Sky-Watcher recently introduced the AZ-EQ5 Mount that has generated a lot of interest for it’s low price and very small stated periodic error of only ±5 arc seconds. That’s a native periodic error you would expect to find in a class of mounts more than double the AZ-EQ5’s size and price. That means this mount may wind up being a bargain option for astrophotographers at just $1350.
Part of the reason for this mount’s accuracy is the belt drive in place of the typical worm gear. This was first introduced in the larger Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 mount, which in the US is marketed by Orion as the Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G. Both mounts also support usage in either alt-az (useful for visual and outreach activities) and EQ modes (for astrophotography). Stated load capacity for the Orion Atlas Pro is 40 lbs, and for the Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6, 30 lbs. Keep in mind that the practical weight capacity for astrophotography is probably about 1/2 to 2/3rds of that stated capacity for each mount.
Below text is from the Sky-Watcher Product description:
The Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ5 gives optimal stability and pointing accuracy for a wide variety of professional photo and video equipment. It is a hybrid mount with alt-azimuth capability for general use, equatorial capability for astrophotography use and dual-OTA mode perfect for outreach. Stable, accurate, versatile and very portable –weighing only 33 pounds – the AZ-EQ5 is the perfect field mount. Supplied with a SynScan handset with dual AZ/EQ firmware, it can automatically find and track 42,900+ celestial objects from its database.
Order the Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ5 now from B&H – $1350 (Back-ordered)