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Ioptron SmartEQ Pro

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#1 CACitUP

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:40 PM

I am ready to buy a new mount. I am new/getting back into astronomy now that my kids are at an age where they are insterested in looking through a telescope. I have a Meade 2045D from my previous interest in Astronomy and a, new to me, AT72. I have a few select eyepieces, a barlow and a decent, solid mount for my 2045D. I am now looking for a new mount, and was considering the Ioptron SmartEQ Pro. I doubt that I will be venturing into scopes much larger than what I have now. I might upgrade my 2045 to a C6 or equivelent, but for now I plan on working with the AT72 and the 2045D. I want an EQ mount that is relatively light weight, and capable of doing some guided and unguided AP work. Unfortunately, it seems that there are relatively few of the SmartEQ Pros in the hands of users, and the ones that are out there have some mixed reviews. I guess my biggest concern is the weight capacity of the SmartEQ Pro. Will it be capable of handling the AT72/2045D, with a camera and 50mm guidescope? If I upgrade my 2045D to a C6 SCT will the SmartEQ pro be challenged by this? I was also considering the CG5, but I really want portability, I spend a far amount of time in the backcountry with the kids and want something that will pack down and carry well.

#2 Astronewb

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:05 PM

The SmartEQ Pro would be perfect for your setup. I've had a 90mm Stellarvue on it for visual with perfect go-tos.

For imaging, I can do 4 minutes unguided with a 60mm ota and a mini50/SSAG and camera.

The mount will do well up to about 8-9 pounds of load.

It will backpack very well, the mount connected to the collapsed tripod fits in a 37" Hakuba tripod bag with all the accessories and the bag has a nice shoulder strap for carrying. The bag also has inside and outside pockets to stow your eyepieces and miscellaneous gear. Complete weight, about 12-15 lbs with counterweight.

Hope the info helps.

Paul

#3 Astronewb

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:11 PM

Unfortunately, it seems that there are relatively few of the SmartEQ Pros in the hands of users, and the ones that are out there have some mixed reviews.


The reviews are mixed because some users expect Paramount quality in a $499 mount. Not going to happen.

What the Smart EQ does deliver is an extremely light weight platform for visual and imaging with payloads up to 10-11 lbs.

In the hands of a user with a little experience, the mount delivers 20 minute exposures, autoguided, with perfect stars and will go to 30 minutes or more if needed. I personally know owners of very expensive mounts ($3000-6000) that can't go that long.

For what it's worth....

Paul

#4 CACitUP

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:23 PM

Thanks for the reply Paul. How do you think the EQ Pro will perform with a C6 on its back? Do you think this combination is pushing it or would I be better off with the c5 (6lbs vs 10lbs) Oviously, the c5 is lighter and would probably work better, bt I really see a c6 in the future and would love to put it on this mount. How limited will I be with AP if I am pushing up aainst the 11 lb spec? And is the 11lb limit more about the limits of the tripod, or the limits of the head?

#5 Astronewb

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:13 PM

Thanks for the reply Paul. How do you think the EQ Pro will perform with a C6 on its back? Do you think this combination is pushing it or would I be better off with the c5 (6lbs vs 10lbs) Oviously, the c5 is lighter and would probably work better, bt I really see a c6 in the future and would love to put it on this mount. How limited will I be with AP if I am pushing up aainst the 11 lb spec? And is the 11lb limit more about the limits of the tripod, or the limits of the head?


Definitely the C5 if astroimaging is in your plans. If not, for visual, a C6 will work fine although you will be close to the mount's payload limit.

And, for AP..a nice 80mm or 90mm wide field refractor would
give you some great images of DSOs due to the increased FOV and reduced focal length. If you used a focal reducer on a small SCT, you could probably do well with that.

If the weather ever clears for more than an hour or two a night once a week...I'll try some 80 and 90mm guided images on the SmartEQ Pro, just to see how it handles...

Clear skies,

Paul

#6 CACitUP

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:00 PM

Ordered up the SmartEQ this morning. Cant wait to get started on the mods and start playing around in the night sky. Thanks for the help Paul.

Craig

#7 Astronewb

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:04 PM

Grats on the purchase Craig, you're going to have fun with it, especially the easy modding and the grab n go afterwards. My pleasure....

Best,

Paul

#8 CACitUP

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 10:29 PM

Received the mount Friday, spent Friday evening setting things up. Was a little disappointed that the unit came with some minor damage and a missing piece, but Astronomics and iOptron were quick to take care of me. Spent some time with it Saturday night at the local SJAA star party, but really had a treat tonight when I was able to quickly set up after work and get a nice glimpse of Panstarrs. Great almost first light :) All smiles and cant wait to get some of the imaging equipment collected.

Craig

#9 lakeorion

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:26 AM

I might have a case of Declination insanity with my mount. Looks like tonight will be clear so I'll give it one more try before giving up and calling support.

#10 Astronewb

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:32 AM

Spent some time with it Saturday night at the local SJAA star party, but really had a treat tonight when I was able to quickly set up after work and get a nice glimpse of Panstarrs


That's what I like about the mount Craig..it's just so easy to setup and use at a moment's notice. Because of that, it's a great 'cloud hopper' mount when you only get an half hour or so of clear sky.

Glad Astronomics got you sorted out quickly so you could enjoy the SmartEQ Pro.

Cheers,

Paul






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