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Tripod for very tall man with ATX 95 (1 Viewer)

James B

Active member
Hi All

This week I finally took the plunge and upgraded to a Swarovski ATX 95 scope, which I am very happy with.

I have an issue though with the tripod I bought. I’m very tall (6 ft 6) so need a taller than average tripod, and don’t want to have to raise a centre column too high and therefore reduce stability.
The guy in the shop recommended a Kenro KENVT102C carbon fibre video tripod, which I bought for £200. It has no centre column but does have very long legs, which fully extended make it too tall even for me. This seems great, but the legs are only in 3 sections, making it very long even when collapsed down.
I could have put up with this, but the main issue I have with it is that it just doesn’t seem very stable. I have been out birding with it a couple of times in mild to moderate wind, and the tripod is very shaky. A light tap on the leg results in visible vibrations for a good 4 - 5 seconds. The carbon fibre legs just seem to have too much ‘flex’ in them.

I would really appreciate any advice or recommendations for a really good tripod and head for someone my height so I can get the best out of this scope. I don’t mind paying more for one if it does the job properly.

Many thanks in advance.
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Looking at the specifications, I would have expected the tripod to be adequate under normal circumstances, but wind and high magnifications will demand very high stability, which is why many sea watchers use wooden tripods.
The higher the number of leg sections, the thinner and less stable the bottom leg sections become. In addition, the joints themselves can introduce some instability, but your height would still allow for about 10 cm of overlap in each joint for a tripod height without head of about 150 cm.
Also try hanging the strap of a binocular bag (weighted with field guide?) over all three legs. This will help damp vibrations.
If the above doesn't work then the alternative is going to involve considerably more weight and collapsed length.

John
 

James B

Active member
Looking at the specifications, I would have expected the tripod to be adequate under normal circumstances, but wind and high magnifications will demand very high stability, which is why many sea watchers use wooden tripods.
The higher the number of leg sections, the thinner and less stable the bottom leg sections become. In addition, the joints themselves can introduce some instability, but your height would still allow for about 10 cm of overlap in each joint for a tripod height without head of about 150 cm.
Also try hanging the strap of a binocular bag (weighted with field guide?) over all three legs. This will help damp vibrations.
If the above doesn't work then the alternative is going to involve considerably more weight and collapsed length.

John
Thanks for the reply. I’ll try the strap trick to see if that helps.
 

4 The Birds1

Active member
If you are open to considering a wooden tripod - the Berlebach Report 4 series should be tall enough for you.

Wood offers better dampening of vibrations than carbon fibre. As John says, it is heavier and the collapsed length will be longer. On the other hand, compared to Gitzo's offering, you would save a substantial amount of money, which you could invest in a nice head, like Berlebach's 553.

I should say that I don't know the Berlebach 4 series personally, my experience is with the slightly shorter 3 series, and with a shorter model of the Gitzo 3 series. I like both.

John's tripod primer thread is worth reading, and you will find reviews of the 553 head on birdforum also if interested.
 

4 The Birds1

Active member
an afterthought - before you go and do anything rash that involves a lot of money.

Neither of my above "better" tripods are immune to vibrations. Both will start vibrating if there is enough wind. And in a stiff wind the vibrations will make viewing unpleasant. Applying straps&weights or hands to tripod legs helps dampening, but I have on occasion lowered the legs and knelt.

I guess ideally take your time and see if you get an opportunity to compare your legs' performance to that of fancier ones in the field, to see how much of a difference an upgrade will make.

Good luck!
 
Last edited:

Hermann

Well-known member
Wooden tripods are best at dampening vibrations in windy conditions. They are, however, rather heavy and unwieldy, especially compared to carbon fibre tripod. If you go that road, look at Berlebach. They are excellent.

Carbon fibre tripods : John covered the main points. One thing I would add is that there are rather large differences between different brands, even if the specifications (number of sections, size and diameter of the sections and so on) are the same or similar. For instance, I got a lightweight Sirui carbon fibre tripod a couple of years ago, for use with my small Nikon ED50. I gave it away after a couple of trips and got a Gitzo of similar weight. The difference in stability was quite astounding. The Gitzo was more stable and vibration resistent WITH the middle column raised than the Sirui WITHOUT it.

Sure, Gitzos are expensive, however, I feel they are worth it.

Hermann
 

highlake

Member
I’m 6’3” and use a Gitzo GT3542L for my ATX95. It works well for my height. Most of the time I only need to extend the center column a few inches, so there’s more extension available.
 

pani

Member
Hi, I‘am using my ATX 95 with a Sirui R-4213X Tripod and Manfrotto 128 RC Head and i have never regretted the purchase. Fully extending the three sections the top of the eyepiece is on 6 ft height. With the ATX 115 the Manfrotto Head might be overloaded but i haven‘t found a head with a smoother handling.

Regards
Benedikt
 

Vollmeise

Well-known member
Hi All

This week I finally took the plunge and upgraded to a Swarovski ATX 95 scope, which I am very happy with.

I have an issue though with the tripod I bought. I’m very tall (6 ft 6) so need a taller than average tripod, and don’t want to have to raise a centre column too high and therefore reduce stability.
The guy in the shop recommended a Kenro KENVT102C carbon fibre video tripod, which I bought for £200. It has no centre column but does have very long legs, which fully extended make it too tall even for me. This seems great, but the legs are only in 3 sections, making it very long even when collapsed down.
I could have put up with this, but the main issue I have with it is that it just doesn’t seem very stable. I have been out birding with it a couple of times in mild to moderate wind, and the tripod is very shaky. A light tap on the leg results in visible vibrations for a good 4 - 5 seconds. The carbon fibre legs just seem to have too much ‘flex’ in them.

I would really appreciate any advice or recommendations for a really good tripod and head for someone my height so I can get the best out of this scope. I don’t mind paying more for one if it does the job properly.

Many thanks in advance.
James, I was faced with a similar decision and decided against the Gitzo and instead opted for a Rollei Rock Solid Alpha XL Mark II.

It is also a carbon tripod with four extensions and without a center column, also very tall (almost 2m), has very thick legs with foam cushions and is extremely stable (up to 65 kg).

In addition, at around EUR 550, it is cheaper than comparable tripods from other manufacturers.

Cheers)
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
James, I was faced with a similar decision and decided against the Gitzo and instead opted for a Rollei Rock Solid Alpha XL Mark II.

It is also a carbon tripod with four extensions and without a center column, also very tall (almost 2m), has very thick legs with foam cushions and is extremely stable (up to 65 kg).

In addition, at around EUR 550, it is cheaper than comparable tripods from other manufacturers.

Cheers)
That looks really impressive and is currently on offer for €479.
If you're willing to carry the extra kilogramme, you could never wish for more.

John
 

Dutchbirder64

Well-known member
I’m 6’3” and use a Gitzo GT3542L for my ATX95. It works well for my height. Most of the time I only need to extend the center column a few inches, so there’s more extension available.
James,

I have the same tripod with my ATX. I am 190cm tall and I never use the column. For you it is the perfect tripod. When I extend all legs it is too high for me with a 45 degree scope. The smallest legs are extended halfway.
 

dwever

Well-known member
ATX 115 with Gitzo GT3533LS Carbon Fiber. I’m 6’1” and there is plenty of height left. I purposely did not get a tripod with a center column for the lower center of gravity and strength (55 lbs. load limit but tripod only weighs 4.5 lbs.).
840B2985-906F-4472-B561-565AFEC2C432.jpeg 88ECE734-8A9C-4229-8AE3-65D8D80B5A68.jpeg
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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