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Tripod & head - overkill? (1 Viewer)

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
I have decided to purchase an Opticron MM4 77 and now thoughts turn to the best options for tripod and head!

I am thinking of the Manfrotto MVH500AH which seems to be highly regarded here and pairing it with Manfrotto MT290TC3 Xtra carbon fibre legs. With an angled MM4 I should be able to use the tripod with very little if any centre column elevation (I am 5'8" - 1.72m tall) and being three section legs I think they should be fairly sturdy even with the relatively light-weight MM4 ( of course 3 sections means they will take up more room in my luggage but I think that is an acceptable trade off).

I intend this scope and tripod to be my only outfit so want to get it right. I will be travelling with it (for instance to the Canary Islands next year) but also using it year round here mainly on wetlands and flocks of wintering geese. I certainly don't intend trekking miles with it but I think an essence of portability is useful.

Any thoughts would be gratefully received.

Chris
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Hi Chris,

In no way is your tripod suggestion overkill. On the contrary, I have doubts as to whether it would be adequate. Asumming you are getting the angled MM4, you would be comfortable with a tripod height of around 115 cm, so would not have to extend the centre column, or even fully extend the bottom leg sections. However, these on the Manfrotto 290 are only 18 mm diameter and IMO really inadequate. There's no substitute for leg diameter except more leg diameter ;).

I mainly use a CF Sirui M-3204 with 32, 28, 25 and 22 mm leg diameters for my Swarovski ATM 65 or Kowa 883. With the compromise setting for my wife (159 cm) I don't need the bottom leg sections at all, but if set up for me (192 cm) they are extended by 22 cm for 134 cm tripod height and there is a noticeable loss in rigidity. We are off to the North Sea coast next week and I shall be throwing an old 4 kg aluminium Gitzo Series 4 in the car, in case it gets windy.

Someone on this forum recently coined the term "tripod acquisition syndrome" and I think I've got it bad. As a lightweight alternative I've just bought a Novoflex TrioPod with the 3-section CF legs and a Berlebach 510 head and shall report after some field experience. The Novoflex was not cheap, but it is a modular system without centre column but with a large array of different legs. With a set of aluminium legs the TrioPod would cost about €290 and weigh 1775 g. You would only need to extend the 22 mm bottom leg sections by 10 cm to achieve 115 cm height and I would expect this to be more stable than the CF 290. Using a Sirui VA-5 head, which is Arca-Swiss compatible would save you 300 g as against the Manfrotto MVH500.

John
 

OhWeh

Well-known member
Tripod and and head can never be too sturdy.

Be aware, that you don't observe at home, but outdoors, where the lightest wind will disturb the image when the magnification is high.
 

jkingrph

Well-known member
Model numbers were confusing me, so i had to look some specs on mine, a Manfrotto 190go carbon fiber. I have a 500ah head on it and I think it is rated for a camera/scope weight of a little over 15 lbs, about 3 times that of the 290 model. I think I would go with something a little sturdier.
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Hi John and many thanks for your detailed reply (just what I was hoping for)!

Do I read it correctly that you think a Sirui cf M-3204 would be suitable for me? If so can I ask a further question - a quick search brings up N-3204 a lot - is this just a later model perhaps or something different? The same goes for 3205.

The Sirui VA5 brings a weight saving but compromises nothing in quality if I am correct?

Yes I read about "tripod acquisition syndrome", I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Novoflex!

Thanks again,

Chris
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Hi John,

Scrub those questions! I see from an earlier post of yours that N is the later model and I have worked out that 4 and 5 refer to the number of sections!

I meant to thank you earlier for your Primer at the top of the section too so will do it now!

Chris
 

jkingrph

Well-known member
When you go to looking at all the brands and models along with specifications it get really confusing. I have found with most things it is best not to go with the lowest cost nor definitely for my purposes and use to go with the highest price items, but to go with something middle of the road. Doing this I find I get a better item in terms of utility and durability.
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
When you go to looking at all the brands and models along with specifications it get really confusing. I have found with most things it is best not to go with the lowest cost nor definitely for my purposes and use to go with the highest price items, but to go with something middle of the road. Doing this I find I get a better item in terms of utility and durability.

Confusing doesn't really cover it LOL!

Chris
 

jkingrph

Well-known member
Looking at the link for the Benro, it does not appear to be very different from the Manfrotto 190 carbon fiber. I have never seen a Benro so can only go by online pictures and descriptions. Here in my part of the US,ie. E. Texas, birding is not a commonly pursued hobby so you do not see many places to look over such items to make a purchase. To get some on hands viewing and handling of tripods to make any kind of comparison I would have to travel at least 120 miles and then find the stores which might in the Dallas area be 30-50 miles apart.
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Chris,

Just another couple of suggestions: the Feisol CT-3301 or the Leofoto LS-323C (3-section version). Both are around 1,4 kg and affordable. They also fared very well here: https://thecentercolumn.com/rankings/all-purpose-tripod-rankings/. They lack centre columns, which can occasionally be a convenience in a hide, but one is available for the Feisol if later required.

I have no experience with the Sirui VA-5 head but would not expect any disappointments with CNC machined aluminium. The two lightweight video heads that really failed to live up to expectations were the Gitzo 2180 and the Swarovski DH-101, and both of those used composites.

John
 

Hermann

Well-known member
The two lightweight video heads that really failed to live up to expectations were the Gitzo 2180 and the Swarovski DH-101, and both of those used composites.

The Gitzo 2180 works fine with the Nikon EDIIIA. No problems at all, and I've been using two for quite a few years now. I wouldn't use the 2180 with heavier scopes than the EDIIIA though.

Hermann
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Chris,

Just another couple of suggestions: the Feisol CT-3301 or the Leofoto LS-323C (3-section version). Both are around 1,4 kg and affordable. They also fared very well here: https://thecentercolumn.com/rankings/all-purpose-tripod-rankings/. They lack centre columns, which can occasionally be a convenience in a hide, but one is available for the Feisol if later required.

I have no experience with the Sirui VA-5 head but would not expect any disappointments with CNC machined aluminium. The two lightweight video heads that really failed to live up to expectations were the Gitzo 2180 and the Swarovski DH-101, and both of those used composites.

John

Many thanks John, I really appreciate your input! These look decent options, would you say they were better than the Velbon Geo 630?

Chris
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
Thanks Steve, that looks a nice option! What head do you use with it?

Chris

I used a Manfrotto head because I kept it from when I had a Manfrotto tripod. It's over 20 years old and there are probably better heads these days.

The Benro legs are more stable than the Manfrotto 190 that I had and used with a 65mm scope.
 

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