Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Any solid reason *not* to get a Star Adventurer?

  • Please log in to reply
62 replies to this topic

#1 Jon Rista

Jon Rista

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 18747
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 21 October 2015 - 11:52 PM

I am looking to get a basic tracking mount for ultra wide field imaging. Imaging with lenses from 14mm to maybe 180mm. I've done some untracked imaging with similar lenses, but it is so limiting, and there are always issues. I've so far seen some good stuff done with the Star Adventurer, and I think it will serve my needs pretty well, what with the polar scope, DEC bracket, and optional counterweight & EQ mount that I'd also get. 

 

I am just curious to know if there are any grievous reasons why I should not get it. I am not really looking for alternatives...I don't think a SkyTracker will really do for my needs (I'd like the most stable package I can get, the SkyTracker supports ~7lb, the Star Adventurer ~11lb). The AstroTrac when you get all the various bits and pieces is significantly more than I want to spend. I also have some Amazon prime perks that will make the Star Adventurer package about half it's normal cost, which is another BIG part of it's appeal. I just need to know if there is any serious issue with the Star Adventurer when paired with a FF DSLR and a small to medium sized lens (which shouldn't weigh much more than about 5lb total). 

 

If anyone has some example images they have made with one of these, I'd love to see them as well.

 

Thanks!



#2 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8611
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 22 October 2015 - 12:18 AM

The build quality is Chinese.   :grin:

 

If you want a finely made heirloom, the Takahashi Sky Patrol is the only choice.   :cool:

 

That said,  I had a Star Adventurer for some time and it is a competent little mount. It's just.. Chinese-made. Once you've grown accustomed to a certain build quality, it simply won't do.

 

Note that I am not dinging its usability.  The usability is admirable. I even have a periodic error curve (it's better than my CGEM!!) and it autoguides well. I used an SV80ED on it and it still performed well.

 

The bad part is the wedge. Adjustments for polar alignment are cruddy, and the wedge itself is weak (with the SV80ED, the wedge flexed, so even with a Gitzo tripod underneath the stability wasn't so good).

 

http://orlygoingthir...er-part-ii.html


Edited by orlyandico, 22 October 2015 - 12:21 AM.


#3 Jon Rista

Jon Rista

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 18747
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 22 October 2015 - 12:29 AM

I just need something that can track reasonably well for 2, maybe 3 minutes, with or without guiding (I am likely to be bringing along a laptop or windows 10 tablet, and if I can stick on a 50mm mini guidescope and my QHY5L-II, I should be able to guide with PHD till the cows come home. I'll also be focusing with BYE.) I don't need a work of art. :p The Sky Patrol is WAY beyond the amount of money I want to spend. At the moment, with my Prime free shipping, my Amazon Card points, and a few Bing Amazon gift cards I can get the full Star adventurer package for under $260 (shipped for free!) 

 

I am quite accustomed to Chinese build quality...I have been using an Atlas for a year and nine months now? It has actually served me pretty well so far. I did hypertune it (a couple times, that cheap Chinese quality left a chipped off piece of metal battering about inside at one point) and I also modded it with the Rowan belt mod. Since the belt mod, it's performed well enough for my needs in all but a couple extreme cases (and for those, I'll probably be getting a Mach1 at some point), and the DEC axis is very responsive to guiding. Besides, it is only going to hold a DSLR (and better, probably only a Sony A7r II or maybe A7s II in the future once the uncompressed RAW update has been released and vetted) and a fairly small lens, so the payload is only going to be a few pounds. I am also not looking to put some unreasonably long lens or scope on it. I think 180mm, maybe 200mm would be the absolute longest, and I'll probably be at 14mm, 50mm, 85mm and maybe 135mm more often. At those focal lengths, and with >6 micron pixels, I think some basic guiding with the Star Adventurer will serve me quite well....

 

...so long as there isn't any serious design flaw with it. ;) That's all I'm wondering about, really.



#4 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8611
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 22 October 2015 - 12:40 AM

The only serious (in my opinion) design flaw is the wedge, which is only slightly more rigid than a wet noodle.

 

Ok I exaggerate.  But seriously that wedge will make polar alignment more challenging than it should be.

 

I used a Canon 40D (no handgrip) and a 70-200mm f/2.8 on it, which was fine. My friend borrowed it and put a Nikon D700 and 70-200mm f/2.8 and it was equally fine.

 

Note the 30" p-p periodic error. That will limit your exposure time at 200mm. A 5D III at 200mm is 6.44" per pixel. Your 30" is over a 5-minute period, so 1 minute is probably tops without guiding.



#5 bobzeq25

bobzeq25

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9953
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2014

Posted 22 October 2015 - 01:01 AM

The only serious (in my opinion) design flaw is the wedge, which is only slightly more rigid than a wet noodle.

 

Ok I exaggerate.  But seriously that wedge will make polar alignment more challenging than it should be.

 

I used a Canon 40D (no handgrip) and a 70-200mm f/2.8 on it, which was fine. My friend borrowed it and put a Nikon D700 and 70-200mm f/2.8 and it was equally fine.

 

Note the 30" p-p periodic error. That will limit your exposure time at 200mm. A 5D III at 200mm is 6.44" per pixel. Your 30" is over a 5-minute period, so 1 minute is probably tops without guiding.

Would a solid tripod head, in your opinion, be a better "EQ wedge"?



#6 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8611
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 22 October 2015 - 01:04 AM

if it was really solid, and be a geared head, then probably yes. but a good geared head would cost more than the entire Star Adventurer.



#7 Jon Rista

Jon Rista

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 18747
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 22 October 2015 - 01:18 AM

I'll probably use guiding then, since it is an option with the Star Adventurer. I want at least two minute subs. Could you clarify what you mean about the EQ wedge? I also want to be able to track effectively in RA at sidereal. I certainly don't have any other tripod head capable of handling that kind of load that could serve as an alternative to the Star Adv. EQ wedge. I also won't be putting much weight on the thing, and I figure after getting a rough PA, I'll tweak with PHD's drift alignment wizard. 



#8 xb39

xb39

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 110
  • Joined: 24 Nov 2013
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 22 October 2015 - 01:57 AM

Hi Jon,

in a german forum someone explained how to modify the original wedge: http://forum.astrono...ven#Post1182539

 

(Btw. the guiding graph (RA and also DEC) is from my SA)

 

Best regards

Stefan


  • Jon Rista likes this

#9 bilgebay

bilgebay

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 7198
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2004
  • Loc: Turkiye - Istanbul and Marmaris

Posted 22 October 2015 - 01:59 AM

Having purchased and sold Astrotrac, Polarie ( I still have one) and Ioptron Skytracker, I came to the conclusion that these little gadgets are not so small and lightweight when you add all the bits and pieces that are necessary to make them useable. Besides, the final price can be  more than a full fledged AVX for example. Finally, they lack a lot of functionality.  When you remove the AVX from its tripod and mount it on a sturdy photo tripod,  you will have a much better system compared to these smallies. You may need a lighter counterweight but this shouldn't be a problem. The weight of AVX head is 17 pounds. A 4-5 pound CW should suffice for your wide field imaging setup.

 

You will have:

 

- much better alt - az adjustments

- ASPA

- Goto

- computer connectivity if needed ( since you plan on using guiding then why not use a capturing program like SGP)

- More payload capacity and versatility.

 

My 2 cents


  • Starhawk and WesC like this

#10 Jon Rista

Jon Rista

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 18747
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 22 October 2015 - 02:38 AM

Sedat, thanks for the idea, however I already have an Atlas, which takes care of any larger payload needs. Also, to be quite frank, I have no interest in an AVX. I have seen far too many people have issues with that mount for the kinds of payloads its usually used for (i.e. 80mm refractors with DSLR), and it feels too big for what I actually need to do. It's also much more expensive than I am looking for. Remember, I'm going to be able to pick up the Star Adventurer (which is a good deal different than the three alternatives you listed in terms of how it is designed) for a mere $260. That is for the Astro package of the Star Adventurer, the counterweight, and the EQ wedge. Even used, I couldn't get an AVX for that cheap. I also already have a very very sturdy Gitzo GT3532LS carbon fiber tripod that I'll be using, so no extra cost there. 

 

Since I already have the Atlas, I also don't have any need for this mount to handle larger payloads. I think a 180mm lens is probably the largest I would use, but most of the time it'll likely be 14mm, 24mm, and 85mm lenses. Longer term it will probably be those lenses with an even smaller and lighter Sony A7r II or A7s II, so payload wise, probably less than five pounds. I have no need for more than that with this particular setup.

 

The Star Adventurer is also much lighter than any other normal EQ mount. With all three parts, it doesn't even top 6.5lb. The full weight of the AVX kit, including counterweights and tripod, is 46lb. Even if you just account for the AVX mount and a 5lb CW, it's over three times the weight at 22lb.

 

I've looked into Polarie, SkyTracker, and AstroTrac. I am quite certain Polarie and SkyTracker won't work. I don't even know if I could effectively mount a full frame DSLR on one of those without interfering with the polar scope, let alone have them reasonably handle that large a DSLR and up to a 180mm lens. I think the AstroTrac might work, but it is again a lot more expensive than I am looking for once you price out all the parts. I chose the Star Adventurer because it seems to be unique among the four in it's design, and I see no reason it couldn't handle what I need to put on it. All I am really interested in knowing is how well it's built for the given design. As in are there any major issues with the gears or motors or anything like that. Based on the german page linked above, it sounds like slop in the EQ wedge can be taken care of with some tinkering. If the gears track well enough and I can guide out the PE, then I think it will work fine for my needs.



#11 Hilmi

Hilmi

    Vendor-Astronomical Solutions Co.

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 5533
  • Joined: 07 Mar 2010
  • Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Posted 22 October 2015 - 02:44 AM

I agree with Sedat. I had to upgrade my Vixen Polarie into becoming an Equatorial mount with counter weights and add a Manfroto 405 Gear head for polar alignment and then add a polar scope, counter weights and I had to buy a case for it because now I have so many little bits and bobs that need to be kept together. That gives me the ability to image with a 6D with a 24-105 f4l  for around 90 seconds to 120 seconds unguided. In the end, I am thinking it would have been cheeper to buy a low end guidable eq mount with goto capability.

 

Something like an AVX or a ZEQ 25. From my understanding, the iOptron mounts even come with a carry case

 

get.jpg


Edited by Hilmi, 22 October 2015 - 02:46 AM.


#12 Hilmi

Hilmi

    Vendor-Astronomical Solutions Co.

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 5533
  • Joined: 07 Mar 2010
  • Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Posted 22 October 2015 - 02:48 AM

Please note that in the picture above, that a Canon 60Da with 24-105 fl and the second camera is a 7D with 100mm f2 lens. I have successfully imaged with this dual camera load


Edited by Hilmi, 22 October 2015 - 02:49 AM.


#13 Jon Rista

Jon Rista

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 18747
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 22 October 2015 - 02:49 AM

You guys should look at the design of the Star Adventurer. It is quite different than a Polarie or a SkyTracker. I agree, I don't think either of those would work, and I am not considering either of them. The Star Adventurer Astro kit is basically a small equatorial mount with an ST-4 guide port and (when paired with the wedge) a powered RA axis. I have too many other pieces of equipment to buy, not the least of which is about $6000 on a QSI 683 CCD package, that buying another full size EQ mount is just not an option. 

 

I've got the Star Adventurer in my Amazon cart, ready to buy, shipped for free, at $260. Show me an EQ mount that will give me high stability but be small enough to handle a small payload for that cheap, and I'll go for it! :p I just don't think it exists. 



#14 Raginar

Raginar

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9035
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Pensacola, FL

Posted 22 October 2015 - 02:51 AM

I am looking to get a basic tracking mount for ultra wide field imaging. Imaging with lenses from 14mm to maybe 180mm. I've done some untracked imaging with similar lenses, but it is so limiting, and there are always issues. I've so far seen some good stuff done with the Star Adventurer, and I think it will serve my needs pretty well, what with the polar scope, DEC bracket, and optional counterweight & EQ mount that I'd also get.

I am just curious to know if there are any grievous reasons why I should not get it. I am not really looking for alternatives...I don't think a SkyTracker will really do for my needs (I'd like the most stable package I can get, the SkyTracker supports ~7lb, the Star Adventurer ~11lb). The AstroTrac when you get all the various bits and pieces is significantly more than I want to spend. I also have some Amazon prime perks that will make the Star Adventurer package about half it's normal cost, which is another BIG part of it's appeal. I just need to know if there is any serious issue with the Star Adventurer when paired with a FF DSLR and a small to medium sized lens (which shouldn't weigh much more than about 5lb total).

If anyone has some example images they have made with one of these, I'd love to see them as well.

Thanks!


I've used mine up to 300mm f/2.8. It works really well other than you're going to need a few more counterweights. When I use my 75-200mm f/2.8 the basic weight works good.

Polar alignment is really easy and the wedge is really simple yet effective. Guiding works but as long as it isn't windy I get good pictures upwards of 180s without it.

PM me your email and I'll forward some pictures.

#15 Raginar

Raginar

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9035
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Pensacola, FL

Posted 22 October 2015 - 02:53 AM

Oh, and get the whole package. Wedge, weights, etc. depending on your lens you might need an extra weight. I need 5 lbs total to balance the D800/300mm.

#16 Jon Rista

Jon Rista

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 18747
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 22 October 2015 - 03:00 AM

Thanks, Chris! I will be getting the full package, the mount, DEC bracket, polar scope, counterweight bar/weight, and EQ adapter wedge. It's like $425 for all that new, but I have a ton of points banked on my Amazon rewards credit card, and a bunch of gift cards I get from searching the web with Bing, that it will only cost me $260 for everything. 

 

I'm curious...is it possible to get just the weight as an extra counterweight, or would you need to buy the extra counterweight shaft as well? Any alternatives for counterweights that might do in a pinch?



#17 whwang

whwang

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1889
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2013

Posted 22 October 2015 - 03:04 AM

Hi Jon,

 

The PE of SA is comparable to the PE of Vixen AP, which I own one.  I found it not quite good enough to do 2-3 minutes of unguided exposure with a 180mm lens.  So I suppose SA is similar.  For things under 100mm, it works very well (under D800's resolution).  

 

Other than the somewhat disappointing PE, the overall build quality of Vixen AP is excellent, and it's easy to use.  It has a version without the Dec unit, so it works just like SA and other small trackers.  Its tripod is more solid than what most people would get for a small tracker, but then course it's larger and heavier.  Polar alignment is also easy.

 

I know you are sort of in the mode of "SA or nothing."  This is just for your reference.

 

Cheers,

Wei-Hao



#18 SteveInNZ

SteveInNZ

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 387
  • Joined: 07 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Auckland, New Zealand

Posted 22 October 2015 - 04:05 AM

It probably doesn't matter now but I think that it really is good bang for your buck. Sure, you can get better PE from the Astrotrack and the Poalrie is smaller but the usefulness in comparison to the weight & cost puts it in a gap between those two.

 

Downsides - I'd agree that the wedge is the weakest point but I find it adequate for the purpose. Something has to be the weakest point. Overall, the photographic tripod is a bigger problem. What a photographer calls a good sturdy tripod isn't much when compared to something like a simple EQ5 1.5" tripod.

 

Minor niggle - If you just use the simple ballhead mount, you can't see through the polar scope. If you use the extended dovetail thing you can see through the polar scope but can't use the standard illuminator.

 

The counterweight is quite adequate because you can slide the dovetail down so that your camera body is only 2" from the RA axis so you have about 7:1 counterweight to camera ratio. You can also mount a ballhead on the other end of the dovetail which allows you balance a second body or a guidescope as well as the counterweight.

 

It's a good, fun little mount. Enjoy it.

 

Steve.



#19 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8611
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 22 October 2015 - 05:14 AM

Yup the wedge is stronger than a cheapo tripod. But if you have a big Gitzo it's painfully obvious that the wedge is spindly. Most people buying this mount won't put it on a $1000 Gitzo, so they may never notice.

 

Oh BTW for $260 it is a no brainer. You should not be even asking the question. I bought it for close to $500 and at that price is still a good deal.

The only reason I don't have it anymore is because i got a Tak EM11. I can't live without goto. So basically I agree with Sedat's argument (an AVX weighs more than an EM11 but they are in the same class weight-wise) plus the bonus that the EM11 is so nicely made.

The mount that is materially better than the Star Adventurer is the Kenko Sky Memo. $400 used if you can find one. Or the super rare and wonderful Tak P2Z.

That I am even mentioning the Tak tells you the company I consider the Star Adventurer can keep.


Edited by orlyandico, 22 October 2015 - 06:28 AM.

  • Raginar likes this

#20 bilgebay

bilgebay

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 7198
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2004
  • Loc: Turkiye - Istanbul and Marmaris

Posted 22 October 2015 - 06:05 AM

OK then... we will be looking forward to your report.  Hope it will meet your expectations.

 

I was on the verge of buying this complete SA kit last year. Then, I looked at my MO and I couldn't see a scenario where I wouldn't be able to take the AVX with me...

 

The only exception can be an overseas astrotrip but then even SA is too much for that. So, I'm keeping this last Polarie only for that prospective trip.



#21 Starhawk

Starhawk

    Space Ranger

  • *****
  • Posts: 6313
  • Joined: 16 Sep 2008
  • Loc: Tucson, Arizona

Posted 22 October 2015 - 09:06 AM

That nail is now flush with the board!

 

I have been alternately intrigued and dismayed as well on this same score.  Even a CG-4 with a clock drive and the shoestring astronomy auto guiding mod is ten times the mount.  An AVX is just plain easy in comparison. 

 

-Rich

 

Having purchased and sold Astrotrac, Polarie ( I still have one) and Ioptron Skytracker, I came to the conclusion that these little gadgets are not so small and lightweight when you add all the bits and pieces that are necessary to make them useable. Besides, the final price can be  more than a full fledged AVX for example. Finally, they lack a lot of functionality.  When you remove the AVX from its tripod and mount it on a sturdy photo tripod,  you will have a much better system compared to these smallies. You may need a lighter counterweight but this shouldn't be a problem. The weight of AVX head is 17 pounds. A 4-5 pound CW should suffice for your wide field imaging setup.

 

You will have:

 

- much better alt - az adjustments

- ASPA

- Goto

- computer connectivity if needed ( since you plan on using guiding then why not use a capturing program like SGP)

- More payload capacity and versatility.

 

My 2 cents


  • bilgebay likes this

#22 Jon Rista

Jon Rista

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 18747
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 22 October 2015 - 10:18 AM

Hi Jon,
 
The PE of SA is comparable to the PE of Vixen AP, which I own one.  I found it not quite good enough to do 2-3 minutes of unguided exposure with a 180mm lens.  So I suppose SA is similar.  For things under 100mm, it works very well (under D800's resolution).  
 
Other than the somewhat disappointing PE, the overall build quality of Vixen AP is excellent, and it's easy to use.  It has a version without the Dec unit, so it works just like SA and other small trackers.  Its tripod is more solid than what most people would get for a small tracker, but then course it's larger and heavier.  Polar alignment is also easy.
 
I know you are sort of in the mode of "SA or nothing."  This is just for your reference.
 
Cheers,
Wei-Hao

 
Thanks Wei-Hao. Honestly, if I could get something better for as cheap, I would. I'd get an AstroTrac, but it gets fairly pricey when you combine the necessary parts and all. I think Adorama has a full package for around $800.
 
 

I have been alternately intrigued and dismayed as well on this same score.  Even a CG-4 with a clock drive and the shoestring astronomy auto guiding mod is ten times the mount.  An AVX is just plain easy in comparison.


If price were not an object, I would agree with you. However price IS an object here. If you can point me to a used AVX for under $300, I'll go for it. ;P Well, actually, skip the AVX...if I had to pick between that and either a ZEQ25 or a Sirius, I'd take either one. The Sirius would really be it, as I already have an EQDIR cable and am already very familiar with EQMOD. 

 
 
Orly, I looked around, and could not find a used SkyMemo. Looks like it might be the closest option to my price range. I found something on Amazon, the SkyMemo R, for just shy of a grand...and that looked like it was JUST the base head, no counterweight shaft or counterweights or anything like that. I did find an article where a guy tested the PE...he said it was 42 arcseconds P2P? That seems higher than either the SA or the AT. Has anyone else done any testing of that? The Tak EM-11 apparently has +/- 10" PE, so 20" P2P? Best I've seen, but it seems as though it's thousands of dollars, so well out of budget.

Steve, I have a quick question. You mention that using the polar scope can be difficult? I will be using the DEC bracket that comes with the Astro version of the SA. When you say you cannot use the standard illuminator, how and why is that? That seems like a bit of a problem. 

 

---

At 14, 24, and 50mm, I'd be working within the PE of any one of these mounts, so I don't think that would be a problem. At 85mm image scale would be half the PE, so if the worm period is 10 minutes, that should get me more than enough time for 2-3 minute unguided exposures, and longer if I guide. I won't be using 180mm or 200mm for a while, just my thoughts on the upper limits of what I plan to use. If I have to guide to do that, then I guide. Not a big deal. I am not expecting this to be like an AP with absolute encoders or anything like that. I don't need high end, I need super light weight and cheap. I will be getting a 300-400mm scope at some point, but I'll use that on the Atlas, so I am not concerned about being able to use it on this small tracker. The key with this small tracker is cost and ultra portability, as a backup mount when I cannot otherwise image at a dark site, or simultaneous option for use alongside my main rig.
 


Edited by Jon Rista, 22 October 2015 - 10:21 AM.


#23 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8611
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 22 October 2015 - 10:38 AM

Jon,

 

The polar scope illuminator clips into this little hole, but if you have the standard dovetail/DEC assembly, the illuminator won't fit. You can hold it up so it illuminates the reticle so still usable. What some people have done is take a grinder/dremel to the DEC dovetail so that the illuminator will clip again. It's hard to explain but hardly a killer.

 

The EM11 is 20" rated but mine is under 10" p-p.  Most P2Z's are also under 10" p-p. P2Z's come up very rarely (I've seen one on astromart this past year) for about $1200 to $1500. The P2Z is end-of-lifed and the replacement is the PM-1 which however weighs as much as the EM-11 and doesn't have GoTo. So...

 

You are right about the Sky Memo, the periodic error isn't so much to write home about.  It is well-made though and doesn't have a wobbly wedge.

 

For all its (minor) faults the Star Adventurer is a lot of bang for the buck. None of the issues are deal-breakers, rather more like irritants. You really won't find anything similar at the $500 range, much less $260.



#24 bobzeq25

bobzeq25

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9953
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2014

Posted 22 October 2015 - 10:41 AM

I have to weigh in here.  I've found a Skytracker to be be a great alternative to a full boat mount.  And I have a ZEQ25, about as light as it gets. 

 

The Skytracker is just _so_ much easier to transport, carry and use. Everything is self powered.  I took it to a vacation in Glacier National Park easy peasy.  The ballhead fits in a tripod bag, the mount bag is the size of a medium paperback book.

 

I got it over the StarAdventurer because it was cheaper (and just needs a tripod, and a ballhead for DEC), and I though the polar alignment with the offset scope was better.  Still think that, it interferes very little with camera placement, and is easy to check while you're imaging.  But my full boat load (Nikon D5500, Nikon 135MM f2.8 <my "big" lens>, and Sirui ballhead) is only about 3 pounds.  Jon wants more weight, and can cope with polar alignment, I think the StarAdventurer will be better for him.

 

Although I must note that the integrated, solid, close coupled, equatorial mount might even meet with orlyandico's approval.  The adjustments are a little finicky.  <smile>

 

If you want to see what a good imager can do with one:

 

http://www.cloudynig...8/#entry6843358

 

Like the dust?

 

Bottom line.  I think a camera tracker is a great addition to any serious imagers equipment cabinet.  It provides options, and new challenges.


Edited by bobzeq25, 22 October 2015 - 10:59 AM.


#25 Jon Rista

Jon Rista

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 18747
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 22 October 2015 - 11:52 AM

Thanks for all the input, guys.

 

Sounds like there is nothing seriously wrong with it, so I ordered the Star Adventurer, and also ordered the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC lens. My 16-35mm f/2.8 L II is terrible (horrid) in the corners unless I stop down to a ludicrous degree. The Samyang has great reviews from wide field astrophotographers, and tests I've seen show very good stars right into the corners even wide open. I won't have any problems using that, or my 50mm, or the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 I am planning to get soon here, with any of the trackers that have been mentioned.

 

Hypertuning and belt modding the Atlas has given me a lot more mechanical skill than I used to have, so I'll tinker with the EQ wedge a bit and see what I can do to improve it. 




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.







Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics