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Do Yourself a Favor - Start with a Quality Mount

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#151 davidmalanick

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 04:47 PM

Wow getting a bit snippy in here!

 

So here is my take. I'm 52, so a late starter in the hobby.

 

I always wanted to get into telescopes and astro photography.  I have show dogs as a hobby so I bought a Nikon D810 and 70-200mm 2.8 lens, both used, to take ringside photos of my dogs.

In September of last year I was just surfing the internet and saw telescope ads.  Thought "I have the camera just attach a scope!"  Bought a used Orion EON 115mm Triplet used from a

retailer.  Picked up a used field flattener, hooked everything up and put it on a NICE carbon fiber photography tripod.  Discovered it was not vibration stable and could only get 2 second

shots without tracking.  Having good luck buying used,  I picked up a like new CGEM II. 

Managed to catch on to everything pretty quickly and managed this:

Final Andrmada

Noticed my new "Used" CGEM II could track better.  I was getting RMS above the needed pixel scale.  So I sent her out to get hypertuned. That really didn't help at all,  actually made it 

worse.  This was after I upgraded to a QHY247C and better guiding scope. Everything used again to save money.

 

Now I have a brand NEW Losmandy G11 on order. 

 

If I added the money spent on that CGEM II, all together, I have more then half the money needed for a well decked out Losmandy G11.

Lesson learned! The hard way!

I follow the classified ads and noticed how many very new Ioptrons going up for sale, that sets off red flags to me.

Premium mounts for sale seem to be older ones still going strong being upgraded for bigger scopes.

For me, a Losmandy is a Premium mount.  I can't justify spending more then $5000 on just the mount.  I have to carry it to darksites.

I like the idea of being able to buy American. 

 

Probably could cut back on things and get a Mach-2, but unless I get full frame OSC and bigger scope I don't see the need.

And at my age, I don't want to waste a year of my life waiting for a mount.

 

More power to the people that can get a 10-20000 mount and not notice it in the bank account.   I'll be happy with what I have and just need.

 

David Malanick


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#152 Celsom

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 10:53 AM

Why should a manufacturer specify a load to carry and not being able to fullfill its specification? Why should I not exceed the 70% of stated liad specification?

#153 imtl

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 11:09 AM

Why should a manufacturer specify a load to carry and not being able to fullfill its specification? Why should I not exceed the 70% of stated liad specification?

The specification is to carry the load. There is no guarantee on performance since that performance is heavily dependent on goals. Visual and AP are very much different beasts.


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#154 Mitrovarr

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 11:17 AM

The specification is to carry the load. There is no guarantee on performance since that performance is heavily dependent on goals. Visual and AP are very much different beasts.

My experience is only with the AVX, but I find the payload capacity is a lot higher than people want to give it credit for. I use mine with a 6" ED doublet refractor, and with a 10" Meade SCT (which is heavier than a Celestron 11") and it does decently. I would guess it makes it pretty close to the advertised 30 lbs for visual.



#155 yzhzhang

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 11:25 AM

My experience is only with the AVX, but I find the payload capacity is a lot higher than people want to give it credit for. I use mine with a 6" ED doublet refractor, and with a 10" Meade SCT (which is heavier than a Celestron 11") and it does decently. I would guess it makes it pretty close to the advertised 30 lbs for visual.

Wow really?! AVX with C11-equivalent weight scope?

Are you referring to imagine capicity? Can you please share some images you taken? Thanks!

EDIT: Noticed you are talking about visual. Sorry.

Edited by yzhzhang, 04 April 2021 - 11:26 AM.


#156 Celsom

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 11:34 AM

"Do Yourself a Favor - Start with a Quality mount"
This seems to be an advice for a person who thinks to start on astrophotography, like me. I am a very old aficionado. Started looking the sky at 10, purchased my 60mm Asahi at 19, my C8 at 40 and my DSLR at 60. Now at 65 I want to enter into AP. The hobby is a long track for many but sometime, suddenly, someone gets the fever to start astronomy observing and Ap, all at once. This is also the advice for him. Every one knows how thick is its wallet and "the best mount he can purchase" is about money, not about to fullfill his expectatives. I am also from a third wold country (Perú). My wallet is not thick but I already have a scope, a 6.3 reducer and a camera, and my expectatives are not the great (exposures of just a few minutes to complement my observing notes). I have seen many photos good enough for me using a similar setup. That's the kind of advice that er of my tipe would want. I would say no more then 1% of starters would expend a lot in his setup. The hobby is a long track, later they will see if they need more and will upgrade. Is the same as my advice to the people who ask me how to start in astronomy: I always tell them "purchase a good 7x50 binocs", later you will see what kind of scope you will need. I want to start limited AP for my setup, what would be the best quality mount to purchase? Hope you reconsider your thoughts on this kind of advice.
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#157 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 12:08 PM

My experience is only with the AVX, but I find the payload capacity is a lot higher than people want to give it credit for. I use mine with a 6" ED doublet refractor, and with a 10" Meade SCT (which is heavier than a Celestron 11") and it does decently. I would guess it makes it pretty close to the advertised 30 lbs for visual.

Mitrovarr,

 

This is like Green Eggs and Ham. I am sure you have enjoyed this professional work a few times. If you have never tried it and never experienced it, you don't know what you are missing.  And now I find you have been missing this for years.

 

HA



#158 imtl

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 01:01 PM

My experience is only with the AVX, but I find the payload capacity is a lot higher than people want to give it credit for. I use mine with a 6" ED doublet refractor, and with a 10" Meade SCT (which is heavier than a Celestron 11") and it does decently. I would guess it makes it pretty close to the advertised 30 lbs for visual.



#159 Mrcloc

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 05:04 AM

Let's guess what the cost of setup was that took these:

 

They're low res of a low res of the actual photo (the full crop is too).

 

Throwing money at the hobby might not be the fun way to enjoy it. Buying a $8000 mount that you can only use at home occasionally might not be much fun, especially when you travel. What are you trying to image? Andromeda? Or M104? This talks to what you will be mounting. It might be better to get a $350 mount which can do AP rather than a $1000 mount that is made for visual. Knowing your goals and doing a bit of effort researching mounts might be more cost effective than just throwing money at the most expensive mount.

 

I, for one, enjoy the technical side of things as much or more than the result. I can go look up Hubble images of things, and Google a better photo of just about anything; why worry about the result, except for the fact that I've achieved the best result possible with what I have? For me, tweaking this here, aligning it perfectly there, etc. would extract a whole lot more fun out of the hobby. Being able to take photos, and then to travel to a dark site to take the same photos, but to see the AP difference would be fantastic.

 

I would also like to mention that I would prefer to spend time with my children DOING the hobby, rather than dividing my attention.

 

It might be worth stating explicitly that "starting with a quality mount" might not mean spending more, and I'm not sure that was the original intention of the original post. Spending $3000 now and upgrading to a better $3000 mount later is expensive, and 10 minutes doing research may have saved the original $3000.

 

I will credit the photos I attached and reveal the cost and equipment later.

Attached Thumbnails

  • AP1.jpg
  • AP2.jpg


#160 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 09:02 AM

Just depends on what peoples goals are. Why settle when you can afford incredible technology right now in 2021?

 

The ability of the modern craftsmen at companies like SB AP 10U is incredible. These people cared enough to make something great at an affordable price point. What is there not to like about starting with a great mount. I went from an AVX to a GM 1000 HPS. If I had gone AVX to CGX-L, I might have given up.

 

Here is what I am working on. Trying to bang out all of those 20 mag stars from a Bortle 6 location on NGC3628. My investment in my set up is getting it done and I am enjoying the dream. Might take another two nights of clear skies but it will be done and I will be thrilled with the result. Why not go for it all? You only live once.

 

If I was trying to image with a CGX-L, I think I might need a lot more subs and deconvolution to shake out all of those small magnitude stars, if I could even get to them. With a nice super mount you have confidence you are getting every last bit of data your system can produce. And with a given location and all other things equal you are going to see deeper with more resolution with a high quality mount.

 

Don't you love those tiny round stars showing as I add more subs and a little shot of deconvolution?

 

HA

 

Desktop.jpg


Edited by Hobby Astronomer, 05 April 2021 - 10:02 AM.


#161 spokeshave

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 10:07 AM

You are only poor if you think poor. Think big and buy that nice mount. If you do not enjoy yourself you will spend money on something else anyway. Many people get $20K bass boats to chase tiny fish.

 

If you really want to do his hobby then you should not set yourself up for failure if you can afford nice gear. In the past this hobby was dominate by doctors and dentists. People that had made large time and financial investments in their education. They were able to get the nice gear because they thought big and had made the big investment in their education.

 

I don't have a problem with people being successful enough to buy what ever they want.

 

These nice mounts really do not cost much when your think about at least 10 years of good times getting those round stars free of stress. $1K a year is such a small sum. I just cannot see many reasons not to get the nice gear unless you live in a third world country like Panama.

Everyone has different financial capabilities, goals and discipline. I love to fish and I have a small aluminum fishing boat that I bought for $500. That's not because I could not afford a good bass boat (and if you think a good bass boat only costs $20K, you are sorely mistaken). It's because I have different financial goals than you might. I have several hobbies that could be very expensive, but I always try to apply some financial discipline and try find the best value that I can and still achieve my goals in the hobby. Why? Because in my case, my financial goals do not include spending all of my disposable income on my hobbies. My financial goals are to save enough to retire at 58 (done!) so that I could have more time to enjoy my hobbies, to create a sizeable legacy for my children, to give my wonderful wife whatever luxuries she desires, and to be financially prepared to endure any foreseeable unexpected hardship. That's not third world thinking, it is being a responsible adult.

 

Everyone's willingness or ability to spend money on their hobbies is different. people should be respectful of that.

 

Tim


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#162 SimonIRE

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 11:46 AM

Everyone has different financial capabilities, goals and discipline. I love to fish and I have a small aluminum fishing boat that I bought for $500. That's not because I could not afford a good bass boat (and if you think a good bass boat only costs $20K, you are sorely mistaken). It's because I have different financial goals than you might. I have several hobbies that could be very expensive, but I always try to apply some financial discipline and try find the best value that I can and still achieve my goals in the hobby. Why? Because in my case, my financial goals do not include spending all of my disposable income on my hobbies. My financial goals are to save enough to retire at 58 (done!) so that I could have more time to enjoy my hobbies, to create a sizeable legacy for my children, to give my wonderful wife whatever luxuries she desires, and to be financially prepared to endure any foreseeable unexpected hardship. That's not third world thinking, it is being a responsible adult.

Everyone's willingness or ability to spend money on their hobbies is different. people should be respectful of that.

Tim


This is very solid advice.

#163 Sketcher

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 11:59 AM

In my opinion and experience, one ought to strive at achieving a balance.  The mount ought to be suitable for the telescope, suitable for its owner, and for how s/he intends on using the telescope.  The telescope should not be under-mounted and it should not be over-mounted.  Good enough isn't just good enough.  It's also better than going overboard with the mount, the tripod and/or the telescope.

 

For myself, this photo shows a mount, tripod, and telescope that is about as close to achieving that balance as I can imagine -- for myself and for how I use the pictured telescope.

 

Little Red Riding Scope    Sketcher Sept 4 2019

 

Sure, I could use the GEM that sees regular use with my 6-inch refractor; but that would be a serious case of over-mounting for the ST-80, and portability would take a rather serious hit.

 

Putting my 6-inch refractor on the pictured mount and tripod would be a severe case of under-mounting

 

It's all about balance.


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#164 Mrcloc

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 01:34 PM

That's an interesting diagonal you have there.

Balance is a good word. My telescope suits my lifestyle, not the other way around. It's a mere piece of the puzzle, albeit one which brings great joy.

I also think there's fun in upgrading. When you have the pinnacle, the fun of buying disappears. Having goals drives me.

#165 Mitrovarr

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 01:57 PM

Another issue I've mentioned before is that a beginner jumping right to premium gear is likely to buy the wrong premium gear, since they don't understand their own interests and objectives fully yet.
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#166 Bobo666

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 02:47 AM

On the other hand, a beginner buying premium gear shouldn't have to worry about getting the wrong mount because it is after all premium. 

 

Although not a complete beginner myself, one of the biggest advantages I can see by me purchasing a GTO1100 is that I can pretty much throw anything on it that I would ever be able to afford and physically be able to use in a portable set up.

 

Therefore if my interests and objectives change, the mount won't have to.


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#167 Deadlake

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 03:38 AM

The specification is to carry the load. There is no guarantee on performance since that performance is heavily dependent on goals. Visual and AP are very much different beasts.

Manufactures usually quote a photographic and visual load. 

The main issue is the usage of weight does not specify the torque needed to move it, e.g. a Triplet with a heavy cell at the end needs more torque to move than a SCT which is shorter.

At the same time I don't know of a tool which allows you to calculate what a mount can really move based on the supported torque the mount can generate. 



#168 Mrcloc

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 04:36 AM

On the other hand, a beginner buying premium gear shouldn't have to worry about getting the wrong mount because it is after all premium.

But knowing what to spend the money on helps. It's not a complete guarantee that spending more will get you something better or more usable.

 

And there might be more to be learnt if starting on a less premium mount.

 

ETA

Let me put it this way (using visual as an example): I started on an EQ mount, and a really cheap one at that. My first "proper" telescope was an Orion XT8 Dob. The time I spent with the EQ mount, learning the sky was invaluable to my extremely pleasant experience using the Dob. Using star charts (which is not the easiest thing as a beginner), and using software like Stellarium, it was much much easier to find objects because I had used an EQ mount. It was also an added bonus that when I attended star parties, I could look through EQ-mounted telescopes and not look like a complete dunce. Being able to roughly locate an object by RA and Decl. (whether by coordinates, or relative position) is a really cool party-trick too. smile.gif
Whether the EQ mount was cheap or not isn't the point here - it was the more difficult option.


Edited by Mrcloc, 06 April 2021 - 04:44 AM.


#169 Bobo666

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 05:59 AM

But knowing what to spend the money on helps. It's not a complete guarantee that spending more will get you something better or more usable.

 

And there might be more to be learnt if starting on a less premium mount.

Well sure. I guess it depends on what goals you are looking to achieve and if you have wide ranging interests, like electronics, map reading, engineering etc. Because with more troublesome mounts skills like that will probably come in handy. wink.gif

 

If however your goal is to become the best astro-photographer this side of Orion's belt then the last thing you probably want to be worried about are tracking issues and how to solve them.
 


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#170 Mrcloc

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 07:46 AM

to become the best astro-photographer this side of Orion's belt


The only way to do this without talent and experience is to buy a rocket loaded with a Hubble, and controlled by people who do.



#171 Mitrovarr

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 10:48 AM

On the other hand, a beginner buying premium gear shouldn't have to worry about getting the wrong mount because it is after all premium.

Although not a complete beginner myself, one of the biggest advantages I can see by me purchasing a GTO1100 is that I can pretty much throw anything on it that I would ever be able to afford and physically be able to use in a portable set up.

Therefore if my interests and objectives change, the mount won't have to.


Well, the obvious answer here is that mounts have sizes. The GT1100 is a pretty huge mount. It's just barely still in the portable mount class. I could easily see it being too large for some people to deal with. Particularly people imaging with camera lenses or something tiny like the Redcat.

Conversely, it might also be too small for some. They do sell a larger size after all.

I mean, there are a fair number of top end mounts and they are mostly different from each other so clearly one premium mount doesn't do it all. And a beginner won't know what they want to do yet.
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#172 Bobo666

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 11:21 AM

Hope you're not assuming beginners are totally clueless and unable to research. At some point even a beginner has to make a decision. 

 

And I'll be doing lens based photography as well as other stuff. Of course in that case the mount will be total overkill. But I know when the 6 inch apo and 14 sct turn up the mount can confidently handle it. I don't have to think about a new mount probably ever. Assuming I get 10+ years out of it, the initial cost is largely mitigated due to amortisation. And no concerns about an upgrade path, needing to sell it etc.


Edited by Bobo666, 06 April 2021 - 11:27 AM.

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#173 Mrcloc

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 12:36 PM

Oh, I can just see it: a beginner spends $20000 on a massive mount and 14" SCT, and years later, with a beer and a friend under the stars they reminisce, and remember he has a great mount and telescope in boxes at the back of the garage.

I was a beginner once. I bought a lovely 8" dob. After lugging it up and down stairs, and taking it on holiday once ever, I came to grips with reality, sold it and bought a 5" Mak that has seen very much use indeed. Now I'm at a point where I want a nice big dob again, and I can use it.

#174 Mitrovarr

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 12:41 PM

Hope you're not assuming beginners are totally clueless and unable to research. At some point even a beginner has to make a decision.


You can research what the gear does, but you don't know what parts of the hobby you'll enjoy until you spend a significant amount of time actually attempting them. Think of it as researching yourself.
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#175 Mrcloc

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 02:01 PM

You can research what the gear does, but you don't know what parts of the hobby you'll enjoy until you spend a significant amount of time actually attempting them. Think of it as researching yourself.

I think that's a really good way to see it.

 

Please don't take my previous post too seriously. This quote is exactly it. When you start, you don't have the experience to know what you will enjoy or not, and the best equipment you can have is that which you use more often because you enjoy it. That's why the great advice to beginners that they attend star parties to try things out, and also start with binoculars, is so popular.

 

In the spirit of this thread, yes, buy a better quality of the same thing rather than trying to buy too many things (if it means you need to spend a little more, and sacrifice a filter for example). Spread the butter thicker over less toast, enjoy that piece while you wait for more butter.

 

It's difficult for me to know what to buy for visual, now after 16 years, nevermind AP for a beginner!


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