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Manfrotto tripod for Vortex 85

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Old Tuesday 12th November 2019, 09:53   #1
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Manfrotto tripod for Vortex 85

I am trying to buy a tripod to go with a Vortex 85 telescope, but in the absence of anywhere to see tripods I am finding it difficult to get practical information.
The possibilities seem to have been reduced to an Element Traveller Big or a Befree Advanced but cannot discover the differences between these two models. Can anyone provide advice ?
I have also been told that a ball head is preferable to a fluid head. Is this correct ?
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Old Tuesday 12th November 2019, 10:17   #2
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Originally Posted by occasional View Post
I have also been told that a ball head is preferable to a fluid head. Is this correct ?
Not for me, a fluid head is smoother and easier to use imo.
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Old Tuesday 12th November 2019, 11:58   #3
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Have you read up on some of the threads in the "Tripods & Heads" forum and read the tripod primer there?
The options you mentioned are IMO inadequate, particularly in your location, where wind is going to cause vibrations and make higher magnifications unusable.

Even if the zoom eyepiece on your Vortex is parfocal you are going to have to refocus at 60x (shorter depth of field) and I have seen scopes on tripods of this sort, where a touch of the focusser at 60x set off vibrations, making precise focus impossible. A cable release for a scope is not an option and photographers use lower magnifications anyway.

The Befree tripod you mentioned has 22,5 mm top leg sections and you are going to need around this diameter for the botton leg sections! Go for the minimum number of leg sections compatible with packing requirements and the most substantial tripod you can afford. For equivalent dimensions, carbon fibre is stiffer than aluminium but a generously dimensioned Al tripod is preferable to a spindly CF one.

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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 12:43   #4
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I completely agree with John. Spindly legs are hopeless with a big scope. I use (and recommend) the Manfrotto 055CXPRO3, the aluminium version would be a realistic option although a bit heavier. However, a few hundred grams extra isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things. A used example shouldn't be hard to find. There are also plenty of Manfrotto video heads available used, anything from the 700RC2 upwards would be suitable IMO but watch the weight of some of the models. Finally, if you plan to carry your gear any distance, get a Scopac or similar. There's no way I could carry my kit without one!

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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 17:03   #5
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I'd forget Manfrotto and go Benro. Superb.

I can't really recommend a head. I use an old Manfrotto 700RC2 and it's not great. Life's been expensive recently but I'll be replacing it soon.
Please visit my website at

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