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Mach1 Over Kill

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#1 JumboFlex

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 03:14 AM

Hi.

I got the notification. Now I am wondering if a Mach1 GTO is simply over kill for my needs. Am a visual observer with a 4" refractor who might go up to 5 or so inches but nothing larger to mount on the Mach1 (if I am gonna go bigger Im gonna go Dob). I dont plan on doing imaging for a number of reasons and I generally prefer simpler mounts (alt az) over GEMs. However, I would like the ability to track and goto with a mount that is solid. Plus I am one of the crazies that will go out and actually observe in the negative degrees of winter that the Mach1 and its electronics can tolerate.

I signed up for it as it exceeded what I wanted in a mount at the time, but now that its within reach I feel somewhat guilty for perhaps purchasing such a mount for only visual use when its seems so obviously directed towards what some may consider "higher end" use. Its not a question of money but it just feels like I might be buying a Ferrari just to drive to the post office and back, but still, its a Ferrari...

Am I crazy? I still got some time to think about it. On the flip side, if I didnt go for it I might be kicking myself later. Shouldnt I be happy that I got through one of APs waiting lists and can actually afford the thing I was waiting for? This should be a no brainer yes/no?

I welcome any thoughts, comments, derisive laughter, etc.

JFlex

#2 Eric P

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 04:18 AM

IMO it is overkill for a visual observer.

#3 Paul G

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:23 AM

A lot of Mach1GTO owners are strictly visual. You don't need to be an imager to appreciate a mount that is portable, well built, needs no tinkering, is extremely stable and accurate, has a versatile and easy to use hand controller, and gives you the flexibility to go to a larger scope or image in the future if your needs or desires change. You can set up in the evening before dark and do a quick daytime polar alignment and be ready to go as soon as it is dark enough to observe.

Mach1GTO on AP wooden tripod

#4 nik hodges

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:35 AM

probably is overkill for your current use but if you have the funds i would go for it, they are beautiful mounts and if you ever get the imaging bug your good to go :cool:

#5 Charlie Hein

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 06:13 AM

I wouldn't stress over it... you wanted to get a quality mount and there are darn few if any that are better than AP. Think of it as if you were buying a car - most folks who can afford a Mercedes aren't going to get buyers remorse and get a Hyundai instead, even though the Hyundai is now a very reliable automobile and the Mercedes is clearly overkill by comparison.

Another way to look at this is that unless you decide to build an observatory or start lugging realy big scopes out, once you buy the Mach1 you are probably done as far as mounts are concerned - it could easily be the last mount you'll need to buy.

#6 Doug D.

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 06:35 AM

If you aren't certain and err on the side of passing it up - just get right back on the list. There is/will be a wait for the mount but I think it is going to get even shorter - if you decide you made a mistake, I'll bet your name might come up again in 18 months or so.... not so bad, IMO. I turned down a Mach 1 about 2 years ago I think, and I've now got one scheduled to arrive from A-P this month. I survived my initial disappointment and now I'm really ready for it!

As for the overkill issue for visual - I agree with Paul and the other recent posts.

Paul - is that your own mount? It looks like a pro stock photo that I haven't seen before. I really like the add on tray arrangement and the Baader tripod. What a great visual set-up.

#7 RAKing

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 06:51 AM

A lot of Mach1GTO owners are strictly visual. You don't need to be an imager to appreciate a mount that is portable, well built, needs no tinkering, is extremely stable and accurate, has a versatile and easy to use hand controller, and gives you the flexibility to go to a larger scope or image in the future if your needs or desires change.


Paul describes my situation perfectly. :bow: :bow: :lol:

I used to do film A-P, but got frustrated and quit. I came back to astronomy as a visual observer, but I appreciate quality and put my name on the list. I was also forced to pass the first time around, but not this time.

Like Doug says, if you decide to pass just get back on the list. My chance came up again and this time I said "Yes". I still think the Mach1 is the perfect solution for a solid, yet lightweight, accurate mount. It can carry any scope I can carry - and like Charlie says, I expect it to be the last mount I have to buy. :)

Best of luck with your decision,

Ron

#8 t.r.

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:48 AM

I have been a visual observer for over thirty years. I put my money into quality optics, eyepieces and accessories. We tend to forget about the many accessories. Yes, a scope is only as good as its mount to a degree, but for visual on a 4" or 5" inch scope, a Mach 1 is overkill IMHO. Put that money into a good comparison mount(G-8, CGEM,CGE, TAK) and have the additional funds left over for any accessory you might desire! There are many facets beyond imaging in the hobby that are worth a try. The high end mounts are intended for imaging and you pay for that level of quality...

#9 LLEEGE

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 08:59 AM

I have been a visual observer for over thirty years. I put my money into quality optics, eyepieces and accessories. We tend to forget about the many accessories. Yes, a scope is only as good as its mount to a degree, but for visual on a 4" or 5" inch scope, a Mach 1 is overkill IMHO. Put that money into a good comparison mount(G-8, CGEM,CGE, TAK) and have the additional funds left over for any accessory you might desire! There are many facets beyond imaging in the hobby that are worth a try. The high end mounts are intended for imaging and you pay for that level of quality...

Good advice. There are many other good choices for a visual mount that will be MUCH cheaper.

#10 NHRob

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 10:51 AM

Hey Tim,
How do you like that CGEM?

Rob

#11 t.r.

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 12:24 PM

Ordered the 1st week of March...still enroute! :lol: I do believe it would be fine for your TEC140. I bounced back and forth between it and the CGE. I think it was Fred at Astronomics said I wouldn't need the CGE for the C11 and for visual the CGEM would fit the bill nicely...

#12 RAKing

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 12:32 PM

Ordered the 1st week of March...still enroute! :lol: I do believe it would be fine for your TEC140. I bounced back and forth between it and the CGE. I think it was Fred at Astronomics said I wouldn't need the CGE for the C11 and for visual the CGEM would fit the bill nicely...


I was very impressed with the CGEM I saw at NEAF. It reminded some of us of the Atlas and should do fine with your C11.

Back OT - to the OP: If you decide to pass on the Mach1, the Atlas or CGEM would be close matches for capacity and the GM-8 would be a close match for machined quality, IMHO.

Ron

#13 Paul G

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 01:29 PM

I have been a visual observer for over thirty years. I put my money into quality optics, eyepieces and accessories. We tend to forget about the many accessories. Yes, a scope is only as good as its mount to a degree, but for visual on a 4" or 5" inch scope, a Mach 1 is overkill IMHO. Put that money into a good comparison mount(G-8, CGEM,CGE, TAK) and have the additional funds left over for any accessory you might desire! There are many facets beyond imaging in the hobby that are worth a try. The high end mounts are intended for imaging and you pay for that level of quality...


You also pay for reliability and after sales service. Something the Mach1 won't give you that the CGEM will:

CGME love

;)

#14 t.r.

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 01:37 PM

And to some that is certainly worth the $ but for me, I'm okay with a new products glitches and having to "fine tune" its performance to my needs. They are crude and a work in progress, I accept that and save the other $5000+ dollars for other things...YMMV.

#15 skyward_eyes

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 02:12 PM

Dont feel guilty at all. You would be getting a very stable and high quality mount for ANY use. You may only use a 5" refractor now but you will have a mount ready for much larger scope if you ever change your mind.

Buy what you feel will do the job you are asking.

#16 Paul G

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 02:51 PM

Paul - is that your own mount? It looks like a pro stock photo that I haven't seen before. I really like the add on tray arrangement and the Baader tripod. What a great visual set-up.


Thanks! It's mine, all tricked out with accessory trays and control box holder:

http://photo.net/pho...older_id=795115

#17 Doug D.

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 02:59 PM

Paul - how do you like the Baader tripod? I'm driving myself nuts trying to decide on a set of legs for my Mach 1. I have a pier on order for imaging (PWT Pinnacle) but I sure would like something more portable and adjustable for visual with my Traveler. Yours sure looks nice and practical with those trays attached. Very professional looking photos by the way!

Sorry - don't mean to hijack the thread. I'm fine with a PM response....

#18 Paul G

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:11 PM

Doug,

I really like the AP/Baader wood tripod, use it primarily with the Traveler and the 130 f6 for visual. It will carry the 155 f7 and the 10" mak as well when I don't feel like hauling out a bigger mount, again I don't do imaging (burned out in the old days with hypered tech pan).

The only thing I don't like about the wooden tripod is the tray/spreader. I replaced it with the Lapides folding spreader, beautifully designed and machined, allows the tripod to fold down completely.

http://www.astro-nut...-tripod-mod.jpg

#19 JumboFlex

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:23 PM

Thanks all for your posts. The views expressed have helped.

I could buy a "lesser" mount, put money elsewhere into the hobby, but the things is I kinda have everything else EP, telescope, accessory wise that I actually want (although one could always buy more EPs) so the mount is the last step to round it out. It would be a mount meant for long term use and I do think that if I made the purchase I would be happy in that I cant really do much better within its capability range.

Thinking about it more I do appreciate a well thought out product and have based a lot of my previous gear decisions on reliability, quality of manufacture and reputation of the company involved - cant really go wrong with AP there. Also, in a somewhat reversed view from t.r., I am not interested in having to tinker much, I accept a basic amount of maintenance and set up time, but I am not interested in having to fine tune a product to meet my needs when something else might be available "out of the box" that can. The same job that allows me to be able to afford a Mach1 doesnt always allow me the time to view the sky as much as I would like and I would like those times to be as trouble free as possible.

So basically I have decided to go for it, now I am stuck in somewhat the same position as Doug D in that I have to figure out if I want a tripod or pier or just want to hire a couple of guys to hold the equatorial head steady.

Not to hijack the thread; although, I think I can since Im the OP, what are people using for legs for the Mach1. Im leaning towards the wood tripod but the Eagle portable pier seems nice. Ive never really used piers and am wondering about the portability and set up, the AP ones do seem rather amenable to transport and easy setup.

Once again, thank you all for your comments, they actually did help.

JF

#20 RAKing

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:34 PM

The Eagle is awesome and I wish I had one. :cool:

I've been using the A-P Portable Piers for a couple years and they are incredibly solid for their weight. They are also fairly easy to break down and transport if you must.

Ron

#21 pubquiz

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:50 PM

Paul G.

' You also pay for reliability and after sales service. Something the Mach1 won't give you that the CGEM will:

Is the after sales and reliability on the Mach 1 not so good then compared to Celestron? I would have thought AP were good on aftersales but have no idea ...it's just for future reference.

Tom

#22 Paul G

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:02 PM

Paul G.

' You also pay for reliability and after sales service. Something the Mach1 won't give you that the CGEM will:

Is the after sales and reliability on the Mach 1 not so good then compared to Celestron? I would have thought AP were good on aftersales but have no idea ...it's just for future reference.

Tom


Sorry I wasn't clear. The second sentence refers to the following link, not to the previous sentence.

AP is superb on after sales service. You don't wind up with threads like the one I linked where someone is waiting for a replacement for his first defective mount, or this one:

Linky link

#23 Doug D.

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:14 PM

So basically I have decided to go for it, now I am stuck in somewhat the same position as Doug D in that I have to figure out if I want a tripod or pier or just want to hire a couple of guys to hold the equatorial head steady.


Great - if ok with you it is ok with me. Lets talk legs. BTW, congratulations on your decision.

I've been thinking a lot about legs for the Mach 1. Here are a few things to think about.

AP/Baader wood tripod: tried and true, good enough for visual and imaging according to Roland and others, probably ideal for scopes like Paul's (Traveler and 130). Advantages include good damping times, relatively light in weight, adjustable to sitting and standing heights and in between. A lot cheaper than Eagle and other quality portable piers. To me, it is a winner for stability and portability.

Eagle: Snazzy looking - looks like it means business. Fully machined and anodized and very steady by all accounts. However, it is heavy and it is wide when folded (more than 12" I think when taking into account legs). It folds up fairly compact lengthwise if the center tube is fully seated at lowest position (only way it fits in its Lightware case - as an aside, you can get this case from B&H for a lot less). If you have any of the brackets attached for accessories, they would need to be removed if you want to seat the tube at lowest position (unless use use it only in seated position). It takes a while to figure it all out but another advantage is the accessories - lots of them. Not as adjustable obviously, as the wood tripod, more limitations in height. Some of the height can come from drawing legs inward (less spread) and therefore, theoretically less stable in this stance. Nice 8" extension available but again another thing to carry. If you are primarily imaging there is a lot to be said for the Eagle. A lot pricier than tripod but obviously well made and probably well worth it. Some love the looks - I like the looks but feel so-so about the big "AP" carved into the legs. But if you got it, flaunt it I guess.

There are several fixed height tripods (including APs) but on uneven ground I think leveling can be a challenge but others can chime in here with their opinions.

I have a PWT Pinnacle on order - PWT makes the Monolith. It is a very nicely engineered and fully machined adjustable pier available in fixed height (with extension) or manual/motorized adjustable versions (actually more pictures and info on Company 7 site than the PWT site). Expensive relative to Eagle and esp. AP wood tripod. It is supposedly rock solid with very impressive weight capacity. Available in 7, 10 and 12" versions and at various heights. Long wait times. One really nice feature is the "full index adapter" at top to which mount is attached. It is rotatable and has built in compass and spirit levels. The Pinnacle is a real looker too - if that is important to you. You won't be fitting it easily into a carrying bag and if you order one of the higher length versions just make sure it will fit in your trunk or back seat when folded! ATS also makes a very well regarded portable pier.

I own a Berlebach UNI24, which I think is probably on the same scale of quality and rigidity as the AP/Baader tripod but I can't easily adapt the 6" mount platform for the ADATRI adapter. So, I've also been looking at the Berlebach Planet, which costs about the same as the AP/Baader but it is has more than a 200 lb capacity !! Berlebach makes beautiful wood tripods. The Planet is pretty heavy though (24lbs I think).

A lot of people using the Mach 1 swear by the Losmandy G11 tripod as the best and most reasonably priced option. This is certainly a good option to consider.

Well - that should get us started. Lots of other options out there but I am a very firm believer that the very last thing to skimp on here is the legs. If you are going to get a Mach 1 it would be silly, IMO, to go for less than at least the G11 or Baader tripods.

But bear in mind - I don't yet have any of my "recommendations" so I probably don't know what I'm talking about. ....but why should I let that stop me, LOL.

Doug

#24 Paul G

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:25 PM

And to some that is certainly worth the $ but for me, I'm okay with a new products glitches and having to "fine tune" its performance to my needs. They are crude and a work in progress, I accept that and save the other $5000+ dollars for other things...YMMV.


Nothing wrong with that approach. Some people love to tinker and tweak, but I'm not good at either. Like Clint Eastwood said in a movie, a man's gotta know his limitations, and I know mine. :) Fortunately my job allows me to get nice toys, unfortunately it leaves me little time to play with them so I want to maximize my time observing. Next time around I'm going for a 40 hour work week and a C-8 in Arizona! :crazy:

#25 mnaf

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 12:20 AM

Count me for the G11 HD tripod.
I've got a Losmandy HD (G11) tripod boxed in storage waiting for the Mach1GTO to arrive. Picked it up second hand. I spent a ton of time researching the topic and found that the HD is best for my needs - keeps price down (vs. Eagle), adjustable legs for all terrain (vs. AP's solid portable pier), and it's really, really stable (vs. AP's wood tripod, which is stable - but less than the HD).

The only (slight) downside I could think of at the time was transportability - it seemed a bit cumbersome.
But then I found this link for a do-it-yourself G11 HD tripod case and now the transportability is a non-issue. :)

Your needs/budget/etc. may be different and your research might lead you a different solution.

Just my 2 cents.






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