Thanks for all the replies!
Traveler: Thanks for the advice: On your advice I am currently taking an extra, closer look at the AOKSwiss AYO II mount and the Giro Ercole mount. Apart from the lack of slow-motion controls they seem to fit the bill perfectly: Well made, high capacity, reasonable weight, and even dual-telescope support (with optional saddle plates). Price seems reasonable too, but I do find it odd that an equatorial mount with similar capacity can be had, including tripod, for considerably less money.
I already own a Vixen HAL130 tripod which will be used with the mount. I guess I would also have to invest in an extension pier for the tripod to avoid hitting the legs with my refractors.
Simon B: Thanks for the heads-up on the surprisingly low gain in capacity of the Vixen APZ over the Porta II . I was actually wondering if it would be a worthwhile upgrade from my Porta II, maybe silently hoping that the Porta II's rated capacity of 5 kg was "optimistic" (I'd say it is, in my experience) due to being "made in China" and that the Japan-made APZ was more "realistic". But it seems from your experiences that the difference in real-life capacity between the too mounts is just too little to justify upgrading from Porta II to APZ. Especially since I would also need to get an additional extension pier for my tripod to use it without having my longer refractors hit the tripod legs. Maybe if I didn't already own a Porta II, the APZ would seem like a much more attractive option for grab-and-go.
Hesiod: Thanks for the pointer to the T-Rex. I've been eyeing out these, but I'll never get one, for sure. They aren't made anymore AFAIK, and I would feel bad paying more for my mount than what I paid for my scope anyway. But it looks like a very nice mount.
I've also come across the Skytee II in various incarnations, rebranded by many dealers. The lukewarm reviews have kept me away from it, and your own description of the mount's quirks reinforces my resolve to look for something better. Quality is more important for me than low price. Thanks for honestly sharing your experiences with it.
Allan Wade: Thanks for sharing your experience with the DM4. It sure looks like a quality mount. However, the rated capacity is just 8kg, the same as the Vixen APZ, and from my own experiences I doubt I'll be satisfied with anything that is rated less than 50-100% more than the actual scopes that I'll be using together with the mount. Apparently I'm quite sensitive to scope vibrations.
Thanks, all, for sharing your ideas! I have found it remarkable how difficult it is to find a truly high-quality alt-az mount for 5+ kg capacity which doesn't have odd quirks, are roughly made or exorbitantly priced or have gone out of production. Had I been looking for an EQ mount I would have dozens of high-quality options, but with Alt-az, options are really limited. My short-list is now modified:
- AOKSwiss AYO II: Seems to be back-ordered everywhere, but looks solid and is arguably the prettiest of the mounts (IMO, of course ).
- Giro Ercole: Seems to be in stock and even more solid than the AYO.
- Losmandy AZ8: The only one with slow-motion controls, but the odd quirk of the az-control reportedly not rotating with the scope, together with reported slow-motion stutter, may in part negate that advantage. Also, it's the most expensive and heaviest of the three mounts. It does seem like a well-engineered mount, though.
Anyone have experiences comparing the AYO II with the Giro Ercole, visual use only? Any quirks I need to know of?
Thanks & Clear Skies,
Edited by db2005, 20 January 2019 - 02:24 PM.