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Second Time Around

Low tripod for Skywatcher Solarquest head?

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I'm using my 72mm f/6 with a Quark on a Skywatcher Solarquest head.  I'm very pleased indeed with the Solarquest as it automatically finds and tracks the sun.

Originally I mounted the Solarquest on the heavy duty Leofoto carbon fibre photo tripod I use at night on the Scopetech Mount Zero head.  This means I have to swap out the heads whenever I change from day to night use or vice versa.

I didn't think this would be a problem.  However the Mount Zero wouldn't release from the tripod.  It may be because I'm disabled and my hands don't work properly, but First Light Optics very kindly sorted this out for me free of charge.  I then tried to put  a quick release bracket between the mount and head but this proved too wobbly. Now the mount is again jammed on the tripod!

I'm therefore looking for a suitable tripod specifically for the Solarquest.  However, disability means I need to sit on a low stool so it's vital that the minimum height is low enough.  The Leofoto goes as low as 540mm/21 1/4ins and is just low enough.  It also needs to be fairly light for me to carry it with the scope mounted on top.

Another Leofoto would be about £320 and I'm loathe to spend this much for solar use where the maximum magnification would be a lot less than at night.  I've not had good experiences with cheap photo tripods so was looking at the iOptron Skyguider tripod that goes as low as 508mm/20ins and is only £79.  See https://www.firstlightoptics.com/ioptron-mount-accessories/ioptron-tripod-for-skyguider-pro-cube.html 

Would this be stable enough or would I need to get something heavier?  If so, what would you suggest?

Many thanks.

 

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I had a look on websites to see if other options could be found and the closed height limitation pretty much points to the mount you are looking at.

Flo has a feedback message and only negative seems to be the centre tray being tight to clip in. I use both the solarquest and star adventurer but on the larger skywatcher mount but it would not go low enough for your needs.

I am sure that Flo would accept a return if you found it did not meet your needs. Only downside is no stock at the moment.

One last thought. Is the top boss wide enough and you would need to source a suitable centre bolt.

AstroBoot has a SW EQ1 tripod for £21.  As I recall they go down pretty low.  Worth a look. Nope 71cm is as low as they go

Edited by Tomatobro
new info
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How about a nice Berlebach tripod like this without the  legs being extended.

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6 hours ago, Tomatobro said:

I had a look on websites to see if other options could be found and the closed height limitation pretty much points to the mount you are looking at.

Flo has a feedback message and only negative seems to be the centre tray being tight to clip in. I use both the solarquest and star adventurer but on the larger skywatcher mount but it would not go low enough for your needs.

I am sure that Flo would accept a return if you found it did not meet your needs. Only downside is no stock at the moment.

One last thought. Is the top boss wide enough and you would need to source a suitable centre bolt.

AstroBoot has a SW EQ1 tripod for £21.  As I recall they go down pretty low.  Worth a look. Nope 71cm is as low as they go

Thanks for that, especially for taking the trouble of doing a search for me.  I must confess I hadn't spotted that there wasn't a bolt on the ioptron!

Edited by Second Time Around
Extra thanks.

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5 hours ago, StevieDvd said:

How about a nice Berlebach tripod like this without the  legs being extended.

These Berlebach Report tripods look ideal.  I'd stupidly completely discounted them as I thought that being wood they'd be too heavy, but they're not.  I've now downloaded their full catalogue and so many of them look interesting.

I've found that I can get away with a slightly higher minimum height as I hadn't got my adjustable stool quite as high as it will go.  So the stiffer 2 section with a minimum height of 58cm/22cm might be OK, especially as the legs can be splayed and locked - I'll have to do some measuring. 

I also like the look of the module 1 version of these as they have a spring-loaded fastening screw.  This'll make it easier to take the mount on and off, and much reduce the chance of cross-threading.  I don't think that's what I did on the Mount Zero, but I'm waiting to hear from First Light as to what went wrong.

Then there's the 112 Astro version of the module 1 Report with bracing and an accessory tray.  This is stiffer still, and with a fixed minimum height of 54cms, the same as my current Leofoto.  The downside is the extra weight.  Choices, choices!

Thanks again, a Berlebach looks as though it might well be the answer!

Has anyone any feedback on the Berlebach Report series please?

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I have the report 312 that I use for the solarquest  and Ed80 with quark 

Very light and stable.

Highly recommended.

Steve

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11 hours ago, Steve Clay said:

I have the report 312 that I use for the solarquest  and Ed80 with quark 

Very light and stable.

Highly recommended.

Steve

That's very useful Steve. Many thanks.

 

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18 hours ago, Second Time Around said:

Then there's the 112 Astro version of the module 1 Report with bracing and an accessory tray.  This is stiffer still, and with a fixed minimum height of 54cms, the same as my current Leofoto.  The downside is the extra weight.  Choices, choices!

Interestingly, whilst the Astro version has a load capacity of 25kgs vs 18kgs for the non-Astro version, its damping rating is just "good" rather than "very good".  Damping rather than load capacity is more important to me.  This is because my gear weighs only about 4kgs max, and I've no plans to do long exposure photography.  So it looks as though the non-Astro would actually be better for me as well as being less expensive at approx £200 delivered.

Does anyone know why the bracing means poorer damping?  Is it because the section below the brace doesn't absorb vibration as well?  It's interesting that top of the market camera tripods aren't braced.

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3 minutes ago, Second Time Around said:

Interestingly, whilst the Astro version has a load capacity of 25kgs vs 18kgs for the non-Astro version, its damping rating is just "good" rather than "very good".  Damping rather than load capacity is more important to me.  This is because my gear weighs only about 4kgs max, and I've no plans to do long exposure photography.  So it looks as though the non-Astro would actually be better for me as well as being less expensive at approx £200 delivered.

Does anyone know why the bracing means poorer damping?  Is it because the section below the brace doesn't absorb vibration as well?  It's interesting that top of the market camera tripods aren't braced.

By "brace", do you mean spreader?

It don't know the theory, but I can tell you my practical experience. I bought Report 312 without spreader from a photo retailer in a stock clearance sale at a very good price. I ordered the spreader from Berlebach separately and installed it myself. It improved damping noticeably.

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Thanks, Jeremy, that's very interesting.

Yes, I did mean spreader.  The astro version of the 112 has a minimum height of 54cms and that would be fine.  

Thanks again.

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I've heard back from FLO and apparently it just took a bit of force to separate the mount from the tripod.  I've tried again with a strap wrench but no joy.  My strength varies from day to day.  Some days I can't pick up a full mug of tea; others I'm very much stronger, so hopefully I'll be able to sort it out in time. 🙂

I don't want to repeat the problem, so I'm almost certainly going to get the Astro version of the Berlebach Report 112 with the spreader and accessory tray.  So thanks again, everyone. 

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Woohoo! My Berlebach Report 112 Astro will be delivered on Monday!

Thanks again, guys.

BTW, Berlebach says the damping rating for this tripod is a mistake. It should be the same as the non-astro, i.e. very good.

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My Berlebach Report 112 Astro duly arrived today.  I'm extremely pleased indeed with it, so thanks to one and all.

I'm stronger today and was eventually able to get the Mount Zero off the Leofoto tripod with the strap wrench.  I certainly wouldn't want to keep on having to do this though. 

What's more the spring-loaded tightening screw under the top of the tripod has solved my problem!  Both my Mount Zero and my Solarquest go on and off the Berlebach very easily!

As Jeremy says the spreader improves the damping time, that I found is already better than the carbon fibre Leofoto.

Wood is of course heavier than carbon fibre.  However the Report 112 Astro isn't that hugely heavier than my Leofoto tripod, although to be fair it doesn't go as high.  I may even sell the Leofoto if I don't decide to use it for photography.

It's late now but I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

Thanks again for all the help.  Isn't the forum great!

Edited by Second Time Around
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Here are the promised pictures of my Berlebach Report 112 Astro. 

This is the lightest and lowest of the series.  It goes down to 54cms/21ins, which is perfect for my adjustable height stool.  Maximum height is 89cms/35ins.  Maximum payload is 25kgs/55lbs.  It weighs 3.4kgs/7.5lbs including the spreader and accessory tray.

The first picture is at the minimum height, the second at the maximum height, the third shows the spreader when the accessory tray is taken off.

The arrow in the second photo shows the all important plate with a spring-loaded adjustment screw.  This makes changing mounts a doddle and has solved all my problems.  Simply place a mount on the plate and screw up from the bottom.  The plate is flat and can be specified with various screw sizes - I chose 3/8 inch.  Likewise just unscrew from the bottom to remove a mount.

The plates are interchangeable to give for instance a centre column with or without gears, heads to match various popular mounts etc.  In total there are 10 plates available.

Thanks once again for recommending Berlebach, Jeremy!

Berlebach Low.jpg

Berlebach high.jpg

Berlebach spreader.jpg

Edited by Second Time Around
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