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Best Spotting Scope Tripod?

SA Shooter

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My old camera tripod I used for the spotting scope has failed. The weight and leverage the scope exerted on it was just too much.

So I need a new tripod and don't want to get one that isn't up to the task.

Any recommendations?

Thanks!
 
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My old camera tripod I used for the spotting scope has failed. The weight and leverage the scope exerted on it was just too much.

So I need a new tripod and don't want to get one that isn't up to the task.

Any recommendations?

Thanks!
I bought a fairly high end Manfrotto tripod and mid size video camera pan/tilt head more than a decade ago for my astronomical telescope that got re-purposed as a spotting scope. That telescope is quite a bit larger and heavier than a typical spotting scope, but this setup doesn't even break a sweat carrying it. Not cheap, IIRC I was somewhere in the neighborhood of $300. But it's rock solid steady, and will probably outlast me. Later.
 
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Depends if you want gimbal mount or ball head mount (assuming U want ease of moving scope around). Gimbal gives u the ultimate in being able to move around while being very stable. Most can support enormous loads. Ball head is very useful too but you have to lock it each time after moving (unlike the gimbal).

You can get quality knock-off gimbal mounts for pretty cheap now (just under $100). Once u have a good gimbal then any stable tripod will work. U can go old school and heavy and get used aluminum for very cheap. I found a rock solid barely used one for $35 used for example. That thing would hold maybe 25+ lbs. without any trouble

Or go newer light weight carbon fiber (which is probably overkill for a spotting scope but if u can get affordable then who cares right?). Sirui brand is an excellent value carbon fiber tripod that you can occasionally find used for less than $100 (normally these will come with a ball head which supports up to 13 lbs or so). Check FredMiranda website (first choice) b and h used, Adorama used, KEH, and Roberts camera used, and local craigslist.

You can also find new aluminum tripods with ball head like Vanguard brand with good quality ball head for around $150 on sale. These will work pretty good but you will have more stability with either of the first two options I mentioned due to lighter weight overall and aluminum of the vanguard ones

Basically a gimbal will increase the weight of the setup a ton but will give you maximum flexibility and can move scope easily and be very stable. With ball head you can save a lot of weight but a lot less flexible as far as moving scope.

If u want a cheap but serviceable (barely) option you can try dolica brand. But read reviews and go for a heavier one than you think u need if u go that route.

For overall value I would go with Sirui carbon fiber used with ball head included. For best quality I would go for a gimbal and add a heavy duty tripod whether aluminum heavy duty or carbon fiber.

Also I would recommend going with arca Swiss mount not manfrotto style. With arca Swiss you can put an inexpensive lens plate ($10-$15) on your scope and be off and running as most gimbals and ball heads are already arca Swiss Style. Then u can move lens plate to a camera or buy a smaller plate for camera and can switch back and forth effortlessly. Arca Swiss is a fast and stable mounting method and gives max flexibility for the future.
 
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My old camera tripod I used for the spotting scope has failed. The weight and leverage the scope exerted on it was just too much.

So I need a new tripod and don't want to get one that isn't up to the task.

Any recommendations?

Thanks!
Picked this up from B & H Photo for $149. Easy to set up and lightweight.

 

ron

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I use the Ray-Vin one piece scope stand. Can be used in standing, sitting and prone shooting. Bottom
legs fold up. Works for my angled head Kowa spotting scope. Used by Highpower competitors.
Also can store a one piece Dewey cleaning rod.
1578057408388.png

1578057625344.png
 
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Depends if you want gimbal mount or ball head mount (assuming U want ease of moving scope around). Gimbal gives u the ultimate in being able to move around while being very stable. Most can support enormous loads. Ball head is very useful too but you have to lock it each time after moving (unlike the gimbal).

You can get quality knock-off gimbal mounts for pretty cheap now (just under $100). Once u have a good gimbal then any stable tripod will work. U can go old school and heavy and get used aluminum for very cheap. I found a rock solid barely used one for $35 used for example. That thing would hold maybe 25+ lbs. without any trouble

Or go newer light weight carbon fiber (which is probably overkill for a spotting scope but if u can get affordable then who cares right?). Sirui brand is an excellent value carbon fiber tripod that you can occasionally find used for less than $100 (normally these will come with a ball head which supports up to 13 lbs or so). Check FredMiranda website (first choice) b and h used, Adorama used, KEH, and Roberts camera used, and local craigslist.

You can also find new aluminum tripods with ball head like Vanguard brand with good quality ball head for around $150 on sale. These will work pretty good but you will have more stability with either of the first two options I mentioned due to lighter weight overall and aluminum of the vanguard ones

Basically a gimbal will increase the weight of the setup a ton but will give you maximum flexibility and can move scope easily and be very stable. With ball head you can save a lot of weight but a lot less flexible as far as moving scope.

If u want a cheap but serviceable (barely) option you can try dolica brand. But read reviews and go for a heavier one than you think u need if u go that route.

For overall value I would go with Sirui carbon fiber used with ball head included. For best quality I would go for a gimbal and add a heavy duty tripod whether aluminum heavy duty or carbon fiber.

Also I would recommend going with arca Swiss mount not manfrotto style. With arca Swiss you can put an inexpensive lens plate ($10-$15) on your scope and be off and running as most gimbals and ball heads are already arca Swiss Style. Then u can move lens plate to a camera or buy a smaller plate for camera and can switch back and forth effortlessly. Arca Swiss is a fast and stable mounting method and gives max flexibility for the future.
Seconding just about all of this, especially Sirui for value.

You may be able to get away with a gorilla pod + head.

And careful with the arca Swiss mounts. While it is definitely a better platform than brand proprietary mounts...there is no technically defined standard for arca Swiss and you may find that brand A’ mount just doesn’t perfectly align with brand B’s head. So, if mixing things, make sure to buy from places that have good return policies.
 

bsa1917hunter

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I use the Ray-Vin one piece scope stand. Can be used in standing, sitting and prone shooting. Bottom
legs fold up. Works for my angled head Kowa spotting scope. Used by Highpower competitors.
Also can store a one piece Dewey cleaning rod.
View attachment 646635
View attachment 646636
That's pretty cool ron ol buddy. You would probably like my new/old spotting scope set-up. I recently found the bausch and lomb spotter (15-60 power) and old Freeland bi-pod. I added the rod and counter balance:
9oTTjgI.jpg
42MASS8.jpg
I like your newer set-up though. There is a lot of flexibility in these, as the spotter just slides up or down the rod and adjusts easily for positional shooting.
 
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41mag

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I bought a mid-level Bogen tripod about 30 years ago that has proven magnificent over time. Also fitted it with a pan head with squeeze grip for rapid precise alignment control for those old glass-lens camera days. Range use has been without complaint. Can get the model numbers posted if you want them.
 
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bsa1917hunter

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I bought a mid-level Bogen tripod about 30 years ago that has proven magnificent over time. Also fitted it with a pan head with squeeze grip for rapid precise alignment control for those old glass-lens camera days. Range use has been without complaint. Can get the model numbers posted if you want them.
That sounds like a good one.
 
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41mag

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Bogen 3021 tripod. Bogen 3265 head. Made in Italy by Manfrotto. Used a TON with never a whimper. Absolute satisfaction. Surprise quality. I bought these because couldn't afford what I thought I wanted.:s0073:
 
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Seconding just about all of this, especially Sirui for value.

You may be able to get away with a gorilla pod + head.

And careful with the arca Swiss mounts. While it is definitely a better platform than brand proprietary mounts...there is no technically defined standard for arca Swiss and you may find that brand A’ mount just doesn’t perfectly align with brand B’s head. So, if mixing things, make sure to buy from places that have good return policies.
Good point about arca Swiss. Never had that happen to me but I have heard of it happening.

If anyone is ever looking to get a fancy gimbal for little cash, I bought one of these for $59 on sale a couple weeks ago and it works great even with a 7 lb lens plus camera. Overkill for sure for a spotting scope (it supports up to 30lbs) but the cost is low. Just FYI.
Oh yea almost forgot. Some tripods the legs fold all the way to horizontal (or at least real close to it) meaning U could mount it on a table if the legs are collapsed. I’ll try to take a picture to explain later. But in theory you could have the scope on a tripod on the table next to ur gun. Never tried it but might work I dunno.
 
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Here is what I mean. If that one tripod leg didn’t interfere with the shooting rest/bag then it should work great. Need to try it next time I’m out. That’s a pic of a ball mount by the way if unfamiliar with those.

Also I put the short “down tube” (dunno proper name) in the middle of the tripod. The tube that holds the tripod head I mean. If u used a regular sized “down tube” that would raise the scope up by 10” or whatever the tube length is which would be about eye level and you wouldn’t have to crouch to see. Some tripods come with option of removing the “down tube”.
DDDB89DF-CCC9-4E44-84BE-B06C2F451119.jpeg
 

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