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  1. #1
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    Default EQ2 or EQ3 Mounts for Astrophotography?



    Im just about ready to purchase my first scope. I have narrowed my choice to either skywather explorer 130 (with eq2) or possibly the explorer 150 (eq3). Both these models come with a motorized version for the same price although i have been informed tyhe 130M & 150M (motorized) versions are not as good as the parbolic non-motorized versions.

    I would like to eventual try astrophotograpy with a webcam such as the Phillips Toucam Pro and have several of questions:

    1. First are these scopes (and their mounts) suitable for astrophotograpy?
    2. Is a motorised mount essential with the webcam setup if the exposure time is only around 15seconds?

    If the motorised mount is require would the 130M be ok or would i be better getting the non motorised 130P version and them adding a motorized mount at a later stage? At the minute my budget wont extent to the 130P and a mount. Any help is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Vinnie's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi Steve,

    There is a lot more to these questions than you may think

    For imaging you need to appreciate that the mount is actually more important than the scope. It needs to be very solid, and those who are into imaging often pay a lot more for a mount than a scope. As far as the actual scope is concerned, you can image through almost anything although some scopes will be better than others (as long as the mount will hold the thing steady enough).

    I don't think that the EQ2 mount is suitable for any type of imaging with any scope using a fixed camera, and the EQ3 is borderline with a compact scope, like a small refractor or a Mak. It won't hold a 5" or 6" Newt steady enough.

    Motor drives are a big advantage, at least a single axis, even for visual use, but can be added later

    But don't despair. A lot of beginners start out with the idea of getting into imaging and there are some surprisingly good shots taken of the Moon and the larger Planets simply by holding a digital camera up to the eyepiece. Better you get a scope in your budget and get into some visual and an occasional snapshot this way than stay out of the hobby. Also if imaging is your goal, starting with a small GEM is a good idea just to learn how to use the thing, even if its not really suitable long term. You can always upgrade your mount at a later date, if you find that you really want to get into imaging. Given the scopes you are looking at you could upgrade to an EQ5 or CG5 or even better an HEQ5.

    As to the scopes themselves, I am not overly familiar with the current Skywatcher packages, options and specs in these but I can tell you this:

    SW makes two 130mm Newts that I know of:

    The 130 x 650 f/5 has a parabolic primary and would make a quite nice imaging optical tube especially as the fast f ratio allows short exposure times.

    The 130 x 900 f/7 I think has a spherical mirror (you might want to confirm this with your supplier) and if so is one to avoid as these can be a real pain to collimate.

    The 150 Newt is a 150 x 750 f/5 parabolic and again would make a nice all rounder for visual and imaging.

    Get a scope you can afford and get started, if you're really hooked on the hobby you'll spend the rest of your life upgrading and adding more scopes and mounts one way or another

    HTH

    Vin

  3. #3
    mixquick's Avatar
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    Default Not sure what mount I have

    Hi Vinnie,
    I bought this 8" Chinese Helios reflector telescope with what seems to be an EQ4 mount. Do you know about this mount? I also bought a clock drive for it but it does not seem to track very well it is a little slow.
    If you know anything about these Helios telescopes, I will appreciate any help, information or links you could provide,
    Regards,
    Mixquick

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mixquick View Post
    Hi Vinnie,
    I bought this 8" Chinese Helios reflector telescope with what seems to be an EQ4 mount. Do you know about this mount?
    Helios is the name that 'Sky-Watcher' used to trade under.
    I know a guy with a Helios 6" f/5 refractor - and it is basically a SkyWatcher 6" Startravel (f/5 refractor) with a different colour scheme.
    Helios = Sky-Watcher

    IIRC - the now defunct Helios EQ4 mount, is the same as the Celestron CG-4, and the SkyWatcher EQ3-2
    The Helios EQ3 and EQ4 were basically the same mount, except that the EQ3 could only accept motor-drive for the RA axis - the EQ4 could take drives for both RA and Dec.
    (Don't quote me on that though - memory on the subject is maybe 98%)

    The current SkyWatcher EQ3-2 - is an EQ3, which can accept drives for both RA and Dec (hence the extra "2" in the designation)
    Helios used to use the EQ-4 designation, to match up with the Celestron equivalent, which is called the CG-4

    A pic would help though - if you have one.
    Use of the EQ4 designation was a little erratic - if you're lucky, you may have a EQ5 equivalent.
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  5. #5
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    Default

    Hi Vinnie,

    Thank you for your reply. I have downloaded Celestron's EQ4 manual and it looks just like it. I am attaching a couple of photos of the mount (sorry for tha bad quality, taken with mobile phone).

    Thank you,
    Kevin
    [IMG]file:///C:/Users/Kevin/Pictures/IMAGE_034.jpg[/IMG]
    [IMG]file:///C:/Users/Kevin/Pictures/IMAGE_035.jpg[/IMG]

  6. #6
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    Default

    Hi Carlos.

    I have downloaded Celestron's EQ4 manual and it looks just like it. I am attaching a couple of photos of the mount (sorry for the bad quality, mobile phone and bad light).

    Thank you,
    Kevin
    [IMG]file:///C:/Users/Kevin/Pictures/IMAGE_034.jpg[/IMG]
    [IMG]file:///C:/Users/Kevin/Pictures/IMAGE_035.jpg[/IMG]

  7. #7
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    Default

    Sorry, I have now attached the photos.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
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    Default

    Hi Kevin,

    It looks very much like one of the Konus mounts, anyhow doesn't really matter a great deal as all these mounts in the EQ3/4/5 class are very similar in function And so a manual for any of these will be the useful to you

    This one is quite good

    http://www.skywatchertelescope.net/s...AL_EQ3and5.pdf

    Re the clock drive being slow....

    OK I can think of quite a few possibilities, apart from the obvious being the wrong, or a faulty motor

    Poor polar alignment

    Batteries low, or could be insufficient power. If you use rechargeables this sometimes causes drive problems as a rechargeable only takes 1.2v instead of 1.5v per cell

    Scope and Mount not balanced

    Engagement betwen the RA worm and crown wheel too tight

    RA worm shaft packing bush too tight

    By all means come back to us if you are unclear on any of this

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mixquick View Post
    Sorry, I have now attached the photos.
    Ah yes
    Even though it doesn't look 'quite' as chunky as the SW EQ3-2, or Celestron CG4 - it is in fact the same class of mount.
    It's the Helios (and as Vin pointed out - Konus) predecessor to the current SW and Celestron mounts.

    Vin...
    I've had problems with a RA drive in the past, due to using rechargeables instead of standard 'one-shot' batteries.
    I was baffled for weeks until I had one of those 'forehead-slap' moments, and the voltage difference suddenly dawned on me - LOL
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  10. #10
    Vinnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos_dfc View Post
    Ah yes
    Even though it doesn't look 'quite' as chunky as the SW EQ3-2, or Celestron CG4 - it is in fact the same class of mount.
    It's the Helios (and as Vin pointed out - Konus) predecessor to the current SW and Celestron mounts.

    Vin...
    I've had problems with a RA drive in the past, due to using rechargeables instead of standard 'one-shot' batteries.
    I was baffled for weeks until I had one of those 'forehead-slap' moments, and the voltage difference suddenly dawned on me - LOL
    Yeah Carlos,

    I've never actually heard of Helios before today, but probably because that brand was not sold here, even though the same thing with a different label was. Pretty common thing. I think Konus designated that mount as an EM10, maybe they thought that would help them compete with Tak - ROTFLMAO.

    But, hey, they're not a bad mount, after all they are still Vixen GP clones, just some of the earlier versions needed a bit of tweaking.

    re forehead slapping, yeah we all do miss the obvious sometimes. I should start a thread on "dumbest things you have done while observing"

    Something important that I did forget to add to the list above is The Black Death

    ie the grease that was used in some of these early Chinese mounts. Has about the colour and consistency of Stockholm Tar, and could easily cause a mount to track badly. I've cleaned and regreased many mounts because of this stuff.

 

 

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