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Lost on choosing tripod and head for my first scope

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Old Friday 25th October 2019, 18:29   #1
PUBiScop1n
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Lost on choosing tripod and head for my first scope

I'm almost set on getting Kowa tsn501 + 20-40x zoom as my first scope but I have no clue how good (and pricy) tripod and head I will need for this lightweight scope.

I've spent last two days reading about tripods and heads since I have zero experience of scopes. I've learned a lot from this forum too, but not enough to make the decision.

Sirui r-2204 is one of the options I've been looking at but I see it weighs only 1,3 kg and don't know if it's enough.

I've also looked at Benro mach3 tma28c which was mentioned as good option on this forum but it had some bad amazon reviews.

Can these two tripods be combined with Manfrotto 500AH videohead?

I could get Sirui R-3213X + VH-10X if I streched my budget a bit but is this combo more than I need for Kowa tsn 501?

Any help would be much appreciated. My budget is around 500 and it's not easy for me to get to a shop where I could test scopes, tripods, and heads. :(
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Old Saturday 26th October 2019, 22:30   #2
Tringa45
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Hi and welcome to birdforum.
Many users make the mistake of putting an expensive scope on a cheap and inadequate tripod but you definitely don't need a 3 kg Benro Mach3 or a Sirui VH-10 for the little Kowa 501.
Kowa make some excellent scopes but the 501 is very much entry level and perhaps you should look at apportioning your budget differently for better optical quality.
Without knowing how much weight you are willing to carry, your birding priorities and your total budget, it's difficult to make specific recommendations.

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Old Saturday 26th October 2019, 23:14   #3
Kevin Conville
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Being a small angled scope, you don't need a lot of height.
Being a small scope you don't need a lot of capacity.

A light carbon tripod with collets (no cam levers) is what I'd recommend.
I have 4 Benros and they are great, really.
"I've also looked at Benro mach3 tma28c which was mentioned as good option on this forum but it had some bad amazon reviews."
I can't explain that as I have 15 years experience with many Benros and they just work great.
That may be a little more tripod than you need however. Look at ones in the 2 1/2 lb range


Put a decent quality ballhead with an Arca clamp/plate system on it and you are good my friend. I use a Markins Q3 which is quite awesome but may be out of your budget.

The bonus is that this tripod/head arrangement will serve you very well for photography as well.
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Old Sunday 27th October 2019, 01:43   #4
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Can't speak to the prices in Europe, but Velbon has served me well for my small Nikon ED50.
Mine is the Ultra LuxiM, which has been replaced by their model 455. For the Kowa 501, it should be entirely adequate. These tripods use Velbon's proprietary locking system, which allows a more compact design.
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Old Sunday 27th October 2019, 01:51   #5
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I have the Opticron MM4/60 which is also a small light scope. I use the Sirui T2205X and the Sirui VA-5 fluid head. The combo is very light and more than enough for the small scope.

My T2205X is no longer made. I think most any of the Sirui 2xxx series would be fine. you specifically linked a waterproof tripod. Maybe you need that? If not, I find their travel tripods convenient as they pack very small. The lighter tripods with a hook for your backpack will work just fine, I think. I am not trying to use mine for extended viewing or in high winds or with super high magnification (usually I'm using a 32x wide fixed eyepiece).

The VA-5 head uses the standard arca swiss quick release plate so it is compatible with all sorts of mounts and camera gear.

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Old Sunday 27th October 2019, 11:17   #6
PUBiScop1n
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Thanks a lot everyone! This was very helpful!

I think I'm going for Sirui r-2204 + Va-5 based on Marc's suggestion. I could get them for under 400 € which would also leave something in the bank for future upgrades.
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Old Monday 28th October 2019, 11:17   #7
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Just echoing etudiants recommendation for Velbon.

I'd certainly recommend the Velbon Sherpa 200R with PH157Q Panhead. In the UK it can be picked up for around 85 and for me is the perfect match for a scope like the smaller Kowa's and the Nikon ED50.

I've even been using it with a 65mm scope recently, it's probably getting to the limit of what it should be paired with but it's been fine so far.
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Old Monday 28th October 2019, 19:24   #8
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If you want to go ultralight then go for this

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Benro-TSL08...2290567&sr=8-4

I got one to go with a Vortex Razor 50mm. It is amazingly stable for its size. It sees daft to have a very light scope and team it up with a heavy tripod.
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