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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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tpuerzer
journeyman


Reged: 10/08/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Hunlon]
      #6618217 - 07/05/14 03:18 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

I’m considering the ZEQ25 as a step from the SkyTracker.

The SkyTracker has been great (up to 200mm - see photo), but my Canon 300mm telephoto lens on a 70D is proving too much for it in both weight and focal length to track well.

Questions, questions…

How do I mount the 300mm telephoto on the ZEQ25?

Is it possible to *just* use the telephoto lens setup - without any other OTA at all?

How to align the mount if there is no OTA?

Thanks!


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Xeroid
super member
*****

Reged: 09/21/13

Loc: USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: tpuerzer]
      #6618274 - 07/05/14 03:52 PM

How about you measure the 300mm lens diameter and then get two matched rings and dovetail bar from Agena Astro?
Tom

Edited by Xeroid (07/05/14 03:54 PM)


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Mkofski
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Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: tpuerzer]
      #6618350 - 07/05/14 04:39 PM

Quote:

I’m considering the ZEQ25 as a step from the SkyTracker.

The SkyTracker has been great (up to 200mm - see photo), but my Canon 300mm telephoto lens on a 70D is proving too much for it in both weight and focal length to track well.

Questions, questions…

How do I mount the 300mm telephoto on the ZEQ25?

Is it possible to *just* use the telephoto lens setup - without any other OTA at all?

How to align the mount if there is no OTA?

Thanks!




You can align using just your 300mm lens about like you do with a regular OTA. Start with the polar alignment. Then one of the alignment options using liveview on the DSLR. You can also use the DSLR to do drift alignment.

You may need to add a pair of rings to your lens but I'd try a small dovetail attached to the bottom of the camera first. I've done that with a shorted lens.

Mike


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Mkofski]
      #6618735 - 07/05/14 09:25 PM

Quote:

Is it possible to *just* use the telephoto lens setup - without any other OTA at all?




How about just using a Vixen dovetail fastened with a 1/4 x 20 screw to the camera? Then you can just place the camera/dovetail in the mount saddle.

The mount is aligned, zero position, polar aligning/etc the same way as if a ota were fitted.

Just a thought.

Cheers...Paul

Edited by Astronewb (07/06/14 08:11 AM)


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rdrane
member


Reged: 09/18/07

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Mickey_C]
      #6618807 - 07/05/14 10:13 PM

Quote:

I found the ZEQ25 inadequate for my needs with a F7.5 120mm refractor. But it's a great imaging rig with a fast 80mm refractor.






Has someone actually successfully imaged using this mount using a 4 inch APO refractor (12 lbs OTA)? There's a lot of excitement on the novelty of this mount but there appears to be little information about how stable this mount really is in handling an 80mm refractor. From talking with experience imagers, you really need to double or even triple the weight mount capacity. What would be great to hear is that it does perform like a GM8 class mount as far as AP.


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Mkofski
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Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: rdrane]
      #6618845 - 07/05/14 10:44 PM

rdrane,

What is the focal length? I think the problem isn't the weight of the OTA but the length. I've used a piggybacked pair of 80mm OTAs with a 50mm finder ans DSLR without trouble. I suspect the entire setup is just about 25 pounds. It is only 24 inches long. If your 4" APO is f/5 or f/6 you will probably be Ok.

I tried a 10 pound f/10 6" newt and it was just too long. AP may be a little better than visual since you don't need to touch the scope after you have it all set up.


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Mkofski]
      #6619227 - 07/06/14 08:30 AM

Quote:

Has someone actually successfully imaged using this mount using a 4 inch APO refractor (12 lbs OTA)? There's a lot of excitement on the novelty of this mount but there appears to be little information about how stable this mount really is in handling an 80mm refractor. From talking with experience imagers, you really need to double or even triple the weight mount capacity. What would be great to hear is that it does perform like a GM8 class mount as far as AP.




I routinely image with a 125mm ota and the ZEQ25, no problem. Here is a link to some images:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/astronewb2011/sets/72157635370838329/

Here's an example of a AT6RC on the mount, about 19 pounds of payload with 5 minute guided exposures:

NGC 6888 the Crescent Nebula, 110 mins. by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

Don't let the small size and strange appearance fool you, the mount is all business when it comes to AP. 'Experienced imagers' just haven't used this unique design and aren't familiar with the center balanced design and it's smooth tracking.

Regards...Paul


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Mkofski
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Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6619443 - 07/06/14 11:12 AM


Paul,

How long is your 125mm OTA?

Mike


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Mkofski]
      #6620219 - 07/06/14 06:19 PM

Quote:


Paul,

How long is your 125mm OTA?

Mike




It's a short tube Borg/F3.9 Mike, only 31" long with the Dslr setup.

I have been toying with the idea of hoisting the ES152 up on the little mount...lol. That's 42" and about 24 pounds. It definitely would look obscene....?

If I do, and take some images, will this question go away?

Cheers...Paul


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6620340 - 07/06/14 07:38 PM Attachment (19 downloads)

Okay, challenge accepted. Here's the ES152 on the ZEQ25, balanced in RA and DEC. Test slews showed no issues whatsoever, no OC messages, just normal slewing.

I'm going to attempt some unguided imaging with it this evening if the short clear window materializes on the brightest target I can find at the time.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

Clear skies...Paul


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6620350 - 07/06/14 07:43 PM

Quote:

Quote:


Paul,

How long is your 125mm OTA?

Mike




It's a short tube Borg/F3.9 Mike, only 31" long with the Dslr setup.

I have been toying with the idea of hoisting the ES152 up on the little mount...lol. That's 42" and about 24 pounds. It definitely would look obscene....?

If I do, and take some images, will this question go away?

Cheers...Paul




Paul,

Yes! A 40" + OTA would convince me! I tried an old RV-6 that is 48" long but less than 10 pounds. And it did look strange. Maybe a long OTA would be better for AP than for visual since you spend less time using the focuser. That's a bit counterintuitive.

Mike


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RandyC
sage
*****

Reged: 04/01/13

Loc: RI
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6620418 - 07/06/14 08:30 PM

Quote:

Okay, challenge accepted. Here's the ES152 on the ZEQ25, balanced in RA and DEC. Test slews showed no issues whatsoever, no OC messages, just normal slewing.
I'm going to attempt some unguided imaging with it this evening if the short clear window materializes on the brightest target I can find at the time.
Keeping my fingers crossed.
Clear skies...Paul



I thought that was for your CEM60? LOL


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6620590 - 07/06/14 10:18 PM

Quote:

Okay, challenge accepted. Here's the ES152 on the ZEQ25, balanced in RA and DEC. Test slews showed no issues whatsoever, no OC messages, just normal slewing.

I'm going to attempt some unguided imaging with it this evening if the short clear window materializes on the brightest target I can find at the time.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

Clear skies...Paul




Well Paul... It may work but it sure looks funny. No as strange as the RV-6 I tried but close. When you get under the stars, check to see how focusing goes. That was the biggest problem I had with a long OTA. It took 5 or 6 seconds to settle down making visual use a real chalange.

Mike


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Mkofski]
      #6620785 - 07/07/14 01:00 AM

Quote:

I thought that was for your CEM60? LOL




It was (is) Randy, for wide field visual work. Stuff happens, hopefully this will be a temporary assignment on the ZEQ25.

Best...Paul


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6620790 - 07/07/14 01:09 AM Attachment (19 downloads)

Quote:

When you get under the stars, check to see how focusing goes. That was the biggest problem I had with a long OTA. It took 5 or 6 seconds to settle down making visual use a real chalange.




Actually Mike, I didn't have any problems focusing with the rig on the Z. With the 10/1 fine focuser I easily dialed in an approximate focus and then just finished it up a tad with a Bahtinov.

The night was almost a total bust due to cloud cover. I had to quickly align on a misted Polaris and then shot-gunned Vega real quick with some 90 second exposures before it disappeared from view. Only got 2 shots off, the 2d is just blown out.

Here's the 90 second unguided with the ES152, 988mm/F6.5 and 24 pounds on the little ZEQ. I have some slight trailing evident in the smaller stars in the field, but I think I could tune that out with a better polar align on a clear night?

At any rate, with guiding the mount would obviously have no problem with this ota on board.

I just pulled the contrast down on the RAW image and converted it to a Jpeg screenshot in MS Paint.

It's just unreal what the little ZEQ25 is capable of doing and it never ceases to amaze me when it does.

Best...Paul

Edited by Astronewb (07/07/14 01:10 AM)


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mfulmer
member


Reged: 01/21/09

Loc: 33.7724, -84.2675
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6623339 - 07/08/14 12:20 PM

I'll throw my initial impressions in here. Ran the ZEQ25 through an initial rough test last night with an ST80. Very good results. I was on the back patio without a view of Polaris so, with a leveled mount, I did a quick compass/inclinometer alignment. I needed to adjust for daylight saving time (it was off by an hour). With a leveled zero position, did a two star alignment on Arcturus and Spica. The PA was off (forgot to take into account magnetic declination), but goto's were fairly spot on after the alignment from the meridian westward. Spent time viewing Mars/Saturn/Moon before returning to zero position without an issue. Can't complain. Focusing an ST80 isn't the best experience, but that mount vibration was not an issue, even at high power on Mars.

All was not perfect, however - my power switch is not positively engaging for on/off. I'm able to keep the mount on with some pressure, but it's not perfect. iOptron support has a new main board in the mail. Working with them was painless. Perhaps it was an issue with the treatment of the mount after shipping, but sure seems like an issue that could have been resolved with better QC at the factory. Not going to let that put me off, though. I can tell this mount is going to get a lot of use. Setup and tear down time was quick - even surprised my wife with how fast it went.


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Mkofski
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Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6623450 - 07/08/14 01:20 PM

Paul,

Great results on a 90 second unguided image... I'm amazed! I mean, I do like the mount a lot but would have never tried a 40" in long 30 pound set up on it.

Mike


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: mfulmer]
      #6623460 - 07/08/14 01:25 PM

Quote:

I'll throw my initial impressions in here. Ran the ZEQ25 through an initial rough test last night with an ST80. Very good results. I was on the back patio without a view of Polaris so, with a leveled mount, I did a quick compass/inclinometer alignment. I needed to adjust for daylight saving time (it was off by an hour). With a leveled zero position, did a two star alignment on Arcturus and Spica. The PA was off (forgot to take into account magnetic declination), but goto's were fairly spot on after the alignment from the meridian westward. Spent time viewing Mars/Saturn/Moon before returning to zero position without an issue. Can't complain. Focusing an ST80 isn't the best experience, but that mount vibration was not an issue, even at high power on Mars.

All was not perfect, however - my power switch is not positively engaging for on/off. I'm able to keep the mount on with some pressure, but it's not perfect. iOptron support has a new main board in the mail. Working with them was painless. Perhaps it was an issue with the treatment of the mount after shipping, but sure seems like an issue that could have been resolved with better QC at the factory. Not going to let that put me off, though. I can tell this mount is going to get a lot of use. Setup and tear down time was quick - even surprised my wife with how fast it went.




Mike,

Sounds like your off to a great start. Congrats on the new mount.

Mike


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Mkofski]
      #6623612 - 07/08/14 02:51 PM

Quote:

I'm amazed! I mean, I do like the mount a lot but would have never tried a 40" in long 30 pound set up on it.




Mike, I think more weight = more damping = better results?

Oh, I would have been very hesitant to mount that 152mm on the ZEQ25 if I weren't using the replacement ADM Vixen saddle. Even with all that tube on board, the ADM saddle kept it rock solid. Two thumbs up for ADM's saddle!

Regards... Paul


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tpuerzer
journeyman


Reged: 10/08/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6628357 - 07/11/14 02:45 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

First light with ZEQ and 300mm lens...

My ZEQ25 arrived yesterday and thanks to all the great info in this thread I was able to get it set up with my Canon 300mm lens very easily.

Of course, it would have to be very near a Full Moon, but I was able to get an UNGUIDED 240 second exposure with near perfect stars, so I am very happy with this initial test. Much better performance (even unguided than the SkyTracker which I had been using). Central crop of M13 attached.

Thanks again to everyone that has contributed here!


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