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Celestron CGEM vs. Sky-Watcher EQ6-Pro/Atlas EQ-G

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#1 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 02:09 PM

Ok, after having just decided to buy an EQ6-Pro with GPS option to replace the alt-az mount on my 8se, someone pointed me to the new CGEM. My biggest driving factor for the EQ6 over the HEQ5 was to future-proof myself against the likelihood that I'll buy a larger OTA somewhere down the line. Given the similarity in pricing I've found it's worth the little bit extra to get the EQ6, although that weight's a real killer!

Now, looking at the CGEM, it's rated for at least an 11" SCT (although I might still want to go bigger!). I've done a bit of checking and it looks like I can get roughly equivalent setups (CGEM + Celestron GPS vs. EQ6-Pro + GPS) for about the same price delivered. I'd suspect the weight capacity of the CGEM is going to be less than the EQ6-Pro, but Celestron doesn't seem to say. At the same time it also has the advantage of being even a bit lighter than the HEQ5 with an apparently higher weight capacity.

All that in mind, the one thing that's really got me thinking is related to the available soft options vs. the unkowns about the hardware. The EQ6 has obviously had considerable field use that have resulted in excellent reviews. The new CGEM is totally unproven as far as its mechanical components, but would appear to benefit from the more advanced alignment software provided by Celestron. As still somewhat of a novice, I'm afraid I'd miss some of the features of my 8se mount. Granted I'll be using that with my smaller 114EQ reflector while I'm using the 8" SCT for astrophotography, but I just don't want to invest this much on a new mount and regret it later.

I'd welcome any and all opinions, but I need to act pretty quickly if I'm going to change my order!

Beo

#2 AlexDJ30

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 02:24 PM

The CGEm and Atlas has fari know have the same payload, remember synta makes the EQ-6 and too celestron CGEM, so they are comparable. I like more the handcontroll of the Celestron than Atlas (more crude), the CGEm will have the all star aligment (you can pick now any star..thats what it says), something interesting too is that it says you can still photograph tru the meridian (most of the gems cant) while the atlas still will relie on the normal star database to pick your star.

If i was you i would get the CGEM, the only problme is that right now there are any reviews about, just some people doing some beta testing but they arent saying much about the tracking and everything, if you cant wait a little longer until someone gets their hands on the CGEM to see their review, but my feeling is that it would be much better than the atlas in this category, by the way thank God they puit PEC on the CGEM (My CG-5 doesnt have pec)

#3 yg1968

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 02:35 PM

The CGEM looks like an improved Atlas. It has a lot of interesting imaging features. It's a tough call. But either way, you would not be making a mistake.

#4 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 02:37 PM

Dear Alex:

Thanks. My biggest concern is that the great price I've found on the EQ6-Pro might go away. But yeah, the "through meridian" tracking and the new star alignment option for polar alignment were a couple of the things that I really liked about the CGEM! Note that I've been trying something like that lately with my 8se wedge setup when I haven't had clear view of Polaris, by using the wedge adjustments to get the first star centered before proceeding with an auto-align. Gets me in the ballpark anyway...

If I could find some confirmation of the weight handling capacity of the CGEM, that and its lighter weight might just be enough to tip the balance in its favor, even without much more market review.

Beo

#5 yg1968

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 02:42 PM

I believe that it is also 40 pounds, see this thread:

CGEM Thread

#6 AlexDJ30

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 02:43 PM

well it says 40 lbs, same like atlas (hey it can handle a C-11 thats a lot), just look it this way, the CGEM is an atlas in disguise with quiet different look, some 2 or 3 more options (all star aligment, photo tru meridian) but essentially i think its the same only with the celstorn blows and whistles.

I would ge the CGEM, by the way the CGEM have servo motors (better) than atlas (stepp motors). The price unless the atlas is around 1200 dls or less i would get the CGEM (1,399 new mount only)

#7 yg1968

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 02:47 PM

It looks like an improved Atlas for the following reasons:

1- Losmandy D-type dovetail
2- The alt-az knobs look better than the Atlas

However, both of these problems can be fixed on the Atlas by getting improved knobs by UK Astrodevelopments and an ADM Accessory Losmandy Saddle for the EQ-G. However, the Atlas has EQMOD (the CGEM does not).

http://www.astrodevelopments.co.uk/

http://www.admaccess...UAL-SAD-EQG.htm

#8 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 03:00 PM

YG,

That's another possible cost adder. How does the Losmandy dovetail compare to the Vixen style that is currently on my 8se? I should be able to mount my 8se straight to the EQ6 (and it comes with a dovetail bar as well, which I may find useful for mounting my 114EQ to the Nextar mount).

Other differences listed include the missing polar finder scope, although if the new alignment method works that may not be missed (comments on the other mentioned thread indicate that for good astrophotography you still have to drift align!).

Beo

#9 yg1968

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 03:06 PM

The Losmandy system is better. But the 8SE is only 12 pounds. So you are probably OK with the Vixen rail. ADM Accessory also makes an adapter that allows Losmandy mounts to accept a vixen rail (should you go with the CGEM).

But as said, some people love the EQMOD software/driver so much that they would not consider the CGEM simply for that reason.

#10 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 03:06 PM

Well, basically I can get either one with the GPS option delivered for the same price within a few $$ (that's saying quite a bit given the additional price of the Celestron GPS). So price isn't the issue. Features, quality, compatibility, etc. are. Given how disappointed I am with the mechanics of my 8se mount and a few of my other Celestron accessories, I'm not 100% sure I want to risk it on the new mount. But there are some really nice new features in the CGEM if it can hold the same weight and otherwise the quality is expected to be the same. Going with Celestron would also let me use the GPS on the 8se mount too, which would be a bit of a bonus.

BTW, where'd you find the weight rating?

Beo

#11 yg1968

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 03:09 PM

From the other thread. I think they got from the OPT website.

#12 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 03:09 PM

Yeah, I'm off to look into the EQMOD software now. Given that I don't ever expect to be out without my laptop, that may be a good option.

Beo

#13 mclewis1

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 04:23 PM

CGEM doesn't have to use a polar scope ... like the CG5/CGE there is a polar alignment utility so you also won't have to do drift alignment unless your really hyper critical and doing long focal length imaging (see the CGE threads on this issue). I'd also save my pennies and not bother with the GPS unit ... IMHO it's just not worth the money. A Google earth Lat/long fix and the time off of your cell phone and you'll be fine.

The CGEM is a gamble since it hasn't been shipped yet. It appears that some of the mechanics are somewhat improved on this mount over the Atlas (lat and azimuth adjustment knobs) and the Losmandy D type saddle. The Celestron HC is a big step up over the Atlas/EQ-6, and there are a lot more folks using the Celestron. Simpler software to control the whole thing too. Celestron supplies NexRemote (HC emulator) or you can use ASCOM (driver) and virtually any other scope control program.

Most other things are the same between the mounts, you won't go wrong with either (unless Celestron screws up the execution of the CGEM).

I think you should still consider a used CG5 or the like to get to know a gem and polish up on your dso imaging skills. Then you should still be able to sell the smaller gem for close to what you paid for it and purchase the larger heavier gem. Don't underestimate the issue of weight. A scope/mount that becomes too much of a burden to take out most nights won't be a good investment. In that case you would be much better off going with a smaller scope and lighter mount since it's the experience that is the most valuable resource, not the technology.

#14 yg1968

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 04:52 PM

I don't know about the CGEM. But the Atlas is not that heavy. It's better to carry in in 2 trips: the tripod is one trip (17 pounds) and then the mount is another trip (around 35 pounds).

#15 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 11:23 PM

Well, I canceled my order for the EQ6-Pro util the CGEM comes out and we can get a few reviews. Also, the dealer I was buying from indicated that Sky-Watcher is preparing to release an MEQ6 that he thinks is their version of the CGEM.

Beo

#16 Tapio

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 10:50 AM

I dont remember having to worry going past the meridian with EQ6 Pro or HEQ5 Pro.

#17 yg1968

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:05 AM

The Atlas, EQ-6 Pro, HEQ5 don't have any issues going past the meridian. They will actually track well past the meridian.

The issue is when you are doing long-exposure imaging, some people want to be able to track past the meridian before doing the meridian flip. EQMOD allows you to do a meridian flip at a time that you choose. The CGEM has a similar feature built-in the HC. So it's a kind of a tie on this issue.

The CGE has a feature that will make the tracking stop at the meridian (I imagine that you only need to press on the object again on the Hand Controller and the mount will flip and then recenter the object on the other side of the meridian). So the CGEM has improved features over the CGE in that sense. Although, I would hope that Celestron will offer a firmware upgrade for CGE owners that will also offer a similar feature. I would also hope that this feature would be added to the EQ-6 by Synta in a future firmware revision. But in both cases this is pure speculation on my part.

#18 yg1968

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:30 AM

Another differnce is that the CGEM has servo motors and the Atlas has steppers motors:

http://tech.groups.y...D/message/13937

#19 LLEEGE

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:48 AM

The CGE has a feature that will make the tracking stop at the meridian

Yeah. They are called "Hard Stops". They are actually micro switches that stop the mount from tracking a few degrees past the meridian.
I just ordered the CGEM so I can evaluate it compared to my LXD75 and my previously owned CGE. I will post a full report once it arrives and put it to use.

#20 yg1968

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:59 AM

Also, the dealer I was buying from indicated that Sky-Watcher is preparing to release an MEQ6 that he thinks is their version of the CGEM.


You probably mean the NEQ6. It's already available in Europe. It has a larger counter weight shaft and a Losmandy D-type saddle but other than it appears very similar to the EQ6.

#21 jrcrilly

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 12:10 PM

I would hope that Celestron will offer a firmware upgrade for CGE owners that will also offer a similar feature.


It would require hardware changes; there's a hard stop on the CGE. Other mounts stop tracking not far past meridian strictly through the firmware, such as the Paramount and the LXD750. It's a safety feature appreciated by some of us who operate remotely.

#22 AlienRatDog

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 12:23 PM

You know one thing these mounts really need is a better tripod. I was looking at an Atlas the other day and wow, its one heck of an EQ head, rock stable, but the tripod looked out of proportion. They honestly should have 2.5" diameter legs with the lower portion being 2" (any thicker would be a pain to carry around).

#23 Robert Babb

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 03:34 PM

What is EQMOD?
I just got an NEQ6 for Christmas.
No chance to try it out yet.
It does not accept the Losmandy rail but Skywatcher tells me they will have a mod for that in January

RB

#24 celestial_search

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 04:33 PM

Freeware software to control EQ-6 and similar mounts via a laptop (without the need for a hand controller). Can use with free (and commercial) planateriam programs.

See http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/
There is also an active Yahoo group for EQMOD.

#25 AlexN

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 06:07 PM

EQMOD is the reason to buy an Atlas EQ-6 / Skywatcher EQ6 over the CGEM...
Any fancy feature the CGEM has, the Atlas/EQ6 has 10 fold in EQMOD...

Once you've got a few ADM bits and pieces, and maybe the Telescope Stability Systems Counterweight shaft, the EQ6/EQ-G is very capable of holding a C11 for guided astrophotography...






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