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Review of Avalon T-Pod T-130 tripod


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The Quest Begins

Ok, so I got my AP GT 130 in the summer, and after I decided on a Nova Hitch mount, the next step was to pick a tripod.

Enter the Losmandy Heavy Duty tripod. Every owner loves the stability. The downside is that the legs do not fold up, and at 35lbs, it is not too heavy, but I’d have to remove one of the legs to get it through my back door easily. That might not seem like a big deal, but I recognize that when I get  home from work after a 2 hour commute, the less hassle the better or I might just decide to stay inside.

Next I looked at the Losmandy HD foldable, but at 45 lbs and sharp edges, that is definitely out.

Ah, maybe the Losmandy Light Weight would do the trick. But what if I get a binoviewer?  I wasn’t sure if that LW could handle the extra weight.

Then I saw a Stellarvue 90 on an Astro-Physics Eagle pier. It was beautiful, well-engineered and solid. That’s what I want. But how would the Nova attach to the Eagle? Someone suggested a custom adapter. Hmmm, I’m going to need an 8 inch extension as well. The total cost is now well over $2K. This price point just doesn’t make sense for my application (visual).

At this point, I’m starting to think about the Berlebach Planet. But I don’t like wood tripods even with the great damping characteristics. Wood is too soft, it warps and gets banged up too easily.

Fortuitously, I came across Avalon T-Pod metal tripods. Avalon Instruments is an Italian company that makes mounts. They would be available in the US in October 2013. The distributor in the US is Deep Space Products. There are three models in the T-Pod line, the T-90, T-110 and the T-130.

I called up Ed and asked about availability. He said maybe in December, but Avalon would have to manufacture a special adapter for the Nova. I placed an order for the biggest model the T-130. I didn’t receive it until the first week in January 2014, because of the adapter.

T-Pod Arrives

The tripod is made of anodized aluminum with stainless steel hardware and comes in red and silver, with black and silver as an optional upgrade.  I chose the Black and Silver. The finish is excellent with no sharp edges.

It also comes with a light weight carrying bag with handles and a shoulder strap. I use this carry my scope outside.

Ed provided exceptional customer support. At first, there were issues with the adapter not fitting the mount securely. He asked for photos of the connection points of the mount, adapter and tripod and figured out that what the issue was. I sent the adapter back to him and received it back in a couple of days. Now the adapter was snug to the tripod but there was still some wobble in the connection. He sent me out some washers and that fixed the issue completely.

Specifications

Here are the specs for the T-130:

·         Capacity: 220 Ibs

·         Weight: 16.5 lbs

·         Maximum Length: 51 inches

·         Minimum Length: 30 inches

Performance

With snow storms almost every week since January in the north east, I haven’t had a chance to take out my scope.

Finally the weather cleared up and I had a chance to observe.

At under a combined weight of under 35 lbs, I can carry the mount attached to the tripod (legs folded) very easily into the backyard. There is even a handle on one of the legs.

I set up the tripod at both the lowest and a medium height. The T-Pod provided rock solid stability. I rap on the legs and the view settles down in less than one second.

It is definitely a pleasure to use.  The greatest characteristic is that once setup, I completely forget about it.

Conclusion

The Avalon T-Pod T130 is a great tripod. At $970 it costs more than many tripods on the market. But none of the cheaper tripods can offer the portability and engineering of the T-Pod.

To me, a great product is not worth the investment, if the quality of customer support does not match. Ed was with me every step of the way. I could not be happier with any purchase.

If you love Italian beauty and style, appreciate great engineering and need rock solid stability, this is the mount for you.


  • Chassetter and TonyG like this


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