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Old Friday 27th March 2020, 01:48   #26
PlayFreeBird
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I bought one about a month ago. I can't compare it to other heavy duty tripods as I've not user any. It is very solid. It is intended for scoping and not endlessly configurable like a photography tripod. I would also point out the head is also steadier than the 128RC head. Now I did have the tripod up on a observation tower in the wind, and at 60x the image was unsteady. But otherwise, yes, it's everything people have said here.
I do think the Kingjoy head is very slick. You can get it for less than the $90 if you look around.
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Old Friday 27th March 2020, 23:19   #27
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Thanks for the input there.

I used a stopwatch to determine approximately how long it took my kit to stop vibrating after I removed my hand from the scope. It took over 6 seconds! That was only removing my hand from the scope, not the result of a bump or knock.

I am looking for something that moves NOT at all. I would love the ability to actually put my hand on the scope to focus it, and have it rock solid. Sure, bumping the scope will cause a vibration, but even then, settling in a second or less is the goal.

To you that have this tripod, is that feasible, with the right head? Thanks!
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Old Friday 27th March 2020, 23:23   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlayFreeBird View Post
I bought one about a month ago. I can't compare it to other heavy duty tripods as I've not user any. It is very solid. It is intended for scoping and not endlessly configurable like a photography tripod. I would also point out the head is also steadier than the 128RC head. Now I did have the tripod up on a observation tower in the wind, and at 60x the image was unsteady. But otherwise, yes, it's everything people have said here.
I do think the Kingjoy head is very slick. You can get it for less than the $90 if you look around.
Thanks for the info. So, when you were on the tower, was the tower moving about as well, or was the unsteadiness from the wind only?

I am in the open fields quite frequently, and wind is an issue. Maybe the wind is only able to be defeated by a tripod that is too heavy to carry, but I hope not.

Maybe my standards are unreasonable. ?
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 10:45   #29
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I am in the open fields quite frequently, and wind is an issue. Maybe the wind is only able to be defeated by a tripod that is too heavy to carry, but I hope not.

Maybe my standards are unreasonable. ?
Maybe. Depends on the wind and the magnification. If you use high magnifications in high winds NO tripod will be stable enough for a good view. My heavy tripod is a 2 section wooden tripod, weighing about 5 kg without the head, and it's ok at high magnification up to about 7 Beaufort, even at 60x magnification. But any higher than that, especially in gusts, there's some movement. And don't forget: In really windy conditions YOU are shaken by the wind as well ...

The only possible solution is to sit down behind the tripod to keep a low profile. That's what I usually do on a seawatch in autumn.

Hermann

BTW, a friend of mine always says the only *really* stable tripod is a block of concrete of the appropriate size. Not that easy to carry around though ...
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 12:16   #30
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Hi,

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I used a stopwatch to determine approximately how long it took my kit to stop vibrating after I removed my hand from the scope. It took over 6 seconds! That was only removing my hand from the scope, not the result of a bump or knock.
6s dampening time is indeed quite terrible - was this on the tower in the wind or is this the normal time? My kit can be focused w/o oscillations if you're careful and will take less than second to dampen when rapped. Of course this is in normal conditions - it will be quite impossible to reproduce your experience on a shaking observation tower in strong wind.

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BTW, a friend of mine always says the only *really* stable tripod is a block of concrete of the appropriate size. Not that easy to carry around though ...
In astro circles we prefer a concrete column for maximum stability - about two to three meters into the ground... portability is obviously not a primary concern there...

Joachim
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 15:33   #31
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I was on the tower. :-) It was a 3 level steel structure with thin planking, and was vibrating, especially when someone else was climbing the stairs. I'll try to go test it, but I'm sure the tripod stabilizes a lot quicker that 6 seconds.
Back in California my stucco home shook when the earth quaked. Here in New England my wooden house (on a hill) shakes when the wind blows (or the Bosch washer takes off).
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 19:45   #32
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Weifeng F7-717A with fluid head

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Hi,

the head in the kit is the chinese 500AH clone linked below. No idea how that will perform - it certainly has the long plate of the Manfrotto original, so the advantage that you can properly balance your setup stays the same.

https://www.ebay.de/itm/Kingjoy-VT-3...EAAOSw0w9d5ytk

I'd probably shell out a bit more for the original... it's not that much more than the $90 difference between the legs only offer and the kit - or might be less if you can find a used 500AH.

As for the guarantee - over here you get a mandatory 14 days period during which you can return merchandise no questions asked for any online purchase - do you have sth equivalent?

Joachim
Hi Scott

Under the name Weifeng 7-717A, that's the one I've got. They also go under the names Fancier & Kingjoy). It's on EBay at the moment from a Spanish seller....both at 129.
Very sturdy, well made .....seems shake free - good fluid head.....QR plate same as Manfrotto....takes my Diascope same as yours....

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It's still sideways !!
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 23:21   #33
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Yikes! Amazon has it for $58 - the head that is, not a whole tripod setup.

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Old Sunday 29th March 2020, 09:51   #34
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Originally Posted by Hermann View Post
Maybe. Depends on the wind and the magnification. If you use high magnifications in high winds NO tripod will be stable enough for a good view. My heavy tripod is a 2 section wooden tripod, weighing about 5 kg without the head, and it's ok at high magnification up to about 7 Beaufort, even at 60x magnification. But any higher than that, especially in gusts, there's some movement. And don't forget: In really windy conditions YOU are shaken by the wind as well ...

The only possible solution is to sit down behind the tripod to keep a low profile. That's what I usually do on a seawatch in autumn.

Hermann

BTW, a friend of mine always says the only *really* stable tripod is a block of concrete of the appropriate size. Not that easy to carry around though ...
While I agree that a chunk of cement would be the most stable, my back might have a bit of resistance to the idea. LOL.

That being said, an 11 or 12 pound tripod is not the end of the world, if it is stable enough to hold steady in 30mph winds. THAT is impressive. But, I am guessing that it is something that is in the Berlebach line, so $$$. Still, though, that is impressive. What does it weigh with the head.

Thanks for clarifying that my goal of stability in steady wind is a bit of a pipe-dream. I still want to get as close as possible, while keeping my investment relatively low. This Birder tripod, and a heavy-duty head might be my best option.???

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Hi,



6s dampening time is indeed quite terrible - was this on the tower in the wind or is this the normal time? My kit can be focused w/o oscillations if you're careful and will take less than second to dampen when rapped. Of course this is in normal conditions - it will be quite impossible to reproduce your experience on a shaking observation tower in strong wind.



In astro circles we prefer a concrete column for maximum stability - about two to three meters into the ground... portability is obviously not a primary concern there...

Joachim
I agree, Joachim. You hit the nail on the head when you first saw the photo of my tripod under my Zeiss Diascop, in the thread I started. The claimed capacity might be 9#, but that is just what it might support, not what it can handle without serious vibration problems. 6 SECONDS!!! LOL.

And, reference your question about conditions, this took place INSIDE my house. It was sitting on my floor, and protected from any wind. Just lightly brushing my hand against the stay-on cover (unzipped and folded over, loosely fitted around the scope) results in at least 4-6 seconds of vibration. It is a struggle to focus.

I should clarify, with just my naked eye looking through the scope, it is still a struggle, but when trying to digiscope, it is far worse. I still would not be happy with its performance, but less motivated to replace the tripod and head if digiscoping was not my main goal.

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Originally Posted by PlayFreeBird View Post
I was on the tower. :-) It was a 3 level steel structure with thin planking, and was vibrating, especially when someone else was climbing the stairs. I'll try to go test it, but I'm sure the tripod stabilizes a lot quicker that 6 seconds.
Back in California my stucco home shook when the earth quaked. Here in New England my wooden house (on a hill) shakes when the wind blows (or the Bosch washer takes off).
I understand that the tower scenario is nearly impossible to allow stability. So, in my opinion, just having ANY success with the scope on a platform like that tower is sort of impressive.

Don't go to too much trouble, but I would be interested in your dampening/timing test.

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Hi Scott

Under the name Weifeng 7-717A, that's the one I've got. They also go under the names Fancier & Kingjoy). It's on EBay at the moment from a Spanish seller....both at 129.
Very sturdy, well made .....seems shake free - good fluid head.....QR plate same as Manfrotto....takes my Diascope same as yours....

Attachment 722459

It's still sideways !!
Thanks, Ian. Shipping from Italy might kill the deal, but I will look into that. I appreciate the input. I will do some searches for the name.

I guess, all, that I am thinking spending the money on a bit of overkill for the tripod and head is a good idea. Within reason, relative to the weight for carrying it long distances, I am willing to go big. If it is a substantial tripod, with a solid and silky smooth head, even if I move to a different scope sometime, the platform can stay. Less advancement in the tripod/head realm, I would think.

I found an old Manfrotto 3066 head for sale relatively close by. For $200 with the tripod, it seems like a reasonable deal. If they would sell without the tripod (not a typical field tripod, it appears), would the 3066 be a viable head?

I found a 509, but probably more than I want to spend (?) at $500.

A 502, bare, at $100 might be a good deal, but waiting on confirmation that all of the parts are there.

If any of these would be simple "bolt-on" heads for the Birder, maybe I will go this route.

Meanwhile, I will research Ian's tripod configuration further. Looks interesting too.

Thank you for all of the help. Also, to the OP, I assume you have purchased what you were looking for, so I hope I have not hijacked, but just continued this thread. I hope this is ok...

EDIT to add:

I also found a Manfrotto MVH502A for $150. NIB, it says. If the payload is only up to 15 #, would I be still dealing with the shakes, if my tripod is beefier?

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Old Sunday 29th March 2020, 17:44   #35
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Hi Scott

Watch this on YouTube...'Choosing the right tripod for your spotting scope' with Simon King.

In the UK he is very well respected.

Regards
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Old Sunday 29th March 2020, 21:40   #36
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Hi,

the Bogen 3066 aka Manfrotto 116Mk3 and the 509 are heavy pro video heads. Heavy as in 3.5kg for the 3066 and 3.9kg for the 509. That's just the head, no legs. They're serious overkill for what you want to do and are quite certain to spoil the fun in digiscoping as you will not want to carry your 15kg pack for more than a few hundred meters.

The 502 is slightly overkill - it's 1.6kg and thus not a lot heavier than the 500AH at 1kg. Its counterbalance is optimized for 4kg of gear - quite a bit more than the 2.6 kg of the 500AH. I would consider a 502 for a 95mm scope with heavy accessories - like a Swaro BTX 95.

As for the 6s dampening time - still hard to believe - some sanity checks:

- the joints where the legs are attached to the top piece are nice and tight - it's not possible to tilt the legs a bit sideways.

- head is well tightened - you need to tighten the center column lock on the tripod and the pan lock on the head to do this.

- legs are spread as far as you can - if the ground provides a bit of friction you can even have a bit of tension...

- column is down and the column lock is tightened.

Joachim
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Old Sunday 29th March 2020, 23:30   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Byrnes View Post
Hi Scott

Watch this on YouTube...'Choosing the right tripod for your spotting scope' with Simon King.

In the UK he is very well respected.

Regards
Thank you, Ian. That was an interesting video. Much appreciated. I will search for more of his videos.

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Hi,

the Bogen 3066 aka Manfrotto 116Mk3 and the 509 are heavy pro video heads. Heavy as in 3.5kg for the 3066 and 3.9kg for the 509. That's just the head, no legs. They're serious overkill for what you want to do and are quite certain to spoil the fun in digiscoping as you will not want to carry your 15kg pack for more than a few hundred meters.

The 502 is slightly overkill - it's 1.6kg and thus not a lot heavier than the 500AH at 1kg. Its counterbalance is optimized for 4kg of gear - quite a bit more than the 2.6 kg of the 500AH. I would consider a 502 for a 95mm scope with heavy accessories - like a Swaro BTX 95.

As for the 6s dampening time - still hard to believe - some sanity checks:

- the joints where the legs are attached to the top piece are nice and tight - it's not possible to tilt the legs a bit sideways.

- head is well tightened - you need to tighten the center column lock on the tripod and the pan lock on the head to do this.

- legs are spread as far as you can - if the ground provides a bit of friction you can even have a bit of tension...

- column is down and the column lock is tightened.

Joachim
I appreciate the insight. I expected them to be rather heavy, but that is substantial. I already am toting a backpack and scope combo of around 35#. I walked around 5 miles with it the other morning, and it is a bit taxing.

However, much of that weight is due to some weights I added to the backpack, so that I could hang it on the tripod, for obvious reasons. My point is, a 30# pack, all items included, is not off-putting to me. But, the lighter the better.

So, the 3066 and 509 are more than is necessary. I get it.

If the 502 will do the trick, that will be my head. If the seller gets back to me, I might have a NIB head for $125. That seems pretty fair.

After this discussion, I realize that the a steady tripod in 30mph winds is an unreasonable expectation. However, being able to rest my hand on the top of the scope, while I pan, and adjust the focus to a fine point, without vibration, is NOT too much to ask, is it? I miss so many cool shots, because I have to wait for the scope to settle, then adjust focus, then wait to settle, and adjust again.

And, to answer your question, everything was tightened down to the point of being dangerously close to breaking something. The legs were not at their widest, but at the widest normal width. The vibration is the same whether I am on gravel, dirt, grass, concrete, or whatever.
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Old Monday 30th March 2020, 16:53   #38
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That being said, an 11 or 12 pound tripod is not the end of the world, if it is stable enough to hold steady in 30mph winds. THAT is impressive. But, I am guessing that it is something that is in the Berlebach line, so $$$. Still, though, that is impressive. What does it weigh with the head.
The head I use on my heavier tripods is a Manfrotto MVH500AH. The tripod is in fact lighter than I thought it was, it's only ~3.8 kg (without the head). The feet are actually steel, so you can really push them into the earth. The middle column is solid steel.

That tripod was sold many years ago with the Carl Zeiss Jena Asiola scope. I've had it for many years. I think it may well have been made by Berlebach at the time. Wooden tripods seem me to be excellent with regard to dampening down vibrations. One really heavy Berlbach I've seen in the field is this one: https://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=details&id=225 Leaves my tripod in the dust ... But 7.3 kg without the head - no way.

By the way, there are lighter tripods that are truly excellent, better IMO than Gitzo and all the usual suspects: https://www.sachtler.com/en/. Better than anything else I've seen. Truly professional tripods. But a bit expensive, and that's putting it mildly.

Hermann
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Old Monday 30th March 2020, 18:24   #39
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Hi,

Old Berlebach Report

https://www.ebay.de/itm/Berlebach-Ho...0AAOSwk~pee6Oc

Not quite as high but more stable... and not Berlebach...

https://www.ebay.de/itm/Wunderschone...d490%7Ciid%3A1

Postage to US will be shocking though... actually not that bad - DHL wants 37€ for a 5kg package with one dimension up to 1.20m...

Joachim
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Old Monday 30th March 2020, 23:21   #40
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Hi,



Not quite as high but more stable... and not Berlebach...

https://www.ebay.de/itm/Wunderschone...d490%7Ciid%3A1

Postage to US will be shocking though... actually not that bad - DHL wants 37 for a 5kg package with one dimension up to 1.20m...

Joachim
Looks to be a splendid tripod for the hard core user, sold dirt cheap.
Not at all suitable for a Manhattan apartment, but if I were sea watching from Cape May, I'd hit that bid.
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Old Monday 30th March 2020, 23:25   #41
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Looks to be a splendid tripod for the hard core user, sold dirt cheap.
Not at all suitable for a Manhattan apartment, but if I were sea watching from Cape May, I'd hit that bid.
Yeah, those metal tips are going to ruin the parquet floor for sure...

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Old Wednesday 1st April 2020, 22:26   #42
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Well, since I said I would, I took my scope out, focused it across our shallow valley, jacked it up to 60x, and hit the tripod with a hammer... Okay, a rubber mallet before anyone gets apoplectic:-) It damps, well, instantly. I couldn't get the "1" out, let alone "Mississippi". Now mind you, if I press my glasses against the eyepiece, it can wobble a bit.
I have to reiterate what others have said. Six seconds of "ringing" just isn't right. It would be very detrimental to any photographic use. You might want to have a friend take a look at the set up and see if anything is amiss.

---

And while I was out, some neighbors talked to me and mentioned Mt. Auburn Cemetery is now closed to the public!-(
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Old Friday 3rd April 2020, 00:57   #43
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The head I use on my heavier tripods is a Manfrotto MVH500AH. The tripod is in fact lighter than I thought it was, it's only ~3.8 kg (without the head). The feet are actually steel, so you can really push them into the earth. The middle column is solid steel.

That tripod was sold many years ago with the Carl Zeiss Jena Asiola scope. I've had it for many years. I think it may well have been made by Berlebach at the time. Wooden tripods seem me to be excellent with regard to dampening down vibrations. One really heavy Berlbach I've seen in the field is this one: https://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=details&id=225 Leaves my tripod in the dust ... But 7.3 kg without the head - no way.

By the way, there are lighter tripods that are truly excellent, better IMO than Gitzo and all the usual suspects: https://www.sachtler.com/en/. Better than anything else I've seen. Truly professional tripods. But a bit expensive, and that's putting it mildly.

Hermann
Yes, those Sachtler tripods are shockingly priced. Probably worth the money, but only if necessary. They are NOT necessary...for me. LOL.

Thank you, just the same.

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Well, since I said I would, I took my scope out, focused it across our shallow valley, jacked it up to 60x, and hit the tripod with a hammer... Okay, a rubber mallet before anyone gets apoplectic:-) It damps, well, instantly. I couldn't get the "1" out, let alone "Mississippi". Now mind you, if I press my glasses against the eyepiece, it can wobble a bit.
I have to reiterate what others have said. Six seconds of "ringing" just isn't right. It would be very detrimental to any photographic use. You might want to have a friend take a look at the set up and see if anything is amiss.

---

And while I was out, some neighbors talked to me and mentioned Mt. Auburn Cemetery is now closed to the public!-(
Well, I think that I will pull the trigger on the Birder. I appreciate your testing it out. That is a pretty impressive result.

I found this head for $150. I should work well with this tripod, right?
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Old Friday 3rd April 2020, 12:22   #44
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Well, I think that I will pull the trigger on the Birder. I appreciate your testing it out. That is a pretty impressive result.

I found this head for $150. I should work well with this tripod, right?
Be sure to check the details of the QC plate used.
Video generally uses a bigger 50 mm across the base plate, while the Arca style plate mostly used for scopes is about 38 mm.
I wound up with a kluge mounting one plate on the other to get things to fit.
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Old Friday 3rd April 2020, 17:12   #45
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Hi,

since it's a Manfrotto Head, it's going to have a Manfrotto plate - they don't use Arca and I don't think the Diascope has an Arca compatible integrated foot, or does it?

But I would rather get this version of the 502 - you don't need the half ball...

https://www.manfrotto.com/us-en/502-...base-mvh502ah/

If you have to get the half ball attachment it can be removed by loosening some grub screws... see image 2B...

https://cdn.vitecimagingsolutions.co...677.1585926288

As for Sachtler Tripods - you got to be lucky to find a used one which is kinda affordable... like this one... that's what you need the half-ball for...

https://www.ebay-kleinanzeigen.de/s-...64827-175-2417

Joachim

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Old Friday 3rd April 2020, 19:47   #46
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You definitely want a long plate for a large scope. Arca's do come in long versions ("camcorder" versions with an alignment pin) , but the Manfrotto 5 hundred plate is often cloned as well.
I don't understand what I'm seeing with the that 502. I'd try to get a clear answer first.
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Old Friday 3rd April 2020, 20:13   #47
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Hi,

the plate used by the 500 and 502 allows to move the scope about 2" back and forth from the center position for balance and has a security pin which will avoid a crash even if the security lever becomes loose. Longer plates are available from Manfrotto and third parties.

In order to take off the scope, you need to unscrew and then press the security lever and then tilt the scope and plate sideways. All of this happening at the same time by accident is not very probable...

In general it is a good idea to use some non-permanent Loctite screw security for the 1/4" screw which holds the plate (any brand) to the foot of the scope as these like to become loose over time.

Joachim

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