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Grumpy Martian

Eq5 Steel tripods versus Berlebach wood tripods.

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I traditionally use an EQ5 tripod. But I am intrigued by some of the wooden tripods on offer from Berlebach and other brands. I have an ED 120 refractor that needs to be mounted. Just interested why others would rather use them. They do look traditional. 

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Does indeed reduce vibration as wood dampens vibration whereas steel just transmits it and if you fit the spreader bar so much easier to just flick the legs out into position. Makes setting up quicker and easier than the steel tripod. Find with the rubber feet on a hard surface have no need of vibration pads. You can use the spikes on grass but I don’t usually bother.The Berlebach are beautifully made and have endless accessories available. The only thing I didn’t like about the stock tripod was the spreader chain arrangement but fortunately easily sorted by fitting the aluminium spreader.

I used to have a WO wooden tripod which did look good until you put it next to the Berlebach where it suddenly looked crude and cheaply made in comparison. 

5CE65621-B536-4719-9920-BE61A1A7972B.jpeg

Edited by johninderby
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1 hour ago, johninderby said:

Does indeed reduce vibration as wood dampens vibration whereas steel just transmits it and if you fit the spreader bar so much easier to just flick the legs out into position. Makes setting up quicker and easier than the steel tripod. Find with the rubber feet on a hard surface have no need of vibration pads. You can use the spikes on grass but I don’t usually bother.The Berlebach are beautifully made and have endless accessories available. The only thing I didn’t like about the stock tripod was the spreader chain arrangement but fortunately easily sorted by fitting the aluminium spreader.

I used to have a WO wooden tripod which did look good until you put it next to the Berlebach where it suddenly looked crude and cheaply made in comparison. 

5CE65621-B536-4719-9920-BE61A1A7972B.jpeg

Can the spreader be bought easily? Thanks John, interested to hear that vibration is reduced. 

What model is this tripod? 

Edited by Grumpy Martian
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Once you’ve had a Berlebach you just don’t want to go back to a steel tripod. 

It’s the UNI18 and FLO also sell the spreader.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/berlebach-tripods/berlebach-uni-18-tripod-heq5-eq6.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/tripods/spread-stopper-for-berlebach-tripods-31008.html

BTW the pic on FLO is one I took of my tripod. ?

Edited by johninderby
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I think the main advantages of wooden tripods over the stock steel tripods, such as the 1.75" EQ5 steel is the noticeably reduced dampening times, especially if your set up on concrete flags or a hard standing where even the slightest foot step can transmit vibrations to the EP. 

I'm not in a position fortunate enough to comment on the build quality, of berlebach tripods as I've only ever aspired to having one, however for a basic uni18, and spreader costing circa £390 new, it's not something, with a young family, I can justify..  Instead I built my own, with spreader for around the 3rd of the price, and the difference from my own to the steel tripods is remarkable, so I can only guess what it would be like from steel to a quality product from berlebach.. a lot to like I suggest.

Ultimately I think wood looks better, handles better in cold than steel, has better vibration dampening, and with the range that berlebach offer, you can go for different finishes and more choice depending on your requirements.

I do agree with the use of a spreader bar, especially on flags or concrete, as it makes any tripod more stable than just a chain, especially if those flags/concrete are a bit green and slippy during damp winter months.  Although I know some have found them restrictive.. (I bought two second hand)

I think a wooden tripod with a ed120 would be a cracking match up, with either an Alt/az or EQ mount atop.

Ta

Fozzie

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I have three Berlebach's - supporting a  12" SCT, a 4" refractor and an ETX 125. For me a tripod has to be wood. Wood is a very pleasant thing.

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I have a Berlbach uni 18 which I use to carry a substantial alt az mount.  My Celestron CGEM has a steel mount and is used both for imaging and observing.  I am always on grass and am happy with steel.  If I needed to buy a tripod I would go with the Berlbach but don't feel that the benefit would justify the cost for use on soft surfaces.  It's easy to exaggerate marginal gains, especially when you have forked out a lot of money!

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I tried the 1.75" and 2" steel Skywatcher tripods but found they did not absorb vibrations well, the foot tips kept dropping off and they were not that great to adjust in cold/damp conditions.

I now use a Berlebach UNI28 for my refractors and a Berlebach UNI18 for my cats. They are expensive but offer greater vibration resistance than steel, are very well made and nice to use in the dark.

 

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I prefer a wooden tripod over a stainless steel or aluminium one.

Not only does a wooden tripod dampen vibrations, it does not give that sting when it is covered in an icy frost when you touch it with your bare hands. 

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41 minutes ago, Philip R said:

I prefer a wooden tripod over a stainless steel or aluminium one.

Not only does a wooden tripod dampen vibrations, it does not give that sting when it is covered in an icy frost when you touch it with your bare hands. 

That's very true but a pair of gloves are cheaper ?

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I use steel tripods in the main as they come with the telescopes and I find them adequate. If I need a "serious" tripod in either wood or aluminium I build my own as there are better designs available.   ?

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I've pondered a wood tripod for some time now. even more so with the beast (Bresser 127L) I own. I'm thiking of making some replacement wood legs for my EQ5 1.75 Steel leg tripod as an upgrade. Have many of you done this?.

Best

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17 minutes ago, Rob said:

 I'm thiking of making some replacement wood legs for my EQ5 1.75 Steel leg tripod as an upgrade. Have many of you done this?.

A few of us have, including myself, @Moonshane and @rikroe666, links below.. I think @philj is a font of knowledge here too...

a few links below

wood is good.

Ta

Fozzie

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I am toying with the idea of a UNI28 or Planet Berlebach but I always seem to find something else to spend my money on before I commit. My latest projects to convert my 16" to a truss, make an observatory and seat all seem to be of higher priority to me. Maybe if I make a pier (I am thinking maybe one that is an adjustable height to cover different scenarios and scopes) I won't need one, although it's useful to have options. As lovely as wooden tripods are, maybe I am trying to tell myself something. Stick with the steel for now.

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Could someone please help me understand the main difference between the uni models..eg a uni18 vs uni28? Ie. Whst does the number represent?

Thanks!

SM

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10 minutes ago, Sanjio said:

Could someone please help me understand the main difference between the uni models..eg a uni18 vs uni28? Ie. Whst does the number represent?

Thanks!

SM

The main difference is the length of the tripod legs. The Uni 18 has a range of 33 inches to 52 inches while the Uni 28 covers 39 inches to 64 inches. How the number actually relates to those measurements I'm not sure. There are single or dual clamp options on all Uni tripods as required. I have a Uni 28 with single clamps. Its a great tripod for long refractors !

 

lzos130vix01.JPG

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I have a UNI 18 with the central spreader, it would be very difficult going back to steel tripods, definitely an improvement for damping. I wish there was a way to put my Evo mount on it as well! Build quality is superb, these things are designed for a lifetime. They are also much nicer to handle when it is cold.

The only person I know who has broken one is me! Somehow I managed to get the 3/8 Berlebach adapter jammed onto the central screw, and no amount of leverage on the screw would shift it. So I sent the central head to them in Germany and they freed the adapter, fitted a new screw and posted it back to me within 2 days FOC. Now that`s seriously good service!

I also have a report 112 tripod for smaller scopes which is also far better than steel tripods in the same class. 

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Yes the spreader is much better than the standard Berlebach chain arrangement which I couldn’t stand. Should be standard. 

The Berlebach spreader really improves the EQ6 steel tripod which I use for my TS mount (Skytee).

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Yes John totally agree, the chain was always tangled around something or would catch on something in transit. I still have the chain somewhere so may convert it to hanging basket duties!

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I MUCH prefer Berlebach tripods!

Rock solid, vibration free, a beauty to see, dead easy to use! :headbang2:

20180505_172032.thumb.jpg.ed0dc64f9710cde7496a277db1a432f8.jpg

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I’m another Wood fan. They don’t have to be Berlebach prices! My current 100mm frac on EQ5 is rock solid on an old 1980’s wooden tripod that can free with a scope. Very little vibration (and looks great)😁

Although, I did have a 28c which was a marvellous piece of kit. Would definitely buy again!!!

Paul

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Posted (edited)

I have three Berlebach tripods, a Report for general photography, a Uni for my London viewing supporting an EQM-35 mount, and a (monster) Planet for my dark sky currently supporting an AZ-EQ6.

Aside from any other (obviously far less important) considerations, their beauty makes the difference between GCHQ allowing them to stay “out” and visible, as opposed to packed away and more difficult to deploy.

M

Edited by Captain Magenta
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On 19/06/2019 at 11:13, John said:

The main difference is the length of the tripod legs. The Uni 18 has a range of 33 inches to 52 inches while the Uni 28 covers 39 inches to 64 inches. How the number actually relates to those measurements I'm not sure. There are single or dual clamp options on all Uni tripods as required. I have a Uni 28 with single clamps. Its a great tripod for long refractors !

 

lzos130vix01.JPG

Thanks! Sorry for my delayed reply, great to hear of your experience with the 28. I'm 6ft 3 so figured a taller tripod for my 8 inch SCT might be best but was worried it might be less stable than a shorter tripod...ditto for single vs double clamps...do you ever think "I wish I'd got a shorter tripod with double clamps"...or should i stop worrying and get a 28 with single clamps?

 

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Use a short tripod, or a longer one at its shortest height, with an observing chair. This is what I do with my 12 inch SCT.

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