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Paramount MX: to pull the trigger or ...

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#1 Matt Houston

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:37 AM

I've been researching and reading over the past month about the various mounts available for under 10k. Just when I've almost decided on a mount, I read something that sways me another direction. I didn't want to hijack someone else's post, so I figure I'd start a new thread here and hope that you guys can 'guide' me in the right direction, pun intended. :)

The scope will be a 1280mm refractor and this will be a portable setup. I doubt that I will ever have the luxury of a permanent mount, so I'll be taking the scope out and setting it up each time I use it.

I'm interested in AP and will be purchasing a full-frame camera, such as the STXL-11002M by SBIG, but that's to be decided later this year. I'll also be using the scope for visual use for an occasional star party at my place or at a friend's house.

I'm looking at the Paramount MX, especially since it's on sale. I also like the ASA DDM60 and the AP 900GTO. I hear that the 900 will soon be replaced by an 1100. I wonder if it's worth waiting for or should I buy the MX mount now instead.

I know some mounts are better suited for permanent-mounting. I don't have a problem using a laptop either. All of these mounts are top-notch, so I'm not asking which is better, simply which is better suited for my intended usage. I'm open to suggestions/ideas.

#2 DeanS

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:53 PM

Personally I like the AP mounts as they can be used without a computer which is nice for visual observing.

The new AP1100 should be a very sweet mount, although my 900 and 1200 perform perfectly so until I need the encoders I will stay with these.

But you are right that you can't go wrong with either the AP or Paramount.

Dean

#3 CounterWeight

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:56 PM

No contest, for imaging I'd go paramount and not look back - in fact that is what I will be doing soon.

#4 blueman

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:25 PM

I have the AP900 and it is really sweet. But a friend in our club has the new MX and it is also a very nice mount.
If you are going to image, you will use a computer anyway, so that is not a big deal. But if you want a stand alone Go-To mount that does not use a laptop then the AP is the better choice.
I kind of like the simple alignment of the AP compared to the MX, but it is only a matter of a few minutes more for the MX. But I like the MX for its internal USB hub and connectors that do not move with the mount. Makes cable routing quite nice.
Either mount will do very nicely, so make your choice.
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#5 bilgebay

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:39 PM

I think you are going too fast :) Astrophotography needs much much more than equipment. I am not saying that the equipment is not important but why dive so deep even before trying ? Start with a much smaller scale.... a smaller mount, a smaller but faster optic...max FL400-500mm if you want to avoid frustration, dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

A fast optic will be very forgiving of a newbie. A DSLR and a 180-200mm non zoom lens at f/2-f/3 range will give you more satisfaction than a 1280mm FL apo refractor. You can buy a VX mount (alone or complete with a scope of your choice for visual use) and use the DSLR+Lens combo with this mount with great success. Believe me, there are so many targets you can shoot with a 200mm lens, including Andromeda galaxy, lots of nebulae and star clusters.

Do yourself a favor and think twice before committing your self to a $20K+ setup.

Cheers

Sedat

#6 Matt Houston

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:53 PM

Some great info so far!

I've done some prime-focus AP with my Canon EOS 5d coupled to my Stellarvue 80mm scope and it's a piece of cake due to the short focal length. Perhaps the 1280mm is too large of a jump for a next-step. Hmmm.

#7 bilgebay

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:58 PM

Oh! If you already had your share of elongated stars and calamities through pre/post processing, then you are welcome to proceed :) I thought you were just beginning.

Clear skies

Sedat

#8 Matt Houston

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 02:08 PM

I appreciate the guidance. Some good info...thanks guys. I'm really liking that MX mount the more a read about it (and see it...it's beautiful). The matching Paramount tripod is on sale through optcorp for only 1700. They have pier/spacers that will help get the eyepiece off the ground, because I think that tripod is only 36" tall.

#9 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 02:50 PM

No doubt the ASA is nice but has a load capacity 35lbs lighter than the PMX. The PMX will serve you well for a very long time. If I had an observatory I'd already own the PMX.

#10 coz

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 02:52 PM

Matt as an option since you dont have a perm setup. Maybe consider a Mach One? It can handle your refractor well and a bit more portable.

#11 frolinmod

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:03 PM

I don't see any reason to be forced to "pay your dues" and suffer the frustrations of lesser mounts. With a Paramount astrophotography is FUN. :cool:

#12 Matt Houston

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:37 PM

From what I see, the Mach 1 falls in between the Losmandy G8 and G11 in terms of weight capacity, yet it costs double. I don't think the Mach 1, at 45 lbs capacity, will be sufficient for the SV160, which weighs around 33 lbs, then add camera, finder scope etc. Probably fine for visual use, but not for AP. The cost is $6350, so for just another $1650 I get the MX which has a 90 lb capacity. Just thinking out loud.

I'm thinking that as long as the MX mount doesn't have a long setup time, especially for a visual session, that I'm leaning strongly towards it now. Whichwayisnorth, you're right, the ASA capacity is 25kg which equates to 55 lbs..much less than the MX for about equal spend. I also like the fact that the MX is on-shore from a support/warranty perspective.

#13 blueman

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:44 PM

Just remember that you will still need a laptop or other computer with the MX.
Blueman

From what I see, the Mach 1 falls in between the Losmandy G8 and G11 in terms of weight capacity, yet it costs double. I don't think the Mach 1, at 45 lbs capacity, will be sufficient for the SV160, which weighs around 33 lbs, then add camera, finder scope etc. Probably fine for visual use, but not for AP. The cost is $6350, so for just another $1650 I get the MX which has a 90 lb capacity. Just thinking out loud.

I'm thinking that as long as the MX mount doesn't have a long setup time, especially for a visual session, that I'm leaning strongly towards it now. Whichwayisnorth, you're right, the ASA capacity is 25kg which equates to 55 lbs..much less than the MX for about equal spend. I also like the fact that the MX is on-shore from a support/warranty perspective.



#14 coz

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:45 PM

Mach1 can handle that for AP and it's around 33 lbs vs 50 area.

#15 Jared

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:47 PM

From what I see, the Mach 1 falls in between the Losmandy G8 and G11 in terms of weight capacity, yet it costs double. I don't think the Mach 1, at 45 lbs capacity, will be sufficient for the SV160, which weighs around 33 lbs, then add camera, finder scope etc. Probably fine for visual use, but not for AP. The cost is $6350, so for just another $1650 I get the MX which has a 90 lb capacity. Just thinking out loud.

I'm thinking that as long as the MX mount doesn't have a long setup time, especially for a visual session, that I'm leaning strongly towards it now. Whichwayisnorth, you're right, the ASA capacity is 25kg which equates to 55 lbs..much less than the MX for about equal spend. I also like the fact that the MX is on-shore from a support/warranty perspective.


Nothing wrong with the MX--it's a great mount and may well be the best choice for you. That being said, I wouldn't eliminate the Mach1 an account of capacity if the scope in question is a 160mm refractor. I have used a Mach1 for imaging with a 33 pound 152mm refractor (very similar in bulk to your 160mm SV) and with a 10" Ritchey with no problems at all. In fact, I was quite surprised at how well the Mach1 handled the load--including moderate wind gusts. It certainly doesn't have the same capacity as the MX, but it's enough to handle a 160mm refractor with ease--even decked out for imaging it doesnt' break a sweat with a 33 pound refractor. The 10" Ritchey, fully loaded with focuser, camera, flattener, dovetails, OAG, camera, etc. was about fifty pounds, and I felt like the Mach1 was near its limit, but I was still able to routinely get 0.4" RMS guiding without taking any special care or needing to fuss over guider settings. It was just enough weight for me to include vibration suppression pads under the Eagle pier, though. Larger sail area on the 10" scope, of course, as well as some additional weight (though the tube is a little shorter than a big refractor so polar arm is less). In my experience, the weight limit for imaging with the Mach1 on an Eagle pier is realistically about 50 pounds without needing to take any particular care in setup--basic balance and normal care in guiding. No problems for visual use, either with a 50 pound payload.

I also own an AP900 that I am very pleased with, but I wouldn't choose it for portable use. I have used it that way perhaps half a dozen times, but it's just a little too much work to carry around and setup. I can carry everything for imaging down to the car in 5 trips with the Mach 1, and the same basic setup requires 9 trips with the AP900. No individual component is too heavy, but the "hassle factor" on the larger mount is much higher. I'd say it's a good match if you have a permanent site and will only be transporting the mount for special occasions.

I suspect that the MX falls between the Mach1 and the AP900 in "hassle" factor for portable use. The weight of the head is closer to the AP900, but the portable pier would be easier to use than the AP standard piers. As others have mentioned, the MX requires a computer for goto use, which you may or may not care about.

Personally, I had a tough time deciding whether to get an MX or an AP900 last year and opted for the 900 mostly because the MX was not yet a proven commodity (if I remember my thinking correctly). That, and the fact that I have had very good luck with AP products and support across the board. Plus, the 900 still has analog setting circles which I like for some reason--a nod to the methods I used when I first got into astronomy.

The ASA's are beginning to acquire quite a following, and they now have a bunch of satisfied users judging from forum postings. I won't comment on them beyond that because I don't know anyone who owns one and have no direct experience with them. The idea is very appealing, though. Fast, quiet slews with no periodic error. Kind of spendy, though.

#16 andysea

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:04 PM

Funny, a similar topic is being discussed here
http://www.cloudynig...5711164/page...
If you scroll to the bottom you can see someone is imaging with the Mach and a TEC160 and they seem to be happy with the combo.

#17 Matt Houston

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:12 PM

Very good info. I'll include the Mach 1 on the list. By the way, the SB website was updated today and it says the last MX mount was sold this morning. There is now a waiting list. Next production run is July. I won't be plunking down 8 grand and not having the product until mid summer. I'll seriously consider the other mounts and I now have more time to consider the options.

#18 Pak

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:23 PM

There are two AP900's on Astromart right now.

#19 blueman

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:33 PM

I set up my AP900 and I am 66 years old and I do not find it too difficult to setup.
It is easier than the MI-250 I had and about the same as the G-11 as far as time and hassle is concerned.
The AP900 comes apart in two pieces and that makes it easier to setup really. Each piece is not that heavy and it goes together quickly.
Blueman

#20 CounterWeight

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:51 PM

Funny, a similar topic is being discussed here
http://www.cloudynig...5711164/page...
If you scroll to the bottom you can see someone is imaging with the Mach and a TEC160 and they seem to be happy with the combo.


Hey, that's me :) The TEC 160'ED' triplet though f/8 is relatively light for it's class. (not there are of lot of 160's out there) But as I said up above, the PMX is what I'm going for as my next mount - no question about it for me.

I'd like to keep the Mach-1 and don't know... may need to sell it to help offset the cost of the PMX. We'll see when the time comes.

#21 Domerman

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:14 PM

Is a paramount MX even considered to be a portable mount? I suppose if you break it down into its components it might be.

#22 j.w.white

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:44 PM

Absolutely! Although a good number of folks do permanently mount them to piers. It is a bit on the heavy side (relatively..), but having both RA and DEC components integral while still supporting the hefty payload I'm sure doesn't leave too much room to cut weight. It is a terrifically sturdy mount too!

#23 andysea

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:17 AM

Funny, a similar topic is being discussed here
http://www.cloudynig...5711164/page...
If you scroll to the bottom you can see someone is imaging with the Mach and a TEC160 and they seem to be happy with the combo.


Hey, that's me :) The TEC 160'ED' triplet though f/8 is relatively light for it's class. (not there are of lot of 160's out there) But as I said up above, the PMX is what I'm going for as my next mount - no question about it for me.

I'd like to keep the Mach-1 and don't know... may need to sell it to help offset the cost of the PMX. We'll see when the time comes.

Oops yes....sorry I missed your prior post:) I just thought that your report on the other thread was also relevant to this thread hehe.

#24 frolinmod

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:50 AM

Absolutely the PMX is a portable mount. It's not all that heavy and it's comparatively easy (i.e. compared to the PME) to carry. It was made to be their portable mount. Despite that, a lot of people are using it as a less expensive observatory mount. It's that good.

#25 frolinmod

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:54 AM

The response to the sale was overwhelmingly positive. Please note that July is not the start of the next production run, but rather the estimated completion date of the next production run.






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