Orion Atlas Pro AZ EQ-G Telescope Mount Review


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The Orion Atlas mount is a popular and high-quality mount that was ahead of its time for its time.

Now that we demand even more from a mount, it makes sense to demand an upgrade of a tried-and-proven model.

Enter here, the Atlas Pro.

Zooming in…

✔️ Best Feature: Dual EQ & AZ use

Worst Feature: Learning curve w/hand controller

👌 Ideal For: Visual, Astrophotography, Intermediates, Experts

  • Mount Design: Computerized Equatorial
  • Mount Weight: 34 lbs (15.4 kg)
  • Tripod Weight: 16.5 lbs (7.5 kg)
  • Load Capacity: 44 lbs (20 kg)
  • Tripod Leg Diameter: 2”

Our Verdict: The Atlas Pro is right on par with high-end mounts of this price range. It offers everything the favorite Atlas has plus some. For extreme performance, demand extreme quality.

Who is the Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G Best Suited to?

If you were a fan of the Orion Atlas, you’ll fall hard for the Atlas Pro. Even if you’ve never owned an Atlas mount, you’ll recognize the quality features and versatility the Pro model offers.

This is a mount for advanced astro-imagers hands down. Those looking for more from their setup have it with the Pro model.

How Does the Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G Perform?

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The Orion Atlas Pro has been upgraded to have the latest technologies that astro-imagers now demand. It’s appropriate for its time and yet it has so much that will keep you satisfied, busy, and productive for many years to come.

It has just the kind of upgrades one might be looking for: increased payload capacity and a more accurate belt-driven motor system. What you can do with just these two improvements can mean the world in astrophotography.

You can also slew the scope manually without having to realign, command the Pro from a remote location, and still acquire the accuracy needed to keep stars bright and sharp without trails.

When you’re ready for just some observation-only fun, you can unlock the pin and set the altitude adjustment for alt-az motion. Not only can you use one telescope in alt-az, you can load up another telescope.

With a dual-width dovetail saddle, you can top the mount with telescopes with either Vixen-style or Losmandy-style dovetail plates. The choice is yours.

Features & Benefits

Dual EQ & AZ Use

The Orion Atlas Pro is essentially a 3-in-1 telescope system that provides both EQ and AZ motion. Why do you need AZ on an EQ mount? For visual-only observation. The Atlas Pro is designed to hold one telescope or two as it comes with a second saddle. You remove the locking pin and adjust the mount into position to acquire AZ motion.

However, for as impressive as it is to use two scopes in AZ, the Atlas Pro is designed to shine in EQ. It’s made for imaging and one such upgrade that caters to it is the increased payload capacity of 44 lbs.

Remote Control

While the Illuminated SynScan hand controller offers a database of 42,000 objects and high accuracy, you will not need it if you’re setting up remote control. The Pro mount can be used with a PC or laptop and can even be used wirelessly with your iOS smartphone. You will need the wireless module and Orion StarSeek software for this capability.

Upgrades

To support the possible use of two telescopes, increased load capacity, and performance accuracy you need more than gears. The Atlas Pro has a belt-driven stepper motor system to get it done. The result is increased tracking performance with no backlash. When you don’t want to dump any frames from your exposures, you need this type of quality out of your mount.

The counterweight shaft has also increased in diameter to 1”, the RA and Dec. axes have robust clutches, and a smooth and good friction latitude adjustment to acquire precise and accurate polar alignment. The latitude range on the Pro model is 10-75, and 90 degrees.

Since the Pro has two encoders per axis, you can manually slew the tube and GoTo will know exactly where you are. You can also index your home position meaning that you can return to your original position without having to realign.

Limitations

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Learning Curve w/Hand Controller

If you’re not accustomed to using the SynScan controller, you’ll require more of a learning curve than someone else. It has some upgrades which has said to make it a tad slower and harder to use, and not everyone is a fan of its interface.

However, when you’re bypassing the controller, you won’t need to use it anyway. For those moments when you do, you’ll find its complexity is due to the many features it offers.

Popular Questions

How Much Weight can be Loaded onto the Second Saddle Plate?

You can load up to 44 lbs on each side of the mount on the Orion Atlas Pro mount. It doesn’t mean that you should, but Orion says that you can. Since the second telescope is essentially taking the place of the counterweights, you will have to get the right balance and cater for any additional accessories you’re loading on to both telescopes.

How Much does the Orion Atlas Pro Weigh?

Interesting to note, the mount head on the Pro model is lighter than the original Atlas with a higher payload capacity. The mount head and tripod weighs a total of 51.1 lbs. With the 2x 11 lb counterweights, total assembly is 73.1 lbs.

Does the Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G come with Dovetail Plates?

The dovetail plates are not included with the Orion Atlas Pro mount. What does come with it are two saddle brackets. They allow you to attach the dovetail plate that is on the telescope to the mount and secondary “mount” if you wish to use a second telescope.

Conclusion

The Atlas Pro offers excellent and extreme imaging performance that is needed for excellent and extreme astro images. It’s within the same caliber as other high-end telescope mount types for its price with the same upgrades such as a belt drive system, increased load capacity, and remote control capability.

With the Pro mount in your toolkit, there are no observation and imaging limits. The skies are yours.

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