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Old Thursday 16th February 2017, 04:36   #1
saidentary
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Tripod question

Hello avian enthusiasts!

I recently got a mint condition used Ziess Diascope 85t FL

I also got a Manfrotto 3021 used tripod with a 3047 head.

I was QUITE surprised to find that sitting on concrete, with legs extended but locked, and with scope firmly attached, that there were still significant vibrations.

I have considered the decoupling/isolation footers that look like hockey pucks, but was also wondering about the plausibility of a different solution.

That would be using a tripod designed for lasers, such as a Stabila tripod.

I've never seen anyone suggest such a tripod for a spotting scope, but to me the only drawback would appear to be weight, and possibly cosmetics.

What am I missing? Is this a bad idea? I don't have any ego attachment to the idea so don't worry about hurting my feelings if you think it's a stupid idea.

Thanks,

Bill
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Old Thursday 16th February 2017, 12:13   #2
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hey mate

those Manfrotto 3021 tripod have fairly slim legs and flex a bit. You could try using isolation pads under each foot, however a softer surface such as sand or grass will help. Firm/Hard surfaces are more likely to transmit vibrations.

You probably also want to consider a fluid video head - the fluid dampening should take SOME of the vibrations away...

Finally, try suspending a gallon of water or sandbag from the centre of the tripod - this additional weight should also assist in stabilising the tripod and reducing vibrations - most tripod have a hook under the centre column or base for this.

cheers
Jeelan
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Old Thursday 16th February 2017, 15:42   #3
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Jeelan (safaridreaming):

Thank you for the helpful suggestions. I am quite new at this.

-Bill
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Old Thursday 16th February 2017, 19:40   #4
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I've used a sandbag suspended from the center column hook, heavy objects in a "stone bag" (such as the Vanguard SB-100) attached to the tripod legs, and simply a heavy tripod (for digiscoping I intentionally used a Ravelli AVTP...a beast but very stable).
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Old Thursday 16th February 2017, 22:41   #5
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Originally Posted by CalvinFold View Post
I've used a sandbag suspended from the center column hook, heavy objects in a "stone bag" (such as the Vanguard SB-100) attached to the tripod legs, and simply a heavy tripod (for digiscoping I intentionally used a Ravelli AVTP...a beast but very stable).
Thank you very much for your help!
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Old Friday 17th February 2017, 21:44   #6
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Just my 2p!

I have found that my (borderline vintage) 77mm Kowa scope needs better support than my Canon 800 F5.6 L IS lens (the longest Canon currently make!). After all a lens only has to be held steady for a fraction of a second - a scope needs to be steady for a wee bit longer!

I used to, mainly, use a Gitzo 3530LS (3 series Carbon Systematic), more recently I am using a 4 series systematic (4542LS) because Gitzo UK had a sale on.

I am sure others will tell you that you do not need a tripod of this class, but if you want to really see your subjects then I suggest that you have a look at these tripods or something very similar.
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Old Saturday 18th February 2017, 05:08   #7
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Originally Posted by johnf3f View Post
Just my 2p!

I have found that my (borderline vintage) 77mm Kowa scope needs better support than my Canon 800 F5.6 L IS lens (the longest Canon currently make!). After all a lens only has to be held steady for a fraction of a second - a scope needs to be steady for a wee bit longer!

I used to, mainly, use a Gitzo 3530LS (3 series Carbon Systematic), more recently I am using a 4 series systematic (4542LS) because Gitzo UK had a sale on.

I am sure others will tell you that you do not need a tripod of this class, but if you want to really see your subjects then I suggest that you have a look at these tripods or something very similar.
I agree with this - i wasnt sure what OP's budget was to make changes, however ultimately if you can get - get a sturdier tripod.

I personnally Induro CLT403 tripods - which have a 38mm upper leg section diameter and a 30mm column diameter. TRipod still only weight 2.5kgs (which is a LOT for some poeple).

I have no issues carting it around and its rock stable when looking through the spotter.

cheers
Jeelan
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Old Saturday 18th February 2017, 18:50   #8
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Johnf3f and Jeelan,

Thank you very much. I'm new to this and will have to get used to the idea of those price points. I had no idea...

So....with these deluxe tripods both of you experience minimal to absent vibrations without resorting to additional tweaks like anti-vibration footers and weights?
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Old Saturday 18th February 2017, 20:52   #9
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Originally Posted by saidentary View Post
Johnf3f and Jeelan,

Thank you very much. I'm new to this and will have to get used to the idea of those price points. I had no idea...

So....with these deluxe tripods both of you experience minimal to absent vibrations without resorting to additional tweaks like anti-vibration footers and weights?
Bear in mind that Gitzo tripods are often much less expensive over here in the UK - my 4542 LS was 374 ($464) not exactly cheap! Unfortunately it is a wee bit more in the USA:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/searc...op+Nav-Search=

Whilst I have played with a couple of Induro tripods I have not used one in the field so I cannot comment but they certainly looked good. Another brand to have a look at is Feisol. A couple of friends of mine have their Tournament models which are nicely made and rigid - one of their larger models would be very nice for scope use.

Suggesting a tripod for someone is difficult as we all have different uses/expectations and budget. I tend to say get the best you can as you are less likely to replace it and you will have a better viewing experience. Against that we have to be sensible regarding budget and weight. Ideally, if there is a well stocked camera shop not too far away, the best thing is to go and try them out for yourself.

Happy hunting!
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Old Sunday 26th February 2017, 00:35   #10
Malcolm Stewart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saidentary View Post
Hello avian enthusiasts!

I recently got a mint condition used Ziess Diascope 85t FL

... ...What am I missing? Is this a bad idea? I don't have any ego attachment to the idea so don't worry about hurting my feelings if you think it's a stupid idea.

Thanks,

Bill
Some years ago I was using lasers for precision surveying and the natural thing to use was a surveyor's tripod for the 1" of arc theodolite and laser. Very, very much more stable than any photo tripod that I've used, but whilst I did carry the combo into hilly areas, the weight certainly was limiting as to how far I could travel from my car. But when have you seen photographers heel their sturdy tripod feet into the ground?
Currently, for my 80mm diam scope, I use a Manfrotto 190CX Pro3 with Manfrotto 128RC head. The great thing about the head is that the clamps tighten the rotation and elevation axes independently, and without disturbing where the telescope is pointing. (I've tried more expensive heads, and gone back to the 128RC.)
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Old Sunday 26th February 2017, 01:38   #11
saidentary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Stewart View Post
Some years ago I was using lasers for precision surveying and the natural thing to use was a surveyor's tripod for the 1" of arc theodolite and laser. Very, very much more stable than any photo tripod that I've used, but whilst I did carry the combo into hilly areas, the weight certainly was limiting as to how far I could travel from my car. But when have you seen photographers heel their sturdy tripod feet into the ground?
Currently, for my 80mm diam scope, I use a Manfrotto 190CX Pro3 with Manfrotto 128RC head. The great thing about the head is that the clamps tighten the rotation and elevation axes independently, and without disturbing where the telescope is pointing. (I've tried more expensive heads, and gone back to the 128RC.)
Thank you Mr. Stewart.
That is very helpful, and of course I have some questions.
1) Are you saying that surveyor tripods are staked into the ground?
2) I've seen that even some of the surveyor tripods are only like 17 pounds. I'm no athlete, but that doesn't seem like something that would be TOO hard to carry. I must be wrong about this, however, because I've NEVER seen anyone suggest otherwise. What am I missing? (Note: I've never lugged a tripod over any distance, so the answer might become obvious were I to do so even once, but I haven't and 20 pounds doesn't SOUND like that much. What kind of distances are we talking about? Miles and miles?)
3) Is your current tripod sufficiently stable? (I realize that your implied answer is "yes" but you also mentioned how much MORE stable your surveyor tripod was.)
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Old Sunday 26th February 2017, 09:12   #12
Malcolm Stewart
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Originally Posted by saidentary View Post
Thank you Mr. Stewart.
That is very helpful, and of course I have some questions.
1) Are you saying that surveyor tripods are staked into the ground?
Normally photographers are interested in sharpness over a 1/60 sec or less, surveyors work more slowly and tend to take several measurements and take the mean of their readings. (Today's laser cloud point scanners are quite different.)

If you zoom into this illustration of a very basic surveyor's tripod, you'll see the shoulders just above the points of the feet. They are very definitely used to push the feet into soft ground - obviously not in a city centre environment. That one is quoted as weighing 4kg, say about 9lb. Elsewhere in survey supplies listings, you can often find photo style adaptors.
https://www.sccssurvey.co.uk/sccs-aluminium-tripod.html
Quote:
2) I've seen that even some of the surveyor tripods are only like 17 pounds. I'm no athlete, but that doesn't seem like something that would be TOO hard to carry. I must be wrong about this, however, because I've NEVER seen anyone suggest otherwise. What am I missing? (Note: I've never lugged a tripod over any distance, so the answer might become obvious were I to do so even once, but I haven't and 20 pounds doesn't SOUND like that much. What kind of distances are we talking about? Miles and miles?)
For my own interest, I was surveying stone circles, and in the UK, these tend to be in hilly areas. Some of my distances were miles, and these were for accurately determining where North was, using a distant known point.

My main theodolite is a classic Wild T2, and in its case weighs around 7.8kg, perhaps 18lb - so quite heavy with a 9lb tripod plus extras.

Here's a link to a range of tripods:
https://www.sccssurvey.co.uk/catalog.../?p=2&q=tripod
Why are there different types? Aluminium expands significantly with sunshine on its legs, and if you're remotely monitoring a marker, that's a bad thing as the sun moves in the sky, so "old fashioned" wood may be preferable, as it's more stable.
Quote:
3) Is your current tripod sufficiently stable? (I realize that your implied answer is "yes" but you also mentioned how much MORE stable your surveyor tripod was.)
When firmly heeled in, a surveyor's tripod doesn't wobble - it's a very different feeling to a photo tripod, and I do have a range from a lightweight CF to two Benbo 1 models. I use the Benbo 1 with a gimbal head when I'm shooting birds with my EF 500 F/4L. The 190CX PRO3 I find is an excellent compromise for carrying away from the car. My heavier Manfrotto 055X PROB now tends to get left at home.

I haven't mounted my telescope (One of Opticron's top models, the HR80 GA ED) on my surveying tripod. I have found that the telescope is sensitive to air density shimmy when viewing through warm and rising air columns, and viewing through double glazing can be preferable! Wind induced vibration can be a problem, so hanging a weight below the tripod can help.

It's two decades since I was lugging my survey gear into the Welsh hills, and the pair of us were close to retirement then. Here's some background:
http://www.users.waitrose.com/~emes1938/Circles.htm

and http://www.users.waitrose.com/~emes1938/
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Old Sunday 26th February 2017, 12:08   #13
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Hi,

I just got an army surplus Zeiss surveyors tripod - very stable. Most certainly not for birding but for a telescope mount. Carrying this any distance is not going to be fun and for a spotting scope and the usual magnifications used with that it will certainly be way over the top. This will take some 20kg of telescope and mount (or more) and hold it stable at 150x and above.

Joachim
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Old Sunday 26th February 2017, 18:31   #14
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......
It's two decades since I was lugging my survey gear into the Welsh hills, and the pair of us were close to retirement then. Here's some background:
http://www.users.waitrose.com/~emes1938/Circles.htm

and http://www.users.waitrose.com/~emes1938/
Please consider this to be a preliminary response to your excellent and generous thread reply.

"Meeting" people like you (and all of the other kind and knowledgeable respondents to my thread questions) is one of the most positive aspects of the internet, for me at least. It will be necessary to further read and digest your multifaceted answer before formulating any sort of worthy response that pesters you with still more insipid questions.

I read SOME of the material you linked to, and will read more later, but--as an aside that may or may not be useful to you--I saw that you were cleaning telescope mirrors. It's likely that you already know about this product, but just in case, it's something I ran across when trying to work on my microscope's tilting head first surface mirror(s) (WARNING: DON'T get this under any lens retention rings [or other optical surface retention devices] or you'll be sorry): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVpkruTImp4

When used correctly, its results can be truly spectacular--for example, when I used it on a filter the filter emerged PERFECTLY clean, and essentially like new, as far as I could tell. However, don't get it under any lens retaining rings or it will be very difficult to remove; it's a bad thing to have this stuff seep into the nooks and crannies of any optical system, particular one with first surface mirrors that can't be rubbed very hard without being permanently ruined.
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Old Saturday 4th March 2017, 02:05   #15
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hey mate

those Manfrotto 3021 tripod have fairly slim legs and flex a bit. You could try using isolation pads under each foot, however a softer surface such as sand or grass will help. Firm/Hard surfaces are more likely to transmit vibrations.

You probably also want to consider a fluid video head - the fluid dampening should take SOME of the vibrations away...

Finally, try suspending a gallon of water or sandbag from the centre of the tripod - this additional weight should also assist in stabilising the tripod and reducing vibrations - most tripod have a hook under the centre column or base for this.

cheers
Jeelan
Jeelan,

The isolation pads are quite effective at reducing the duration of vibrations; I suspect they help with the amplitude of such vibrations as well, but I am less certain of this.
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Old Saturday 4th March 2017, 02:10   #16
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Originally Posted by CalvinFold View Post
I've used a sandbag suspended from the center column hook, heavy objects in a "stone bag" (such as the Vanguard SB-100) attached to the tripod legs, and simply a heavy tripod (for digiscoping I intentionally used a Ravelli AVTP...a beast but very stable).
CalvinFold,

I purchased this item but have yet to test it out. I'll tell you the result after I do so. I know that you've been nervous and losing sleep wondering whether your suggestion would help..... Just kidding....

Last edited by saidentary : Saturday 4th March 2017 at 02:12.
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 04:02   #17
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CalvinFold,

The Vanguard SB-100, when weighted with "ballast" seemed to improve the STABILITY of the tripod but, from what I could discern, SEEMED to do nothing to ameliorate the vibrations. That was OK because the isolation pads seemed to help quite a bit to reduce the duration of vibrations and possibly their amplitude as well (much less certain of the amplitude part).

I may go ask a physics professor (or associate or assistant professor) from a local college what's really going on here. I may not, also, because to do so would be a fair amount of work...... We'll see.
In any case, I like the idea of the tripod having more stability and mass, so the Vanguard SB-100 was a good item to have purchased. Thanks for the tip.

-Bill

Last edited by saidentary : Friday 17th March 2017 at 04:05.
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 13:52   #18
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CalvinFold,

The Vanguard SB-100, when weighted with "ballast" seemed to improve the STABILITY of the tripod but, from what I could discern, SEEMED to do nothing to ameliorate the vibrations. That was OK because the isolation pads seemed to help quite a bit to reduce the duration of vibrations and possibly their amplitude as well (much less certain of the amplitude part).

I may go ask a physics professor (or associate or assistant professor) from a local college what's really going on here. I may not, also, because to do so would be a fair amount of work...... We'll see.
In any case, I like the idea of the tripod having more stability and mass, so the Vanguard SB-100 was a good item to have purchased. Thanks for the tip.
Glad it helped some. Probably just a matter of what is causing your vibrations. Mine are mostly from wind and less from the ground, and you mentioned very solid ground, so...assumptions! Like someone else already said, giving tripod advice without seeing your setup and environment is a bit hit-or-miss.

The only ground vibrations I get are structural, like being on a wooden dock and having kids leaping and playing; no amount of isolation compensates for that...or is worth toting around just for that. The stone bag is handy for those though, because while it can't get rid of all vibrations, it can ameliorate some of it and definitely prevents more violent hopping/swaying of the tripod.

I hope your quest gets you a good combination of tools/solutions!
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