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John Kuraoka
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Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas
      #5712204 - 03/04/13 10:09 AM

I have an Orion 90mm Mak-Cas, which came on a very nice tabletop dobsonian-style mount. I've been using it mounted on my old Bogen 3221 photo tripod. That combo is bulky, but has been working fine.

But it occurred to me that the whole outfit could pack down a lot smaller for camping if I replaced the tabletop-mount-on-a-photo-tripod setup with a standard telescope tripod and mount.

I tried using my old Bogen heavy-duty pan/tilt as an alt/az, but didn't like the way it worked. Plus, I noticed that the "real" astronomy mounts and tripods had some nice features like slow-motion controls and eyepiece trays.

The Mak-Cas has a dovetail mount on it, so I think it's compatible with most mounts.

I went shopping and found tons of mounts that look like they'd do the job. Many look like clones.

Given the trade-off between portability and stability (my scope offers fairly narrow views), and a maximum budget of maybe $150, what would you recommend? Are there things I should avoid? Things I should look for?

Thanks!


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kenrenard
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5712209 - 03/04/13 10:13 AM Attachment (24 downloads)

I love my Universal Astronomics Dwarf Star. I don't think a smaller better designed mount exists. Its $149.00 and fits on a standard tripod. Here is a picture of my AT72 mounted on it. I have it mounted to a Slik 700 DX tripod.

http://www.universalastronomics.com/

Ken

Edited by kenrenard (03/04/13 10:20 AM)


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CosmoSat
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5712295 - 03/04/13 11:04 AM

http://agenaastro.com/vixen-mini-porta-mount.html

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: CosmoSat]
      #5712364 - 03/04/13 11:51 AM

Quote:

http://agenaastro.com/vixen-mini-porta-mount.html




I have never seen a mini-Portamount but the price is certainly right. I really like my Portamount, with a short scope like the 90mm Mak, the slow motion controls are very useful. About the only reservation I would have with the Mini-Portamount is that I am not sure how much more portable it is than the standard Portamount and the standard Portamount will handle a larger scope should such a thing happen in the future.

Also OPT sells the Portamount II mount without the tripod, it has a standard 3/8"-16 threaded hole so it would mount directly to a Bogen tripod.

Portamount Head

Jon


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John Kuraoka
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5712428 - 03/04/13 12:30 PM

That Vixen Mini-Porta Mount looks like the ticket for about $150 complete, or about half the price of the full-size Porta Mount II with a tripod.

So another question is whether or not I gain anything with the dedicated tripod that comes with the Mini-Porta over mounting a head on my Bogen tube-leg 3221? I sometimes feel as if I may be under-supported with my current setup, although that bulky Dobsonian tabletop mount probably isn't helping when stuck atop a tripod.


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5712448 - 03/04/13 12:39 PM

Mr Star Guy has a demo Porta II on sale. I bought one of his demos a couple of months ago, it was in excellent condition. think I paid $199.

The current one he's selling is only $179. Someone should snag it. I have two Porta II mounts, I don't need a third.

http://www.mrstarguy.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=434

He's in San Clemente, you guys in San Diego could drive right on up and pick it up this morning. lol


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kenrenard
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5712468 - 03/04/13 12:54 PM

Quote:

That Vixen Mini-Porta Mount looks like the ticket for about $150 complete, or about half the price of the full-size Porta Mount II with a tripod.

So another question is whether or not I gain anything with the dedicated tripod that comes with the Mini-Porta over mounting a head on my Bogen tube-leg 3221? I sometimes feel as if I may be under-supported with my current setup, although that bulky Dobsonian tabletop mount probably isn't helping when stuck atop a tripod.




I can tell you from experience a good mount on a sturdy tripod is the ticket. I have a Sky Scanner 100 and mounted it directly on my Slik tripod and it was no where near as stable as the Dwarf Star. I can't comment on the Mini Porta heads. But, Larry's handmade mounts are very well made, and he is a pleasure to work with. He spend quite a bit of time making sure I had the easy grab and go solution I wanted. I wouldn't hesitate to contact him directly and ask his advice.


Ken


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5712568 - 03/04/13 01:45 PM

Quote:

That Vixen Mini-Porta Mount looks like the ticket for about $150 complete, or about half the price of the full-size Porta Mount II with a tripod.

So another question is whether or not I gain anything with the dedicated tripod that comes with the Mini-Porta over mounting a head on my Bogen tube-leg 3221? I sometimes feel as if I may be under-supported with my current setup, although that bulky Dobsonian tabletop mount probably isn't helping when stuck atop a tripod.




John:

That's a good question... If it were a 3040/3046 or a 3035/3036/3050/3051 series I would say definitely they are plenty solid but I have never owned a 3021/3221..

I am still curious which Bogen tilt pan head you have and how you used it. I have had good success with my 3047 type head using them in the "side-saddle" configuration, that is with the top axis flipped on it's side the scope mounted alongside rather than on top of the mount.



Jon


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kenrenard
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5712647 - 03/04/13 02:32 PM

Jon and John,
I would be curious myself. My issue with my Slik tripod was the Pan head mounted on top. I found it to wobble when moving it. I could never get it to settle down completely. Even when tilting sideways it wouldn't work. While it was OK for a camera or a telescope at low power the wobble caused issues when viewing at anything remotely high power.

I ended up removing the whole pan head and mounting my Dwarf Star on the 1/4 20 bolt coming right out of the legs. My assumption is any mount that would connect should work well for this.

I was suggesting the UA mount since it works on any tripod and weights 1 LBS. You could technically hike with this setup with your scope in a backpack. I am not sure if you are looking for something this ultra light.

One think I have noticed is many of today's refractors with 2 inch focusers tend to be very back heavy. I would get something pretty good since it could work for more than your current scope. I believe most of these will hold 10 lbs.

Since Jon is familiar with your scope and setup he should have some good suggestions.

I hope I am not overwhelming you with options. I just went through this last summer and spend tons of time trying to find something light and very usable. I end up taking my little refractor on every family trip and carry it around fully mounted through hotel lobbies and campgrounds.

Ken


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5712973 - 03/04/13 05:24 PM

Quote:


I would be curious myself. My issue with my Slik tripod was the Pan head mounted on top. I found it to wobble when moving it. I could never get it to settle down completely. Even when tilting sideways it wouldn't work. While it was OK for a camera or a telescope at low power the wobble caused issues when viewing at anything remotely high power.




When it comes to photo tripods and heads, I pretty much stick with Bogen/Manfrotto, they are professional quality and very nicely made. And expensive. But I keep an eye on Craigslist and when a heavy duty Bogen with a 3047 head shows up for $50 or $50, I buy it..

Jon


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5713884 - 03/05/13 05:32 AM

Quote:

Another question is whether or not I gain anything with the dedicated tripod that comes with the Mini-Porta over mounting a head on my Bogen tube-leg 3221? I sometimes feel as if I may be under-supported with my current setup, although that bulky Dobsonian tabletop mount probably isn't helping when stuck atop a tripod.




Are you observing from a standing or seated position? That tripod/head combination should be fine for observing seated; retracting a tripod's legs adds hugely to its stability.

The MiniStar (predecessor of the Dwarf Star) is rock-solid on my 3021 legs for my 70-mm refractor, though the 3021 is distinctly underpowered for my 100-mm refractor. I think it should be fine for a 90-mm Mak.

Edited by Tony Flanders (03/05/13 09:32 AM)


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John Kuraoka
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5714030 - 03/05/13 09:21 AM

I typically observe seated, although my chair can sit quite high if I'm looking at objects closer to the horizon.

My tripod usually has the largest leg section fully extended, and the next leg section about half extended. The third leg section and the center post remain fully retracted.


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Adeema
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5714105 - 03/05/13 10:15 AM

I too came to own an Orion Starmax 90 recently and began looking for a portable mount. I was hoping for something that would allow me to stuff the telescope, the mount head, and the tripod in a backbag for easy transportation.

The Dwarfstar looks promising, I just need to find a sturdy enough and compact Manfrotto tripod to go with it.


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Adeema]
      #5714353 - 03/05/13 12:25 PM

Another possibility if you don't think micro controls are important for this mount. Manfrotto 055 tripod with the 701HDV fluid head. Fluid head is nice because it softens the movements. Plus, this mount is extremely good for photography and for video cameras. I use mine a lot.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/504845-REG/Manfrotto_055XPROB_055XPROB_...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/556159-REG/Manfrotto_701HDV_701HDV_Pro_...

$150 for a bit of billet and huge knobs ain't for me.


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kenrenard
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5714397 - 03/05/13 12:48 PM

Quote:




$150 for a bit of billet and huge knobs ain't for me.




After visiting Larry's shop last summer. I saw how well the products were made. Larry's is a true machinist and makes some really great mounts all by hand. He is also great to do business with and spent quite a bit of time over a $150.00 sale. You just don't find that kind of customer service anymore. Although the Dwarf Star may look very simple it's a very effective mount.

Ken


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wcstarguy
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5714417 - 03/05/13 12:56 PM

Here is a cheap and easy diy mount you can make for your photo tripod and fluid head...
http://www.homebuiltastronomy.com/stool/EasyAltAzMountModification.htm


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5714753 - 03/05/13 03:57 PM

Quote:



After visiting Larry's shop last summer. I saw how well the products were made. Larry's is a true machinist and makes some really great mounts all by hand. He is also great to do business with and spent quite a bit of time over a $150.00 sale. You just don't find that kind of customer service anymore. Although the Dwarf Star may look very simple it's a very effective mount.

Ken




Ken, I have no doubt about that. We all have our own sense of aesthetics and designs we prefer.


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John Kuraoka
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5716101 - 03/06/13 10:09 AM

Thanks for the responses!

I love the simple elegance of that Dwarf Star. I could easily see getting it for backpacking, should I ever choose to take the Mak backpacking (I typically just take binocs, but if the Scout troop really gets interested I might just suffer the weight).

On the whole, I'd rather be somewhat overmounted than the tiniest bit undermounted, especially when using the 11mm. For what it's worth, I think my current setup is slightly undermounted, although I think the weak link in the chain is the tripod itself.

I've never had slow motion controls, but they sound very appealing, especially since we have four people sharing the scope. I'm thinking it would make it a lot easier for people to keep things in view. (Right now, there are only two of us who can track an object with the stock Dobsonian-style mount: my older son and me. That prompts a lot of hopping on and off the scope.)

That Portamount is tempting - I wonder if the Mini version would be really stable at a standalone (non-tabletop) viewing height at high magnification, or if I should be looking more at the standard Portamount II?


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5716310 - 03/06/13 12:37 PM

I'd go with the standard Porta II. The Mini just seems like a washed down unit intended to fit a low price point and doing so with so-so value. Here's a CN review on the Mini.

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=2278

I'd sure as heck pick the Dwarf Star before the Mini. At least we know it's really good quality. For around $150, there is no comparing the Mini to the Dwarf, the latter being in a different class altogether. The Dwarf deserves a very nice tripod, so by the time you add it all up, you're at the normal $279 price of the Porta II, which makes that demo unit look pretty good.




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John Kuraoka
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5716347 - 03/06/13 01:04 PM

Quote:

... by the time you add it all up, you're at the normal $279 price of the Porta II, which makes that demo unit look pretty good.





Shhh! Keep your voice down! I have my sights on it, but I'll be getting together later with Jon Isaacs, who has one, so I can make sure it'll really save me some size and weight over my current setup. Plus, he has a few other ideas I'd like to try out.

Seriously, if someone beats me to it, then it wasn't meant to be. There's always the next deal.


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CosmoSat
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5716554 - 03/06/13 02:33 PM

If you are considering a standard sized mount...have a look at these two too..

GSO SkyView Deluxe Alt-Az Mount

Explore Scientific TwiLight I Alt-Azimuth Mount and Tripod


Clear Skies!


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5717435 - 03/06/13 10:36 PM

Quote:



Shhh! Keep your voice down! I have my sights on it, but I'll be getting together later with Jon Isaacs, who has one, so I can make sure it'll really save me some size and weight over my current setup. Plus, he has a few other ideas I'd like to try out.

Seriously, if someone beats me to it, then it wasn't meant to be. There's always the next deal.






You're gonna like it. I'm supposed to hook up with Jon, too, but I've been too crazy busy to get down south. Hope to do that soon, I have a 1yr old grandson I'd like to see in San Diego.


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5717465 - 03/06/13 10:47 PM

This is the kind of product that slays me.

http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=277-8054

Essentially $900 for a 5 lb limit alt/az mount. But hey, you'll look like someone special amongst the proletariat.


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5717480 - 03/06/13 10:52 PM

John, one other possible consideration is this:

AZ4 mount

http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=277-16655

I have one of these and it works very well with my 6" Newt. But it does not have micro controls, and there is a fair amount of stiction in the joints and for a light scope I think the stiction would drive someone nuts. But, it works well for a heavier scope. The stiction is bad when it hasn't been used in a while and gets better during a session. Just another option.


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John Kuraoka
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5717590 - 03/07/13 12:51 AM

I just got in from looking for some doubles and watching Jupiter through the 11mm, and am now pretty much convinced that micro controls will be a significant enhancement to usability. Man, the Earth spins fast!

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5717765 - 03/07/13 06:00 AM

Quote:

This is the kind of product that slays me.

http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=277-8054

Essentially $900 for a 5 lb limit alt/az mount. But hey, you'll look like someone special amongst the proletariat.




Quality costs money. There is more to a mount than just the fact that it has slow motion controls and can carry a certain load. Just the quality of the gears and bearings...

This mount is specifically designed for the FC-60. When one is thinking smaller is better, then a different mindset is required.

Personally, it's too rich for my blood but I do understand that it's also of significantly higher quality than alt-az mounts I own.

jon


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5717786 - 03/07/13 06:40 AM

Quote:

I just got in from looking for some doubles and watching Jupiter through the 11mm, and am now pretty much convinced that micro controls will be a significant enhancement to usability. Man, the Earth spins fast!




It does -- but remember that you will end up twiddling two controls, not one. If you really want smooth tracking on a manual mount with slo-mos, equatorial is the way to go.

An entirely different idea would be one of iOptron's low-end Go To mounts.

In any case, my prediction is that you will either get a mount that's stabler and smoother than your current rig or one that's more portable, but not both at once.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5717839 - 03/07/13 07:41 AM

Quote:

It does -- but remember that you will end up twiddling two controls, not one. If you really want smooth tracking on a manual mount with slo-mos, equatorial is the way to go.




It the mount is reasonable stable, it's not difficult to track using both hands. And too, in many parts of the sky, the motion is predominately only one axis.

Jon


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5718444 - 03/07/13 01:31 PM

Quote:

Quote:

This is the kind of product that slays me.

http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=277-8054

Essentially $900 for a 5 lb limit alt/az mount. But hey, you'll look like someone special amongst the proletariat.




Quality costs money. There is more to a mount than just the fact that it has slow motion controls and can carry a certain load. Just the quality of the gears and bearings...





Quality is in the eye of the beholder.

Unless that Takahashi mount is made of a rare metal... Sure, the bearings and gears might be made with a tighter tolerance, and perhaps the metal is a bit better. But the real reason it's priced so high is because the Takahashi buyer expects it to be higher. If that mount cost $399, no one would believe a Takahashi mount could be so cheap. And, that mount probably really is only worth $399 from a strict product comparison.

I know you discount status as part of the buying equation, but the fact is, owning a Takahashi telescope is as much about status as it is about a well made product. Nothing wrong with that. It's just the way it is.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5718486 - 03/07/13 01:52 PM

Quote:


Quality is in the eye of the beholder.

Unless that Takahashi mount is made of a rare metal... Sure, the bearings and gears might be made with a tighter tolerance, and perhaps the metal is a bit better. But the real reason it's priced so high is because the Takahashi buyer expects it to be higher. If that mount cost $399, no one would believe a Takahashi mount could be so cheap. And, that mount probably really is only worth $399 from a strict product comparison.

I know you discount status as part of the buying equation, but the fact is, owning a Takahashi telescope is as much about status as it is about a well made product. Nothing wrong with that. It's just the way it is.




Do you really think you can evaluate the cost of manufacturing the mount without actually having seen it? Seen the fit, the feel? Have you discussed with Takahashi owners why they chose a Takahashi. Do you have an idea why someone would choose an 106 FSQ over an NP-101? There are good reasons.

I am sure there are people that buy telescopes on the basis of status. But that is neither here nor there, people buy cars, bicycles, boats because of status. But that does not make the car, bicycle, boat or whatever any less of a tool...

Do you buy things because of status?

Jon


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nikdangr
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5718542 - 03/07/13 02:21 PM

Quote:

This is the kind of product that slays me.

http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=277-8054

Essentially $900 for a 5 lb limit alt/az mount. But hey, you'll look like someone special amongst the proletariat.




No specs, even on the Takahashi America website. No picture in Google Images except for the stock thumbnail, and you can find a picture of almost ANYTHING there. No discussion found on Google, though I guess this one will show up eventually. One retail site said it was added to its catalog in 2005. I don't think the folks at Vixen have much to worry about.


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John Kuraoka
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: nikdangr]
      #5719123 - 03/07/13 07:20 PM

Speaking of specs, can anyone tell me what the measurements are for the Porta II mount head (only) and for the tripod (only) when the legs are fully retracted? Also, how much does the head alone weigh?

I'm trying to get a sense of how it compares to my current setup. If it's huge, then I might just downsize instead to the Dwarf Star which will likely be as stable as what I have now (or maybe more so because it's lighter) and considerably more compact.


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nikdangr
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5719586 - 03/07/13 10:57 PM Attachment (8 downloads)

Quote:

Speaking of specs, can anyone tell me what the measurements are for the Porta II mount head (only) and for the tripod (only) when the legs are fully retracted? Also, how much does the head alone weigh?

I'm trying to get a sense of how it compares to my current setup. If it's huge, then I might just downsize instead to the Dwarf Star which will likely be as stable as what I have now (or maybe more so because it's lighter) and considerably more compact.




The tripod sold with the mount is 29" retracted. The head with Manny mods is 10"x8" wide and 10" tall. Those are within 1/2" and exclude the removable slow-mo and pan handles. WAG on the weight (mount only) is 12 lb. with mods. Here's a pic with my C90 Mak so you can eyeball it.

Edited by nikdangr (03/07/13 10:58 PM)


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5719628 - 03/07/13 11:23 PM

Quote:



Do you really think you can evaluate the cost of manufacturing the mount without actually having seen it? Seen the fit, the feel?




Yes, up to a point. I won't bore you as to why, but it's not hard if you've had a similar experience in manufacturing as I've had. There are only a few ways to make such an item. Cast or injection mold it, or machine it from billet. I know enough about both methods to make a judgement. I could go on about this, but you'll fall asleep. Bottom line is, send the item to Vietnam or China instead of making it in Japan and you can cut the cost to a very large degree and still have the same fit and feel. But then, oh my, it's not made in Japan anymore! It used to be we thought of Japanese-made products as junk. Now we think it's something special if it's made in Japan. Why is that? Is it because we know the cost to make anything in Japan is huge? (which it is - their demographics are a nightmare.) More costly than Germany in some cases? More costly than the US for sure! Or is there some other intangible at work here?

Quote:


Have you discussed with Takahashi owners why they chose a Takahashi. Do you have an idea why someone would choose an 106 FSQ over an NP-101? There are good reasons.




I'm sure there are good reasons. We're talking about that one alt/az mount, not those two telescopes. If you think the vast majority of Takahashi buyers are immune or unaware of this status energy, you're sorely mistaken. Of course they know. If they tell you otherwise, they're lying.

Quote:


I am sure there are people that buy telescopes on the basis of status. But that is neither here nor there, people buy cars, bicycles, boats because of status. But that does not make the car, bicycle, boat or whatever any less of a tool...

Do you buy things because of status?

Jon




No, I don't. Most of us have out-grown that impulse. But I am aware of the perception. Even if the buyer doesn't highly weigh status, others do. And if the buyer is not aware of how others perceive his status based on what he owns/buys, he's brain dead.

Again, this is not a right or wrong thing. It's just human nature. It's OK! If you're going to enter the game at this level, be prepared to pay the piper.


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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5719682 - 03/08/13 12:00 AM

How about this one

Desert Sky Astro DSV-M


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John Kuraoka
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Ellicott]
      #5719773 - 03/08/13 01:40 AM

Thanks, nikdangr, for the info and photos - that really helps me!

The Porta II is actually smaller than I thought - heavier but more compact than the particle board Dobsonian-style tabletop mount my scope currently rides on. Also, if that's the standard tripod, it looks like it's one size up from my Bogen 3221 while not being that much longer when packed up.

The Desert Sky DSV-M is a beautiful thing. It looks like it's a size up from the Dwarf Star. Thanks!

Right now I'm thinking it's either that demo Porta II or the Dwarf Star on my current 3221. But I also just got around to adjusting my scope's stock mount, so I'll see if that improves it enough that I can overlook its bulk. I just need these clouds to clear off so I can get out and try it out!


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nikdangr
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5719981 - 03/08/13 08:03 AM

I should mention that the Porta Mount II design allows adjustment of the piece to which the altitude slo-mo handle is attached to be independently rotated in 45* increments simply by removing the two allen head bolts that attach the Manny mod. Since I took those pics I have done just that to raise the handle to the 11 o'clock position so there's more room for my hand between it and the panning handle, allowing easier access to the focus knob. Takes about three minutes once you remove the scope. Oh, yeah...when you peel back the black rubber piece below the scope there's two allen wrenchs. One fits all of the allen head bolts on the mount and mod and one that fits the keyholes for adjusting the tension on both axis. No tools to carry!

Edited by nikdangr (03/08/13 08:16 AM)


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5720448 - 03/08/13 12:37 PM

Danger Will Robinson!

I just put my C90 on the Porta II and I'd forgotten about the finder scope position. You might want to get a Manny bracket, or mount a second finder bracket to the OTA.



Here are more OTAs on the mount. The other one is the AZ4. It's bigger and heavier with the stainless steel legs.















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John Kuraoka
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: nikdangr]
      #5720525 - 03/08/13 01:17 PM

I just tried to pull the trigger on that demo Porta II, thinking that way I'd have a second tripod and mount when I get a second scope (probably something like an ST-80 which would complement the 90mm Mak and still be highly portable for camping with the crew). But the sales rep was out when I called, and I was told to send him an email. So I sent that off. Probably won't hear back until Monday.

That may be just as well (for me, not Mr. Star Guy), because that Dwarf Star looks really sweet too. The question, which I alone can answer, is whether I want slo-mo controls or the smallest rig. If I was concerned about packing the stock Dobsonian-style mount, the Porta II is smaller but very nearly as awkwardly shaped when it comes to fitting it like a puzzle piece into the fully packed trunk of a compact sedan.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if, whichever one I get now, I get the other one later, which would also neatly fulfill Tony's prediction!


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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5720545 - 03/08/13 01:29 PM

Thanks for the heads-up Paco_Grande!

I just double-checked, and my Orion 90mm has the dovetail on the side; if it's at 3:00, the finder is at 11:00. So it'll work, whew!

Looking at your photos, I think that tripod, if it's the stock tripod, is heftier than my Bogen 3221, making the whole system a marked upgrade to what I have, for not many more cubic inches to pack (if any). And that would actually confound Tony's prediction!


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: John Kuraoka]
      #5720617 - 03/08/13 02:04 PM Attachment (7 downloads)

YEah, those are the stock tripods. The other diff you might notice is, most aluminum telescope tripods are built like suveyor tripods with a spreader to make it more solid, unlike a photo tripod, which has other features that a telescope doesn't need.

Tony's right, though. You'll end up with more than one.

Here's my 055 and 701HDV head. I use this a lot for photo work and for my C90 and the ST80.


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John Kuraoka
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Re: Tripod/mount advice for 90mm Mak-Cas new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5720719 - 03/08/13 03:10 PM

OK, done! I pulled the trigger on that demo Porta II mount - thanks everyone for your help!

Using nikdangr's measurements (roughly 10x8x10"), the Porta II should take up a little less room than my Orion's stock particle-board mount (about 8x8x12" but with more bulk). The retracted tripod at 29" is just an inch longer than my 3221, and probably a good bit wider.

According to my scale, my stock particle board mount weighs 2.5 pounds and the 3221 legs weigh 5.5, for 8 pounds total. The Porta II mount and tripod weigh nearly twice that, so the whole thing should be a lot more stable in exchange for taking up a bit more space in the trunk.

Ken, I'll probably get that Dwarf Star next, as something even more packable in combination with the 3221, when I get the ST-80 (which might really be the better system for camping anyway).


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