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Skywatcher AZEQ6-GT or EQ8?

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I'm researching a major upgrade to my set up, including a new mount in the observatory this autumn.

The new set up planned (at the moment) would be  a new heavy duty equatorial mount carrying a Celestron 9.25 OTA on heavy duty dual mounting bar with my existing SW 80ED with a Revelation 66ED piggybacked on the 80ED on the other side of the dual mounting bar.

The Celestron will be used for double star observing; lunar and planetary observing/imaging; and CCD imaging (with a focal reducer).  The two refractors would be primarily used for CCD imaging (including narrowband imaging).  The maximum combined weight on the three scopes, dual bar and cameras and other stuff would be at most around 22kg.

I was all set to go for the new Skywatcher EQ6-GT mount.  I know that this is pushing the weight limit on the EQ6-GT, but several people have reported this mount significantly outperforming it's theoretical weight limit.

Now I'm thinking that perhaps I should spend the extra £1,000 and just plumb for an EQ8 and have no worries about payload weight ever again.  If I go for the EQ8, this would almost certainly be a once in a lifetime purchase.  I cannot envisage ever having the money to upgrade further.

So here is my question - Is getting an EQ8 a sensible option or would I be better off just sticking with my original plan of getting EQ6-GT?

Before anyone mentions it - no I could not in anyway contemplate spending any more that than the cost of an EQ8 on an alternative mount (Mesu, Avalon etc.).

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If you are sticking it an observatory and your DSO imaging is not going to include the C9.25, then I think you may get away with the AzEQ6. I stress the may aspect though. It handles my 20kg of 10" newt and imaging rig/bars easily, although wind is a big factor at the limits of what it can support. In your position, I would be more than a little tempted to EQ8 it, because then you are totally sorted and can chop and change scopes etc, as opposed to being afraid to touch the AzEQ6 and its over-payload once all set up and the ability to sleep at night and concentrate on work during the day knowing it is not overloaded.

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Hi Michael!

+1 on EQ8

Being just back from an astrotrip, 
where i saw an Officina Stellare Pro RC 400 (40kg/88lbs) plus STL11k (2kg) and various other things for a whooping 49kg load guiding perfectly at 3.2m focal length on an EQ8,
i would say its a rather capable mount.
Spending the extra 1k will future proof you from further spending (and loosing money in the process ) when and if you want to upgrade the AZEQ6 :)

Clear skies

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