Sky-Watcher Stainless Steel Tripod (AZ5) - Information

Motivation | Look | Look with Telescope Tubes | First Photo Attempts | First Experiences | First Conclusions | Links || Appendix: Data

On this page, I present some information about my new Sky-Watcher stainless steel tripod (according to outer box AZ5; ordered on May 10, 2021, arrived on May 14, 2021). On this tripod, I would like to operate my AZ-GTi mount head that I acquired shortly before, if applicable also with a wedge.

Note: For the sake of simplicity, I will call the tripod the AZ5 tripod or AZ5 stainless steel tripod in the following.

See the appendix for the technical data.



Why did I buy the Sky-Watcher AZ5 tripod and for what purpose? On this tripod, I would like to operate my recently purchased AZ-GTi mount head, if possible also with a wedge. Originally, I had intended to use the tripod of the AZ Pronto mount for this purpose, because the AZ-GTi head is sold as a complete mount with it. But this combination seemed too unstable to me after my first experiences with it, and I therefore looked for a more stable tripod.

And actually, I already owned one: my AZ4 mount has a very stable steel tripod. I had planned to sell the AZ4 mount as soon as my GSO-AZ mount would have arrived. But if the tripod would fit for the AZ-GTi mount, I could keep the mount - so I thought. But unfortunately, the AZ4 tripod has a "spike" that is probably meant to stabilize the AZ4 mount head. Unfortunately, this spike prevents me from mounting the AZ-GTi mount head or even the extension tube of the AZ-Pronto mount on this tripod. See below for photos!

I then had the idea that maybe the tripod of the expected GSAZ mount might fit. But this hope was quickly dashed by my astronomy dealer.

In the course of my search for a stable tripod, I also came across the Sky-Watcher stainless steel tripod (AZ5 ), about which it says: It can be used to upgrade the standard aluminum tripods of the AZ5, AZ Pronto, AZ-GTi, and AZ-EQ Avant mounts to achieve much greater stability. This tripod looks confusingly similar to that of the AZ4 mount, except for the color. It is really annoying that I cannot use the AZ4 tripod and have to buy another one! But all the whining does not help and so finally, after the AZ4 and GSAZ tripods were out of the game, I decided to purchase the Sky-Watcher AZ5 stainless steel tripod.




Outer package

Ditto, seen from the side

Outer package opened

Outer package opened

Inner box removed

Tripod taken out of the inner box

Tripod taken out of the plastic bad, accessory plate and tools



AZ5 Tripod Assembled and with Mount Head

Mount assembled

Mount with AZ-GTi mount head



Look with Telescope Tubes

AZ5 Tripod with PS 72/432 Refractor

PS72 on the tripod

Ditto with extension tube and attached camera

Ditto, closer view


First Photo Attempts

Since photos can only be taken in cooperation with telescope tubes, I will show pictures on the pages of the respective telescopes, provided there should be any. Photos of the moon and of planets will primarily be shown in the respective sections for these sky objects.


First Experiences

A Comparison with the AZ4 Tripod

AZ4 tripod (black) next to the new tripod (white)

Because of the "spike" on the base plate of the tripod, I had to buy a new tripod...

AZ4 tripod, the new tripod, and the AZ Pronto tripod in the back

The "spike" in the base plate of the AZ4 tripod prevents that I can mount the AZ-GTi mount head or the extension tube on the AZ4 tripod (see photo in the center). In addition, the treads are longer and make the tripod more flexible with respect to mounting mount heads.

Three Tripods Compared...

The following photos show the tripod of the Star Discovery mount, that of the AZ Pronto mount, and the AZ5 tripod pushed together (top row) and fully extended (bottom row):

Star Discovery tripod (left), AZ Pronto tripod (center), AZ5 tripod, shortest extension



Star Discovery tripod (left), AZ Pronto tripod (center), AZ5 tripod, fully extended



Using the Extension Tube (Center Column)

Usually, I do not use the extension tube because it reduces stability and makes the telescope shake more. However, it can be useful for a more comfortable viewing position.

PS72 with camera attached on the extension tube

Ditto, closer view

Tube put vertically, in order to check whether the tube will touch the tripod





However, since the ASI224 camera has to be operated with a long extension on the PS72 refractor to come into focus, there is a risk that it will bump against the tripod legs when observing sky objects close to the zenith. This happened to me without my noticing it at first. But a strong field rotation in the photos indicated that something was wrong. Then when I dismantled the equipment, I noticed that the camera was already touching the tripod. This problem can be solved with the extension tube! As the photos demonstrate, the camera can no longer bump against the tripod with it installed.


First Conclusions

The AZ5 stainless steel tripod is largely the same as the steel tripod of the Sky-Watcher AZ4 mount - except for one small thing, which unfortunately prevents me from using the AZ-GTi mount head on the AZ4 tripod. So it is just as stable - almost again a number too stable for the AZ-GTi mount. In any case, the steel tripod of the Sky-Watcher Star Discovery mount is much weaker, even though the head supposedly can take more load than the AZ-GTi head. Unfortunately, due to the different designs, the AZ5 tripod cannot be used for the head of the Star Discovery mount.

Unfortunately, the legs of the AZ5 tripod do not open quite the same way, so it can easily happen that the tripod is not quite level. Anyway, some force is needed to get it to stand up reasonably level. In my eyes, this is simple "bungling" by Sky-Watcher!

In the meantime, I have used the tripod several times with the AZ-GTi head, but also with the manual AZ-Pronto head, and there is nothing to complain about regarding the stability of the tripod. But for me it is already a bit big and heavy. Nothing comes from nothing! Just for interest, I put my three current tripods* side by side and photographed them pushed together and fully extended. On thje photos, you can clearly see that the AZ5 tripod is the largest!

*) In the meantime, I sold the AZ4 mount.

In terms of ease of use, all Sky-Watcher tripods could take a leaf out of the photo tripod book. I still find the AZ Pronto tripod the most comfortable...




Appendix: Data for Sky-Watcher Stainless Steel Tripod

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