View Full Version here: : EQ6-R vs HEQ5

02-12-2017, 10:21 AM
I'm looking to start doing some astrophotography, and I'd like to get a decent setup which will last for some time. I've settled on a SkyWatcher Black Diamond ED100 OTA with a HEQ5 Pro mount.

However recently I came across a very knowledgeable dealer who stocks the mount that I want, but was trying to convince me that the EQ6-R is a much better choice because it's belt driven, among other improvements over its predecessor.

I have no doubt that the EQ6-R is better, but my issue is with the nearly $800 difference between the two mounts. That will blow my budget way over. So I'm wondering whether it's a good investment in the long run? If I can be convinced that it's worth it, I'll go for the EQ6-R mount, but at the moment I don't really know how much more advantageous this mount is.

02-12-2017, 10:27 AM
EQ6-R would carry higher payload and should have better tracking/backlash characteristics being belt driven.

The SW 100 being f/9 is not a good choice for AP...not because it isn't a good scope (it is), but f/9 is slow photographically. Look for a faster triplet, f/5 - f/6.

Oh, and AP is not an inexpensive hobby, but everything is relative!

02-12-2017, 10:29 AM
I had both a HEQ5 and the alt az version of the NEQ6 that also features belt drives. Sold the HEQ5 as it is very weight limited. Provided you are happy with the weight of the 6, it will handle this scope with ease and give you plenty of future proofing quite apart from the benefits from the belt drive (eg more precise, much quieter which is important if slewing a scope at 2am in your suburban backyard).


02-12-2017, 10:29 AM
Thanks Camelopardalis, would you have a recommendation for a better scope under $1000?

02-12-2017, 10:43 AM
are you deadset on refractors for imaging? While they may be more convenient, newts usually provide a better value if you're just starting out. It just requires a bit more attention. If you are set on a refractor and dont mind buying second hand, you can grab a decent 5" triplet from North group, Nanjiang or whatever name they're going by for $1000.

02-12-2017, 10:51 AM
Not particularly dead set on anything that_guy. I've also been recommended a Guan Sheng GS-600 8” f/4 Newtonian OTA as an alternative. It's cheaper than the SWBDED100. Would it be a better option? It's slightly more awkward in terms of portability but not that much.

02-12-2017, 11:21 AM
The EQ6-R is a better mount, no doubt about it. I’ve got both an EQ6 and a HEQ5; the EQ6 is just better.
As with everything though, it is whether the extra money is worth it for you.

02-12-2017, 11:38 AM
The EQ6 can carry more, will probably track better (belts), have less backlash and will allow better upgrades to your OTA and equipment in the future.

The HEQ5Pro can be a good performer, but older gear driven mounts were prone to significant variability between individual mounts (luck of the draw). My HEQ5Pro with gears still blows away my belt modded EQ6 for tracking (RA periodic error variation), however this is probably a statistical oddity. Don't plan on putting more than 10kg loads on the HEQ5 for astrophotography.

There is the issue of how long you'll be active in the hobby and how easy the gear is to set up. The HEQ5 is significantly lighter than the 6. If you'll be setting up frequently rather than permanent pier/observatory weight/size is a significant issue. The telescope you use the most and get best value from is the one you can be bothered setting up!

If you know you'll be in the hobby a long time then more expensive quality purchases generally pay off over time (versus constant upgrades). Unfortunately time travel is necessary to clarify that last bit ;)

02-12-2017, 12:10 PM
Some of the images I took with my ED100 are my favorites. Plus you can flatten/reduce it for not much cost.

I voted HEQ5 (the one and only lol) as I found it better than the old NEQ6...I have nil experience with the new belt driven model.

02-12-2017, 12:14 PM
Id suggest going for something like an 80mm f/6, while maybe just over your budget new, these are popular scopes and come up on the used market relatively often. A reducer could knock it down to about f/5. IMO itd be a much easier scope to get pleasing results from get started.

02-12-2017, 12:39 PM
Just adding to what Dunk is trying to explain here for benefits of the shorter focal ratio:

- Less nights to get a decent image on a single object (F5 versus F9)
- Better signal to noise (you'll probably get by longer with something like a DSLR before needing a CCD , particularly on brighter DSOs)
- Guiding is generally far easier at lower focal lengths, which goes a long way towards reducing your frustration factor when starting out

02-12-2017, 06:53 PM
Granada the 100mm f/9 refractor is a poor choice for AP. A much better choice would be this 6” maksutov newtonian http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=162004,
And you have the change to buy the EQ6-R mount.

You could conceivably use an 8” f/4 newtonian but that is likely to be more challenging.

Peter Ward
02-12-2017, 07:18 PM
I am aghast of the notion being pedaled that belt drives are superior in some way to a precision gear. A crap gear, maybe, but suggesting there is precision in rubberised molds? Seriously?

This is a myth.

Belts are mass produced, with modest precision, stretch, compress and are a cheap solution in transfering torque to a worm gear.

Sure,if linked from a motor ahead of a reduction gearbox, the effects are trivial, but to praise a belt as being superior is just nuts. :shrug:

02-12-2017, 08:01 PM
Context is everything, Peter. The subject at hand is Skywatcher HEQ5 vs EQ6-R. We're not talking Astro-physics mounts. I would not be at all surprised to hear that a belt outperforms a spur gear in low-end mounts.

For the OP, out of these two I'd be inclined to go with the EQ6-R. I'd also second Dunk's recommendation of a short tube refractor. You'll get much better results much faster going down this route than going down the Newt / Mak-newt path.

Astrophotography is a challenging hobby, you'll be challenged enough starting out.... refractors essentially either work or not, and if not, you send them back. Mirror-based scopes require a *lot* of tweaking.

brian nordstrom
03-12-2017, 02:21 AM
Cap lock OFF .

I have and use my Celestron Ci700 ,
a G11 .

People said the same things in 1989 about G11's and Ci700's
Guess what , my Ci700 is still going strong ,
as is a few old ( Yes You ) mates G11's
are still as good as the day they were opened .

For your information the tripod legs in this photo are 3 inches ( 76mm ) in dianeter .

Personally a good HEQ5 would be as good as an EQ6 for what you want ( NEED ) .


brian nordstrom
03-12-2017, 02:38 AM
FYI , that; my 127mm f8 iStar frak ,,, Sweet bit of glass .:thumbsup:
note the position of the CW , An EQ6 would not be even be in the door .


brian nordstrom
03-12-2017, 02:46 AM
:thumbsup: Oi ? Wa ? franken scopes .


brian nordstrom
03-12-2017, 03:20 AM
Last night


Peter Ward
03-12-2017, 09:24 AM
I was actually thinking about a Losmandy G-11....The new 2017 revision is has had several refinements and upgrades, with OPB optioned G-11 users reporting periodic errors as low as +/- 3 arc sec. Sure, a modest price premium Chinese products, but a lot of bang for buck IMHO....and no belts ;)

03-12-2017, 10:31 AM
I used the ED100 and HEQ5 for a couple of years and with the Flattener/ reducer it worked fine, though a little slow. A great way to learn imaging and you will get good outcomes.

You havnt mentioned what your imaging with, DSLR or CCD, but you need to think about whether or not you are going to be guiding as that will add to the total cost. You might get to the EQ6 but still not get great results if you are going unguided due to budget constraints.

I dont think there is anyone on this forum who has not gone through mount upgrades for imaging. Not a biggie as you would recover some of your initial investment.

Given you are on a budget, either the Mak Newt suggested or the ED100 or the ED80 would get you started on the HEQ5 and give you wiggle room to add guiding later on. You might not get that wiggle going straight to the EQ6R. All depends on the outcomes you are after.

03-12-2017, 10:36 AM
Thanks DJT, that's great advice. At the moment I am thinking of getting the EQ6-R mount paired with a GS-600 f/4 OTA Newtonian and using my DSLR (Canon 80D) for imaging. Is that a good kit to start with in everyone's opinion?