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imaging mount?


sparky81
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Hi

6 months ago I brought a SW 150PL on a EQ3-2 mount. I thought at the time I would get into imaging but not this quickly, plus I did not want to spend a lot of dosh if I did not take to it.

lLike I say I have now started to get more into the imaging side of things, webcam at the mo, but I dont think it will be long before I turn to DSO's (halfway through Every Photon Counts!).

What mount would you recommend? I dont have a pernament site so am a bit worried about getting somthing to heavy and bulky but at the same time I want something that is going to do the job!

Cheers

Mark

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The minimum mount that you would need is an HEQ5. As the mounts get better, unfortunately they also get heavier ;)

I've just upgraded to a Celestron GCEM mount, fantastic, but heavy. Saying that though I don't have a permanent set up, so I carry it from upstairs, and out into the garden. When they are in segments, it's not too much of an issue.

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I'd say an EQ5 as an absolute minimum or an HEQ5 or (N)EQ6 - the biggest, beefiest mount you can afford, really.

You have a choice of SynTrek (tracking but no GOTO) or SynScan (tracking and GOTO) control. With either you can use EQMOD and ASCOM drivers to control the mount from a PC/laptop (no need for a hand controller). With SynScan you can connect your computer to the hand controller and control the mount through it.

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HEQ5 Pro all the way.

The NEQ6 is great, but seriously big and heavy to be lugging around all the time.

I've been imaging from various sites (as I can't do anything from my garden) for the last five months with a HEQ5 and wouldn't change it for anything.

Ultimately, I might upgrade to a NEQ6 in a year or two, but only when it's viable for me to leave my rig set up in the garden semi-permanently, and I'd still keep the HEQ5 for star parties etc.

For the money, I don't think you can do any better to be honest.

Ben

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I have the Atlas and really don't find it that difficult to move around. The heaviest piece is the mount head, but i move the head, weights and tripod in one trip outside using a garden cart...or to my car if going to my dark site. Right now I am learning imaging on a 4" refractor but plan to get an 8" imaging newt or RC in the next year or two.....I bought the Atlas cuz i knew it could handle the growth.

It is a fantastic mount, absolutely no problems straight out of the box, tracks like a charm...highly recommended from my POV.

Joe

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On mount upgrade, it would useful to do a bit of research into (among other things) Celestron vs Skywatcher. The exact contents of the packages everyone has offered have varied with time.

As I understand things the SW EQ5 package has 1.75" tripod legs and 2" for Celestron, giving better rigidity. I have also heard that the Celestron CG5 mount has better bearings than the Skywatcher EQ5. But not having taken the two apart, side by side, I can't confirm this. There are also differences in the goto handset software.

Try to have a lift and hold of various mounts. I have a CG5 and EQ6. There is a huge weight difference. The Kg on paper is very different to Kg in the hand. EQ3 and EQ6 are the same size on a web page.

A general rule is though to buy the biggest mount that your wallet and back will handle. The wallet will recover and is hurt only once. Too big a mount will gather dust at home if you hurt your back.

A bigger (oversize) mount will help you later. At some point you may decide the 150 isn't catching enough light for the faint objects. Then you will want an 8" or 10" newt. Or maybe a heavy Mak newt.....

Hope this helps more than hinders.

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thanks for the quick replies, certainly given me plenty to think about!

My budget was £500ishbut I think I might have to stretch that a little, unless I can find something in the second hand market?

I'm thinking along the lines of the HEQ5 at the moment - does anyone know how much it weighs? or if there is a shop I could have a close look and (try) pick it up? (I'm based near High Wycombe?) Might also be able to pass it off at the same mount to get it past mission control!

What would be the equivalent celestron mount?

thanks for all the help

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With your budget and OTA I would suggest a Celestron CG5 GT Goto mount. It's very portable has 2" steel legs (unlike the 1.75" ones on the HEQ5) and you can do a lot more with the software (more sophisticated - larger database). With an SBS bar and ST80 guide scope/camera it will do the job very nicely for a variety of ota's.

It's only downside is that it's a spot noisy cos the casing echo's the motors. You can get them for around £300-£350 s/h depending on age/condition. Here's what I did with mine before I sold it (I upgraded before getting chance to use it lol). However I did get to use a mates identical setup and it works very nicely all controlled from a laptop via single usb cable. ;)

058533e6dcdf17bcc30015ad55adaf34_10836.jpg?dl=1303760476 2b8116975cbf1c9fd55b34d934c19b8c_10841.jpg?dl=1303760537

Edited by brantuk
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It comes down to budget. For the mobile imager the iOptron IEQ45 has enormous advantages in terms of fast and accurate polar alignment. It beats the EQ mounts on that score and in terms of its payload to mount weight ratio. But it is certainly more expensive.

For mobile imagers the Takahashi EM mounts are the business but they really are expensive.

Olly

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On your £500 budget, FLO have the CG5 at (I think) £525 at the moment. On the used side, in round figures, this money will get you a CG5 with a scope on top. Then you can sell the scope on if not wanted.

As for having a hold of a mount. Ask nicely for people near to you, or look out for a group going out to a dark site.

More shops are 'drop shipping' these days and don't have stock on display. Last year I started thinking about all the (H)EQ5/6 choices, along with the level of cleverness of drive. I went along to my local retailer, Rother Valley Optics. I was fully expecting to see a good range on display, chat about features, grab hold of something, etc. They had nothing SW mount wise in the shop - boxed or unboxed. No comparison/feature tables. I was just as well off staying at home in front of the computer. In the end I bought used and got a couple of bargain mounts for the price of one new.

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  • 4 weeks later...

After thinking it over and and saving up a bit more I have just order a HEQ5 Synktrek :-) nearly went for CG5 but the extra cash from overtime tempted me too much!

Thanks for all the advice.

Mark

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