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Tripod/head combo for Swaro ATS 65

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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 06:04   #26
yarrellii
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Well, if a behemoth of a scope like the Meopta S2 82 suffers from reduced brightness from 46x on (at 1,78 mm EP, as you say)... it is clear that we can expect limited performance from the little ATS65. I just pulled the trigger on one, so I'll be letting you now in the coming weeks, as I get it and try it. Now I'll be reviewing all the names and references regarding tripod/head to see what I can get that is a nice compromise between stiffness and portability (and that can outclass my Vanguard VEO235 without breaking the bank).
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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 14:48   #27
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Congratulations with that. The differences may not be as dramatic as you imagined, but you might notice a subtle accumulation of improved qualities... sharper field, greater contrast, less CA.. I'm looking forward to hearing about it.

I'll be testing the FLM tripod some more this weekend with the scope.

-Bill
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Old Thursday 30th January 2020, 23:19   #28
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Tripod&head for 65mm

Hi,
If this can be of any help, here is my current experience with my 65mm scope (ATX65, relatively similar size/weight as ATS65) and the tripod head that I have: a Gitzo GH1720QR (on a Manfrotto tripod). This choice of head is not the result of thorough research and hands on comparisons by myself, but something I was happy to get second hand locally.
I really love being able to lock the head, both pan and tilt, with one single large knob! The movement is certainly smooth enough for me. It is lightweight but good enough for the 65mm. It is not counterbalanced, but Im not really missing that when using just the 65mm scope (thanks to the very easy single locking knob and compact scope). Im not totally sure how much I (dis)like the quick release plate system though, but thus in general, I do like the GH1720QR with the 65mm: nice to use, not too heavy, with a scopac or similar a very nice combo for longer walks.

There is only one important remark I have: if you want to digiscope (at least with more than a smartphone), youll probably need another tripod head: while I find this Gitzo head great for using just the scope, it is not OK for digiscoping with the added weight and length of e.g. a DCB II + a camera (Ive tried it with my old Fuji X100): the whole setup becomes too tail heavy (e.g. I couldn't easily take some pictures of the moon at night, with the scope oriented upwards, because the head would very slightly move a bit further upwards after locking it, making it very difficult to frame the moon).

Im therefore considering either buying another tripod head (counterbalanced and with longer plate) and/or a Swarovski stabiliser/balance rail for digiscoping with such a camera setup (not lightweight anyway, but I want to limit the further spendings) or just switching to smartphone-digiscoping (making my own custom adapter). Ill probably go that second route as it seems a more sensible choice for a lightweight setup and because I would like to limit further spendings (adding everything up, incl.accessories, it isn't cheap...).

If I were to look for another head, Id certainly look at the Manfrotto MVH500AH based on posts on this forum and specs: it seems smooth, OK weight, counterbalanced (though fixed), possibility to move the scope more to the front with the long plate, OK price for such specs.

As it would probably be a bit better being able to work without adapter/QR-plate, directly connecting the scopes foot in a compatible Manfrotto head, Im wondering if that is possible and a good idea with the MVH500AH: from looking at the size of the QR-plate of the Manfrotto MVH500AH, Im not sure if it is possible at all with that head to work without any QR-plate. Is there anyone who has tried that and would be willing to share his/her experience!?
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Old Tuesday 4th February 2020, 15:42   #29
Alexis Powell
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Originally Posted by mbb View Post
...the tripod head that I have: a Gitzo GH1720QR... ...Im not totally sure how much I (dis)like the quick release plate system though... ...while I find this Gitzo head great for using just the scope, it is not OK for digiscoping with the added weight and length...the whole setup becomes too tail heavy... ...Im therefore considering either buying another tripod head (counterbalanced and with longer plate)...
You might consider first trying a longer plate with your GH1720QR. You won't have counterbalance, but you can achieve perfect balance, which I think is much more important. This head uses the larger-than-Arca sliding plate standard used by Manfrotto, Gitzo, Sirui and some others. Those plates are available in various lengths. Alternatively, as I prefer, you can get an Arca adapter and use any long Arca sliding plate, many of which are available with anti-rotation lips.

Here's an example of a simple Gitzo-Arca adapter:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Metal-Adapt...AAAOSwd4tTwN2r

Here's an excellent long Arca-type plate with anti-rotation lip to use with the adapter:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...long_lens.html

--AP
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Old Tuesday 4th February 2020, 21:58   #30
mbb
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Originally Posted by Alexis Powell View Post
You might consider first trying a longer plate with your GH1720QR. You won't have counterbalance, but you can achieve perfect balance, which I think is much more important. This head uses the larger-than-Arca sliding plate standard used by Manfrotto, Gitzo, Sirui and some others. Those plates are available in various lengths. Alternatively, as I prefer, you can get an Arca adapter and use any long Arca sliding plate, many of which are available with anti-rotation lips.

Here's an example of a simple Gitzo-Arca adapter:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Metal-Adapt...AAAOSwd4tTwN2r

Here's an excellent long Arca-type plate with anti-rotation lip to use with the adapter:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...long_lens.html

--AP
Thank you for the suggestions!!
I was also considering (1) switching to the Gitzo GHF2W (potentially with a longer plate), as it has a switchable counterbalance, but it is expensive and would make me loose the single-knob-lock, or (2) adding a Swarovski SSR II, like a longer plate but with additional support point, which is less but still expensive and adding weight and bulk. But your suggestions really interest me.

Do those options still provide some kind of *security* lock/pin, blocking the plate from sliding out, dropping the scope, if the locking knob is not well tightened?

Those plates seem a lot less bulky and heavy than the SSR II. Do you know if the SSR II adds significant stiffness and vibration control compared to such plates, thanks to its additional support point at the scope’s bend/ocular side?
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Old Tuesday 4th February 2020, 22:52   #31
Alexis Powell
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Thank you for the suggestions!!
I was also considering (1) switching to the Gitzo GHF2W (potentially with a longer plate), as it has a switchable counterbalance, but it is expensive and would make me loose the single-knob-lock, or (2) adding a Swarovski SSR II, like a longer plate but with additional support point, which is less but still expensive and adding weight and bulk. But your suggestions really interest me.

Do those options still provide some kind of *security* lock/pin, blocking the plate from sliding out, dropping the scope, if the locking knob is not well tightened?

Those plates seem a lot less bulky and heavy than the SSR II. Do you know if the SSR II adds significant stiffness and vibration control compared to such plates, thanks to its additional support point at the scopes bend/ocular side?
The options that I show don't include a security pin. I've been using scopes for decades and never had an instance of one slipping out of a clamp, so I've not worried about that. If I _were_ worried about that, I think I'd solve the problem simply by tying one end of a shoelace or such around the scope foot and the other end somewhere around the tripod head. The scope wouldn't be able to fall far.

I don't have experience with the SSR II. My experience with the other plates is that they are quite solid and so I've had nothing to complain about.

--AP
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Old Thursday 6th February 2020, 02:48   #32
Bill Atwood
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I was also considering (1) switching to the Gitzo GHF2W ...SNIP... Do those options still provide some kind of *security* lock/pin, blocking the plate from sliding out, dropping the scope, if the locking knob is not well tightened?
The GHF2W has a stop pin to keep the plate from completely sliding out. I just got one and think my quest for a suitable ATX95 head is finally over.
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 16:53   #33
Alexis Powell
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The options that I show don't include a security pin...
For anyone reading this thread in the future, I just noticed when using my scope, recently, that I was incorrect when I said (in post #31) that the options I gave (in post #29) lacked retention security features. The plate has threaded sockets for a security screw at either end and it comes with at least one such screw. Using both, it can be made captive on the adapter. The adapter interacts with the security release button/tab on Gitzo heads, so it can't slide off even when loose until the head release button is held down.

--AP
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 19:20   #34
JWalck
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Does the foot of an ATX fit directly into a GHF2W or GH1720QR or must you use a plate?
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 21:16   #35
Alexis Powell
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Does the foot of an ATX fit directly into a GHF2W or GH1720QR or must you use a plate?
The ATX modules that I've seen (recently) have an Arca-Swiss type foot, so they will fit directly into the GHF2W (which is Arca-Swiss compatible) but for the GH1720QR you would need a slip-on adapter (in my post #29) because that head uses the wider Gitzo/Manfrotto/Sirui sliding plate standard. I don't know if ATX modules were always made with this foot [Edit: No, earlier production was not AS compatible]. I know that some older Swarovski scopes had a foot that fit a different Manfrotto non-sliding standard (the 200PL = 3157 plate mounted with the length of the plate perpendicular to the line of sight).

--AP

Last edited by Alexis Powell : Friday 28th February 2020 at 21:51.
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Old Saturday 29th February 2020, 21:50   #36
forent
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Originally Posted by JWalck View Post
Does the foot of an ATX fit directly into a GHF2W or GH1720QR or must you use a plate?
As an addendum to Alexis' explanation:
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...38#post3763038
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...30#post3834730
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Old Monday 2nd March 2020, 16:35   #37
Alexis Powell
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I remember those threads (esp. the latter). One thing I refrained from asking before is what kind of clamp are you using that you can't adjust it narrow enough to properly grip an A-S type plate that is on the narrow side? I know that some kinds of non-adjustable lever-actuated A-S type quick releases might have this problem (if they don't have sufficient "spring" in the mechanism to accommodate plates of different widths), but most Arca-type clamps tighten with a knob, so it's just a matter of turning the knob once or twice more to get a tight grip on a narrow plate.

--AP
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 04:18   #38
forent
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Alexis, unfortunately it is not that easy.

I use screw knob clamps solely, not only to avoid fitting issues but also because I assess them to be safer. But the stop positions (= jaws completely closed) of Arca-style clamps of U.S. makers like e.g. RRS, Kirk, Wimberley etc. (and their countless Chinese copies) still are too wide (= the distance between jaws is still too large) to catch some European Arca-style plates that adopt the narrow width of the *original* dovetail plates made by Arca-Swiss itself. This is one of the rare cases where the original does not represent the factual industry norm anymore.

Strange but true.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 16:16   #39
Alexis Powell
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Alexis, unfortunately it is not that easy.

I use screw knob clamps solely, not only to avoid fitting issues but also because I assess them to be safer. But the stop positions (= jaws completely closed) of Arca-style clamps of U.S. makers like e.g. RRS, Kirk, Wimberley etc. (and their countless Chinese copies) still are too wide (= the distance between jaws is still too large) to catch some European Arca-style plates that adopt the narrow width of the *original* dovetail plates made by Arca-Swiss itself. This is one of the rare cases where the original does not represent the factual industry norm anymore.

Strange but true.
So you are saying that Swarovski adopted an Arca-Swiss foot that doesn't fit the _vast_majority_ of A-S style clamps that are in use? What an absolutely incredible mistake! I can only imagine that Swarovski is already planning a redesign to the RRS/Wimberley/Jobo etc standard. Why haven't we seen more discussion of this problem?

As far as I know, RRS/Kirk/Jobo etc plates are reverse compatible to original Arca-Swiss clamps. All my stuff is from RRS, Kirk, or Desmond, so I haven't had issues. I've heard mixed reports as to whether some Novoflex plates are too narrow for some RRS clamps. I didn't realize the same was true of original Arca-Swiss plates, or the AS foot of the ATX! Could Swarovski's mistake be intentional, to encourage use of their Professional Tripod Head?

--AP
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 18:13   #40
forent
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Alexis, yes, I dare to say that Swarovski designed their scope foots with the clamps of European makers in mind and did not think further. You have to know that some mainly German brands have established a common Arca-style "standard" called UniQ/C: https://www.uniq-c.de.

The UniQ/C plates are pretty narrow, more or less like the original Arca plates. The UniQ/C clamps accept wider U.S./Chinese plates nonetheless. But UniQ/C plates in US/Chinese clamps are a different story, unfortunately.

For many years I have been a great admirer of the Arca-style system. It was a revelation after years with the Manfrotto-200PL system. When I bought my Swarovski ATX 65 and 95 lens modules I was more than happy that they had changed their foot design from 200PL to Arca-Swiss. What a disappointment to discover that the foots slipped through my fully closed Sunwayfoto and Wimberley clamps! Even the clamp of my Gitzo head locks just the foot of the ATX 95 while I had to glue a metal plate under the foot of my one year older ATX 65 (see my links above). Well, now it works for me but it could have been so much easier if Swarovski and the other European brands had adopted the dimensions of the leading U.S. brands for their QR systems.

But to be fair one has to bear in mind that the vast majority of scope users has not the faintest idea of tripods and QR attachments - at least here in Germany. Many of them buy dirt cheap tripods - rather suitable as music stands - for their ridiculously expensive Zeiss/Leica/Swaro equipment. It took me years to convince after all one half of my birding fellows that a flimsy 50€ tripod with a 2-way plastic QR head is just not appropriate for the task. How many people like you and me, in contrast, talk about the optimum Arca-style foot size? I'm convinced that we are an economically irrelevant minority. Hence, I doubt that it is very risky for Swaro to ignore the nagging of curmudgeons like us. In fact, I wrote Swarovski an e-mail dealing with the foot issue: their answer was friendly but showed that they simply did not get the point. Or maybe they refused to admit their mistake, who knows?

Finally, to address your question "Why haven't we seen more discussion of this problem?":
Q: What's the meaning of the word 'ignorance'?
A: I don't know and I don't care.

Last edited by forent : Tuesday 3rd March 2020 at 18:33. Reason: Question answered. ;)
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 19:05   #41
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These posts are very informative for me as I keep learning about tripods and heads.

My ATX65 (purchased in 2017) fits the Manfrotto 128RC (first pic) and Swarovski DH101 (second pic) directly without plates.

Would they then fit a Gitzo GHF2W without a plate?
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 19:20   #42
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(...) My ATX65 (purchased in 2017) fits the Manfrotto 128RC (first pic) and Swarovski DH101 (second pic) directly without plates. Would they then fit a Gitzo GHF2W without a plate?
The heads shown in your images should provide the Manfrotto / Bogen 200PL click QR standard. The GHF2W is equipped with an Arca-style screw knob clamp (non-click). Does your ATX 65 fit? First of all only if it has the later AS foot - the letters "AS" must be stamped on the bottom side of the foot. But even then it still depends: please read https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...30#post3834730.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 19:41   #43
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AS is stamped on my ATX85 foot but not on the ATX65 foot. Thanks for your help.
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Old Thursday 5th March 2020, 15:37   #44
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I have just measured the rail width on my Arca-Swiss plates:

Berlebach & Novoflex:- 38,9 mm
Sirui:- 39,1 mm
No-name Chinese:- 39,6 mm

The safety retention is not always compatible between heads and plates from different manufacturers.
The Chinese plate has projecting Allen screws on the underside of the plate, probably like RRS, Kirk etc.
A loosened clamp would allow a Berlebach plate to slide out of a non-Berlebach clamp.
A-S Sirui and the shorter Novoflex plates (with a deep underside cutout) can be safely retained on Berlebach or Sirui heads (L-10 tilt head and presumably VA-5) but it may be necessary to push the release button to get the plate on the head.
Novoflex clamps, such as the Q-Mount, have a small projecting pin similar to the Gitzo GHF2W fluid head.

John
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Old Thursday 5th March 2020, 18:27   #45
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I have just measured the rail width on my Arca-Swiss plates:

Berlebach & Novoflex:- 38,9 mm
Sirui:- 39,1 mm
No-name Chinese:- 39,6 mm...
Your finding don't match other accounts, where Novoflex are sometimes too narrow for RRS. Did they change their standard? The RRS plates are 38.1 mm wide.

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Old Thursday 5th March 2020, 19:35   #46
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Your finding don't match other accounts, where Novoflex are sometimes too narrow for RRS. Did they change their standard? The RRS plates are 38.1 mm wide.
Most of these are a few years old, but that's what I measured on three Novoflex plates, two Berlebachs and one Sirui. Novoflex quote 39 mm on their website.

John

PS:- If RRS say you can't use Novoflex plates, perhaps they and others are too wide for their lever clamps instead of too narrow. That would be another argument in favour of screw clamps.

Last edited by Tringa45 : Thursday 5th March 2020 at 19:42.
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Old Thursday 5th March 2020, 21:15   #47
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...PS:- If RRS say you can't use Novoflex plates, perhaps they and others are too wide for their lever clamps instead of too narrow. That would be another argument in favour of screw clamps.
No, the problem is definitely one of being too narrow, even for some screw clamps, as forent described above.

--AP
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Old Friday 6th March 2020, 10:37   #48
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No, the problem is definitely one of being too narrow, even for some screw clamps, as forent described above.
Well, let's see some other measurements, or are you suggesting that 39 mm is narrower than 38,1 mm?

John
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Old Friday 6th March 2020, 14:03   #49
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The decisive question is: *How* did you measure? Simply the bottom width would not be appropriate as e.g. the dovetailshave different shapes and angles.

Last edited by forent : Saturday 7th March 2020 at 06:30.
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Old Friday 6th March 2020, 19:39   #50
Tringa45
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The decisive question is: *How* did you measure? Simply the bottom width would not appropriate.
Well then you have to define what measurement wer'e talking about. Simply alleging that one make is narrower than another is an over-simplification. I assume the 45 dovetail is universal. Greater height thereof would result in a narrower groove.

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