Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Motorized Mount Photo Package

Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Motorized Mount Photo Package

Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Motorized Mount Photo Package

B&H # SKS20520 MFR # S20520
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Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Motorized Mount Photo Package


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Product Highlights

  • EQ Mount Only
  • 11 lb Payload Capacity
  • Ball Head Adapter Included
  • Selectable Tracking Speeds
  • Multiple Preprogrammed Speeds
  • Built-In Illuminated Polar Scope
  • DSLR Shutter Control Interface
  • ST-4-Type Auto-Guider Compatible
  • 3/8"-16 and 1/4"-20 Tripod Mounts
  • Vixen-Style Dovetail Plate
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Price: $319.00

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Sky-Watcher S20520 overview

  • 1Description

Sky-Watcher's Star Adventurer Motorized Mount Photo Package is an easy-to-use equatorial mount that offers accurate tracking capabilities for time-lapse and long-exposure wide-field astrophotography. With a simple turn of a dial, select from Lunar, Solar, or Star tracking modes, or four speeds from 0.5x to 12x if the modes are not exactly right. An integrated polar alignment scope with an included illuminator help the alignment process in either the Northern or Southern Hemispheres, and a date dial compensates for star drift over time to extend the usability of the scope.

Included with the Star Adventurer is a ball head adapter with a 3/8"-16 screw to mount a photo ball head to adapt it for use with a DSLR camera. A 2.5mm three-segment stereo jack is integrated into the mount and gives the mount the ability to control a compatible DSLR's shutter release for long-exposure or time-lapse photography. Pre-programmed intervals, based on the tracking mode selected, optimize the exposure times for the subjects selected.

The Star Adventurer mount features a Vixen-style dovetail saddle for compatible accessories and optical tube assemblies (OTAs). It has both 3.8"-16 and 1/4"-20 tripod mounts to fit on most astronomical, photo, or video tripods and is offered here without a tripod, OTA, or counterweights.

Motor and Gears
  • DC servomotor
  • 86mm diameter, 144-tooth aluminum-alloy wheel gear
  • 13mm diameter brass worm gear
  • Supports star-scape and time-lapse photography
  • Selectable Solar, Lunar, Star tracking speeds
  • 0.5, 2x, 6x, and 12x tracking speed options
  • Manual clutch release facilitates faster alignment and adjustment
  • Northern and Southern Hemisphere compatible
  • Left/Right control buttons enable manual control of tracking up to 12x
  • Free lifetime firmware updates
  • Built-in polar alignment scope
  • Includes polar scope illuminator
  • Integrated RJ-12 single-axis right ascension auto-guider port supports ST-4-type guiders
  • Runs on four AA batteries
  • Mini USB port for external power or for updating the firmware
  • Low energy consumption allows for up to 72 hours of continuous tracking on battery power
  • Includes a ball head adapter with a 3/8"-16 screw to mount a photo ball head to adapt it for use with a DSLR camera
  • 3/8"-16 and 1/4"-20 tripod mounts
  • Vixen-style dovetail saddle
  • 11 lb payload capacity
UPC: 050234205207
In the Box
Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Motorized Mount Photo Package
  • Star Adventurer Ball Head Adapter
  • Polar Scope Illuminator
  • Limited Two-Year Warranty
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    Sky-Watcher S20520 specs

    Mount Type Equatorial
    Load Capacity 11 lb / 5 kg
    Motor DC servo
    Gear Drive Wheel gear: 86 mm diameter, 144 teeth, aluminum alloy
    Worm gear: 13 mm diameter, brass
    GoTo Capability No
    Polar Axis Scope Yes. Built-in and illuminated
    Includes Tripod/Pier No
    Power Source 4 x AA batteries, up to 72 hr
    Mini-USB port for external power
    Operating Temperature 32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C
    Dimensions 6.8 x 4.5 x 3.8" / 17.4 x 11.3 x 9.6 cm
    Weight 2.2 lb / 1 kg
    Packaging Info
    Package Weight 3.65 lb
    Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 9.5 x 8.8 x 5.3"

    Sky-Watcher S20520 reviews

    Star Adventurer Motorized Mount Photo Package is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 14.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Near perfection ! I've had this mount for almost two weeks now an I am perfectly satisfied with the performance and stability to hold my gear. Polar alignment is a piece of cake with the built in polar scope. Be sure to get the eq wedge or make sure you've got a 3 axis gear head to mount this on, it will ease polar alignment process. I am still learning the basics of capturing stars, but I have made some satisfying shots of Jupiter and her moons at 300mm. 30 sec exposure produced steady images with no hint of trailing or shaking. Considering the competition, skywatcher has offered much better quality and performance here. Overall, money well spent.
    Date published: 2015-01-25
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic for the price This was my first experience with a star tracker so I have little to compare it to, however I am very satisfied so far. Considering the price of equivalent mounts (ex. astrotrac) or the limited payload of others (vixen polarie) this offers a LOT for a small price. Polar aligning for the first time can be a bit of a challenge but after only several attempts I can now align in a couple minutes. So far I have been able to get 4+ minutes with some of my ultra wide lenses and up to 2 minutes at 200mm on an APSC camera with little to no trailing. It is not the most portable but I am an avid hiker and still have little issue packing it with my camera and a couple lenses for over night trips. The ability to power it with a portable phone charger is also incredibly convenient. The image attached was with a 200mm lens on APSC and no filters, only dark skies and my Star Adventurer.
    Date published: 2015-02-07
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great product! Good for 600mm 30s tracking! But you really need to know what you are doing! At 600mm, the keeper rate varies, from 0%-70%, depending on the WIND. At a calm night at death valley, I got almost pinpoint stars for 70% of the images. On the next night, when there is a 10 mph wind blowing, the keeper rate is miserable. I would say this definitely extend the imaging capability and there are a lot of good targets on the sky at 600mm focal length. Highly recommended!
    Date published: 2015-12-25
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from For what it is great I agree with most of the reviews here...200mm and you can get 1 min subs easily, sometimes you'll get a lucky 2 min in. Polar aligning is quite simple once you get the hang of it. I would say that the wedge and bracket are kit didn't come with them and I don't see how you could skip them. Would I prefer an AstroTrac? Of course, but it's 3x the cost of this, and if you're not sure about astrophotography this is a great start. I'll be using it for years.
    Date published: 2016-06-09
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Value for the money I bought Star Adventurer for wide field astrophotography to get more details on Milky way core. There were not many reviews out there when I bought it. My other options were iOptron Skytracker, Vixen Polarie. I went with Star Adventurer due to Skywatcher reputation, heavier payload, features for the money and the price. I'm happy with the choice I made. Tracker has decent build quality, buttons are plastic. It is relatively small comparable to 24-70 lens, fits well in my Thinktank bag with 2 bodies and 4 lenses. I'm not sure if some of the buttons like Left and Right buttons work at all, they don't do anything from what I observed. Manual is not well written in terms of polar alignment, features like lunar/solar tracking. I put SA on Markins ballhead, I wanted to buy wedge if ballhead is hard to manage. I used SA during 4 nights, I was able to manage well with ballhead. I place my camera on Induro 5-way panhead which is mounted on SA. I'm getting confused more I read about polar alignment and looking at Polar scope iOS apps. So I keep it simple to roughly align polaris for widefield photography. I align to polaris in couple of mins, I'm sure my alignment is not precise. I'm satisfied with tracking. I was able to track for 4+ minutes at 50mm (I could have pushed more), 3+ mins at 100mm and 1+ min at 200mm on full-frame camera. If I align precisely, I'm confident that it can track longer. I'll recommend this to anyone for widefield photography.
    Date published: 2015-04-08
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent performance, easy to use, high quality The only thing I have to compare this to is an Opteron with this one costing a little more. This one has more features, and it's got a more precise alignment scope than the other brand. Overall I like the design better. It's also great to be able to go up to 12 times normal speed for time lapse effects. I wish there were a tracker that allowed checking the alignment of Polaris WHILE THE CAMERA IS MOUNTED. The Opteron allowed that but the scope was loose. This one requires removal of the camera. You'll want to use a strong tripod and balance the camera and tracker as best you can so they don't strain the tripod. The assembly can get pretty heavy. I am able to consistently get good results with up to 10 minute exposure times with a 14mm lens. Even with long lenses you can sometimes track very accurately for several minutes. All in all this is a well built and very useful sky tracker and also a time lapse panner/tilter.
    Date published: 2016-07-11
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing, well-built and accurate! I use the Star Adventurer to track stars and other celestial objects in the night sky. I also use it at a higher speed for time lapse panning. For tracking stars: as long as you properly align it to Polaris, the Star Adventurer will deliver fantastic results over and over. It's small but heavy-duty construction will last a long time, plus you can load it with up to 11 lbs (5kg) of camera/lens or telescope. To make alignment extremely easy, you can download the Polaris alignment app as mentioned in the instructions. Tracking stars allows you to stop down your aperture and ISO, resulting in sharper, less-noisy photos of the night sky. Stopping down will increase your exposure time, but the Star Adventurer stays on track, following the stars you're aiming at across the sky without showing any star trails. Using this with landscape photography that includes a starry sky, align the Star Adventurer and setup your camera, creating the composition you want. Take a base exposure of the landscape (foreground), then turn the Star Adventurer on to begin tracking the stars. Take a second exposure while tracking the stars and composite it on top of your 1st foreground exposure. You'll have the exposures you need for both the land and sky while retaining sharpness and low noise! If you want to capture tack-sharp stationary stars (without the stars trailing), the Star Adventurer is the only motorized tracking mount to use.
    Date published: 2016-03-25
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant Design, typical Chinese manufacturing Bought this to upgrade my Vixen Polarie mount, which is a piece of fine art Japanese manufacturing, but of flawed design. The Star Adventurer has a 5kg payload capacity, vs 3kg for the Polarie. This alone sets it head and shoulders above the Polarie. But the true genius of the design is the friction clutch wheel and built in polar scope. Main problem with the Polarie is the very small knurled knobs used to attach the camera support (typically a ball head or small geared 3 axis tripod head) to the body of the Polarie. These two small knobs are so close to the body of the Polarie mount it is a true nuisance to tighten or loosen them. The Star Adventurer design by contrast uses a very elegant friction wheel. This clutch release mechanism is easily operated with one hand, even in the dark. I grip the cube like body of the Star Adventurer and give the friction wheel a twist to re-adjust position of the camera. It can be operated using two fingers of one hand. Bravo for the design! Also the built in polar scope is well designed. It comes with an accessory reticule illuminator which is handy to free your hands for aligning the mount. After reading and re-reading the manual several times I am still unclear how to set the current date to position the polar scope. I went with midnight at October 31st and then rotated the entire scope barrel using the clutch wheel. It seemed to work as I had quite good alignment for an all night tracking of the Moon. I have not tried this for long exposure deep sky object photography, though I feel once calibrated it should be a suitable platform, especially considering the price and portability. NB: in the event you need to calibrate the eyepiece reticle you will need to provide your own tiny hex keys. Don't malign the manufacturer because you don't have the proper tools to do astrophotography; though it would be nice if they included one it is not a deal breaker. Bought this as a travel mount for solar and lunar eclipse photography. Simply using my iPad mini and some polar alignment apps I was able to dial in the polar alignment during the day with enough accuracy that Polaris was within the reticle after sunset. Not bad for just using a compass, bubble level and inclinometer. Flaws? Cheap plastic cover over battery compartment and polar scope. Not tragic, but a bit awkward as it seems the polar scope cap must come off to remove battery cover. Be prepared to use a small tool to pry out the batteries. Takes 4 AA batteries for 72 hours of operation compared to 2 AA cells for the Polarie, and it's correspondingly reduced run time. Both units however take USB power through a user supplied cable and power source. Of particular interest are the various speeds available and the fast forward slew buttons. These allow fine adjustment of tracking speed to re-position an object in the camera or telescope viewfinder. There is a port for an optional auto guider, though this is of no relevance to Solar or Lunar photography so I have not explored how well it functions. The timelapse intervalometer settings are cryptic to me, if you figure out what they mean please leave a review here. Overall, a very elegant, sturdy, portable and affordable mount with lots of features. This will definitely replace the Polarie in my travel kit.
    Date published: 2015-10-06
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