Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

best light weight travel mount and tripod for small refractor

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 atrab1

atrab1

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2021
  • Loc: Crossville, TN

Posted 12 June 2021 - 09:09 PM

I recently prurchased a Skywatcher Evoguide 50 DX refractor to use primarily on an 8 in Newtonian as a guide scope. I went ahead and ordered the field flattener for it. My hope is to have a secondary use for this as a very compact travel scope for wide FOV imaging at dark sky sights. I will probably upgrade to a better small refractor at some point, but will want it to remain very compact (hopefully a 70 or 80 mm would work). I was thinking about purchasing the ZWO 30mm guide scope and the ZWO 120 mini for use in guiding with it. I currently have several ZWO products, including the asiair pro, the 178mc, and the 2600mc. I am currently using the 178mc as the guide camera on the evoguide 50 when using it as a guide scope for the Newtonian. If using the Evoguide 50 separately as a travel scope, I would like to mount the ZWO guide scope and 120 mini to it. How would that be best accomplished? I will need a recommendation on a good lightweight equatorial mount (low capacity is fine). I want to be able to autoguide it. I will also need a good stable tripod recommendation to hold the mount. thanks, I am a Newbie just getting started. Freshly retired and interested in astrophotography as my hobby of choice. I live about an hour and a half from a Bortle 3 site, and do not want to lug my main mount (EQ6R Pro) and scope (Skywatcher 200PDS) that far. I would really appreciate the insight that comes from people who have tried something similar, or have the experience to make recommendations. Thanks in advance.

 

Mike



#2 Hesiod

Hesiod

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,964
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2013

Posted 13 June 2021 - 07:00 AM

I do not think you will need the guide for the Evoguide 50, especially if using a DSLR or any other color camera.

I use "star trackers" with my FL55 (55/300, 55/320 w flattener, 55/240 w reducer), which offers great advantages when it comes to travel with due to low weight and compactness:

 

gallery_215679_8115_1458202.jpg

 

Here is with the Polarie, a somewhat cheap unit without guiding interface. The main downside is the need for a small counterweight, which is incredibly nasty if are planning to fly the setup as hand-luggage.

Very similar are the iOptron and Skywatcher compact trackers, and Vixen's own replacement for the Polarie which is called Polarie U: all these have the guide interface.

 

Other options are the Astrotracs or the Fornax Lighttrack2.

Both the Astrotracs have issues (the original has been discontinued by a while and can track for 2 hours then you have to "rewind"; the current Astrotrac360 is pricey and very likely hard to find due to limited availability) but are excellent devices and can handle my FL55 without any counterweight.

I do not own the Fornax, but it is a sort of improvement from the original Astrotrac.

 

Among conventional mounts the Vixen AP is probably one of the best from the perspective of portability (if rule out the pricey harmonic driven ones such as the RST135); at lower price there is also the iOptron smarteq, which is somewhat "toy-sh" but should be adequate to the task.

Mind that imaging with the Evoguide 50 is very forgiving and you do not need a "uber" mount to get results: I suggested the trackers because believe that are a better value than very small mounts like the smarteq due to their better portability



#3 atrab1

atrab1

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2021
  • Loc: Crossville, TN

Posted 13 June 2021 - 11:09 AM

Thanks for the informative reply. I will check those items out. Being a Newbie, I have a question about not needing a guide scope or guide camera for the Evoguide 50. If using the Evoguide 50 or perhaps a future Redcat 71, would the guide scope allow for longer exposures? Would the guide scope and guide camera be of little or no value? If so, why. Thanks for your response.



#4 Hesiod

Hesiod

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,964
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2013

Posted 13 June 2021 - 01:29 PM

It depends on how long you want to take your subs.
Wirh the Polarie and the FL55 at 250mm I usually shot 120" or 180" subs, but the 180" are risky for overexposure (I use a DSLR; things would be very different were I doing narrowband imaging).
The guide could be still useful to dither, but since that is my light travel setup am willing to renounce for the sake of convenience.
If however plan to upgrade to a 70mm refractor I think you should leave out the smaller trackers (Vixen, iOptron, Skywatcher) and opt for a small mount like eq35 or Vixen AP, or stronger trackers like the Fornax or Astrotrac.
Mind that with those trackers the most obnoxious issue will be related to the alignment to the pole rather than to the tracking accuracy: therefore you may want to guide anyway to exploit the guider's PA utilities, or just to compensate the drift (only with the Astrotrac 360 with dual drives, as you need the DEC drive too).

#5 Doug D.

Doug D.

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,378
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2005
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 14 June 2021 - 01:10 PM

Just a heads up FWIW, Vixen Optics (mrstarguy) is having a retirement sale, 40% off in-stock items.  Don't know if they have any left but the Polarie U was included in sale, final cost ~$420.


Edited by Doug D., 14 June 2021 - 01:18 PM.



CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics