#1  
Old 09-06-2015, 08:58 AM
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Meru (Michael)
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Portable Mounts for DSLR Widefields

Hi everyone,

I need your advice please With my CCD, time available and equipment all gone or diminishing, I am considering ditching DSO shooting altogether now. It's been a good few years and I would like to take a break from the 'hardcore' aspect of deep space astrophotography and focus more on widefields

Seems like there are quite a few options now for portable tracking mounts (AstroTrac, Star Lapse, EQ3 Pro etc) but hard to find examples of anyone using telephoto lenses (>100mm) for more than 2min subs. I have tried searching past posts but most do not cover this range or are out dated now. Perhaps I have answered my own question I am hoping to have a setup which:

*Allows me to shoot up to 300mm (100mm absolute minimum)
*Allow for up to 4 minute subs at these focal ranges (2min absolute minimum)
*Does not need a computer to operate (ST4 port would be a nice to have if standalone guiders can be recommended or required to meet the above)
*Can take between 2.5kg (DSLR only) to 4kg (if guiding is possible)

I do appreciate that the above requires very good PA and is quite a feat to achieve given the nature of portable mounts. What are your thoughts? Is such a functionality possible or do I have unrealistic expectations I am not looking for anything that has to be airline-friendly, but something which I can very easily put in the car and set up/pack down quickly. I have a NEQ6 but is a major pain to move around for someone with a slipped disk I am considering selling it to cover funds for this setup.

Thanks and clear skies!
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  #2  
Old 09-06-2015, 10:52 AM
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tlgerdes (Trevor)
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I think you are onto a good idea here. I would choose though the EQ3 Pro purely for the ST4 port, add a Celestron NexGuider on a 50mm guide scope and you could presumably go PC less for the night with a DSLR.

As you say PA becomes an issue at anything greater than about 100mm
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Old 09-06-2015, 04:31 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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Thanks for the reply Trevor, I was considering the EQ3 Pro as well. Good bang for buck if airline transportability is not required. I have heard mixed reviews about the NexGuider so might look into it a bit further.
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Old 09-06-2015, 06:28 PM
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Joshua Bunn (Joshua)
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Ioptron look like they have some neat gear, not to expensive as well.
https://www.ioptron.com/index.cfm?se...9-0a7b815e0f07
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Old 16-06-2015, 09:53 AM
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sil (Steve)
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I can only suggest to avoid supported load weight specs too close to the actual load you intend to use. The vixen polarie doesn't work so great with my dslr even though its under the weight spec. Switched to a compact more suited to what I need and is way underweight and works fine.
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Old 17-06-2015, 09:00 AM
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blink138 (Pat)
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what about a g8?
pat
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Old 18-06-2015, 05:46 PM
axle01 (Alan)
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And what about the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer.

http://www.bintel.com.au/Mounts---Tr...1/catmenu.aspx

I bought one at Christmas from Bintel but haven't had time to use it yet.

Alan
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Old 18-06-2015, 07:12 PM
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blink138 (Pat)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axle01 View Post
And what about the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer.

http://www.bintel.com.au/Mounts---Tr...1/catmenu.aspx

I bought one at Christmas from Bintel but haven't had time to use it yet.

Alan
that was half a year ago!
pat
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Old 18-06-2015, 07:50 PM
AnakChan (Sean)
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Following comes to mind :-

Toast Pro Technology
Unitec SWAT-200/300/350

The Unitec is quite extensible with a multitude of options/accessories to customise.
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Old 18-06-2015, 09:31 PM
DJT (David)
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I have been playing with my teegul patrol over the last few weeks for DSLR wide field from a dark site and have enjoyed it immensely.

The advantage of vixen polarie etc is ability to also do some visual.

http://scopeviews.co.uk/TakTeegul.htm
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Old 27-06-2015, 09:09 AM
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Meru (Michael)
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Wow so many choices! Thank you for all the replies, I didn't realise there were so many to choose from. Just makes life harder grrr. Yes I definitely need to be careful of the weight limit and make sure it is well under. G8 is borderline too large for me, but if I decide to go for guided then would be a good choice perhaps. I need to think more about if I just want a DSLR setup, or future proof for guided capability

David with the TakTee, what sort of weight/focal length/sub time have you been able to achieve?

Sean, any experience with the Unitec models? Astrobin has some great pics with them
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Old 27-06-2015, 10:15 AM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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I think the Star Adventurer has a guide port too, payload up to 5kg. Rules out most scopes but should be good for a Borg of other lightweight, or most DSLR lenses.
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Old 27-06-2015, 06:26 PM
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[1ponders] (Paul)
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The Polarie is a great option as long as it is well polar aligned (polar scope pretty much essential), the tripod is rock solid and the weight limit isn't exceeded. There are non-propriatory counter weight options that advertise an increased carrying capacity but I've not tried them. A 200mm lens is likely to be the heaviest that it would manage for more than 2 min shots when pointing directly southwards due to flexure. The closer to 0 deg dec the larger the lens would likely be possible as the center of gravity is closer to the mount. The attached LMC was taken with a Canon 60D and a 135mm lens, 12x4 min shots. 8 min shots were taken with shorter lenses with no problem.
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Old 27-06-2015, 07:11 PM
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skysurfer
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What about this ?

http://www.bintel.com.au/Mounts---Tr...oductview.aspx

Is a very good travel mount !
Up till 5kg load, has atracking motor and allows even small scopes.
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Old 28-06-2015, 10:13 AM
axle01 (Alan)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blink138 View Post
that was half a year ago!
pat
Yeah and I gave myself a a good slap.
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Old 28-06-2015, 02:51 PM
DJT (David)
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Hi
I have only used it with a 16 to 35 mm lens, though it's a pretty heavy one, for 2 min subs but pa wasn't great. The mount is rated for 3kg for visual. Tony Hallas did a review on it and reckoned he could get 5 mins unguided with a 100 mm but it would show some flexure with a bigger lens because of the way the dec is connected and he's right, I have seen that as well but bare in mind he is one of the previous owners of my mount so it could be just this example. His review is here.

http://www.astronomy.com/~/media/Fil...ing-mounts.pdf

Advantage though is it's also good for messing around with the Fs60q.

Last edited by DJT; 28-06-2015 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 01-07-2015, 02:27 PM
AnakChan (Sean)
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Meru, sorry for the late response. I don't have personal experience of the Unitec but seen them in the shops. Even their SWAT-200 is quite hefty. If I hadn't invested so heavily in my Polarie with options, I probably would have gone with Unitec.

They're really configurable and can even carry small scopes (as pictured below...their SWAT-300/350 can carry even more but by that time you may as well have a proper scope mount) :-

http://image1.webftp.jp/design/kyoei...q_fs60cb02.jpg

There's no GOTO but there's autoguider capability.
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:05 AM
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Meru (Michael)
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Hi everyone,

Thank you for all the input - seems like it would be between the wallet-friendly Polarie and cream of the crop Astrotrac (bought second hand). The astrotrac really appeals to me for it's capacity and is a very nice bit of kit

Paul,
Thank you for the data - I am quite impressed with how well the images have come out!! I would not have guessed the polarie would have done that well with that much weight. 4 min subs at 135mm is quite good and probably suit my needs. How difficult is it to polar align the device? I have never really used the polar scope on my NEQ6 as I always used the drift method.

Skysurfer,
The star adventurer also looks quite good but cant help feel the attraction to either an Astrotrac or Polarie I would feel more comfortable going with a product better-known and used. It definitely has alot of features though for the price

David,
Thanks for the info, I think 3kg might be too low for what I had in mind. It is also quite expensive as the astrotrac I am looking to purchase is available second hand from a member so am inclined to go that way. Definitely a great product though.

Sean,
I had a look at the translated website, they look really good! Definitely worth considering though nothing in english grrrr. I feel that they are relatively unknown and for the price, I would have to keep these in mind for future sales.
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