Mounts

The Losmandy G-11 mount is the first true telescope mount I've ever owned, so I can't compare to any others.  From my experience, however, this mount is a great value and has performed flawlessly for me.  The massive tripod is absolutely rock-solid, but is somewhat cumbersome to transport since it breaks down into four separate pieces.  I've had this mount for some time now, it's been on every adventure represented on this site, and I can't say a bad word about it.

One of the great things about the Losmandy system is the extensive line of secondary system mounting accessories.  I regularly make use of the DSBS side-by-side plate, which allows mounting two separate scopes or other instrument packages next to each other.  It's a little tricky to balance everything in Declination, but after doing it many times now, I can get everything balanced in a couple of minutes by remembering how far to slide the various plates.

Once I acquired the TMB-152 refractor, I found that the G-11 was not quite enough mount for astrophotography with such a long and heavy scope.  Serendipitously, Tony Hallas was selling his Mountain Instruments MI-250 German equatorial mount at the same time I was looking for one, so I bought it from him and have had great success with it ever since.  It tracks even better than the G-11, but it's not quite as versatile since it doesn't have an integral polar alignment scope, analog setting circles, or height adjustment of the portable pier.  Nevertheless, this mount has allowed me to take a lot of decent astrophotos I could not have done with the TMB on the smaller G-11.

My first tracking mount was actually a manually operated two-arm tangent drive "Barndoor" mount.  This was the first piece of equipment I ever used to take tracked astrophotos.  Although crude by most modern standards of equipment that include expensive equatorial mounts, autoguiders, and require large deep-cycle batteries for field use, this homebuilt device works quite well for short focal length astrophotography.  A mount like this allows you to get into the hobby inexpensively, and not only gives you decent photos, but also provides the satisfaction of knowing that you did it with equipment made by your own hand.  I get a lot of questions about how to get into astrophotography, usually by people who don't really understand the investment involved in getting top-quality equipment.  They often ask what kind of gear they can get started with for, say, $500, and I always point them to a decent camera, lens, and a homebuilt barndoor mount.