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Looking for a Lighter Weight Mount For DSLR Imaging

astrophotography equipment eq
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#1 Jim Waters

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 02:50 PM

My CGEM is getting too heavy for my back.  The EQ Head is about 42 pounds.  The new mount P.E. must be better than my current CGEM, have better RA/DEC drive motors (stepper motors), be reliable and I would like to keep the EQ Head around 25 pounds plus or minus.  The payload capacity must be about 40 pounds.  This mount will only be used for DSLR imaging with scopes up to 800mm.

 

I am considering the following.

  • Losmandy GM8G
  • Losmandy GM811G (If budget permits)
  • iOptron iEQ45 Pro
  • iOptron CEM60
  • ???
  • etc

I have experience with Losmandy GM8S mounts but have never seen the iOptron mount.  I can’t get a ship date from Losmandy on the GM8G or GM811G mounts.  My MAX Budget is $2.8K including accessories but if possible I would like to keep it around $2.2K.

 

What are your opinions?  Thx



#2 petert913

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 03:52 PM

I think the Optron iEQ45 Pro is the lightest of that bunch. 



#3 dayglow

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 12:10 PM

I use the iOptron EQ45 with AT115 refractor and get good results except in breezy conditions (> 10 mph).  In calm air and good seeing, it delivers 0.7 a-s rms guiding but in poor seeing this typically degrades to 1.5 - 1.8 a-s rms.  When it gets windy, I mount a smaller scope.

 

The mount has been reliable over the 3 years I have used it, requiring only that I tighten the drive belts about once per year which is easy and takes only about 15 minutes.

 

My optical payload excluding cables comes to 23.7 lbs:

 

AT115 f/7 refractor with scope rings, 2 Losmandy type dove-tails (top and bottom of scope), imaging camera (either D5300 or SBIG STF-8300C) , guide scope (ST-80) & rings, flattener and extension tubes, guide camera (QHY5LM-II), Red-dot finder

 

If you are considering mounting an 8 inch Newtonian scope on it, you may want advice from somebody who uses such a set up.

 

-- David F.



#4 Jim Waters

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 06:35 PM

I use the iOptron EQ45 with AT115 refractor and get good results except in breezy conditions (> 10 mph).  In calm air and good seeing, it delivers 0.7 a-s rms guiding but in poor seeing this typically degrades to 1.5 - 1.8 a-s rms.  When it gets windy, I mount a smaller scope.

 

The mount has been reliable over the 3 years I have used it, requiring only that I tighten the drive belts about once per year which is easy and takes only about 15 minutes.

 

My optical payload excluding cables comes to 23.7 lbs:

 

AT115 f/7 refractor with scope rings, 2 Losmandy type dove-tails (top and bottom of scope), imaging camera (either D5300 or SBIG STF-8300C) , guide scope (ST-80) & rings, flattener and extension tubes, guide camera (QHY5LM-II), Red-dot finder

 

If you are considering mounting an 8 inch Newtonian scope on it, you may want advice from somebody who uses such a set up.

 

-- David F.

David - thanks for the input.



#5 choward94002

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 08:03 PM

There's another option to consider (since I hate to see people sacrificing due to age) ... rather than find a lighter mount, how about getting a stronger back?  I have (literally) a ton of scopes that move on and off of piers every few days that weigh, well, a ton and there's absolutely no way that I'm going to move that much stuff around ... too hard physically, too dangerous if I slip up, too hard to see what I'm doing while I'm struggling to mount gear on the pier, etc. so my solution is to get a stronger back, namely a jib crane like this ...

 

https://www.amazon.c...Z&pd_rd_w=kQOwE

 

This makes it very easy to move gear around; I have a class 2 receiver mounted into the pier, when it's time to mount one of the scopes out it goes on a garden cart, the jib crane gets plugged into the receiver, the mount goes up first and I can focus on carefully mounting it, then the OTA goes up slowly and carefully, then I move onto the next pier.  Heaviest thing I'm lifting is the jib crane (which breaks into two pieces, 15lb and 30lb), everything else is just working a winch, setting up my rigging and pulling around a garden cart ... takes about 10 min to set everything up, longest thing is rolling the carts out from the garage ...

 

... just a thought, before you bench a very nice mount ...

 

Clear skies!


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#6 Jim Waters

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 09:04 PM

There's another option to consider (since I hate to see people sacrificing due to age) ... rather than find a lighter mount, how about getting a stronger back?  I have (literally) a ton of scopes that move on and off of piers every few days that weigh, well, a ton and there's absolutely no way that I'm going to move that much stuff around ... too hard physically, too dangerous if I slip up, too hard to see what I'm doing while I'm struggling to mount gear on the pier, etc. so my solution is to get a stronger back, namely a jib crane like this ...

 

https://www.amazon.c...Z&pd_rd_w=kQOwE

 

This makes it very easy to move gear around; I have a class 2 receiver mounted into the pier, when it's time to mount one of the scopes out it goes on a garden cart, the jib crane gets plugged into the receiver, the mount goes up first and I can focus on carefully mounting it, then the OTA goes up slowly and carefully, then I move onto the next pier.  Heaviest thing I'm lifting is the jib crane (which breaks into two pieces, 15lb and 30lb), everything else is just working a winch, setting up my rigging and pulling around a garden cart ... takes about 10 min to set everything up, longest thing is rolling the carts out from the garage ...

 

... just a thought, before you bench a very nice mount ...

 

Clear skies!

choward94002 - Interesting.  Thanks for taking the time to post.



#7 fewayne

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 10:05 PM

I only have a CEM25P so I can't speak from direct experience of their beefier stuff. But the center-balanced equatorial design is really light for the rated payload, e.g. 27 lbs for the CEM60. And iOptron sells that counterweight battery so there's no need to lug both.



#8 Ranger Tim

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 11:50 PM

Have you considered the Vixen SX series (SXD2 or SXP) with StarBook Ten if you are after a truly lightweight rig? I am usually on the anti-Sphinx band wagon after their debacle with the SXW and SXD, but I keep bringing mine out and marveling how easy it is because it is so light and accurate for visual. The newer models have fierce defenders here that usually stay quiet. I hope to try a new one again soon to see if it performs well for AP. I am a big fan of the HAL tripods, which flies in the face of most of the mount's detractors. What's not to like about 12 lbs.? With a custom made spreader platform it is solid as a rock. On the other hand my CGEM DX tripod has its own gravity well...



#9 Jim Waters

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 12:55 AM

Ranger Tim - Thanks for bring up the Vixen mounts.  I will check them out.




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