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Astrotrac or CG-5

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#1 paul


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Posted 29 January 2013 - 05:23 PM

I have a quick question .I am just starting out in AP and I have a chance to get one of these mounts...
Which one do think I should I get???
I can't decide... A CG-5 is a great stable platform but not very travel friendly...
An Astrotrac is just way cool... but twice as expensive..

#2 Patrick


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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:42 PM

What are you planning on putting on it? There are a number of pros and cons to either setup. Tell us more about what you'd like to accomplish.



#3 ghataa


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Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:19 PM

The two aren't really in the same class. Astrotrac being much more portable but without goto. CG5 is an entry level GEM that is more of a hassle to travel with (ie air travel). As Patrick said, what do you want to achieve with either of them?

Other travel systems include the Vixen Polarie (the lightest) and the new iOptron SmartEq Pro (GEM).



#4 HenryV1598



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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:00 PM

If you're Looking at the CG-5, I'd recommend looking again at the new Advanced VX. Apparently they did a bit of a redesign on the CG-5, updated its electronics and gearing, and dropped the initial price (the CG-5 used to run $1,000, the AVX is listed at $800). Though I've not seen one in action, the reviews I have seen are pretty favorable, and it looks like the AVX fixed some of the gripes CG-5 users (like myself) have had.

As other posters have said, though, its all a mater of what you want to do with it. I find my CG-5 is good for planetary and lunar photography, and limited deep-sky. If I don't have any wind at all and a really good alignment, I can usually get a 30 second exposure without much problem. Anything more than that and my stars tend to be more egg-shaped (or worse!). I've had no luck with guiding on this mount (though I know some have). All-in-all, I can't recommend a CG-5 for deep-sky AP. (I'm sure I'll get some replies to the contrary).

I do think my CG-5 is great for visual work with up to an 8" scope. My GoTo's are spot-on once properly aligned (and balanced) and it tracks nicely for visual work. Its also not too big to easily transport in a car.

If you're really interested in deep sky work, I'd recommend upping your budget and getting into the CGEM/Atlas-EQ range. That's where I'm going soon.

Anyway, just my $0.02. Your mileage may vary.

#5 Alex McConahay

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:43 AM

As all the others have said....figure out what you plan to put on it and then decide. Neither mount is an astrophotography mount in the long run. Yes, you can take great pictures with either, but the Astrotrac compromises a lot to get that portability. And the CG-5 type class of mounts are eventually replaced by those getting seriously into imaging.

Go to a few star parties and see what people are really using before making any decisions. You will find both CG5 and Astrotraks out there----but neither will be the mount of choice for those who are really into the imaging thing.


#6 dickbill



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Posted 02 February 2013 - 01:15 PM

"Astrotrac being much more portable but without goto"

is it true? then you are missing a lot.

#7 Hikari


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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:01 AM

Well, I started with a GEM, but it was so hard to move around and setup that I never really used it. I went to an AstroTrac and it was just a lot of fun. Easy to setup and easy to transport. I have now gone to a Vixen Polarie because that suits what I need more.

If you end up going to a GEM, the CG5 is easy to outgrow. The AstroTrac can also be a second travel mount or dedicated wide-field mount. So even if you eventually go to a large setup, you may find the AstroTrac handy. Remember, you can't have enough gear...

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