• 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.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Swarovski 115mm with MVH502AH head - no bueno (1 Viewer)

txx3ddq442

New member
United States
After much deliberation, I ordered the Manfrotto MVH502AH pair with my Swaro 115mm ATX. It arrived today and to my surprise, there is a serious incompatibility issue. With the scope mounted to the quick release plate, the diameter of the 115 objective prevents you from sliding the QR plate back onto the head.

I've been able to insert the blank QR plate (no 115mm attached), slide it all the way forward until it stops and install the 115 there, then slide the plate and scope back (until the objective touches the front of the head). This, however, leaves the weight of the scope too far forward and results in a forward tilt if not locked.

While this is not the end of the world, it's not ideal - renders the counterbalance ineffective and renders the quick release ineffective (to dismount, need to slide the plate all the way forward to access the fixing screw under the plate to free the scope).

I've looked but I may have missed something simple - like a female Arca Swiss female receiver I could mount to the Manfrotto QR plate allowing me to secure the Swarovski Arca Swiss base directly into the female receiver. Any ideas or should I move on and get the Swarovski PTH or CTH and be done with it?
 

etn991

Member
I have used this (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CVSR1C1/) Arca clamp on top of my MVH500 with my ATX95. Just this week I got the MVH502AH and the clamp fits on that also. Just used the 3/8 screw on the Manfroto plate to connect. Appears to be out of stock, but similar ones exist, and the key is to find one with a long knob that clears the side of the head.

I am considering either the Kirk or Hejnar replacement tops for the 502 but I'll try without for a while due to the cost.

Kirk adapter

I like the look of the Kirk one better, but I prefer the feel of the Hejnar clamp knobs.
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Hi, and welcome to Birdforum.
Firstly, I think that putting an Arca-Swiss clamp on a Manfrotto QR plate is a rather inelegant "solution" and will not help much with your problem.

I don't have any direct experience with the Manfrotto 502 but I assume that the clamp lever doesn't allow you to open the clamp sufficiently to insert the plate from the top?

Can the QR plate be inserted from the front end of the head by first pressing a safety release? If so, this would at least simplify your mounting problems.

It seems the problem is the opposite to that I had with a little ATM65 HD, which was tail-heavy. This was easily solved with a long plate extending rearwards.
Due to the flared body of the ATX115 objective module though, there doesn't seem to be much room for a forward extending plate.

Let us know how you get on and then we could give some thought to a long-term solution.

John
 

rdcny

Well-known member
Acratech Video Head for Swarovski scopes: Video Ball-Head By Acratech


has Arca-Swiss connections...about $600. I have/use and like it much. Supports my 85mm scope body with the BTX. It ?should? handle the 115 body with BTX as well.
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
It ?should? handle the 115 body with BTX as well.
Bob,

There are two problems here. The first is whether the OP can fit his ATX115 to his recently purchased Manfrotto 502 head without the contortions of screwing it to an already mounted QR plate, and whether my suggestions in post #3 would work. The second is the problem of achieving static balance, which in the long term can probably only be served by buying a new head.

Why oh why do the scope manufacturers pay so little attention to ergonomic and physical principles before bringing their scopes to the market? It should not be that difficult to position the scope foot directly under the centre of gravity. One could then achieve good horizontal balance with a standard length plate by applying minimal friction and a counterbalance would prevent the scope from crashing into the tripod.

My Kowa 883 is well balanced, but I suspect the 773/774 would be tail-heavy, as are the 65 mm Swarovski ATS/STS and the 60 mm Nikon Fieldscopes, and would require a long rearward-facing QR plate. Looking at illustrations of the ATX115, one is inclined to suspect that a QR plate would foul the objective housing before static balance could be achieved! At least the scope foot of the ATX65 faces rearward, but from 85 through to 115 they're all the same. Perhaps Swarovski expect you to buy a BTX module to balance out the 115 mm objective. :(

Although head alternatives should be a topic for future discussion, I doubt that a gimbal head like the Swarovski PTH would provide the stability of a good video head, and vertical tilt would be limited for following birds in flight or views of the night sky.

John
 

rdcny

Well-known member
I highly (highly) recommend anyone buying a Swarovski scope AVOID at all costs the Swarovski pan/tilt head and Swarovski Tripod - vastly overpriced and of lesser quality than similar tripods (Carbon Fiber) and heads made by other manufacturers - look at Leofoto CF tripods for example...and used Acratech video heads to save money.

That being said, the problem here, as I understand it, is the placement of the Arca-Swiss foot/plate viz. the body of the scope. The size of the front element compared to the rearward part of the objective body seems not to allow the attachment of a long (say 3 inches or so; approximately 8-9cm) lens plate to the bottom of the scope. As a result, one cannot properly center (balance) the 115mm scope with eyepiece over the head - it is heavy to one side (front or back of the plate/head) and causes the head to be unbalanced, and not even possible to lock the head in place because the weight of the scope is too much for the head to handle.

With long lenses (like a 600mm lens on a digital camera) one needs a very strong support (head)...unfortunately this gets pricey fast: Really Right Stuff (aka Really Expensive Stuff), Kirk (perhaps 10% cheaper) and Acratech make heads that can handle heavy weight lenses and spotting scopes. For any of these manufacturers I'd look carefully at weight loading ratings (that seem to me made up from thin air). I have found that if a head is stated at holding up to 13 pounds - no good. Get a head that is rated to AT LEAST 5x the weight of the spotting scope (including weight of ocular/eyepiece)...so getting the proper head for a 115mm scope body plus a BTX/ATX...that is going to be expensive...one might need to look into professional (movie/TV) heads that are used for studio situations...

The weight (and support set up) of the 115mm scope is what keeps me from investing in it. If I had a house with a nice back porch with a nature preserve as my backyard - that situation would be ideal. Set the scope up and never leave home with it...On the the hand, if I had to hike and set up the 115, especially with an ATX or BTX, I'd probably hire sherpa assistants or several sons to carry individual parts.

By the way, I have found that my 85mm scope handles the BTX just fine...not significant light fall-off with the BTX even on overcast days. And I can hike a bit with this set up...My Hejnar A-S long lens plate (100mm about 3.5inches) just fits under the body of the scope...a bit tight to the front objective side...but do-able. I then use blue loctite (#2; non-permanent) to get a complete seal between the scope body and the lens plate so I don't have things loosening in the field from twisting/locking into place.
 

txx3ddq442

New member
United States
Hi, and welcome to Birdforum.
Firstly, I think that putting an Arca-Swiss clamp on a Manfrotto QR plate is a rather inelegant "solution" and will not help much with your problem.

I don't have any direct experience with the Manfrotto 502 but I assume that the clamp lever doesn't allow you to open the clamp sufficiently to insert the plate from the top?

Can the QR plate be inserted from the front end of the head by first pressing a safety release? If so, this would at least simplify your mounting problems.

It seems the problem is the opposite to that I had with a little ATM65 HD, which was tail-heavy. This was easily solved with a long plate extending rearwards.
Due to the flared body of the ATX115 objective module though, there doesn't seem to be much room for a forward extending plate.

Let us know how you get on and then we could give some thought to a long-term solution.

John
The scope/QR plate can't be mounted from the front. There's a non-movable safety stop there to, I presume, prevent the kit from sliding out when pointed downward.

Turns out Outdoorsmans may have the perfect, albeit pricey, solution. They make a balance rail specifically for the 115 and works with any of the eyepieces and with or without the 1.7x. The 115 is mounted to the rail and the rail mounted to the Manfrotto QR plate. This should (hopefully) provide enough boost such that the bulbous end of the 115 clears the head. Added benefit is that it provides additional support for the heavy scope (vs putting all the weight on the foot). Only adds around 3 oz.

The first photo is a similar rail mounted to a 95 mm with BTX. The 2nd is the 115-specific rail.

Mine is on the way. Will report back once I've had a chance to fit it all up.
BTX-ME-BR_1043x782.jpg Balance-Rail-Quarter_1043x782.jpg cey,
 

etn991

Member
One thing I forgot to mention in my post about using a QR plate on the Manfrotto 500 or 502 is that I do have the Swaro balance rail on the scope, so it adds clearance between the 95mm objective and top plate of the head. I'm sure this is even more important for the 115mm.

I know some people have said that adding a QR to the Manfrotto is a poor solution, but the head isn't Arca compatible, and if all your gear is (I have Arca on all my long lenses and on the balance rail because I also have a gimbal) then go with what works.
 

somersetcyclist

New member
United Kingdom
The scope/QR plate can't be mounted from the front. There's a non-movable safety stop there to, I presume, prevent the kit from sliding out when pointed downward.

Turns out Outdoorsmans may have the perfect, albeit pricey, solution. They make a balance rail specifically for the 115 and works with any of the eyepieces and with or without the 1.7x. The 115 is mounted to the rail and the rail mounted to the Manfrotto QR plate. This should (hopefully) provide enough boost such that the bulbous end of the 115 clears the head. Added benefit is that it provides additional support for the heavy scope (vs putting all the weight on the foot). Only adds around 3 oz.

The first photo is a similar rail mounted to a 95 mm with BTX. The 2nd is the 115-specific rail.

Mine is on the way. Will report back once I've had a chance to fit it all up.
View attachment 1393965 View attachment 1393966 cey,
Just wondering how your set up worked out.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top