Mid-high End ($3-15k) Telescope Mount Comparison Table

June 30, 2020 // by ecuador

  • UPDATE 2020-06-30: I guess it was time for an update, the main changes are the Mesu Mount 200 MKII (instead of the original), the Gemini E.fric instead of the G53F, the Astro-Physics Mach2GTO instead of the Mach1 and the Celestron CGX-L instead of the CGE Pro. The iOptron CEM120 and SkyWatcher EQ8 were added to the mix, as they were closer to this tier. Several price updates too.

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, a Meade, a SkyWatcher and an iOptron 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 also before / after PE Correction values separated by a “/”) 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the posting of this article, but don’t expect me to keep up with price changes, I will only update if the table becomes outdated overall.

Also, prices in this list are often just an indication, as they may exclude significant shipping costs/duty/tax – although I tried to find a price from a US or UK/EU seller where possible.

Manufacturer / ModelPriceMount Head (kg)Payload (kg)Hand-controllerPolar ScopePE (arcsec) / PE w. PECPEC
10 Micron GM1000 HPS$9196/£728519.525YesNo1Yes
10 Micron GM2000 HPS II$13969/£112003050YesNo1Yes
Astro-Physics Mach2GTO$8940/£997017.734YesOptional0.25Yes
Astro-Physics 1100GTO$7970/£886224.550YesOptional<7/1-2Yes
Astro-Physics 1600GTO$10870/£1210052100YesOptional<5/1-2Yes
Avalon M-Zero$4183/£32387.58YesYes, illum***No
Avalon Linear$5470/£427012.520YesYes, illum***No
Avalon M-Uno$6759/£528014.920YesYes, illum***No
Celestron CGX-L$3599/£35552434YesOpt, external?/4Yes
Fornax 52$4748/£39803550OptOptional16/<1*TDM
Fornax 100$6740/£59705080OptOptional16/<1*TDM
Fornax 150/100$9797/£909870100OptOptional12/<1*TDM
Gemini E.fric$3722/£32811830OptionalOptional?No
Losmandy G11G$3395/£356316.327YesOptional3.5-10/<1Yes
Losmandy HGM Titan$5995/£68003445YesOpt, external7-14/2Yes
Meade LX850$6579/£69652542YesNo8-16/3-7Yes
Mesu-Mount 200 MKII$5290/£514024.1**100YesOpt, external4.6/-No
Paramount MyT$5995/£65501523NoNo4-7/<1Yes
Paramount MX+$8995/£101002345NoOptional4-7/<1Yes
Takahashi EM-11 Temma-2Z$3350/£359079YesYes, illum7-20/-No
Takahashi EM-200 Temma-2Z$5210/£54251518YesYes, illum10/-No
Takahashi EM-400 Temma-2Z$9150/£957027.735YesYes, illum10/-No
Takahashi EM-500 Temma-2Z$13020/£147774545YesYes, illum7/-No
Vixen AXD2 (Atlux Deluxe)$7999/£71002530YesYes, illum?Yes
iOptron CEM120$3999/£32502652YesOpt, electronic<7****Yes
SkyWatcher EQ8-R$4080/£299925.850YesOpt, externalYes

* Fornax mounts don’t offer PEC, they do suggest you optionally purchase the TDM encoder system.
** The Mesu Mount 200 MKII head is technically 16kg, but the detachable 5kg wedge and 2.5kg counterweight bar were included for comparison with the other mounts that have them as part of the head.
*** The Avalon mounts by design have a very high (reportedly even over 50-60″ p-p), but very slow PE (with no PEC possibility), so cannot be used for unguided AP at any significant focal ratio. Their slow PE is very easy to guide, so they are popular mounts for guided AP.
**** The CEM120 also comes in two more expensive encoder versions (EC/EC2) which specify PE <0.15″ RMS.

So, as in the mass produced mount comparison, we start 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 just 3 mounts that manage to “lift” at least twice their weight, the iOptron CEM120, the Astro-Physics 1100GTO and the payload/weight ratio champion, Mesu-200 MKII, with a claim that it is able to lift more than 4 times its weight! Obviously you should take these with a grain of salt, as some manufacturers might be more conservative in their specs than others, but the Mesu-200 is indeed known to have a great lift capacity for its weight.

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. Note that prices are not directly comparable, as some may exclude large transportation fees / taxes / duties. E.g. you’d have to arrange to import the Mesu 200 yourself to the US, while others are available in US stores. Also, while I tried to include at least GoTo for all mounts, there can be big differences in what is included – e.g. the G11 and the CGX-L include a tripod.

You can see that the most lift/buck is provided by the Mesu, iOptron, SkyWatcher, Fornax mounts, with the new Celestron entry just missing the $100/kg and £100/kg lines (like the CGE Pro had done before the update). The new Gemini E.fric follows the Celestron closely. As noted, the Mesu mount’s cost is under-represented for the US, as I could not find a price from a retailer, while the SkyWather and iOptron are mass-produced type mounts so they are not exactly on par with most others (similar to Celestron/Meade). 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).

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8 thoughts on “Mid-high End ($3-15k) Telescope Mount Comparison Table

  1. Thanks for the overview you made.
    I see you publish data about my products.
    I sell my New Mesu-200 MK II for 4711 euro outside the EU and 5700 euro inside the EU including 21%VAT.
    I tested the mount with 100kg and it can reach it’s guide specifications with that load.
    The mass of the head is 16kg.
    Can be interesting because it’s a big differece with what I read here.

    Best Regards,

    Lucas Mesu

  2. Jesus says:

    Could you leave online the old comparison tables? I want to buy an g53f used and I need to know if worth the money.

  3. Michael Milligan says:

    Hi, great article – it’s much appreciated. A couple of quick points:

    The Astro-Physics Mach II is listed in the table but shows as the Mach I on the graphs.

    And, to my dismay, it looks like the price for the Astro-Physics Mach II just went from $8,940 to $10,950 overnight! I’m on the list and barely missed the last cut with the lower price earlier this year.

    With that price increase, I am considering other options for my A-P 130EDT. Unfortunately, I’m decidedly ungifted as far as being handy is concerned, and the ease of use was something I very much wanted the Mach II for. But wow, what an increase!

    Thanks again,
    Michael Milligan
    Hooper Utah

    • ecuador says:

      Thanks for noting the Mach I/II mistake. I am sort of waiting for the prices to stabilize after the – sometimes huge – pandemic-induced jumps, before updating the charts. That 20% increase you are seeing is not even one of the biggest ones percentage-wise, as some cheaper mounts have been affected much more. I have no idea what to advise people who are asking me when it is a good time to buy price-wise…

  4. Joe Fournet says:

    That chart was well done and very helpful to me. I wanted to thank you for your time and effort and hope that an updated chart can be made as well. If you know of any other manufacturers or improvements made on existing products, that would be great. I am using the CGX-L mount with Hyperstar and am getting some great photos. At this time, I think I will stay with the CGX-L but would not mind going to a more premium mount in the future.

    Again- thanks,

    Joe Fournet- Lafayette, LA

    • ecuador says:

      Thanks for the feedback. I do update from time to time when I notice many changes, so I’ll look into adding/updating when I have time.

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