HEQ5-black mountThe HEQ5 mount has been around for many years and comes in a variety of options, The basic black version which i am using features built-in motors, a polarscope and manual handset. people say this is best suited for visual astronomy but I beg to differ. 

The main reason for purchase was costs. My HEQ5 mount only cost me just over a hundred pounds from ebay and has proved very good at taking images on a budget.

Excellent polar alignment and a permanent pier has helped me achieve up to 4 minute exposures unguided with my Nikon D7000 and a 300mm lens. Most of my images in my gallery of the deep sky were taken with this setup.

So if people tell you, you need the latest goto mount with tracking this is simply not true, If costs are a factor then i will highly recommend the HEQ5 mount. If costs are not a problem and you don’t mind spending around £600 on a mount then the HEQ5 pro would be an excellent choice.

So what’s the difference between an HEQ5 black mount and an HEQ5 White Mount

The mounts are identical with regard to capacity but they have very different motor drive systems.

The HEQ5 (Black) has 3 speeds, a maximum slew speed of 16 X sidereal and no GoTo facility although it can be upgraded to GoTo at a later date whereas the HEQ5 Pro (White) has a different controller board, motors and hand controller giving multiple slew speeds up to 800X sidereal and full GoTo capabilities.

HEQ5 Black Version

HEQ5-blackThis HEQ5 is designed for the astronomers who want the same stability as the EQ6, but find the EQ6 too physically demanding, built-in polar telescope and holder, large RA and DEC clamps, built-in dual-axis motor control with multi-speed remote control and counterweights. The field tripod is very stable, height adjustable and can hold up to 18 Kg.

  • Mounting type: equatorial
  • Includes accessory tray
  • Load capacity up to 18 kg
  • 1.75″ diameter steel legs
  • Suitable for novice and experienced astronomer
  • Includes tracking motor on DEC and RA axis

HEQ5 Syntrek

HEQ5 syntrekFeatures higher quality stepper motors, a new mother-board and ST-4 autoguiding port for astrophotography.

  • Load capacity up to 18 kg
  • 1.75″ diameter steel legs
  • Suitable for novice and experienced astronomer
  • Includes tracking motor on DEC and RA axis
  • Easily expandable with the optionally available GoTo module


HEQ5 Pro

HEQ5 ProSkywatcher HEQ5 pro is a HEQ5 Syntrek but supplied with a Synscan GOTO handset, not the manual handset.

  • Motor resolution at 0.144arc sec (or 9.024,000 steps/rev.)
  • Slew speeds from 2x, 8x, 18x, 32x, 64x, 400x, 500x, 600x, and up to 3.4°/sec (800X)
  • Sidereal, Solar and Lunar tracking rates
  • One, Two and Three star alignment options
  • Auto guider interface for astrophotography
  • Guiding speed from 0.25x, 0.50x, 0.75x, or 1x
  • Minimal vibration for steady long-exposure astrophotography
  • Payload Capacity 13.7Kg


This image of The Orion Nebula I shot without any guiding, just used the HEQ5 basic RA tracking using a Nikon D7000 camera and an Nikkor 300mm ED IF lens on a black HEQ5 basic mount

40x 2 min exposures, 5 dark frames and 30 bias frames were used. Processed in Deep Sky Stacker then edited in Photoshop CC