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Can you use the AZ GTi for Astrophotography

The Skywatcher AZ GTi mount has literally opened so many opportunities to the amateur and budget friendly astronomer. It’s an awesome little mount that really delivers.

But – can you use the AZ GTi for Astrophotography?

The answer is yes you can. You can use the AZ GTi for astrophotography. The tracking ability may require you to take more and shorter subs per session, but yes you can use this great little tracking mount for astrophotography.

How can I be so confident – I use it and can show with an example here:

Orion Nebula with the AZ GTi

Orion Nebula with the AZ GTi taken in 2021


This photo was taken with the AZ GTi of the Orion Nebula in 2021 – this was testing results with the Star Travel 102 for another post (which is an apochromatic telescope – hence the bloated stars – and not really designed for astrophotography) but it gives you an idea

I will make one thing clear though, and that the AZ GTi has not been designed for the most amazing tracking known to mounts.

It’s a budget mount and so the tracking ability will reflect the price BUT it is capable of tracking and will produce results that those starting in astrophotography will gain motivation by.




What is the Skywatcher AZ GTi mount?

For the majority of you reading this I would assume you know a little bit about this relatively new mount, but for those who have just heard that it may be a great introduction in to goto, tracking and even astrophotography I will explain a little more.


The AZ GTi is small mount created by Skywatcher and is considered to be the budget entry way to give your telescope goto capabilities.

It syncs over a WiFi network to your mobile device where using a free app you can navigate your telescope from your mobile and point it to huge number of objects in the sky!

The fact it’s budget friendly and utilizes the latest technologies through the use of an app will really help bring astronomy to a larger number of people and also kids.

Ordinarily the mount works in Alt AZ mode which is not so great for astrophotography, as you will get now more than 1 or 2 second subs, but by adding a wedge, a counterweight and using the new app Synscan Pro (also free) you can turn this in to an EQ mount.

EQ mounts are of course the standard for astrophotograhy as it will not ‘turn’ the object as it tracks it like an Alt AZ mount will.



How accurate is the AZ GTi mount for Astrophotography?

From personal experience it’s accurate enough for a beginner to start an astrophotography journey without breaking the bank.

I have found up to 1min accuracy (although others have reported up to 2 or even 3 minutes).

This is really good considering the value of the mount, in comparison to the high-end mounts such as the HEQ5 and EQ6-R.

It is worth noting that officially Skywatcher say the mount is not intended to be used for astrophotography.

This though I think more of a stance by Skywatcher so the mount is judged as a Goto rather than Skywatcher making dramatic claims over its astrophotography capabilities.




Who is the AZ GTi mount designed for?

This is definitely a mount aimed at the beginner and novice astrophotographers, but also experienced stargazers who have never experienced Goto before.

That step between a manual mount and Goto is more of a dramatic leap than a small step.

In ALT AZ mode I have managed to have everything setup and ready to go and finding my first object in under 15minutes.

Not bad considering the clock started whilst everything was still packed away in the closet!

Due to its compact size it makes a great travel companion, and also great for older kids. It can fit in a large bag or suitcase. I have managed to fit a small telescope, my AZ GTi and also a sturdy tripod in carry on airplane suitcase size.

If you’re in a State where weather constantly changes, and clear skies a premium, having a grab and go mount as well as a grab and go scope can be perfect.

Knowing if clear skies suddenly open up in my location I can be up and running in 15minutes is also good for motivation on cold nights. Particularly for those without a permeant observatory or dome.




In summary this is a very capable mount. Simple and straight forward but the ability to goto and track the stars, as well as opening up the possibilities of longer exposures for distant galaxies and nebula is a step that every stargazer should try and take.

It’s capable as a tracking mount for astrophotography as long as you are not expecting magazine quality clear results. I think it will get most amateurs close enough.

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