Monday, 17 March 2014

HEQ5 versus EQ5 for astrophotography with the skywatcher 200p

For many people just starting out on the road of astrophotography the cost of equipment is a key factor in deciding what gear your going to buy. When I first started down this road my wallet was most certainly the deciding factor in my choices, that and the mind boggling choices and discussions that where on offer made it all a bit confusing and scary to say the least.

A bit like this..

So many questions and so much to find out..
I hope I can clear some of that confusion away for any one about to get started and particularly if your thinking about getting a sky-watcher 200P for your imaging and are wondering what mount to go for.

Lets start with the sky-watcher EQ5 mount and the 200P combination first.

This is the first telescope and mount that I bought 4 years ago and I have used it for all my imaging and astrophotography since 2010.
It is for the price a very good set up and if you are on a budget it will give you all you need to get started in short any thing you can see on my blog picture wise you can do with this set up bearing in mind that you will also need a camera and the software to process your images with.

I have no regrets in buying this set up when I first started out it provided me with all I needed to get started and as my knowledge increased with practise and time spent out side under the stars so did my confidence.

But you will also be told by many others that the EQ5 mount is not a good choice for doing astrophotography, I do not hold to that view at all it is a great combination and works very well given its price and ability's.

Combine this set up with Tom Carpenters Astroeq mount controller and you will have fully working go to system and if you adapt your finder scope with a webcam you can also use it for guiding.

SO after 4 years with the EQ5 I upgraded my mount to the HEQ5 pro so lets now turn our spotlight on the HEQ5 and what the benefits are.

My first impression of the HEQ5 where that it offered significant advantages over the EQ5 mount.
Guiding was instantly better because the gears on the HEQ5 are better gears with a higher ratio and this mount supports the weight of the 200P very comfortably with faster slewing speeds as well. I ditched the hand controller in favour of controlling the mount via EQMOD and my laptop which offers much more control and this was also my favoured method with the EQ5 mount and Tom Carpenters Astroeq.

This mount is heavier then the EQ5 so I would recommend having this on a permanent set up unlike the EQ5 set up with the dual axis controller which is much easier to transport around.
But of course the real issue here is the price which if you are on a tight budget will drain your funds very quickly. This is why I started with the EQ5 mount knowing that one day I would get the HEQ5 mount. I am actually very glad I got the EQ5 first as I have learned so much using the first set up and know have a solid knowledge base to work on with the upgraded HEQ5.

The conclusion...

Both are great mounts and both have there good and bad points but for me its a no brainer!
If you have the money get the HEQ5 and the 200P if you don't have the funds and want to get started then get the EQ5 and the 200P and enjoy the journey ahead.
For astrophotography the mount is the all important part of your set up but do not think you can only get great images with the HEQ5 that is simply not true at all.

And one last thing, the sky watcher dual axis kit or Tom Carpenters Astroeq to control your EQ5 mount? get Toms astroeq mount controller and use your laptop much much better.
The sky watcher go to handset for the HEQ5 or EQMOD and a laptop? Eqmod and a laptop no contest.

Stay frosty...