Vixen Porta Alt/Az Mount
I have decided to replace the Tele Pod mount with a Vixen Porta alt/az. I am frustrated with the Tele Pod, it's very twitchy and difficult to keep objects centered at high magnification, and it's incapable of pointing at the zenith with the handle attached.
I liked that the Porta has fine adjustment controls, it looked very solid, and I read that it could reach the zenith, so I decided to give it a try. It arrived on Friday Aug. 26 at DiBella's courtesy of FedEx, who delivered it with the bottom flap of the carton ripped half open with parts falling out. Everything was eventually accounted for, the mounting hardware baggy turning up in the parking lot.
The first impression is good, my only concern being with the center bracing on the tripod - all plastic, even the hinges, all very... Chinese. Everything else seems well built.
Here's the rub: In order to attach the Tele Vue dovetail adapter plate I had to remove the two long studs Wayne put in the clamshell. This obviously throws a wrench in our elegant C8 mounting rail design. The solution I have in mind is to mount the same dovetail block that's on the Porta to the C8 rail. I positioned the block loosely on the rail just to eyeball whether it would work with the existing holes; it won't - some additional holes will definitely be needed on the rail. I just need to decide whether I want to buy a second dovetail block or just use the one block and move it back and forth between the Porta and C8; I definitely prefer the first option but the availability and price of the extra block will be big factors in my decision.
My review, originally posted on the Yahoo! Televue Group, is here, with better photos.