I've budgeted up to $1,500 for a new mount. I want something more suited for deep sky photography. I'd love to have an Astrophysics or Takahashi mount, but for $1,500, I don't see that happening anywhere near my budget range.
If you look below at my signature you can see my payload. Add in a few odds and ends (Telrad, focal reducer, etc...) to up the weight a little. But when I put it all together, the CG-5's two 11-lb counterweights have no problem balancing it all out (one at the far end of the shaft, the other about 1/2 way up). The motors don't struggle with the weight, so I'm not worried about payload overload (of course, the lower the payload weight to mount capacity, the better).
Unfortunately, On exposures of as little as 30 seconds, I often end up with egg-shaped stars or worse, even with a good alignment. I've tried running just the 80 mm scope and camera, but still end up with non-round stars (though I can usually get up to 5 minutes like this). The mount is simply not optimal for photography. Yes, I know some people have luck with it, and hyper tuning it might help. But I'm dead-set on getting something new, with less backlash, and simply more suitable for photography.
I'm currently looking at the following options:
- Celestron CGEM - list at $1,500, but I'm confident I can get it a little cheaper
- Celestron Advanced VX - list at $800, best price option I've seen, but I'm not sure about its performance yet and its at the lower-end of the payload capability. I don't expect to increase my payload much, if any, but I'd like the option.
- Orion EQ-G - both this and the CGEM have similar specs, they're both made by Synta, right? Is there an appreciable difference?
- iOptrion iEQ45 - Someone I know has an iEQ45 he'll sell me in my price range. I've never heard anything bad about this mount, but I've never used it. How does it stack up against the above options?
Is the iEQ45 a no-brainer, or would one of the above mounts be better? Is there anything better still that's in my under $1,500 price range that anyone can recommend?