PecPrepRA_032613_iEQ45wTDM by Astronewb2011, on Flickr
for Edmond: yes, definitely worth every cent, especially if you have to track at long focal lengths.
Now you're making it tough, but I would have to sell the AT10RC, buy a AT8RC and do all my imaging off a new ZEQ25GT.
So Paul ... hypothetical situation.
Someone steals your iEQ45 and your ZEQ25. You need an imaging mount and you have about 35 pounds of gear all in. You want to be able to image with a variety of scopes including long-ish focal lengths like a C8. I offer to give you, free of charge (so price is not a consideration), either an IEQ45 (no encoders) or a ZEQ25. Knowing what you now know about the ability to overload the ZEQ25, which one do you take as your only mount going forward and why?
Why? It can handle a 8" carbon fiber nicely, I can pick up the entire mount, including one counterweight and carry it 50 feet to my setup location. And it tracks like a dream without any additional assistance.
I would only image up to about the 20-25 pound limit though, and then I would buy the next iteration of the Z-Balanced mount for that hypothetical 35 pound payload...
Clear sky all...