. For astrophotography = yes. Visual = no.
3: Is an AP-1200 worth 3 times a CGE. Astrophotography = Yes, Visual = Yes

The biggest thing I learned going through all these mounts? None of them work worth of toot for Astrophotography if you don't drift align them. Well, maybe the Tak with it's fantastic polar scope. Would I get another CGE.... shoot yes. Great mount for the money and about the cheapest way you can "get in the game" for some serious photography.

I wouldn't try some of these loads with an Atlas:


My hero! :bow: Jerry's analysis is spot on. It's all in what you can afford, but the top line mounts are worth every penny if you're plan is to do some serious imaging. Getting something like an AP900 or an MI250 and putting, say, a Televue 127is and an 80mm TMB triplet may sound like overmounting, but with this setup, you have a seriously nice combination AND if you ever decide to replace one of the refractors with something like a VMC260L :grin: you have all the spare capacity needed.

David

#15 jay52

jay52

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2514
  • Joined: 26 Sep 2004

Posted 21 September 2008 - 02:04 PM

Couldn't have said it better myself, Jerry!

#16 DavidW

DavidW

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 112
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Alberta, Canada

Posted 21 September 2008 - 06:44 PM

Could you people, who have used a few of the mounts being discussed, comment on the 'ease' of drift aligning regarding each mount?

Where I'm coming from on this is this, I have an EQ6 Pro and other than doing the simulator at Pete's website haven't actually tried a dift align but from just doing the polar align I get the impression that the altitude bolts on the EQ6 and the way they meet the 'pressure bar' is going to make things difficult. I'm not sure how it would be done on these mounts mentioned so far, I was looking at a G-11 on the website which looks like it uses a dial knob for altitude and was thinking that might be easier.

Thanks in advance,
Another Dave

#17 Bowmoreman

Bowmoreman

    Clear enough skies

  • *****
  • Posts: 9162
  • Joined: 11 Sep 2006
  • Loc: Bolton, MA

Posted 22 September 2008 - 09:40 AM

I find doing polar (whether drifting), or just general polar cause I've been an idiot and bumped things out, etc... of the CGE to be quite easy.

I think it was David Pavlich (yet another, another Dave) that suggested to me to use a 1/4" small ratchet for both Alt and Az.

I also use replacement knob/bolts (I think originally from McMaster Carr? - that I got from Dave) for the altitude lock bolts.

You MUST loosen these (one on each side) before adjusting Altitude!!!

Anyways, I bought 2 1/4" socket/hex sets, one for the Alt adjust, the other for the Az adjust.

That way in the dark, while watching, all I have to do is push (or pull) on the socket wrench handle just a smidge. (Its way easier in the dark than trying to find, and fumble, with an allen wrench!.

A great combo/idea that I can't take credit for...

(from yet ANOTHER "Dave W") ;)

clear enough skies

#18 blueman

blueman

    Photon Catcher

  • *****
  • Posts: 5365
  • Joined: 20 Jul 2007
  • Loc: California

Posted 22 September 2008 - 01:27 PM

I use the "Polar Alignment Correction" routine that is programmed into the Genini on the G-11 after doing a regular polar alignment with the polar scope and then a 3 star alignment and it does a pretty good job of the Polar Alignment, without drift aligning. If I feel the need I repeat the process a second time and it makes it 2x more accurate. This takes only a couple of minutes to perform each time. So, I do not have too much time invested in the Polar alignment. I have yet to drift align and with guiding my pictures come out quite nicely. :D
However, if you wish to drift align, the G-11 knobs make it pretty easy to do.
Blueman

Attached Files



#19 Ed B

Ed B

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 44
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Geneva, Illinois, USA

Posted 22 September 2008 - 01:44 PM

Let me chime in on the post. The drift alignment is a snap with a program called WCS ( http://wcs.ruthner.at/index-en.php ). You point the scope on the E/W line and put a star in the middle of the screen. Turn on the acquisition and let it go 5 minutes. You click on a "correction" button and the program tells you where to move the star to with the hand controller and then how far to move it with the mount adjustment. It even tells you how many time to move it over that distance if you are way off. Then you move it to the N/S direction and repeat. Again it will tell you exactly how much you need to move the mount. If I am way off on the first time I usually do the E/W once and then the N/S once. I repeat the cycle one more time and then check for the last time. If I am close when I start (which I am because I use the polar scope to start with) I usually on have to do the cycle once.

I love the program. I couldn't tell you which way to move the mount based on which way the drift is all I have to do is follow the instructions.

I just purchased an Atlas (upgrading from a ASGT) so I just answered the Atlas vs CGE question. To me the comments concerning the CGE being the minimum to get into serious imaging are a little bit of a stretch. I have seen some absolutely high quality images produced using "lower" grade mounts. The big difference to me was the capacity. Yes the CGE has higher weight capacity and if that was the determining factor in image quality I would agree that the CGE is better. We all know that there is more to it than that. The skill of the operator is a much larger factor. I personally did not need the capacity at this time. Since astronomy equipment holds its value exceedingly well (>80%), I don't need that much capacity and my skill is still growing, there was no reason to spend that much money. In addition my imaging targets are wider field where I don't need the super high accuracy.

I bought a used Atlas. If I need to step up in terms of capacity then I can sell the Atlas without taking a huge hit and buy the CGE.

As with most of these things there is never a right or wrong answer. It all depends on money and what you want to do.


Ed
http://www.freewebs.com/stardaddyed/
http://tech.groups.y...m/group/QHYCCD/

#20 David Pavlich

David Pavlich

    Transmographied

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 27482
  • Joined: 18 May 2005
  • Loc: Mandeville, LA USA

Posted 22 September 2008 - 02:54 PM

I find doing polar (whether drifting), or just general polar cause I've been an idiot and bumped things out, etc... of the CGE to be quite easy.

I think it was David Pavlich (yet another, another Dave) that suggested to me to use a 1/4" small ratchet for both Alt and Az.

I also use replacement knob/bolts (I think originally from McMaster Carr? - that I got from Dave) for the altitude lock bolts.

You MUST loosen these (one on each side) before adjusting Altitude!!!

Anyways, I bought 2 1/4" socket/hex sets, one for the Alt adjust, the other for the Az adjust.

That way in the dark, while watching, all I have to do is push (or pull) on the socket wrench handle just a smidge. (Its way easier in the dark than trying to find, and fumble, with an allen wrench!.

A great combo/idea that I can't take credit for...

(from yet ANOTHER "Dave W") ;)

clear enough skies


I can't take credit for the ratchets or the Alt knobs. I believe I got the ratchet idea from Joe, gimme that Giordano's pizza, Cipriano and I know Joe gave me the link to McMaster for the knobs. Changing the grub Alt grub screws to the knobs is one of the single best and simple modifications that can be made to the CGE, by the way.

David

#21 David Pavlich

David Pavlich

    Transmographied

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 27482
  • Joined: 18 May 2005
  • Loc: Mandeville, LA USA

Posted 22 September 2008 - 02:56 PM

I use the "Polar Alignment Correction" routine that is programmed into the Genini on the G-11 after doing a regular polar alignment with the polar scope and then a 3 star alignment and it does a pretty good job of the Polar Alignment, without drift aligning. If I feel the need I repeat the process a second time and it makes it 2x more accurate. This takes only a couple of minutes to perform each time. So, I do not have too much time invested in the Polar alignment. I have yet to drift align and with guiding my pictures come out quite nicely. :D
However, if you wish to drift align, the G-11 knobs make it pretty easy to do.
Blueman


This is similar to doing 3 or 4 iterations of the CGE PA routine. It just gets better with every iteration and plenty good for most imaging situations.

David

#22 astrokido

astrokido

    space wanderer

  • *****
  • Posts: 798
  • Joined: 09 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Phoenix, AZ

Posted 22 September 2008 - 06:02 PM

So which mount will stay in top shape after a couple of years of normal use? That would be nice to know before buying I think.

#23 David Pavlich

David Pavlich

    Transmographied

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 27482
  • Joined: 18 May 2005
  • Loc: Mandeville, LA USA

Posted 22 September 2008 - 06:32 PM

I would think either would do well as long as it isn't abused. If you balance everything well and don't stress the motors and gears, either should last a long time.

David

#24 JerryWise

JerryWise

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9545
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2003
  • Loc: Lexington, SC

Posted 23 September 2008 - 08:18 AM

.... To me the comments concerning the CGE being the minimum to get into serious imaging are a little bit of a stretch. I have seen some absolutely high quality images produced using "lower" grade mounts. The big difference to me was the capacity. Yes the CGE has higher weight capacity and if that was the determining factor in image quality I would agree that the CGE is better. We all know that there is more to it than that. The skill of the operator is a much larger factor. .......


There is a lot more in the question than meets the eye. There are excellent images taken with lower quality mounts. With perfect seeing a CG-5 can take a much better image than an AP-1200 in marginal conditions. You won't find many out of the box lower quality mounts that will track for 5 minutes even with guiding. Some work will get them close. The CGE/G11 size mounts begin to take PE, load, gear mesh and strength to levels needed for imaging. Sort of a quality and construction thing.

But capacity not being the prime factor is absolutely correct. I just mounted up for some visual runs a lower capacity mount. Rated at 45 pounds, it was right at capacity with a big Takahashi FS-152 last night. The wind was high and the little mount worked hard keeping the long refractor on target. On a lark, I did a rough polar align holding the polar scope (I couldn't get the adapter out of my other mount) by hand looking through the axis of the mount. Then put a camera on the FS-152 and did a GOTO to NGC 7331. In the wind with long OTA tube, with rough polar align and first time a camera has been on the mount, this is the image. I didn't autoguide as the exposures were 1 minute.

I've worked for years to get images like this (it's not an easy hobby). Trying to make CGEs and CG-5s consistently perform like these high dollar mounts. This image is nothing special. Point is, almost no work went into it. It's more in the precision and construction as well as attention to detail than load capacity. This is the AP-Mach 1 mount at about twice the cost of a CGE/G11. Is it worth it? If you want that kind of precision, yep.

Attached Files



#25 Patrick

Patrick

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11317
  • Joined: 15 May 2003
  • Loc: Franklin, Ohio

Posted 23 September 2008 - 02:04 PM

Is CGE Worth Twice The Price Of The Orion Atlas?



I think it depends what you're putting on it. It's nice to have gear that's well made, but not all of us can afford it. My recommendation is to match the OTA and the gear riding on it with the mount. Short focal lengths and lighter loads don't require as beefy a mount as when imaging with long focal lengths and heavy gear.

My imaging setup payload is about 24 lbs and I have it on riding on a CG5-GT mount. As long as I get a good polar alignment, I can autoguide accurately for 5 minutes (or longer). I had a Sirius (HEQ5) for a short time and evaluated it to see if it made a difference for imaging with my setup. I had to conclude that for the focal lengths and weight, it was pretty much a wash. If I were going to increase the focal lengths, then yes, I'd probably need a beefier mount, but that's down the road.

I think it's pretty much the same scenario regarding the CGE/Atlas question posed in this thread. It's only worth it if the Atlas doesn't have the capacity to do what you want it to do.

Having said all that, the process developed for imaging is an important part of getting good images and having better gear can make that process a little easier. I think that developing a good process that works consistently is the hardest part of this hobby, and once the process is worked out, it's just a matter of doing the same thing over and over again.

Having less expensive gear can sometimes mean including an extra step in the process, but if it saves a little money, then that's the trade off you pay. If a better piece of gear simplifies the process and can be afforded, then go for it. Otherwise, don't worry about it...use what you have and can afford.

Patrick






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics