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Last Christmas we bought a SW Startravel 102, hoping to use it as a grab & go. I have however, found the mount to be rather disappointing, with the Alt-axis in particular being too stiff to position accurately (unless using the slow-mo control). I'm therefore thinking of upgrading to either the AZ4 or AZ5, but not sure which would be best option.

The AZ4 doesn't look like it has any slow-mo controls, so how easy is it to locate & keep targets in the FOV?

On the plus side, the AZ4 has a steel tripod, but for £30 more, the AZ5 has slow-mo controls... however, it comes with a lightweight aluminum tripod, which on the one hand would be good for moving around, but probably not so good if I wanted to mount our SW 130dps?

Any advice from users of either mount would be much appreciated!

Cheers
Ivor

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Hi

I have the same Az3 mount and have the tension such that the telescope can be nudged in use like moving the heritage 130 on a dobsonian mount.

I also rigged a counter weight bar to use on the tripod so that higher altitude viewing works without telescope sag.

Your tripod head might just need some adjusting to achieve smooth movement

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An interesting one. The AZ4  with steel legged tripod, which is definitely worth having over the aluminium item) is quite a substantial mount. It does not have slomo controls so you have to nudge it or steer it manually. I found with a telescope that has some length or bulk to it (4" F9 refractor/ 6" f5 reflector) this is easy and not a problem. Lighter scopes need a more delicate touch. This is down to the AZ4s friction bearings suffering a lttle bit of "stiction". Its not a problem as such and with a minor strip down, cleaning and regreasing with a quality teflon based grease can be noteably improved.  All in all though the  az4s a good mount.

I've not used the AZ5 mount but it has had some good reviews and it has slomo controls. I do have another mount (Avant) with the same tripod and extension. It is much lighter than the AZ4 and I would not want to use it with the scopes mentioned above. That said it would probably work fine with the shorter 4"startravel. There is always the possibilty of upgrading to the steel legged tripod with the 3/8ths fitting if you want something better. The az5 tripod still makes a useful photo tripod. 

If you plan at some time  to get a larger scope like a 150p then I'd go for the az4. If you are happy to stay with the Startravel or smaller scopes then I'd go with az5.

Edited by Alfian
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Hi. Mu setup. Az 5 with sw stainless steel tripod, paired with a sw startravel 120. Yesterday night looking up at the zenith, cygnus. No vibration, smooth. Mind, you need a beberlach adapter to fit i to the tripod (not cheap ). If my experience helps you.

20201024_142815.jpg

Edited by Joaquin69
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I have the AZ5 and the mount itself is good - you can release the clutches to move across the sky quicky, and then use the slow motion controls to star-hop and track.

However, the lightweight tripod isn't great - it is light for grab and go, but isn't that steady on the wind or when focussing etc.  Planning on a Berlebach!

Here's a photo of it with my AR80S. 

20190102_162946.jpg

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Buy the Az5 head and extension only. Then add the steel tripod. The aluminium tripod is awful. You only need an adapter if you the Eq5 tripod. Just buy the 3/8 version.

Edited by Steve Clay
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I have had both and IMO the AZ5 is much more manageable. They were both mounted on the Skywatcher 3/8” stainless steel tripod which does not require an adapter and they were both very solid. The slow motion controls make the AZ5 much more user friendly.

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Thanks everybody - that's been a great help! Much appreciated.

As per @happy-kat's suggestion I've loosened the bolt a bit, so the Alt-axis moves a bit more freely, but I'll be getting an AZ5 with Steel tripod ASAP.

Cheers
Ivor

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10 minutes ago, Aramcheck said:

Thanks everybody - that's been a great help! Much appreciated.

As per @happy-kat's suggestion I've loosened the bolt a bit, so the Alt-axis moves a bit more freely, but I'll be getting an AZ5 with Steel tripod ASAP.

Cheers
Ivor

There's an AZ Pronto mount and tripod in the Classifieds that might suit? 

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