Vixen SXDX2 with StarBook 10 Review
Posted 13 June 2013 - 07:20 PM
Thanks for sharing. Looks like you're having a pretty good time. I'm using the same mount as well. I usually observe double stars, asterisms, carbon stars, Collinder clusters and the Moon & planets. Regards
Posted 14 June 2013 - 03:52 AM
Thanks for the review, still soaking it in! I've been using a SS2K and SXW for a a while now, and moved the later to a NexSXD board after the frustrating Dec bounce, but I do miss some of the Vixen-only features such as RA/Dec tracking in unaligned EQ mode - if I'm not mistaken it's the only GEM's that will do it.
What are the differences between the SXD2 and SXP mount, other than price?
Posted 14 June 2013 - 12:57 PM
I'll be posting some info on the differences between the SXD, SXD2 and SXP mounts in the vendor forum soon to answer some of these questions in more detail along with some photos. In the meantime though, both of these mounts are much more refined from their SXD predecessor and use a completely new operating system. As far as the SXD2 and the SXP, the SXP employs a wider and slightly longer declination shaft also made of carbon steel. It also houses 15 piece bearing system while the SXD2 houses 9 and as a result, holds a few extra pounds of load. You can image with both mounts but the SXP takes it up another notch. I will elaborate more in the vendors forum.
Posted 16 June 2013 - 02:14 PM
Thanks for the input. I think your setup (as well as the background!) is a beautiful one! Although I could not personally use the Starbook like that without being protected. I think you have a more controlled observing environment than I do! And that tripod is totally awesome!
Posted 16 June 2013 - 02:17 PM
Posted 10 June 2014 - 08:54 PM
I wanted to express my gratitude to you for posting your excellent review of the Vixen Sphinx SXD2 and the Starbook Ten, which was very instrumental on my next mount purchase.
I was happily enjoying my Vixen SXW with a Meade 8-inch SCT, when I started thinking about buying the next step from Vixen in carrying capacity (the SXD) for a future larger scope. Then I read your fine article on the SXD2 and suddenly I realized that by making an additional effort, I could have the same advanced controller of the unattainable (for me) $10k Atlux, on a mount with the capacity and portability that I was looking for and just within my reach. The Vixen Sphinx SXD2 basically costs the same ($3.2k) as a Losmandy G-11 w/Goto. Sure, the G-11 is an excellent mount, beautifully made, bigger and with more carrying capacity (I have one too). But if you are just looking for a portable mid-sized, accurate, intuitive Goto mount of good quality and clean looks that you can easily carry and setup, I believe the Vixen SXD2 is the perfect candidate for the job!
So I took the plunge and purchased a brand new Vixen SXD2 with Starbook Ten and HAL130 tripod. After having used it a few hours with my 8-inch SCT, I'm happy to report that the mount is all that had envisioned when I read your article on the mount and it works accurately for my visual observing requirements.
Soon after the mount purchase, I ordered a C11 XLT OTA for using it on the Vixen SXD2 for visual deep-sky observing and also on my trusty Losmandy GM8 for visual planetary observing. I haven't properly tested my C11 on the SXD2 yet, but after the first experiences with the mount carrying this OTA, it's clear to me that the combination has lots of potential. The only upgrade that I have made to this mount so far, is attaching it to a Celestron ASGT-CG5 tripod with 2-inch steel legs (by using a $70 adaptor from Vixen, #25168) for added stability with the heavy C11 tube, but in all fairness, I haven't tried the C11 on the SXD2 with the supplied HAL130 tripod. With the 8-inch SCT, the mount on the standard tripod is very solid and lightweight at the same time.
If I had not read your review at the right moment, I'd probably have missed the opportunity to own this lovely and very capable small mount.
We are grateful for the time and effort you took to share your experiences with us!
Following a CN tradition when new equipment arrives (No picture, it didn't happen!), here is a picture of my new Vixen SXD2 with Celestron ASGT-CG5 tripod and the new addition to my SCT stable, the C11 XLT OTA.
Posted 06 July 2014 - 05:41 PM
I am very glad I could help you.
And your setup looks EXCELLENT!
Posted 06 July 2014 - 09:32 PM
Thank you so much dude! That was very nice of you to say.
I am very glad I could help you.
And your setup looks EXCELLENT!
Thank you Chris!
Acknowledging your contribution to my mount purchase decision is the least that I could do, especially after all the work that you went through to write the review article. I'm extremely happy with my new Vixen Spinx SXD2 mount and I thank you for your help!
As Steve Jobs once said, "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice".
Keep up the good work!
Posted 06 March 2015 - 02:34 AM
I wanted to thank you for your insightful review. I was on the fence trying to figure out which mount I should buy. I liked the Vixen Mounts but after reading your review, I was sold. My new SXD2 just showed up 2 days ago and I am so totally imprerssed. I read a few people complaining about Vixen but I went with my gut and your review and I am so glad I did. This mount is awesome. I cannot wait for a clear nigt to get out and use it. I also just purchased a new WO FLT132 with a WOStar71 to mount on top. Should be a great combo with this mount.
Thanks a Million,
You were a real influence in my decision to buy this one.
Dave in Wyoming
Posted 04 August 2015 - 12:56 AM
Keeping this thread alive. I don't have the SXD2 but have the SXP instead since last Sept. Both the SXD2 & SXP are very similar.
I think the real star (no pun intended) is the Starbook Ten. I have the Advanced Unit & C0014-3M CCD guide video camera along with the setup. In my case, my setup needs to be portable since I have to drive out about 2-4 hours away from home to do any decent (visual/astrophotography) astronomy. So it's a blessing that this computer can run off the 12V rather than having to lug a laptop/notebook. In addition, the Starbook Ten is very integrated with the Advanced Unit & CCD Guide/Video Camera. In fact today re-reading through the Advanced Unit, it can be used as an intervalometer to a DSLR camera too (which I have the CentralDS Astro A7s).
So this Starbook Ten is not only my GOTO, autoguider, but also my intervalometer for my camera.
I do have a few gripes about the mount and tripod itself & that is Vixen has at least what I perceive to be a gap between the SXP and the AXD range. I have a Takahashi µ-250CRS and technically have pushed the SXP & HAL-130 SXG over the limit. To the credit of Vixen, it seems it's 16kg limitation is conservative so I acknowledge I'm misusing the purpose of the SXP & HAL-130 SXG. However the next jump is the AXD which is about 2.5x to 3x the cost of the SXP setup.
One question I do have, none of the SXP, SXD, SXD2, or SX even have a bubble level. Could someone please help explain why? Is one just not needed or is the expectation for the customer to go out and buy one? I'm trying to recall if my former GP-DX had one (I thought it did). Seemed to have been something fundamental Vixen had forgotten?