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CGEM/iOptron/Orion Atlas - which one should I buy?

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#1 dhaval

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 06:52 PM

All right,

I just sold my CG5-AGT, now I am in need of a new mount (actually, that was the reason why I sold my CG5)!!

So here is the question - which mount should I buy now?

The ones that I am looking at are CGEM, iOptron IEQ45 or Orion's Atlas.

My requirements are: astro-photography (I don't aspire for the pictures I take to be published anywhere except maybe my desktop and/or on my facebook page!).

I also want a mount that is reasonable to carry around.

I have the following equipment that will be mounted on the mount -

Explore Scientific 127mm doublet (15lbs with the rings, dovetail plate, eyepiece and diagonal and F6.5).

I still don't have a guider, I am guessing if I were to go with the KWIQ guider, I will be adding another couple pounds - not sure what the Orion guider package amounts to?

I might also, at some point, use my Orion 203mm for AP (but that is not for sure), which is 16lbs just by itself (the rings and dovetail plate will add at least 5 more lbs, I am guessing), plus the guider package. I am guessing this one will be pushing any of the above mounts' limits for AP - for visual, I am thinking any of the above mounts should be fine.

I have read the rather long post (not a complain by any means) on IEQ45, but I tend to think that being the first generation, I should stay away from that mount.

The other factor that I want to consider is - with NEAF around the corner, should I wait for another month to see if I can get any discounts?

All your help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Dhaval :roflmao:

#2 nemo129

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 07:33 PM

CGEM is still having some quality issues for some folks, although I think the issues are starting to tail off a bit if you read in the threads here and the posts in the Yahoo CGEM group. The iOptron IEQ45 is still very new and I think the jury is still out, although initial reports seem positive...there is a huge thread in this forum regarding that mount. The Orion's Atlas is chugging along as a mature product that many folks really love. I do not see many complaints about it. If you have a laptop, EQMOD is the way to go with the Atlas. I assume you want to stay in the ~$1500 range mount from your question.
Waiting for NEAF is not a bad idea, you never know what kind of deals you will see there. Are you planning on attending, or just hoping for the usual vendor specials that always seem to pop up online?

#3 ewave

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:18 PM

Yes, Kirk, I will be at NEAF....So far, my CGEM has been very good! i WOULDN'T HESITATE TO RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE. But if the OP could attend NEAF, it's a great place to get info very quickly and see the products first hand.

#4 dhaval

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:38 PM

CGEM is still having some quality issues for some folks, although I think the issues are starting to tail off a bit if you read in the threads here and the posts in the Yahoo CGEM group. The iOptron IEQ45 is still very new and I think the jury is still out, although initial reports seem positive...there is a huge thread in this forum regarding that mount. The Orion's Atlas is chugging along as a mature product that many folks really love. I do not see many complaints about it. If you have a laptop, EQMOD is the way to go with the Atlas. I assume you want to stay in the ~$1500 range mount from your question.
Waiting for NEAF is not a bad idea, you never know what kind of deals you will see there. Are you planning on attending, or just hoping for the usual vendor specials that always seem to pop up online?


Kirk -

Thanks for replying. Yes, I do want to stay in the $1500 range. Having a laptop in the field seems to be a requirement these days for any kind of AP, so I guess, I will need to have a laptop with me while doing AP.

With regards to NEAF, given that it is near NYC, I might be interested in going (will also make the wife happy!!) - but yes, the primary aim is to see if any vendors will pop up with discounts.

I have been leaning towards the Atlas, but IEQ45 seems great with its low weight - will be easily transportable!

Thanks once again!

Dhaval

#5 Doug76

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:45 PM

When I was in the market for a larger mount, the new iOptron was just talk, the CGEM was having bug issues, and the Atlas was getting high marks from nearly everyone I asked.
So I got the Atlas, and I couldn't be more pleased. Very accurate, very strong, and very quiet.
And I kept my CG-5ASGT. I set it up outside the observatory to do visual when the Atlas is occupied doing AP.

#6 mfarrell

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:34 AM

I don't want to hijack this thread, but I am pondering the same decision as the OP. For me, an autoguiding setup is probably a ways down the road, so I'd like to get the mount with the better unguided tracking performance. I've seen this site: Mount Comparison but I was wondering if anyone has additional information about tracking accuracy.

Also, I've seen a lot of posts throw around the "steppers vs servos" argument, but I've never really seen anyone explain the relevance of that to tracking (or does it only matter for slewing)?

#7 faltered

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:36 PM

I love my CGEM. I think you could read about CGEM vs Atlas until your sick of reading - but in the end you still wont get a solid answer.


From my understanding - the CGEM and Atlas are both great. Sounds like you cant make a bad decision between them. I have the CGEM and I love mine. I really love the All Star Polar Alignment routine.

Best of luck on your decision. I vote CGEM.

#8 David T

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 08:21 PM

I once was looking for a new mount
searched the net more hours than I could count
read every thread old & new
could decide other than I was through
I put both names in and drew from the hat
sure hope this EQ-6 doesn't fall on my cat!

I was in your boat a few months ago...couldn't be happier with my Atlas..I'm sure if I got a CGEM I would be happy with it also. I don't think you could go wrong with either.

I vote Atlas..not that it is better...just because I have one :grin:


David

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#9 dhaval

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:45 AM

I once was looking for a new mount
searched the net more hours than I could count
read every thread old & new
could decide other than I was through
I put both names in and drew from the hat
sure hope this EQ-6 doesn't fall on my cat!

I was in your boat a few months ago...couldn't be happier with my Atlas..I'm sure if I got a CGEM I would be happy with it also. I don't think you could go wrong with either.

I vote Atlas..not that it is better...just because I have one :grin:


David


David - I really like the ES152 and the Atlas mount that you have (I have the ES127mm doublet), so I am glad to hear things are going well for you!

I think it boils down to a few things -

1) The cost of Atlas is a $100 bucks less than CGEM - I think that helps - it will allow me to buy an autoguider and a new crayford focuser for my reflector!

2) The other thing with the Atlas is that it comes with 2 counterweights - I think I will need both with my 8in reflector - and an included polar scope - I think I will need that as well!

3) I guess the only thing that I am worried about with the Atlas is the fact that the software is not as robust as CGEM - I am not sure how much of that is truly an issue, especially if you want to do short exposure (maybe around 5 minutes) AP?

I am thinking with either mount, there will be a need for drift alignment - what say you guys?

4) The only real drawback, as far as I am concerned is, the weight of both mounts compared to IEQ45 - Atlas weighs around 75lbs fully assembled and I am guessing the CGEM weighs about the same. It makes transportation a big hassle - setting it up will take about an hour, drift alignment another hour, reducing the imaging time to maybe a couple of hours on good days!

Thanks,
Dhaval

#10 faltered

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 01:41 PM

[quote name="dhaval"][quote] It makes transportation a big hassle - setting it up will take about an hour, drift alignment another hour, reducing the imaging time to maybe a couple of hours on good days!
[/quote]


I wouldnt say either is a one-hour set up time. Thats a long time. Im usually packed up, unpacked and set up in 15 min. now drift alignment is something im still learning too, and sometimes it takes me an hour, sometimes 20 min. But with all-star polar alignment, it speeds everything up.

#11 jrcrilly

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 01:54 PM

Also, I've seen a lot of posts throw around the "steppers vs servos" argument, but I've never really seen anyone explain the relevance of that to tracking (or does it only matter for slewing)?


They are just differing ways to do the same job. Some very early stepper systems used too large of steps, resulting in jerky tracking - but that was a long time ago. Today there's no advantage to either (except cost; it's a little cheaper to use servos).

#12 Crow Haven

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:12 PM

Another vote for the CGEM -- I just beat the price increase and got it for the same $ as the Atlas. I think both mounts are good choices but I already had the CG-5ASGT (which I am keeping also for portable and lighter OTAs)with my C6-R and love the NexStar system so decided to stay with that. Best wishes with your choice. :)

#13 dhaval

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 06:56 AM

Decision made - I went with the Atlas. I know a few folks voted for CGEM - and I am sure it would have been a good choice - but, it's going to be the Atlas for me!

Also getting my auto-guider package from Orion!

Now I only need a good focuser for my reflector to complete the equipment buying!!

Thanks you all for your input.

Dhaval

#14 dhaval

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:01 AM

[quote name="faltered"][quote]
I wouldnt say either is a one-hour set up time. Thats a long time. Im usually packed up, unpacked and set up in 15 min. now drift alignment is something im still learning too, and sometimes it takes me an hour, sometimes 20 min. But with all-star polar alignment, it speeds everything up. [/quote]

I believe I was exaggerating a bit - but only a bit. The mount and the telescope by themselves should not take more than 15-20 minutes, but it's the AP set up that will take time - what with the computer, a table for the computer, the power-outlets, etc.

Regarding drift alignment, yes it takes time - even on good days for me - so I need to figure out a better way to do that (i have heard the camera way to do drift alignment is a lot easier and much faster)!

Dhaval






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