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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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luigis
sage


Reged: 07/27/10

Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions
      #5716397 - 03/06/13 01:28 PM

Hi All,

After using both portable mounts for a while I wanted to share my review and comments in case they help somebody looking to buy one and needing to make a decision.


My short conclusion is the following one:

If you have a panning base or you buy a panning base then the Ioptron Sky-Tracker is a better choice. It has longer battery life, can be aligned without removing the camera and you don' need two ballheads.

The Feisol panning base ($39) matches the sky-tracker perfectly.

If you don't have a panning base or you don't plan to buy one then the Polarie is better as the Ioptron is totally unusable.

Luis


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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: luigis]
      #5717073 - 03/06/13 07:00 PM

Quote:


If you don't have a panning base or you don't plan to buy one then the Polarie is better as the Ioptron is totally unusable.




I just received the panning base for my iOptron and I agree that it will make the Sky Tracker a lot more user friendly. I wouldn't say though that the iOptron is totally unusable. It's just more cumbersome to move the tripod around. With shorter focal length lens the polar alignment is not quite as critical. Just my 2 cents.

The FEISOL PB-70 Panning Base is well worth the cost and should just be added into the price of the iOptron when making purchasing decisions.

Patrick


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Peds
sage


Reged: 03/07/07

Loc: Brasília, Brazil
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Patrick]
      #5717088 - 03/06/13 07:08 PM

Thanks Luis and Patrick! Your thoughts are valuable indeed!

P.


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TONGKW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/16/07

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Patrick]
      #5717287 - 03/06/13 09:09 PM Attachment (462 downloads)

I find the Polarie would work better if a counterweight is incorporated. Herewith is the DIY counterweight system for my Polarie.
The base is also a DIY unit from a few piece of thick aluminum angle. Polar alignment is quick and easy.

K W TONG
C8+CG5 GT, TSA102+HEQ5 PRO, MK67+Voyager, NexStar 6SE, C5+Mizar K, WO ZS80FD+Kenko NES, Megrez 72FD+Kenko KDS, Mini Borg 50, PST


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Bluejay08
member


Reged: 09/29/09

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: luigis]
      #5717306 - 03/06/13 09:20 PM

So does this mean that a Polarie can be used without a ball head or a panning base on a tripod? Based on the price difference, I may still go for the SkyTracker.

Thanks for the info.

Jay


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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: TONGKW]
      #5717500 - 03/06/13 11:11 PM

Quote:

I find the Polarie would work better if a counterweight is incorporated. Herewith is the DIY counterweight system for my Polarie.
The base is also a DIY unit from a few piece of thick aluminum angle. Polar alignment is quick and easy.

K W TONG




Nice work, K W!


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core
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/23/08

Loc: Mostly in Norman, OK
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Patrick]
      #5717549 - 03/07/13 12:02 AM

Luis,

Thanks for the review - wondering if you have any opinions with regards to tracking accuracy and load capacity of both units? (The Polarie can be over-loaded quite a bit).


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luigis
sage


Reged: 07/27/10

Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: core]
      #5718787 - 03/07/13 04:43 PM

Both track really really well.

I used the Sky-Tracker last night and I was doing 4 minute exposures with a 50mm lens and no trails at all. The vixen is also very accurate once polar aligned.

About load capacity I think they are similar, the Ioptron looks more solid and can probably carry a little more weight.

The biggest problem is not the weight but the torque. If you use a long lens (long in length) then the weight will put a heavier torque on the two little screws that hold the mounting plate to the mount and then you have a problem.

I really wonder why there's no drilled hole in the mount to make sure the mounting plate cant skid. Both units have the same little problem.


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Bluejay08
member


Reged: 09/29/09

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: luigis]
      #5719141 - 03/07/13 07:28 PM

Good question. I guess if I want to mount an adapting plates using that four mounting holes on the plate instead of a ball head, I will lost the freedom to adjust the plate position if the screws are fixed. But if there are drilled holes there, it definitely will help in most of the case.

Jay


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Traveler
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/19/07

Loc: The Netherlands
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Patrick]
      #5719841 - 03/08/13 04:18 AM

Luis/Patrick and others:

What tripod do you guys use?


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Traveler]
      #5719916 - 03/08/13 07:11 AM

Gitzo 5541LS. Rock solid but not cheap. I also use this tripod as a travel solution for holding my Discmount DM4 head. I can use my SV115T on the tripod without any instability.

I did some test 2 minute exposures with round stars using the Canon 400mm f/5.6 lens on my Canon 6D. That setup is at the weight limits of the SkyTracker. This Saturday I will be using it all night at our club's Messier Marathon. If the clouds stay away as forecast I will be able to do some nice dark site work.


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Traveler
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/19/07

Loc: The Netherlands
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: JMW]
      #5719938 - 03/08/13 07:33 AM

Thanks Jeff and good luck with your marathon!

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luigis
sage


Reged: 07/27/10

Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Traveler]
      #5720326 - 03/08/13 11:30 AM

Quote:

Luis/Patrick and others:
What tripod do you guys use?




Manfrotto 055 in my case.
This small tracking units go very well in almost any good tripod.
A leveling base or bubble level is needed to level the tripod legs.

With the polarie I use a Manfrotto 410 geared head below the mount and a ballhead on top.

With the Sky-tracker I use the feisol panning base below the mount and a ballhead on top.

The acratech ultimate ballhead is perfect for these units because it is light-weight and it allows ample movements in almost all directions much better than ballheads with a restricted range of movements and slots for bigger angles.


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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: luigis]
      #5721524 - 03/09/13 02:21 AM

I use a Manfrotto 475B.

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munchmeister
sage
*****

Reged: 04/04/12

Loc: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Patrick]
      #5723280 - 03/10/13 12:56 AM

I have my SkyTracker on a Slik Pro 814CF II, Manfrotto 488RC2 ballhead, which pans, but the 488RC2 ballhead portion isn't really necessary for altitude adjustment, it's just part of my DSLR kit. Small Manfrotto 484RC2 head atop the SkyTracker for mounting the Nikon D90 DSLR. That Feisol panning base looks like a good idea if you don't have one and is probably the least expensive way to add that to a simpler tripod.

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luigis
sage


Reged: 07/27/10

Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: munchmeister]
      #5726157 - 03/11/13 03:45 PM

Well it's not about "simpler tripods" many good tripods can't rotate the central column and even worst many great tripods don't even have a central column. That's why it was a horrible design error by Ioptron to leave the unit without azimuth control.
Anyone that has aligned a mount knows that moving the tripod legs is really not an option.

Edited by luigis (03/11/13 09:02 PM)


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munchmeister
sage
*****

Reged: 04/04/12

Loc: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: luigis]
      #5727031 - 03/11/13 10:34 PM

Chill, Lou. Didn't mean to bad mouth your tripods. Some have rotation, some don't. Buy what works for ya. For $39 you can get the Feisol base to use with the SkyTracker. That still puts the SkyTracker cheaper than the Polarie. But the Polarie is a fine, fine unit. As is the Astrotrac. It is not a contest, it's about options. I had a rotating head tripod just like many photographers will. That makes that "horrible design" just fine for my use and I prefer the off axis polar scope that does not have to be removed when the camera is mounted. I might be able to get longer subs that way. That was important for me, as well, in choosing the SkyTracker. This lets me make sure my polar alignment can be checked AFTER I mount the camera and get my objects framed in the field of view. You cannot do that with the Polarie. Some might call that a "horrible design error." I just call it differences that distinguish one product from another in a marketplace of choices. Pick one. Both are good, useful trackers. But I think it is a disservice to those who use this site to assist with their purchase decisions to lambaste one design as a "horrible design error." Just my two cents. And I am quite happy with the SkyTracker.

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luigis
sage


Reged: 07/27/10

Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: munchmeister]
      #5727187 - 03/12/13 12:01 AM

Both units are nice. My rant about the sky-tracker is that they included altitude control but not azimuth.

I also understand the scope works for you in the North Hemisphere.

I went out last saturday with some friends (south hemisphere). There was 1 astrotract, 2 polaries and 1 sky-tracker.

The astrotrac was doing 10 minutes exposures, no problems.
The polarie managed 8 minutes with perfect tracking.
The sky-tracker managed 3 minutes.

It was a windy night, the polarie and sky-tracker needded periodic re-alignment. The astrotrac didn't.

And that's my humble contribution to the general confusion :-)


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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: luigis]
      #5727224 - 03/12/13 12:18 AM

Quote:

My rant about the sky-tracker is that they included altitude control but not azimuth.




I agree that iOptron missed the boat when they did not include azimuth control, especially after doing such a good job on the altitude control, but I think they were probably designing to a price point.

Patrick


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core
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/23/08

Loc: Mostly in Norman, OK
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: luigis]
      #5727378 - 03/12/13 02:53 AM Attachment (208 downloads)

Quote:

The biggest problem is not the weight but the torque. If you use a long lens (long in length) then the weight will put a heavier torque on the two little screws that hold the mounting plate to the mount and then you have a problem.




From what I recall, one of the main strengths of the Polarie is the motor, which is suppose to be from one of Vixen's larger mounts - which may account for the heavier drain ofthe batteries. If you check out some of the Japan astro links, there are replacements for mounting the plate, replacement bolts, and pics of the mount carrying/tracking and taking pics with 60mm+ refractors. The setup pictured below carries a Benro arm, Borg 45ED with reducer, and capture via Galaxy Note II running DSLR Controller app. The main limitation was getting it polar aligned without Polaris being visible - if the app had the ability to overlay cross-hairs, it would have helped with drift alignment (eg, BackyardEOS - but this setup was for extreme portability ). I hope to pick up a Sky Tracker later this year to give it a go for sure.


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luigis
sage


Reged: 07/27/10

Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: core]
      #5728013 - 03/12/13 12:13 PM

Peter I will accept the motor can carry the weight but the two little screws can't do it. How is that gimbal head attached to the mount? I'm sure there's some trick or modding otherwise the screws will not handle it.

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core
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/23/08

Loc: Mostly in Norman, OK
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: luigis]
      #5729391 - 03/12/13 11:48 PM Attachment (120 downloads)

No trick, just lock it down really tight (use pliers if needed ) - replacement thumb screws would help; the Benro arm off-sets the weight of the setup as well.

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alliumfamily
member


Reged: 05/22/13

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: core]
      #5884940 - 05/26/13 12:30 AM

Will someone give who has tried both give me there opinion? Can we quantify this a little better.

From what I gather: Both units seem to track well. However, some people have had better luck with long exposures using the Polarie (referencing
luigis).

In addition, the Polarie has both azimuth and altitude controls, while the SkyTracker only has an altitude control.?

The SkyTracker requires a Feisol panning base? Does this allow it to be controlled in azimuth? If not, then why does it need this?

Do they both have the same speed options (sidereal, 1/2x, whatever, etc)?

The final question: If you were starting from scratch, (i.e. owned a nice astro DSLR, but no tripod or other small mount gear), which one would you buy? Which tripod would you buy? Which type of base(s)?

I know people said its about options, could someone clarify what those options are, perhaps pros/cons of each (not really looking at the astrotrack due to its price.

Thanks! I really appreciate it! This is my first post.


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: alliumfamily]
      #5884949 - 05/26/13 12:38 AM

Quote:

Will someone give who has tried both give me there opinion? Can we quantify this a little better.

From what I gather: Both units seem to track well. However, some people have had better luck with long exposures using the Polarie (referencing
luigis).

In addition, the Polarie has both azimuth and altitude controls, while the SkyTracker only has an altitude control.?

The SkyTracker requires a Feisol panning base? Does this allow it to be controlled in azimuth? If not, then why does it need this?

Do they both have the same speed options (sidereal, 1/2x, whatever, etc)?

The final question: If you were starting from scratch, (i.e. owned a nice astro DSLR, but no tripod or other small mount gear), which one would you buy? Which tripod would you buy? Which type of base(s)?

I know people said its about options, could someone clarify what those options are, perhaps pros/cons of each (not really looking at the astrotrack due to its price.

Thanks! I really appreciate it! This is my first post.




Hello alliumfamily!

Here is what I have on my Amazon Wish list for next month's purchase based on my research, comments, experience, blah, blah, blah...

-- Canon 60Da (already have)
-- Canon TC80N3 Timer Remote Control
-- Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs (Black)
-- Manfrotto 460MG Magnesium Camera Head
-- Feisol PB-70 Panning Base
-- iOptron Skytracker. Reviews are good for it, plus I like the Polar Scope attachment better.

This setup will also hold my Coronado PST.

I hope this helps!


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alliumfamily
member


Reged: 05/22/13

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5884954 - 05/26/13 12:40 AM

Cool! Thank you I appreciate it! I already have the Canon 60Da and the remote. Can I ask why you chose the SkyTracker over the Polarie? Because of the polar scope, I see. But, what did the reviews say about the SkyTracker that made it seem more appealing to you?

Thanks!

Edited by alliumfamily (05/26/13 12:41 AM)


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: alliumfamily]
      #5884968 - 05/26/13 12:47 AM

Quote:

Cool! Thank you I appreciate it! I already have the Canon 60Da and the remote. Can I ask why you chose the SkyTracker over the Polarie?




First off, near as I can tell both are excellent units. So it boiled down to the Polar Scope. For the Polarie it goes through where the camera mounting point is. I can see some slight errors when taking it on and off. With the SkyTracker you can have both the camera mount and polar scope on at the same time.

And the Polar scope is bundled with the Skytracker for $399.

Lastly, Sky & Telescope also gave it excellent marks.


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alliumfamily
member


Reged: 05/22/13

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5885005 - 05/26/13 01:42 AM

Awesome. Great information. That seems ridiculous to have to remove the camera. I really appreciate your insight. I'm going to read the S&T review.

I'd love to hear from people that have tried both or at least one with your thoughts! See my post above for specific questions!


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munchmeister
sage
*****

Reged: 04/04/12

Loc: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: alliumfamily]
      #5887414 - 05/27/13 04:21 PM

Quote:

Will someone give who has tried both give me there opinion? Can we quantify this a little better.
I do not have both, only the SkyTracker so take this for what it is worth to you.
From what I gather: Both units seem to track well. However, some people have had better luck with long exposures using the Polarie (referencing
luigis).

In addition, the Polarie has both azimuth and altitude controls, while the SkyTracker only has an altitude control.?
Yes, ST only has altitude control but if your tripod has a column that rotates in azimuth, you don't need the Feisol base. If your tripod has no rotation, yes, you need a Feisol, which is the cheapest. Many, many tripods have a column which rotates, so it is not needed on the ST
The SkyTracker requires a Feisol panning base? Does this allow it to be controlled in azimuth? If not, then why does it need this?

Do they both have the same speed options (sidereal, 1/2x, whatever, etc)?
No. They do not have the same speed options. The ST has sideral and 1/2 sideral. It has a north/south switch.
The final question: If you were starting from scratch, (i.e. owned a nice astro DSLR, but no tripod or other small mount gear), which one would you buy? Which tripod would you buy? Which type of base(s)?
I started from scratch more or less, as I looked at the AstroTrack, found it too expensive but a great piece of equipment. Bulkier as well. I looked at the Polarie and, by the time you bought the polar alignment scope (PAS), it was adding up, in cost. Then the iOptron SkyTracker came on the scene, with an intro price that included the PAS. In addition the ST PAS has a red LED lighting feature, so you don't have to fuss with this in the dark. Finally, the ST PAS has the concentric circle method of placing Polaris, which differs, I think, from the Polarie and the ST has a companion polar alignment app for an iPad or iPhone or iPod Touch. I have a Touch so could make use of this. And the setup, with tripod (which I had for general photography) makes for a PORTABLE setup, which is really one of it's main features, in my view. I can put it in with my camera gear for wide field shots where ever I go, when I don't happen to be taking telescope gear. For me, it was the answer
I know people said its about options, could someone clarify what those options are, perhaps pros/cons of each (not really looking at the astrotrack due to its price.

Thanks! I really appreciate it! This is my first post.




Does that help?


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alliumfamily
member


Reged: 05/22/13

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: munchmeister]
      #5887464 - 05/27/13 05:03 PM

Awesome, yes. I appreciate the more specific answers. It seems like previously this threads comments were very general and not quantifiable.
Thank you!


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mshedden
member


Reged: 10/05/12

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: alliumfamily]
      #5887718 - 05/27/13 07:23 PM

Quote:


In addition, the Polarie has both azimuth and altitude controls, while the SkyTracker only has an altitude control.?

The SkyTracker requires a Feisol panning base? Does this allow it to be controlled in azimuth? If not, then why does it need this?






The panning base is for ease of polar alignment only - without it you'd have to rotate the whole tripod left or right when dialing in on the pole star, which is inaccurate and upsets the altitude setting on non level ground.


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Hikari
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 01/05/11

Loc: Maine, USA
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: alliumfamily]
      #5888655 - 05/28/13 10:32 AM

Quote:

Will someone give who has tried both give me there opinion? Can we quantify this a little better.

From what I gather: Both units seem to track well. However, some people have had better luck with long exposures using the Polarie (referencing
luigis).

In addition, the Polarie has both azimuth and altitude controls, while the SkyTracker only has an altitude control.?




I am a Polarie owner. The Polarie itself is just a box. You need to mount it on something. You can put it on a geared head or something much simpler--I have mine on a pan head, and only pan--no tilt.

Quote:

The SkyTracker requires a Feisol panning base? Does this allow it to be controlled in azimuth? If not, then why does it need this?




If your tripod center column rotates, then you don't need a panning base--I rotate the center column of my tripod with the Polarie.

Quote:

Do they both have the same speed options (sidereal, 1/2x, whatever, etc)?




Polarie has four tracking rates--sidereal, 1/2 sidereal, lunar, and solar.

Quote:

The final question: If you were starting from scratch, (i.e. owned a nice astro DSLR, but no tripod or other small mount gear), which one would you buy? Which tripod would you buy? Which type of base(s)?




I would get a good quality carbon fiber photo tripod with a center column I can rotate. I would get an Arca Swiss P0 tripod head and a simple Manfrotto pan head. The arcs Swiss head would double for photography and to mount on the Polarie.

But then I am a photographer and I invest in my gear. You could do the same for less.

Quote:

I know people said its about options, could someone clarify what those options are, perhaps pros/cons of each (not really looking at the astrotrack due to its price.

Thanks! I really appreciate it! This is my first post.




I had the choice and went with the Polarie--I sold an Astrotrac for it. For me, a light, compact system was very important. The Polarie is lighter and smaller and only requires two batteries. The Polar scope is great, although missing an illuminator, but my red flash light works. I love the fact you can just dial in the date and time and the Polar scope can find the right position for Polaris. I can also use the sight hole if I don't want to be bothered with the Polar scope. I have the Polar meter, but I am not sure how useful that is.

Personally, I prefer Japanese engineering over Chinese engineering. After doing some research, Vixen mounts seem to have less trouble then iOptron units. Now, the SkyTracker is not the most complicated piece of hardware in the world, but it can have problems.

I am sure whichever you get, it will work fine. The Polarie will be the more expensive route.


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Ed Wiley
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Kansas, USA
Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Hikari]
      #5888912 - 05/28/13 12:54 PM

Alternative to both: Kenko Skymemo. I love mine in spite of the fact that it is bigger, more expensive, requires a better tripod and etc. Mine carries (on a Vixen dovetail mounted at right angles) a 300mm telephoto, 7x50mm finder and red-spot finder and tracks for 3 minutes with this particular rig (and forever with a 50mm lens). But if I was traveling to Australia I might buy a smaller camera platform.

Ed


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alliumfamily
member


Reged: 05/22/13

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Ed Wiley]
      #5890956 - 05/29/13 04:19 PM

Thank you everyone! It seems to me as long as you have a tripod that moves in azimuth or a base that does, the only quantifiable difference is that the Polarie has solar and lunar speeds which the ST does not.

This is a bit of a bummer. I was heavily leaning towards the StarTracker, but if I can't do lunar or solar photography with it, that is a big mark in the con list.

Anyone have thoughts on this?


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alliumfamily
member


Reged: 05/22/13

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Ed Wiley]
      #5890961 - 05/29/13 04:22 PM

Those looks awesome, but way out of the price range we're looking at.

"Alternative to both: Kenko Skymemo. I love mine in spite of the fact that it is bigger, more expensive, requires a better tripod and etc. Mine carries (on a Vixen dovetail mounted at right angles) a 300mm telephoto, 7x50mm finder and red-spot finder and tracks for 3 minutes with this particular rig (and forever with a 50mm lens). But if I was traveling to Australia I might buy a smaller camera platform.

Ed"


Edited by alliumfamily (05/29/13 04:24 PM)


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alliumfamily
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Reged: 05/22/13

Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: alliumfamily]
      #5890964 - 05/29/13 04:24 PM

Has anyone checked out the Sightron Nano Tracker? It was a a Sky & Telescope Hot Product for 2013. I want to order my tracker, but I'm torn between the Sightron Nano Tracker, StarTracker, and Polarie....

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munchmeister
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: alliumfamily]
      #5917022 - 06/12/13 01:42 PM

For what it is worth, Lunar and Solar tracking modes are not likely to add much to the Polarie, as compared to the SkyTracker. Neither the moon nor the sun move enough compared to the night time star field to make any noticeable difference for astrophotography tracking. So that should not be a big "con" for your comparison. Additionally, since both are super bright, your shutter speeds on your camera are going to be very small (i.e. fast). Tracking is really only important for long exposures of from, say 30 seconds to a couple of minutes (or more). So for lunar and solar the SkyTrackers sidereal rate should be just fine. See Tracking rates thread

The Nano Tracker looks to be smaller and might therefore need to stick with a lighter payload. But, depending on what you are going to put on it, might work just fine. There sure seems to be a tendency to push the limits of these small mounts, with bigger and bigger lenses. To me, they are for portability. If a big 300mm lens is the weapon of choice on a big DSLR, it seems to me it would be both cheaper and sturdier to buy a low cost German Equatorial like a CG-4 and just mount the DSLR on that. Not quite as portable but gets the job done.


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Bluejay08
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: munchmeister]
      #5918037 - 06/13/13 12:13 AM

Agree. Sun and moon are so bright. There is no need for long exposure.

Jay


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Dale J Martin
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Bluejay08]
      #5919566 - 06/13/13 09:10 PM

Hi folks,

I recieved a Skytracker today and was rather surprised to see that this unit has a azimuth control built in! Must have been just added....:-) Though a bit dismayed since I already ordered a panning head....

Dale


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JMW
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Dale J Martin]
      #5919626 - 06/13/13 09:51 PM

Dale, put up a picture showing the azimuth control. I am curious about the new version. I already have the panning base so it doesn't affect me but others will want to know.

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Patrick
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Dale J Martin]
      #5920202 - 06/14/13 09:17 AM

Quote:

I recieved a Skytracker today and was rather surprised to see that this unit has a azimuth control built in! Must have been just added....:-)




PICTURES??!!!

Patrick


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TONGKW
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Patrick]
      #5920300 - 06/14/13 10:15 AM

I have found pictures of the new iOptron Skytracker in a website in China.

http://www.astronomy.com.cn/bbs/thread-269387-1-2.html

herewith is a rough translation of the posting :-
iOptron introduced the skytracker which received good recognition both at home and abroad.
The original version has built-in elevation adjustment which brought about convenience. But with no horizontal adjustment, it has become somewhat inconvenient in actual use.
After receiving feedback from many users, iOptron finally reacted by launching a new version of the Skytracker with both vertical and horizontal adjustments built in. The polar scope is also new.


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munchmeister
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: TONGKW]
      #5920423 - 06/14/13 11:40 AM

Looks like they beefed up the threaded screw knobs that hold the ball head on. All good additions. Wonder if the price will still be low?

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Darren Bly
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: munchmeister]
      #5921107 - 06/14/13 07:19 PM

Take a look at the ioptron web site

http://www.ioptron.com/index.cfm?select=productdetails&phid=d1a70749-1897...

The new version has a new polar scope and increased payload. They also offer the new base for sale as a upgrade.


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Patrick
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Darren Bly]
      #5921552 - 06/15/13 12:44 AM

It looks like you can purchase the azimuth base separately.

Patrick


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Hikari
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Darren Bly]
      #5922006 - 06/15/13 10:45 AM

Quote:

Take a look at the ioptron web site

http://www.ioptron.com/index.cfm?select=productdetails&phid=d1a70749-1897...

The new version has a new polar scope and increased payload.




Well, they changed the load value. Whether the mount actually can have a larger load is not clear.


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Darren Bly
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Hikari]
      #5922193 - 06/15/13 12:24 PM




Well, they changed the load value. Whether the mount actually can have a larger load is not clear.




Given the fact that iOptron has introduced a fairly major upgrade to a product that's only about six months old, I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt and more than a little praise. We have companies that have had products on the market for years with issues and without repairs. <cough LX80 cough>


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Mariner@sg
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Darren Bly]
      #5926852 - 06/18/13 04:59 AM

Sorry for diverting the topic. The Polarie's tripod assembly comes with the QHD-43 ball head on the tripod and the QHD-33 is suppose to fix on the polarie. Has anyone tried using other ball heads instead of the 33?

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Doug D.
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Mariner@sg]
      #5927256 - 06/18/13 11:01 AM Attachment (115 downloads)

Quote:

Sorry for diverting the topic. The Polarie's tripod assembly comes with the QHD-43 ball head on the tripod and the QHD-33 is suppose to fix on the polarie. Has anyone tried using other ball heads instead of the 33?




I grant you, I'm using some "non-typical" gear for my Polarie and cameras but given that photography is my other long-standing interest I've obtained some specialized gear over the years that can often do double duty for astro

The ballhead I like to use with my Polarie is the tiny Really Right Stuff BH-25 with a quick release clamp. The Polarie mounting bolt is 1/4" and the BH-25 (like most decent bullheads) uses a 3/8" hole so you have to add a reducer bushing (3/8" to 1/4") that can be gotten from many sources including RRS.

The BH-25 works really well with one slight exception - the knob doesn't completely clear the Polarie base when fully rotated by 360 degrees but it isn't much of a problem because the knob can be repositioned by pulling and releasing. The other nice thing about the BH-25 is that loosening the knob (single knob) frees both axes of movement and can be set so that the slightest twist of knob tightens firmly after re-positioning. The BH-25 is tiny and lightweight but can easily handle a small-medium dSLR (or mirrorless like the GXR). I wouldn't trust a full-size dSLR with heavy glass though. For that I use an Arcatech ballhead, usually with an Astrotrac.

Pretty much any small to midsize ballhead will work on the Polarie to reposition your camera but a good quality one (and the BH-25 qualifies here without being ridiculously expensive) is a pleasure to use. I'm not a fan of using a ballhead to position the Polarie, however. A geared head is a lot less frustrating.

In case anyone is wondering, the thing supporting the Polarie is an Arca Swiss Cube (the Cube is a dream to use for this purpose but WAY overkill).


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munchmeister
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5927293 - 06/18/13 11:17 AM

Wow. That ^^ is quite the setup!

I use a small Manfrotto ballhead. I think it is their 'micro' ballhead.

http://f-rider.smugmug.com/Photography/Skytracker-Astrophotography/i-tV8WB5z/...


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Mariner@sg
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Re: Vixen Polarie vs Ioptron Sky Tracker, conclusions new [Re: munchmeister]
      #5927321 - 06/18/13 11:31 AM

Cool. Thanks for the feedback guys!

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