- NexStar 8SE
- C8 S-GT
- CGEM 800 8
- CGE 800
I understand the mount can be as important as the scope but I'm not getting into this new hobby for Astrophotography. The scopes appear to be the same to me? And the weight seems to be directly proportionate to the price.
Yes, a huge difference, since you are not only comparing completely different types of mounts, but also different payload capacities on the equatorials. You first need to make your decision as to the type of mount you want for your particular observing use and style. The SE is by far the most portable, any equatorial is always the least portable.
The difference between the Advanced, CGEM and CGE is payload, tracking accuracy and, in the case of the CGE, astrophotography potential. You can use any of these for astrophotography, but the CGE is made from the ground up for that purpose.
See my article, my article How to choose the right telescope This discusses the pros and cons of each type of mount and more.
Yes, the LX90 mount is very similar to the Celestron CPC - really a toss up in terms of the mount
There is a significant differencce in terms of portability, operation, ease of use between a fork and an equatorial, but there is never a best. Match the mount and scope to YOUR observing needs and your observing style and preferecnes. It is as much about you as it is the equipment. What do you plan to observe? Where do you observe? Do you want a computer? Do you want to do astrophotography? How important is portability to you? All these are questions you need to answer before selecting a mount. I much prefer a fork mount for ease of use and portability, but that does not make it the right mount for you. What features are important to you?
An equatorial is the best choice for astrophotgraphy, but the worst choice for portability. I'd go with a fork mount to get the prtability, then add a wedge to get the equatorial tracking for astrophotography. Unless you are very serious about astrophotography, that gets you the equivalent for astrophotography without losing the portability.