Changing lanes - what do you folks like to use for a manual mount?
I'm also torn between alt-az and EQ. Az mount of course is square up, easy to move around and target, but then...movement will necessitate scrambling for two different knobs. An EQ I understand decently well now because I have to get AP right for the imaging, but still a bit awkward and unintuitive to swing it around. And I figure I can plop it down about anywhere with a reasonable pointing towards Polaris. Once targeted, I'd only need to turn the RA knob.
I use a SkyWatcher AZ4, which is also sold as the Orion VersaGo II. Mine is on a SkyWatcher "heavy duty" steel tripod with 1.75" steel legs. The thick steel legs are frankly overkill and leave my setup a bit on the heavy side. The positive aspect though is that the scope is pretty much rock steady (well, except in the wind). I typically view with the legs extended, which for a lot of people is a big no-no due to resulting unsteadiness but is fine with this setup, and if I’m viewing from the ground, I don’t even need the spreader bar/eyepiece tray (though I do kinda need it for high magnification viewing from my deck).
SkyWatcher and I think Orion now sell the mount with the lighter aluminum leg setup in the US, which I’ve read is a bit underkill actually, though it can be steadied up by not extending the legs and adding an extension pier you can order from FLO in the UK (great service).
At least with the AZ4, there’s not really much scrambling for two different knobs — you just tension both knobs semi-tight (semi-loose?) and then steer the scope by the handle (or even just by pushing on the focuser) across the two axes simultaneously. The altitude axis needs to be tightened a bit extra when pointing near zenith though. It’s not perfect — there is a bit of stickiness to it at times would be my only complaint. I think I came across a mention of someone taking his AZ4 apart and re-lubing it with a higher quality lubricant of some sort, but it hasn’t bothered me enough to go back and look it up.
Anyway, I like it — it’s super simple, with just the two oversized tension knobs and a handle to it — and you don’t even need the handle! Exactly what I wanted, though I can certainly understand other people wanting more features
Edited by therealdmt, 12 April 2021 - 12:55 AM.