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expierence with ballheads telescopes? (1 Viewer)


I am currently researching if it is easy to use a ballhead together with a telescope?
until now i am using a manfrotto 701rc head on a 055cb manfrotto tripod.
but i am eager to buy a carbon or basalt gitzo tripod. Because i am also doing birdphotography
i find the fluid head not easy to use for the photography-purpose.
So i planning to change to a ballhead solution for this.But then there comes the problem of what to use for my big swaro ats80hd telescope? using two different tripods is not an option,
to much to walk around with.
My plan is to buy a gitzo 2931 basalt or 3520 carbon tripod, and for head are my option arcaswiss, markins, rrs or kirk ballheads.

Any help / recommendations would be welcome,

Greetings from the Netherlands!
I have used a Manfrotto pistol grip with a swaro ats80hd. At times when panning birds in flight or one bird of prey chasing another out of an area they can be the perfect tool. I have not digiscoped with it. I find that the fluid head is what I use the most. The arcaswiss is in another league for quality.
Hello Greg,

I tried a pistolgrip in a equipment store, but it is not the thing for me,
What i forgot to say is that it is my plan to get rid of de fluidhead en going only for a ball-head.
What i loose then is also the steering handle from the fluid head.
do you (or other readers here) have any experience with using a telescope on a ballhead together withg seawatching for instance (where it is almost a bare necessity to have a steering handel on your tripod head) or is it possible to do a full day seawatching on a ballhead, all day gripping your telescope and still sitting comfortably..?

Maybe i must keep my old manfrotto tripod just for seawatching...


Hi Martijn,

I'd say, give the Gitzo G2180 a good look. It's a small fluid head with a pan handle. I removed the pan handle and use it like it's a ballhead. There's a built-in counterbalance control that can be switched on/off with the turn of a knob. When switched on, you simply point the scope and it stays on the subject, under any angle. You'd have the versatility of a ballhead, and you can simply put the pan handle back on when seawatching and use it like it's a normal fluid head.
Cost would be around 229 euro's.
I've had fluid heads in the past, and have used a Velbon ballhead for a short while. I didn't like it, in order to keep the scope steady I had to tighten the pan/tilt knobs and the movement went stiff, and too loose the scope was all floppy like it wanted to faint. very awkward.
The counter balance control of the G2180 is a great feature, worth trying out IMO.

Good luck,

Regards, Ronald
I have the Kirk head for photography but I've carried it as my only head and used it with a scope when I've had to travel light. It works fine but I definitely prefer a pan fluid head for dedicated scope work. Since I find it difficult to combine scoping birds with general photography most of the time, I have two center columns for my tripod, one with the ballhead and the other with the pan head. I take both with me in the car, or whichever I'm using if I'm dedicated to one activity or the other on a given morning. Switching the whole column and head combo is much faster than switching the heads back and forth.

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