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Skywatcher EQM-35 Pro or iOptron GEM28


AndyNotts
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After 9 long months of supply issues the EQM-35 Pro I ordered is finally in stock. After waiting many months I also reserved an iOptron GEM28 which came in stock at the same time. Any suggestions on which would be better for a beginner astrophotographer?

Will be using a Skywatcher 130PDS scope, Canon DLSR, guide scope and ZWO camera. Planning to control it from a Raspberry Pi with Astroberry. 

Researching about both it seems the EQM-35 Pro is the more popular, but I can't tell if that's because it is more established or just better as a mount. Knowing very little about astrophotography I think there may be more life in the GEM28 with the higher payload but is the 2kg difference really something I would notice?

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I'm also looking at the EQM-35 Pro as a GOTO mount for astrophotography. I'm also a beginner and I've done a lot of research into various mounts, such as the Star Adventurer through to the HEQ5. There are some good reviews on YouTube for all these mounts, but at the moment I'm leaning towards the EQM-35 Pro, based on cost and capabilities for a beginner in astrophotography. 

It'll be good to see what advice you get on this question.   

Edited by Steve143
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On 27/10/2021 at 15:11, AndyNotts said:

After 9 long months of supply issues the EQM-35 Pro I ordered is finally in stock. After waiting many months I also reserved an iOptron GEM28 which came in stock at the same time. Any suggestions on which would be better for a beginner astrophotographer?

Will be using a Skywatcher 130PDS scope, Canon DLSR, guide scope and ZWO camera. Planning to control it from a Raspberry Pi with Astroberry. 

Researching about both it seems the EQM-35 Pro is the more popular, but I can't tell if that's because it is more established or just better as a mount. Knowing very little about astrophotography I think there may be more life in the GEM28 with the higher payload but is the 2kg difference really something I would notice?

I haven’t used either mount but the GEM28 is considered in the HEQ5 class of mounts which is a step above the EQM-35. The GEM28 has guaranteed PE of <+\-10 arc second and has higher payload. That’s reflected in the price though so as long as that is not an issue then it would be the GEM28 for me and I’d pay the extra £90 for iPolar which would be well worth the investment. 

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I have a EQM-35 Pro.  I originally wanted a Star Adventurer but nobody had any stock and I picked the EQM 35 up second hand.  I'm glad I've got goto capability and with plate solving finding targets is great.  However the guiding results are variable, 1.94" RMS (0.5px) for the last session.  Unguided I can get two minutes exposures and guided three.  Probably being conservative there, or possibly not being critical enough.  I've tried to tune but I'm rubbish at that sort of thing.  Its moving more smoothly now but every so often I get big jumps (in the guiding graph), especially in Dec.  I decided to get somebody to do some tuning so I'll see what that produces.

I'm new to all this really so don't claim to have solid answers.  The GEM28 seems to have bearings for the axis rather than the sliding surfaces the EQM35 has.  Just for that reason I'd be tempted by it if I were buying new now.

 

 

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10 hours ago, AndyNotts said:

So I’ve gone for the GEM28 with iPolar, naturally it’s been raining since then. I think the EQM35 would have been a safer choice but I figured I’d take the chance.

I think the GEM 28 with ipolar is a much better mount from the off. Assuming you don't fall foul of iOptrons QA/QC it should outperform the EMQ35, which is a very basic plain bearing mount of some variability in quality

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GEM28 is a class above EQM35. It is more like HEQ5 . I use to have HEQ5 and I have GEM28 now. IMHO , GEM28 is more modern, lighter and equally or better performing than even HEQ5 (this is valid for particular mounts that I have/had , do not want to generalize) The only advantage of HEQ5 is a bit more of payload.  

 

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