I've seen mixed reviews when it comes to iOptron, similar to what you see for Celestron products, especially the AVX. But what drove me away from them, is the apparent need to be very careful around them or they break. I recall the example of carrying the setup without offloading the mount first. Second point is that some people had to return their mounts for some defects, this is not something that I want to go through. If I lived in Europe or Northern America, I would definitely not get an Avalon, as durability and/or lack of maintenance won't be a priority. I don't know, I might be putting a lot into Avalon's marketing point of being maintenance free for internal components. I really can't do anything about a mount that comes with a defect or fail after few months. That's my direction now, as far away from Celestron as one can be. I usually image from my balcony in the city, and occasionally drive to my relatives rooftop and less occasionally (but want to make it more frequent) to an hour away darker site. There are no plans for a fixed pier any time soon (not in a decade at least)
Alright, more details about my issues, although I was trying to avoid turning this about my CGEM DX problem. I know my CGEM is under performing, it works, but it has many issues. RMS is between 0.6 and 2.2, same setup, same seeing, same everything. It is never stable enough to image with the newt. I do end up dropping half my newt frames, while APO at that scale they usually survive. It is not supposed to be this bad, but in my case it is. The RA housing has two bolts that are loose and cannot be tightened. I am under the impression this mount had a previous life somewhere and was shipping and sold as new here. Something is wrong with the internals. I have a friend that dismantled the mount for me, and every screw was a pain to deal with: rust, wear, etc... I will continue working on the CGEM in the hopes of getting it performing better, but I have been suffering with it for over a year now and I want to move to something that would give me some peace of mind. Not the most cost efficient route, but I am not willing to sink money into the CGEM. That's why I am here, to see what you guys have experienced with the Linear and if you have better suggestions in that price range or lower. I want to do this right this time, and the forums are my only source of support.
Thank you all for your feedback. I am actually guiding, but as I said earlier, I don't want to get into the short comings of my current mount. From what I've seen while researching binning, that's there is a lot of debate and a lot favoring doing that after capture. That won't fix the not very rounded stars i guess though? I wonder how others are using this camera at 900-1000 focal lengths, I've never seen anyone binning or even mentioning it(referring to examples on youtube and some blogs). Here comes some not very researched questions: Do I do the binning in SGP while capturing and I can drizzle to recover the resolution? or do I do the binning in the end by resampling? The Avalon is already stretching the budget, including around 300 euros for shipping and around 1000 USD for customs. I am very comfortable with electronics, it's the mechanical part that my brain refuses to accept. The Mesu 200 seems to be a great mount and I looked it up while doing my research, but the price/weight and that 100KG payload that I will never need brought me back to the Linear. My newt with the massive guidescope and everything plugged it, is around 16KG. If I ever get the 9.25, I will be using an OTA probably. So the 20KG Avalon AP limit is enough for my use.
Hello, and greeting from Lebanon (this will become important in a moment). I currently own two telescopes that I use for imaging: 80/480 triplet APO and 200/1000 newt, both with an ASI1600MM. My current mount, locally purchased, is a CGEM DX that does OK with a 1.6 imaging scale but terribly so with the 0.7 that the newt/asi combo gives me. The mount can reach a total RMS of .7 rarely, and never stable enough, that I end up dropping half my 60 seconds frames if I am lucky. A lot of troubleshooting went into the mount in the past year that I am now considering an upgrade, as I am almost sure I got a bad mounttaking into consideration: durability doesn't need maintenance has a good reputation can handle the current OTAs and possibly a C9.25 EdgeHD budget 4500 USD, plus or minus 1K And this is why the location is important. Shipping in & out is rather expensive, and getting local help in fixing/tuning/maintaining/customizing is definitely out of the question. I am also terrible when it comes to mechanical handy work. My research is always taking me back to Avalon, for the above reasons. Mainly the linear one, because i don't mind a meridian flip, SGP does that automatically. I couldn't figure out major differences aside from that. Few local fellow astrophotographers shipped skywatcher mounts from abroad and they are not having any problems, although I don't think that's going to last as long as the avalon given the internals. I, of course, can be very wrong. What do you guys think? Am I being rational here? And is the price difference between the Avalon and Skywatcher worth it? Am I disregarding some other mounts in the price range?