For context, I had a 10" LX200 years ago with CCD camera and dark skies so have some idea how important tracking is. But then I moved to too-bright florida and got rid of it. I also learned how un-portable a large scope, even an SCT, is, and down here I will likely want to travel with whatever I have. Now 15 years later and getting the itch again.
But the quirk is I am not even sure I want a telescope. I have great camera gear for night sports, including a 400/2.8 which works great with a TC at 800/5.6. I was astounded how good of a single-image shot of Jupiter and Saturn I could get a couple nights ago, but anything faint will not work at all without tracking. Beautiful glass but heavy (compared to camera lenses most people mount on telescopes or camera-mounts). I also have a 300/2.8 on order, and lots of shorter fast glass.
A lot of the camera-only mounts are very light duty, and I just can't see them tracking well (talking those that sit on a camera tripod or ballhead). And besides... I may want a smallish telescope one day, one small enough to pack up and haul to the everglades for dark skies.
So my question is this: Can I buy a decent quality equatorial telescope mount that I can use with a camera lens(s) today, but that also later could handle a real telescope, say something never larger than a 8" SCT. I don't really mind investing in a good mount even if I never use it for anything but the camera. I see a lot of what appear to be well reviewed mounts in the $1500 range for example. Then later I assume I can buy a telescope only, say if I want longer focal length of an SCT.
Or will I have too much trouble with the mechanical attachments, alignment, etc. if I try to use a telescope GEM with a long camera lens (much less short ones where I would need to mount the camera vs. the lens).
In reading I can find a lot of info on specific mounts but not a whole lot on the attachment mechanics and how they work and play with "alternative" setups. In particular I don't want to attach it and then not be able to align it. Most of what I see for "real" telescope mounts expect a camera to be on the telescope or piggy-backed.
Any advice? Am I crazy trying to find something that could do both?
Edited by Linwood, 09 July 2020 - 06:54 PM.