Will someone give who has tried both give me there opinion? Can we quantify this a little better.
From what I gather: Both units seem to track well. However, some people have had better luck with long exposures using the Polarie (referencing
In addition, the Polarie has both azimuth and altitude controls, while the SkyTracker only has an altitude control.?
I am a Polarie owner. The Polarie itself is just a box. You need to mount it on something. You can put it on a geared head or something much simpler--I have mine on a pan head, and only pan--no tilt.
The SkyTracker requires a Feisol panning base? Does this allow it to be controlled in azimuth? If not, then why does it need this?
If your tripod center column rotates, then you don't need a panning base--I rotate the center column of my tripod with the Polarie.
Do they both have the same speed options (sidereal, 1/2x, whatever, etc)?
Polarie has four tracking rates--sidereal, 1/2 sidereal, lunar, and solar.
The final question: If you were starting from scratch, (i.e. owned a nice astro DSLR, but no tripod or other small mount gear), which one would you buy? Which tripod would you buy? Which type of base(s)?
I would get a good quality carbon fiber photo tripod with a center column I can rotate. I would get an Arca Swiss P0 tripod head and a simple Manfrotto pan head. The arcs Swiss head would double for photography and to mount on the Polarie.
But then I am a photographer and I invest in my gear. You could do the same for less.
I know people said its about options, could someone clarify what those options are, perhaps pros/cons of each (not really looking at the astrotrack due to its price.
Thanks! I really appreciate it! This is my first post.
I had the choice and went with the Polarie--I sold an Astrotrac for it. For me, a light, compact system was very important. The Polarie is lighter and smaller and only requires two batteries. The Polar scope is great, although missing an illuminator, but my red flash light works. I love the fact you can just dial in the date and time and the Polar scope can find the right position for Polaris. I can also use the sight hole if I don't want to be bothered with the Polar scope. I have the Polar meter, but I am not sure how useful that is.
Personally, I prefer Japanese engineering over Chinese engineering. After doing some research, Vixen mounts seem to have less trouble then iOptron units. Now, the SkyTracker is not the most complicated piece of hardware in the world, but it can have problems.
I am sure whichever you get, it will work fine. The Polarie will be the more expensive route.