• 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.

Tripod + fluid head suggestions (1 Viewer)

NZbinodude

Well-known member
New Zealand
I need some advice on choosing a suitable tripod and fluid head for an 80mm spotting scope and a mirrorless camera with small-medium sized lenses (landscape photography and video).

I'm a bit stuck, because I want a light weight rig (will be carrying the tripod in my backpack in mountainous terrain), but I also want to get the best quality equipment possible - something that'll last decades.

But from the little research I've done so far, light-weight and high quality don't seem to go together. The best fluid heads weigh a ton.

Can anyone please advise me on some suitable set-ups? Price isn't a factor. I want the very best.

FYI I'm not a tall bloke (5'3"). So this may allow me to get away with a shorter/lighter tripod.

Thanks.
 

birdcat

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
Have you looked at the Gitzo GHF2W head already? I use that the Swarovski CTH version of that head with a Gitzo GT2545T tripod and recently purchased a Gitzo GT3543LS as well. In your case, if the GT3542 was stable enough and a good height for you that would make the most sense (on paper) among the Gitzo tripods for stability vs weight. I have seen another member say they are happy with a ATX 85 on a GT2545T, so that could work. It is a pretty good tripod.
 

NZbinodude

Well-known member
New Zealand
The Gitzo 'Traveler' series is significantly lighter than the 'Mountaineer' series. Am I gaining any measurable reliability and robustness with the Mountaineer tripods? Is the few extra hundred grams worth carrying?
 

birdcat

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
Unfortunately, I myself cannot answer your question as I only have a Traveler and a Systematic. Keep in mind that I am also using an ATS 65mm scope. I said "on paper" the Mountaineer sounds better because I have NOT tried one. I tried to discuss the merits of the GT2545T in another thread, take a look, there is a link where someone mentions the GT2545T had better dampening than the Mountaineer equivalent on another forum. After comparing my Systematic and Traveler, they are not as far apart as you might think (with the CTH head), at least with the 65mm scope, for dampening. Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes an adequate mount, so keep that in mind.

 

BKoh

Well-known member
Singapore
I need some advice on choosing a suitable tripod and fluid head for an 80mm spotting scope and a mirrorless camera with small-medium sized lenses (landscape photography and video).

I'm a bit stuck, because I want a light weight rig (will be carrying the tripod in my backpack in mountainous terrain), but I also want to get the best quality equipment possible - something that'll last decades.

But from the little research I've done so far, light-weight and high quality don't seem to go together. The best fluid heads weigh a ton.

Can anyone please advise me on some suitable set-ups? Price isn't a factor. I want the very best.

FYI I'm not a tall bloke (5'3"). So this may allow me to get away with a shorter/lighter tripod.

Thanks.
I am 5'8". I use an Svbony SV406P 80mm spotting scope atop a Sirui VA-5 on a Sirui ET-2004 tripod. It all works well for 20-60x, I have also used it at 108x (with a different eyepiece) but the view was shaky. The VA-5 is the smallest and lightest video head with a counterbalance that I know of. The ET-2004 is aluminium, you can get its carbon fibre sibling to save a bit of weight. I carry it all in a 50L backpack and cycle to my observing sites. Both Sirui parts came with a 5 year warranty, and Sirui has a good reputation.
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
The Gitzo 'Traveler' series is significantly lighter than the 'Mountaineer' series. Am I gaining any measurable reliability and robustness with the Mountaineer tripods? Is the few extra hundred grams worth carrying?
Well, a GT2532 Mountaineer would be about 300 g heavier than a GT2545T and most of that could be attributed to its greater height, which you may not need. If at 5'3" you are using an angled scope, a maximum tripod height of 110 cm without extended centre column should be quite adequate.
However, the 4 leg sections of the Traveler would entail a loss in stability due to thinner bottom leg sections and would increase set-up time.
I have often wished for a 2 section carbon fibre tripod suitable for scope use, but am not aware of any.
For scope use the ability to fold the legs back over a reversed centre column of the Traveler is redundant, because this will only work with a ball head and not with a 2-way video head.
I am a satisfied user of a Novoflex TrioPod with 3-section carbon fibre legs. The TrioPod system is completely modular, so you can choose from a variety of aluminium and carbon fibre legs and the quality of manufacture is unsurpassed or even unequalled.
If folded length is of importance, you could choose the short 4-section carbon fibre legs for a maximum height of 125 cm and a weight of 1300 g. There is now also a Triopod-M version with centre column, but this involves additional weight and cost and the only advantage I see is rapid height adjustment in a hide.

John
 

BKoh

Well-known member
Singapore
In response to John's post above, the Sirui VA-5 video head is small enough for tripod legs to fold up around it. This is exactly how I store the tripod in my backpack (and how I strap it to my bicycle frame).
 

Jkloz

Member
United States
I use the “i footage k5 “ very happy with it .
Update , had a problem with customer service after the unit started making noise during vertical movement . Found out the customer service is horrible , contact avaiable only through e mail and then you have to send them a video for them to judge wether or not they will do anything and this is 5 months into a 2 year unlimited warranty period . Aviod “ i footage”
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Do you think of something like this?
Having seen these I'm tempted to ask, "Why aren't all tripods made like this?"
Despite the nomenclature they all have bottom leg sections 4 mm larger, i.e the 282 has 32 mm diameter bottom leg sections.
It's unlikely that there are any tripods on the market that could match their stability for similar weights.
With just two sections there will in most cases be generous overlap for good joint stability and there is no need for internal rails, which in turn would allow greater wall thickness and stiffness.
Joints near the apex would allow rapid height adjustment without bending down or compromising stability.
The only possible disadvantages I can see are the long collapsed length and that one might have to reverse the panning handle of a video head for large elevated angles.
The SO282C would probably serve the needs of most scope users and is currently on offer for €499, which seems reasonable.

John

PS: I forgot to mention a lower centre of gravity than conventional tripods.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top