iOptron SkyGuider Pro Review

The iOptron SkyGuider Pro is a portable EQ mount that offers a trusted solution for astrophotography on the run. The SkyGuider Pro causes shooting long publicity starscapes without star-trailing possible.

On a stationary tripod mount, star trailing begins to show in exposures longer than 25 seconds. Based on your camera’s focal duration, the stars could begin to trail possibly sooner. To combat from this, amateur astrophotographers counteract the rotation of the planet earth using a monitoring Equatorial mount. The problem is definitely, these EQ mounts could be large and obtrusive, making them spend more time indoors than beneath the stars.

And therefore, we enter the realm of the brand new highly-portable tracking mounts just like the iOptron SkyGuider Pro.

The difference tracking may make within an astrophotography image has experience after the very first exposure is taken. No more do stars commence to trail after 20 seconds, and a new level of details and clarity may be accomplished. Nothing shows this trait much better than a lengthy exposure photo of the Milky Approach.

A lightweight monitoring mount is a convenient option for those who tend to getaway under dark skies and want to graphic while you’re there. Bringing a full deep-sky imaging set up from your home can consider up a whole lot of trunk space, and simply isn’t realistic in lots of situations. Because of the SGP, I will have a completely portable deep sky astrophotography kit.

The iOptron SkyGuider Pro can be utilised on a photography tripod and is less obtrusive than a traditional, large equatorial mount. In a sea of competing lightweight sky tracker mounts, the iOptron SkyGuider Pro stands out as the front-runner in this category. (And the purchase price reflects this!)

Long Exposure Picture taking without Star Trailing

In this review, I will share my test pictures using the SGP as a camera mount. I’ve captured wide-angle images of the Milky Approach by using a 17-40mm Canon Zoom lens using exposures from 30-90 seconds. The surveillance camera is controlled via a remote shutter relieve wire that automates an imaging sequence of different long exposures.

The SGP is robust enough to take care of a telephoto zoom lens or small telescope in the 60-70mm range. The counterweight system is adjustable to obtain the right balance to properly distribute the excess fat of your imaging construction.

iOptron SkyGuider Pro Review

The following video recording was published to my YouTube channel in July 2017. This will give you a good idea of the portability and size of the camcorder mount for astrophotography on the run. For an in-depth consider the mount from a technical standpoint, David Morris has put together a good video recording on his channel.

This video above shows the SGP used with a Canon DSLR and wide-angle lens. Unfortunately, I forgot my shutter let go cable at home, so the exposures were limited by 30-seconds each. The image from Cherry Springs even more down the post uses 90-second subs at ISO 1600 on the SGP.

Accurate Camera Tracking on Small Package

It is astonishing in how little the iOptron SkyGuider Pro happens to be. The mount weighs only 3 lbs and is very easily transported in the included cushioned carry circumstance. You can show that iOptron paid attention to astrophotographers needs by incorporating a bubble level, and an adjustable illuminated polar finder scope.

The construction of the all-metal mechanical structure is evident with all the SkyGuider. The option for adding a counterweight and Vixen-type dovetail saddle for tiny telescopes sets this mount in a course above standard DSLR video camera sky trackers.

SkyGuider Pro Specs:

  • 11 lb payload capacity
  • 4 Silent tracking speeds
  • Engraved, Illuminated Polar Scope
  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • Mounts to standard picture taking tripod
  • Incredibly Small
  • Micro USB charging port

iOptron offers several optional equipment for the SGP like the SkyTracker branded Ball Brain, the SkyGuider Pro Tripod, and a good hands controller. I did not require these equipment for my assessment, as years of astrophotography adventures have left me with many valuable bits and pieces from previous rigs.

If you’re taking into consideration the SGP, understand that a sturdy tripod with the typical 1/4? threads is needed to support the mount.

I used an existing ball brain from my carbon fibres daytime picture taking tripod. The SkyTracker top quality version appears similar to the one I use. For the tripod, I finally set the durable tripod legs that came with my old Celestron CG-5 mount to great use.

with the DSLR installed to the Ball Head, pointing the camera in virtually any nearly every direction of the night time sky is possible. Having the ability to capture a particular section of the sky while tracking offers you the freedom to acquire exposures on anything you want.

Perfect for Landscape Astrophotography (Nightscapes)

Based on my Instagram feed, It seems that astrophotography nightscapes are all the rage. Particularly the types of photos that are the Milky Way plus some sort of foreground interest whether that’s a tree, a tent or a mountain. If this kind of astrophotography pursuits you, then a Sky Tracker likely does too.

The iOptron SkyGuider Pro offers 4 tracking speeds, including a 1/2X tracking speed for imaging both the night sky and landscapes simultaneously.

I just tested the iOptron SkyGuider Pro beneath the pristine dark skies at Cherry Springs Superstar Party last month, and obviously, it didn’t disappoint. I simply wish I got captured some landscape curiosity in the shot instead of the silhouetted trees at the bottom of the image.

The images were stacked in DeepSkyStacker and processed in Photoshop to boost clarity and contrast.

  • 12 x 90-second exposures at ISO 1600
  • Canon 450D (modified)
  • Canon EF 17-40mm F/4L Lens

Picking a sky tracker to your requirements

These times, there are many possibilities on this class of lightweight astrophotography mounts. To increase the confusion, a lot of these EQ mounts have very similar brands and features. The models from iOptron and Sky-Watcher have obtained a whole lot of attention lately:

  • iOptron SkyTracker
  • iOptron SkyTracker Pro
  • iOptron SkyGuider Pro
  • Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer
  • Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Mini

The primary question to consider before making a decision on the mount is what your photography goals are. If you’re likely to shoot wide position shots using a DSLR surveillance camera and lens, then your payload capacity is much less of a concern. If you wish to move deeper and use a heavy telephoto zoom lens or a small telescope, a beefier model like the SkyGuider Pro is certainly a better option.

  • NGC 7000
  • 48 x 90s @ ISO 1600
  • Canon 450D w/ 300mm F/4 Lens
  • iOptron SkyGuider Pro

The SkyGuider pro tracks the sky effortlessly during long exposures. Any instability in the mount would reveal right away as of this focal length over the course of a 1.5-minute frame.

I did not need to add the included counterweight and shaft to the unit, as the overall excess weight of my camera + lens was low. The camera was attached with a ball head threaded to the attach.

These tiny EQ mounts are bridging the gap between camera mounts and telescope mounts. For instance, with the SGP, you could impression deep sky things with a DSLR and tiny telescope, with auto guiding. They are abilities which were once reserved limited to larger, less cellular mounts including the Sky-Watcher HEQ5.

Sky Guider Pro or Star Adventurer?

The models from iOptron and Sky-Watcher have already been under the microscope lately, as their price point sits within the number of a broad selection of beginners. The sooner version of this unit is known simply as the SkyGuider Surveillance camera mount, and it lacks the accuracy and portability of the newer iOptron SkyGuider Pro.

The Sky-Watcher Superstar Adventurer attach is strikingly similar in conditions of features to the SGP (SkyGuider Pro) with the same payload capacity and auto guiding abilities. I have not had the pleasure of assessment a Star-Adventurer, but I’ll say that it looks a genuine contender to the iOptron version. Read a review of the Sky-Watcher Superstar Adventurer EQ Mount.

Final Thoughts

I have enjoyed the SGP for most reasons, but a few of them stand out.

User-Friendly

I was ready to go with the SGP best suited out of the field -this mount is actually user-friendly, even in the dark. The mount silently tracks the night sky while I point my DSLR at numerous swaths of sky evaluating different publicity lengths and ISO options providing total freedom to framework up new photos.

The battery is easy to charge utilizing a micro-USB cable and lasts the complete night. The flashing lighting when plugged in let you know that the battery is fully charged.

Mobility

Moving the entire mount (incorporating a tripod) to a new location is easy, seeing that the polar alignment approach can be done in minutes. This convenient in both the backyard (to work around obstructions) so when planing a trip to darker skies. The mount itself is small enough to fit in my glove box.

Versatility

The SkyGuider pro has opened the entranceway to many new astrophotography projects which were previously unthinkable. I am now in a position to utilize my total arsenal of photography lenses with my DSLR as though they were separate monitoring telescopes. The opportunity to use this mount a telescope is an attractive choice for owners of a small refractors like the 72mm William Optics Doublet as pictured below.

This mount completes my new lightweight deep sky astrophotography kit which includes the William Optics Zenithstar 61 APO telescope. I could now photograph large DSO’s while browsing darker sky areas.

I recommend the iOptron SkyGuider Pro to beginners and owners of less mobile-friendly devices Setup like myself.

Browse the Quick Start Lead (PDF)

It’s important to remember what these tracking mounts were designed for; portable astrophotography. It is tempting to prefer to press the SkyGuider pro to its limits and address it as a substitute for a full-presented deep-sky EQ install. You’ll get far better results by setting your objectives for what these little wonders were designed for, capturing the night time sky in conditions where you couldn’t before!

My future plans because of this mount include most wide-field deep-sky focus on the large emission nebulae in Cygnus and the California Nebula. This will be achieved by mounting a 300mm F/4 prime focus zoom lens onto the SGP.

The iOptron SkyGuider Pro is offered by Ontario Telescope and Accessories

What do you think of the iOptron SkyGuider Pro? When you have used this mount for astrophotography, please i want to know your outcomes in the responses. Until next time, clear skies!

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