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Sirui VA-5 vs Manfrotto MVH500AH (visual comparison) (1 Viewer)

rpg51

Well-known member
I ended up with a heavy carbon fibre legged tripod (the legs are VERY beefy), and a Sirui VH 10x fluid head. What a huge improvement over the lightweight set up I have. The scope is very solidly supported with little shake. Highly recommended.
 

6chen

Member
Thanks for the comprehensive comparison, it is the exact info I’m looking for.

I’m just curious if the va5 also drift a little when tightening the pan knob just like 500ah? It’s quit annoying when in high magnification.
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Sirui seems to get a lot of love around here at the moment. Let me add a dissenting voice: I was looking for a lightweight tripod for quite some time. So I got myself a Sirui T-1204x. It looked quite good for use with small scopes. At least on paper and in the shop. But it wasn't. I've rarely seen a tripod - even in this weight class - as vibration prone as this tripod. Pretty horrible, actually. Almost as bad as the ubiquitous junk you find all over the place.
Hi Hermann,

Thanks for pointing that out. My girl friend had a small Sirui, and I felt it thrummed like a harp in strong winds. It also was prone to tipping over, as part of the reason it was so light was that its first clickstop - a selling point because it determines the nominal height - gave it a narrower stance than other brands' scopes. We thought that was unsafe (in our birding context).

However, she replaced it with a light-weight Gitzo, which while being an overall Improvement, still was a bit too vibration-prone for my liking.

My conclusion was that you have to have a certain amount of mass in a tripod to make it reasonably well-behaved with regard to vibrations, but I haven't really put that theory to the test.

(And I am a fan of removing the panning handles, too.)

Regards,

Henning
 

Hermann

Well-known member
However, she replaced it with a light-weight Gitzo, which while being an overall Improvement, still was a bit too vibration-prone for my liking.

My conclusion was that you have to have a certain amount of mass in a tripod to make it reasonably well-behaved with regard to vibrations, but I haven't really put that theory to the test.
If you want a light-weight tripod, Gitzo is the way to go. I've got the 1545T because I need the height, and it works reasonably well with medium-sized scopes like the Nikon EDIIIA.

But of course you're right - once it get windy (or you use a big scope), you really want a heavier tripod. Check my heavy tripod for seawatching in really rough conditions: Tripod and head for slight female birder

Hermann
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

I ended up with a heavy carbon fibre legged tripod (the legs are VERY beefy), and a Sirui VH 10x fluid head. What a huge improvement over the lightweight set up I have. The scope is very solidly supported with little shake. Highly recommended.

Seeing that you mentioned using the Sirui VA-5 previously, which I'm considering for my Kowa 883 too, I'd be curious to hear why you switched to the heavier and (if I understand it correctly) non-Arca-Swiss-compatible VH10.

From our discussion of anti-rotation measures I seem to remember that you're using an Arca Swiss system ... does that mean you're using an adapter plate in adition to the "anti-rotation plate"?

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Regards,

Henning
 

rpg51

Well-known member
Hi,



Seeing that you mentioned using the Sirui VA-5 previously, which I'm considering for my Kowa 883 too, I'd be curious to hear why you switched to the heavier and (if I understand it correctly) non-Arca-Swiss-compatible VH10.

From our discussion of anti-rotation measures I seem to remember that you're using an Arca Swiss system ... does that mean you're using an adapter plate in adition to the "anti-rotation plate"?

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Regards,

Henning
Ahhh. Things have evolved. I have acquired some photography equipment which has impacted my needs. Here goes:

To answer your question directly - I do not use that VH-10 head anymore. See below for details. But, the short version is I use a Kirk arca swiss plate of one kind or another on my 883 scope, my camera bodies (L-brackets), and my telephoto lenses. The plates attach directly to the scope and camera equipment. The plates are all very solid, no loosening or rotation occurs. Each plate has some form of lip on one end and no rubber between the plate and scope and camera equipment. It is a very solid and reliable connection that I trust completely. The heads I am using now are described below.

I have two tripods, one "heavy" and one "light."

The heavy set up has no center column. The legs are Leofoto. It has a leveling base (for photography) with a modified Manfrotto 500AH fluid head. The modification is manufactured and sold by Kirk. It replaces the top part of the Manfroto head with an arca swiss clamp. The replacement clamp works with any arca swiss plate and it can load from the top. I have a Kirk arca swiss plate on my 883 and on my camera and lenses. The plates all have a lip on one end. The plates are very solid on the scope, etc. The plates do not loosen, or rotate, one iota. This set up is very solid - little or no shake. I use it with my camera equipment as well. I am very happy with this set up. I can carry the equipment on my shoulder and walk about without any worry that the scope or camera is going to loosen and fall to the ground.

The light set up I have now is evolving and I am not sure I am going to stay with it. It has a VA-5 head. The VA-5 head is nice and it does support the 883 scope just fine. But, the arca swiss clamp on that head does not permit top loading - you have to slide the scope into the clamp and you can't use safety stop screws on your plates which I do use with my heavy set up. I don't want to have to take the safety screws off the plate every time I switch from heavy to light. Its a hassle. I have added a kirk arca swiss clamp to the top of the VA-5 to solve that temporarilly. But, I'm considering going in a completely different direction for this light set up by switching the head to an Acratech panoramic head which people are telling me is an excellent, if not cheap, extremely light weight head for photography with an excellent arca swiss clamp nearly identical to the Kirk clamp I use on my heavy set up. I think this head will also work fine when using a scope. So, I'm holding off a bit and thinking it through. Again, my decisions are impacted by the fact that I use these tripods and heads for both my 883 scope and my photography equipment.

I think the VA-5 head is an excellent lightweight head for scope use and if I were not fooling around with cameras and leveling bases and multiple tripod set ups I would choose it in a heart beat for scope use. In fact, it is possible that I will stick with it. Not sure. If I decide to change my light weight set up, I will likely have an excellent condition Sirui lightweight center column tripod and VA-5 head for sale. I am sure someone will be able to make good use of it.

I recognize that I might be going a little overboard with all this stuff. Whatever. :)
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

The light set up I have now is evolving and I am not sure I am going to stay with it. It has a VA-5 head. The VA-5 head is nice and it does support the 883 scope just fine. But, the arca swiss clamp on that head does not permit top loading - you have to slide the scope into the clamp and you can't use safety stop screws on your plates which I do use with my heavy set up.

Thanks a lot, that's quite interesting for me!

Is the central safety pin compatible with all the Arca Swiss plates out there? I found a drawing of a "standard" Arca Swiss plate, but that shows the cross-section only, not the 3D shape. (That not all Arca Swiss plates work with every head is something I already read about :)

Regards,

Henning
 

rpg51

Well-known member
I can't really answer that question. I think so. But, I believe in some cases that center pin will not work to prevent the plate from slipping out if the clamp is loosened. Some yes, some no. My Kirk plates, and the other plates I have tried, (except Siriui), work with that head. But, the VA-5 center pin does not prevent the Kirk plates I have from coming out. Personally, I prefer a clamp that permits you to attach your scope/plate from above and that allows use of pins attached to each end of the plate if you want a safety catch. If you get a good quality plate to clamp connection some would argue you really don't need a safety catch at all. The better clamps and plates really don't come loose. Me? I like having a safety catch of some kind. Also, I don't like the Sirui plates I have used because they do not attach to the scope or camera solidly - they tend to loosen. This is just my experience. Others may have different experience, I don't know.

If you have an 883 scope I encourage you to find a plate that works to establish a rock solid connection with the scope foot that does not loosen or twist. Kirk works. Others do. But there are many that do not. Then, once you have that sorted out - get a head and clamp that work with that plate.

Good luck!
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

If you have an 883 scope I encourage you to find a plate that works to establish a rock solid connection with the scope foot that does not loosen or twist. Kirk works. Others do. But there are many that do not. Then, once you have that sorted out - get a head and clamp that work with that plate.

Thanks a lot, always good to know there's a tried and proven option that definitely works! :)

Regards,

Henning
 

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