• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Manfrotto befree live carbon (1 Viewer)

William Lewis

Wishing birdwatching paid the bills.
United Kingdom
Hello. Just checking in to see if anyone's using this tripod and head at the moment? I'll be pairing it with my ctc30/75 for sea watching (and maybe golden eagles..) up on Skye in a couple of months and just wanted to check it wouldn't be a wasted investment.

I have been using the ctc with a mono pod but wanted a bit more stability as well as light weight as I'll be backpacking. I know there are smaller scopes but like the ctc as it's reasonably compact for its 75mm aperture so that part of the set ups pretty settled.

Thanks in advance.

Will
 
Will,
This might work satisfactorily with a small video or compact camera in calm conditions, but under the conditions you mentioned with a 30x scope, it's going to be a big disappointment.
Read through some of the threads on the Tripods and Heads subforum.

John
 
Will,
This might work satisfactorily with a small video or compact camera in calm conditions, but under the conditions you mentioned with a 30x scope, it's going to be a big disappointment.
Read through some of the threads on the Tripods and Heads subforum.

John
Hmm. Looks like low weight and good quality and stability means lots and lots of cost - more than I'd like to allocate to it anyway.

Ive been using the scope with a monopod for the last couple of years and am familiar with using tripods with video heads from previous set ups were weight wasn't so much of a concern.

I'd assume that - yes if your going to be standing, especially in wind it won't be ideal but sitting using any half decent tripod mounted video head head it should be a magnitude better than the monopod, I'm hiking 9 odd miles with camping gear in additions to bins and a scope so weight and size is dictating that something is better than nothing (or the monopod!).
 
Hmm. Looks like low weight and good quality and stability means lots and lots of cost - more than I'd like to allocate to it anyway.
Yes, that's absolutely right. And even the best lightweight tripod isn't going to be as stable as a bigger one.
I'd assume that - yes if your going to be standing, especially in wind it won't be ideal but sitting using any half decent tripod mounted video head head it should be a magnitude better than the monopod, I'm hiking 9 odd miles with camping gear in additions to bins and a scope so weight and size is dictating that something is better than nothing (or the monopod!).
I actually think in some situations a decent monopod - there are differences there as well! - works BETTER than "half decent tripod". I find I can use 30x magnification on my monopods quite easily. Monopods don't work very well with heavy scopes, but your 30x75 should work just fine. It's a straight scope, and that helps. Angled scopes are somewhat more difficult to use on monopods IME.

Hermann
 
Will,
I really don't think there is anything compact and portable that would provide a stable base for a 30x straight scope at eye level.
This Minitripod L (large version) from Berlebach ® Tripods occurred to me and would provide a stable base if you sat on the ground. However, the extended CTC is fairly long, so any elevated viewing (eagle's nests?) with lowered eyepiece would involve some contortions :(.

John
 
Thanks for the advice gents. Decent monopod with folded length of say 45 cm folded?

Is it worth looking at the mono's that have the 3 legs folding out from the bottom section and would that work with a video head or is it worth just going for a standard staight onto the scope mount as I use now? I've always felt that putting any kind of head be it fluid or ball on to a monopod isn't worth the hastile but in mountainous terrain maybe it's worth while.

I know most birders in my experience use the scope standing which does necessitate heavy ish triod or a bag on the centre column hook but I can really carry that substantial a set up!
 
Is it worth looking at the mono's that have the 3 legs folding out from the bottom section and would that work with a video head or is it worth just going for a standard staight onto the scope mount as I use now? I've always felt that putting any kind of head be it fluid or ball on to a monopod isn't worth the hastile but in mountainous terrain maybe it's worth while.
Will,
I've no experience of monopods with the 3-legged base, but doubt that they would provide any worthwhile stability gains.
A monopod does't need a panorama function and the lateral tilt of a ball head would just be a pain.
All you need is a simple tilt head like a Manfrotto 234 or Sirui L-10.

John
 
Will,
I've no experience of monopods with the 3-legged base, but doubt that they would provide any worthwhile stability gains.
A monopod does't need a panorama function and the lateral tilt of a ball head would just be a pain.
All you need is a simple tilt head like a Manfrotto 234 or Sirui L-10.

John
Will,

I have successfully used a Nikon ED50 with a monopod for around 10 years. I started with lightweight tripods around 1kg with a video head and found they weren’t much use unless I hung my rucksack off the bottom of the centre column to stabilise them. Low weight and stability do not go together ! The additional weight of the tripod (and don’t forget video heads start at about 300-400g) and the hassle carrying, folding and unfolding it wasn’t worth it. I still get a kick out of the simplicity and minimal weight of the ED50 and a monopod.

I don’t bother with a ball head or video head on the monopod. 9 times out of 10 it’s quicker and easier to angle the monopod and/or increase/reduce the monopod length to get onto the bird. I just use a Velbon quick release head screwed straight onto the monopod. However, I do agree than for high angle observation some contortions are required !

I use the monopod both standing and sitting, which is why I always carry a sit-mat in my rucksack. I have successfully done a little bit of sea watching sitting on cliff tops with the monopod at or near minimum length. I also well remember spending a happy half hour sitting on a cliff top in Cornwall watching Choughs feeding in the grass about 30 feet away using the monopod and scope.

I can hold the ED50 on a monopod steady up to about 30x magnification for short periods, but I nearly always use a partly home-made fold down foot for anything above about 20x. I fold the foot down and hold it down under the foot nearest the monopod if standing, or under my knee if seated. This completely stops any “twisting” vibration/movement of the monopod which is by far the most difficult to control by hand.

As you are carrying all your camping kit at the same time I would therefore stick with the monopod. I wouldn’t bother with the tripod feet on some monopods. I have a Velbon RUP4 which is nla, but it looks like it has been replaced by something like the UP-400. IIRC SLIK do a good range too. Last time I looked there was little weight-saving going for a carbon fibre monopod instead of an aluminium one.
 
Will,

I have successfully used a Nikon ED50 with a monopod for around 10 years. I started with lightweight tripods around 1kg with a video head and found they weren’t much use unless I hung my rucksack off the bottom of the centre column to stabilise them. Low weight and stability do not go together ! The additional weight of the tripod (and don’t forget video heads start at about 300-400g) and the hassle carrying, folding and unfolding it wasn’t worth it. I still get a kick out of the simplicity and minimal weight of the ED50 and a monopod.

I don’t bother with a ball head or video head on the monopod. 9 times out of 10 it’s quicker and easier to angle the monopod and/or increase/reduce the monopod length to get onto the bird. I just use a Velbon quick release head screwed straight onto the monopod. However, I do agree than for high angle observation some contortions are required !

I use the monopod both standing and sitting, which is why I always carry a sit-mat in my rucksack. I have successfully done a little bit of sea watching sitting on cliff tops with the monopod at or near minimum length. I also well remember spending a happy half hour sitting on a cliff top in Cornwall watching Choughs feeding in the grass about 30 feet away using the monopod and scope.

I can hold the ED50 on a monopod steady up to about 30x magnification for short periods, but I nearly always use a partly home-made fold down foot for anything above about 20x. I fold the foot down and hold it down under the foot nearest the monopod if standing, or under my knee if seated. This completely stops any “twisting” vibration/movement of the monopod which is by far the most difficult to control by hand.

As you are carrying all your camping kit at the same time I would therefore stick with the monopod. I wouldn’t bother with the tripod feet on some monopods. I have a Velbon RUP4 which is nla, but it looks like it has been replaced by something like the UP-400. IIRC SLIK do a good range too. Last time I looked there was little weight-saving going for a carbon fibre monopod instead of an aluminium one.
Thanks John. I think I will stick with the mono pod, it seems to be the consensus as well as everyones experience in the field. My own is pretty similar - seated even my cheap manfrotto monopod gives good views. It's always tempting to see if there's improvements to be had but for me the scope is something I always want to have with me and in conjunction with the mono pod it is, with a tripod much less so. I'm half tempted to upgrade my current one to one of the gitzo offerings to see if there's any improvements but I think that will be it. As always getting out and using the equipment you already have usually leads to the realisation its perfectly adequate as opposed to spending the time contemplating upgrades!

Thanknagain
 
I'm half tempted to upgrade my current one to one of the gitzo offerings to see if there's any improvements but I think that will be it.
The improvements would be neglible apart from the negative ones in your wallet ;).
The undesired movements on a monopod are low frequency longitudinal, lateral and yaw, but the high frequency vibrations get damped by a hand at the top or on the scope. Carbon fibre would not offer any significant advantage over aluminium and the weight saving on just one leg instead of three is minimal.

John
 
Last edited:
Will,

I fully agree with what Tringa45 said about upgrading your monopod. Apart from buying a sit-mat if you haven't got one, based on my experience sailing around Skye 40 years ago you would be better spending the money on a lot of the highest strength mosquito repellent you can find :).
 
I use my Gitzo Traveler tripod with a ProMediaGear Katana Jr gimbal head and a Meopta MeoStar S2 82 HD scope, it's plenty stable enough at 60x. The Manfrotto is built in the same factory, so I would expect it to perform as well, if not with quite the same aplomb as the Gitzo.

Carbon fiber doesn't just provide weight savings, it also absorbs vibrations better than aluminum. Wooden tripods are better yet.

In this particular case, however, I'd consider stabilized binoculars over getting a fancy new tripod and head that are going to be a pain to lug around.
 
Apart from buying a sit-mat if you haven't got one, based on my experience sailing around Skye 40 years ago you would be better spending the money on a lot of the highest strength mosquito repellent you can find :).
Haha.
Just don't touch your bins or scope with DEET on your hands!
 
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top