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Tripod/Head Combo for Pentax PF-65 ED?

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Old Monday 6th March 2006, 15:34   #1
Larry Usselman
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
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Tripod/Head Combo for Pentax PF-65 ED?

I took the plunge and ordered my first spotting scope...a Pentax PF-65. I was planning on mounting it on my inexpensive "no-name" photo tripod, but I'm having second thoughts about the wisdom of that choice.

The scope is very compact and fairly lightweight, so I don't think I need a massive, "won't-wiggle-in-a-hurricane" tripod, and I'd like to keep the entire combo as light and portable as possible without compromising too much in quality. I don't anticipate doing any digiscoping, although I would also like to use the tripod for mounting my Panasonic FZ-20 digital camera.

The first question concerns the tripod head. Do most birders use the pan-and-tilt style heads or ball heads? Are there advantages/disadvantages to either one?

Are there any specific tripod/head combinations that you think would work well with my new scope?

And of course, I'd like to keep the cost as low as possible. Definitely under US $200, and preferrably less.

Thanks for any input and suggestions.
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Old Monday 6th March 2006, 18:57   #2
JCraig
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Manchester, UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Usselman
I took the plunge and ordered my first spotting scope...a Pentax PF-65. I was planning on mounting it on my inexpensive "no-name" photo tripod, but I'm having second thoughts about the wisdom of that choice.

The scope is very compact and fairly lightweight, so I don't think I need a massive, "won't-wiggle-in-a-hurricane" tripod, and I'd like to keep the entire combo as light and portable as possible without compromising too much in quality. I don't anticipate doing any digiscoping, although I would also like to use the tripod for mounting my Panasonic FZ-20 digital camera.

The first question concerns the tripod head. Do most birders use the pan-and-tilt style heads or ball heads? Are there advantages/disadvantages to either one?

Are there any specific tripod/head combinations that you think would work well with my new scope?

And of course, I'd like to keep the cost as low as possible. Definitely under US $200, and preferrably less.

Thanks for any input and suggestions.

Hi Larry

I think you've hit another topic that you can ask 10 different people this question and get at least 20 answers back off each person.

I had the same dilemma at the end of last year when I got my first scope. The dilemma was as follows.

My scope is a Nikon Fieldscope III which weighs 1180g (your Pentax weighs 1050g, I think) and I needed a tripod that was light as I do a lot of walking carry scope and tripod combo. I opted for a Manfrotto solution as they are a light but very strong tripod. This was in the form of a Manfrotto 190 tripod with a 700RC2 head (current internet UK price 129 for both), I am very happy with the choice as the setup works very well and the tripod and head weighs only 2.5Kg and copes with a scope up to 2.5Kg total. I even use this combo with my camera for digiscoping and again no problems. Some people do like a sturdier setup than I have. The sturdier option would be a Manfrotto 055 tripod with a Manfrotto 128RC head which is a very good solution but would increase the overall combo weight by another 1Kg. The only other to reduce the weight was to go for a Manfrotto 055 carbon fibre but this was well out of my budget.

I also bought for my tripod the optional screw in feet that gives you that choice of a rubber foot or spike which I have found useful out in the field.

Using a tilt and pan head over a ball type head, most birders use tilt and pan. The reason for this is that you can have better control of the scope especially when you are following or scanning for birds with a fluid mount head.

I hope that this help as I can sympathise with you problem as been there so recently myself.
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