Sky Watcher tries their hand with a high-end EQ6 mount, and they did a great job with the EQ6R-Pro.
It has all the upgraded features you would expect of its kind that can easily compete with more expensive alternatives.
For the price, the Sky Watcher is every bit as good without having to spend as much!
It’s a true EQ6 mount made for heavy-duty use with accurate precision for imaging.
✔️ Best Feature: Belt-driven motor
❌ Worst Feature: Polar scope issues
👌 Ideal For: Visual, Astrophotography, Intermediates, Experts
- Mount Design: Computerized Equatorial
- Mount Weight: 38 lbs (17 kg)
- Tripod Weight: 16.5 lbs (7.5 kg)
- Load Capacity: 44 lbs (20 kg)
- Tripod Leg Diameter: 2” (50.8 mm)
Our Verdict: The Sky Watcher EQ6-R Pro is by far one of the best EQ6 mounts in the market for the price. It’s highly rated, has smooth, low to no backlash for imaging, and offers heavy-duty performance. The SkyWatcher mount is a set-it and forget-it kind of setup.
Who is the SkyWatcher EQ6R-Pro Best Suited to?
Thanks to the price, the EQ6R-Pro is a very attractive upgrade for all buyers of all skill levels. It’s not the kind of mount a beginner should buy, but an intermediate and advanced user would be able to take full advantage of the mount’s potential.
While it performs great for visual use and the hand controller makes it easier for beginners to use, real results will come with EQ as you take your astrophotography goals to the next level.
How Does the SkyWatcher EQ6R-Pro Perform?
The Sky Watcher EQ6R-Pro is a high-performing mount with all the right features for its price point. In fact, it may be too well done for its low price, but no one is going to complain when they’re saving at least $500 with this model compared to more pricier ones.
It has everything you want to see from a belt-driven stepper motor to remote control capability, internal mechanical stops to prevent issues like the crashing into the tripod, and a new polar alignment feature that allows you to polar align even if the poles are obstructed.
The SkyWatcher mount has it all. It’s not lacking in anything that the more expensive ones have, so it’s definitely a value buy for those looking to spend less while gaining more out of their mount.
Features & Benefits
The EQ6R-Pro has a belt-driven motor that is absolutely an upgrade as it eliminates the middle gear that connects the motor and the worm drive. Without the gear, backlash is eliminated since there is no gap between the teeth the motor must clear to provide the correction. Without the gear, there is no interruption in guiding, and you can keep most, if not all, frames in your exposures.
Since belts were previously only offered as a modification, it’s great to see the EQ6R keeping up with the times with a better price tag in tow.
Flexible Polar Alignment
Achieving an extremely close and precise alignment as you can is essential in an EQ mount. To make it easier, an illuminated polar finderscope is built-in to the mount and features a grid reticle for the Northern Hemisphere. For the South, the reticle has a built-in Octans constellation to polar align.
You can also use the hand controller to acquire assistance with polar alignment when you can’t see Polaris from your location. You can align with any visible star that you see, and with upgraded adjustment screw heads, it will be easier to perform.
SynScan Hand Controller
The SynScan hand controller that comes with the high-end EQ6R-Pro is the same hand controller used with SkyWatcher’s other mounts. This makes it easy to make the upgrade as there is little to no learning curve for SkyWatcher owners that have the SynScan on another mount.
However, as expected for its price, it does offer PC/laptop connectivity for remote control. You can bypass use of the hand control and use additional software to get it done. For visual-only use, the hand control is very convenient to have.
Stepper motors are quieter than servo motors, and this is a huge benefit when you don’t want to disrupt the neighbors during your late-night stargazing adventure.
Even so, you can still acquire accuracy up to 1-arc minute when you crank up the slew and tracking speed all while staying quiet.
Polar Scope Issues
A polar scope is included with the EQ6 mount and is calibrated at the factory. However, it doesn’t always stay calibrated while it’s on its way to the buyer. The reticle may appear off, but the good news is, you can rotate the RA axis by loosening the retaining screws. Realign with the axis again, and you’re good to go.
Is the Sky Watcher EQ6 Mount easy to Transport?
The total assembly with the included counterweights comes to 76.5 lbs. It’s a heavy rig, but astrophotographers know that this weight is not only justified, it’s needed.
To help make transportation easier, the mount head and tripod can be detached and there is actually a built-in carry handle in the body of the mount. This helps with better balancing while moving the 38 lb mount and you’re less likely to drop it.
Does the EQ6-R Pro Remember Time and Date?
Unfortunately, the SynScan hand controller does not have an internal clock. It’s necessary to input the time and date every time you power on the EQ6-R Pro mount. While it is a tedious step for some people, it’s an expected one as many mounts still do not have this feature.
Is the Sky Watcher EQ6-R Mount Compatible with my Telescope?
The EQ6R-Pro mount from Sky Watcher has a dual-width saddle that allows mounting of Vixen and Losmandy dovetail plates. You can adjust the width to fit the dovetail that comes with your telescope. As a very versatile and convenient feature, it will fit almost all modern telescopes.
As a high-end mount that has an attractive price point, it’s awesome to see that it can hold its own against its pricier alternatives.
It might not have dual encoders or an internal clock, but it does have a belt-drive stepper motor, polar assist feature, dual-width dovetail saddle, and a heavy-duty 44 lb payload capacity. These are all the kinds of upgrades an expert user is looking for in a mount.
It goes without saying that the Sky Watcher EQ6R-Pro is one of the best EQ6 mounts yet.