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Portable camera tripods for small telesocopes?


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Hey,

I have recently purchased an iOptron skyguider pro which I am planning to use with my WO zenithstar 73 (I know it will be pushing the limits of the mount but I needed something portable). However, the iOptron tripod seems to be out of stock everywhere as well as the sky watcher tripod for their star adventurer.

This got me thinking about other tripod options such as camera tripods. These would actually suit me well as they can fold down to the size of a backpack and be very portable, the only obvious drawback is the price as they tend to be more like £150 - £200 for ones with a payload capacity of 15kg (maybe you could get away with slightly less idk). For reference, here is an example of the kind of tripod I am talking about: https://uk.sirui.com/products/sirui-am-284-profilegs-carbon-fiber-big-tripod?pr_prod_strat=collection_fallback&pr_rec_pid=6582329966757&pr_ref_pid=6582340124837&pr_seq=uniform

So are camera tripods suitable for small telescopes? Or are they a terrible idea?

Any suggestions/advice would be really appreciated.

Thanks!

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6 minutes ago, RoloFanatic said:

Hey,

I have recently purchased an iOptron skyguider pro which I am planning to use with my WO zenithstar 73 (I know it will be pushing the limits of the mount but I needed something portable). However, the iOptron tripod seems to be out of stock everywhere as well as the sky watcher tripod for their star adventurer.

This got me thinking about other tripod options such as camera tripods. These would actually suit me well as they can fold down to the size of a backpack and be very portable, the only obvious drawback is the price as they tend to be more like £150 - £200 for ones with a payload capacity of 15kg (maybe you could get away with slightly less idk). For reference, here is an example of the kind of tripod I am talking about: https://uk.sirui.com/products/sirui-am-284-profilegs-carbon-fiber-big-tripod?pr_prod_strat=collection_fallback&pr_rec_pid=6582329966757&pr_ref_pid=6582340124837&pr_seq=uniform

So are camera tripods suitable for small telescopes? Or are they a terrible idea?

Any suggestions/advice would be really appreciated.

Thanks!

Hi

I was in the same position as you a few weeks ago, so I asked FLO what they recommended and they suggested this https://www.firstlightoptics.com/tripods/horizon-8115-2-way-heavy-duty-tripod.html. It seems pretty sturdy to me and I am pleased with it.

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I don't know the weight of your specific kit, but I have a 127 mak on an AZ5 , which is at least 6.5kg , and it sits happily on my decades old Manfrotto 55 .  If I recall correctly the current alu. 55 has a theoretical limit of 9kg , and while a new one will set you back a fair bit, the things are bombproof and second hand ones are quite common, samples without photo heads sell for £70-£90 , sometimes less.

When my beloved old 55 got taken over by the 'scope, I needed to replace it for photographic use, and found a Manfrotto 190xpro for £50, second hand. It has a lower weight limit, but out of curiosity I've tried it with my heritage 150 newt (which is around 3kg) and found it fine.  The ratings for the Manfrotto tripods are realistic, but based on the tripod fully extended, centre column and all. I don't raise the centre column to use a 'scope, neither do I extend the thinnest, lowest leg section, and am confident either tripod could take more weight easily.  You do miss out on a central brace, which makes astro and video tripods a bit more sturdy, but as you said, the photo tripods do tend to close down to a neater, shorter package.

My 190 has now been commandeered by a little ST80 frac, so I need yet another Manfrotto for my DSLR ... :evil4:

Heather

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Posted (edited)

I have the 254 version of the SIRUI (same design and construction) and its superb for my needs, weight around 1 Kg and can hold 12Kg with ease..

Have a look at the Artcise tripod, probably the best on the planet for the money here.

Alan

Edited by Alien 13
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Thanks for the replies!

3 hours ago, Astro Noodles said:

Hi

I was in the same position as you a few weeks ago, so I asked FLO what they recommended and they suggested this https://www.firstlightoptics.com/tripods/horizon-8115-2-way-heavy-duty-tripod.html. It seems pretty sturdy to me and I am pleased with it.

I did see that tripod on FLO but I was put off because I couldnt find the maximum payload of the mount anywhere online. Do you know what it is? or if not, roughly what weight have you found to work well on it? 

2 hours ago, Tiny Clanger said:

I don't know the weight of your specific kit, but I have a 127 mak on an AZ5 , which is at least 6.5kg , and it sits happily on my decades old Manfrotto 55 .  If I recall correctly the current alu. 55 has a theoretical limit of 9kg , and while a new one will set you back a fair bit, the things are bombproof and second hand ones are quite common, samples without photo heads sell for £70-£90 , sometimes less.

When my beloved old 55 got taken over by the 'scope, I needed to replace it for photographic use, and found a Manfrotto 190xpro for £50, second hand. It has a lower weight limit, but out of curiosity I've tried it with my heritage 150 newt (which is around 3kg) and found it fine.  The ratings for the Manfrotto tripods are realistic, but based on the tripod fully extended, centre column and all. I don't raise the centre column to use a 'scope, neither do I extend the thinnest, lowest leg section, and am confident either tripod could take more weight easily.  You do miss out on a central brace, which makes astro and video tripods a bit more sturdy, but as you said, the photo tripods do tend to close down to a neater, shorter package.

My 190 has now been commandeered by a little ST80 frac, so I need yet another Manfrotto for my DSLR ... :evil4:

Heather

That's encouraging to hear that it works well for you, I think my mount + scope will also weigh in at about 6.5 - 7.0 kg so sounds like a camera tripod may be a good option for me too :) 

 

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22 hours ago, Alien 13 said:

I have the 254 version of the SIRUI (same design and construction) and its superb for my needs, weight around 1 Kg and can hold 12Kg with ease..

Have a look at the Artcise tripod, probably the best on the planet for the money here.

Alan

I'll second the Artcise. I've got the AS90C version.

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1 hour ago, Virtus said:

I'll second the Artcise. I've got the AS90C version.

Very nice, had the Artcise and Sirui tripods in my basket for a week, eventually chose the Sirui because it would get more use and Amazon were offering free 4 months credit too. I did buy an Artcise MB 36 ball head to go with it though..

Alan

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Posted (edited)

I use a Manfrotto 475B with SkyWatcher AZ5 and Twilight 1 mounts.  Too big to fit in a backpack though.  I put a 5kg ST120 on those configurations.

I also have a Benro TAD72A which can at least handle my 2kg ST80 and AZ5.  I might buy a good quality fluid head for the ST80 / Benro combo to go as light weight and small as possible for travel.

Edited by jjohnson3803
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I don't know the sort of pricing on them at the moment but the legs when I bought them were around the 180€ mark here, but I've a couple of Benro tripods and my Mach3 TMA27 handles a heafiter load of similar configuration quite well if it's only on the two upper stage leg sections; it probably could do it at full extent but I've only ever used the last stage of the legs on any tripod for levelling.  Not too bad weight wise either, comes in just under 2kg and rated for a straight down load (so discount some of this for the axial shift of the mount/scope) of 12kg.

I don't think you'd have any trouble with any of the ones recommended to you above, but when looking at tripods be wary of the odd named imports as (I didn't know this until an equipment importer I know explained it) where tripods that are targetting western markets are usually calculated by the least load in the system (so if the legs can take 12, but the head only 8, it's an 8kg load) but sets that are sold from eastern markets are usually marketed as the sum of the total load of each component so if something seems crazy high in it's load capacity for the price, then it's probably the summed component figure.

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