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Anyone using a Sky Tracker Pro?

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#1 nlamendo

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 07:50 PM

Hi,

 

I was thinking about buying a Sky Watcher Star Adventurer to take backpacking up in the mountains. I know it has limited capabilities and have read reviews, but just today I saw the Ioptron Sky Tracker Pro.  Any one know anything about this unit?  With the optional counter weight kit the Sky Tracker Pro would cost about the same as the Star Adventurer, and the both similar but not quite the same capabilities.   The SA has a higher load spec, but both support an optional counter wight kits.   I was wondering if anyone has given the Sky Tracker Pro a try?  The Sky Tracker Pro looks a little smaller than the Star Adventurer. 

 

here's a link to what I saw:

http://www.ioptron.c...duct-p/3322.htm

 

Thanks

Nick



#2 bobzeq25

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 09:11 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights.

 

I can only compare the original SkyTracker (which I own) to the Star Adventurer.  The Skytracker has a better polar alignment system, people seem to get a bit better results with the Star Adventurer.  Whether or not the Pro version changes that equation is unknown, I haven't seen any images with the Pro.

 

The fact is, all three are excellent choices, and unit to unit variability may be larger than model to model differences.  That's often true with inexpensive hardware cranked out with little quality control (because it would be too costly).



#3 nlamendo

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 11:02 AM

Thanks for replying. I'm wondering about the load limit spec on all the units. It's not clear to me if that is with or without the optional counter weight. I understand the general rule is to take the manufactures spec and halve it. Wish they were clearer with the specs. Any thoughts?

Thanks
Nick

#4 calypsob

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 12:20 PM

Email ioptron about the load limit.  I am really intrigued by this tiny tracker.  I wonder if it will do well up to 300s with a 135mm lens?  Im thinking about selling my astrotrac and getting one of these.  The astrotrac is superb but not nearly as compact as this.  I bought the astrotrac to take to the bahamas and any type of desolate hiking trips I may take..but I think this new sky tracker pro with its upgraded alt az might have it beaten in terms of portability.  I hear the PE on the skytracker is bad but I wonder just how bad is it?  I have not had a chance to see how unusable the subs are so it is my only concern atm.  Hope someone can post some pictures before ioptron jacks the price up.


Edited by calypsob, 07 October 2016 - 12:23 PM.


#5 cmbtsmrf

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 01:09 PM

Hey Nick,

 

I have the Sky Tracker Pro and I love it.  I routinely put my Canon 7D Mk2 with the extra Battery Handset and a 70-200mm F2.8 Lens on it.  I actually attach it to the bottom of the camera rather than the lens.  I have no problem at all with it.  It supports the weight without any issue.  Works great for me.

 

Camera is 2 lbs, Battery hand grip is almost 1 lb, Lens is 3.5 lbs   Total weight is 6.5 lbs.  It has no issues at all.

 

Polar alignment is great and I love the rechargable battery.  Lasts 2 nights easily (about 5 hours per night).  Never had the battery run out.

 

Hope this helps !

 

Andrew



#6 brettstark73

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 09:20 PM

Anyone know any pros/cons vs the sky watcher star adventurer? I guess i might go for the ioptron as newer product/hopefully upgraded...



#7 vandytb

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 11:13 AM

Hey Nick,

 

I have the Sky Tracker Pro and I love it.  I routinely put my Canon 7D Mk2 with the extra Battery Handset and a 70-200mm F2.8 Lens on it.  I actually attach it to the bottom of the camera rather than the lens.  I have no problem at all with it.  It supports the weight without any issue.  Works great for me.

 

Camera is 2 lbs, Battery hand grip is almost 1 lb, Lens is 3.5 lbs   Total weight is 6.5 lbs.  It has no issues at all.

 

Polar alignment is great and I love the rechargable battery.  Lasts 2 nights easily (about 5 hours per night).  Never had the battery run out.

 

Hope this helps !

 

Andrew

Andrew,

 

How long are you able to shoot at 200mm? I just picked up the Skytracker Pro last week and can't seem to get past 30 seconds or so. AFAIK my polar alignment is great, the streaking appears to be solely in the RA direction. I'm also on a crop sensor (Canon T5) so I know it's closer to 320mm equivalent, but I was still hoping for at least 90-120 seconds. I'm using the 200mm prime so my weight is about half of your setup and I've taken care to balance as best I can.



#8 cmbtsmrf

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 11:23 AM

Hi!

I've only had it for about a month and in that time, it's been mostly cloudy. Typical. But the few nights that I have used it, I have managed 90 sec exposure without streaks using my Canon 7d Mk 2 and the 70-200mm f2. 8 lens.

Are you putting Polaris dead centre on the cross hairs of the scope or offset based on the time? I use the offset. Maybe that's all it is?

Sent from my SM-N920W8 using Tapatalk

#9 bobzeq25

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 02:09 PM

 

Hey Nick,

 

I have the Sky Tracker Pro and I love it.  I routinely put my Canon 7D Mk2 with the extra Battery Handset and a 70-200mm F2.8 Lens on it.  I actually attach it to the bottom of the camera rather than the lens.  I have no problem at all with it.  It supports the weight without any issue.  Works great for me.

 

Camera is 2 lbs, Battery hand grip is almost 1 lb, Lens is 3.5 lbs   Total weight is 6.5 lbs.  It has no issues at all.

 

Polar alignment is great and I love the rechargable battery.  Lasts 2 nights easily (about 5 hours per night).  Never had the battery run out.

 

Hope this helps !

 

Andrew

Andrew,

 

How long are you able to shoot at 200mm? I just picked up the Skytracker Pro last week and can't seem to get past 30 seconds or so. AFAIK my polar alignment is great, the streaking appears to be solely in the RA direction. I'm also on a crop sensor (Canon T5) so I know it's closer to 320mm equivalent, but I was still hoping for at least 90-120 seconds. I'm using the 200mm prime so my weight is about half of your setup and I've taken care to balance as best I can.

 

These units have a lot of variability, but that seems short to me.  I'm able to do 90" at 200mm pretty nicely, reasonably round stars.

 

http://www.astrobin.com/full/230259/0/

 

You might email iOptron and ask if would be useful for you to return the mount to be checked out.



#10 Dwight J

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 09:05 PM

Our club just had one donated, not the new pro though.  I tried it out using an unmodded T3 and a 70 - 200mm zoom at 200 and F5.6.  I did 2 minute subs and was able to keep 60% of them.  The image is a stack of 16 two min subs.  The non-keepers showed the double star look of PE.  Next time I will try and arrange the camera and ball mount to counterweight the drive to eliminate some of the PE.  Even so the results were more than acceptable.  The polar scope and app along with the nice mount adjustments made polar alignment very easy.  I had no detectable drift in dec.  The photo is here:

 

 https://www.flickr.com/cameraroll       It is the one of Barnard 142-43


Edited by Dwight J, 10 October 2016 - 09:09 PM.


#11 vandytb

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 01:22 PM

Hi!

I've only had it for about a month and in that time, it's been mostly cloudy. Typical. But the few nights that I have used it, I have managed 90 sec exposure without streaks using my Canon 7d Mk 2 and the 70-200mm f2. 8 lens.

Are you putting Polaris dead centre on the cross hairs of the scope or offset based on the time? I use the offset. Maybe that's all it is?

Sent from my SM-N920W8 using Tapatalk

I used one of the Polar Finder apps to determine where to offset Polaris. When I aimed the camera more southward (so it was perpendicular to the RA axis), I could get longer shots. This gives me some confidence in the polar alignment. However, pointing back towards Andromeda (northeast), I was getting noticeable trailing at 30 seconds. Not terrible, but probably 3-4 'star widths'. I had everything tightened down well and left it shooting for an hour, so any sagging should have settled out. 

 

It's been cloudy since then, but I want to give it one more try before sending back for a replacement. I'm thinking to try some very long shots (5-10 min) just to see if the trailing keeps getting worse or reaches a limit, as I'd expect for periodic error.



#12 bobzeq25

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 03:05 PM

 

Hi!

I've only had it for about a month and in that time, it's been mostly cloudy. Typical. But the few nights that I have used it, I have managed 90 sec exposure without streaks using my Canon 7d Mk 2 and the 70-200mm f2. 8 lens.

Are you putting Polaris dead centre on the cross hairs of the scope or offset based on the time? I use the offset. Maybe that's all it is?

Sent from my SM-N920W8 using Tapatalk

I used one of the Polar Finder apps to determine where to offset Polaris. When I aimed the camera more southward (so it was perpendicular to the RA axis), I could get longer shots. This gives me some confidence in the polar alignment. However, pointing back towards Andromeda (northeast), I was getting noticeable trailing at 30 seconds. Not terrible, but probably 3-4 'star widths'. I had everything tightened down well and left it shooting for an hour, so any sagging should have settled out. 

 

It's been cloudy since then, but I want to give it one more try before sending back for a replacement. I'm thinking to try some very long shots (5-10 min) just to see if the trailing keeps getting worse or reaches a limit, as I'd expect for periodic error.

 

My way of checking polar alignment is to set it up carefully, be sure Polaris is on the circle when I start imaging, try not to disturb it while imaging, and then check again at the end of the imaging run, before touching the camera.  If Polaris is still on the circle you set it on, or at least quite close, that's good.



#13 mandiman

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 10:08 AM

The IOptron Sky Tracker Pro works well for me. As there is no way to input R.A. or Dec. you have to find your object by pointing and searching with live view turned on. That works well on brighter, distinct objects, like Orion, Pleiades etc., but if you are after a dimmer object that doesn't show up well in live view you find yourself hunting and taking test shots to see if you hit the spot. On the "Scopestuff" website I have found the Rigel Quickfinder, a very lightweight device that fits in the camera's hot shoe. Powered by a small watch battery, it projects a 2" red ring onto a slanted piece of transparent reticule in a square opening, that provides a field of view so you know where you are pointing.

 

http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_rqf2.htm

 

 

https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/


Edited by mandiman, 16 May 2017 - 10:10 AM.



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