Altazimuth mounts are inexpensive and quick to set up. A special type of altazimuth is now one of the most common for reflector telescopes. Popularized by the Californian telescope-maker John Dobson, this wooden mount uses simple Teflon pads to provide smooth motions in both axes. It moves effortlessly, yet stays firmly on target. A gentle nudge every minute or two is all you need to keep objects in view.
Their simplicity, economy, and stability make Dobsonian mounts an ideal choice for anyone looking for the best performance for the least money. Even with a computer-tracking system, however, altazimuths are only for visual observing and will not work for most astrophotography.
A motorized equatorial mount certainly makes it easier to study objects such as planets, and can be used for tracked astrophotography. But equatorial mounts are much heavier, less portable, and more complex than altazimuth mounts. They require polar alignment and can be confusing for beginners to move around the sky. And they are more expensive—an equatorial version of a 3.5 inch (90 mm) refractor or a 6 to 8 inch (150 to 200 mm) reflector is likely to cost twice as much as the altazimuth version.
There are several varieties of equatorial mount, but the most popular ones are the fork and the German equatorial mount. Fork mounts work well for short-tube telescopes such as Schmidt-Cassegrains, while German equatorials are commonly supplied with refractors and Newtonian reflectors—telescopes that have longer tubes.