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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:04 am 
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Hi folks,
I have tried to research whether there is any difference between the AllView Mount / Merlin GoTo / Merlin Non-GoTo Heads.
As far as I have come, the AllView Mount includes encoders that will allow the recognition of the current position of the head regardless of manual modification of the orientation. Is there any other (big) difference?
I love to do photography of any kind and I am seeking the most versatile head I can for the lowest price. A head that can also be used as an astronomical mount with GoTo enabled and also for panoramic shooting and I must be able to control it via PC. So I have searched the internet and what I found were these three heads in my price range. I am a kind of tinkerer so making some additional cables etc. should not be the problem.

My questions:
Is the Merlin GoTo = Merlin NonGoto but GoTo has a better hand controller (with GoTo) and NonGoTo has an additional shutter release port? Is this the only difference?
If so, can the GoTo handset be bought separately OR can I add a shutter release port to the GoTo version myself? Do I need to flash a different firmware and if so, is this easily performable?

The AllView Mount seems to be the most advanced and versatile (that is what I want!) mount of all, allowing me to shoot panos and do astrophotography (with my teleskope attached) but also the most expensive. Has anybody some experiences regarding this mount and a Canon 5DMkII or 400D? Will those cameras fit the other mounts with a bit of tinkering?

Thank you in advance, any help is greatly appreciated.

Christian


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:35 am 
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Location: Isleham, Cambridgeshire, UK.
Welcome to the forum...

chross wrote:
Is the Merlin GoTo = Merlin NonGoto but GoTo has a better hand controller (with GoTo) and NonGoTo has an additional shutter release port? Is this the only difference?
If so, can the GoTo handset be bought separately OR can I add a shutter release port to the GoTo version myself? Do I need to flash a different firmware and if so, is this easily performable?

As far as I know it was only early models of the GoTo version that lacked the shutter release port and all current models have it.

Yes the handcontroller of the GoTo is different, from a Papywizard and pano photography perspective the only advantage is that the GoTo hand controller can be used as a RS232-TTL converter/adapter in a wired serial connection between PC and the Merlin mount.

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Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:53 am 
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Thanks for the reply.

I've found that exact info on the web after your reply:
http://www.autopano.net/wiki-en/index.php?title=Special:Pdfprint&page=PapyMerlin_FAQ

Quote:
There are two versions of the Merlin mount - which we call the 'Non-GoTo' and the 'GoTo' versions.
The Non-GoTo version was the first to be produced and is the version we recommend for use with Papywizard.
The GoTo model was introduced later. It is more expensive, and when first introduced it lacked the camera
control port found on the Non-GoTo model. To use this original variant of the GoTo mount with Papywizard you
have to use of a special version of the Bluetooth module from Teleskop-Austria which provides an independent
camera control port.
Now it seems that Skywatcher, who makes all these mounts, has had a change of plan and from now on the GoTo
version of the mount will also have the built-in camera control port.
The only differences now between the Non-GoTo and GoTo versions of the mount are that the GoTo version has
the more advanced GoTo hand controller, and lacks the 2.5mm-2.5mm camera control cable (which is supplied
with the Non-GoTo version). So with the latest variant of the GoTo mount you no longer need to have the special
Bluetooth module from Teleskop-Austria for use with Papywizard.

So the merlin heads are equal. Now which head should I get for my needs? What about the digital encoders?

The load they can bear seems to be the same:

Skywatcher - MERLIN SynScan AZ Goto Table Top Goto Mount
4 kg load

Skywatcher - AllView Mount
4 kg load


Last edited by chross on Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:03 am 
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Location: Isleham, Cambridgeshire, UK.
chross wrote:
Has anybody some experiences regarding this mount and a Canon 5DMkII or 400D? Will those cameras fit the other mounts with a bit of tinkering?

Unlike manual pano heads - such as the Nodal Ninja range - the Merlin mount has no built-in means of adjusting the dimensions of the head on the yaw axis.

If the dimension from base of the camera to centre of the lens mount is greater than 40mm, and/or the diameter of the lens barrel is greater than 80mm, then you will need to modify the dovetail clamp and/or rail on the pitch axis in order top mount your camera/lens at the NPP in portrait orientation.

_________________
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:23 am 
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To which length are you referring ?
I've had a look at http://wiki.panotools.org/Entrance_Pupil_Database and suppose you mean the H value, right?

Anyway, thank you very much.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:34 am 
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Location: Isleham, Cambridgeshire, UK.
chross wrote:
suppose you mean the H value, right?

Yes.

_________________
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.


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