I wouldn't say that it's not good. The resolution of the steppers seems to be more than adequate for precise gotos. At least it was fine on my old EQ6.
The absolute encoders are nice, however it is my understanding that if you want to shoot unguided you need to build a pointing model. That might be fine for those lucky ones that have a permanent setup. For the rest of us who have to travel to dark spots it seems that building a pointing model at the beginning of every session would be a waste of precious imaging time.
I can tell you that both my mounts have a guaranteed PE that is higher than what I read on this forum and each one of them cost at least about twice what the EQ8 costs plus they have a lower payload. I think that even without the Renishaw encoders The EQ8 looks pretty good.
I don't see a built in polarscope tho.
True but when they talked about encoders it was misleading -
I thought they meant a cut down version of a Renishaw encoder -
maybe not as accurate as a Renishaw but still a dual axis closed loop
control system based on optical encoders attached to the axes -
which it appears that it's not but to be honest -
I'm still not sure as the spec sheets really don't go into
that sort of technical detail.
I notice with my EQ6 that it can be polar aligned & drift aligned for one part of the sky
- then when I turn the mount to a different target -
say from North to South - that it's no longer drift aligned.
The stars will be moving across the frame where as they were stationary before.
(I do level the mount with a carpenters level)
The only reason I can think of is that the mount is not square -
I hope the EQ8 is a bit better in this regard?