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Tripod for binoculars


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Hi all.

I'm just about to pull the trigger and buy a tripod for my bins.

My questions are.

Do you sit down using them , and do the tripod legs get in the way.

would a tripod at 172cm be stable when standing up viewing. 

any good recommendations for 1 around the 100 euro price range.

Has anyone got any images of their setup they could share.

Thanks dave

 

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Tripods and binoculars for astronomy are a nightmare unless your bins are the expensive angled eyepiece type. Normal bins on a beefy photo tripod with a pan and tilt head are fine for stuff low down but all the best stuff is up there and even with a parallelogram mount you still have all the faff of getting it lined up with a recliner. I gave up in the end and just use my 20x80's handheld, my technique is to lay on the ground and rest the bins on my face, it's most uncomfortable but gives great starry vistas😂.

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I agree.  Not sure I’d want 20x bins for that reason.  My 15x50s are heavy enough ….. and I too do the lying down thing sometimes, or sit in a deckchair.

I had moderate success with a pistol grip tripod from Amazon. But the spring in the ball joint isn’t always quite up to hold the bins without slipping.

In the end I concluded that the joy of a pair of bins for astronomy is the ability to walk around the garden and observe from different sides of the house. Bins are the ultimate grab and go. Having to pick up and carry a tripod is a bit of a faff. 

 

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I suggest using a  parallel mount for bins then if the beam is long enough you will be able to reach up higher than 172cm with the central post much lower. 

for use reclined you need the bins to swing in an arc horizontally at the end of the arm. This allows you to keep the chair still while being able to scan a large area of the sky. It really irritating using a P mount without this extra degree of freedom. I have used one without for a couple of years standing up which was good. I added a hinge with its axis vertical and am now able to use it when I am reclined. This is important when looking up high. I don't know who makes one as mine is homemade. 

I suggest waiting for more members to advise before buying as they are not cheap and may not do what you find that you need.  If you can do some DIY then it does not cost much.

I can post a picture tomorrow to explain what I mean.

Edited by RobinH
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I use a Giottos monopod for my bins but they are regular 10x50's or so, not the larger celestron or other 15-20x versions. It also has 3 screw in feet for the end plug if needed but ease of use I don't fit them. It can also be used more easily when seated as you aren't trying to fit between 2 legs to reach the binos.

I do have an older Velbon tripod where you can tilt the column over, never tried that with bino's mounted, would likely need to put a counterweight on the bottom of the column tho

image.png.1d3a13056b48fcce0e53d8b8c21292bb.png

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10 hours ago, DaveL59 said:

I do have an older Velbon tripod where you can tilt the column over, never tried that with bino's mounted, would likely need to put a counterweight on the bottom of the column tho

You can counterweight that with another pair of binoculars👍🙂, I've tried most ways of mounting binoculars and for me the hands down winner is a mirror mount it's like sitting at a microscope and if you like to have a drink or smoke while your viewing then it's no problem the downside is you get a mirrored/upside down view....galileo type binoculars work best, a telescopic mobile phone selfie stick can also be useful to suspend binos but you need a stiff selfie stick similary you can use the stick to rest on your belly/chair to take the weight off your hands, works best on a swivel chair.

If you want to lie on a reclined lounger I would go with the setup Dave is mentioning above just make sure the fluid head has a tilt option I use a manfrotto monopod attached to an old alt/az tripod with 20x80's one end and 8x40 at the other end the pole does flex a little (I need to make a hardwood pole) but you have the convenience of spinning the pole and using 2 pairs of binos without getting up. The pros are hands free viewing upto the zenith.

With a tripod viewing the zenith isn't going to be easy and your going to be sat at a chair or standing. The pros are this setup is a little easier to store and setup.

The mirror mount is very compact and quick to setup. I use mine on an old fork mount, viewing from horizon to zenith is very easy-you can even view whats behind you. You would need a 1st surface mirror I got my mirror from an old video transfer unit.

HTH

 

 

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hmm interesting idea Bruce, but then the centre column on that tripod ain't really long enough, tho there's other more pro tripods it could work with. 

This gives some guidance on rigging a tripod that may be useful to Dave:

Build This Simple Binocular Mount - Gary Seronik

I have come across another type that was like 2 vertical/angled handles forming the two vertical sides of a triangle with a pair of horizontals at the top which clamped to hold the binocular barrels and this could be used comfortably when seated/reclined. Can't find a pic or listing now but they have come up on the bay from time to time. Was tempted at one point to buy one to see if they're any good but never did.

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1 hour ago, DaveL59 said:

the centre column on that tripod ain't really long enough

Agreed, I had an old alt/az tripod doing nothing so I attached the monopod straight to the saddle using heavy duty cable ties, the monopod fully extended is just long enough to use standing or seated/reclined, it's currently dissasembled and waiting for me to machine a piece of hardwood as there was just a little too much flexure, ideally the pole should be squared over the saddle to stop slippage. It's quite fun to throw the binos round and have another pair greet you when you counterbalance with another pair of differing mag binos. Eveything works quite fluidly once you get the tension correct on the alt nut and the binos just sit wherever you place them.

IMG_8623.thumb.JPG.ad07fadb176affcc779617d2e5bfc723.JPG

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here are a couple of photos of my home made mount. It based on a surveyors tripod shown at its lowest position. 

The hinge is shown in a closer view. This is for use when seated.

also shown is max height  over 6 foot. and minimum height lower than needed for a reclining chair. 

Let me know if you want any dimensions or details to make one.

the bins shown are 15x70 Helios 

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As others have indicated, tripods with binos are a pain, unless you can offset them - otherwise you have a minimum of 5 legs (depending on whether or not a seat is included) involved in a territorial dispute over the same little snippet of spacetime. My favoured solution for anything up to 16x70 is a monopod and trigger-grip head (the monopod doesn't need to be vertical to work). Bigger than that, I prefer a parallelogram. I have a page devoted to mounting binoculars here  and have posted about it in these forums as well, eg

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I get on just fine with my 15x70 binoculars on my pistol grip tripod and even sometimes my 20x60 Pentax. I can cover the majority of the sky okay but anything near the zenith is a no go. My neck hurts just thinking about it. The tripod I bought from Amazon is working well and thankfully my spring is just fine. I do enjoy my short bino forays at the night sky 

 

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Listen to binocular sky… I use my heavy 10x50 on a trigger head on a monopod. I recline in a camp seat with a heel to hold the monopod foot stable on the ground. By slouching about you can cover quite a bit of sky up to the zenith. Can use the same setup standing up. For high angles and a vertical monopod you need to ensure the ball lock is tight so the binocular doesn’t droop. I’d also cover all metal surfaces in thin neoprene rubber to avoid frozen fingers…. Enjoy.

 

Peter

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  • 4 weeks later...

I usually use a photo tripod with an elevator column and a pan-tilt fluid head, but I have limited mobility tilting my head back so things become difficult above 60* or so.  Lying back works to some extent, but then I those 5 legs to deal with.  😁

I think a parallelogram mount would be good, but the weight and bulk is more than I want to deal with for bino sessions. 

I've spent some time studying the Sironek design and have most of the parts, but I've not tried to put anything together yet.  Maybe something similar could be made with PVC pipe and fittings.

All things considered, I think a mirror mount would be best, assuming I can find a reasonable quality front-surface mirror that isn't crazy expensive.

 

 

Edited by jjohnson3803
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1 hour ago, jjohnson3803 said:

assuming I can find a reasonable quality front-surface mirror that isn't crazy expensive

I salvaged a mirror from a "JVC telecine adapter TA-P55U" I had lying around, the mirror is coated on both sides but the best side was facing out as I removed it, the other side seems tinted, using a lazer pointer and looking at the reflected dot it's quite apparent that 1 surface is better than the other. My mirror is 200mm x 140mm and was a charity shop find at around £3. There are a couple on ebay atm but there from America.

Stock image.

 

 

mirr.jpg

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On 11/07/2022 at 21:15, Dave scutt said:

Hi all.

I'm just about to pull the trigger and buy a tripod for my bins.

My questions are.

Do you sit down using them , and do the tripod legs get in the way.

would a tripod at 172cm be stable when standing up viewing. 

any good recommendations for 1 around the 100 euro price range.

Has anyone got any images of their setup they could share.

Thanks dave

 

Late to the thread Dave, but in case you haven't bought yet, I use and enjoy the Amazon Essentials (formerly Ravelli) pistol grip ball head and tripod mentioned above..https://www.amazon.co.uk/AmazonBasics-177-cm-Pistol-Grip-Tripod/dp/B01LQX0P8Q/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?crid=1ALIAQK0CC50O&keywords=Essentials+Pistol+Grip+Tripod&qid=1660259402&sprefix=essentials+pistol+grip+tripod%2Caps%2C94&sr=8-2

Great value and very steady with my Orion 9x63 Mini Giant bins. Extend to 177cms and hold up to 5kg. Yes, the spring needs re-tensioning occasionally, but it's easy with an Allen key and I don't find it an issue.

Here's mine, complete with Bino Bandits (which are also excellent!).

HTH👍😊

Dave

 

Binobandit2.jpg.4e68be14ea9ed41cee22fcc204344bae.jpg

1680504389_BinoBandit4.jpg.c35b31003a94e282204bd49ca98c57a7.jpg

Edited by F15Rules
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  • 1 month later...
On 12/08/2022 at 00:17, F15Rules said:

Late to the thread Dave, but in case you haven't bought yet, I use and enjoy the Amazon Essentials (formerly Ravelli) pistol grip ball head and tripod mentioned above..https://www.amazon.co.uk/AmazonBasics-177-cm-Pistol-Grip-Tripod/dp/B01LQX0P8Q/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?crid=1ALIAQK0CC50O&keywords=Essentials+Pistol+Grip+Tripod&qid=1660259402&sprefix=essentials+pistol+grip+tripod%2Caps%2C94&sr=8-2

Great value and very steady with my Orion 9x63 Mini Giant bins. Extend to 177cms and hold up to 5kg. Yes, the spring needs re-tensioning occasionally, but it's easy with an Allen key and I don't find it an issue.

Here's mine, complete with Bino Bandits (which are also excellent!).

HTH👍😊

Dave

 

Binobandit2.jpg.4e68be14ea9ed41cee22fcc204344bae.jpg

1680504389_BinoBandit4.jpg.c35b31003a94e282204bd49ca98c57a7.jpg

I am just wondering, how is your tripod holding up? 

I am in a last minute shopping decision. We are off to Outer Hebrides on Sunday and no way to fit my 200 DOB in the car, so came up with a "brilliant" idea last night...get an Opticron 20X80 + a pistol grip to my tripod (also would be beneficial for spotting eagles, otters and seals during the day).  Of course I can't find any pistol grip for next day delivery, so I came across of the tripod what you are using... 

Do you think it can handle the 20X80 giant?

 

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5 minutes ago, bosun21 said:

I have the same tripod and it will easily handle the 20x80’s

Awesome, thank you.

Do I need anything else to fit the bino? I am thinking about the Opticron Oregon 20X80

 

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2 hours ago, SzabiB said:

Awesome, thank you.

Do I need anything else to fit the bino? I am thinking about the Opticron Oregon 20X80

 

No you are all set to attach your 20x80’s directly to the tripod.

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3 hours ago, bosun21 said:

No you are all set to attach your 20x80’s directly to the tripod.

As Bosun says, the tripod combo should work fine..you will need an adapter to thread into the binoculars and onto the pistol grip head, unless you have one already..

Dave👍😉

IMG_20220922_163125909.jpg

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35 minutes ago, F15Rules said:

As Bosun says, the tripod combo should work fine..you will need an adapter to thread into the binoculars and onto the pistol grip head, unless you have one already..

Dave👍😉

IMG_20220922_163125909.jpg

He has the 20x80’s which has the bar and bracket already fitted 

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16 hours ago, F15Rules said:

As Bosun says, the tripod combo should work fine..you will need an adapter to thread into the binoculars and onto the pistol grip head, unless you have one already..

Dave👍😉

IMG_20220922_163125909.jpg

Brill, thank you.

Is this the Amazon Basic tripod? Just ordered one yesterday 

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41 minutes ago, SzabiB said:

Is this the Amazon Basic tripod? Just ordered one yesterday 

Yes it’s the Amazon basics model. The only thing I had to do to mine was to apply some quality grease onto the ball joint as it was rather dry when I got it delivered. It’s now smooth as butter in its movements.

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13 minutes ago, bosun21 said:

Yes it’s the Amazon basics model. The only thing I had to do to mine was to apply some quality grease onto the ball joint as it was rather dry when I got it delivered. It’s now smooth as butter in its movements.

Here are some really helpful user/maintenance instructions for this mount and it's variants..written by our resident Binocular guru, Steve Tonkin, aka Binocular Sky on SGL.

Many thanks, Steve!:headbang:👍

Dave

TG-manual.pdf

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