Vixen’s Porta is similar in design to the VersaGo: it can carry one telescope on its vertically angled extended bracket.
It’s a good design that allows a telescope to miss the tripod and reach the zenith.
Unlike the others in this test, the mount and tripod are one unit, so the mount head can’t be attached to another tripod.
There are no axis tensioning knobs to control the amount of movement, but you can tighten the axes if you have a heavy telescope to attach.
Near each slow-motion control knob is a well hidden Allen bolt that controls axis tension with the help of two Allen keys hidden below the rubber cover of the mount head.
We found that there was no need for any adjustments, even with the 10kg (22lb) 5-inch refractor fitted.
When moving the telescope around the sky with this mount, we found any vibrations quickly dampened down.
The whole system was very stable, even when the tripod was at its maximum extended height.
The dovetail clamp fitted our test scopes and the clamp tightening knobs were on top, which we found much easier to use when setting up.
But the best thing about the Porta is its slow-motion controls.
Once we pointed the telescope at an object, we could simply turn the slow-motion controls to keep it in view, gradually moving the scope.
The control knobs were a little flimsy, but even so, it’s a great feature considering this was the cheapest mount in the test.
Find out where to buy your equipment with our Retailer Guide.
This review appeared in the December 2008 issue of Sky at Night Magazine