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Best Portable Astrophotography Mount

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#1 krp

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 02:56 PM

I'm looking to buy a mount for astrophotography with a DSLR and lenses up to 200mm.

So far these are the options I've found:
Astrotrac
Vixen Polarie
iOptron Skytracker

The Astrotrac seems to be the best, but it's out of my price range. I'm leaning towards buying the iOptron, since it's the least expensive with the included polar scope. From what I've read, the Vixen Polarie is nearly useless without buying the polar scope. Are there any options that I've missed?
Also my tripod head has a 3/8" to 1/4" adapter stuck in it. I should have returned it when I first bought it. Does this mean I won't be able to use it with one of these mounts since they use a 3/8" screw?

#2 tomcody

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 03:08 PM

I would also suggest you check out the Losmandy Starlapse
web page
Rex

#3 andysea

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 05:26 PM

I am very happy with my Kenko Skymemo. I can image with FL up to 400mm. 200mm definitely unguided. For 300 to 400mm I autoguide in RA. There is no Dec motor.
I recently bought an Ioptron Smarteq pro. I was really impressed with what it could do for less than $500 invested.

The trackers that you mentioned however are smaller than my options.

#4 Seanem44

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 07:24 PM

I sold my astrotrac (which was great btw) and got a zeq25 which honestly isn't much harder to transport. Easier to polar align as well. Just a thought.

#5 andysea

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:21 PM

The zeq25 looks pretty interesting. Are you happy with it Sean?

#6 Falcon-

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 06:51 PM

I just got a ZEQ25 myself primarily for camera-based imaging. Only been able to use it a little bit so far but it certainly has worked well for me so far!

#7 Seanem44

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 08:57 PM

I really am so far. Polar alignment is a breeze. It is light and a perfect combo for wide field with my AT65EDQ

#8 Maverick199

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 01:48 AM

I find the Skytracker holds itself very nicely with a 200mm lens. I use a Canon 70-200 f/4L and have managed ( test ) up to 4 minutes without star streaks.

#9 krp

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 02:15 AM

I find the Skytracker holds itself very nicely with a 200mm lens. I use a Canon 70-200 f/4L and have managed ( test ) up to 4 minutes without star streaks.

4 minutes would be great. Can you tell me if the screw that you attach to the ballhead is 3/8" or 1/4"? It looks like it's 3/8" but I don't know if it's reversible.

#10 krp

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 09:39 PM

I ordered the iOptron Skytracker from Astronomics on Monday and received it today. I set it up inside to familiarize myself with it. The first thing I noticed was the same wobble that 'dunk' described in this thread. When I separated the base I found two washers. After removing one of them, the wobble seems to be gone. I'm looking forward to first light tomorrow night. I just downloaded the polar alignment app on my Android and it seems pretty easy to use.

#11 Ed Wiley

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 11:08 AM

I used a Kenko Skymemo for a several years. Just sold it as my weight requirements began to exceed the Skymemo limits. However....I found the Skymemo great for lenses up to 200mm. I could do 5 minutes unguided with 200mm lenses. The tripod is very portable, but light. One bump and done, so you have to treat it with respect. Like all such setups, target acquisition with longer lenses can be problematic and takes a bit of experience to master. Rigging a red-dot finder helps as does a laser if you are in a place where you can use it and use it safely.

Ed

#12 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 12:21 PM

I'm looking to buy a mount for astrophotography with a DSLR and lenses up to 200mm.

So far these are the options I've found:
Astrotrac
Vixen Polarie
iOptron Skytracker

The Astrotrac seems to be the best, but it's out of my price range. I'm leaning towards buying the iOptron, since it's the least expensive with the included polar scope. From what I've read, the Vixen Polarie is nearly useless without buying the polar scope. Are there any options that I've missed?
Also my tripod head has a 3/8" to 1/4" adapter stuck in it. I should have returned it when I first bought it. Does this mean I won't be able to use it with one of these mounts since they use a 3/8" screw?


Define Portable. I would consider my CG-5 to be portable.

#13 JazzSky

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 08:26 PM

I recently purchased set sky tracker, for the reasons you mentioned. Cost and included polar scope. I do like the app for the iPhone and actually find that use full for my other mount to polar align with. So far to get used to it just dong some wide fields with a 50mm lens n my cann 60da. Had some stars earlier tonight, but I accidentally hit the 1/2 speed switch. Corrected that and no problems. It does have the 3/8 socket but I got a reducer from a photo store to 1/4.
I hope that helps.
Alan






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