Posted 19 December 2013 - 01:48 PM
It also comes with the bags !!
Posted 21 December 2013 - 12:23 AM
I'm not sure what the street price is going to be, but we will have to see how well it performs. I know SkyGuider is a ZEQ25 RA module, which has bigger gears than SmartEQ Pro. But, SmartEQ Pro has decent gears, autoguiding on both axes, true GOTO capability, and variable tracking speeds. And when packed, I don't think the volume and weight of these two mounts are going to be very different without a tripod. It means that their portability is pretty much the same.
I was very excited about this new introduction of SkyGuider thinking that it can easily handle a heavy telephoto lens (200 - 300mm) and even a small refractor (WO 66). But now I am a little torn.
I know the product hasn't hit the users yet, but simply looking at the spec sheet, can someone explain to me why I should get SkyGuider rather than SmartEQ Pro?
Thanks in advance...
Posted 21 December 2013 - 12:03 PM
Just go through Paul's lengthy ZEQ25 thread, summarize the tracking and PE, then filter out any problem related to control and electronics, such as over current, chatter, etc. If my memory serves, the best PE reported was less than 10" P-P.
Posted 05 February 2014 - 03:53 PM
I have never used any IOptron products prior to ordering the IOptron Skyguider but the reviews on the IOptron SkyTracker seemed positive and I figured I would give this a try.
Initial Observations on Quality and User Experience
With a very easy to use and understand manual that I reviewed prior to arrival of the box, I downloaded the app while the product was moving through shipping and got ready to get started. I won’t do a full unboxing review at this point but note that the box was in great condition upon arrival – everything was double boxed. My only grip was the paid app for finding Polar Alignment. Not a deal killer but really - $2 for the app? It’s the principle not the price for a product at this price point I feel it should be free.
Once the two included containers were opened, I was up and assembled in a matter of a few minutes. I REALLY like the included soft cases for transport to remote locations. Very nice touch and I feel that the price for this tripod and mount are very reasonable. The quality of the engineering is clearly top notch. It is clear that the outside of the mount is very well engineered… I will open it up at some point down the road and peek inside but that will come later.
The assembly was straight forward as indicated by the time it took to setup – I need to mention that I ordered the AC adapter and the Ball Head – a great value for the price in it’s own right. Once these were attached and my camera mounted, I setup for balance. With a Canon EOS 5D Mk II the counterweight had to slide almost to the end of the counterweight arm so if you are planning on attaching an auto guider, you will need additional counterweights.
The good news is that everything balanced very quickly and the counterweight was adequate for the camera payload. I released the clutch on the gears to test balance but this is not necessary based on my experience since there are two screws that release the DEC Adapter for initial positioning of the camera and balance but I wanted to see how the processed worked. Everything was free moving and worked well with ONE exception. The nobs on the ball head will hit the motor/gearbox assembly in certain positions. This is an issue for some scene and framing and positioning the notch in the ball head for some situation. It just barely makes contact but under power this could cause some problems. The fix I will use for this is to add a 1/8” spacer to fit between the DEC Adapter and the ball mount… this will allow the proper clearance. Hopefully this will be resolved in the future. This should be an easy fix for their engineers and end users, overall just something to be mindful of.
Getting it Outside and Summary of Use
Once we got a night for viewing, fortunately within a few days of arrival, I went outside and set up. Getting the mount set for my latitude was a very easy process. Leveling the mount is just a matter of adjusting the legs on the tripod. With everything tightened up on the mount, I was ready to get started imaging. The LED accessory was a nice edition and very helpful in illuminating the reticle. With the app opened and the proper location of Polaris indicated, it was a snap to get a very good polar alignment within a few minutes.
I set the tracking rate to 1, powered on the mount and camera, put the Orion constellation in the center of the view finder, focused and went back inside with my USB cable run through the window.
I did a few 15 second exposures, everything was looking good, I moved quickly up to 30 second exposures then on to 2 minute exposures. No trails… so far so good… at that point I setup for a series of 40 exposures of 30 seconds. Every one of the 30-second exposures was usable and I had nice tight stars… so far the mount was not breaking a sweat. Now for a better test… I went back outside – zoomed out to a wider field and repositioned the mount to ensure the ball head knobs would not hit the mount and went back inside. I use Backyard EOS to control the camera. I setup for a series of 10-minute exposures – I took 6 – every one held nice and tight. I had some foreground objects and they were nice and blurred while the stars were nice and round.
I have stacked these two series of shots – the 10-minute and the 30-second series and they are the best results I have had doing these types of shots.
Next time I get it outside, I will do some tests with the various tracking rates and experiment with some longer exposures as well. Overall, the results were what I was hoping for and I am looking forward to some great nights with this setup. I will also do a series of time-lapse shots with the mount as well. Overall I am very happy with the product and would recommend it.
Posted 08 February 2014 - 05:15 PM
Posted 21 February 2014 - 10:39 PM
Posted 21 February 2014 - 11:37 PM
The Skyguider looks very similar to Vixen's old GP2 Photoguider.
Except 1/2 the price.
Posted 23 February 2014 - 09:01 PM
Posted 23 February 2014 - 09:38 PM
Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:43 AM
Posted 03 April 2014 - 06:37 PM
if it's a ZEQ25 RA unit then it has a 3/8" socket.
Do you happen to know what size the power supply socket is?
Posted 03 April 2014 - 08:02 PM
Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:29 PM
Not sure about the Sky guider but the ZEQ25 uses an ordinary 2.1mm socket but it must be a right angle plug. Otherwise at certain angles the DEC mechanism would hit the power plug which is on the RA motor housing.
Great news. That saves $20. It is the same size as a Celestron or Losmandy. One more piece of imformation for discussing this with the CFO.