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Justi

Drove the wife to insanity trying to buy a mount, and maybe scope

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Ok first of all hello to everyone first time making a post and i am sure there will be plenty more to follow in the future.

It been a few months now trying to by a mount. in the perfect world i would grab a eq5 without a seconds thought but its heavy i dont have a space to store it in the apartment and its to heavy to bring to random sites around the country side. I have back issues so lifting heavy parts is not good. I also sometimes only get a break in the clouds and even though have a 1 hours window to view i want to view. Also viewing the sun is my favourite object (I have all the filters required to safely do this)

So i narrowed this down to the celestron 4se, why? I already own a f5 refractor and love it for what it is its also 4 inch so i dont gain anything apeture wise with the 4se but what i do gain is a scope more capable of viewing the planets and moon, the f5 is to wide and the CA it causes it horrible, DSO it has done me fine though it wont win any awards for its views its kept me happy for many years on a basic alt az mount with slow motion controls that have worn out to the point they need replacing. 

You maybe confused here i mentioned i wanted a mount, not a scope, that is true. 

I cant carry heavy mounts so eq out of the question.

I need a mount i can use for terestrial viewing 

i need to have a mount so can use for timelapse 

a mount that can support no more than a 5 inch scope for viewing the night sky

long exposures of no more than 1 minute at night to capture milky way constalations and maybe some brighter DSO using my dslr rather than prime focus. Prime focus would be for planets, moon and sun. 

The cost of the 4se and its mount is only 500 euros. compared to 600 euros just for the se1 mount and i am sure its the same, also if i decided to upgrade to the 5se in the future it still works out 50 euro euros cheaper that buying the 5se now,

But my thing i need is portability its even needed to fit to hand luggage to a plane with all my photography lenses etc. 

I know theres a wedge on here and it most likely is no good as thats all i have seen on the net bad reviews from it for photography needs, but is this because most people expect to much or are advanced users that live for nothing less than a eq? in a way i am quite determand to prove it is possible to make some use from this mount. 

I will need to get a L bracket for hooking dslr up to it and would like to attach my f5 to it aswell be nice to have a goto for the reason of showing friends and family without needing to adjust every few seconds sometime when i have shown people i get maybe 1 or 2 objects shown in about an hour and people end up really bored so goto could be a huge plus for this i know theres very little i can see with a 4 inch. this would be for quick grab and go. I do visit local observitory for views there.

So really being on a budget of under 800 euros and needing ease of use daytime use of a mount aswell as night time i couldnt find much else in the way of my requirements. if anyone has anything to add to this would be most welcomed as the wife has gone insane with me talking about mounts for the past year, and yes it really has been almost a year been looking into getting a new mount. 

Thanks.

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Hi and welcome to SGL.

I'm sure someone with experience will gladly give you plenty of advice on what is available. I bet your wife will be very relieved when you finally get the upgrade.  :smiley:

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Thanks, enjoyed reading this site over last few months so think it will be nice becoming part of a community like this where i can yap away about something that excites me rather than trying to explain it to the wife, shes told me for years find someone to do photography / astronomy with.

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Hi and a warm welcome to SGL from another photographer turned Astro Photographer.

Well, unfortunately I'm a member of the EQ club so I can't advise on any other mount, but I think someone on here will be able to help.

Happy Stargazing and enjoy your Astro journey. 

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Hi and a warm welcome to SGL from another photographer turned Astro Photographer.

Well, unfortunately I'm a member of the EQ club so I can't advise on any other mount, but I think someone on here will be able to help.

Happy Stargazing and enjoy your Astro journey. 

Hi and thanks, there is a couple of eq mounts that took my interest but not sure if there really much better than just having a alt az especially the ease of visual use with a alt az mount.

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4949_EQ2-Astrofoto---Travel-platform-for-astro-imaging-with-cameras-and-small-telescope.html

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p6597_EQ3-Astrofoto---Travel-mount-for-astro-imaging-with-telephoto-lenses-and-small-tel.html

If the moving around with it wasnt so much of a problem the choice would have been eq5. and would prefer so have a mount that can keep in the car whip out in a moments notice to take pictures of a scenery or night sky. 

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The problem is, that if you want to do exposure of any longer than 5-10 Seconds (depending on your latitude) without star trails, you will have to have an EQ Mount With Polar Scope (to polar align) and acurate tracking motors.

So the EQ3 with tracking motors and polar scope you linked in your last post is the absolute minimum really to get anything up to 1min exposures (and it won´t be easy and very very challenging). But definitely not with an SCT Scope! As their focal length is too long.

PS. Have you seen this one:

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p3938_Skywatcher-Explorer-150PDS-on-EQ3-Synscan-GoTo---Telescope.html

It´s right within Your budget and a much better choice than the SCT.

If you give Teleskop-Service a call, I am pretty sure they can make a better priced package with that same Mount, but with the 130PDS instead of the 150PDS. Leaving some budget room to buy the coma corrector and adapter(s) for your DSLR.

The weight difference of the EQ5 isn´t really that big as you think, but you gain a more stable mount in Return, as the square alu tripod that comes with the cheap mounts are Rubbish really.

People do amazing photography at the moment With this Scope (Skywatcher 130PDS):

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/210593-imaging-with-the-130pds/

Ofcourse most of the long exposure pictures (1min+ ) require guiding. So keep that in mind.

Edited by GuillermoBarrancos

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I would forget about the mount for use as a 60 sec imaging platform in eq mode, yes it has a wedge but I found that in practice it is almost impossible to get a decent polar alignment. It may be possible on a more permanent pier set up but doesn't that defeat the object of a portable scope? There isn't one piece of equipment that serves all your need but there may be a few bits that may give a an adequate work round for you

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-allview-mount.html

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-102-ota.html

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p416_Skywatcher-German-equatorial-mount-EQ1-with-tabletop-tripod.html

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p397_Skywatcher-Quartz-controlled-single-axis-tracking-motor-for-EQ-1.html

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p419_Adapter-with-1-4--photo-thread-for-the-EQ1-mount.html

The eq1 will not give professional pics but it will with a bit of skill and luck give better and easier wide field shots than the 4se mounts

The allview mount should take care of most of your daytime photographic needs and give you a goto visual platform for a small scope at night. It should be ok for planetary imaging as well.

the skymax 102 is essentially the same ota as the 4se's mak

edit 

forgot to say the the eq1 if you take off its legs will fit on a standard photo 3/8 fitting tripod

Edited by rowan46
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I have used the Eq5 a few times for astrophotography and love it but the problem really is the weight I sometimes need to walk about 1 to 2 km with the equipment, I wasnt really looking for a telescope just a mount just the se4 happens to be a lot cheaper than buying the mount on its own. and already have a f5 scope so fast newt isnt really what i would upgrade to if i would make a upgrade would be a small mak for views of moon and planets.

Most of the photography i will do will be done with a dslr and its own lenses, I get about 25 second exposures with almost pinpoint stars just on a normal tripod at about 45mm. When photographing the moon and sun. or taking video the goto would be handy as when focusing my 300mm camera lens its quite annoying to keep moving mount focus a little then test a shot then turn the mount. 

I know im asking a bit much with a little budget and my needs and im not asking for a amazing mount as i can use a eq5 sometimes for more serious imaging but i do want something i can drag around with me.

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5690_Skywatcher-Allview-Computerised-Mount-for-Astronomy--Terestrial--Timelapse.html

things like this has also interested me but its like same price as 4se where i get a 4inch mak that could actually used for planets and moon. I see why i drive the wife mad just cant seem to find that mount that calls my name

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I have used the Eq5 a few times for astrophotography and love it but the problem really is the weight I sometimes need to walk about 1 to 2 km with the equipment, I wasnt really looking for a telescope just a mount just the se4 happens to be a lot cheaper than buying the mount on its own. and already have a f5 scope so fast newt isnt really what i would upgrade to if i would make a upgrade would be a small mak for views of moon and planets.

Most of the photography i will do will be done with a dslr and its own lenses, I get about 25 second exposures with almost pinpoint stars just on a normal tripod at about 45mm. When photographing the moon and sun. or taking video the goto would be handy as when focusing my 300mm camera lens its quite annoying to keep moving mount focus a little then test a shot then turn the mount. 

I know im asking a bit much with a little budget and my needs and im not asking for a amazing mount as i can use a eq5 sometimes for more serious imaging but i do want something i can drag around with me.

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5690_Skywatcher-Allview-Computerised-Mount-for-Astronomy--Terestrial--Timelapse.html

things like this has also interested me but its like same price as 4se where i get a 4inch mak that could actually used for planets and moon. I see why i drive the wife mad just cant seem to find that mount that calls my name

Fair enough but the  4se can't do the job you are asking of it it will not produce 1 minute exposures using its tripod wedge. If you can get 40 sec exposures with just a tripod then you will not better it by much with the 4se. I used to have a nexstar5 on wedge and though i grant you are probably a better photographer than I am  I really doubt you will have the patience to get that mount aligned  accurately and if you can'y do it fairly accurately there's no point doing it at all for astrophotograhy. the stars are round or there not  nearly is not good enough for most photographers its like having a photo that is nearly in focus

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I would forget about the mount for use as a 60 sec imaging platform in eq mode, yes it has a wedge but I found that in practice it is almost impossible to get a decent polar alignment. It may be possible on a more permanent pier set up but doesn't that defeat the object of a portable scope? There isn't one piece of equipment that serves all your need but there may be a few bits that may give a an adequate work round for you

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-allview-mount.html

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-102-ota.html

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p416_Skywatcher-German-equatorial-mount-EQ1-with-tabletop-tripod.html

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p397_Skywatcher-Quartz-controlled-single-axis-tracking-motor-for-EQ-1.html

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p419_Adapter-with-1-4--photo-thread-for-the-EQ1-mount.html

The eq1 will not give professional pics but it will with a bit of skill and luck give better and easier wide field shots than the 4se mounts

The allview mount should take care of most of your daytime photographic needs and give you a goto visual platform for a small scope at night. It should be ok for planetary imaging as well.

the skymax 102 is essentially the same ota as the 4se's mak

edit 

forgot to say the the eq1 if you take off its legs will fit on a standard photo 3/8 fitting tripod

There was also the merlin skywatcher mount that could be possible to serve as a timelapse mount and also has the go to for the night time imaging. i actually had my eye on the 127 skywatcher mak for quite some time for planetary use, i have enjoyed my purchases of skywatcher in the past.

The astrotrak took my eye a while ago but have spoke to a couple of people who have owned this and found its quite annoying to keep polar aligned thats why i thought if i went for the se4 atleast i know i cant expect it to work well to begin with :)  

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4949_EQ2-Astrofoto---Travel-platform-for-astro-imaging-with-cameras-and-small-telescope.html could this work any better than the eq1? i wont be using the tripod will pop it onto my spare camera mount as its a bit more stable i already have this alu mount and its fine to use if its not extended but found my photography mount is a little more stable

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If your imaging is going to be done with a DSLR/lens and you're after portability, get an Astrotrac.

Get something else to mount your telescope on for visual use.

I'm afraid getting one setup to do all things is like looking for a cheap sportscar convertable that will carry 7 passengers and luggage plus tow a horsebox and return 50mpg. You might be able to get something that nearly fits the bill (AMG E class or AUDI RS6 Avant) but they're not cheap (and forget the mpg)!

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I have used the Eq5 a few times for astrophotography and love it but the problem really is the weight I sometimes need to walk about 1 to 2 km with the equipment, I wasnt really looking for a telescope just a mount just the se4 happens to be a lot cheaper than buying the mount on its own. and already have a f5 scope so fast newt isnt really what i would upgrade to if i would make a upgrade would be a small mak for views of moon and planets.

Most of the photography i will do will be done with a dslr and its own lenses, I get about 25 second exposures with almost pinpoint stars just on a normal tripod at about 45mm. When photographing the moon and sun. or taking video the goto would be handy as when focusing my 300mm camera lens its quite annoying to keep moving mount focus a little then test a shot then turn the mount.

I know im asking a bit much with a little budget and my needs and im not asking for a amazing mount as i can use a eq5 sometimes for more serious imaging but i do want something i can drag around with me.

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5690_Skywatcher-Allview-Computerised-Mount-for-Astronomy--Terestrial--Timelapse.html

things like this has also interested me but its like same price as 4se where i get a 4inch mak that could actually used for planets and moon. I see why i drive the wife mad just cant seem to find that mount that calls my name

Ok sorry I didn't understand you already had the EQ5.

The mount you linked in the end would have been my next recomendation option, but you already found it! :)

The 4se SCT or Mak is great for planetary work. And that's that.

So if you want a dedicated planetary setup at a cheap price then the 127 mak or 4inch SCT with SE mount is the way to go.

But if you want to do stuff with your DSLR, it's best to go for the mount you linked in the end.

Or pick up a secondhand AstroTrac.

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Ok sorry I didn't understand you already had the EQ5.

The mount you linked in the end would have been my next recomendation option, but you already found it! :)

The 4se SCT or Mak is great for planetary work. And that's that.

So if you want a dedicated planetary setup at a cheap price then the 127 mak or 4inch SCT with SE mount is the way to go.

But if you want to do stuff with your DSLR, it's best to go for the mount you linked in the end.

Or pick up a secondhand AstroTrac.

i dont actually own eq5 but can borrow one sometimes to use for much better images, i would love my own one but really i wouldnt use it if had to carry it.

I was just after a quick throw in the car mount to dabble a little that required little effort to carry to my viewing place and to have basic goto controls or tracking is great to make things easier for showing people or getting some basic images.  when i image sunspots a video does fine same for moon and thats why i didnt think eq was needed i would atleast attempt other things that are brighter and easier to image to play with but i understand things wont be perfect

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13090524724_acd9d9222e_b.jpg

Here was a image from the other night this night really was the night that made me want to push to get some auto tracking, It was really cold and winds was gusting 42km/s. i know i shouldnt have even been out but it was first clear night for weeks i managed to get a image that wasnt blurred but was fighting with the conditions trying to keep moon in the view of camera and also making sure focuses test shots, would have been really nice to have some basic tracking to at least hold the moon in the view finder long enough to take a few pictures i then every time adjusted mount went to far and was quite annoying even a button to tap to manually keep a image in view finder would have done.

I know i am asking for a lot but really just after something basic to play with. 

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I have been a portable astronomer since I first got a scope and also not a lot of money to throw at the hobby. Like you i read the blurb and believed the blurb that celestron wrote about the se wedge. it should work in theory but in practice it doesn't. it's almost impossible to get polar alignment with it there is no polar scope no fine adjust an the azimuth axis so you have to pick up the mount and plonk it down then because the ground is never level you have to readjust the legs then because you have to readjust the legs you have to do the alignment again, then because you have to realign you have to readjust the legs ad nauseum. the wedge will work in a permanent setup I imagine but in the field its a right pita. The se works very well in alt az for observing and planetary imaging but there is no way of making it a decent mount in the field for long exposure. the eq1 however does give ok wide field images (see Steppenwolf and Themos) so for wide field using lenses I would use the astrotrac, vixen polarie. ioptron skytracker, fornax, or at a pinch eq1 tabletop which is relatively cheap. skywatcher have a wide field mount coming out later this year but it will probably be priced around the vixen polarie price point. The all view will give you time lapse capability, panaramic tracking. t and alt az goto and tracking its much more portable than an se mount and will take a small scope for planetary imaging or viewing.

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I guess if thats the case then maybe something simple like these then

the all view seemed much better than this merlin but it had the downside of having all the shutter cables and timers that i already have, and i am Nikon also so maybe seems a waste for not using the features.im sure this mount is just as bad and might not get much from it but if i can just get atleast 30 to 45 sec exposures to stack of milky way and constalations then daytime uses for this will be fine, and it has goto so can use that if showing people things

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4068_Skywatcher-Merlin-SynScan-AZ-Goto-TableTop-Alt-Azimut-Mount.html

this one interesting as light weight but guess not so good for day time use but its a thought.

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5578_iOptron-SmartEQ-GoTo-Mount-with-Tripod---telescopes-to-5kg.html

So hard to choose with so many options and so many opinions.

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the ioptron is getting better reviews now and with the guiding enabled should do some decent length subs but as you say no good for daytime the merlin can't do long exposures because of it being alt az you need an eq mount for longer exposures than you are using now a tracking mount wont make any difference as its the field rotation that's the problem not necessarily the tracking.

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Thats where down side comes as got endless summers soon where only things to image are sun and moon so not having a mount for day time  a little bad. Maybe i just need to keep the two hobbies apart. Or maybe risk taking the se mount and trying to make the wedge work enough to atleast get the basic things looking ok. and if it fails its 500 euros spent which end up with a mak and a day time mount and easy to view night sky when showing people so maybe not entirely a loss. and the eq1 was pointed out so that could work for the wide angle photography. 

Do you know a good place to find reviews on the ioptron? been struggling to find much on it and most is bad :)

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Thanks, also was looking at the nexstar images with alt az mount quite nice though looks like some hard work went into the images, go me thinking without a wedge and a 102/500mm f5 scope what could the longest image i could get before significant rotation? 15 - 20 seconds? or maybe slightly more? as saw they were using 10 to 20 seconds f6.3 and about 30 minutes of them so a lot of work for its worth but these are DSO. What I was after was just constalations, moon, sun, milkyway, auroa. 

Most images will be taken wide angle less than 50mm.

Just a thought as could just take a cheap and alt az like the merlin or something like this http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p3570_Skywatcher-Skymax-127-SynScan-GoTo-Maksutov-127-1500mm.html

i then get a mak for my planet viewing, i get a alt az for day viewing and i get a goto for holding the moon and things in view, then could add something like the eq1 with motors for a bit longer imaging. and still could all be very portable. 

But dont know starting to think would be quite useless and might as well just borrow the eq5 when it is possible to use it.

thanks for the tips

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the 127 skymax is a popular scope for planetary observers it needs a bit of cooldown as do all maks but it has enough apparture to be really useful from dark sites on dso visual and can be used for imaging planets and the moon (webcam is best ) still doesn't solve your rotation problems for dso imaging only an eq mount will do that but it is a better scope than the 4se its  a little bit lighter too. don't forget  for go to mounts you will need to factor power into the equation these things eat batteries and tend to get a bit flaky when the power drops for this reason most use a power pack or leisure battery in the field and these can be heavy.

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yer not forgot about the power budget was around 800 and thinking mount area 500-600 plus 200-300 to solve other issues like power and accesories like L brackets and dove tail for other telescope here etc. Maybe i could be insane enough to attempt brighter objects i am really not expecting much as its more for fun and a learning curve for when i get to use the eq5 i can take knowledge to that. as im guessing the handheld device is same for all the skywatcher series just about?

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Just had a look locally and theres actually the skywatcher 127 and mount with power supply on the secondhand market, if its in good condition maybe could be a offer that should take and then if it really dont work for me resale cant be much of a loss compared to buying new.

Is there anything apart from the obvious issues should listen look out for for a used piece?

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