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EQ5 Mount and Astrophotography

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#1 Lee Diggle

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 10:08 AM

Hi Guys, :bow:

I am new to this forum and would like to say hi and ask my first question.

I spent the last couple of days soaking in all the info but seem to be missing a definitive answer on something.

To that end what are peoples thoughts/opinions and/or experiences on using the EQ5 mount for astronomy and astrophotography.

I plan to use this mount with my existing scope (a 5" Celestron Reflector, as I feel this scope is ok at present but is currently on a very flimsy mount - possibly an EQ1) However in the future I plan to upgrade this to either a skywatcher 150PL or 200P.

So would this mount (with dual axis motor drives) be adequate to either mount my D200 for Prime focus or for a direct mounting of my D200 and appropriate lens for widefield?

Peoples thoughts and opinions will be greatly apprecited.

Thankyou

#2 dpastern

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 11:57 PM

I'd say that the EQ5 should be OK, although I'd tend to go for the EQ5pro variant - better weight capacity. The EQ5Pro (aka Sirius Atlas) can be purchased with either motor drives, or motor drives and GOTO. GOTO is rather nice, as if you do a polar align correctly, then a drift align, it'll make placement of objects in the FOV a doddle. That makes your life easier.

I don't see any problems with using the Nikon @ prime focus either. This mount should handle the weight.

Dave

#3 Lee Diggle

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 02:21 AM

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your comments. Do you have either of these mounts?

#4 RandallK

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 11:52 AM

The SkyWatcher HEQ5-Pro (a.k.a. Sirius) is the mount I'm using. Its total recommended payload excluding counterweights is 30 lbs.

I am using an 8" SCT with a 80mm guidescope, and 8 x 50 finderscope along with a webcam (autoguiding) and an Orion StarShoot CCD and this seems to work fine for me. I wouldn't put any more weight on it though. This payload totals about 22 lbs..just right fo the HEQ-5 Pro.

In Canada it still is selling for around $1,000.00. The motors are very quite until you start "rapid" slewing beyond 6X, then it's only a tad noisy.

I take my mount out from my entry level basement and I can easily take the tripod with the head attached with no difficuty.

The SkyWatcher HEQ6-Pro (Atlas) is another story. It can be done but it's fairly heavy. This is a very sturdy mount and built like a brick "you-know what".

If you are planning to do astrophotography at a later date, I wouldn't put anything more than a 6" or maybe a 7" reflector on the HEQ5-Pro, but an 8" SCT, with its shorter physical length, with all the trimmings, (ie. guidescope, finderscope & camera(s) will do nicely.

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#5 dpastern

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 12:04 AM

Lee,

I have a SkyWatcher EQ6PRO - beefier mount and GOTO. Haven't had the ability to use it that much yet (poor weather, too tired due to work commitments & problems with the OTA/focuser).

From what I've read both here & elsewhere, it's best to have no more than 75% of the load capacity on the mount. So, if it's rated at 30lb, then no more than 22.5lb or thereabouts. If you load the mount to its capacity, you can get tracking problems, which doesn't help with astrophotography etc.

From memory, the EQ5PRO mount is rated at 30lbs. That should be sufficient for your intended setup, but won't give much room for growth. That's why I'd suggest maybe forking out a bit more money and considering the larger/heavier EQ6PRO.

It's heavy, but it's most definitely manageable. I have a bad back and I can manage.

Hope this helps.

Dave

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your comments. Do you have either of these mounts?



#6 Lee Diggle

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 10:00 AM

Thanks guys. This puts me in a dilemma as the EQ5 Pro or even the EQ6 are vastly more expensive than the EQ5 I was looking at. The last thing I want to do is get something which I will replace in 12months time because it doesnt suit my needs!!

Does anyone know what the payload is of the EQ5? i just cannot seem to find it anywhere, not even on the skywatcher website.

TIA

#7 RandallK

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 10:27 AM

From what I understand the EQ5's payload is definitely under 30lbs and may be only 20 but check around on the web. Hence the "H" in the HEQ5-Pro...Heavy Duty/Heavier Load.

#8 Lee Diggle

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 10:32 AM

From what I understand the EQ5's payload is definitely under 30lbs and may be only 20 but check around on the web. Hence the "H" in the HEQ5-Pro...Heavy Duty/Heavier Load.


I wondered what the H stood for in the HEQ5.

From what I can gather I think its about 20lbs, I need to see how heavy my current scope is, and what my camera would weigh as well.

#9 jcrew

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 07:14 PM

I have the Sirius Mount. I love it! It is beefy enough to hold quite a bit yet portable enough for me to carry out of the house and get rolling. It is solidly built and the controller is a breeze to use. It has a nice smooth and quiet slew to it as well (no coffee grinder sounds while slewing). The polar finder scope makes getting a rough polar alignment easy. I would highly recommend this mount. It is a nice 'tweener mount tht can get you going until you are ready to lug out a heavier mount.

As far as payload goes, mine only holds an EON80ed, a ST-80, a CCD cam, and autoguider. Add in the rings a bars and it still handles it.

Good luck...hope we have helped you.

Clear nights,
Brad

#10 dpastern

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 02:50 AM

I believe the capacity on the EQ5 (non heavy duty) is only 22lb. I wouldn't push anymore than 3/4 of that - so around 16lb or so, otherwise it'll strain the mount imho and create tracking errors. Plus, wind shear might become more obvious as the mount is reaching it's capacity limit.

I double checked SkyWatcher's website and it omits the capacity as well. Something as important, and obvious should not be omitted. I've tried EMailing them in the past, they never reply to EMails. That seems to be the experience that I've seen a lot of other users report as well...

Dave

#11 Lee Diggle

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 04:03 AM

thanks Brad, Dave.

I though I might have been missing something on their website!

Ive been looking at First Light Optics as a place to get my mount and tried emailing them but havent had a response to date (its been nearly a week now) and its really frustrating when companies do that!

#12 RogerRZ

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:50 AM

To avoid frustration, regardless of what mount you decide to purchase, I would suggest you do quite a bit of wide field photography before you consider shooting through the scope at prime focus.

The EQ5 mount you mention should be adequate for use with lenses up to about the 300mm range, and still keep most of your shots. For anything much longer than this, you will need an autoguider capable mount, and the extra hassle this brings along...

#13 Lee Diggle

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:40 AM

thanks Roger, I initially though about widefield first and mounting my camera direct to the mount with a lens on it.

Whats the difference between a mount with dual axis motors and autoguider? I was planning to get a dual axis drive with the mount, are they the same thing?

#14 RogerRZ

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 09:56 AM

An autoguider input will permit your guide camera to talk to your drive motors, and make the necessary corrections to the tracking, in order to have the mount track stars perfectly.

#15 Lee Diggle

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 02:10 AM

ah ok, I think I understand that, cheers Roger :)

#16 dpastern

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 09:01 PM

But only if you have the mount accurately polar alignment...otherwise you'll still end up with problematic stars not being points of light and having movement during imaging...

Dave

#17 Lee Diggle

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 01:49 PM

hey guys,

thanks for all the help up until now. Ive been a bit busy lately moving house, hence no replies.

I think I have decided to go for the HEQ5 mount and give the widefield astrophotography a go, presumably I need to get a dovetail mount with a screw thread for the bottom of my camera.

Thanks again for all your help guys.






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