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Advice please (1 Viewer)

field of sheep

Well-known member
Can someone recommend a decent tripod and head for my soon to arrive Swarovski ATX 85. I would ideally like carbon and have around £300 to spend.
Thanks,
Matt
 

Woody67

Member
Hi Matt,

Regarding the tripod I would suggest that when you get your scope that you take it to a camera shop and try out the different tripods to see which one feels most comfortable for carrying around while out in the field. I have the Swarovski ATX 65 scope and use the Manfortto 190XDB tripod and a Manfrotto video head which is ideal for panning particularly when following birds in flight.
 

Woody67

Member
Hi Matt,

I use the Manfrotto 128RC video head but I am not sure if it is still available as I bought it about 13 or 14 years ago. However, check out www.manfrotto.co.uk for the current video heads available.

Joe
 

C B Allen

Chris Allen
Will check out eBay, any ideas on a carbon tripod?

Hi Matt,

You have just spent probably around £2.5k on possibly the most awesome scope currently made!! I bought an ATX 95 a bought a month ago and realised after my first full day in the field that the Manfrotto 055 C/F legs (that had worked fine with a Leica 65 for the previous 4 years) were a limiting factor on the scope. After reading various threads on B/F - and particularly noting the comments of several "trusted" contributors I bought a Feisol CT-3372 Rapid.

I've been using this daily on Scilly 2 of the last 3 weeks (OK - bog all rares but still stuff to look at if you try!) and am amazed at the difference - absolutely stable compared to the Manfrotto and only about 500gr more weight. I've been using it with my 10 year old Manfrotto 128RC head (currently about £60 from new) which has been completely compatible. Also the Feisol goes so tall that I didn't even consider a central column - which keeps the price down and greatly improves stability.

Downside?? ... well the legs go just under £400 (new) plus a head, but when you look at what you have invested in the scope it has to be worth considering.

Enjoy your new scope whatever platform you settle on - it is awesome!!

Cheers - Chris A.
 

johnf3f

johnf3f
I use the Manfrotto 701 HDV for my Kowa scope and find it very good - it should be well up to the job with your new Swaro. Unfortunately I do not have much knowledge of fluid heads, the only other one I have tried was a Manfrotto 500 series - which may be overkill.

I totally agree with Chris (Marshwobbler) a sturdy and rigid tripod is essential! I currently use Canon's longest production lens (800mm) and that makes fewer demands on my tripod's rigidity and vibration damping than even fairly modest scopes. Luckily, for me, I already had good tripods so I didn't have to buy one.
The minimum I use is a Gitzo GT2531, though I normally use a Gitzo 3530LS. The difference between a good Carbon tripod and a cheap alloy one is quite startling with a spotting scope.
I don't have personal experience of the particular Feisol that Chris recommends, but I have used it's smaller brother and can confirm that Feisol make quality tripods at almost sensible prices - current Gitzo prices are getting a little silly.
 

field of sheep

Well-known member
Hi John, ditto, i also use the Canon 800mm F5.6, got it as my 600 was just too heavy. I use it with my Gitzo 5541 but i have to admit to being totally new to spotting scopes and their supports. I am tempted to just get the Manfrotto 055 CX3 with the 128 RC head, i'm sure that would do the job.
Thanks,
Matt
 

johnf3f

johnf3f
Hi John, ditto, i also use the Canon 800mm F5.6, got it as my 600 was just too heavy. I use it with my Gitzo 5541 but i have to admit to being totally new to spotting scopes and their supports. I am tempted to just get the Manfrotto 055 CX3 with the 128 RC head, i'm sure that would do the job.
Thanks,
Matt

If you already have the Gitzo 5541 use that! Yes it is a bit heavy but there is simply no better tripod available (in my opinion) regardless of price! Also although the Manfrotto is about 2 lbs lighter it is a bit bendy!

I tried a friends 5541 with my 800mm and found it to be overkill - so it should be rock solid with your scope! Nice tripod - no need to improve.
 

johnf3f

johnf3f
Totally forgot to mention - I picked up a Manfrotto 128 RC2 head for a friend and it is good but I prefer the 701 HDV, however there are other good ones out there so keep looking. After all now you don't need a better tripod (you can't get one!) you can spend more on the head, unfortunately I am no expert in the head department.
Happy Head Hunting!
 

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