First off I know all about the other options for polar align, not in the budget.
Last night I set the Star Adventurer to 12/6 in the reticle. Checked where Polaris is suppose to be and lined it up. Locked everything down. I didnt need to point camera as I already had it set to the area I wanted. Took some test photos and they were off. Nikon d5300 with a 300MM lens 5.6 ap 10/20. And 30 sec. Checked alignment and its perfect. No wind. Very sturdy tripod, one of the best. Took a series of shots at 10 seconds. Still off, even in the centre of the photo. Used Bahintov mask so focus was perfect.