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Which Mount is for Me?

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#1 Saxxon

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 01:49 PM

I was planning on just buying the Ioptron SkyTracker to be able to get out and take some wide field photos but I figured why spend a little now when I can save and buy better later. I am planning to spend give or take $1000 (preferably a little less) on a mount this summer, to prepare for winter based clear skies. (doesn’t actually get dark enough to take decent star photos in the summer) I will be starting out taking only wide field photos but I would like the ability to add a scope (was looking at the AT65 by recommendation) but this is 1-2 years after I learn the basics for wide field and post processing. I built a barn door two weeks ago but haven’t had a clear sky to try it out and when I did get 1, like said earlier the skies never really got dark. The SkyTracker is still an option simply because my time frame to need a larger mount is so far away. What I would like is if someone could maybe do a small comparison for me for the following mounts I am looking to buy. Once I get the opinions I will be making my purchase next month. (Finally got approval from the better half)

For the time being and with my plans for only wide field with a lens no larger than the periodic 200mm shot for bs’ing, most will be at 18mm to 50mm. should I just stick with the SkyTracker? I drive awhile to take pictures and I like the compactness of it.

The Mounts I have been trying to compare without success. (all seem to have good reviews but hard to find an all around comparison)

Ioptron ZEQ25

iOptron SmartEQ Pro

Celestron AVX

Orion SkyView Pro

I was going to put the Orion Sirius EQ-G on the list but at $1200 it is at the breaking point of my price range. I also would have put the CGEM on this list as well, but I can’t seem to find it at the $1200 price I saw it a few weeks ago. At $1500 it’s well out of my price range.
Would it be better to save up that extra money to look at the Sirius or the CGEM (for $1200)?

I have enjoyed this site immensely and I thank you all for all the help you have been offering. I have asked some of the silliest questions but it seems that everyone is always open to help.

#2 FTLAUDSKY

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 02:00 PM

I have the VX and love it. $800 and load capacity of 30lbs. The sirus is overpriced in my opinion for it's load capacity. You can get a CG5 for cheap now ($500) and it has a load capacity of 35lbs. The next step up is the CGEM/Atlas at $1500 for 40lb capacity. You can look at the ioptron options as well. People seem to like them. Just realize that you will most likely get a bigger scope later. Having a larger mount is nice to grown into vs later wishing you got a larger mount when you want something bigger scope wise. This all depends on how far you have to carry it and budget. Get the biggest mount you can afford and carry...

#3 Falcon-

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 02:09 PM

If it was me I would narrow the list further to the ZEQ25 and AVX.

- The ZEQ25 is not really a proven AP mount *yet* as it is so new, but it looks cool and seems to be promising good results from what little has been seen from it so far!
- The SmartEQ Pro would likely be an excellent choice if you only planed to image with camera lenses (inexpensive, lightweight, etc), however since you have plans for a telescope a slightly more mechanically beefy mount is probably in order
- The AVX has had good results already despite being new and being an upgrade of the well known CG-5 helps too! This is probably your safest bet of the four.
- The SkyView Pro is mechanically in the same class as the CG-5 and EQ5, so it is a small step down from the AVX. For the price the AVX is in my opinion the better choice.

As for the Sirius (aka HEQ5), it sits in an uncomfortable price point, yes it is a nice mount design and a proven performer, but for only a little more $ the Atlas (EQ6) or CGEM are not THAT much more price for quite a jump in capacity. With AP in mind money spent on a mount is *rarely* wasted, but I think I would skip the Sirius and either stick with ZEQ25 or AVX or jump up to the Atlas/CGEM/iEQ45 range.

(I should note that I have only *personally* used a CG-5 and CI-700, not tried any of the mounts under discusion in person so I am generalizing mostly from my CG-5 experience and the back-and-forth here on the forums)

#4 Saxxon

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 03:32 PM

Thank you guys for your responses. truley I have been looking at the AVX and the ZEQ25 (like you said, looks cool and is a new design)
I personally don't plan on ever getting into the really large telescopes until my kids are in college and I can build an obs in my backyard. Right now everything i buy will need to be put in the back of my truck and driven out about an hour to get to truley dark skies.

#5 MartinTreadgold

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 04:14 PM

I own the AVX and it has been fantastic so far

#6 Kendahl

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 12:28 AM

I have a Skyview Pro mount with dual axis motors but not GoTo. It was the mount Orion supplied with its 6 inch, f/8 Newtonian. It does a good job for visual observing but not for photography. Periodic error is measured in arc-minutes rather than arc-seconds. With a 300 mm lens on my Canon DSLR, the longest sub-exposure I can make without getting visibly oval stars is only 90 seconds.

The Skyview Pro would be sufficient if you stay well below 300 mm. However I notice you are already thinking about a refractor with a 420 mm focal length. For that, you will need a better mount. The AVX is rated for a 30 lb load. That means it should be good for photography up to maybe 20 lbs. With allowance for camera, guide scope, etc. it should be able to handle a 4-inch refractor or a lightweight 8-inch reflector like the Vixen R200SS.

#7 Phil Sherman

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 08:27 AM

I'd hold out for the Sirius mount. I use done for a number of years and was able to, with active guiding, get good images with a 30lb load on it. This was an 8" f/5 Newtonian, guide scope, and two cameras.

If you get deep into imaging, you'll end up running the mount from a computer. (Imaging is much much easier when using a computer to run the camera.) The EQASCOM (aka EQMOD) software, a free download, is one of the best computer control systems available for this class of mounts but only works with Synta (Sirius, Atlas, HEQ5, EQ6, etc) mounts.

Phil

#8 Raginar

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 08:41 AM

The AVX sounds like its a solid mount. I'd wait and see some qualified pictures from it. I keep searching on astrobin to see what shows up.

You can also look for a non-GOTO GM8. They run around a grand and are very solid mechanically.

#9 Saxxon

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:55 PM

First I would like to thank you all for your input. Much appreciated. I have pretty much decided on the AVX. (Although the ZEQ25 is still intriguing)

Although it would seem a pretty obvious choice, how much better is the Atlas to the AVX, a 10lbs capacity difference? Is there any other noticeable difference to performance/quality/ease of use? I don’t mind saving a bit more to settle with the Atlas. My biggest concern right now is mobility. 72lbs for the Atlas is a lot to take all put together, how hard is it to be taken apart and put back together? Would it be smarter for me to stick with the AVX simply because of the necessity to drive to a good dark spot? Luckily for me it’s only a 45 minute drive or so (I know some must have to drive much more) but not being able to just walk out the door makes the Atlas seem a bit cumbersome.

#10 Saxxon

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:56 PM

The AVX sounds like its a solid mount. I'd wait and see some qualified pictures from it. I keep searching on astrobin to see what shows up.

You can also look for a non-GOTO GM8. They run around a grand and are very solid mechanically.


Why is there such a huge price difference between the goto and non-goto versions of the GM8. Is Goto ability really worth $1000?

#11 Falcon-

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 04:18 PM

Is Goto ability really worth $<insert any price here>?


If you are shooting targets too faint to be seen except with 5min or 10min test exposures then I can tell you from experience.... YES IT IS!!!!!

:bangbangbang: <- Me on a night when the push-to NGC-MAX on my CI-700 was slightly off target while trying to find a hydrogen-alpha narrowband target. I *never* found the target and just gave up. Had worse issues finding even brighter targets when the CI-700 did not even have the push-to setup (as the non-goto G8 would). I never had that problem with the CG-5's go-to.

#12 Saxxon

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 05:32 PM

Thanks for that Falcon. I just can't see myself (right now) paying $2300 for a mount. I think just for mobilty purposes and since it will be my first mount purchase, I will decide on the AVX. unless someone can really sell the Atlas to me (because it is so heavy and costly), since those seem the be the more recommended ones.

#13 Jim langley

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 08:39 PM

Saxxon:

I had the Atlas, and while is it a great mount and accurate, it is HEAVY! I ended up selling it and bought an IEQ-45 as it is light and still has a good payload.

#14 Saxxon

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 09:38 PM

Thanks for the wrench in the gears Jim lol. Some how hadn't come across that one.

So I know it's apples and oranges but Father's Day is coming up and maybe I can weasel some more money into this. Atlas seems to heavy for my current needs. The AVX, the ZEQ25 and the IEQ45. Seem to be light and worthy from what I have read on all three. Aside from huge load capability of the IEQ45 is there any opinions on it? Good or bad. It seems great but being so light can it handle its stated load capacity?

Right now it looks like the IEQ is in the lead(if I get a Father's Day bonus) followed by the AVX if I don't. Should I plead for the IEQ or stay with the AVX?

Thanks again.

#15 Patrick

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 09:46 PM

Regarding the Sky Tracker, it's kind of a niche mount but a nice one for wide field imaging with a camera and lens. I like the included polar scope and with the addition of an azimuth Panning Base it's very easy to polar align. I built a barn door tracker several years ago and with smaller camera's it works fine. It does have a limit travel and weight capacity. A 50mm lens is about as big as I'd want to go with it.

The Sky Tracker is a lot more robust and can track 360 degrees. In my case, I'm sure it's a lot more accurate as well. I wouldn't hesitate to put a 200mm lens on the mount.

As far as the other mounts are concerned, what really matters most is what you're putting on it. I think the AV sounds like a good deal though, and if you're on a really tight budget, you can see if there are any CG-5's still out there.

Patrick

#16 Saxxon

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 09:56 PM

Hello Patrick. You commented on my barn door post. FYI I made it. Non motorized. But haven't had a clear sky yet to try it out. The wife has given me a little wiggle room which the sky tracker was based on before that. Although I would like to still buy it for those quick trips out as a grab and go for wide field.

I'm really likening the IEQ. goto, GPS, light weight and a decent load capacity. Any reason I shouldn't try to get that one?

#17 Kendahl

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 10:04 PM

The iEQ45 is a much better mount than the AVX. For twice the price, it should be. It weighs significantly less than the Atlas or CGEM while having a marginally greater load capacity. You will want the newest version (model 8000D) since it has a new, more precise worm gear. Right now, most of the examples in dealers' inventories will be the preceding model. You could upgrade one of them to the new worm for only $100 but you might as well get it that way in the first place.

#18 Patrick

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:30 PM

I'm really likening the IEQ. goto, GPS, light weight and a decent load capacity. Any reason I shouldn't try to get that one?



Not that I know of but I've never seen an iOptron ZEQ25. They look interesting though.

Patrick

#19 orlyandico

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 12:54 AM

The iEQ45 is probably overoptimistic about its payload. I seriously doubt it has more capacity than the cgem or atlas in the real world.

But it is very light, I can lift it with one hand. And I'm the proverbial 100# weakling (not 100# anymore sadly).

You can't do that with an Atlas or CGEM...

At the end of the day the mount is important but what's more important is using it. I have three mounts that I almost never use...

#20 Saxxon

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 12:54 PM

I am starting to really focus on the IEQ45. The AVX is still on my mind if only for the price difference.

My question is which should I buy? the tripod or the Pier? which is better?

#21 Saxxon

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 02:22 PM

Also is there an EQMOD equivalent for the IEQ45?






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