Sky-Watcher EQ5 PRO

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Magazine Verdict: 
Sky-Watcher EQ5 PRO

Vital Stats

Optical Vision Ltd
01359 244200

When we unpacked the EQ5 PRO, the first thing that struck us was its sheer size. With its legs retracted, it stands at 118cm tall and reaches 150cm when fully extended – a bit high for some Newtonian owners perhaps.

The 44mm stainless steel legs are held rigidly by a chunky spreader, which has a good selection of accessory holes. The white finish is attractive and functional. A bubble level helps you get the tripod level, and the structure is rigid at all heights. Rather long, soft rubber feet cause a bit of movement when you press the mount, but this doesn’t seem to affect performance.

Heavy load
The mount head seems well built and capable of supporting quite a load. Our model came with two counterweights and certainly seemed capable of handling its stated maximum payload of 9kg.

The SynScan controller is identical to the one provided with Sky-Watcher's smaller EQ3 PRO mount and boasts over 40,000 objects, plus common features such as periodic error correction and an autoguider port, as found on the Meade and Celestron hand controllers. We liked the glowing buttons, which are printed with a number of commonly used functions such as ‘Planet’, ‘Tour’ and ‘Rate’. This made the menu easier to navigate.

Setting up the tripod was simple enough and a decent polar finderscope enabled us to achieve a fairly accurate alignment. We set up at twilight, which meant we could easily see the reticule, but when it was dark we wished it was illuminated like the Meade’s finder. Power is provided via a cigarette lighter plug cable, so the cost of a suitable 12V power supply needs to be factored in to any purchase.

The SynScan setup routine was very easy to follow and it is possible to enter precise latitude and longitude co-ordinates for your location, not just the nearest city. There are no markings on the body of the mount so we had to judge the ‘home’ position by eye before we started the alignment process. When we carried out our first two-star alignment, though, we found the Go-To accuracy to be very good indeed. Deep-sky targets were easily located on both east and west sides of the mount, while planets and the Moon were similarly well placed in the eyepiece.

Throughout, we appreciated the quiet running motors; even when making large Go-To slews, the mount is quieter than most we've tested, and slewing was acceptably fast as well. 

The EQ5 mount is from a well-established pedigree and has the look and feel of a traditional equatorial mount with a stable field tripod. In every respect, we felt this mount performed very well.

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This review appeared in the July 2010 issue of Sky at Night magazine 

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