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Tripod portability and fixing a temporary loss of mojo


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Hi Badhex,

I can't speak for carbon fibre tripods from personal experience, but I can say without a doubt that a wooden tripod of a similar size and nominal capacity will always outperform a steel equivalent.

As you're in Germany, looking for a used Berlebach in Germany seems a  logical step?

Wood naturally absorbs vibrations, whereas steel tends to transmit them. It looks great, is durable, and feels less cold to the touch than steel in cold weather, as well as normally weighing less than steel👍.

Good luck with your search.😊

Dave

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18 minutes ago, F15Rules said:

 

Hi Badhex,

I can't speak for carbon fibre tripods from personal experience, but I can say without a doubt that a wooden tripod of a similar size and nominal capacity will always outperform a steel equivalent.

As you're in Germany, looking for a used Berlebach in Germany seems a  logical step?

Wood naturally absorbs vibrations, whereas steel tends to transmit them. It looks great, is durable, and feels less cold to the touch than steel in cold weather, as well as normally weighing less than steel👍.

Good luck with your search.😊

Dave

Thanks Dave! Definitely got some thinking to do!

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49 minutes ago, F15Rules said:

Wood naturally absorbs vibrations, whereas steel tends to transmit them. It looks great, is durable, and feels less cold to the touch than steel in cold weather, as well as normally weighing less than steel

How low can you set a Berlebach tripod for seated use?  I use the adjustable leg angles on my Manfrotto 058B to allow the legs to splay out enough to bring the eyepiece down to a seated level.  If I'm observing near zenith, I just crank up the elevator a bit.  How do you adjust the height of the Berlebach to account for differences between low altitude and high altitude objects?  On soil, vibrations naturally damp out very quickly.  If I'm setup on concrete, I put Sorbothane pads under each foot to reduce damping time from 3 seconds to 1/2 second, which is quite acceptable during focusing.

1527880715_DualScopeSetup-7.thumb.jpg.a0dfceb259bd3770baca0ab240b42283.jpg

Edited by Louis D
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1 hour ago, badhex said:

They are certainly a lot cheaper. I only know a tiny bit about the Innorel and Artcise tripods, would be great to hear some real life experience of them. That said you do kinda know what you're getting with the gitzo, and I like the idea of the systematic series; the ability to swap out the mount point for different bolts or a central column etc. 

I understand. In that case it seems you have truly fallen for the simplicity and versatility of the Gitzo :wink: I'll keep lurking around in the thread;)

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6 minutes ago, Victor Boesen said:

I understand. In that case it seems you have truly fallen for the simplicity and versatility of the Gitzo :wink: I'll keep lurking around in the thread;)

Oh I have not settled on an answer yet! 😂 Berlebach still in the running, I think the only one I've possibly discounted at this point is sadly also the cheapest, the SW steel one - as it's most likely not different enough from my EQ6 tripod.

TBH if the Gitzo was half the price, then it would be more straightforward! 

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I have to admit to being affectionately attached to my trusty old Vixen tripod. It's lightweight,  solidly built, using all metal parts, is significantly chunkier and more stable, and taller with a wider spread than any of the Chinese aluminium clones. Carrying this kind of tripod up several fights of stairs would be easy, and although you'd need to place a wanted ad, it would be massively cheaper than one of those Berlebach thingymabobs. Of course there is one advantage of a Berlebach over the Vixen, which is with the increase in energy prices, you could burn a Berlebach to keep warm. (Just joking Berlebach fans!) :laugh2:

IMG_20220327_140224.thumb.jpg.034eff29e8a46a54125b89e4d80adcc4.jpg

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14 minutes ago, badhex said:

the SW steel one - as it's most likely not different enough from my EQ6 tripod.

I would also argue the SW steel tripod isn't as portable as one may seem to think. Yes, you can carry it in an oklop bag, but it's quite heavy and large. Here it is compared to my Manfrotto Xpro 055.

Ingen tilgængelig beskrivelse.

Ingen tilgængelig beskrivelse.

Victor

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2 hours ago, jetstream said:

Looks excellent Mark, how does the mount attach to the Gitzo? Is there an adapter we can buy? Thanks

I think it attaches directly Gerry but am away from home at the moment so will need to check. There are different Gitzo  top plates available too I think.  
The best advice I picked up when researching tripods was to:   
a) take advertised payloads and basically reduce by half to ensure strong stability and dampening for astronomy purposes. So I treat my Gitzo as a very capable 20kg tripod rather than expect it to carry 40kg.
b) stiffness is more important than payload.  
Am sure the brands suggested by Victor would also be well worth a look.

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1 hour ago, Louis D said:

How low can you set a Berlebach tripod for seated use?  

 

I use a Takahashi extendable  tripod with my 5" F8 Tak apo..it's lowest height is c32".

I bought this recently as I am observing while seated  more and more, and my excellent but fixed height wooden homemade tripod is a bit too high for lower placed targets.

As with most extendable tripods, the lower the height, the more stable they are. I am finding that having mine set at between 38" and 45" depending on the elevation of the object I'm observing works well, and gives the best stability.

The photo below shows the tripod at probably it's maximum height for the best combination of seated observing and maximum stability with my FS128 onboard (right hand side of the photo).

I also use a Geoptic Nadira adjustable observing chair which gives me additional options. 

Dave

IMG_20220318_172039331_HDR.jpg

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11 minutes ago, Highburymark said:

One word of caution with carbon fibre camera tripods and larger scopes - you need counterweights. They are very top heavy. 

How do you find your 120 + skytee? My intended use, a 102 F7 is probably only 5kg all told plus another 1.5kg ish for the Zero. The center of gravity is slightly offset backwards from the middle of the tripod, though. Presumably that sort of weight would not be an issue? 

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Don't Gitzo tripods have a hook on the bottom of the mounting plate? I guess it would then only be a matter of lowering the center of mass by hanging some weight on it.

However, Matthew from Alpha-Lyrae used a Giro Ercole and his 105mm APM TMB on a Gitzo without mentioning anything about center of mass issues:

http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/2013/09/25/stargazing-in-oman/

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1 hour ago, badhex said:

How do you find your 120 + skytee? My intended use, a 102 F7 is probably only 5kg all told plus another 1.5kg ish for the Zero. The center of gravity is slightly offset backwards from the middle of the tripod, though. Presumably that sort of weight would not be an issue? 

You’d be fine - no problems at all with that set up.

1 hour ago, Victor Boesen said:

Don't Gitzo tripods have a hook on the bottom of the mounting plate? I guess it would then only be a matter of lowering the center of mass by hanging some weight on it.

However, Matthew from Alpha-Lyrae used a Giro Ercole and his 105mm APM TMB on a Gitzo without mentioning anything about center of mass issues:

http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/2013/09/25/stargazing-in-oman/

Yes they do - I often use that option when travelling rather than take counterweights. 

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Just seeing this now. The Gitzo Series 5 (GT5542LS in my case) is definitely a case of buy once, cry once. I bought mine used but in ‘as new’ condition from eBay as I couldn’t afford or justify a new one.

It is probably my most used tripod, normally with the FC100DC on it, and Scopetech zero these days. It’s light (one handed carry out for the whole lot including binoviewers and coolwedge and very strong.

I agree that it would need to be balanced in the case of a heavy load, but I use the spiked feet and push them into the grass for extra stability and yes, you can hang a weight off the hook if concerned. It’s perfectly stable with the FC100DC on it, but I’ve had some fairly chunky rigs on top of mine which have worked very well (that’s a C925 in the first two images). The Ercole or Scopetech screw right on directly, I believe it has a 3/8th thread which accepts M10.

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A927A7E2-4A05-4138-B93B-A744BE2A0F09.thumb.jpeg.cca0555b429f0064660104679bdb5e9b.jpeg

 

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15 hours ago, Highburymark said:

You’d be fine - no problems at all with that set up.

Yes they do - I often use that option when travelling rather than take counterweights. 

I think this the best option, even if a tripod does not have the hook you can add a so called sand bag sling to the bottom of any tripod and load it up with a weight to lower the centre of gravity.

Therefore you only need to add weight and have a low centre of gravity with heavy scopes.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone had compared carbon tripods with the extra thick material or more layers to the photograph oriented Gitzo's.

I suspect the extra tensile strength they add would make them perform better on the nudge test.

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8 minutes ago, Deadlake said:

I'd be interested to hear if anyone had compared carbon tripods with the extra thick material or more layers to the photograph oriented Gitzo's.

Which ones are these Martin, any particular brand/model?

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1 minute ago, Stu said:

Which ones are these Martin, any particular brand/model?

Vixen ASG-CB90 Carbon Tripod Of interest to me as M10 bolt on the top and designed to support a much larger mount then I would use.

However could bring in this as well:

 ZWO TC40 Carbon fibre Tripod

Same load capacity as Vixen, but 3/8 bolt.

In general load capacity/actual tensile stiffness of a carbon tripod some times does not match a manufacture's claim, it comes down to end users reports of what tripods actually performs.

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17 minutes ago, Deadlake said:

Vixen ASG-CB90 Carbon Tripod Of interest to me as M10 bolt on the top and designed to support a much larger mount then I would use.

However could bring in this as well:

 ZWO TC40 Carbon fibre Tripod

Same load capacity as Vixen, but 3/8 bolt.

In general load capacity/actual tensile stiffness of a carbon tripod some times does not match a manufacture's claim, it comes down to end users reports of what tripods actually performs.

Both very short, it’s quite easy to keep things more stable at those heights I imagine, so they are a different proposition from what is being discussed.

Agreed about manufacturers claims. I had a Report tripod, possibly a 212, can’t remember and I don’t think I appreciated at the time how good it was. I sold it and bought a Redsnapper CF one which got good reviews and supposedly a high load capacity but it was very wobbly, much worse than the Report.

I then got an Induro AT413 which was aluminium and was, I thought, very good. Stable, strong and went up very high. I only sold it for the Gitzo but I enjoyed using it. I think the Induro tripods may all be carbon fibre now, because that’s what everyone wants.

2217302B-E82F-49C3-99CA-1B81D477AD7A.jpeg

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22 hours ago, badhex said:

They are certainly a lot cheaper. I only know a tiny bit about the Innorel and Artcise tripods, would be great to hear some real life experience of them. That said you do kinda know what you're getting with the gitzo, and I like the idea of the systematic series; the ability to swap out the mount point for different bolts or a central column etc. 

I have the Innorel RT90C. I put a Giro Ercole and Tak FC100DC on it. The good is it's extremely light. The legs fold in easily making it very easy to take through narrow doors. The legs are very easy to extend and retract. The not perfect; I feel it's not as stable as I'd really like. Nudge the focus at high power and it's 3 or 4 seconds before the vibrations stop. It does have a hook to hang a weight on but I have not tried that yet.

I have not confirmed that it's the tripod rather than the Giro causing the vibrations but by all accounts, the Giro is rock solid, especially with a light 4" like the Tak.

It has 4 leg sections which is more than I need; I've never used more than 3. 

If I were going again I think I'd go for a Gitzo Systematic. I have a small (very) Gitzo Traveller and it's perfect (though too light for a 4") and very very (surprisingly so) steady.

Berlebach are fabulous too but I think a little heavier maybe? I have a UNI 8 which is rock solid but a little more awkward carrying in and out of doors. If I were having to climb 2 flights of stairs I would go as light as possible and try to extend the budget to a Gitzo!

Malcolm

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2 hours ago, Stu said:

Just seeing this now. The Gitzo Series 5 (GT5542LS in my case) is definitely a case of buy once, cry once. I bought mine used but in ‘as new’ condition from eBay as I couldn’t afford or justify a new one.

It is probably my most used tripod, normally with the FC100DC on it, and Scopetech zero these days. It’s light (one handed carry out for the whole lot including binoviewers and coolwedge and very strong.

I agree that it would need to be balanced in the case of a heavy load, but I use the spiked feet and push them into the grass for extra stability and yes, you can hang a weight off the hook if concerned. It’s perfectly stable with the FC100DC on it, but I’ve had some fairly chunky rigs on top of mine which have worked very well (that’s a C925 in the first two images). The Ercole or Scopetech screw right on directly, I believe it has a 3/8th thread which accepts M10.

CF2E704B-69E5-47AB-B208-743945C39486.thumb.jpeg.a32e9b5d1c2e2ce5c281bd16faad0b49.jpeg

694FAA85-7C01-4641-95FF-DD2EB33E1EA6.thumb.jpeg.255a406db8b1a2a33ac967e349371727.jpeg

23D7AE32-82A0-46E6-AB46-0D23CCD9F0BD.thumb.jpeg.7b0c6ff4386065cdacb66458f0e8e7f6.jpeg

A927A7E2-4A05-4138-B93B-A744BE2A0F09.thumb.jpeg.cca0555b429f0064660104679bdb5e9b.jpeg

 

Uh-oh another vote for the Gitzo! The Zero + 100mm frac combo is pretty much exactly the main use case, and it's good to hear that you feel it's a tripod for life. At 1K EUR new, I feel it would have to be a tripod for several lifetimes!

I'm looking at second-hand options but in my experience here, people tend to knock off less than 20% even on stuff that is a few years old. I've even seen Ikea stuff sold at virtually full price. The lack of returns or guarantee means I don't think it's worth the saving, but I will keep up the search.

Case in point:

image.png.fd3f6e6a6c763ea4cfb89c97b5ccf093.png

 

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48 minutes ago, MalcolmM said:

I have the Innorel RT90C. I put a Giro Ercole and Tak FC100DC on it. The good is it's extremely light. The legs fold in easily making it very easy to take through narrow doors. The legs are very easy to extend and retract. The not perfect; I feel it's not as stable as I'd really like. Nudge the focus at high power and it's 3 or 4 seconds before the vibrations stop. It does have a hook to hang a weight on but I have not tried that yet.

I have not confirmed that it's the tripod rather than the Giro causing the vibrations but by all accounts, the Giro is rock solid, especially with a light 4" like the Tak.

It has 4 leg sections which is more than I need; I've never used more than 3. 

If I were going again I think I'd go for a Gitzo Systematic. I have a small (very) Gitzo Traveller and it's perfect (though too light for a 4") and very very (surprisingly so) steady.

Berlebach are fabulous too but I think a little heavier maybe? I have a UNI 8 which is rock solid but a little more awkward carrying in and out of doors. If I were having to climb 2 flights of stairs I would go as light as possible and try to extend the budget to a Gitzo!

Malcolm

Thanks, Malcolm - good to hear real-life experience of the Innorel - and it sort of matches my guess that it's good, but not as good as a Gitzo. RE the Berlebach the same thought occurs. To get approx the same sort of max payload in a Berlebach you end up with something heavier which is what I'm trying to avoid, and even if I went for the lighter Report 312 I'm still lukewarm on the aesthetics, although I appreciate I'm in the minority there!

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It's funny how 1K EUR is completely reasonable for a high-end scope but the same for a high-end tripod feels so much harder to justify, even though the tripod and mount are easily as important as the scope!

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If you're in Germany, Berlebach should definitely be high on your list. Mine doesn't have a tray or leg spreader so less weight to carry and it's much easier to adjust on uneven ground by moving one leg in/out to get it level. It can pretty much sit against the ground too if I wanted it to. Yes they do cost, but it's one of the few astro purchases which caused me to crack a huge grin as it's a thing of beauty, especially in black.

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14 hours ago, Deadlake said:



In general load capacity/actual tensile stiffness of a carbon tripod some times does not match a manufacture's claim, it comes down to end users reports of what tripods actually performs.

This is what I meant earlier when I said to be ultra safe for high magnification astro purposes, take the advertised payload and halve it. I was told that by an experienced wildlife photographer who also enjoyed astronomy. I’ve had two refractors and a Skytee on my 40kg Gitzo - probably 18-19kg - and it was great. But not sure how it would cope with 40kg! 

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