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Steady tripod for Pentax 80mm spotter

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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 03:00   #1
simpleman19
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Steady tripod for Pentax 80mm spotter

Hello,

I have a Pentax PF 80 Ed scope with a Pentax zoom eye piece.

I picked up a Optex TP160 tripod for it thinking it would be sufficient. It has worked out pretty well except for when I took it out for astronomy. It was not user friendly when tilting the scope upwards for viewing; I found it very unsteady when panning, And hard to get to lock on to celestial objects as it would drop easily. I also found it a bit short in certain circumstances (a few extra inches would be nice - please dont make this a a what she said moment).

I have been told a pan head it better than a ball head for spotters. But what good quality pan head would you recommend to me for astronomy, as well as regular terrestrial. Im trying not to spend anymore than 200-300 CAD (including 15% sales tax) if possible; I would be willing to spend a bit more if required for the ideal tripod.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 15:12   #2
Binastro
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There are Skywatcher low price altazimuth tripods for astro work.
They are heavy for terrestrial users.

I use old Slik 88 tripods with standard panheads for spotting scopes. They are O.K. at 60x, but 100x is usually too much.
It does drop when locking the handle, so I aim high.

Some of my astro tripods are very heavy for large scopes. Used up to 400x and more.

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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 15:28   #3
simpleman19
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Thanks!
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 17:04   #4
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For terrestrial viewing I prefer a fluid head, sometimes called a video head. Compared to the 3-way tilt head on your current tripod, a fluid head only moves up and down, and side to side. There is no need to be able to rotate your scope 90, you would still see the same view. A fluid head is made to pan and tilt smoothly, making it ideal for tracking birds in flight. This is nearly impossible with any 3-way head I have ever used.

I use a Manfrotto 128RC head on 055CXPRO3 legs. This setup is over your desired price range. If you switch from carbon fiber legs to aluminum, that will cut the price some, but will be less rigid. The 190 series of legs is less expensive as well, if you can live with the reduced height.

I would also try to go with 3 section legs rather than 4. This will improve stability as well.

For serious astronomical use, a terrestrial tripod is always going to be a compromise.
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 18:18   #5
simpleman19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmepler View Post
For terrestrial viewing I prefer a fluid head, sometimes called a video head. Compared to the 3-way tilt head on your current tripod, a fluid head only moves up and down, and side to side. There is no need to be able to rotate your scope 90, you would still see the same view. A fluid head is made to pan and tilt smoothly, making it ideal for tracking birds in flight. This is nearly impossible with any 3-way head I have ever used.

I use a Manfrotto 128RC head on 055CXPRO3 legs. This setup is over your desired price range. If you switch from carbon fiber legs to aluminum, that will cut the price some, but will be less rigid. The 190 series of legs is less expensive as well, if you can live with the reduced height.

I would also try to go with 3 section legs rather than 4. This will improve stability as well.

For serious astronomical use, a terrestrial tripod is always going to be a compromise.
Thank you,

Im going to be using the scope the majority of the time for terrestrial so the compromise will be for select astronomy use.

I will look at the video fluid pan head. They seem to have a longer base to attach to the scope... I take it can be slid either way a little bit in the head to balance better? Also I will look for 3 leg version... if ever I wanted to use it while sitting or new prone I could just spread the legs out.
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 19:20   #6
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Would going with a fluid video head like the 500 be of any advantage? Or will a scope even fit on it? Looks like I could counter balance the scope by moving the base on the head.

If you wouldn’t mind could you check out the following links to the manfrotto site and tell me what you think of the setups?

This is in their photo tripod section:

https://www.manfrotto.com/ca-en/290-...-mk290xta3-2w/

https://www.manfrotto.com/ca-en/190x...ad-mk190x3-2w/

This is in their video tripod section:

https://www.manfrotto.com/ca-en/mvh5...vk502055xpro3/

Last edited by simpleman19 : Monday 25th November 2019 at 20:19.
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 21:53   #7
etudiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simpleman19 View Post
Would going with a fluid video head like the 500 be of any advantage? Or will a scope even fit on it? Looks like I could counter balance the scope by moving the base on the head.

If you wouldnt mind could you check out the following links to the manfrotto site and tell me what you think of the setups?

This is in their photo tripod section:

https://www.manfrotto.com/ca-en/290-...-mk290xta3-2w/

https://www.manfrotto.com/ca-en/190x...ad-mk190x3-2w/

This is in their video tripod section:

https://www.manfrotto.com/ca-en/mvh5...vk502055xpro3/
One potential 'gotcha' is that the QR plates for video appear to be incompatible with the Arca plates frequently used for cameras and spotting scopes or with the Manfrotto version.
The video plates I've seen are much bigger, about 50mm across versus about 38-39mm for Arca compatible types. The video upside is a much more substantial mount, at the price of greater weight and incompatibility with non video gear.
Definitely best to check the detailed specs for compatibility and dimensions before finalizing the selection.
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 22:43   #8
simpleman19
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Thank you, I was curious about that.
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 01:54   #9
simpleman19
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Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
One potential 'gotcha' is that the QR plates for video appear to be incompatible with the Arca plates frequently used for cameras and spotting scopes or with the Manfrotto version.
The video plates I've seen are much bigger, about 50mm across versus about 38-39mm for Arca compatible types. The video upside is a much more substantial mount, at the price of greater weight and incompatibility with non video gear.
Definitely best to check the detailed specs for compatibility and dimensions before finalizing the selection.
I looked at my scope mount, and its flat with a 3/8 and 1/4 and pin hole. Should be no problem for the 500 series.

Shag it, its quite a bit over my budget, but its on sale right now and pretty much exactly what I think Im looking for. The 500 series head with 055 tripod. Should be pretty stable tripod with a very adjustable head to balance out my scope for all types of use. Weight isnt too bad for what I am going to use it for, and if I have to walk for terrestrial viewing I still have the optex.

Thanks for your input everyone.
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