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??? iOptron CEM60 or Save for an AP Mach1GTO ???

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#1 NightRyder

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:16 AM

What say the masses? I feel its time to upgrade my mount. I place myself in an Intermediate level of AP and started out with a CG-5 several years ago. About two years ago, I upgraded to a CGEM and it has served me well. However, after a recent self performed "Hypertuning", I came to the conclusion that if I truly want to advance myself in this hobby, then a new mount will be needed. Though I currently have the CGEM performing better than ever! (On a quick separate note, I will not be purchasing any Celestron products in the future due to my discoveries inside of the mount. Cakes of thick brown grease everywhere, large scrapes from tool slips during assembly, over-tightened everything, POOR quality aluminum used in the body of the mount) But thats for another post.

My question is this. I will soon be in the market for a new mount. My primary focus is DSO AP and my heaviest scope currently is my 8" Newt Astrograph, which fully equipt with all imaging accesories comes in at about 27 lbs. With this said, I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the new iOptron CEM60. This mount looks very promising. I am on the list and decided to upgrade from the CGEM to the CEM60EC with High Precision Encoders (HPE). I would of course be waiting a few months to allow the kinks (that can be expected with most new releases) to work out...

Then I got to thinkin... :question: Will I buy the CEM60 only to seek an upgrade in another couple years? Possibly. That would all depend on the quality and results of the CEM60. It may turn out to be an exceptional mount, especially with the HPE.

However, if I were to save for another 18-24 months, the AstroPhysics Mach1GTO would be within my budget... Although it has a reduced weight capacity when compared to the CEM60 (45lbs for the AP compared to the 60lbs of the CEM60) I think the quality and precision in production differences leans heavy in favor of AP.

So what would you do? Make the leap and upgrade to a CEM60 this year (early 2014) or wait it out with the CGEM until perhaps late 2015 for a Astro-Physics mount?

#2 Wembley2000

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:40 AM

I was pretty sure in another thread that someone stated that the cem60 was rated for 45lbs for ap 60lbs for visual. If you can wait I would wait for a year until the cem60 gets some time under its belt, the mach one is already proven. For the kind of money you will be spending you want to be sure.

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#3 Astronewb

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:48 AM

Will I buy the CEM60 only to seek an upgrade in another couple years?


Will you buy the Mach 1 only to seek an upgrade in another couple of years?

I think you should wait a couple of months, to see what the initial reports on the CEM60 EC produce. With a 60 pound payload, the mount will hold up to a 12" truss tube RC easily, so it should satisfy most people's needs?

The CEM mounts arrive in Los Angeles this coming Sunday, and should be in the hands of the initial ordering group soon. Expect a flurry of reports by the end of that week..:)

Clear skies...Paul

#4 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:48 AM

Not so sure about the CEM60 rating. Since only one person has one so far and that person has been sidelined by a bug in the firmware, we simply do not know enough about the CEM60 at this point. The rule of thumb is that when a manufacturer states an instrument capacity for visual you don't want to go over 50% of that weight for AP and expect good results. That would put the CEM60 in the 30lbs for AP category while the Mach1GTO is at 45lbs. You can also find used Mach1's from time to time in the classified for a little more than the CEM60 with encoder.

Also there has simply not been much information about the dependability of the CEM60. The only thing I've seen is a few photos and a few PEC graphs of sample units.

I would say if you are in a hurry you should try to find a Mach1GTO and move on with your life. If you can wait 6 months then there may be enough information about the CEM60 by that point to make a decision on it.

#5 orlyandico

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:50 AM

The cem60ec @ 4000 is quite expensive.

In your place I'd wait and be darn sure it performs up to spec before paying $4000.

The mach1 costs more but there's no gambling or uncertainty involved. Also I'm dubious about the 60 lb rating considering how optimistically rated the iEQ45 is.

#6 NightRyder

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 10:37 AM

Thanks for all the good advice. I have always been affected by IGS aka "Instant Gratification Syndrome" ;) But one thing I have learned in AstroPhotography over the years is there is NO ROOM for IGS. And as most of you have pointed out, especially at the kind of money we are talking about. I am leaning towards the AP-Mach1GTO, but since that is still a ways off financially, I guess I'll be waiting to see what the CEM60 results are looking like before finalizing my decision. Thanks to all that chipped it their :penny: :penny:

#7 mmalik

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:01 AM

So what would you do? Make the leap and upgrade to a CEM60 this year (early 2014) or wait it out with the CGEM until perhaps late 2015 for a Astro-Physics mount?


Make the leap and upgrade to a CEM60 this year (early 2014)...

Astro-Physics has nothing but raised prices in astronomy; CEM60 seems like a wakeup call for Astro-Physics if not a slap in the face!

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#8 orlyandico

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:28 AM

I find the above statement to be a sweeping generalization.

I don't think AP mounts are overpriced, in fact based on my own calculations, any competitor would have to charge as much (or more) for equivalent performance.

Let's not get too excited about iOptron. Initial reports are that the build quality is not comparable; and the iEQ45 has not been everything it claims to be. Specifications are just that - specifications. So making such spreadsheets is misleading at best.

#9 jrcrilly

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:44 AM

I find the above statement to be a sweeping generalization.


The day may come when a Chinese mount can rival the performance of the best top-end US manufacturers. It may have already come - but I see no indication of that yet. If/when it does happen, the prices will probably reflect the improved quality.

Many of us used to think that there would never be a top performing Chinese apo triplet. At least one importer insists that his current Chinese line is superior to the LZOS optics he used to buy. They aren't any less expensive, though.

#10 orlyandico

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:04 PM

Correct. I am in no way saying that Chinese = inferior.

It is evident that the Chinese can produce gear that is equal to any produced in the west. Just look at the iPhone for one.

But quality doesn't come cheap, and for the price iOptron is charging for the CEM60, I am very doubtful that it can match the Mach1 in all respects. Quality costs, and in the Mach1 it's obvious where the money went.

#11 rkayakr

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:08 PM

While dreaming may as well include the Avalon Linear Fast Reverse:
"a weight capacity around 20-25 kg (44 – 55 lb), imaging and visual observing, respectively."
Toothed belt drive, no worm - $5910
I have only found very positive reviews on the web.
Pretty too.

Avalon Linear Fast Reverse

#12 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:22 PM

While dreaming may as well include the Avalon Linear Fast Reverse:
"a weight capacity around 20-25 kg (44 – 55 lb), imaging and visual observing, respectively."
Toothed belt drive, no worm - $5910
I have only found very positive reviews on the web.
Pretty too.

Avalon Linear Fast Reverse


That price is mount head only. No counterweights, no tripod, no neat mount case, etc.

The CEM60 includes everything except tripod. Although to be fair you would probably need an extra counter weight or two. The good news is I believe the CWS diameter makes it compatible with some of the cheaper counterweights manufactured by others.

I am personally looking forward to the CEM60 testing and results. Having recently sold my entire system I am shopping for a mid-range system and the CEM60 (new with encoder) and the Mach1GTO (used with all accessories) are on my list.

#13 orlyandico

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:24 PM

IMHO the real disruptive mount today is 10Micron.

#14 tazer

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:34 PM

The rule of thumb is that when a manufacturer states an instrument capacity for visual you don't want to go over 50% of that weight for AP and expect good results. That would put the CEM60 in the 30lbs for AP category while the Mach1GTO is at 45lbs.


The Mach1GTO is rated by AP at 45lbs, so wouldn't the 50% rule would put the AP payload at 22.5lbs? I don't know if it's been established to be able to carry a higher weight for AP use or not, but their rating for the mount has the caveat "Remember also that imaging requirements are more rigid than visual observation."


Initial reports are that the build quality is not comparable


Can you elaborate on that? Are you implying performance quality, longevity, or cosmetic appearance? I know the AP mounts are machined while the iOptron mounts are die cast which presents a tangible quality difference.

I'm in the same position as the NightRyder. I've had an ASGT for 3 years or so and am ready for something that can handle a heavier load and will give me a better imaging experience (e.g., less uncorrectable PE, etc.) The potential next steps (for me) are Atlas/CGEM ($1500-1900), CEM60/G11GTO ($2500-3200), or Mach1GTO ($6400).

While we can't know the actual performance characteristics (good or bad) of the CEM60, if we assume the best (for the sake of argument) then what would the extra $3,900 get me or NightRyder if either of us went with a Mach1GTO instead?

#15 EFT

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:34 PM

While dreaming may as well include the Avalon Linear Fast Reverse:
"a weight capacity around 20-25 kg (44 – 55 lb), imaging and visual observing, respectively."
Toothed belt drive, no worm - $5910
I have only found very positive reviews on the web.
Pretty too.

Avalon Linear Fast Reverse


That price is mount head only. No counterweights, no tripod, no case, no saddle etc..

The CEM60 includes everything except tripod. Although to be fair you would probably need an extra counter weight or two. The good news is I believe the CWS diameter makes it compatible with some of the cheaper counterweights manufactured by others.

I am personally looking forward to the CEM60 testing and results. Having recently sold my entire system I am shopping for a mid-range system and the CEM60 (new with encoder) and the Mach1GTO (used with all accessories) are on my list.


A D-series saddle is included, but the price quoted in the post above is the a la carte (i.e., mount head only) price. You can select a complete kit or build your own from there.

#16 mmalik

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:36 PM

Having recently sold my entire system...


That caught my attention Michael; was it LX850 and how did it pan out if you can sum up in one sentence since I have not kept up on that chapter? Unless you mean something else. Regards

#17 rkayakr

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:40 PM

Ed
I thought that the "a la cart" option includes a 13.2 lb counterweight.

" The LINEAR A la Carte Option begins with the following:

LINEAR Fast Reverse German Equatorial Mount
STARGO GoTo system
Manual hand paddle
Mount carrying handle
D-series dovetail saddle
Polar finder
One (1) 13.2 lbs. (6 kg) counterweights"

#18 bseltzer

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:41 PM

Seems to me the operative word where the CEM60 is concerned is 'if'. If it can match it's advertized specs in field use by regular hobbyists... If the vendor can keep the price point where it is now and establish/maintain good QA... If the vendor can provide superb customer service... Those are all pretty big "if"'s, and it'll take time, a considerable amount of time before they're answered definitively.

Were I the OP, I'd wait, saving my pennies in the meantime, to see how things shake out. By the time he's got enough money in the till to go either AP something-or-other or CEM60, the answers should be in and the decision can be an informed one.

#19 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:42 PM

While dreaming may as well include the Avalon Linear Fast Reverse:
"a weight capacity around 20-25 kg (44 – 55 lb), imaging and visual observing, respectively."
Toothed belt drive, no worm - $5910
I have only found very positive reviews on the web.
Pretty too.

Avalon Linear Fast Reverse


That price is mount head only. No counterweights, no tripod, no case, no saddle etc..

The CEM60 includes everything except tripod. Although to be fair you would probably need an extra counter weight or two. The good news is I believe the CWS diameter makes it compatible with some of the cheaper counterweights manufactured by others.

I am personally looking forward to the CEM60 testing and results. Having recently sold my entire system I am shopping for a mid-range system and the CEM60 (new with encoder) and the Mach1GTO (used with all accessories) are on my list.


A D-series saddle is included, but the price quoted in the post above is the a la carte (i.e., mount head only) price. You can select a complete kit or build your own from there.


My mistake. I'll edit my post. Regardless that option is way out of my budget unfortunately. I am going to save though and eventually I'll buy the 10-micron from you.

#20 WadeH237

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:45 PM

Astro-Physics has nothing but raised prices in astronomy


Only if you live by spec sheets alone.

If you look at the people that own Astro-Physics mounts, you will have a very hard time finding one that is not completely satisfied with their purchase. (Ok, so there's that guy all bent out of shape that APCC hasn't shipped yet...)

You absolutely do get something for the additional cost. It may not show up in the spec sheet, and it may be hard to get if you've never used one. But once you've spent some time with one, you'll understand.

And it's not just true of Astro-Physics. While I've never used a Paramount or ASA or 10Micron, I see the same kind of customer satisfaction with people who own them.

#21 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:46 PM

The rule of thumb is that when a manufacturer states an instrument capacity for visual you don't want to go over 50% of that weight for AP and expect good results. That would put the CEM60 in the 30lbs for AP category while the Mach1GTO is at 45lbs.


The Mach1GTO is rated by AP at 45lbs, so wouldn't the 50% rule would put the AP payload at 22.5lbs? I don't know if it's been established to be able to carry a higher weight for AP use or not, but their rating for the mount has the caveat "Remember also that imaging requirements are more rigid than visual observation."


AP is very very conservative with their capacity estimates. The 45lbs is actually their spec for photography as it can easily handle much much more for visual. When Astro Physics makes a weight claim you can count on it being valid for long exposure deep sky astro photography.

#22 EFT

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:47 PM

Ed
I thought that the "a la cart" option includes a 13.2 lb counterweight.

" The LINEAR A la Carte Option begins with the following:

LINEAR Fast Reverse German Equatorial Mount
STARGO GoTo system
Manual hand paddle
Mount carrying handle
D-series dovetail saddle
Polar finder
One (1) 13.2 lbs. (6 kg) counterweights"


Yes, you are correct. I just reacted to the no saddle statement without thinking.

Thanks,
Ed.

#23 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:48 PM

IMHO the real disruptive mount today is 10Micron.


BINGO - ain't that the truth! It is likely to change my purchasing decision on the high end.

#24 EFT

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:50 PM

My mistake. I'll edit my post. Regardless that option is way out of my budget unfortunately. I am going to save though and eventually I'll buy the 10-micron from you.


Someone else already took care of it better than I did. Nothing cheap about these little red Ferrari, but at least they are in the small group below $10.

#25 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:51 PM

IMHO the real disruptive mount today is 10Micron.


BINGO - ain't that the truth! It is likely to change my purchasing decision on the high end.


Wait what? But don't you have an LX850? What is "high end" if not the LX850? What would the 10-micron offer that is an improvement? Are you planning on going with a 20" CDK?






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