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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Senator48]
      #5739207 - 03/17/13 05:32 PM

Quote:

Really intrigued by the ZEQ25 now. Watched the videos from the other thread a few times and think that this would be a great mount for my new toy (AT111EDT APO Triplet) that just arrived on Friday. It's down to this and the Celestron VX to replace my CG5.




The ZEQ25 would be an excellent match for your purposes. Both the ZEQ25 and the VX are in the same price range, the polar scope equipped ZEQ25 is $50 more, but comes pre aligned at the factory and is never blocked.

The only scales you have to worry about is the latitude scale and whatever markers you place on the RA and DEC joints to establish a zero position.

I personally feel that the iOptron polar align reticle is the cat's meow and super easy to use.

I think that the ZEQ25 would be a little easier to setup and use, and thus be more suited to your needs, since the best mount is the one you use the most.

The AVX has the advantage of being available right now. The ZEQ25 will not be shipping until the end of this month with all the latest upgrades (external knobs for adjusting gear box tension) and improved Ascom drivers and firmware for linking to popular planetarium programs.

It does work with Starry Nights Pro and Cirques du Ciel at the moment. And also with The Sky as of this week. All that remains is a useable version to link to SkySafari or Orions StarSeek and it will be truly versatile.

Hope the info helps, happy shopping and have a ton of fun with whatever you decide to purchase.

Edited by Astronewb (03/17/13 05:33 PM)


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Senator48
member


Reged: 03/12/12

Loc: New Jersey
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5739515 - 03/17/13 07:49 PM

Thank you, Paul. Definitely appreciate the feedback and the factory aligned polar alignment reticle is another big plus. For a mount that will be simple to move and use whether it's on my deck or at a remote site, this one is looking more and more like a winner. If I feel like my CG5 is a bit cumbersome on some nights, I don't think that the AVX is going to offer a much easier experience for me.

Depending on whether or not I can convince Mrs. Senator48 that I need two mounts for hands-on comparison, I will most likely just wait until I can get a ZEQ25 at High Point since it's less than an hour's drive from home (through some beautiful northern NJ farmland and open space.) I was amazed when she told me to go for it on the AT111 last week - almost as amazing as seeing it briefly "In Stock" at Astronomics!

Best,
Jason


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Senator48]
      #5739529 - 03/17/13 07:55 PM

My pleasure Jason...and it sounds like you have a wonderful 'better half'..don't forget to invest in her..;)

Oh, and I just downloaded and installed MS Worldwide Telescope..and the ZEQ25 works fine with the Ascom platform in that software also. Worldwide Telescope is the program Flickr uses to label their astrophotos...never knew you could download and install a PC version. It's available for the MAC systems too. I also never knew you could control a telescope from the program as well..live and learn.

Clear skies..

Paul


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frozen.kryo
super member


Reged: 01/28/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5739824 - 03/17/13 11:17 PM

Quote:

It does work with Starry Nights Pro and Cirques du Ciel at the moment. And also with The Sky as of this week. All that remains is a useable version to link to SkySafari or Orions StarSeek and it will be truly versatile.




I believe it's "Cartes du Ciel".


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: frozen.kryo]
      #5740279 - 03/18/13 09:07 AM

I believe it's "Cartes du Ciel".

Ooops..brain hiccup...that's what I get for attending so many Cirque du Soleil performances.

Thanks,

Paul


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Senator48
member


Reged: 03/12/12

Loc: New Jersey
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5766929 - 03/30/13 02:05 PM

Any updates on how your enjoying your ZEQ25? I am definitely going to give one a shot to replace my CG5 when they're finally available in April. This offering from iOptron still seems like one of the best affordable new lightweight go-to mounts to come out in years.

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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Senator48]
      #5767628 - 03/30/13 09:12 PM

Quote:

Any updates on how your enjoying your ZEQ25?




Hi, well, I'm still enjoying it, just loaded up a new firmware update (final version) and waiting to wring it out.

The mount has exceeded my expectations, and is so radically different in design from my GEM iEQ45 that I have had to rethink my assumptions on what a mount is capable of.

The mount just shrugs weight off, and the 27 pound capacity is very conservative. Up to the rated capacity it is going to perform splendidly.

The mount has performed without a hiccup or defect since I got it.

I have tested the mount with several planetarium programs and it works with Stellarium (with the Stellarium Scope add-on) using the latest March 2013 Ascom drivers. It also works with Starry Night Pro, Cartes du Ciel and MS World Wide Telescope without issues.

My mount is an early pre-production version, the shipping mounts now include locks for the RA and DEC switches which look excellent.

If I could fault anything, it's that the polar scope illumination reticle cable has a tendency to fall out of the lower connector when slewing the mount around. It's probably best to remove it after polar aligning anyway.

iOptron has posted up the User's Guide on their website, so you can download and read thru it. They should have the complete User's Manual available soon.

The only thing I have left to do with the mount is to do some long exposure guided imaging. Weather has been an issue, and as luck would have it , tonight is crystal clear, not a cloud in the sky, great seeing....and I'm away from home for the Easter Holiday....:(

It is indeed one of the best affordable mounts to come along in years. The Celestron AVx is the only other contender in it's range, but I don't see the same level of 'evolution' in that mount. I also hope iOptron's ZEQ25 will not have the same numbers of issues that Celestron's initial introduction has had, but that might be temporary and limited to the first shipping units?

Oh, anyone thinking of ordering the ZEQ25 might consider an extra counterweight at the same time, because the one CW will only balance about 16 pounds of OTA.

Clear skies,

Paul


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netwolf
super member
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Reged: 09/03/05

Loc: NSW, Australia
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5785138 - 04/08/13 12:31 AM

Paul any chance you could post some PE results for this mount, perhaps with Pempro or similar. Pempro do offer a free trial.

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grommit
journeyman
*****

Reged: 12/27/12

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: netwolf]
      #5824518 - 04/26/13 02:14 PM

Apologies, I'm 1500 miles from my scope and have no idea what it weighs without the janky fork mount. I'm faced with paying 600 dollars for a wedge, and this seems like a better idea. My question: your thoughts on mounting a 12" Meade LX200 on this mount?

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ASTERON
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: ISRAEL
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: grommit]
      #5824869 - 04/26/13 04:50 PM

Grommet,
My 12" lx200R weights in at 19 kg (>40 pounds). Which most probably puts it way beyond the nominal mounts capacity.

That said, it may be the perfect mount for my AT8RC With CF tube.

I am seriously considering this mount as a lightweight GEM in the near future. I would like to see a few more positive reviews of regular production mounts before I commit myself.


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: netwolf]
      #5825543 - 04/27/13 12:28 AM

Quote:

Paul any chance you could post some PE results for this mount, perhaps with Pempro or similar. Pempro do offer a free trial.




I will do that as soon as I can. Just got updated drive pulleys and belts from iOptron, same as current shipping mounts. As soon as I get them installed and a clear night, I can convert some PHD logs w/PecPrep to see what it looks like.

Cheers,

Paul


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SunBlack
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/05/11

Loc: Rome (IT)
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Astronewb]
      #5829481 - 04/29/13 02:14 AM

@ Astronewb (Paul): if possible i need tracking tests of this mount. Take an APS-C camera+200mm lens or FF camera+ 300mm. Take exps at ~0° DEC, unguided, of 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5m, 4m. Look at results and let me know when trailing is perceptible, u can shoot in jpg fine. No raw needed for this kind of test.
Thx


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: SunBlack]
      #5830510 - 04/29/13 03:24 PM

I can do that with my Nikon and the 55-200 lens, simply by swapping in the low alt adjuster.

But, I have absolutely no views less than 15 degrees from the horizon, so unless you want a bunch of trees tracked, that might be an issue.

I did do a tracking test, unguided at approx. 30-40 degrees when I got the mount. With just a simple polar align, I was able to image round stars up to 2 and 1/2 minutes without trailing. At 3 minutes the stars started to 'egg' a bit.

So, I can do at a lower elevation, if you don't mind a few trees in the image....;)

Clear skies,

Paul
Quote:

@ Astronewb (Paul): if possible i need tracking tests of this mount. Take an APS-C camera+200mm lens or FF camera+ 300mm. Take exps at ~0° DEC, unguided, of 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5m, 4m. Look at results and let me know when trailing is perceptible, u can shoot in jpg fine. No raw needed for this kind of test.
Thx




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SunBlack
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/05/11

Loc: Rome (IT)
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Astronewb]
      #5830526 - 04/29/13 03:33 PM

No trees are important. Important is being at celestial equator. Pls let me know as u got new results....

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Mike7Mak
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Reged: 12/07/11

Loc: New York
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: SunBlack]
      #5830555 - 04/29/13 03:44 PM

0 DEC is the celestial equator and should be around 45-50 degrees above the horizon in Connecticut.

I have no interest in this mount but I am curious what this novel configuration is supposed to solve. It looks to me like OTA conflicts with the tripod are much more likely.


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: SunBlack]
      #5831314 - 04/29/13 11:10 PM

Quote:

No trees are important. Important is being at celestial equator. Pls let me know as u got new results....




Doh, it has dawned on my dim brain, that I will still have to align on Polaris @ 42 degrees lat to eliminate trailing, I still can image from 15 degrees to 20 degrees though. I don't think the results will be much different than at 30-40 degrees elevation, but we will see.

Clear skies,

Paul


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5831322 - 04/29/13 11:16 PM

Quote:

It looks to me like OTA conflicts with the tripod are much more likely.




The mount does look a bit strange, but when configured for low latitude, the counterweight shaft is adjusted out and away from the tripod leg, so even with the azimuth pin in the north position on the mount, there is plenty of room, even at -5 degrees latitude (I checked).

I have imaged at 74 degrees with a 90mm refractor without any contact with the tripod..it's close, my Dslr is about 2 inches away from a leg, but a miss is as good as a mile..:)

Best,

Paul


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SunBlack
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/05/11

Loc: Rome (IT)
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Astronewb]
      #5831499 - 04/30/13 02:16 AM

Yes, u have to align to Polaris, then slew the mount at 0 dec and begin to shoot, hoping no intruders (trees ). Let me know....

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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Astronewb]
      #5837490 - 05/02/13 11:51 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Paul any chance you could post some PE results for this mount, perhaps with Pempro or similar. Pempro do offer a free trial.




I will do that as soon as I can. Just got updated drive pulleys and belts from iOptron, same as current shipping mounts. As soon as I get them installed and a clear night, I can convert some PHD logs w/PecPrep to see what it looks like.

Cheers,

Paul




Installed the new pulleys and belts and got out under a clear sky for some testing. Imaging the Iris and Panstarrs, so it was a 'two fer', it was also first light for my new Lodestar.

Here's the PHD screenshot:


PHD Graph w/28 tooth gears by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

Here's the PecPrep file from the PHD log file (guided):


PecPrep_zeq25_guided by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

I know that's not the resident (raw) PE, but I couldn't spare the time to turn off auto guiding to log it. I estimate it's about 20 arc seconds peak to peak, or less.

And here's a wip image of NGC7023 with 5 minute guided subs:


NGC7023_wip by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

I also spent 27 minutes on Panstarrs:


Comet C2011_Panstarrs by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

The PecPrep data indicate guided PE of less than 1.0 arc second, peak to peak, and an average PE of less than .50 arc seconds. No PEC training was done.

I would have to say this is one stable, monster tracking, solid mount for the price.

The mount guide rate was set at 1.0, and the PHD settings were all basically stock. I'm pretty sure that this mount will out perform anything in it's price bracket at this time.

In fact, it's so easy to carry and setup, that I haven't used my TDM equipped iEQ45 since I got it....:)

Hope this info helps,

Paul


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SunBlack
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/05/11

Loc: Rome (IT)
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Astronewb]
      #5837587 - 05/03/13 02:10 AM

Quote:

I know that's not the resident (raw) PE, but I couldn't spare the time to turn off auto guiding to log it. I estimate it's about 20 arc seconds peak to peak, or less.


When u have time, even on light polluted sky, try those shots unguided i asked for, please. And please confirm or not 20 arc seconds with PecPrep.
It'd be great to see how it improves with PEC enabled, unguided shots in this case too.
Btw yes, it seems a very nice performer, considering its weight.


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