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DSLR tracking mount for 7D

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#1 Hilmi

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:09 PM

I'm posting this in the DSLR forum not the mounts forum because I am looking for a specialty mount for DSLR, and I figure the DSLR nuts are the right people to help.

After having finally sold some old gear, I've cleared some funds to buy a tracking mount for Canon 7D. This is a very heavy camera and it looks like the polarie can't handle it. I've looked at the astro trac and the Losmandy offering and I am confused as to what exactly I need to buy to get them going. i.e. I want to get everything I need and I dont want to buy and ship to Oman only to find I am missing a widget.

What do I need to have a low cost tracking mount for the Canon 7D (low cost being relative) and exactly what options do I need to buy?

#2 fmhill

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:36 PM

I have both Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras and my choice of mounts is the Celestron CG-5 ATGT. This mount will come complete with everything you need with the exception of a screw to fit the tripod socket in the camera base. On my CG-5 mount I use a 1/4-20" hex head bolt about 3/8" long to attach the camera to the removable mount attaching bar.

I do not know what size metric bolt fits, I do know there is a bolt the metric equivalent size, just that me being in the states, I do not find those in my odds and ends collection...

#3 nofxrx

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:50 PM

Well, we need to know:
1) your budget
2) the lenses/scopes you plan on using
3) any future plans or wishes/possible gear purchases/expansion,etc..

Answer those and we will find the best options for you!
:)

#4 Hikari

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 05:01 PM

Well, I just bought a Polarie for my Pentax 645D. I would imagine the 7D is lighter.

The next mount would be an Astrotrac--I sold mine to get a Polarie. If you have a good tripod, then you need a head for the AstroTrac, a Manfrotto 410 geared head is a great choice. You need a second head to go between the AstroTrac and the camera--a ball head is a good choice. I would buy the polar scope and either buy or make a battery pack--it comes with a cigarette light power cord, but not a battery pack.

The Astrotrac is an excellent small mount for a camera.

A new option which has just come out and I do not know of any reviews is the iOptron Sky Tracker which seem to come with everything except a tripod and ball head for the camera.

There is the Takahashi Sky Patrol, which I have also owned. Like the astrotrac, you can mount it on a tripod with a geared head like the 410. The Takahashi camera mount is OK, but I ended up making an adapter for a ball head. It has an optional polar scope.

There is a thread in the mount section that has a long list of tracking mounts available. Toast comes to mind, but I have never used one.

#5 mmalik

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:02 PM

My suggestion would be to get a high-end mount for your scope/s and piggy back 7D. Following are some great design ideas; I would suggest Mach1 if your setup allows. For guiding, you could use standard setup with dedicated scope instead of off-axis; small guider kits... could be an option. Thx

Following courtesy of Hiro:
Link...

Following courtesy of Daniel:
Link...

#6 Hikari

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:10 PM

This thread will give you some more options:

http://www.cloudynig...5487796/page...

#7 Hilmi

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:48 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions. Here are my clarifications as requested:

Mmalik. That defies the whole point which is to have a More compact portable setup

Equipment list is already in my signature. for lenses my her;est lease is the Kit lens that came with the 7D. I might at a future date attempt using STT-8300 with a camera lens at a future date, but thus not really important.

Budget +/- $1000

#8 Hikari

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:59 PM

Hilmi, "portable" is a relative term. The most portable is the Polarie system. That is what I have because I wanted something I could take with my usual photography gear that would allow the chance for astrophotography if I wanted to. The whole Polarie setup with extra tripod mount, polar scope, and polar meter fits into a small waist bag. It also only requires two AA batteries (other mounts usually use four). The Polarie is new to me and I have not done a lot with it yet--it is also really cold outside.

The AstroTrack requires a larger/steadier tripod and it was just too much for me, but if you are coming from astrophotography on large mounts and plan to use this with long focal length for deep sky stuff, it is a surprisingly small mount. It certainly is more flexible than the Polarie, especially with long focal lengths and deep sky photography. This is also a little bigger than the Polarie setup, mostly because of the length of the AstroTrac, but it is not much heavier. The tripod is larger.

The Takahashi is the heaviest, as a GEM with counter weights would be. This also places more stress on the tripod. It is a fine mount. The supplies battery pack is for four D-size batteries, but, in Japan, Takahashi made a four AA battery pack as well. This has the most basic polar scope of them all. This will exceed your budget, but how close to the + of your intent is, I have no idea.

The geared head is really good to have for alignment with the Astrotrac and Takahashi. Those mounts are just to heavy or awkward to align without geared movements. I am hoping the Polarie does not need that head and with a couple of tests I think I will be fine without one. For a portable camera mount, I prefer the AstroTrac over the Takahashi Sky Patrol. For what I need, the Polarie is really the best (it also has the best polar scope).

#9 Hikari

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:00 PM

BTW, as far as the head for the mount, baring a geared head, a pan/tilt is far better than a ball. For the camera, a ball head is the thing.

#10 Hilmi

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:06 AM

Hikari,

Thanks for the feedback, I do have a geared head for my manfroto tripod so that part should not be a problem. I'll look into the Polarie once again.

So basically the way to go would be a polarie without the mount package. This would then be mounted on my manfroto geared head and I would need to buy a ball head for the camera. Does that sound about right?

Am I missing any critical widget where I would be suprised to find I can't take photos till I buy something else?

You where right about the Polarie being able to handle the weight, I was confused by the unit changes from Kg to Pounds.

#11 Hilmi

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 05:14 PM

Just placed an order for a Vixen Polarie with the Polarie meter. Should be here in 2 weeks time (somebody will hand carry it from the US, saving me more than $125 in shipping and customs)

I'm a bit worried about the Polarie meter's effectiveness, but I figured it doesn't cost that much so I might as well try it, at the least it will improve the effectiveness of my polar alignment as compared to totally manual alignment. I can't seem to find anybody else who is using it. So no online reviews.






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