davyludo Posted February 27, 2018 Share Posted February 27, 2018 (edited) I have both the AZ5 (with tripod) and the AZ4 (steel tripod). I love the AZ4 for stability, although when I moved to the 127 Mak, I found the stiction a bit of an issue at higher mags (just took some of the enjoyment out of it for me). I got the AZ5 and love the head, but hate the tripod - it really isn't that great, especially when extended. I did an experiment with damping times using the AZ5 with various tripod setups. Using the standard tripod, fully extended, damping time was something ridiculous like 7-8 seconds. With the legs collapsed it's something like 3 seconds to dampen down from a tap/knock/refocus. However....stick the AZ5 head on the 1.75" steel tripod and vibrations start to vanish within 1 or 2 seconds, with both my ST102 and Mak 127. I don't think the AZ5 would have any issues carrying an ST120. The movement of the AZ5 head is very smooth and is less prone to balancing and stiction issues than the AZ4. I find that my ST102 on the AZ4 can be annoying to use sometimes - the short tube doesn't get a decent balance point (without modifying the dovetail or adding weight to the front end): this means that the alt clutch has to be done quite tight to stop slippage....and then I find stiction is more of an issue. Takes some time to find the sweet spot. I don't feel I have either of these issues with the AZ5. The AZ5 with the steel 1.75" legs is a perfect combo for me - still light enough to move around fairly easily, quick to setup, solid and smooth movement. I'm really not a fan of the standard tripod that came with the AZ5 - I do still have it and it does get used sometimes when I'm wanting something light to carry for a short distance, however the legs never get extended and I have to sit on the ground or use a tiny stool. My AZ3 has sat in a corner, gathering dust since I got the AZ5....along with the standard AZ5 tripod. I've now picked up a set of aluminium legs for the AZ4, purely so I can have the ST102 and Mak 127 setup side by side. But if just using one scope....the AZ5 and steel legs are my first choice. In my personal opinion (with limited experience with other equiment/brands) the problem with the AZ5 is purely the choice of tripod that Skywatcher have chosen to pair it with. The mount head is very capable (expecially for shorter scopes) but the tripod really lets it down. If you're prepared to use either the 1.75" steel tripod, or even the aluminium one that comes with an AZ4/EQ3-2 then I would think you'll have a much better experience with the AZ5. If I could go back....I would just buy the AZ5 head and pick my own tripod....save myself some money. Good luck! Edited February 27, 2018 by davyludo 4 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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