Hello. I've been a long time astronomy fan. I currently own a Meade LX200 10" and and ETX 90. Lots of accessories. As an avid hobby photography enthusiast, I have at time tried to do astrophotography from time to time. The LX200 is probably close to 20 years old and when I started doing astrophotography, I used film and actually did some hyperring of film (showing my age!) and manual guiding. You have no idea what astrophotography really is if you haven't stood at your telescope with your hand on the controller watching a faint star in a double-crosshair eyepiece and doing all you can to ignore the back pain, leg cramps, whatever just to keep the star in the little box at the center of the eyepiece for 30 or 60 minutes! Thankfully, those days are over! Of course, I switched to DSLR from film a while ago and continued to dabble when time allowed. Usually not as often and I would like. I've been out of the hobby for a few years now and want to get back in. Unfortunately, the skies in northeastern Ohio are very light polluted and worse yet, the trees around my house (mostly neighbor's trees) are bigger and taller, so I'm thinking a need to get a more portable setup. Plus the LX200 10" is a beast to move around. I love the scope and the views I get from it, but it is probably time for me to sell it to someone who will use it more than I currently do. Anyway I digress, but just wanted to give you some background on my experience.
So for a more portable setup, I have been reading a lot on here lately about mount recommendations and after weighing all of the pros and cons I decided to purchase and iOptron CEM25P mount. It arrived the other day along with a Sky-Watcher ProED 80mm APO Doublet refractor and field flattener. I realize the pros and cons to both of these, but for my budget, they fit nicely and I think I'll be able to get more use from them. The mount seems really good and is definitely more portable than the LX200. Also, it is a lot quieter coming from a Meade fork mount background. As it is easier to see during the day, I set everything up today in daylight just to get a feel for it, and to make sure it was going to work. Had some concerns about getting it to work with my DSLR (Canon EOS 77D) and wanted to see how to balance the scope on the mount as don't have my experience with GEM (or CEM in this case) mounts. Got everything setup and was able to focus with the DSLR on a TV station tower in the distance so I guess that is a plus.
When it came to balance the scope however, I had some difficulty. In RA, I was able to get 'close' but I think since the finderscope is offset from the center line of the scope it messes with the balance. Let me try to explain. Thinking of the dial of a clock, If I put the telescope at 3 and the CW at 9, I could get balance and it held. If I moved the scope to 1, then the mount wanted to move it to 12 and slightly past. Likewise, I could put the scope at 0 with the CW at 3 and it would hold but if I moved the scope to 11 it wanted to move and fall back to 9. Not sure I am making this clear or not. If I remove the finderscope then I can get it to balance. Is this a big deal or do I need to figure out how to offset the weight of the finderscope somehow?
I found a youtube video to illustrate this:
and his solution:
For the DEC axis, I was able to achieve balance for visual setup (diagonal and eyepiece), but as soon as I added my camera and field flattener, I didn't have enough room on the vixen rail to slide the scope forward enough to get it to balance. I guess I need to add weight to the front of the scope. I'm looking to get a smaller guidescope to mount for guiding so not sure if that will help of not with this depending on how/where it gets mounted.
Once again, how critical is getting the balance on these mounts?
Anyway, even with my balance issues, the scope slewed fine while I was testing just moving it around with the controller with and without the camera attached. There was no noises from the mount, in fact since I'm used Meade mounts, I had to check to make sure that it was actually moving it was so quite. Now to get some clear skies.
Thanks in advance for your comments.