Some very exciting times ahead for Astrophotographers, for those that don’t know it was Sky Watcher (or Synta to be more precise) that brought us affordable mass produced astrophotography mounts with the release of the EQ5 and EQ6 Pro, forever changing the understanding of value for money mounts.
Well it seems they are poised to do it again and even better than before with their new range of mounts, the EQ6 Alt/Az mount and the eagerly awaited EQ8 mount.
The EQ6 Alt/Az mount has already been released and is available at many Australian Astronomy stores (such as My Astroshop), apart from the very obvious improvements and maturity in machining/build quality; this mount boasts a number of improvements over the older generation of EQ6 Pro mounts with Belt drive and encoder stepper motors. This means we should see some very good performance from these mounts and hopefully some very good Astrophotos. Despite this mount not offering any increase in load capacity; it is a natural evolution of the existing EQ6 range and shows Synta’s commitment to listening to it’s customers and improving it’s products.
At approximately $2,250.00 this is a versatile and capable mount worth the investment.
EQ8 Heavy Duty Mount
The EQ8 (or EQ7 as it was first known) has been a long awaited addition to the Sky Watcher range and is targeted squarely at the big boys end of town. While Sky Watcher are yet to strut their stuff in this neck of the woods I am confident they will come out with a good product at a very affordable price. With a rated load capacity of 50 KG (that’s right FIVE ZERO KG) it really will be capable of handling anything the amateur can throw at it. While this is not exactly the most portable of mounts weighing in at over 50KG itself it is equipped with very large (21cm) direct drive work gears/wheels with dual encoders taking this mount almost into the semi professional arena in my opinion.
These mounts are due for release in March 2013 and provided Synta take the same practices learnt from their previous mounts we should see a quality heavy duty mount for around $4500.00 and that’s a lot of bang for buck if you ask me.
Anyway some images below as well for you to have a look at, details on the EQ8 are still shrouded in secrecy so these images may well be pre-production releases, oh and they are courtesy of Star Gazers Loung forums and Flirst Light Optics.