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

Still looking for a mount...

  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 clarnibass

clarnibass

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 125
  • Joined: 20 Jul 2018

Posted 07 December 2021 - 05:09 AM

I've been waiting for a long time for the SmartEQ Pro to be back in stock... I missed it for a couple of weeks it was... and now it's discontinued. It seems like there is no other similar mount, light weight with GoTo, slightly larger than the camera mounts, but much smaller than the "real" mounts. I asked about this before but it looks like I just have to accept a little heavier mount... or nothing.

I specifically wanted the SmartEQ as a more or less plug&play, light, GoTo mount for photography with a camera.

 

With a camera I imagine there's a good chance I won't use the counter weights at all...? That can make the weight much more manageable but also make the weight difference between mounts more significant).

 

I ruled out the Sky Watcher AZ-GTi, ES IEXOS-100 and ES EXOS-2GT.

 

The only one available here seems to be the Sky Watcher EQ5 (not the AZ-EQ5). Weight in total is about 25kg. Local price is $1200. Price in the UK including international shipping is about $900., will end up maybe close after VAT and import fees.

 

All the others are not available locally except the GEM28 (so I have to order by shipping from abroad) and not in stock... so who knows when...

The other Sky Watcher and iOptron models might be possible to special order locally.

 

All price are before international shipping, VAT and any import taxes and fees.

 

Sky Watcher EQM-35. Not sure about weight, maybe 17kg with two counter weights. $785.

 

(there's also the EQ3 but can't find the weight)

 

Celestron Advanced VX. 21kg. $1000.

 

iOptron CEM26. 14kg with counter weight. $1200.

 

iOptron GEM28. 16kg with counter weight. $1300 (with case). Local price for the same kit is $1800.

 

Thanks for any suggestions


  • mikemarotta likes this

#2 Hesiod

Hesiod

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,051
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2013

Posted 07 December 2021 - 07:58 AM

Which camera and lens/es?

Mind that all the listed mounts are vastly larger and heavier than the smarteq, if your aim is a setup you can take out from the backpack and start imaging none of these seems a good idea and I'd rather look for the so-called "star tracker", which are designed especially for this kind of use.

 

Mind that if are imaging with a DLSR or mirrorless camera and lenses up to 200mm goto is almost useless, if not even an hindrance; over 200mm your priority should be the guiding equipment, not the goto feature (even if all the goto mounts have the right interface).



#3 PKDfan

PKDfan

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 859
  • Joined: 03 May 2019
  • Loc: Edmonton

Posted 07 December 2021 - 02:48 PM

I love my EQM-35Pro with my 4inch F/9 apo for my high power viewing, its fairly quick to setup and performs admirably on gotos!




Clear skies & Good seeing

#4 alphatripleplus

alphatripleplus

    World Controller

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 127,911
  • Joined: 09 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Georgia

Posted 09 December 2021 - 09:04 AM

Have you considered looking in the CN Classifieds? There are CN members in the UK that follow the Classified listings on CN for local sales of used equipment.  



#5 mikemarotta

mikemarotta

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 439
  • Joined: 09 Dec 2019
  • Loc: Austin, Texas

Posted 09 December 2021 - 09:29 AM

I've been waiting for a long time for the SmartEQ Pro to be back in stock......   Price in the UK including international shipping is about ... 

Thanks for any suggestions.

If I may, allow me to suggest First Light Optics in the UK https://www.firstlightoptics.com

 

I understand and appreciate the comment above from alphatripleplus that that the Cloudy Night Classifieds can be a path for success for you. FLO is sponsors Stargazers Lounge, a board much like this one, but homed in the UK. It just makes sense to me to go through a retailer who has more than one item in stock and who can support you after the sale. If you were in the USA, then Astronomics would be easy to recommend for those very reasons.

 

As for the technical details of the mount, they underscore the benefits of chatting with a retailer. Generally, GoTo mounts are designed for astronomy telescopes, and generally tend to weigh more because of the electro-mechanical system. Therefore, the counterweight is integral to the system. It is a factor that I ran into. I thought that a short-tube Newtonian reflector would not have the torque of a much longer refractor, and, indeed, it does not. But it has some torque. And the foot-pounds (Newton-meters) increase quickly because they are a product, not a sum. If your camera fits exactly over the center of gravity within the centroid of the mount base, you probably do not need to consider all of that. Nevertheless, talk to someone in the business.

 

Best Regards,

Mike M.


Edited by mikemarotta, 09 December 2021 - 09:31 AM.


#6 clarnibass

clarnibass

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 125
  • Joined: 20 Jul 2018

Posted 27 December 2021 - 10:16 AM

Thanks.

 

It's a mirrorless camera, lenses from 28mm to 400mm, probably the most used with the tracker will be the 100-400mm.

So far I'm only taking photos with a tripod but also with a much longer telescope, photos of planets, the moon, etc. with a GoTo non-equatorial mount. From this I just know how much I prefer the GoTo. There are usually only a few bright stars visible here so hopping is difficult (especially without much experience) and it just feels like without the GoTo it will be a lot less fun and less likely to do it. I have realistic expectations from the photos with obviously less than ideal conditions...

 

Still... I'm not ruling out a tracker. If the options are a tracker or a heavier GoTo, I guess it's much more likely that I'll take the tracker and not use, but maybe I won't take the heavier mount at all... not sure.

 

Re shipping, the two places I found with decent shipping are B&H in the USA and FLO in the UK. I'll have to pay the same VAT and import tax regardless so that's the same.

If something is wrong, I'll probably have to pay to ship it back so that's a risk.

I'm good with mechanics but terrible with electrics...



#7 Bowmoreman

Bowmoreman

    Clear enough skies

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,772
  • Joined: 11 Sep 2006
  • Loc: Wimberley, TX

Posted 29 December 2021 - 05:15 PM

May I suggest the humble Vixen Sphinx? Good values used, and highly portable, etc… just a rando thought



#8 Mert

Mert

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8,702
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2005
  • Loc: Spain, Pamplona

Posted 30 December 2021 - 05:59 PM

For portable you have the harmonic drive mounts, goto and lightweight.
Think RST135, ZWO AM5 or others

Edited by Mert, 30 December 2021 - 06:00 PM.


#9 Between17

Between17

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2019
  • Loc: Here on the wet coast of Canada

Posted 30 December 2021 - 09:14 PM

I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of lighter weight equatorial mounts that support goto. Here it is showing the mounts I'm aware of under 6 kg. Counterweights (if needed) will be extra. It is a work in progress so may not be 100% accurate, I see you mention in your original post a couple mounts that I have not put on my list yet.

 

mounts1.jpg

 

I used a Vixen Polarie startracker for a while when I first got into the hobby. Getting a goto mount became a top priority for me as well, looking for dim/small targets in light polluted skies gets frustrating pretty fast!

 

Perhaps you want to consider an alt-az mount as a budget alternative? The Skywatcher AZ GTi and the Cubepro are two that I believe offer goto, although they will introduce field rotation.

 

 



#10 clarnibass

clarnibass

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 125
  • Joined: 20 Jul 2018

Posted 09 January 2022 - 03:40 AM

Thanks for those suggestions, a few good options I didn't know about.

 

Re an alt-az mount, I already have one. I specifically want a small, light and relatively hassle-free-setup mount for long exposures with a camera.

 

This table really shows the SmartEQ in perspective, just about the cheapest and the lightest one.

The Rainbows are far more than I want to spend on this.

I can't find any info on the Pegasus so far, supposedly they will have specs in a few months.

Vixen Sphinx seems to be good, though a little heavy and discontinued, so only available used, from abroad, unrealistic to return.

 

Vixen AP seems to be available from a couple of stores, still international order but has a warranty at least. I don't think I've heard of it so I'll read more about it. Price is a little more than I was hoping to spend but if it has more or less everything I need then it's ok.

 

The AM5 is about twice as much as the max I was hoping to spend on this, weighs somewhat more, will only be available in a few months, but otherwise might have everything I need, including covering for significant future upgrades. Supposedly fine if I get a small telescope and for pre orders includes what looks like a pretty nice tripod. Not existing is a small issue :) I'll look more into this, it's not completely clear to me yet.

 

Does anyone have good links to learn more about these harmonic mounts and the ZWO specifically (other than the company website)?

 

Those are my two main options now.

 

Thanks again



#11 Between17

Between17

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2019
  • Loc: Here on the wet coast of Canada

Posted 09 January 2022 - 03:22 PM

It sounds like you want to keep things as light as possible (under 8kg?), and the budget to just over $1000. That budget will rule out all the Harmonic Drive Mounts so I'm not sure why you are interested in learning more about them - Unless of course your budget is $2000+!

 

Kidding aside, there is a thread here on CN about the Pegasus harmonic drive mount, and another about the ZWO AM5, they are both in the 'Equipment' forum and I believe they have both been locked from further posts.

 

I include an expanded spreadsheet of mounts with weights up to 10kg.

 

If you are considering a used mount, then you might want to investigate the Vixen Super Polaris and follow ons, as well as the Takahashi Teegul Sky Patrol III. I don't know anything about them, but I think they will meet your price and weight criteria. I am sure there are other discontinued mounts that would do so as well.

 

mounts1.jpg



#12 clarnibass

clarnibass

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 125
  • Joined: 20 Jul 2018

Posted 10 January 2022 - 11:20 AM

Thanks. I don't really have a budget in that sense. I was willing to live with several compromises of the SmartEQ for that weight and price. The higher the price, the less compromises I accept.

I mean something like the iOptron (without the weights) weighs about the same as the AM5 but I definitely don't consider it is portable and it's not an option at all.

So I'm willing to spend much more, but it depends what mount it is.



#13 Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 653
  • Joined: 08 Sep 2004
  • Loc: Stockholm, NJ

Posted 10 January 2022 - 05:09 PM

Astro shop in Germany shows stock of the smart eq pro mount.



#14 NightBear

NightBear

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 200
  • Joined: 12 Nov 2019

Posted 10 January 2022 - 05:33 PM

Just a heads up, it seems like most astro gear is going up in price 30% or more, at least all the Celestron and SkyWatcher items. So you may want to consider buying whatever you can that is available now before the price goes to the moon.



#15 clarnibass

clarnibass

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 125
  • Joined: 20 Jul 2018

Posted 12 January 2022 - 12:19 AM

Astro shop in Germany shows stock of the smart eq pro mount.

Thanks, I checked and unfortunately shipping costs €360 (when it was in stock at B&H shipping was about $100).



#16 Sheridan

Sheridan

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 467
  • Joined: 12 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Houston Tx.

Posted 16 January 2022 - 03:12 PM

BnH raised the price of the celestron AVX from 999.00 to 1179.00.

#17 TimB7

TimB7

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 23
  • Joined: 19 Jan 2022

Posted Yesterday, 06:22 AM

Mind that if are imaging with a DLSR or mirrorless camera and lenses up to 200mm goto is almost useless, if not even an hindrance; over 200mm your priority should be the guiding equipment, not the goto feature (even if all the goto mounts have the right interface).

Alberto,

 

That is good to know and something I didn't think about when comparing this possibility against the SkyGuider Pro Star Tracker that is about the same price.

 

Tim



#18 TimB7

TimB7

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 23
  • Joined: 19 Jan 2022

Posted Yesterday, 06:36 AM

clarnibass,

 

PM sent.

Tim

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1.JPG



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