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Tripod/head for Swarovski 80mm STS scope (1 Viewer)

Craig Thayer

Well-known member
I am in the market for a new tripod/tripod head combo for my Swarovski 80mm STS scope. Swarovski just introduced a new tripod/head combo which are made in Italy and therefore likely made by Gitzo. Features are appealing but it uses Acra Swiss system which apparently requires a convertible pale to be attached to the tripod foot (always used QR system previously)

In past I have had Manfrotto 128 RC micro fluid head which I like because of the QR plate. I also prefer flip lock over twist lock tripod leg design (based on past experience) but can be flexible

I do not mind spending maximum price for a new tripod/tripod head combo so Gitzo (or the new Swarovski) is fine

Opinions are welcome. I likely will only use the tripod for birding as I mainly photograph with handheld camera/lens combo
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
For the 80mm STS I'd stick with the 128RC (as I've blathered recently in a cople other threads.)

Can't help with the flip lock tripods
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

if you have been using the 128RC with the QR plate before as opposed to directly inserting the foot of your STS into the 128RC, using an Arca Swiss plate is not really going to be different. You attach some plate to the foot of your scope with a screw and that goes into the video head...

The difference is that the Arca Swiss plate could be longer (not sure how long the supplied one is) so you can move the scope a bit to the front or back to balance it.

Joachim
 

Cahanc

Cahanc
I would suggest the Fluid Pan Head from Outdoorsmans.com. It's rated at 20+ lbs, made of aluminum and weighs just 23oz. I have had one for a couple months and it holds my Kowa 883 with Sony A7lll rock solid. You don't have to crank down on the pan or tilt settings to get the rig to stay in position. Great head!!
 

CMB

Well-known member
We use an 80mm Pentax scope with a large Teleview eyepiece.

I like the Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid video head with this scope. We also have the 128 QR head, and I do not find it as easy to use with the 80mm scope.

The MVH500AH has a long mounting plate that can move forward and back to help balance the scope. The head has stops built into it on each end to prevent the plate from sliding out. But what I most like about the MVH500AH with a heavier and longer scope is the built in spring counter balance. It is set for 5.3 lbs (2.4 kg), and when the scope is properly balanced on the head, this counter balance holds the scope in place when at an angle even with the tension knob fully released/open. When properly balanced the the scope stays where you point it and does not flop forwards or backwards. It makes it nice when you sight on something and then want someone else to have a quick look. I love using this tripod head when following raptors in flight.

The 128 RC does not have a counter balance spring so you have to tension the side knob to prevent the scope from flopping. While it works, I find the extra friction (and need to release the friction knob) can often slow down the ability to track a bird if it suddenly takes flight.

With a 60mm scope I find the counter balance on the MVH500AH to be a little annoying because the smaller scope is light enough that the counter balance always brings it to level/center. You always have to apply pressure to view at an angle. I find the 128 RC to be a better match for the 60mm scope in this regard.


As for tripods...

I like the Slik Pro 700DX. Inexpensive. Flip lock legs. Very stable. Only a pound or two heavier than the carbon fiber legs but a fraction of the cost.

In your other post on this topic you said you didn't want an item made in China. Slik is a Japanese company and the Pro 700DX is made in Thailand.
 
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Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
I would suggest the Fluid Pan Head from Outdoorsmans.com. It's rated at 20+ lbs, made of aluminum and weighs just 23oz. I have had one for a couple months and it holds my Kowa 883 with Sony A7lll rock solid. You don't have to crank down on the pan or tilt settings to get the rig to stay in position. Great head!!

That's a very interesting head. Is it compatible with Arca-Swiss plates? Does it have fluid motion, and if so how smooth is the drag, and does it get stiff in the cold? Can it be adjusted to zero drag movement?

--AP

PS: I've answered a few of my own questions. All of the pan heads from Outdoorsmans look interesting, and many are Arca compatible. The one that I originally found by Google searching wasn't the fluid head (very versatile but quite expensive) but rather the "Pan Head". That is the one I was asking about and still find most interesting for its light weight of 10 oz.
 
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Cahanc

Cahanc
AP,

I can only speak to the Fluid Head as that's what I own, sorry. It is buttery smooth motion. I live in Berkeley so I can't speak to temps below 40F really, tough living I know! It can be adjusted to zero drag very easily in fact, from zero to locked is a short twist frankly, you don't have to turn and turn. Just a great light smooth head, and no plastic parts!!

CAH
 

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