The CGX is one of the best GEM mounts in the market and is every bit worth it if you can afford it.
It has multiple improvements that are intentional design upgrades from Celestron’s CGEM and AVX.
Is it worth the price jump?
Let’s find out.
✔️ Best Feature: Computerized Equatorial
❌ Worst Feature: Heavy
👌 Ideal For: Visual, Astrophotography, Intermediates, Experts
- Mount Design: Computerized Equatorial
- Mount Weight: 44 lbs (20 kg)
- Tripod Weight: 19.2 lbs (8.7 kg)
- Load Capacity: 55 lbs (25 kg)
- Tripod Leg Diameter: 2” (50.8 mm)
Our Verdict: The CGX is an excellent upgrade for the money. If you are depending on highly accurate performance for astrophotography, the CGX will perform.
Who is the Celestron CGX Best Suited to?
The CGX is one of those mounts that advanced users should buy – that is, if they want the best backlash free performance from a high-quality and highly accurate mount. It’s perfect for astrophotography use as it has redesigned improvements that allows ultimate, worry-free remote operation.
While it can be used for visual use, it will be overkill if this is the sole purpose. Most of its best features will allow this mount to shine as an astrophotography mount with incomparable performance against the current offerings in the market.
How Does the Celestron CGX Perform?
Looking to image with unparalleled tracking and guiding accuracy? The CGX was made for it.
Celestron took feedback to heart when they decided to come out with a computerized GEM that can overcome the limitations that many imagers struggle with on inferior mounts. With no backlash, periodic error correction, a large latitude range, and increased payload capacity, it truly is an astro-imager’s dream mount.
Sensors on both axes, mechanical hard stops, a built-in belt drive system, and spring-loaded worm gears makes for a smooth, intuitive setup that is ideal for worry-free remote operation.
Features & Benefits
The CGX telescope mount features multiple upgrades. One such notable feature is its belt-drive system with spring-loaded worm gears. This is a significant difference to comparable alternatives in the market that use gears to connect both the worm drive and motor. As a result, we know backlash tends to be an issue. By using a toothed belt to connect the worm drive and the motor, you effectively eliminate backlash.
You also have internal optical sensors for homing and limits to prevent hard stops. The homing sensors allow the tube to always start in their homing index position every time you power it on – this is true control from a remote location to eliminate hands-on use.
The CGX also features internal cabling and hard stops to avoid issues like snagging, strained cables, and tripod strike. All the mount’s mechanical and computerized features have been thought-out to provide ultimate remote control without fear of accidents.
The CGX has an increased payload capacity of 55 lbs. It’s always best not to exceed 75% of the payload to prevent strain on the mount when imaging, but since the mount is suitable for visual, you can max out payload to load up whatever accessories you wish to use. Considering its very generous payload for visual, you wouldn’t have to remove any equipment you use for imaging. Just attach your eyepieces and Barlows and get observing.
What’s also impressive is the dual dovetail saddle that allows you to use either a Vixen or Losmandy dovetail. What does this mean? Any telescope can be mounted to the CGX – it’s setup to be a versatile unit.
Of course, with the wider tripod stance and adjustable EQ mount head, you can achieve easy center of gravity balance to keep the tube where it needs to be to take advantage of the full 3-65-degree latitude range.
The CGX comes with the NexStar+ hand control, 2x AUX ports, USB port, an autoguider port, and it’s ready to receive a 12VDC power supply cable and is PPEC ready.
If you’re setting up your telescope system for a planetarium controlled setup, you likely won’t need the hand control, but it’s nice that it’s included, especially if you end up doing some visual use with friends.
It’s ready to be used with WiFi for wireless control, is compatible with many of Celestron’s telescope apps and wireless module, and it can be connected to a PC for full software and interface control.
Even though the CGX has a low-profile design for compactness and has ergonomic carry handles for easier transportation, it’s still quite heavy weighing in at a total of 64 lbs (approx.).
This can be an issue for those who plan on traveling, but the heft is easily justified – it’s a heavy-duty mount that can withstand strong gusts of wind when you’re observing or imaging outside.
For remote controlled environments, weight is a non-issue since it won’t be moved as often.
What is the Weight of the Counterweights?
There are two 11 lb counterweights that come with the Celestron CGX Equatorial mount.
What Accessories come with the Celestron CGX Mount?
Along with the mount head and tripod you can expect the counterweights, accessory tray, NexStar+ hand control, holster for the hand control, a 12VDC power cable, and 8 mm Allen wrench.
Do the Belts have to be Installed Manually on the CGX Computerized Mount?
The belts already come preinstalled on the Celestron CGX mount. There is no need to assemble them upon initial assembly of the mount and tripod.
Do you have to Enter Date and Time Upon Startup?
The CGX Computerized Equatorial mount has an internal real-time clock. You don’t need to input this information into the hand control every time you power up the telescope.
With the right cable and through the PWI software, when you bypass use of the hand control, you save yourself this time-consuming step.
Celestron really nailed it with the CGX. While most upgrades tend to have few things different, this model overcomes the limitations often seen on inferior mounts. It also sports some very high-end features that you would not normally see in this price range. If you can afford this highly-recommended mount, it’ll be one of the best investments into your astro-imaging setup you’ll ever buy.