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Hello everyone - I'm new to birdwatching. I've got my optics now Iooking for a tripod

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Old Wednesday 19th June 2019, 20:58   #1
birdwatchinghobby112
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Hello everyone - I'm new to birdwatching. I've got my optics now Iooking for a tripod

Hi everyone, i just recently joined the forum!

I bought my first spotting scope but now I'm looking for a lightweight and durable tripod to get. I was hoping that people could share the tripod that they use. I've read 1-2 blog and it seems like the Vortex line is pretty but I'm looking to read more forums. I understand that there isn't just one best tripod so thats why I want to hear what others use so I can see if I like it for myself.

budget would be less than 200$ i think i could get something decent

thanks everyone!

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Old Wednesday 19th June 2019, 23:41   #2
Tringa45
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Welcome to Birdforum.

You don't state what scope you have bought but an adequate tripod and head are just as important as the scope itself. Another member here once stated: "Cheap, stable, lightweight -pick two." I think that is something of an optimistic exaggeration and unfortunately your only hope of getting something adequate within your budget is a second-hand bargain.

I had just been contemplating a new thread on "the weakest link in the chain" as I have come across a few examples in the field recently.
A birder with a €4000 Zeiss Harpia 95 had an excellent Gitzo Series 3 carbon fibre tripod but the lightweight Gitzo 2180 head that Jan Meijerink in his TVWG tests condemned years ago. When I zoomed up to 70x the view was rather jittery despite still air conditions.
Another birder had an STX95 on the good but inexpensive Manfrotto MVH500AH head, but the carbon fibre Sirui tripod was underdimensioned as regards stability and height for the heavy straight scope.
The worst case was a Swarovski ATS80 with a gimbal head on a very flimsy aluminium tripod. It was impossible to focus at 60x as a mere touch of the focusser set off vibrations.

My own set-up is a Berlebach 552 head (now 553) on a Sirui M3204 (now N3204) carbon fibre tripod for a total weight of about 2,5 kg. It was originally intended for use with a Swarovski ATM 65HD with the fixed 30x eyepiece. I have since acquired a Kowa 883 (25-60x) and under normal conditions this still works very well. However for a trip to the North Sea I expected and experienced windy conditions and took along an old aluminium Gitzo Series 4 weighing nearly 5 kg. Needless to say, I didn't carry that far from the car .

John
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Old Wednesday 19th June 2019, 23:43   #3
birdwatchinghobby112
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Post I think I found one: Bushnell Titanium a good buy?

Ok so I goggled best spotting scope tripod for birdwatching and this post popped up with some suggestions of the best spotting scope tripods that are for birding.

Since my scope is from Vortex, I was already thinking about purchasing a vortex tripod but I think the Advanced Titanium Tripod by Bushnell also seems like it would be a good choice for birdwatching. I'm 5'11 so it would be easy for me to use this while standing up and it supports the weight of my scope.

In another blog post or youtube video someone mentioned the celestron tripods, does anyone have any experience with them?

Im sure this gets asked alot but I would love to hear about people's experiences about their tripod!

So it was photography for me that got me interested in birdwatching, I already own a manfrotto tripod but figure it's way too light to support my scope.

Looking forward to reading your personal stories

Last edited by birdwatchinghobby112 : Thursday 20th June 2019 at 00:19.
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Old Wednesday 19th June 2019, 23:52   #4
birdwatchinghobby112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tringa45 View Post
Welcome to Birdforum.

You don't state what scope you have bought but an adequate tripod and head are just as important as the scope itself. Another member here once stated: "Cheap, stable, lightweight -pick two." I think that is something of an optimistic exaggeration and unfortunately your only hope of getting something adequate within your budget is a second-hand bargain.

I had just been contemplating a new thread on "the weakest link in the chain" as I have come across a few examples in the field recently.
A birder with a 4000 Zeiss Harpia 95 had an excellent Gitzo Series 3 carbon fibre tripod but the lightweight Gitzo 2180 head that Jan Meijerink in his TVWG tests condemned years ago. When I zoomed up to 70x the view was rather jittery despite still air conditions.
Another birder had an STX95 on the good but inexpensive Manfrotto MVH500AH head, but the carbon fibre Sirui tripod was underdimensioned as regards stability and height for the heavy straight scope.
The worst case was a Swarovski ATS80 with a gimbal head on a very flimsy aluminium tripod. It was impossible to focus at 60x as a mere touch of the focusser set off vibrations.

My own set-up is a Berlebach 552 head (now 553) on a Sirui M3204 (now N3204) carbon fibre tripod for a total weight of about 2,5 kg. It was originally intended for use with a Swarovski ATM 65HD with the fixed 30x eyepiece. I have since acquired a Kowa 883 (25-60x) and under normal conditions this still works very well. However for a trip to the North Sea I expected and experienced windy conditions and took along an old aluminium Gitzo Series 4 weighing nearly 5 kg. Needless to say, I didn't carry that far from the car .

John
Hey John! thanks for your reply! So this is the vortex scope that I bought (https://www.amazon.com/Vortex-Optics...web_5454532011) It seemed reliable and within my budget. I would love to get a swarovski optic one day if i ever get good enough at this hobby. From what I gather its like the rolls royce of spotting scopes! I also read a few reviews on the SIRUI tripods but some reviewers said it broke on them easily. But I think I will take a look at them because they seem to be quite affordable.

It's interesting that a user on this forum mentioned this "Cheap, stable, lightweight -pick two" because this is a phrase that I hear very often for photography. But I think some tripods can be affordable while offering good stability and also easy to carry at the same time. 5 kg is a little heavy to carry so I dont blame you for not carrying it further from your car. I know friends who buy good stable tripods (that are super expensive too) only to not carry them. Kinda a bummer.

You should definitely write your thread on "the weakest link in the chain". I'll look forward to reading it.
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Old Thursday 20th June 2019, 11:19   #5
jring
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Hi,

first of all, welcome to BF!

I use a Velbon carbon tripod (current model would be Geo 535) and a Manfrotto 500AH head - both were bought used and well inside your budget - I think the tripod was 90€ plus p&p and the head (very well used and modified by its former owner, a pro photographer who had dragged it around the world - a good measure of dust from an unknown desert included) for sth like 40 quid plus p&p.

That makes for a very sturdy setup which is in my opinion very easy to carry with a scopac. It's around 5 or 6kg all together (tripod, head, scope, EP, scopac, guide and some water and munchies).

Joachim
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Old Thursday 20th June 2019, 13:47   #6
HasseBF
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It's just like with photography, to often one starts out with under dimensioned tripods and ends up with a munch higher final cost. I think you should go for a really sturdy tripod right away. Also pick one that has three piece legs rather than four pieced ones - more stable and easier to set up and adjust. Also make shure the tripod is long enough without having to use the center column which is a weak point from a stability perspective. I'm now on my third (or is it fourth?) tripod and am finally very pleased with my setup: Celestron Regal M2 80 scope, Sirui R3213X tripod and a Manfrotto 128RC head. Maybe I will upgrade the head which I got second hand because it shows quite some signs of heavy use but other than it it all works fine and with margin for windy conditions and a heavier/bigger scope.

Good luck with your birding /Hans
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Old Thursday 20th June 2019, 18:56   #7
gr8fuldoug
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Welcome,
As a supporting vendor here it would be our pleasure to discuss options with you. Please give us a call and speak with Joel, our resident tripod Guru
516-217-1000
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Have a great day,
Doug
Please visit our website @ www.cameralandny.com
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