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Mount for SW 120ED

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#1 brisguy

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Posted 24 October 2020 - 06:14 PM

Hello all,

 

New to the forum and just getting restarted in this hobby after a 40-year break! I would like your advice on a mount for a recent purchase of a SW 120ED scope. My short-term goals are just to get reacquainted with the sky after this long break and to take advantage of the huge upgrade in optical performance (my last scope was a Tasco 60mm lol.gif ). My long term goal is to use the scope for astro-photography (AP). I have been doing a bit of reading about the importance of mounts and the different advantages and tradeoffs (portability vs stability, EQ vs Alt-AZ).

 

I have only used an alt-az mount in the past and recognize the simplicity of operation, but having read about the setup and use of an EQ mount, I don't think I will find ti that hard (I live in SF bay area and would use the scope somewhere between 30-50 deg lat). 

 

The scope weighs about 14lbs.

 

I have been considering the Celestron CG-4 EQ mount as my first one, but understand its 20lb payload limit may not work for photography. However, the next step up in payload size seems to be large and the mount then gets so big as to not be portable (more than 40 lbs). I also considered an alt-az mount for my first visual use, but cannot seem to find a reasonably priced (around $300) one that works with a 14lb payload and am not happy to spend more than $300 for a mount that I will potentially abandon as soon as I start taking pics. Buying used is no problem. I have seen go-to mounts and such and not really interested in those just yet. I want to keep my hand on the tiller so to speak wink.gif

 

So, here are my questions:

 

1. Did I overlook anything important in my summary?

2. What is the downside of trying the CG-4 as an AP mount? Fuzziness due to vibration? What about exposures under 60 sec?

3. Is there an alt-az mount I missed?

4. Is there a slightly beefier EQ mount I missed?

5. If I do go with the CG-4, I am correct that I will need extra weights? It comes with 11lbs.

 

 

Thanks!

 



#2 zxx

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Posted 24 October 2020 - 06:32 PM

The 120 won't work well on the CG-4 for AP. The SW EQ6 would be a good match.



#3 junomike

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 07:53 AM

For Visual a CG-5/SW EQ5P or similar is minimum due to the length/leverage of the OTA

For AP I agree with zxx in that an EQ6 class Mount will be best to avoid frustration.



#4 rmollise

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 08:59 AM

Hello all,

 

New to the forum and just getting restarted in this hobby after a 40-year break! I would like your advice on a mount for a recent purchase of a SW 120ED scope. My short-term goals are just to get reacquainted with the sky after this long break and to take advantage of the huge upgrade in optical performance (my last scope was a Tasco 60mm lol.gif ). My long term goal is to use the scope for astro-photography (AP). I have been doing a bit of reading about the importance of mounts and the different advantages and tradeoffs (portability vs stability, EQ vs Alt-AZ).

 

I have only used an alt-az mount in the past and recognize the simplicity of operation, but having read about the setup and use of an EQ mount, I don't think I will find ti that hard (I live in SF bay area and would use the scope somewhere between 30-50 deg lat). 

 

The scope weighs about 14lbs.

 

I have been considering the Celestron CG-4 EQ mount as my first one, but understand its 20lb payload limit may not work for photography. However, the next step up in payload size seems to be large and the mount then gets so big as to not be portable (more than 40 lbs). I also considered an alt-az mount for my first visual use, but cannot seem to find a reasonably priced (around $300) one that works with a 14lb payload and am not happy to spend more than $300 for a mount that I will potentially abandon as soon as I start taking pics. Buying used is no problem. I have seen go-to mounts and such and not really interested in those just yet. I want to keep my hand on the tiller so to speak wink.gif

 

So, here are my questions:

 

1. Did I overlook anything important in my summary?

2. What is the downside of trying the CG-4 as an AP mount? Fuzziness due to vibration? What about exposures under 60 sec?

3. Is there an alt-az mount I missed?

4. Is there a slightly beefier EQ mount I missed?

5. If I do go with the CG-4, I am correct that I will need extra weights? It comes with 11lbs.

 

 

Thanks!

The CG4 will be marginal at best for the 120. I have that scope and it is fine on an Advanced VX on calm nights, and that would be my minimum recommendation. It's not so much weight as it is the length of the tube. 

 

1. Yes. If you contemplate imaging do not skimp on the mount and what you propose is just that. The CG4 is barely adequate for visual.

2. So-so tracking, lack of steadiness with anything beyond an 80mm.

3. There are several decent alt-az mounts, but you won't do long exposure imaging with one.

4. Yes, as I said, the AVX should be the minimum you consider.

5. I can balance my 120 on the AVX with 11-pounds.

 

Good luck.


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#5 brisguy

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 12:12 PM

Thanks all for the advice. Looks like my scope choice is forcing me to get more mount than I wanted! I am surprised that all the recommendations seem to be for a GoTo powered mount since that is not what I am looking for initially. I am happy for my first mount to be visual only, but if that is the case, don't want to spend more than $300-400. I mentioned the CG4 in hopes that it would work for visual use and also for some experiments with photography, but sounds like that is not the case. 

 

Any recommendations for an inexpensive alt-az mount for portable visual use? Maybe the AT Voyager / ES twilight 1 ?

 

Novice Questions:

- What is the "EQ class"? A weight handling rating?

- Folks on this board are mentioning equipment stock levels are low (which seems to be true at a couple vendor sites). Is there a run on astronomy due to covid lockdowns?



#6 Gary Riley

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 09:06 PM

I have the SW 120 ED Pro on the CG-4 mount and it does fine for visual use providing you do not have strong winds blowing.  I use vibration suppression pads to help control vibrations too.  


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#7 sn2006gy

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 09:17 PM

I use the EQ6R and it works great (astrophoto)



#8 brisguy

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 10:43 AM

Thanks for the tip Gary. Are the anti-vib pads commercial or home made?


Edited by brisguy, 26 October 2020 - 11:31 AM.


#9 Gary Riley

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 06:40 PM

I purchased them.  They are Celestron brand.


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