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Looking for the smallest usable mount for a mak127

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#1 BuffaloTri

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:49 AM

Greetings everyone,

One of the main reasons I chose a mak127 was because it seemed like the way to get the most aperture in the smallest package. The telescope, diagonal, finder, and a few EP's all fit inside a small padded bag. The SVP mount and tripod? Not so much.

I'm looking for the smallest and lightest mount and tripod which will work with this telescope. Visual use only. Ideally, the mount and tripod will be as portable as the telescope itself. I'd like to be able to pack them into a suitcase for airline travel. Tracking or slow motion controls are required because of the narrow field of view on the telescope.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

#2 idealistic

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:00 AM

How much are you looking to spend?

#3 DavidNealMinnick

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 02:08 PM

My first Mak was an Orion-imported Intes 150 which had a 1/4-20 tapped dovetail bar mounted. I used a Manfrotto 410 geared head/tripod combo with great success. The head was certainly compact, though not inexpensive.

#4 Kfrank

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 02:19 PM

Greetings everyone,

One of the main reasons I chose a mak127 was because it seemed like the way to get the most aperture in the smallest package. The telescope, diagonal, finder, and a few EP's all fit inside a small padded bag. The SVP mount and tripod? Not so much.

I'm looking for the smallest and lightest mount and tripod which will work with this telescope. Visual use only. Ideally, the mount and tripod will be as portable as the telescope itself. I'd like to be able to pack them into a suitcase for airline travel. Tracking or slow motion controls are required because of the narrow field of view on the telescope.

Does anyone have any suggestions?


Given your rdquirement for tracking or slow motion controls and a small size, you've described a mount that essentially doen't exist.

Universal Astronomics makes a couple of very small light mounts that would work but they're strictly manual with no slo-mo controls.
I disagree with the previous poster regarding a photo head/tripod. While there are very stable photo tripods out there, they are not light nor compact. In addition, and this is just my opinion, no photo heads work well for astronomy. But, YMMV.

Good luck in your quest.

#5 BuffaloTri

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 02:48 PM

How much are you looking to spend?


I'm not certain because at this point I'm just looking for options. Hopefully under $500.

#6 Pauls72

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 02:51 PM

I have something like an EQ-1 mount with my 102MM MAK and it works well. But it's too big to stuff into a suitcase. I tried my MAK on 2 different photo tripods and was very unhappy with the results.

In general astronomical mounts with stability does not equate to small, light weight and portable.

Have you considered a table top mount?

#7 BuffaloTri

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 03:03 PM

In this case, small in size relative to a SVP.

The Orion VersaGo III mount looks interesting at less than half the weight of the SVP and slow motion controls.

#8 rdandrea

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 03:15 PM

I bought a really decent EQ-3 or EQ-4 class mount and motor drive at a really decent price from Telescope Warehouse. It was from a 4-1/4" newt and has a clamshell, but I was able to remove the top of the clamshell and drill some holes in the bottom half to adapt my Lunt 35. It's quite light and quite sturdy.

I call it my Frankenmount. Tasco mount and tripod, Meade counterweight (the original was too heavy for the little Lunt), and Celestron clock drive.

What I paid was about 1/3 of your budget.

Call Bill Vorce at telescope Warehouse and tell him what you're trying to accomplish. I bet he can come up with something that will work.

#9 Kfrank

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 03:50 PM

Check out the Universal Astronomics web site and specifically look at the MicroStar (2 lbs) and the DwarfStar (1 lb) mounts. They'll support up to about 10 lbs pretty darn well and are very light weight. Pair 'em up with a suitable tripod and you'll be happy. Talk to Larry and tell him what you're doing. He's a good guy.

No slo-mo controls, but they work smoothly. I've used a MicroStar with a 90mm Mak, an SV80ED refractor and a Celestron C6 SCT. All worked acceptably well, given a decent tripod. Obviously, the smaller the scope, the better they worked. With the short tube on a 127 MAK, you shouldn't have balance issues.

#10 idealistic

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 04:10 PM

I was thinking something like one of the Hitch mounts, but theyre more expensive. They are small, lightweight, and have nice slo-mo controls. The only issue, youd still be left looking for a tripod to put it on. Theres a Half Hitch on Astromart right now.

#11 slyke

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 04:51 PM

If you are set on slow motion controls then what about the DSV-2 from Desert Sky Astro?
-Stephen

#12 Starman1

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 05:01 PM

Greetings everyone,

One of the main reasons I chose a mak127 was because it seemed like the way to get the most aperture in the smallest package. The telescope, diagonal, finder, and a few EP's all fit inside a small padded bag. The SVP mount and tripod? Not so much.

I'm looking for the smallest and lightest mount and tripod which will work with this telescope. Visual use only. Ideally, the mount and tripod will be as portable as the telescope itself. I'd like to be able to pack them into a suitcase for airline travel. Tracking or slow motion controls are required because of the narrow field of view on the telescope.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

What I use for the same OTA: iOptron MiniTower.

#13 Mkofski

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 06:42 PM

Check this one out. It is a lot lighter than your current mount. I've never used one but the specs look like it would do what you want with the small Mak and it's only $300.

http://www.highpoint...14&fl=prod_info

#14 *skyguy*

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:17 PM

Check out the new iOptron Smarteq goto equatorial mount for $399. I just bought one for my 5.5" Celestron Comet Catcher (weighs 7 pounds with rings) and the Smarteq work great with it. This mount has a maximum load limit of 11 pounds, the head weighs about 6 pounds and the tripod about 6 pounds ... you should be able get away with using just the included 2 pound counterweight. I've been very impressed with this compact, lightweight, little mount.

#15 DavidNealMinnick

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:30 PM

Contrary to a previous poster's remarks, the Manfrotto 410 geared head IS lightweight, at just 2.7lbs, yet, will support 11lbs. max weight. Geared over three axes of motion, I found tracking objects to be without issue. This head can be mounted to a wide variety of tripods, perhaps one suitable for your purposes.

Of course, your financial limitation is your biggest foe in this quest.

#16 BuffaloTri

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:16 PM

Thanks everyone, there are a lot of good suggestions in here.

I never thought of a tabletop mount, but I think I'd prefer the flexibility of normal tripod legs.

The iOptron offerings are very interesting. I'm a bit leery of the SmartEQ just because I'd be close to the weight limit. My OTA is almost 9 pounds. The Minitower and Minitower 2 are out of my price range, but they may be worth saving for.

#17 Kfrank

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:35 PM

Contrary to a previous poster's remarks, the Manfrotto 410 geared head IS lightweight, at just 2.7lbs, yet, will support 11lbs. max weight. Geared over three axes of motion, I found tracking objects to be without issue. This head can be mounted to a wide variety of tripods, perhaps one suitable for your purposes.

Of course, your financial limitation is your biggest foe in this quest.


The 410, however, suffers from the problem that plagues all photo heads - it mounts the telescope above the ALT axis. This works OK (so long as the scope is well balanced and used at or near the horizontal. As the scope viewing angle increases, the balance shifts, thus putting strain on the gears and clutches.

Photo heads might work OK for very light (or very short) scopes but, in general, my opinion as stated before, is that they don't work particularly well for astronomy. They are purpose built to mount cameras, not telescopes.

It's also worth noting that the 410 is not cheap. I found it online for as little as it for as little $200 and as much as $260. That's pricy considering it's not meant for astronomy. If you already have one, that's one thing, but if you are looking to buy, it's much wiser to spend your money on a mount designed to hold astronomical telescopes.

#18 BuffaloTri

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:22 PM

I settled on a DSV-M and a heavy duty photo tripod. I realized that lightweight, portability, and cost were more important to me than slow motion controls or tracking. I recently was able to take the telescope as carry-on and packed the tripod and mount inside my suitcase for a trip to some dark skies. I also can leave everything setup in the garage and carry it out for quick looks.

Views up to 100x are great and stable. I took it up to 200x on some double stars but the image was too shaky to be useful. There is an annoying amount of wind-up/backlash at higher powers, which I'm fairly certain is caused by the photo tripod (it has an extendable pier). In another week or so I'll be able to try this mount on a sturdier tripod.

I've had this combo for two months now and I'm happy. Sure, there are limitations, but I think some compromises must be made to get an airline friendly grab and go setup.

#19 orlyandico

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:39 PM

why wasn't the vixen porta considered? that has slo-mo controls...






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