So, I was encouraged by a user on here, leveye (Chris) to start a general topic pertaining to this little gem of a mount. This is by no means a unique mount in the world of grab and go mounts, but it does offer I think a unique combination of features, some of them not found in other mounts in this size and price range.
So, some fun info I gathered on the mount.
First, one of the threads I posted some info on it:
Some of the features I think are worthy of note:
- Size/weight. About the size of a large grapefruit, and weighing not much more in the basic configuration (3lb)
- Belt driven RA gear. The advantage of a belt driven design is reduced backlash and gear "chatter", as well as eliminating issues such as binding. This is a feature normally found in the more expensive mounts. I was really surprised to find it here.
- Servo motors instead of steppers. Using servo motors with encoders (also known as closed loop) allows for greater precision in controlling motor speed. The encoder provides feedback to the servo motor driver. This is something that was actually new to me. This is also a feature found in higher end mounts as well.
- guide port. While probably overkill for something that is supposed to do very basic AP, it is an excellent mount to learn to do guiding, or to start delving into the long exposure world of narrowband imaging. See the phd screen shot I have included here:
- Access to timer control and configuration via handbox. Aside from the basic configuration settings, which are nice to have but not must have, you also get a polar position feature and timer control. These are very useful to have without having to fumble for your phone or tack on an external interval timer. What's even nicer is that the handbox works equally well with the latest of iOptron's offerings, as it is completely interchangeable.
My own personal experience so far:
- I was able to do unguided shots of up to 4min at 200mm (3.72micron pixel size). This was with a fairly heavy lens, the Canon 70-200 f2.8 zoom (3.6lb). Unbalanced, this is probably the most weight I would try. With the optional dec kit and counterweight, you could probably push it to about 5lb, although I haven't tried it. But that kit adds more bulk and weight, so keep that in mind.
- Guided you will be only limited by your polar alignment. As I mentioned before and in the screen shot, you can get pretty close to 1 arcsec guiding accuracy in RA, which approaches the performance of much bigger and more expensive mounts.
- Very easy to set up. Screw the wedge onto the tripod, basic polar align, put a ball head (or in my case, another wedge) on it and you are ready to rock.
- Just from my own experience, a ball head will be fine for most widefield shots (I would say 100mm or less), but for tighter shots, or heavy lenses, I found it difficult to aim accurately. So I resorted to using a second wedge as a "dec substitute". In this way I use the wedge to adjust declination, and rotate the RA axis to achieve the correct RA. To me that is a more natural thing. I do lose that third axis or rotation of the camera for framing though.
- Only one negative. My polar scope came misadjusted. Hence my original illuminator thread. I have partially fixed the issue, but my advice is if you do have a misaligned polar scope to go ahead and return it to iOptron for adjustment.
Here is where I posted a couple of pics of my setup:
It has changed a little bit since then, but it gives you an idea. Consider mine the "overkill" option, as I was using that setup to test guiding. Read the thread as to what all the bits and bobs are.
Some other info, for all you interested in the weights:
For reviews of the mount, there are several on youtube, all very good ones.
Also look in the topic I linked to for some pics taken by Chris. Excellent work imo. Me, only boring test shots from my back yard so far.
Any other pics with this mount, or pics of your setup, highly encouraged.
Hope this helps.
Edited by dciobota, 07 March 2018 - 09:04 PM.