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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Sharkman
super member


Reged: 08/12/06

Loc: Nelson, New Zealand
Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro
      #4319704 - 01/17/11 03:10 AM

I'm in the market for a high-quality mount. My application is minor planet photometry / astrometry. I'm leaning toward an EdgeHD 1100 or 1400, perhaps starting with the 1100 and going to the 1400 later on.

I was originally thinking about a G-11, but one downside there is that it can't support the 14" OTA (46 lbs bare) for AP -- which might be OK at first, but means that I would eventually have to upgrade. The more I read about it, the more concerned I am about the accuracy of the G-11, too, even when running TPoint. I also recently heard that Losmandy is now shipping their mounts without being tested after assembly.

So now I'm starting to think about going with a better mount. How would you compare the Losmandy Titan, Paramount MX, AP 900GTO, Takahashi EM-400 and CGE Pro? What are the big differences in features or capabilities from one to the other? Do they stack up neatly by cost, or does one stand out as a better (or worse) value than the others?

Reliability is a primary concern for me. I live in New Zealand, so shipping overseas for repairs is expensive. Accuracy / repeatability / stability is my next priority, followed by ease of use. Long-term resale value is also a factor. I don't care much about cosmetics. I'll be using computer control (still deciding on the optimal software), so the integrated go-to system is secondary to the issues above. Automation would be nice, but it would be "partially attended" (scope within a few hundred feet of operator, not across town). A mount that works well with a tripod (rather than a permanent pier) would be a plus.

Edited by Sharkman (01/17/11 03:24 AM)


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LLEEGE
True Blue
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Reged: 03/03/05

Loc: Cloud-chester,NY
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: Sharkman]
      #4319912 - 01/17/11 08:49 AM

I'd start by taking the Pro off your list. It is not reliable and not in the same league as the others you mentioned.

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zawijava
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/06/07

Loc: Wells, Maine 04090
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: Sharkman]
      #4319987 - 01/17/11 09:34 AM

Though I'm very fond of Takahashi, and the MX looks promising.....in your situation, with your criteria, I'd go for the AP 900 GTO

Tim

Quote:



Reliability is a primary concern for me. I live in New Zealand, so shipping overseas for repairs is expensive. Accuracy / repeatability / stability is my next priority, followed by ease of use. Long-term resale value is also a factor. I don't care much about cosmetics. I'll be using computer control (still deciding on the optimal software), so the integrated go-to system is secondary to the issues above. Automation would be nice, but it would be "partially attended" (scope within a few hundred feet of operator, not across town). A mount that works well with a tripod (rather than a permanent pier) would be a plus.




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WayneJ
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/20/09

Loc: West Chester, PA
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #4320114 - 01/17/11 10:28 AM

Quote:

I'd start by taking the Pro off your list. It is not reliable and not in the same league as the others you mentioned.




As a fellow "pro" owner, I'd have to agree. Only get the CGE Pro if you NEED to hold a 40-50 lb optical tube and are limited to $5k for you mount.. or if you primarily plan to do visual observation or planetary photography.

Regards,

Wayne


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kbastro
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/20/08

Loc: Running from Clouds
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: WayneJ]
      #4320231 - 01/17/11 11:20 AM

Seriously Sharkman;

Either the Losmandy Titan, Paramount MX, AP 900GTO, Takahashi EM-400 will do you fine..

Draw back on the Titan is that it is waiting on the gemini 2 which looks prommising, and the paramount mx is still a new born and requires a computer to run it...

All in all any of theses 4 mounts will do you good and the most problems you will have will be seeing conditions rather than mount tracking problems

kb


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skybsd
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/01/08

Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: Sharkman]
      #4320385 - 01/17/11 12:35 PM

Hello,
Good to hear from you..,

Quote:

The more I read about it, the more concerned I am about the accuracy of the G-11, too, even when running TPoint. I also recently heard that Losmandy is now shipping their mounts without being tested after assembly.

So now I'm starting to think about going with a better mount. How would you compare the Losmandy Titan, Paramount MX, AP 900GTO, Takahashi EM-400 and CGE Pro? What are the big differences in features or capabilities from one to the other? Do they stack up neatly by cost, or does one stand out as a better (or worse) value than the others?




"photometry / astrometry"? Will you be performing these as part of a research or an educational organization? Or you undertaking this path as a personal, private endeavour? I only ask as it would help to know the equipment payloads that will be installed onto your mount and the associated usage profiles when deployed.

At first glance you see.., I have to wonder if you're really looking at the right models of these manufacturers' mount solutions here to begin with. For instance, at 46lbs (bare OTA dead weight) the C14 is already approaching 50% of the Titan's stated payload capacity, and already breaching 50% of the respective manufacturers' stated capacities for the AP900-GTO (75lbs), Tak EM400 (77lbs) and PMX (90lbs) - and you haven't even added dovetails / rings / imaging train, etc..,

I note you didn't mention the budget you have to work with - for some of these choices, accessorizing to set up readiness comes with additional costs.

Getting away from how you came about your information, if you're concerned about QA issues surrounding the Losmandy G11 ("I also recently heard that Losmandy is now shipping their mounts without being tested after assembly"), I'm curious why you'd still have the Losmandy Titan on your list of candidate mounts.., It is, after all, made in the same shop, made and QA'd by the same people as the G11, you see.

Have a think about what I've said here - particularly about your expected start up be end-game payloads as well as budget, okay?

I'd hesitate to comment further until we're both sure of the same things, really.

Best wishes..,

Regards,

skybsd

Edited by skybsd (01/17/11 01:37 PM)


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LLEEGE
True Blue
*****

Reged: 03/03/05

Loc: Cloud-chester,NY
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: skybsd]
      #4320399 - 01/17/11 12:41 PM

Quote:

and already breaching that of the AP900, Tak EM400 and PMX - and you haven't even added dovetails / rings / imaging train, etc..,


???Huh???

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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
*****

Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: skybsd]
      #4320402 - 01/17/11 12:43 PM

Quote:

For instance, at 46lbs (bare OTA dead weight) the C14 is already approaching 50% of the Titan's stated payload capacity, and already breaching that of the AP900, Tak EM400 and PMX - and you haven't even added dovetails / rings / imaging train, etc..,




The Titan doesn't need to be derated as much as the G-11, and none of the others you mention require derating at all. A C14 and accessories would be no problem for any of those.


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TxStars
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/01/05

Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #4320485 - 01/17/11 01:27 PM

Get a Tak EM-500 or a Ap1200 that will hold the C-14 and some extras and you wont need to upgrade.

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skybsd
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/01/08

Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #4320488 - 01/17/11 01:28 PM

Hi John (+Luke),
The scope weighs what it weights - there's no getting away from this, and the manufacturer's stated payload capacity is what it is at present. The buyer can but only go with what the manufacturers themselves place in their product specification sheets, not so?

Don't get me wrong, having been through similar in the recent past, I am aware of the "unwritten" capabilities of these mounts, but even when I spoke to AP about the AP900GTO being a suitable video astronomy platform for my C14, there were a lot of questions that came back requesting additional details on what exactly are the additional component payloads that need to be added to the C14 bare OTA dead weight..,

And that's "just" for video astronomy - not imaging in the common sense of the term..,

At this point, I don't feel it wise to presume to know what exactly the equipment payload is likely to be, really..,

Regards,

skybsd


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skybsd
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/01/08

Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #4320500 - 01/17/11 01:34 PM

Hi Luke,

Quote:

Quote:

and already breaching that of the AP900, Tak EM400 and PMX - and you haven't even added dovetails / rings / imaging train, etc..,


???Huh???






I can see how in isolation that cut can be seen to be misleading..,

Here's the complete sentence I wrote:

" For instance, at 46lbs (bare OTA dead weight) the C14 is already approaching 50% of the Titan's stated payload capacity, and already breaching that of the AP900, Tak EM400 and PMX - and you haven't even added dovetails / rings / imaging train, etc..,"

In the above sentence, the that in "breaching that of the..," refers to the "50%" referenced earlier in the sentence..,

Hope that explains what I meant - I'll rewrite to explicitly say what I intend..,

Regards,

skybsd


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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
*****

Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: skybsd]
      #4320522 - 01/17/11 01:47 PM

Quote:

Hi John (+Luke),
The scope weighs what it weights - there's no getting away from this, and the manufacturer's stated payload capacity is what it is at present. The buyer can but only go with what the manufacturers themselves place in their product specification sheets, not so?




With SB, AP, and Tak (and a few others), yes. With most others one must derate the manufacturer's figures to guess what the mount can really do. If one of the listed manufacturers says their mount will handle 70 pounds, that means it'll perform to specs at 70 pounds.

My 60 pound-rated CGE will carry the bare C14 for visual use - just barely. My 65 pound-rated NJP carries the C14 and a full set of imaging accessories (around 65 pounds total) very well, indeed.


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skybsd
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/01/08

Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #4320541 - 01/17/11 01:54 PM

Hi John,

Quote:

Quote:

Hi John (+Luke),
The scope weighs what it weights - there's no getting away from this, and the manufacturer's stated payload capacity is what it is at present. The buyer can but only go with what the manufacturers themselves place in their product specification sheets, not so?




With SB, AP, and Tak (and a few others), yes. With most others one must derate the manufacturer's figures to guess what the mount can really do. If one of the listed manufacturers says their mount will handle 70 pounds, that means it'll perform to specs at 70 pounds.

My 60 pound-rated CGE will carry the bare C14 for visual use - just barely. My 65 pound-rated NJP carries the C14 and a full set of imaging accessories (around 65 pounds total) very well, indeed.




Having seen photos of your rigs and set ups, no argument there..,

I'm curious to know what the OP's total expected equipment list and associated payload is like though..,

Regards,

skybsd


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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro new [Re: skybsd]
      #4320601 - 01/17/11 02:23 PM

I would suggest an AP1200GTO and there would be no question to capacity, and have room to grow. The additional cost is not too much.

The AP mounts have been around a while and have a proven track record, do not require a computer to operate in case you want to do visual or video. Service/support is outstanding in the event you need something. Bullet proof mounts in general, and since it will be used a long way from its birthplace, that would be important in my choice.

But just my opinion from someone who owns both a 900 and 1200.

Good luck with what ever you get.

Dean


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ZRX-Steve
sage


Reged: 03/31/08

Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro [Re: Sharkman]
      #4320758 - 01/17/11 03:35 PM

Just to be clear:

The Titan has a 100 pound photographic instrument rating. From the Losmandy site: Photographic instrument weight capacity 100 lbs.


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DeanS
Post Laureate
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Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro [Re: ZRX-Steve]
      #4320771 - 01/17/11 03:40 PM

My concern with any Losmandy mount at the moment would be the new Gemini controller. That is when it actually does get in the market.

I had the Gemini L4 and it was nice, but it also had years on the market, who knows how stable the new version will be at first?


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro [Re: jrcrilly]
      #4320842 - 01/17/11 04:13 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Hi John (+Luke),
The scope weighs what it weights - there's no getting away from this, and the manufacturer's stated payload capacity is what it is at present. The buyer can but only go with what the manufacturers themselves place in their product specification sheets, not so? [/quote
]

With SB, AP, and Tak (and a few others), yes. With most others one must derate the manufacturer's figures to guess what the mount can really do. If one of the listed manufacturers says their mount will handle 70 pounds, that means it'll perform to specs at 70 pounds.

My 60 pound-rated CGE will carry the bare C14 for visual use - just barely. My 65 pound-rated NJP carries the C14 and a full set of imaging accessories (around 65 pounds total) very well, indeed.




What John said. A used NJP would work well, but if you want to buy new and the budget is there, either the EM400 or the AP900. And you can always watch the used market, although used 400s and 900s are fairly rare.

David


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ZRX-Steve
sage


Reged: 03/31/08

Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro [Re: DeanS]
      #4320855 - 01/17/11 04:19 PM

I agree with you Jim. Let alone effective integration with all the other equipment like auto-guiders, laptops, planetarium software, programming PEC, etc. I hope they have minimal problems and meet with great success, but I wouldn't want to be the one on the bleeding edge.

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D. Perry
super member
*****

Reged: 09/28/07

Loc: Southern California, USA
Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro [Re: ZRX-Steve]
      #4321240 - 01/17/11 06:57 PM

Neither photometry nor astrometry require much in the way of long exposures and perfect tracking, so any of the stated mounts will do. But if you end up going with a 14" SCT and intend to do long-exposure astrophotography, I'd remove the CGE Pro from the list, as has been mentioned.

Titan: A very capable mount but not currently available due to the Gemini's hiatus. They should start becoming available within a couple months.

MX: Not currently available and won't be for a couple months, but probably the best option due to the quality of support and reputation of its bigger brother.

AP900GTO: Available now through AP. They have some units on hand ready for shipping in February. An excellent all-around choice regardless of your application. Proven quality and support.

EM-400: Another great mount but a little on the "niche" side of the market, meaning adapters and parts are a bit more difficult to find than the more mainstream Losmandy, AP, and Bisque mounts.

Good luck in your research and shopping!


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wz2
Most Boring Astronomer...


Reged: 07/30/10

Re: Titan vs. MX vs. 900GTO vs. EM-400 vs. CGE Pro [Re: D. Perry]
      #4321311 - 01/17/11 07:35 PM

This is such a cool forum.

Until I buy a scope, I remain,

The most boring astronomer in the universe....


Chris


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