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    Default Mount and tracker questions



    Hello,

    I'm new to astrophotography or, rather, still in a beginner level. I want to buy a star tracker and step up a notch. Because I'm in a beginner level and, specially, because I live in the middle of a big city and don't have the opportunity to go to less light polluted areas that often, I'd like to go for something that's affordable and portable while delivering a fairly good performance.

    After reading a lot and watching many videos, I kind of decided to go for the Skywatcher Star Adventurer bundle pack:
    https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky...my-bundle.html

    But I have a few doubts still:

    - is this a good mount+tracker for a beginner?

    - is the maximum exposure time only limited by how well the polar alignment is done or is there any limitation on the tracker? The Mini version allows the exposure time to be defined on the app, how is that done on the bigger version?

    - would the Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mini be a better choice? I know the maximum weight supported is less than the non-Mini version, but the Wifi+app option looks quite handy (the size and weight of the bigger version is not something that bothers me)

    Any help would be appreciated

    Thanks,
    Paulo

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mount and tracker questions

    I do not know the differences between the versions, but your exposure time will be limited by your polar alignment and the focal length you are imaging at (the longer focal length the shorter your exposure time). You also will be limited to a DSLR only, to add an imaging scope you will need a GEM.
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    Default Re: Mount and tracker questions

    I thought the Skywatcher Star Adventurer was a GEM. That's what's said right in the beginning of this video.

    I understand this is mainly to be used with DSLR cameras, that's what I have right now. But I think I've seen this used with small telescopes too.

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    Default Re: Mount and tracker questions

    It is a tracking head that approximates the tracking of a GEM, so once placed on a tripod and counter balanced, it could be called that. But it is not a true GEM. It has a capacity of 11 pounds that would work for visual work, about 6 pounds for AP. When you add the weight of a small scope to the weight of a DSLR, you are pushing the limits of the mount, the number of unusable exposures goes up and the exposure time goes down. Good work can still be done, but the effort and time involved increases dramatically. If you plan to add a scope in the future, I would skip this device and look at an AVX (preferably) or at least a CG4 and single axis drive.
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    Default Re: Mount and tracker questions

    Paulo,

    The video you posted is only commercial spin. This mount is only for use with a DSLR and wide field photography. It is not designed to take a telescope and a camera together, no matter what the spin says - it is not rigid enough to deal with the various flex issues that a bulky telescope/camera combination will impose on the mount. Being rated at 5kg, for photo purposes you cannot load it to this amount as flexure becomes a problem. The load capacity alone tells you that this mount is only for a camera/lens combination.

    This following video link is a better indication of what the mount is capable of. It makes use only of a Nikon DSLR and lens, and shows that both camera and mount make for a good combination. Note also that the objects that have been photographed are all relatively large objects. It is not a mount suited to very long focal lengths that will magnify objects more. For more magnification you will require a telescope, and the mount needs to be much more sturdy as Ozman says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4n1pTve-CI

    Also, don't let the Wifi feature of the smaller mount convince you. It is hiding the fact that it is a smaller mount, and a smaller mount means a less capable mount - no two ways around it.

    If you are happy to just use a camera for your astrophotography (with a camera lens of course), this mount is fine. If you want to use a telescope with it, I would suggest you look for something more sturdy.

    Alex.
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    Default Re: Mount and tracker questions

    Thank you guys for your replies, that was really helpful

    mental4astro, that's exactly what I'm going for. The reason I was (am) considering this mount is because:

    - I'm still a beginner, therefore I don't want to throw a lot of money into the hobby not knowing if I'll be fully able to take advantage of what I buy;
    - I only have a DSLR camera with a pair of lenses (a Samyang 12mm f/2.0 for wide angle shots and a Nikon 80-200 f/4.5 for some "deep sky" shots);
    - I need to do a bit of traveling to be able to run away from light pollution so I need something that's portable and quick to setup.

    Considering affordability, portability and ease of use, this seems like a good option that will allow me to up my level.

    Thanks!
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    Default Re: Mount and tracker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by prl View Post
    The reason I was (am) considering this mount is because:

    - I'm still a beginner, therefore I don't want to throw a lot of money into the hobby not knowing if I'll be fully able to take advantage of what I buy;
    - I only have a DSLR camera with a pair of lenses (a Samyang 12mm f/2.0 for wide angle shots and a Nikon 80-200 f/4.5 for some "deep sky" shots);
    - I need to do a bit of traveling to be able to run away from light pollution so I need something that's portable and quick to setup.
    For your purposes, it will work great. It will only pose problems if you want to expand. You will start to see issues going from 200-300mm focal length with a DSLR lens. The issues will become significant if you add a scope to go beyond 300mm with the added weight and length. But for beginning and keeping the length and weight MODEST, you can do some really nice work.
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    Default Re: Mount and tracker questions

    I have this mount and it is great for visual. I have done AP for Solar System objects (Moon & planets & Sun). But that is it. It is not suitable at all for deep sky. The ount is fantastic if you want to mount a camera on it to take wide field images.
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    Default Re: Mount and tracker questions

    I'd pass on the Skywatcher version of this type of mount and go with the iOptron Skyguider pro. After trying the Skywatcher version I was not happy with it's overall construction quality and was amazed at just how many plastic parts it had. The fit of the plastic was not good. It simply looked and felt cheap in my hands. I returned it and bought iOptron's offering and from the moment I held it in my hands could feel the difference in quality. I'm not just being brand loyal either for the funny thing is I sold my ZEQ25GT in order to buy a Synta made Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G mount to which I've been extremely happy with for over 2 years now. I simply go with whomever has the best overall quality product and the iOptron Skyguider Pro for me is it. I'm not surprised at the sale price here. They are not selling as well as iOptron's take now that they have both been out for awhile. I'd give it a go before you commit to one.

    As for ease of use I can tell you that with a wide angle lens at 17mm or so it's really easy. After the lateral adjustment is made for your area a simple pointing is all that is needed. I use a compass and my true North. Takes 2 minutes. I can easily get 5 minute exposures with no trailing at all. The Ioptron will hold 11 lbs minus counterweight for viewing or imaging. More than enough for a nice small refractor or a prime lens and DSLR camera. At focal lengths of 200-300mm a well defined polar alignment will be needed yes and I'm happy to say with the lit polar scope it's quite easy to do. You should be able to get at least 1-2 minutes. I have with a 200mm prime lens. More examples as the weather cooperates.

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    Default Re: Mount and tracker questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Leveye View Post
    I'd pass on the Skywatcher version of this type of mount and go with the iOptron Skyguider pro. After trying the Skywatcher version I was not happy with it's overall construction quality and was amazed at just how many plastic parts it had. The fit of the plastic was not good. It simply looked and felt cheap in my hands. I returned it and bought iOptron's offering and from the moment I held it in my hands could feel the difference in quality. I'm not just being brand loyal either for the funny thing is I sold my ZEQ25GT in order to buy a Synta made Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G mount to which I've been extremely happy with for over 2 years now. I simply go with whomever has the best overall quality product and the iOptron Skyguider Pro for me is it. I'm not surprised at the sale price here. They are not selling as well as iOptron's take now that they have both been out for awhile. I'd give it a go before you commit to one.

    As for ease of use I can tell you that with a wide angle lens at 17mm or so it's really easy. After the lateral adjustment is made for your area a simple pointing is all that is needed. I use a compass and my true North. Takes 2 minutes. I can easily get 5 minute exposures with no trailing at all. The Ioptron will hold 11 lbs minus counterweight for viewing or imaging. More than enough for a nice small refractor or a prime lens and DSLR camera. At focal lengths of 200-300mm a well defined polar alignment will be needed yes and I'm happy to say with the lit polar scope it's quite easy to do. You should be able to get at least 1-2 minutes. I have with a 200mm prime lens. More examples as the weather cooperates.
    Thanks for your reply. I'll take a better look into the iOptron Skyguider Pro. Is the difference between both mounts (iOptron Skyguider Pro and Skywatcher Star Adventurer) just a matter of build quality or is the performance different also? I don't mind going for a higher price if that means more performance (as long as I stay in the "beginner tier" for now). From what I understand none of the mounts will be suited for more than a DSLR camera with a zoom lens, right?

    Just another question regarding the iOptron that I can't seem to find an answer for: my camera is limited to max exposure times of 30 seconds. I saw that the Skywatcher Star Adventurer has an option of connecting a shutter release cable to the camera which will allow exposure times of 100 seconds (max right?). Does it work the same way with iOptron? I have a Fuji X-T10 camera.

    Thanks

 

 
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