I while ago I made a comparison table for mass-production mounts under $5k and some nice charts with its data. Since I was recently looking at the mid/high end mount category, which is even less straightforward, I thought it would be interesting if I made a similar table. So, this time nicer small mounts like Takahashi and Astro-physics are included, along with observatory-grade mounts up to $15k and 100kg capacity. There’s a Celestron and a Meade thrown in because they didn’t fit the other table, but otherwise this listing contains superior quality mounts and thus things like mount capacity are not comparable the other table, as high end manufacturers tend to be very conservative with their numbers, quoting “realistic” imaging loads. As before, the specs were mainly lifted from the manufacturer page, except the peak to peak Periodic Error which is shown as a range (and before / after correction values) from various reports (this source was helpful also this and numerous CN threads).
The table will not tell you which mount to buy obviously, but it should be useful to see at a quick glance what kind of competition there is in your desired category. The prices are current at the posting of this article, but don’t expect me to keep up with price changes, I will only update if the table becomes outdated overall.
|Manufacturer / Model||Price||Mount Head (kg)||Payload (kg)||Hand-controller||Polar Scope||PE (arcsec)||PEC|
|10 Micron GM1000 HPS||$9020/£6198||19.5||25||Yes||No||1||Yes|
|10 Micron GM2000 HPS II||$13703/£9514||30||50||Yes||No||1||Yes|
|Avalon M-Zero||$4150/£3399||7.5||8||Yes||Yes, illum||10-14/-||No|
|Avalon Linear||$5160/£3840||12.5||20||Yes||Yes, illum||10-14/-||No|
|Avalon M-Uno||$6289/£4660||14.9||20||Yes||Yes, illum||10-14/-||No|
|Celestron CGE Pro||$4999/£3889||34||41||Yes||No||14-18/5||Yes|
|Losmandy HGM Titan||$5995/£5799||34||45||Yes||Opt, external||7/14/2002||Yes|
|Mesu-Mount 200||?/£5199||25.7||65||Yes||Opt, external||2-4/-||No|
|Takahashi EM-11 Temma-2||$3350/£3043||7||9||Yes||Yes, illum||7-20/-||No|
|Takahashi EM-200 Temma-2M||$5210/£4198||15||18||Yes||Yes, illum||10/-||No|
|Takahashi EM-400 Temma-2M||$9150/£7596||27.7||35||Yes||Yes, illum||10/-||No|
|Takahashi EM-500 Temma-2M||$13020/£12324||45||45||Yes||Yes, illum||7/-||No|
|Vixen AXD (Atlux Deluxe)||$7500/£7999||25||30||Yes||Yes, illum||?||Yes|
As before, we start charting with the mount head weight vs payload capacity graph:
The further you are from the dotted line towards the upper left, the worse your payload/weight ratio. There are three mounts that manage to “lift” more than twice their weight, the Astro-Physics 1100GTO, the Gemini G53F and the payload/weight ratio champion, Mesu-200. Obviously you should take these with a grain of salt, as some manufacturers might be more conservative in their specs than other, but the Mesu-200 is indeed known to have a good lift ratio due to being rather spartan-built – no weight is added for nice finishings.
Moving on to the Price/Payload capacity charts, I made separate ones for US/UK prices. This is because the prices fluctuate more than what we saw in the mass production mount tables between US and Europe, and this is because we are talking about niche manufacturers and heavy equipment, meaning US-manufactured units are far cheaper in the US (e.g. Astro-Physics) while European-made units (e.g. 10 Micron, Fornax, Avalon) are far cheaper in Europe (I didn’t even find an actual US price for the Mesu Mount).
You can see that the most lift/buck in the UK (and Europe in general) is provided by the Fornax and Mesu Mounts, with the CGE Pro following also below the £100 per kg line. In the US, the closest mount to the $100 per kg line is the Losmandy G11 with the Celestron CGE Pro following. Even though the Fornax mounts are much more expensive in the US they are not far behind. Note that the Mesu-mount is of unknown price (you’ll have to get a shipping quote from the manufacturer). Also, to re-iterate, these charts are mainly for fun as we do not know how each manufacturer describes “maximum payload” exactly. E.g. the Takahashi mounts have a low lift/cost ratio which either means they are expensive for their size, or perhaps Takahashi rates them conservatively (or a combination of both).