This is a very interesting and useful post. You are using the mount with a very conservative load, a very conservative focal length and very precise polar alignment. This is done on purpose, because you understand the limitations of the mount, as indicated by your last sentence. And you are having success and enjoying yourself. You are doing everything right;-) this approach is a good one for a beginner with ANY mount in ANY price range. I think it is fair to say thatMOST people’s concern with the AVX, is that many folks new to the hobby either start with, or very soon after the purchase, move to a payload/ focal length that challenges the mount. That really is not the fault of the mount. The biggest challenge to a beginner is unrealistic expectations, that lead to frustration. Avoiding that is what leads folks to recommend larger, more expensive gear. The flip side is that you can have a lot of fun and success with more economical gear, as long as you understand the limitations, and use it accordingly. I have had fun imaging with a used CG 4 and a battery driven clock drive. All about understanding the mount and how you use it.
Could not agree more. I believe a lot of folks are led to believe they need to spend $1000+ on a mount. I see many new people here on the forum that believe that and decide this hobby cost more then they want to spend. not everyone is looking at this hobby that seriously. some of us just want to play around with our DSLR . I also have the CG-4, added a guide port to the drive kit HC and got great results. Like you said, it's all about understanding the limitations of the mount. Here is an image I did as a beginner with the CG-4. 4 min lights RMS under 1.00 SW ED80 . I can honestly say my CG-4 performs just as well as my CGEM DX as long as you stay within it's limitations .