By: Vlad Fedosov
The Celestron AVX mount is the latest addition to a long line of Vixen GP mount clones. There has been numerus copies of the Vixen design form Celestron, Meade, Orion and other manufactures of this basic design for at least the last 20 years. What this means is that the design is a very sound one in the price range! Let’s take a look at how the AVX performs and a few comparisons to the other common mounts in the class.
I had the opportunity to use a few AVX’s aver the last few years. I have also used the mount that came before it the Celestron Advanced GT. Overall the experience that I have had with it is that it is on par with other Vixen clones but with a bit more updated electronics. Stability of the mount is about what you get with a Meade LXD-75. The mount is rated at 30lb. I have used a c11(30lb) on one of these and while it does technically work, it’s certainly not ideal even for visual use.
You can comfortably mount 20lb for visual use and I would really keep it below 15lb for astrophotography. I know that a lot of people dipping their feet into astrophotography want to know if this mount will do. Well if you do a search online you will find many fine images taken on this mount. It’s certainly possible but its far from ideal. What I mean by that is that you will have a much easier time doing it on a higher quality/capacity mount such as a Atlas Pro, g8, g11, ext. These Vixen clones just inherently have quite a bit of backlash in the gearing and are just mot machined very precisely. No surprise there, its an entry level budget GEM mount. If you do want to try astrophotography on something like this mount, I would highly recommend starting with a short focal length APO.
GOTO accuracy on the AVX is good. For the kind of scope that I would put on it(c8, small APO), it’s certainly accurate enough to place the in the FOV of low power eyepiece or the sensor of a larger chip. I do find using Celestron’s version of the hand controller easier than Meade’s overall. The buttons are easier to press and the menu layout is just easier to get through when you get used to it.
As I have talked about in my Meade LXD-75 review to me the real strength of this class mount is in its light weight and use as a grab-and-go setup. I used to use a LXD-75 setup with a c8 that I could just carry out at one piece out the back door for a little observing. Very fast and a pleasure to use in that application!
In conclusion would I recommend the AVX? It depends. If you are a visual observer with a lighter scope such as a: 120mm APO or smaller, c8, ext than YES! Want to try astrophotography on a budget with a 80mm or smaller APO? Sure! If you are planning on anything more than that I would really save up for a heavier duty mount. Basically, anything above this mount will be significantly better for both visual and astrophotography but will also be significantly heavier.
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