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iOptronSkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black)
 
4.3

(based on 13 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

90%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Compact (8)
  • Easy to use (8)
  • Strong construction (8)
  • Accurate (7)
  • Lightweight (4)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Astronomy (10)
    • Travel (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Casual/ recreational (7), Avid adventurer (3)
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No (10)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Works great, easy to set up and align

    Not terribly expensive, and the results you can get are pretty amazing. Using their app for your smart phone, it tells you where to put the north (or south) star for alignment...Read complete review

    Not terribly expensive, and the results you can get are pretty amazing. Using their app for your smart phone, it tells you where to put the north (or south) star for alignment in the scope, and then you set your camera on it and start a long exposure of 1-5 minutes, depending on how dark it is outside. The darker it is, the longer the exposure. I do astrophotography and lots of post processing to remove light glow and stack images to remove noise, so the results may be a bit different for just out of camera images, but as far as tracking the stars, it does great. I can't complain about anything on it.

    Compared to getting a full fledged mount, while it's about half to one third the cost, it's an order of magnitude lighter and easier to set up and carry around. My only other option for this is to carry a 15lb tripod and 10lb mount head, and then a 20lb battery for the mount.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    Lightweight and inexpensive

    I purchased this item because it was the lighest tracking mount I could find that would hold my Nikon D7100 and associated lens. It was not useable out of the box. There were mechanical...Read complete review

    I purchased this item because it was the lighest tracking mount I could find that would hold my Nikon D7100 and associated lens. It was not useable out of the box. There were mechanical issues with the cast housing which had cast metal that had partially covered the 3/8" threaded brass insert used to mount the unit a tripod. This had to be removed before it could be tripod mounted (I forutnately have a machine shop at my work which made this easy to do). The battery housing required a pliers to get it out because of plastic flashing from the mold that had not been trimmed off. Even after removing the flashing, the battery housing only fit properly without batteries. Once the batteries were installed it required further trimming of the housing in order fit inside the battery compartment and still required a pliers the remove the housing to change the batteries. This is even worse if you are not careful to make sure the two wires from the housing are not being pinched. The battery compartment cover also does not stay in place. There is no postive latch on the battery cover but since the battery housing press fitted into the housing the cover does little to hold the battery housing in place.

    The polar alignment was very easy at least for short exposures(less than 30seconds) at focal lengths up to 300mm. If the lens you are using at any significant weigth you will want to recheck and adjust the polar alignment after you are pointed at your desired scene to compensate for flexure in the mount.

    I would only recommend this product if you have weight restrictions in taking this out in the field.

    Reviewed by 13 customers

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    Displaying reviews 1-13

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    4.0

    Very complete and strong stuff !

    By Dan

    from St Augustine (FL)

    Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

    Complete, compact and very portable Stuff !
    Easy polar alignment with IPhone app.
    Due to weather issues, I only test it with my 28mm.
    Stars are pin point when I magnify the picture.

    Share this review

     
    4.0

    Well made and effective

    By Sean Nelson

    from Vancouver BC Canada

    About Me Casual/ Recreational

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Astronomy

      Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

      This unit is very solidly built and works well. It uses a 3/8" thread to mount onto a camera tripod, so if you have a tripod with a 1/4" screw you'll need an adapter (these are very cheap). It includes a double-ended screw for the camera mounting plate so that you can mount a camera or ball head that uses either a 1/4" or 3/8" hole. You'll most certainly want to use a ball or other tripod head on the mounting plate so that you can point the camera to somewhere other than the north celestial pole.

      If you purchase one, you should also get the "Polar Finder" app for your smart phone - it has an option to show an image of the eyepiece reticle that this unit uses so that you can easily use Polaris to get an accurate polar alignment. You do NOT point the unit so that Polaris is in the crosshairs of the reticle, Polaris must sit on one of the circular rings at a position that depends on the time. The smartphone app makes it very easy to see where it should be aligned to.

      For me, the two biggest drawbacks of the unit are the battery holder/compartment and the tight spacing between the camera mount and the polar finder scope.

      The battery holder fits very, very tightly into its recess, and this makes it difficult to remove and challenging to install. It works, but it's unecessarily difficult.

      I use a Panasonic GH3 on a ball head, and in some orientations of the camera it blocks the polar sighting scope. That's an issue because changing the position of the camera with a long telephoto can cause flexure of the tripod which affects polar alignment, so I'd like to re-check the alignment every time I change the camera position.

      Overall, though, I'm quite pleased with this unit and am glad I purchased it.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

       
      4.0

      Good product

      By Calgary_BMW

      from Dallas, TX

      About Me Casual/ Recreational

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Compact
      • Easy to Use
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Astronomy

        Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

        Unit is build solid. I mounted this on my Vanguard Alta+ 263 and it provided a very stable platform for tracking. Setting up is very quick, and with illuminate polar scope alignment is achieved with little effort. The azimuth lock causes the alignment to shift slightly, so you have to deliberately offset Polaris and let it settle into place after the lock is tightened.

        I've used the tracker with my Sony RX100ii. There is no star trailing with 30s exposures at maximum zoom of 100mm equivalent. Frames taken at the start and end of a 30 minute sequence did not show more than a couple of pixels of offset at 5Mp resolution. I have not tried the setup with my bulkier Nikon D3200, but the mount clearly has no problems with the tiny RX100ii. As others have pointed out, I also found that the latitude lock does not completely secure the head. While this may allow some drooping over time for heavier loads, this was not a problem with the RX100ii.

        So far, after 4 hours of use the batteries continue to show good charge. As other reviews have noted the battery compartment is very tight. It is impossible to change the batteries without disturbing the alignment. I built a power cord with a plug for the external DC input at one end and a connector at the other end that is compatible with my RC Heli's 3S LiPo's. This allows me to easily change out a depleted battery without disturbing the mount at all.

        The whole setup is very portable. If you normally take your camera and tripod somewhere, the tracker only adds marginally to what you have to take along.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        Share this review

         
        4.0

        Easy to use

        By Bariom

        from Lugano, Switzerland

        About Me Avid Adventurer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Compact
        • Easy to Use
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Astronomy

          Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

          SkyTracker is good for night photography of the sky.
          It is easy to use and it is compact.

          The only way to make it better is to add a "goto" functionality as the computerized telescopes.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

           
          2.0

          Lightweight and inexpensive

          By MarkSB

          from Goleta, CA

          About Me Casual/ Recreational

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Lightweight

          Cons

          • Quality Issues

          Best Uses

          • Astronomy
          • Field Use

          Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

          I purchased this item because it was the lighest tracking mount I could find that would hold my Nikon D7100 and associated lens. It was not useable out of the box. There were mechanical issues with the cast housing which had cast metal that had partially covered the 3/8" threaded brass insert used to mount the unit a tripod. This had to be removed before it could be tripod mounted (I forutnately have a machine shop at my work which made this easy to do). The battery housing required a pliers to get it out because of plastic flashing from the mold that had not been trimmed off. Even after removing the flashing, the battery housing only fit properly without batteries. Once the batteries were installed it required further trimming of the housing in order fit inside the battery compartment and still required a pliers the remove the housing to change the batteries. This is even worse if you are not careful to make sure the two wires from the housing are not being pinched. The battery compartment cover also does not stay in place. There is no postive latch on the battery cover but since the battery housing press fitted into the housing the cover does little to hold the battery housing in place.

          The polar alignment was very easy at least for short exposures(less than 30seconds) at focal lengths up to 300mm. If the lens you are using at any significant weigth you will want to recheck and adjust the polar alignment after you are pointed at your desired scene to compensate for flexure in the mount.

          I would only recommend this product if you have weight restrictions in taking this out in the field.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Good value

          By Matt

          from Fort Worth, TX

          Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

          I tested out this tracker last night and was happy with the results. For wide field shot, I was able to get 5 min. exposures with no trailing. I pushed it and tried one at an effective focal length of 480mm and got a 1 min. exposure without significant trailing. This won't replace a good German equatorial mount for astrophotography, but it's great for a highly portable alternative and it got respectable results.

          Share this review

          (0 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Built like a tank

          By Livskunst

          from Sacramento, CA

          About Me Avid Adventurer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Compact
          • Easy to Use
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Astronomy

            Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

            I purchased this to start some serious astro photography. I haven't used it at night yet, but a dry run indicates smooth, steady operation. I'm very impressed with the solid construction - especially at this price. It will probably weigh in over four pounds with a ball head and clamp, so you probably won't want to pack it in very far. It has a half speed feature so that you could do one minute exposures and keep both the stars and the foreground in focus.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

            (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Fun addition

            By Duke

            from Ohio

            Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

            A fun way to try out astrphotography

            Share this review

             
            5.0

            Functions well

            By dwphoto

            from bay shore ny

            About Me Casual/ Recreational

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Compact
            • Easy Setup
            • Easy to Use
            • Strong Construction

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Astronomy
              • Travel

              Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

              Does what it is designed to do with careful polar alignment.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Pleasantly surprised with this product

              By bob the builder

              from Erie, PA

              About Me Casual/ Recreational

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Compact
              • Easy to Use
              • Lightweight
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Astronomy

                Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

                Simple to use & even with minimum effort for setup, I can take 5 minute exposures with a wide angle lens. By minimum setup, I mean setting the azimuth somewhere in the ballpark & aiming it roughly north. This will put Polaris in the scope where you can easily get it roughly centered. It took less than 2 minutes to set up & try my first 3 minute exposure. It worked so well, I went for 5 minutes & stars were still pinpoints of light. Very happy with this unit

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Share this review

                (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Works great, easy to set up and align

                By Robert

                from Dallas, TX

                About Me Casual/ Recreational

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Accurate
                • Compact
                • Easy to Use
                • Lightweight
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Astronomy
                  • Travel

                  Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

                  Not terribly expensive, and the results you can get are pretty amazing. Using their app for your smart phone, it tells you where to put the north (or south) star for alignment in the scope, and then you set your camera on it and start a long exposure of 1-5 minutes, depending on how dark it is outside. The darker it is, the longer the exposure. I do astrophotography and lots of post processing to remove light glow and stack images to remove noise, so the results may be a bit different for just out of camera images, but as far as tracking the stars, it does great. I can't complain about anything on it.

                  Compared to getting a full fledged mount, while it's about half to one third the cost, it's an order of magnitude lighter and easier to set up and carry around. My only other option for this is to carry a 15lb tripod and 10lb mount head, and then a 20lb battery for the mount.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Share this review

                  (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great for introduction into astrophotogr

                  By Brian

                  from Phoenix, AZ

                  About Me Avid Adventurer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Compact
                  • Easy to Use
                  • Lightweight

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Astronomy
                    • Hiking/Backpacking
                    • Travel

                    Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

                    I've used this a little bit, so I can't be super detailed until I get more experience with it. But so far, this thing is a bargain if you want to get into astrophotography.It is really easy to set up after you have read the directions once or twice. I can now set it up from scratch in 2-3 minutes. I've heard others, such as the AstroTracker, can take 10-15 minutes. I love the small size of it. Packed down in it's little travel bag, it's the size of a softcover book or a box of Wheat Thin crackers, and only weighs a few pounds, so it's super portable for a backpacker like myself. I've used my 85mm lens on this for 4 minutes without having star trails. I'm confident this thing could accept my DSLR + 70-200mm f4 without a problem. Beyond that, I don't know how much I'd be willing to place onto it. But I got this thing not to do deep sky astrophotography, but wide angle instead to go along with my regular landscape photography. One of the cons is that it will only track once you've aligned to Polaris, whereas others can align to other stars as well. But that is the nature of this beast, and why they could build it so portable. The only other major con is that the rotating base is not very precise, and when you tighten the knob it seems to change position also, where I have to account for that when aligning. I consider this only a slight annoyance, and one that is easily fixed with a cheap panning base (I had the Feisol which was about [$]).

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                     
                    5.0

                    ISON is coming

                    By GAK

                    from Annapolis, MD

                    About Me Casual/ Recreational

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Accurate
                    • Compact
                    • Easy to Use
                    • Strong Construction

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Astronomy

                      Comments about iOptron SkyTracker Camera Mount with Polar Scope (Black):

                      I've been looking forward to photographing comet ISON over the next couple of weeks, and now I'm prepared. iOptron's SkyTracker is the perfect tool for long exposure photos of the comet's tail! Once aligned, it is easy to use and I've been experimenting with exposure times thru my 400x telephoto so I can stack the results with software.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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