6 Best Star Trackers in 2023: Recommended by Experts

High-quality star trackers for taking impressive Milky Way shots.

top 3 star trackers

A star tracker is a motorized equatorial mount that fits on top of your tripod. It allows you to follow stars as they move with the rotation of Earth, which means you can take longer exposures and capture incredible details in the night sky.

Star trackers are basically miniature versions of equatorial telescope mounts, and most of them feature a payload capacity that’s perfectly adequate for astrophotography camera with a medium focal length lens attached. They’re also usually much lighter and more portable, which makes them a great choice for astrophotographers who want to save on weight when traveling to dark sky locations.

Top 6 Star Trackers to Choose

  1. Vixen Optics 35505 - Easy to use
  2. iOptron SkyTracker Pro - Durable
  3. Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI - Compact
  4. Benro Polaris Astro Edition - Can automatically slew to objects in its database
  5. Omegon Mount MiniTrack LX3 - Suitable for beginners
  6. iOptron SkyGuider Pro - iPolar function for automatic detection of the Pole Star

Accuracy and tracking speed are crucial when choosing a star tracker. And while some models may seem more complex or high-tech, don't overlook the simplicity and effectiveness of a mechanical tracker like the iOptron SkyTracker Pro. Happy stargazing!

1. Vixen Optics 35505 - Our Choice

Easy to use
vixen optics 35505 star tracker

Weight: 1.4lbs | Run Time: 24 hours | Max Payload: 7lbs

  • ✚ Compact design
  • ✚ Eliminates star trailing in long exposure images
  • ✚ Top-mounted compass and level
  • ✚ Comes with optional polar scope
  • Build quality

This star tracker is incredibly easy to set up and use, making it a great option for beginners. It can support up to 7lbs of camera gear, so it's perfect for heavy cameras and large telephoto lenses. It also has a built-in illuminated polar scope, which makes polar alignment a breeze.

vixen optics 35505 star tracker photo

One of the biggest advantages of this star tracker is its accuracy. It has a maximum tracking time of 24 hours, and it can track at 0.5x, 1x, and 2x speeds. This makes it ideal for long-exposure astrophotography and time-lapse photography.

One issue I've had with this star tracker is its build quality. It's made of plastic, which doesn't feel very sturdy. I've also had some issues with the locking mechanism for the counterweight bar, which can be a bit finicky.

2. iOptron SkyTracker Pro

ioptron skytracker pro star tracker

Weight: 1.54lbs | Run Time: 24 hours | Max Payload: 6.6lbs

  • ✚ Eliminates blurring caused by Earth's rotation
  • ✚ Can be used with a wide range of cameras and lenses
  • ✚ Equipped with an illuminated polar scope
  • ✚ Affordable compared to equatorial mounts
  • Sometimes it can be unstable
  • Not as accurate as full-size equatorial mounts

First of all, let me start by saying that this sky tracker is an essential piece of equipment for anyone serious about astrophotography. It compensates for the Earth's rotation and allows you to take long exposures, capturing details that are not visible in short, point-and-shoot images. It also eliminates haziness and blur, resulting in sharper images.

ioptron skytracker pro star tracker photo

One of the main advantages of the SkyTracker Pro is its compact size and affordability. It's easy to set up, requires no special tools or camera settings for astrophotography, and is lightweight. You can even fit it into a standard camera bag, making it an ideal choice for those who want to take their photography on the road.

However, there are a few disadvantages to consider. The SkyTracker Pro does not have the same tracking accuracy as a full-sized equatorial mount, and it can be unstable when used with heavy lenses.

Additionally, some seasoned astrophotographers may miss the cast metal components found on the older SkyTracker model, but this updated version is a lot easier to use and feels much more solidly constructed.

3. Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI

sky watcher az gti star tracker

Weight: 8.6lbs | Run Time: 24 hours | Max Payload: 11lbs

  • ✚ Can be powered with AA batteries or an external power supply
  • ✚ Includes a standard 3/8'' tripod bush
  • ✚ Can be controlled using a smartphone through Wi-Fi
  • ✚ Offers full computerized Go-To functionality
  • Slow slew speed can be a problem for capturing fast-moving targets
  • Not suitable for beginners

It's a compact and lightweight alt-azimuth star tracker mount that's perfect for visual observation and astrophotography. It can be powered with AA batteries or an external power supply, and it features Sky-Watcher's Freedom-Find dual encoder technology, which allows for manual movement without losing positional information.

sky watcher az gti star tracker photo

Another great feature of the AZ-GTI is its ability to connect to your smartphone or tablet using Wi-Fi, allowing for easy control with the free SynScan app for iOS or Android. The mount also comes with a polar scope rail for precision alignment, and it can be configured as an equatorial platform with certain accessories and updated firmware for long exposure photography.

However, there are some disadvantages to this star tracker as well. The slew speed of the mount is quite slow, which can be problematic for capturing fast-moving targets like meteors or the aurora. Additionally, while it can be configured as an equatorial platform, this setup requires an experienced user and is not suitable for beginners.

4. Benro Polaris Astro Edition

Can automatically slew to objects in its database
benro polaris astro edition star tracker

Weight: 6.2lbs | Run Time: 24 hours | Max Payload: 15lbs

  • ✚ Can track stars and capture panoramas
  • ✚ Controlled via a dedicated app
  • ✚ Uses GPS, accelerometer, and electric compass
  • ✚ High-precision brushless motors
  • Too expensive
  • Has some bugs that need to be fixed
  • Requires the ability to align with a star for the best results

For the best experience when viewing any NCSU multimedia presentations, it is recommended to invest in a NEC NP-UM351W. A projector that offers the highest resolution and sharp image display has a definite edge over all other competing brands in the market today.

The technology incorporated in this device is the latest and the most advanced available in the market today. Therefore, NEC NP-UM351W is ideal for conferences or lectures given at universities. They also come equipped with DVR Technology for the convenience of the user.

It uses a powerful speaker that delivers great sound. What's more, the projector is lightweight and compact, making it suitable for travel or business trips. You can easily carry it to classrooms and simply install it in any room.

5. Omegon Mount MiniTrack LX3

Suitable for beginners
omegon mount minitrack lx3 star tracker

Weight: 2.89lbs | Run Time: 24 hours | Max Payload: 6.6lbs

  • ✚ Doesn't require batteries
  • ✚ Lightweight and compact
  • ✚ Can track for any length of time
  • ✚ Can be used with a range of cameras and accessories
  • Not suitable for long exposures with telescopes
  • Can be noisy when winding the clockwork.
  • Not for deep-space objects

First of all, let me tell you that if you are a beginner or an occasional astrophotographer who is interested in wide-angle astronomical photography, then the Omegon Mount MiniTrack LX3 star tracker is a great choice. It is very easy to use and doesn't require any batteries. It is also light and compact, making it perfect for travel.

omegon mount minitrack lx3 star tracker photo

The main advantage of the Minitrack is that it does not have any electronics, and instead uses precise clockwork to accurately track the camera's movement across the sky. This makes the Minitrack ideal for astrophotography in places where it might not be possible to charge a battery, or where there might be a risk of damage due to freezing temperatures.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Minitrack can be very noisy when winding the clockwork, and this can cause problems when attempting to take long exposures. Moreover, if you want to shoot long exposures with a wide-angle lens or a telescope, you may run into issues because the MiniTrack LX3 is not designed for this purpose.

6. iOptron SkyGuider Pro

iPolar function for automatic detection of the Pole Star
ioptron skyguider pro star tracker

Weight: 10.14lbs | Run Time: 24 hours | Max Payload: 11lbs

  • ✚ Precise tracking and easy polar alignment
  • ✚ Compact and lightweight
  • ✚ Redesigned polar scope with adjustable illumination
  • ✚ Four tracking rates (stars, 1/2 speed, lunar, and solar)
  • Does not have a Go-To function
  • Price tag
  • Not for travel or hiking

One of the main advantages of the SkyGuider Pro is its precise tracking and easy polar alignment, which are essential when shooting long exposures of deep-sky objects. It also features a detachable illuminated polar scope and comes with an alt-az base to support heavier imaging rigs.

ioptron skyguider pro star tracker photo

Another advantage is its portability. Compared to other star trackers, the SkyGuider Pro is compact and lightweight, making it perfect for astrophotographers who are on the go and want to capture beautiful nightscape photos with low light cameras and short telescopes.

However, the SkyGuider Pro does have some disadvantages. It does not have a Go-To function, which may be a problem for some people who are just starting out with shooting at night and long-exposure astrophotography. And its slightly bigger size does make it less portable to travel or hike with.

vixen optics 35505
Vixen Optics 35505
  • Weight: 1.4lbs
  • Run Time: 24 hours
  • Max Payload: 7lbs
ioptron skytracker pro
iOptron SkyTracker Pro
  • Weight: 1.54lbs
  • Run Time: 24 hours
  • Max Payload: 6.6lbs
sky watcher az gti
Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI
  • Weight: 1.54lbs
  • Run Time: 24 hours
  • Max Payload: 6.6lbs

How to Choose the Best Star Tracker?

If you're just starting out, choosing the right star tracker can be a daunting task. But fear not, I'm here to guide you through the process.

how to choose the best star tracker

Weight. As light pollution continues to increase, it's becoming more and more important to travel to remote locations for the best dark skies. A lightweight star tracker mount, like the Sky-Watcher AZ-GTI, is perfect for Milky Way landscape astrophotography or time-lapses.

It weighs just 650 grams and is less than 10cm3 tall, making it easy to operate using a smartphone app and comes with a Latitude Base and Polar Alignment Scope for quick setups.

Size. It needs to be able to hold your DSLR or mirrorless camera with a wide-angle lens for detailed images. The Omegon Mount MiniTrack LX3 is a great option for beginners looking for a simple-to-use mount that's great for starry landscapes and star fields.

However, it doesn't have the ability to track stars in the Southern Hemisphere, making it unsuitable for classic deep sky astrophotography.

choosing the best star tracker

Way to polar align itself. Many models, such as iOptron SkyGuider Pro, feature a polar scope that can be used to help you locate the north celestial pole. This is important for getting accurate and precise tracking.

Payload capacity. You'll want to make sure your sky tracker can handle the weight of your camera and lens. If you're planning on shooting time-lapses, for example, you'll want to use a tripod that can hold at least 11 pounds.