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Do Yourself a Favor - Start with a Quality Mount

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#176 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 09:27 PM

Get a good mount if you are serious about this hobby is still good advice. How can you live your life without adventure? There are two type of passion. One of the physical and one of the mind. The greatest and most satisfying of the two is the mind. Astronomy is a final frontier. To connect with the infinite. To think big and experience big. If a person is serious about astronomy why not go in with a situation where you can have a winning outcome. This is exactly why you make the smart investment in getting the best mount that you can afford.

 

Now people can believe in the limits that life is hard and you have to settle. Maybe I see something everyday that many of you guys and gals do not see. I am an accountant. My professional role is to make people rich. I see many people with less talent that most astro imagers bang out a million dollars of profit a year and many of those people work less than many of you. To get over to the other side of life you have to invest big in yourself. And invest big in your education, what ever specialty you choose.

 

There are more opportunities to enjoy astronomy than ever before. Something to really be happy about. And a good mount that you will not outgrow is a great place to start even if you are brand new. If you go in light much of the gear you acquire will be junk in 5 years. If you get an AP900 you will be able to use that for 10 years, and then be able to sell it and get some of your money back out.

 

If you are really confined financially, you may still be at a point in your life where self development is the big priority and transforming your life from being a nail to a hammer is your priority. Invest in your education and a time will come where you can do your $100,000 observatory. Read and study 12-16 hours on whatever your profession is every Saturday and Sunday for the next two to three years and become great at it. Then you will be able to take great care of yourself.

 

I got my mount for my 50th birthday. My life was not easy when I was young. When I was 2 my mother used to leave me out in the back yard for hours at a time. When I knocked on the door she would not let me back in the house. I had to knock several times before I could get a glass of water from her. At 3 1/2 years old, a boy from the neighborhood came by and asked if I wanted to go play. I told him I did not know how to climb that tall fence in my backyard. He showed me how to climb that giant fence and I got out of the back yard. After that I went over that tall fence everyday and went and found other people that would give me a glass of water and invite me into their houses. If you are stuck in the backyard, figure out how to get over that tall fence and enjoy life.

 

Get that good mount and connect to the infinite.

 

HA


Edited by Hobby Astronomer, 06 April 2021 - 09:34 PM.

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#177 Mitrovarr

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 09:31 PM

I'll have done serious amateur astronomy for 30 years by the time I get to be as old as the age you bought that mount at.

 

This is actually a big part of why I suggest to start small. 20 sometimes cannot afford the best equipment, unless they have family money (in which case, go crazy, but you didn't need me to tell you that). It's much more important to get that 30 years of experiences in, to me, than to have that fancy mount ever. I wouldn't trade my ten years of bad equipment and second ten years of modest but decent equipment for amazing gear now.... those experiences are priceless!


Edited by Mitrovarr, 06 April 2021 - 09:31 PM.

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#178 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 09:45 PM

I'll have done serious amateur astronomy for 30 years by the time I get to be as old as the age you bought that mount at.

 

This is actually a big part of why I suggest to start small. 20 sometimes cannot afford the best equipment, unless they have family money (in which case, go crazy, but you didn't need me to tell you that). It's much more important to get that 30 years of experiences in, to me, than to have that fancy mount ever. I wouldn't trade my ten years of bad equipment and second ten years of modest but decent equipment for amazing gear now.... those experiences are priceless!

Nooo. If you are doing this for 30 years you have every reason to invest. I started at 49 but I take no prisoners when I set out to do something. Remember, at 3 1/2 years old I decided to take control of my life and not wait for things to happen.


Edited by Hobby Astronomer, 06 April 2021 - 09:46 PM.

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#179 Bobo666

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 10:06 PM

I'll have done serious amateur astronomy for 30 years by the time I get to be as old as the age you bought that mount at.

 

You will be very lucky then. Most of us wouldn't get the opportunity to be involved in a serious way for that long.

 

Even so, why not start with premium equipment? Obviously financial restrictions play a part, but they don't have to be the deciding factor. People make financial sacrifices all the time.

 

If my goal is AP (as an example) I would much prefer to have a premium mount from the get go rather than have dramas caused by a crappy mount.

 

Anyhow, as long as people enjoy what they have, that's the main thing.

 

Cheers



#180 Mitrovarr

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 10:18 PM


Even so, why not start with premium equipment? Obviously financial restrictions play a part, but they don't have to be the deciding factor. People make financial sacrifices all the time.

 

Yeah, there you go. Financial restrictions are KIND OF A HUGE DEAL FOR MOST PEOPLE. Sacrifices only go so far, you know?

 

I mean, when I started out more serious astronomy when I was 20, the $600 for my first real scope was a huge stretch. That was a financial sacrifice. Spending $5k or whatever a premium rig would have been barking mad and disrupted my life and education. I don't think I could reasonably have bought a premium rig until I was about 35, about five years ago. Even then it would have been a huge stretch and made me question my own sanity.


Edited by Mitrovarr, 06 April 2021 - 10:18 PM.

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#181 Mrcloc

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:47 AM

I bought my first telescope when I was 19 or 20 (16 or 17 years ago). I worked part time jobs while studying. The whole kit cost me $150 or so at the time. I looked at the telescope every time I walked past it, and after a while, emptied my pockets to buy it. The shop on the other side of the center stocked Meade and Celestron, and when you compare the prices, there was NO WAY I could buy anything from those brands. Not even close.

 

My telescope was an EQ mounted Jones Bird with some eyepieces and a moon filter (and some other accessories which were utterly useless). I had tons of fun looking at the moon and planets with that scope!

 

Had I seen advice that read "Buy premium or go home", I may have been discouraged to start at 19 or 20, and lost out on many years of fun and experience.

 

I still use the mount, BTW, as my main and only mount. I've done lots of work on it, and it's rock steady. I also keep the eyepieces in my kit, and still use the 20mm from time to time, and it surprises me! The tripod legs have been put aside for another setup, and the old telescope will be put onto a Dobsonian table mount for my small children to play with.


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#182 spokeshave

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 06:32 AM

 

If my goal is AP (as an example) I would much prefer to have a premium mount from the get go rather than have dramas caused by a crappy mount.

 

 

You seem to be saying that if a mount is not "premium" is is by default "crappy". There are good mounts in between "premium" and "crappy". 


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#183 Bobo666

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 06:41 AM

You seem to be saying that if a mount is not "premium" is is by default "crappy". There are good mounts in between "premium" and "crappy". 

No, that is not what I am saying.



#184 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 07:06 AM

Yeah, there you go. Financial restrictions are KIND OF A HUGE DEAL FOR MOST PEOPLE. Sacrifices only go so far, you know?

 

I mean, when I started out more serious astronomy when I was 20, the $600 for my first real scope was a huge stretch. That was a financial sacrifice. Spending $5k or whatever a premium rig would have been barking mad and disrupted my life and education. I don't think I could reasonably have bought a premium rig until I was about 35, about five years ago. Even then it would have been a huge stretch and made me question my own sanity.

Man you got me thinking. I think I am not charging enough for what I am doing. I really helped a lot of people during the pandemic. I need to start thinking about a GM 2000 HPS. I am going to follow my own advise and change my billing rate to $295 an hour. I deserve that mount and I am only going to live once.


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#185 Mrcloc

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 08:06 AM

Man you got me thinking. I think I am not charging enough for what I am doing. I really helped a lot of people during the pandemic. I need to start thinking about a GM 2000 HPS. I am going to follow my own advise and change my billing rate to $295 an hour. I deserve that mount and I am only going to live once.

If it's accounting you do, I would prefer to use someone who pays attention to detail better...



#186 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 08:38 AM

If it's accounting you do, I would prefer to use someone who pays attention to detail better...

Hahaha. Don't think you can afford me. Have you ever helped someone save a million on a single transaction? I don't have to be detailed. That is why I have staff.

 

I am going to start planning my next imaging set up with a GM 2000 or GM 3000.

 

HA



#187 SimonIRE

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 08:49 AM

I've refrained from posting in this thread for while but stupidly feel compelled to now...

 

There is something distasteful about the way personal finances and individual resources are being "aired and compared". 

 

Getting back to original question, to summarise...

 

1. Buy equipment that you feel comfortable buying

 

2. Enjoy the hobby and develop your skills at your own pace

 

3. Rather than see your equipment as a limiting factor, work out ways to squeeze the most out of what you have. 

 

4. If you do want to invest some of your hard earned money, start with a solid mount. 

 

.....

 

This thread has surely run its course?

 

Simon


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#188 chanrobi

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 10:30 AM

No, that is not what I am saying.

That's what a lot of people say on this forum.

 

And the response is not everyone is well off enough to buy hugely expensive mounts.

 

Even spending < $1k on a "mount", tripod and a lens was just about the maximum amount my budget could handle.

 

Then you have guys telling you $1-$2k mounts are garbage. Lol.

 

If they really sucked so much they wouldn't sell any of them ...



#189 Mitrovarr

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 10:45 AM

Yeah, people love to trash non-premium mounts, and I'm not sure it's justified.

Granted, I'm mostly using it for visual, but I have been extremely happy with my AVX. It accurately goes to stuff, holds the advertised weight (yes, really), tracks more than well enough for visual and well enough for basic AP, and is overall pretty trouble free and pleasant to use.

But the way people talk about the AVX, you'd think it arrived as a hollow shell full of angry wasps or something.
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#190 Wigleydh

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 12:35 PM

Until about a month ago, I was imaging using a LXD55 and it was a journey to get past the gremlins to understanding what I could do with it. As long as I stayed balanced heavy east, didn't try to flip and shoot anything in the west, and such, I did a lot of images that I was happy with (some I did post on Cloudynights threads and though it hasn't been updated in a long time www.starsabove.net has more and the setups page shows the journey of what we did learning). I had people tell me I shouldn't be able to do what I was doing with that LXD55, but I didn't let that stop me. Sometimes me being stubborn can be a virtue.

 

When I was getting started there was one friend that I combined equipment with. He had more of the equipment and I had part and more software knowledge. Starting out we didn't have much. That friend told another astronomy friend about us hooking up my Meade DSI Pro camera to his ETX70 optical tube (we had it all on the LXD55) -- well the other friend being told that simply said one word -- "WHY?" -- He was really a good guy just wasn't thinking of where we were at and what we could do at the time toward our goals. The point is I think you can set expectations realistically without dashing someone's hopes/dreams. No those pics were not pretty at all. You could tell what they were, we had a blast doing it, and were learning along the way -- which was the "WHY". I have told others they can do quite a bit with a lower end mount -- but always was sure to be honest with them that they will have a learning curve as what their mount likes, what it refuses to do well and the frustrates of that part of the time. Just let people know there will be frustrations/hard spots using lower end stuff, but keep at it until they learn to get results or their situation changes enough to allow them to upgrade -- but to have all the fun they can during that journey. Sometimes it is baby steps.

 

It was about a month ago, that I got a iOptron GEM45. I'm pleased with my setup, and am happy I spent that money. I just couldn't do that until now, nor could spend more now.

 

The best equipment (mount, camera, or other) you can use, is what you have in your hand at the time -- don't just do nothing because you don't have a perfect setup. Sure you may not be tossing out APODs right and left but a person can still have fun doing so and learn a heck of a lot at the same time. This or any other hobby shouldn't be about perfection, it is about having good experiences, learning from the bad experiences, and such. The times I fought gremlins all night were frustrating at the time but I learned from it, so even though frustrating were good in the long run due to what I learned. And when I got nice results, it was a bit nicer/sweeter knowing the way I did it wasn't the easiest but got it done anyway.

 

 

.



#191 SimonIRE

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 12:40 PM

Until about a month ago, I was imaging using a LXD55 and it was a journey to get past the gremlins to understanding what I could do with it. As long as I stayed balanced heavy east, didn't try to flip and shoot anything in the west, and such, I did a lot of images that I was happy with (some I did post on Cloudynights threads and though it hasn't been updated in a long time www.starsabove.net has more and the setups page shows the journey of what we did learning). I had people tell me I shouldn't be able to do what I was doing with that LXD55, but I didn't let that stop me. Sometimes me being stubborn can be a virtue.

When I was getting started there was one friend that I combined equipment with. He had more of the equipment and I had part and more software knowledge. Starting out we didn't have much. That friend told another astronomy friend about us hooking up my Meade DSI Pro camera to his ETX70 optical tube (we had it all on the LXD55) -- well the other friend being told that simply said one word -- "WHY?" -- He was really a good guy just wasn't thinking of where we were at and what we could do at the time toward our goals. The point is I think you can set expectations realistically without dashing someone's hopes/dreams. No those pics were not pretty at all. You could tell what they were, we had a blast doing it, and were learning along the way -- which was the "WHY". I have told others they can do quite a bit with a lower end mount -- but always was sure to be honest with them that they will have a learning curve as what their mount likes, what it refuses to do well and the frustrates of that part of the time. Just let people know there will be frustrations/hard spots using lower end stuff, but keep at it until they learn to get results or their situation changes enough to allow them to upgrade -- but to have all the fun they can during that journey. Sometimes it is baby steps.

It was about a month ago, that I got a iOptron GEM45. I'm pleased with my setup, and am happy I spent that money. I just couldn't do that until now, nor could spend more now.

The best equipment (mount, camera, or other) you can use, is what you have in your hand at the time -- don't just do nothing because you don't have a perfect setup. Sure you may not be tossing out APODs right and left but a person can still have fun doing so and learn a heck of a lot at the same time. This or any other hobby shouldn't be about perfection, it is about having good experiences, learning from the bad experiences, and such. The times I fought gremlins all night were frustrating at the time but I learned from it, so even though frustrating were good in the long run due to what I learned. And when I got nice results, it was a bit nicer/sweeter knowing the way I did it wasn't the easiest but got it done anyway.


.


Great post.

Just to add; I have “premium” everything and I still fight gremlins. I’m thinking of posting a reward for the person who can sell me a refractor that can *genuinely* cover a full frame sensor with *no* star degradation at the corners...

You have to love the obstacles in this hobby because there’s a lot of ‘em!

#192 manusfisch

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 12:53 PM

of the mount/tripod combination, who among those on this thread think the stability of the mount vs stability of the tripod is the most important.   Lets for argument sake say that the mount is rated appropriately for the scope.   

 

I personally like a heavy duty tripod or hang a weight on a well rated tripod that does not have a spreader or swivel feet.  a stable heavy tripod will win most times for me.  



#193 Mitrovarr

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:10 PM

Honestly the biggest most obvious difference in mount stability I've ever been able to get is using those little anti-vibration pads.

Edited by Mitrovarr, 07 April 2021 - 01:10 PM.

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#194 Mrcloc

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 03:14 PM

I still have an old cheap mount. I want to upgrade, but I'm still not sure to what. Over the years, I've done plenty to both mount and tripod. Tweaking the mount was absolutely necessary, but that's akin to collimating a reflector. I built my own tripod, and I went through two designs. The tripod made an enormous difference. It's day and night. The only problem I'm left with is that I'm going to have to spend a lot more to achieve an actual upgrade. I'm certain this translates to AP setups.

So, put me down for tripod.

#195 manusfisch

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 04:03 PM

Mitrovarr,  I went through the pad phase when i had my early tripods that are not as substantial as todays and was not impressed.  Now that I have a lot better tripod (planet, hercules, rob miller) I am going to have to bust out the little hockey pucks and give them a whirl again.  Thanks for the suggestion.  



#196 555aaa

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 04:31 PM

It’s pretty amazing what can be achieved nowadays with a pretty small rig, CMOS camera, and driving to a dark site. Those of us “out west” that can be under dark skies within two hours maybe have a different answer than when it’s not an option.
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#197 Dwight J

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 09:31 PM

While I concur with the spirit of the subject, use whatever you have and can afford.  What I discovered was that it was cheaper in the long run to get the best mount I could.  I spent years fiddling with mounts to get them to perform and then buy one after another.  Add them up and viola, the price of a quality mount.  Then the mount gets out of the way and I can fight with cameras and software instead.  It seems that overall mounts have all improved and continue to.  The new EQ6 Pro is much improved over my EQ6 SynScan as an example.  There does seem to be a trend to jazz things up and add features to mounts that are not reliable in the long run.  I would prefer better bearings or more accurate gears than wireless connection, extra usb ports, encoders, spring loaded worm gears, etc.  Just make a mount that works reliably and accurately.   


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#198 Mrcloc

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 03:40 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).

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

 

Any guesses?

 

Photo credit: Astrobiscuit

 

Total cost for equipment: about $1300.

 

SkyWatcher AZ-GTi

Celestron 80mm f/5 (travelscope)

RGB, UV/IR, and light pollution filters

ZWO ASI 178mm Mono camera

 

That mount cost all of $380, and comes with a tripod.

Attached Thumbnails

  • AP1.jpg
  • AP2.jpg

Edited by Mrcloc, 08 April 2021 - 03:41 AM.


#199 Bobo666

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:24 AM

While I concur with the spirit of the subject, use whatever you have and can afford.  What I discovered was that it was cheaper in the long run to get the best mount I could.  I spent years fiddling with mounts to get them to perform and then buy one after another.  Add them up and viola, the price of a quality mount.  Then the mount gets out of the way and I can fight with cameras and software instead.  It seems that overall mounts have all improved and continue to.  The new EQ6 Pro is much improved over my EQ6 SynScan as an example. 

Many people seem to enjoy the "fiddling" part, and more power to them. I guess, when it comes to the mount at least, I am not one of them. I bought a mount with the expectation that it will do what it says on the can. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.

 

Re the EQ6 "standard", a friend bought one a few years ago and has had nothing but pain and trouble with it. To the point where he has been put off doing much astronomy related at all. So for those people who enjoy the tinkering and fiddling to get something to work properly, great. But for some it can also have the opposite effect.



#200 Mrcloc

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 07:08 AM

Many people seem to enjoy the "fiddling" part, and more power to them. I guess, when it comes to the mount at least, I am not one of them. I bought a mount with the expectation that it will do what it says on the can. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.

 

Re the EQ6 "standard", a friend bought one a few years ago and has had nothing but pain and trouble with it. To the point where he has been put off doing much astronomy related at all. So for those people who enjoy the tinkering and fiddling to get something to work properly, great. But for some it can also have the opposite effect.

Yes, and as in your example, it's not necessarily about spending more money, it's about buying the better mount. There are other options from other brands for EQ6 money.

 

This is the thing - start with a quality mount, not spend more on a mount. Anyway, if an EQ6 isn't satisfactory, I reckon the hobby isn't for you.




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