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Mounting queries

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#1 Mike C

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 05:35 PM

These days I do something like 5% observing and 95% imaging, and for years I've been pushing my Super Polaris by piggybacking heavy cameras and even heavier lenses.

In about 1995 I decided I should replace the mount with something beefier, but never got around to it. Lately I settled on the Vixen GPD2, but only got as far as purchasing a dovetail plate from ADM for the C8.

From my signature you may see that my need has become more urgent: the Super Polaris will not handle the Meade Apo, (tho' I may try it for first light at least!)

As the GPD2 will probably not be adequate either, I've been considering the Vixen SXD, as I have as certain brand allegience, the EQ 6 Pro or the Losmandy G11.

I'd like goto and the ability to autoguide, which so many imagers regard as essential these days, though I may be able to live without them. I've concluded that only the GPD2 or EQ6 Pro would be within my budget with goto; I can stretch my budget to the G11 without goto, as it has an autoguider socket as standard, but I'm concerned that the weight may put me off setting up.

Rather than ask for random opinions about these mounts, or how they may suit my setup, I'll pose some specific questions:

1. Does the GPD2 with Starbook-S operate from battery only, or can an AC adapter be employed?

2. Would the GPD2 be hopeless for imaging with the Meade anyway? I guess my off-axis guider cannot be used with the refractor, so I'd have to add a guide 'scope. In that case I can answer my own question!

3. Does the EQ 6 Pro have a polar finder, like the Vixen mounts, or does it rely on accurate goto setup before it can autoguide. This brings me to my final query, for the moment, and it's a biggie:

4. I cannot see West at all from my garden. Does this make setting up goto inaccurate or impossible anyway!?

Thanks for any help; I'll probably have more questions in due course, though it may be a couple of months before I finally get the new mount.

Cheers & regards.

#2 LLEEGE

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 05:43 PM

The EQ6 does have a polar scope. Goto's won't be effected by no western exposure. I'm not sure if the Atlas has a calibration routine, but if it does, you should still be able to get a decent star alignment for accurate goto's without western calibration stars. As for the G-11, It really isn't all that heavy. If you get one without Gemini, you could always add it later. The general rule for imaging is to put you money in your mount. Buy once, cry once.

#3 Mike C

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:01 PM

Thanks Lleege.

I've always admired the G11, and heard great things about it. I'm very tempted, but it's difficult to get over the basic model being twice the price of the EQ 6 Pro that has goto as standard. In the UK the G11 is roughly £2000 while the EQ 6 Pro is £950.

The EQ 6 Pro appears to be such a bargain, relatively. Does it have any downsides?

Regards.

#4 jrcrilly

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:07 PM

2. Would the GPD2 be hopeless for imaging with the Meade anyway?


I shouldn't think so. I've owned a couple of GP/DX mounts and an EQ-6, and a few 5" APO refractors. Personally, I'd rather try to image with the 5" plus guidescope on a GPD2 than on an EQ-6. There's more to selecting (or building) a mount than often-inflated weight ratings.

#5 Telescopeman54

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 09:50 PM

There are more successful imagers using the EQ6 than the GP series. Also, with the EQMOD, etc. support groups you will have more help and information than you can stand. It's a much better mount and plays well with computers, autoguiders, etc.

Check out the Yahoo EQ6 Users Group for images and information. You won't be sorry.

Steve

#6 jrcrilly

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 12:04 AM

Your statements imply a lack of experience and familiarity with the gear being discussed. I don't believe in internet arguments but I hate to see people being misinformed by incorrect information on Cloudy Nights. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but you present these curious ideas as though they were fact rather than opinion.

There are more successful imagers using the EQ6 than the GP series.


That seems highly unlikely. Vixens have been highly regarded as imaging platforms for many years. Your source for that?

Also, with the EQMOD, etc. support groups you will have more help and information than you can stand.


I agree that there is much more support and aftermarket fixes for the EQ-6 despite it being much more recently introduced. I proffer my opinion that if this were necessary for the GP series mounts it would be there by now (they've been around far longer, after all).

It's a much better mount


I don't think that anyone who has owned and used both would agree with that statement. They are in entirely different quality and performance classes. That's why the GPD mounts without goto sell for more than the larger, goto-equipped EQ-6. For many years, Synta based its entire mount production on low-cost lookalikes of Vixen mounts. When they wanted to build larger mounts they turned to Takahashi as their inspiration for a new series of lowcost lookalikes. Nobody (including Synta) seriously thinks that either line is comparable to the "real" mounts they mimic, though. That's why they sell for so much less. When Synta acquired Celestron they picked up the much higher-quality (and more expensive) CGE; that's a different story.

and plays well with computers, autoguiders, etc.


Both can - but the Vixens don't require a cottage industry of aftermarket hardware and software to do so. In fact, they are quite usable without external computers.

Check out the Yahoo EQ6 Users Group for images and information. You won't be sorry.


No need. I've belonged to that Yahoo Group since November, 2003. I've been using EQ-6 and GP mounts since well before then. You?

#7 Telescopeman54

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:45 AM

My source; ME! I've used both. I owned an EQ6/Atlas for quite a while AND a GPD2. The Atlas won out when I used my 4" f/15 refractor. The Atlas was able to handle it better than the GPD2. Both were in factory condition and not modified in either way.

Eventually, both mounts became too much to handle and sat idle. I sold them both. I do remember that the Atlas was used far more than the GPD2. I did visual observing and public nights, mostly. I tried some imaging with them, but, never got too far and lost interest.

I still belong to the EQ6 group. I no longer own the Atlas and have just never bothered to drop out from the group. There's still a lot of good info coming out of that group that I find interesting. I have a friend who has one so if I ever DO need one I have access to it.

Just because something costs more does not necessarily mean that it is better! Personally, I don't really care. I just know that I PERSONALLY used the Atlas much more than the GPD2 and that there is a rather mature software system available for it. Also, I see more images presented using the Atlas than the GPD2.

Opinions are like backsides. We all have one and no two are exactly alike!

That's my Schtick and I'm Schticking to it! LOL

Steve

#8 Peds

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 03:27 PM

From my brief experience with the Atlas mount, I have found the weight rating adequate and not over-inflated. It's a pretty sturdy mount and I wouldn't be surprised if it can hold more than the advertised weight when pier mounted.

Simply browsing the imaging section will show that the Atlas (EQ-6) is a very capable and popular mount when it comes to imaging (at least in short/medium focal lengths). It is definitely not a premium mount such as Astro-Physics, however, it doesn't claim to be one.

I cannot comment on the GP/DX or GPD2 mounts as I have no experience with them. I have not seen many images in our forums with them either, but I'm sure there are successful imagers using them. If the polar scopes on the Vixen mounts are the same as the Tak mounts, then they are definitely superior to the EQ6 polar scopes.

Perhaps it would be interesting to know if John C has used a newer EQ6 model or older? I have heard complaints of older models.

P.

#9 Mike C

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:01 PM

Many thanks for all your comments. I think I'll leave my options open for the time being.

It would be great if the GPD2 was up to it, though. After years of using the Super Polaris the GPD2 should be reasonably familiar, and I can still use some SP parts such as the tripod and counterweights.

Can anyone answer the question about powering the GPD2 version of the Starbook: is it really battery only or can an AC adapter be connected?

Thanks and regards.

#10 jrcrilly

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:23 PM

Perhaps it would be interesting to know if John C has used a newer EQ6 model or older? I have heard complaints of older models.


I've used some of both pre-Synscan and post-Synscan models. The best one I personally owned was an early one which had been refitted with a Sky Sensor 2000 (Vixen) drive system. It still didn't perform like a Vixen mount, of course - but it was a step in the right direction. I may rig another one like that some day for portable visual use, but not for imaging.

I'm not saying that one can't image with an EQ-6; I know that some folks do. Heck, we have a fellow here on CN who does terrific work with an LXD55! I shot for years with loads exceeding 50 pounds and optical tubes up to 6 feet long on an LXD750; it's possible to make things work. That doesn't mean that a higher-quality mount wouldn't have worked better. I was making do with what I had.

The specific question that was asked, though, was which of the two mounts would be the better imaging platform for a load within the capabilities of the GPD2. That's the question I answered, based on lots of experience with numerous examples of both. The difference is substantial; far too large to ignore. I still haven't seen any imagers with similar experience dispute that.






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