Thursday, September 6, 2007

Alt-AZ Mount Research (WO Easy Touch vs Vixen Porta)

I have been looking at a couple of Alt-AZ mounts to replace my EQ1 style mount. The current mount came from the Bushnell Skychief III and is not meant to handle the weight of the fully loaded Orion 80ED. Views through the scope are not steady and I have to resort to using the scope as an Alt-Az to easily move it.

I have resolved to get an Alt-AZ over a GEM(German Equatorial Mount). I don't really need a computer right now to locate objects. I enjoy using an atlas or 2 to help me locate objects. Also, I figure if I go for a GEM it would have to be for astrophotography., and for that I would consider no less than an Orion Sirius. This means a minimum investment of $750 for a used mount. I would like to spend no more than $450 for a mount at this time. Another reason for an Alt-AZ would be portability. It would be nice to just throw ever thing in the car and go for a drive to a dark sky and then be set up within minutes.

The mounts I like within that price range are the Vixen Porta Mount and the William Optics EZ-Touch mount. The Porta can handle up to a low weight 4" refractor. The sweet spot for stability is probably a 3" APO refractor. The EZ-Touch can handle up to a 5" scope, with the sweet spot being a 4" tube. The latter mount can also handle 2 scaope at ones.

I have seen the Port for as low as $275 used. While the EZ-Touch has been listed as low as $400 used with a tripod. I am now leaning toward the EZ-Touch because of the ability to add larger or multiple scopes.

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