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oldannie

Will this set up work for a beginner?

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Hi Annie,  I am glad you are leaning towards a proper imaging EQ mount now especially as you are keen to do some DS imaging.  In my opinion the HEQ5 is not particularly heavy, but then I did used to lug an NEQ6 to camp every time, so I guess it's a comparison in my case.  

Previously I used to own a CG5 GT which is slightly cheaper and slightly lighter.  It served me well for a long time, but it has 3 disadvantages in my opinion:

1.  It is very noisy and I got to the point where I was worried about waking the neighbours in the early hours.

2.  It does not have a lit reticule and this makes polar alignment more difficult.

3.  It is not compatible with EQMod which is a great software for controlling your mount via the laptop (which means you can control it indoors).  

I am not sure whether they still sell them new now anyway.  

The HEQ5 is a great mount, I don't think it is too heavy.

Like you I am not too technical, and I don't fiddle with anything beyond balancing the axes (sliding the weights up and down, or the scopes and cameras so everything balances), and try to get polar alignment as accurate as possible.

You don't have to use EQMod, you can manage with the handset if you prefer. 

HTH

Carole 

Edited by carastro
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Hi Annie

The Heq5 Synscan has a handset which allows you to do lots of things independent of a computer. The syntrek does away with the handset but allows you to connect to a computer via a cable (that you have to buy separately) and you rely on software control. You can still do that with the Synscan but it's more expensive to start with. An alternative mount is the Celestron Advanced VX. I just got one but haven't actually even powered it up yet! The AVX has better adjusters for altitude and azimuth (the bolts on the Skywatchers are a notorious weak point). It also comes with a handset and Celestron support things like ASPA - all star polar alignment. I'm not sure what facilities the Synscan handset has.

Louise

Edited by Thalestris24

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The Celestron is quite tempting Louise - it will be interesting to hear how you get on with. I was initially thinking about a mount, scope and camera but have now moved on to thinking about just getting the best mount I can afford and cope with.  Am beginning to feel quite fickle as am now looking at the Losmandy Gm8 mount - it gets good reviews, looks to be nicely engineered, is okay weightwise for me to readily manage on my own and it's marketed as something suitable for beginners and the more experienced.  The Gemini GoTo system is a tad expensive if I decide I want it but I could afford it so why not?

Annie

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It's also been suggested that I look at the iOptron CEM60 - think I'll just go and sit in a dark room for a while!

Annie

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The CEM60 is by all accounts a very good Mount, i would think it could be classed as a upgrade from a HEQ5/NEQ6 so if its affordable get one.....

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The Celestron is quite tempting Louise - it will be interesting to hear how you get on with. I was initially thinking about a mount, scope and camera but have now moved on to thinking about just getting the best mount I can afford and cope with.  Am beginning to feel quite fickle as am now looking at the Losmandy Gm8 mount - it gets good reviews, looks to be nicely engineered, is okay weightwise for me to readily manage on my own and it's marketed as something suitable for beginners and the more experienced.  The Gemini GoTo system is a tad expensive if I decide I want it but I could afford it so why not?

Annie

Hi Annie

I'm not sure how well Losmandy mounts are supported in the UK or on this forum - something to bear in mind. Do check the total weights of mounts/tripods/weights you are looking at. Generally speaking, the more substantial and sturdy the mount is, the heavier it will be! If you have a local association, it might be worth going along to one of their stargazing meetings and  having a chat with some experienced users (who do AP). I'm just in the process of setting up my Advanced VX mount so not had first light with it yet. I only have my Canon 1100d mounted on it at the moment so it should cope with that ok! I have to say it's a struggle for me to lift it as a unit, though I'm not big and muscley!

It comes with a hand controller but I want to computer control it.

Louise

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I think that there is always confusion when looking at the Astrotrac vs Equatorial mount they are different things you could argue that the Astrotrac is a huge upgrade from a HEQ5 it has a bigger load capacity and is much more accurate unguided but at a cost which is fine if you want real portability without the baggage of a laptop/leisure battery/guide camera etc but does have its limitations and in a semi permanent setup the HEQ5 offers much greater flexibility.

Alan

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A very big thank you to everyone who patiently responded to my ramblings about which mount to buy. Am just about to order an HEQ5 Pro Synscan. Was tempted to go for the 6 but wanted something I could readily manage on my own and move in and out of the house. Am initially intending to just use my DSLR and various lenses to build up some know-how and confidence - then I can think about which scope.

Thanks again.

Annie

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Nobody's yet picked up on the choice of camera.

A "full-frame" DSLR has an image circle of 44 mm give or take a few tenths. To cover that from a telescope, even with a flattener or flattener reducer wil cost plenty, you may even end up in Tak FSQ territory. Also there is a lot more software to control Canon than Nikon. So a Canon 600D controlled from a laptop (Which can also control your mount) via Astrophotographer's Tool (Cut down version free, full version £11.50) may be the way to go.

The Skywatcher mounts can also be controlled from a planetarium program (I use Cartes du Ciel, free) via EQMOD (Also free).

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Thanks for that Dave - a modded Canon camera does seem a sensible way forward and when I come to choose a scope it's very likely that I will go down that road!

Cheers

Annie

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HEQ5 mount arrived and replacement upgrade bolts on their way - hope to be up and running soon!

Thanks all

Annie

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