iOptron SkyGuider Pro EQ Camera Mount

iOptron SkyGuider Pro EQ Camera Mount

iOptron SkyGuider Pro EQ Camera Mount

B&H # IO3550 MFR # 3550
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Expected availability: Jan 25, 2019

Product Highlights

  • Equatorial Camera Tracking System
  • 11-Pound Payload Capacity
  • Right Ascension Tracking Motor
  • Tracking Rates: Solar/Lunar/Celestial/Half-Celestial
  • AutoAlign Illuminated Polar Axis Scope
  • Single or Double Camera Mounting
  • 3-Pound Counterweight and Shaft
  • Vixen Dovetail to Mount Small Telescopes
  • Internal Rechargeable LiPo Battery
  • Head and Mount Only: Tripod Required
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iOptron 3550 overview

  • 1Description

Building on the success of their previous systems, the iOptron SkyGuider Pro EQ Camera Mount increases the precision and payload capacity while reducing the form factor to produce an imaging support system to track celestial bodies and capture images of the sun and moon, or for wide-field astrophotography star-scapes shooting techniques. This versatile tracking system can be configured in multiple ways including single or double-camera mounting, or even mounting smaller telescope optical tubes.

The system functions as an equatorial mount, with a Right Ascension (RA) tracking motor to compensate for the apparent movement of celestial objects across the sky. An integrated polar axis alignment scope aids in accurate set up to improve tracking accuracy for long-exposure photography. A Declination mounting bracket allows the use of the counterweight kit to balance heavier imaging rigs, and limit vibration and strain on the motor and gears — or for double-mounting cameras, or OTAs. The tracking head runs on a factory-installed rechargeable battery with a 20-hour runtime. iOptron offers the SkyGuider here with just the tracking head and alt-az base for users with a reliable support system. The tracking head can be mounted on a tripod by itself using a conventional 1/4"-20 photo ball-head, or the head/base can be mounted together on most astronomical, photo, video, or field tripod using the 3/8"-16 or 1/4"-20 mount on the bottom of the base.

Tracking Head
  • 11-pound max payload capacity when properly balanced
  • Tracking rates: Solar, Lunar, Celestial, and Half-celestial (for sky-scape photography)
  • 144x forward/reverse fast slew speed helps to find and frame shots
  • Integrated AutoAlign illuminated polar axis scope allows for precise alignment to improve tracking accuracy; 6° field of view for easier alignment; adjustable illumination intensity
  • Counterweight shaft and 3-pound weight are included to properly balance heavier cameras and lenses
  • Ports: ST-4 Autoguider; Shutter release; Micro-USB charging; Optional Go2Nova hand controller
  • Runs on one internal rechargeable LiPo battery; up to 20-hour runtime
  • Mounts to alt-az base via Vixen-style dovetail
  • 1/4"-20 socket enables mounting to a photo, video, field tripod using an optional ball-head
    Motor and Gears:
  • Right Ascension DC servo provides smooth tracking with limited vibration, and optical encoder improves tracking accuracy
  • Right Ascension clutch disk enables manual movement
  • 35mm steel Right Ascension shaft
  • 88mm, 144-tooth aluminum alloy worm wheel
  • 15.2mm, brass worm gear
  • Four-piece roller bearing provides smooth movement with reduced vibration
Alt-Az Base
  • Vixen-style dovetail saddle accepts the tracking head without tools for attachment
  • -30° to 65° latitude adjustment range
  • ±5° azimuth adjustment range
  • "Bull's eye" bubble level
  • 3/8"-16 and 1/4"20 socket for attachment onto most astronomical, photo, video, or field tripods
Camera Attachment
  • 3/8"-16 camera mounting block to mounts camera directly onto tracking head or dual-mount on Declination bracket
  • Mount a camera onto head using a ball-head for smaller cameras
  • Use included Declination bracket for heavier rigs with included counterweight assembly, for dual-camera mounting, or smaller telescope OTAs
  • Dual camera mount payload of 11-pound + 7.7-pounds
In the Box
iOptron SkyGuider Pro EQ Camera Mount
  • Alt-Az Base
  • Padded Carrying Bag
  • Counterweight Shaft
  • 3-pound Counterweight
  • Vixen-Style Dovetail Saddle
  • Declination Mounting Bracket
  • Micro-USB Battery Charging Cable
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty
  • Limited 90-Day Warranty on Battery
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    iOptron 3550 specs

    Payload Capacity 11.0 lb / 5.0 kg
    Motor Drive DC servo with optical encoder
    Polar Axis Scope AutoAlign dark field illuminated, installed
    GoTo System None
    Mount Head to base: Vixen-style dovetail plate
    Base to tripod: 3/8"-16 socket
    Counterweight 3.0 lb / 1.4 kg
    Battery Internal rechargeable Li-Poly, 3.7V, 2000mAh battery
    Runtime 20 h, max at 68°F / 20°C
    Charge Time 80% in 5 h
    Operating Temperature 14 to 104°F / -10 to 40°C
    Dimensions 5.2 x 4.5 x 3.7" / 13.3 x 11.5 x 9.5 cm, without alt-az base
    Weight 2.2 lb / 1.0 kg, with battery
    3.2 lb / 1.5 kg, with battery and alt-az base
    Packaging Infouurqvycr
    Package Weight 10.55 lb
    Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 12.5 x 11.3 x 5.6"

    iOptron 3550 reviews

    SkyGuider Pro EQ Camera Mount is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 21.
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Huge learning curve, but I think I am getting there. First of all, the mount comes with no instructions. You have to go to their website. The instructions are very difficult to follow, and after three attempts I am finally ALMOST getting pinpoint images with a 20mm lens stacking 50 images. I haven't tried my 400mm, that's next You need a serious tripod. I recommend the iOptron Tall with an 8" collar addition. If you use their standard tripod, you will be trying to sight Polaris from 28" off the ground. Not an easy task. I hope as time goes on I get better with this. Don't buy it with the idea that you will get perfect results the first time. That probably would only be true if you were already comfortable with astrophotography.
    Date published: 2018-07-09
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Planning to use for the Eclipse and some astrophotography This item is very well-built and durable and once set up it appears to work very well, practicing for the Eclipse. Only challenge is the instructions are not necessarily super-intuitive and I'm pretty good at following instructions. My setup looked a little different than the photos, however it appears to work just fine. Biggest challenge as I am not familiar with astronomical terms (specifically when it came to the polar alignment), and planning to use it during the day, is more difficult to figure out. Had to watch several YouTube videos until I understood I was over-thinking it. May not be perfect, but will surely allow me to enjoy the event without monitoring the camera the entire eclipse!!
    Date published: 2017-08-13
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent sky tracker for DSLR and lens. This model sky tracker comes with a counterweight and declination mount. It is very convenient for heavier cameras and lenses, e.g., a DSLR and at least medium length zoom lens. Lighter cameras can attach with a ball mount (separate) for a very compact package. I found it easy to align the mount to Polaris using the built in polar alignment telescope - you do have to get Polaris within the alignment telescope's field of view by leveling the mount, setting your latitude and using a compass with magnetic offset. One minor issue: with the full setup (counterweight and declination mount), you can't control the orientation of the camera - it's like a telescope in that regard, but without the ability to rotate the focal plane. I found tracking to be very accurate, and I'm very happy with the device.
    Date published: 2017-07-07
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very accurate I'm just getting into astrophotography as a hobby, but this unit seems extremely accurate.� I paired it with an app on the Google Play store called PolarAligner Pro.� The app helps you easily align the az/el to point near the Polaris star, and then the app provides a visual of where the star should lie within the scope.� It's dead simple, and I was aligned within minutes.�� I created a test video sequence here:��� I believe this was 2 to 3 hours of timelapse.� You can see the starfield remains consistent although there is a tiny bit of error as the top row of stars disappear from the image by the end of the video.� It seems reasonable to me though. I used an A7r iii and Zeis LOXIA 21mm lens for the shot.
    Date published: 2018-04-20
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Light, accurate, travel mount for long lens astrophotography I purchased the Skyguider Pro EQ mount as part of a travel astrophotography system. The other portion was the iOptron 1.5” Field Tripod. The two together can be packed in a carry-on bag with plenty of room for other items. This tripod and mount are used with my Nikon D610, Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED IF AF-S, and TC-20E III 2x converter. The combination provides a very sharp, affordable, 600mm lens, though with and aperture of f8. I stabilized this long lens combination with a Manfrotto telephoto lens support, rather than the flimsy collar that comes with the 300mm lens. �I used this combination with my AVX mount in August to capture the time lapse video shown in the link below. � � Lugging all the equipment for that shoot took two large, overweight, checked bags. After the trauma of having TSA rifle through my meticulous packing, twice, I decided to try another approach. � The new system is light and compact enough to bring as carry-on luggage. The real question was whether it was sturdy and accurate enough for serious astrophotography. I have now had it out for solar, lunar, and stellar observation. The first thing I noticed was that I needed a larger counterweight. I added another 3 lbs, which balanced the camera very well. The second thing I noticed is that the short length of the tripod means lying down on the ground to perform polar alignment. Still, I have never had such an accurate polar alignment just using the North Star. I normally perform two iterations of drift alignment after I do my North Star preliminary alignment. � On my first excursion I tracked the sun for about an hour. I noticed that the battery alone tracked accurately, but that it sped up slightly when supplemental power was attached. The error was about 2.5 arcsec per minute. This is not noticeable with a 30 second exposure, but could be a problem for longer tracking. For this lens and camera combination the pixel width is about 2.4 arcsec.� I next tried it at night, tracking the Orion nebula for 45 minutes. I had the supplemental power attached, so tracked at solar speed. After 45 minutes the image had moved only 10 pixels. This represents a tracking error of .54 arcsec per minute. Based on this error the camera should be able to take steady 2-3 minute exposures. The declination error during this period was only 20 pixels. That is pretty amazing for just a North Star alignment. The moon setting has a similar error when tracking with and without supplemental power. � I have definitely loaded this system past the recommended limit, and yet I am still getting very solid tracking. I am impressed that such a small and light unit can be so solid. � In three days I will flying out to Nevada photograph the Lunar eclipse. I will be tracking the shadow of the earth. The time lapse video will show the moon moving into and out of the earth’s shadow, like it is moving into and out of hole in space. �Pro: Light, accurate, travel mount capable of handling a long lens Con: Tracking speed changes slightly with and without supplemental power
    Date published: 2018-01-26
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Buy this product but do your homework first! Despite some idiosyncracies, this mount gives good results. I like the fact that the Head (the tracking motor and gears) can be separated from the Base and can be used independently if desired. The Base altitude lock is easy to use and the altitude fine adjustment knob is large enough to provide a good grip. Unfortunately, when a load (camera and counterweight) is added to the mount, the altitude knob becomes difficult to turn, and the pole star shifts abruptly while setting up. (There is some play between the worm and the worm gear. As far as I can see, this cannot be adjusted.) The azimuth locking knobs are small and situated up against the Base, thus difficult to loosen and tighten, especially in cold weather. Azimuth fine adjustment screws work well, however. The fact that the polar alignment scope rotates with the RA axis is a bit disconcerting, but alignment holds if one is careful. Because I have a fairly heavy camera and 135mm f/2 lens (approx. 2 kg - 4.4 lbs. total), I opted to attach the CW and CW shaft to the DEC bracket (long side). This configuration counter balances nicely for regions at high declination. For regions at low dec, however, extra weight beyond the supplied 1.35kg CW is necessary. Also, because polar alignment requires that the Base be tilted to an angle equal to the observer's latitude, dec adjustments with the ball head are limited, and some regions cannot be reached. I solved this problem by ordering a Manfrotto junior pan/tilt head, which has extended 180 degree front tilt. The tracking motor operates continuously once the power is on and makes no noise whatsoever! Fast motion RA buttons make framing a region less difficult. Success rate for pin-point star images for 5 min. exposures with my 135mm lens is about 50%.
    Date published: 2017-07-08
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's awesome! I'd buy again. Works incredibly well. With the counterweight, it easily supports and rotates my canon 5D plus 100-400 zoom.
    Date published: 2017-08-06
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent product with excellent customer service I love this portable tracker and can confirm its accuracy.� I have used it up to 3:30 minutes with excellent results.� I am using it with a 14mm Rokinon on an EOS 5DSr mounted with a ball head without the balance system (first image: 3:00 minutes exposure), all the way to a 100-400 mm lens with the counterweight balance system (the second image was shot at 400mm, 2:30 minutes, coma is a lens/filter artifact).�� Using just the tracker with a lighter lens (my wide angle one) makes this device light and compact enough to carry with you in a backpack.� This is of great benefit when shooting night landscapes�in odd locations and not just sky from the side of the road.� It is compact enough for carry on a plane (without the balance system). The 100-400mm setup is pushing it a bit but works well after a few tweaks: I do not like the included clamp which does not work with arca-swiss plates, nor do I like multiple small adjustment screws when working with icy hands (I would take a star for that).� I replaced it by a Benro G2 head which solves the handling issues (one hand operation, safety clamp) but puts the system out of balance.� Here is where iOptron earned its star back: I contacted their support for an extension rod to regain balance without adding another 3 lb weight.� While this is not for sale on their website (as of May 15, 2018), John (tech 1) made things happen for me and got one to me within 3 days. THANKS! If I could change a few things, I'd add an angle viewer to the scope (I am 6'6" and my back would appreciate that help) and use an arca-swiss compatible clamp as a photographer's option.� This does not change my high opinion of the quality and portability of this tracker AND the outstanding customer support. Last remark: At or near its weight limit, you'll need a pretty sturdy tripod.� I use a Manfrotto 055 at half height.� Full height shows too much vibration. iOptron offers a stiff and very affordable but very heavy solution - if you don't plan on hiking or traveling with it.
    Date published: 2018-05-25
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