“ Brand: Skywatcher / Type: Telescopic mount and tripod for the Skywatcher HEQ-5 range of telescopes „
A good mount is important in Astronomy, after all, it's what you will be attaching your precious telescope to. If you are a purely visual observer and use a light scope such as a schmidt cassegrain or small refractor then chances are you can get away with the cheaper and more flimsy mounts out there such as the CG-4 from celestron. But, when using heavier telescopes like big apeture Newtonians or getting into astrophotography the quality of the mount is of paramount importance.
Integral to the use of any mount is the quality of it's motors and it's weight capacity, let's start with the motors. I will spare you the technicalities of gear ratios and resolutions at this point as I know some people are not keen on vast reems of numbers (me included). Instead I can say this, my old CG-4 mount would allow me to take exposures with a maximum length of 12 seconds before periodic error and mount instability would smear the image, with the HEQ-5 I can times that number by 10 and then some, with exposures of upto 2 and a half minutes possible.
Providing an accurate drift alignment has been performed the mounts robust weight capacity of just under 40lbs (39.6lbs) handles my 120mm refractor with camera and accessories no problems and is alot smoother than the CG-4.
Controlling the mount is easy to. Movement in R.A and declination is achieved by pushing one of the four buttons on the hand controller, the type anyone who has used a low to mid end motorised mount will be familiar. For those who haven't it is incredibly intuitive and won't take long to get to grips with. There are 3 slewing speeds of 2x, 8x and 16x to center an object in the FOV.
At just shy of £500 this is a perfect alternative for those who struggled with the interminable bulk of the EQ6 with the HEQ5 6cm shorter and 8.5kg lighter than it's bigger cousin. The HEQ5 is cheaper and more portable but doesn't have quite the payload capacity as the EQ6 (which is around 55lbs).
To conclude, if you have the extra £100, have room in your boot and are of average fitness then I would recommend the EQ6 as the best mount in the low to mid range price band, having said that the HEQ5 is a great mount and is a considerable step up from the EQ3-2 and CG-4.
It's sleek and stylish black finish, ease of setup, portability and quality make the HEQ5 a good buy if your budget cannot exceed £500. Skywatcher have shown why they are so well respected in the field of Astronomical mounts with another excellent example of their work.
***For those who are interested in figures here are the technical specs***
RA Gear Teeth: 135
RA Gear Ratio: 705:1
Microsteps Per RA Revolution: 9024000
Microsteps Per Worm Revolution: 66844.44