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AZ-EQ6GT vs iOptron GEM45


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I have GEM45 currently on order, but there seems to be no delivery immanent - as to be expected in the brave new world.

I have found a retailer with AZ-EQ6GT's in stock.

Now part of me is tempted to consider swapping the order.  In addition to availability I could transfer my iPolar and Altair Saddle (I think) to the AZ.

The GEM does appear more sophisticated and has cable management and USB2 built in. However I have a PBB and ASiair - so again I have that covered.


While the skywatcher appears more basic, the clutches and most importantly the bolts are improved. I won't ever use it in Alt-Az mode.  

The GEM states a capacity of 20Kg - so I'm assuming 15Kg for imaging.  Skywatcher has a stated 25Kg visual and 18kg imaging.  I'm under both figures right now (I'm basing my rig as worst case 12kg).

So kind of thinking out loud and welcoming opinions.


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HI Paul,

I have both the AZ-EQ6GT and the GEM45, both under 6 months old, and I use them both with equal satisfaction. I initially went with the Skywatcher as a brand due to large number of folks who had them and my lack of real product/brand knowledge or experience ( having been in the hobby now for about 12 months ).  I also went with the AZ-EQ6GT model because it had the capacity I wanted and also the flexibility (I wasn't really sure if i would ever use the ALT/AZ Mode, and to date i have not) . To be honest I am still very very pleased with it (.. although it ain't light ) and use it regularly (weather willing) with a RC8 F8 or 115EDT F7, it gives good tracking results. I have to set up on each occasion and that lead me to looking for something Lighter (GEM45) that had roughly the same payload capacity. The GEM is very much a precision looking piece of hardware, fabricated from well finished CNC parts and looking classy, It is much lighter and is currently giving me roughly the same tracking accuracies as the AZ-EQ6GT, I will be honest and say the various ports and power connections in the GEM45 I do not use, I run everything through my Pegasus Ultimate Powerbox. My intention was to keep the GEM45 and sell the AZ-EQ6GT but I couldn’t bring myself to sell as it serves me well and I get enjoyment out of both, I use a Polemaster in the Skywatcher and the ipolar in the iOptron mount. If I were setting out again from scratch and had one opportunity to buy, knowing what I know now I would still go with the AZ-EQ6GT with a polemaster which I am also pleased with. I do have the Altair heavy duty saddle fitted to the Skywatcher mount (much better than the Skywatcher default) and the EQ6 extension tube which I would recommend. For reference the GEM45 I have is on a Tri Pier and that makes it pretty sturdy my GEM45 does not have RA Encoder or iGuider so i cannot comment on those potential features..

For me the overriding factor was that I have to set up each session, my gear is stored up a flight of stairs and the skywatcher is much heavier than the GEM45. Each night it comes down to how strong do i feel.

Not sure if this helps any Paul. Good luck which ever route you take.



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I had an AZ-EQ6GT, and really wasn't happy with it, terrible backlash, horrible protruding adjustments, poorly made, I sold it about 4 years ago and bougth a CEM60, absolutely brilliant, I only upgraded to the 120EC because I was offered a deal I couldn't refuse.


I bought then a 40EC for my travel setup, but have also been using it as a setup in  my garden rather than my observatory and it works superbly.


Sad to say I would not touch a SW mount in future unless they had made some major leaps forward in design.

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Super interesting points.  I swore that after experiences with bolts and chewed lugs I would also never use a skywatcher mount again. While they have a lot going for them I feel their built to price over spec.  The GEM45 strikes me being much more of a modern design.

Weight is kind of an issue - lugging the EQ6 out every night has resulted in injury...yet!
I think I'm getting impatient and think I'll probably wait for the iOptron to land - my gut tells me it's better suited to where I am right now.  

Also having seen 72EDF on one... it has a certain style!

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My next mount is the CEM-70. I'm happy with the Rowan modded HEQ5-Pro I have but, as John says, the protruding bits leave a bit to be desired. I swapped out the AZ adjusters for M10 x 70 long hex bolts and it no longer snags any cabling. No intention of getting rid of that mount any time soon but I am bowled over by the iOptron one and look forward to seeing yours Paul. 

Now that the Suez canal doesn't have a big piece of metal blocking it we might see some more containers of astro gear arriving soon. I hear that containers are in short supply which also compounds orders/deliveries hence the price of most goods climbing a bit.

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that's a real good point on the fact there are many things protruding on the skywatcher, I tend to hang stuff off some of the 'sticky out' bits but it is certainly something to keep in mind when the rig is slewing and flipping, having seen the comment above I guess I do sub consciously keep an eye on the AZ-EQ6GT activities far more than the the GEM45 which i feel more relaxed about when controlling from indoors.    

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On 4/30/2021 at 9:41 PM, paulgrover68 said:

Back last year I had cable snag on the EQ6 the snapped the screws on the EQDIR cable.  Ironically it happened after I had tidied the cables to prevent that type of snag. 

Never had a problem snagging cables on the mount, I only have two coming off the mount, one for power, the other to my laptop. What I do snag cables on, is the locking levers on the bottom of the tripod legs. I'm always careful when doing a flip, the cables always seem to go under these levers.

Edited by AstronomyUkraine
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