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Old Saturday 2nd March 2013, 21:58   #1
kneonlight
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Digiscoping tripod help needed

Hi

Posted this elsewhere but just realised this would be a better location!

I have recently started to get into digiscoping.
I have had reasonable success but I feel I am being let down by my tripod. Basically I needed a new scope and camera so by the time I had bought them I has very little money left for a tripod so just bought a cheap £20 one to make do.

The main problem is (even when just watching birds without the camera attached) that when I see a bird through the scope and then "lock" the scope in position when I let go of the handle the scope "settles" meaning it is pointing below the bird. I have to basically aim above the bird and hope it settles in the right place!! (very annoying for my son who wants to look through the scope after me and always moans that all he can see is the birds feet!!)

Anyway I am guessing that I need a new tripod. I have a little more money in the budget now so does anyone have any recomendations? I am using a Celestron ultima 80 spotting scope. Ideally the tripod would be relatively light but the most important thing is that the scope keeps pointing to the same place when I let go of the handle!

Any help appreciated!
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Old Saturday 2nd March 2013, 22:18   #2
Keith Dickinson
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You'll never get rid of the problem completely but with a decent tripod and head you will minimise it.
I've used a Delta tripod/PH-157Q head from In Focus for a number of years now. This works well for me with my Opticron ES80 scope and Lumix FS7 camera and adapter.
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Old Tuesday 5th March 2013, 21:38   #3
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As it's digiscoping related I thought this might be the best Forum.
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Old Friday 10th May 2013, 19:14   #4
lmans66
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You simply need a better tripod and head...what you explained is very common with cheap products. So...spend a bit.

My current Triipod is a Benro C258 which holds up to 25 pounds. Now, I never need a 25 pound tripod for support of the scope + camera, but remember that what effects the picture/camera the most is not the scope on it, but the wind blowing against it. So having a heavier tripod helps. It is heavier also to lug around but usually when one digi-video scopes they are more passive in their movements...perhaps just a few paces from the car down the lane etc...

Now for a head, you need a quality one too. I have a Manfrotto 701HD video fluid head. It works.... But, I would soon purchase a Gitzo GH2720QR Bird Watching Fluid Head with Quick Release System (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search...770+4291428784)

The reason I want that is that unlike the Manfrotto where I have two screws to tighten and move the scope either horizontally and vertically...the Gitzo just has one 'tightener' which is one less step in the digiscoping process.

When digiscoping, it is all about 'steps.....' the less you have, the easier it will be to take a good shot. Steps involve not only the scope and focusing it, but also the head as well as the camera. The more steps you have within each of those, the more cumbersome your overall experience.

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Old Saturday 11th May 2013, 00:06   #5
RJM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmans66 View Post
But, I would soon purchase a Gitzo GH2720QR Bird Watching Fluid Head with Quick Release System (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search...770+4291428784)

The reason I want that is that unlike the Manfrotto where I have two screws to tighten and move the scope either horizontally and vertically...the Gitzo just has one 'tightener' which is one less step in the digiscoping process
My experience says combining pan/tilt in one knob actually results in more "steps". If digiscoping is your thing, forget the video heads and get a gimbal.
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Old Tuesday 14th May 2013, 15:55   #6
Tord
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If digiscoping is your thing, forget the video heads and get a gimbal.
+1
I would also consider a quick release plate long enough to be able to fully compensate for the displacement of the centre of gravity towards the rear of the scope, caused by adding digiscoping adapters and camera.

(The gimbal can also be used for observation and locked if needed).
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Old Tuesday 14th May 2013, 18:52   #7
JGobeil
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Originally Posted by Tord View Post
+1
I would also consider a quick release plate long enough to be able to fully compensate for the displacement of the centre of gravity towards the rear of the scope, caused by adding digiscoping adapters and camera.

(The gimbal can also be used for observation and locked if needed).
Good advice Tord. Make sure it is long enough because your needs today may be different from tomorrow's. I suggest you get a plate at least 15 cm long. Most gimbals use Arca-Swiss type plates and these are not expensive on eBay. Make sure the plate has small lock screws at each end so that it cannot slip out of the head. Gimbals are nice if you are willing to carry the weight and pay the price.

My tripod head is a modified Velbon video head - sturdy and cheap. I changed the plate holder for an Arca-Swiss type holder and it does the job quite well. What I like about it is that tightness (sideways and up/down) is controlled by turning the long handle. That way, one hand controls movement and I also use it to focus the scope. If the tightness is set correctly, I can easily move the scope to follow the bird while focusing. The right hand stays on the camera and is used for camera controls and shutter.

IMO, this modified head is just as good as a Manfrotto head except that it is not spring loaded, which is not really needed for birding if your camera/scope ass'y is well balanced on the head. Contrary to Manfrotto, I don't need proprietary plates which are quite expensive. Also, a rotary adjustment on the handle is much easier to use than a small knob on the body of the head.

No matter what type of head you use, a lot of practice is needed so that it becomes second nature. I'm not there yet, but I'm slowly improving.
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