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Can an ST120 be used on a photo tripod?


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Can an SkyWatcher Startravel 120 be used on a photo tripod?

I was thinking of buying it on a EQ3-2 for more extended use at home but using a photo tripod occasionally as a grab and go setup.

Edited by Etoille
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I think it may be a little too heavy for that weighing in at 4.5kg just the OTA, by the time your camera etc is connected I should think it would be a no no....Saything that, I havent tried it. If you have the OTA and the tripod give it a shot!!

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I frequently use my C80ED with a 450d on it, probably about 3.5 Kg, with a photo tripod. It works. It's ok for wider field visual (hyperions and a diagonal, not quite as heavy as my 450d, but probably not that much in it), but high power views are just to awkward as the subject isn't in the FOV for long enough.

As said, it can't hurt to try (just be prepared to grab in case something slips).

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I have found that photo tripods & heads are just too wobbly for astro use, unless you pay big money. Even then, the photo heads aren't really geared up for scopes.

My current favourite for 'grab n go' when weight is really an issue is a Vixen portamount 2 - the heavier of the portamounts. It carries my (robustly built) WO80 and accessories. I think the build quality is quite good.

If weight away from home and setup time is less of an issue, then the CG5 wins.

But what suits me doesn't necessarily suit everyone.

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I have one and I wouldn't say that it would be any use on a photo tripod...it'd wobble around like a jelly :(

An EQ3-2 is what I'd regard as 'grab and go' TBH.

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Can an SkyWatcher Startravel 120 be used on a photo tripod?

I was thinking of buying it on a EQ3-2 for more extended use at home but using a photo tripod occasionally as a grab and go setup.

Yes , but at a price. Professional tripods like the Manfrottp 058 series will handle 12KG and are a joy to use, but cost in excess of £250.00

I would suggest an AZ4

Paul

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An ST120 is really testing the limits of an AZ3. I don't think a photo tripod would really take it.

Ok, so that rules out a photo tripod and probably the AZ3, which if testing the limits of an ST120 does not sound like a good option. This also means that the AZ3 would definitely not take my wife's Evostar 120 either - although I'm not sure if we want to do that yet...

Yes , but at a price. Professional tripods like the Manfrottp 058 series will handle 12KG and are a joy to use, but cost in excess of £250.00

I would suggest an AZ4

Paul

Had a look at the Manfrotto option as this would probably be Ok for large bins as well, but, as you say, rather expensive. Thinking now it might be better to get a decent mount for whichever scope I get and just use my current SLIK88 tripod for the bins. The AZ4 is an option that I had not considered yet.

Had a look at FLO's site but was a bit puzzled by this part of the description:

A rugged Vixen-style dovetail-mounting block ensures compatibility with a wide range of optical tubes up to around eight inches in diameter. It’s quite feasible to mount a six-inch Newtonian on this rig.

Its a bit off topic but if it takes tubes up to 8in, then it seems contradictory to say that 'it's quite feasible to mount a six-inch Newtonian'?

So I guess its down to an EQ3-2 or an AZ4 and I guess it depends whether I want to use the scope for terrestrial or astro use.

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I have one of the giro style alt-az mounts (basically, a T shape that has a dovetail holder at each end of theT) that attaches to the 3/8" tripod head screw on my Manfrotto 075B tripod, which works well with with my around 7.5kg refractor on one side and an 80mm one on the other - so, yes, it can be done with the right mount and a really solid tripod. But I wouldn't want to try it with a normal tripod head, since the balance shifts as you tilt it, and it's awkward making fine adjustments.. And most cheap tripods (and heads) are likely to be on the flimsy side for heavy loads - so doing it right can be expensive. As it happens, I already had the tripod. (and, like most mounts, you can get the giro mounts with a normal astro tripod instead)

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I'm using a Slik Master Classic for birding. It has a Celestron 80ED, WO 2" 45° prism and 22mm T4 Nagler. It's steady enough for this kind of use.

Of course the image quality is light years ahead of spotting scopes :hello2:

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I would like to ask a similar question. I will be buying an ST80 shortly for grab and go and also solar viewing and would like to know whether it is suitable for mount on a photo tripod. I have a Camlink tripod that holds my 15 x 70 binoculars quite well so I can't imagine that weight would be much of an issue. Would I need to buy a special adapter for tripod mounting or is there a suitable hole somewhere on the included dovetail bar that will accept a standard 1/4" tripod thread?

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Can't speak for the ST80, but all three of my small refractors will fit on a photo tripod - either a socket in the dovetail, or a removable dovetail that reveals a socket, or a socket in the cradle. I've also seen third party short dovetail bars with a tripod socket, for OTAs that need tube rings.

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Good photo tripods are OK for smaller scopes but there is a key design difference between these tripods and astro mounts. Astro alt-az mounts pivot in altitude on a virtual axis running through the middle of the scope at right angles to the light path.

Photo tripods pivot below the scope, so as you look up the whole thing goes badly out of balance with the mass behind the pivot. This is far from ideal. TeleVue do some simple but rather expensive alt az mounts but they come up second hand. I have a couple of these, a Gibraltar and a TelePod. Second hand they can be a good bet.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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Good photo tripods are OK for smaller scopes but there is a key design difference between these tripods and astro mounts. Astro alt-az mounts pivot in altitude on a virtual axis running through the middle of the scope at right angles to the light path.

Photo tripods pivot below the scope, so as you look up the whole thing goes badly out of balance with the mass behind the pivot. This is far from ideal. TeleVue do some simple but rather expensive alt az mounts but they come up second hand. I have a couple of these, a Gibraltar and a TelePod. Second hand they can be a good bet.

Olly

I understand that a photo tripod is not the ideal mount for a 'scope but at the moment I cannot think anything that is as portable or easy to use. I do own an EQ3-2 which will take a tube, once the dovetail is removed and the rings bolted to the mount, but it is quite heavy and not as portable as I'd like due to counterweights being required. I think something like an AZ4 or Portamount would suit better but at greater cost than a tripod which I already own.

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