I've enjoyed using my Nikon 55mm f/1.8 lens with the MOD3-c and an Ha filter. It's truly a unique view of the sky - I'll forever remember my first view of the whole of Barnard's Loop and the sheer size of the Angelfish Nebula. However, I've had less luck using the NV unit with my Tak FS-60c grab-and-go kit.
The problem is that the light pollution obscures all but the brightest stars so star-hopping is challenging (e.g. it can be hard to find Hercules). I could often get to the general region of a target, but then there was lots of searching using the NV unit, which limited my time on target for it's intended use - quick NV G&G on a school-night. Enter the Skywatcher AZ-GTi. The mount is still small enough to keep my kit in G&G territory, and the goto saves lots of time and frustration in finding targets in my mushy grey skies. Last night I got a solid 40 minutes of observing.
Although this is more of a mount review, I thought I'd place it here since it solved a problem I was facing using my NV gear and the star-hopping challenge I ran into using night vision. Mods, please move if you feel otherwise.
The site was the sidewalk across the street from my house in Seattle with Bortle 9 sky, carefully placed in a narrow shadow between to street lamps. I used a 6nm Ha filter screwed into the 1.25" nosepiece and my FS-60c at f/6 with the mount in AZ mode. Field of view was about 3 deg, with about 14x magnification. I used my iPhone to run Skywatcher's Synscan Pro app that connected to the mount's built-in wifi access point. With the mount and scope level and roughly pointed north, I used the "north-level" two-star alignment routine. First star was Polaris which fell about 3 deg outside the FoV, but was easily centered using a red-dot-finder on the scope. Second star was Altair, which landed just at the edge of the FoV.
First target was M27, which landed half-way from center of FoV. I centered M27 and added it to the alignment model, and thereafter objects were landing dead-center for the rest of the night. The Dumbell was small, but distinctly oblong and bright enough that I turned the gain down to almost eliminate scintillation noise. Since I was putting the mount through its paces, I moved on to M13, which slewed to the center of the FoV. At 14x I wasn't resolving stars, but it was beautifully fuzzy.
I then slewed to both halves of the Veil. Eastern Veil was nicely resolved, only had to turn the gain up a little to make it pop against the background. I'm guessing maybe 5-7 scintillation points per second. Western Veil needed more gain to become visible. Next up was the NA and Pelican nebulae. The Mexico region of the NA nebula was easily viewed at low gain, and there was just a hint of the Pelican. I couldn't resolve any nebulosity around 57-Cyg (I call it the "creepy eye's nebula")
The Heart and Soul were behind trees so I spent about 15min exploring the Sadr region. The butterfly of IC-1318 was dark and contrasty. Very satisfying!
I'm very pleased with the AZ-GTi after last night's experience. It is a big part of my NV kit and G&G rig. Compact and light, with fast and easy alignment. The goto is good, albeit with a forgiving field of view, but it definitely allows me to easily view several objects in short order. I think my NV rig was finally performing the way I imagined it when first thinking about diving into image intensified astronomy. Considering the cost of the mount relative to the MOD3, the purchase was a no-brainer.
I'm now curious about the mount's pointing and tracking with my 102mm f/13 Skywatcher Maksutov. When the skies clear up again, I'll go on globular tour with the MOD3. That should prove a more stringent test of the mount.
Thanks for reading this far and wishing you all clear skies!