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Best portable tripod for a Mach1

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#1 BlueGrass

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 11:53 PM

Hello. I've made the decision to move up to a Mach1 and am looking for the best portable tripod. I've put my name on the list for the next production run, but want to begin assembling the necessary parts and have them ready. At this point, I'm not that interested in a used one, unless of course one pops up locally where I can inspect and test it before buying.

Although AP lists a number of options, i.e standard pier, wooden and aluminum tripods and their Eagle, I'm really looking at getting a G11 HD tripod, especially since AP makes the necessary adapter plates for it.

I'd like to get some opinions on this option and hopefully some tips on whether or not there are cheaper adapter plates available.

Ideally, I'd love to have their Eagle with the pier extension but it's an expensive solution. I do like the look of it though ... :grin:

After spending so much valuable clear sky time dealing with my CGEM and its guiding idiosyncrasies, it's time to invest in a quality, American made mount. For its weight class, portability and cost, the Mach1 should handle my imaging needs for the foreseeable future.

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

#2 M13 Observer

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 01:02 AM

My vote goes with Rob Miller's new series of TRIxxL tripods where the xx is the height in inches. Under ten pounds, rigid, beautiful to see, and pretty cheap at around $600. He advertises on Astromart. I'm not sure why he isn't here on CN as well.

#3 skybsd

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 02:16 AM

Hello,
Do your requirements also limit you to an "American made" tripod also? :imawake:

Regards,

skybsd

#4 pop

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 04:42 AM

If you also want for imgaing in the future, I recommended Losmandy tripod for G-11 and AP Eagle Pier.

I also use Mach1GTO on Eagle Pier. It is very fine of work and I like it. It built like a tank but not too heavy to dandle portable.

Losmandy tripod I also have for G-11 mount. It is not portable like Eagle pier, but also work on my Celestron-C14, or AP900 ride on it. It is really work and very rigidly same as Eagle but a lot more cheaper. And AP did an adapter for Mach1GTO ride on Losmandy tripod too.

Another thing I would like to give you my comment about Mach1GTO is, if you have a plan to imaging, Mach1GTO may not meet your demand in the future. FOr me, I have Mach1 for 3 years and now. If I can choose back, I will choose AP900 instead of Mach1. Because both AP900 and Mach1 is same portability unit. AP can easily separate to 2 peach which is lighter than Mach1 for 1 piece. I think nobody will split Mach1GTO to 2 piece in practical. Because Mach1 is quiet not weighty but also not light.

In term of load capacity, AP900 has a lot more to load astro-gear on them which you have to pay more extra. I think it is worth to buy AP900 than Mach1.

Just my opinion.

POP

#5 Mike E.

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 05:50 AM

You did say the best ?

Particle Wave Technologies....... www.pwtec.com

See Cloudy Nights tripod reviews about PWT; their "Full Index Adapter" is a great innovation.

.

#6 mewmartigan

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:45 AM

I would be interested to hear anyone's experiences with the Rob Miller tripods and their advantages over the AP portable pier.
I am in the same boat as George, the Eagle (and PWT) is a bit too expensive.

What advantages does the tripod have over the portable pier aside from the fact you have to break down the pier. Are there any user reports for the Rob Miller tripods?

Apparently Rob used to work for AP so I wouldn't doubt the craftmanship.

Oh, and AP posted in their yahoo group that the next round of Mach 1s should begin to ship in late spring / summer :yay: got almost all my pennies saved already!

#7 gillmj24

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 10:20 AM

The G11 tripod is solid with the Mach1. Not as portable as the eagle pier but not nearly as expensive. The legs come off and it won't take up much space in the trunk if that is a concern.

#8 t.r.

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 12:35 PM

For portability, I don't think your going to beat the Eagle. Well thought out, light weight, folding legs and adaptable. Same price really as others in its class. I'm going to add "equipment handles" to the sides of mine to make it "grab-n-go" doable with the mount still attached. The Miller tripods look too flimsy to me but I'd like to see one in the field.

#9 M13 Observer

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:02 PM

You did say the best ?

Particle Wave Technologies....... www.pwtec.com

See Cloudy Nights tripod reviews about PWT; their "Full Index Adapter" is a great innovation.

.


Shahin made wonderful stuff once upon a time. Now is not that time. Not that it isn't still wonderful to see and beautiful to behold; but it is made of unobtanium. After being on the hook for about 4 years for a Pinnacle and then a Monolith LT, and then back to a Pinnacle for another couple of years (all at Shahin's whim), I finally decided it would never ever happen and moved on.

#10 M13 Observer

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:15 PM

For portability, I don't think your going to beat the Eagle. Well thought out, light weight, folding legs and adaptable. Same price really as others in its class. I'm going to add "equipment handles" to the sides of mine to make it "grab-n-go" doable with the mount still attached. The Miller tripods look too flimsy to me but I'd like to see one in the field.


Yeah, I thought it would be too flimsy as well when I first saw a picture. I'm super glad I have one. One of the pictures in his advertising is mine, in the 'field', although the load is relatively light in weight. That very same tripod is easily just as happy under my Mach1GTO with a 6" APO refractor loaded with 4" focuser, field flattener, monster CCD camera, big filter wheel, heavy guide scope, etc. I am awaiting a medium version unit right now for my AP900 with a somewhat larger refractor. I think it is the absolute best bang for the buck out there and super nice to look at to boot!
Yeah, Rob knows his stuff. Not only did he have a lot to do with the AP900 and AP1200, he is also the person in the shadows somewhat intimately involved with the Paramount.

#11 razor

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 09:47 PM

So does the L (Lightest) Tripod from Rob sufficiently support the Mach 1 for imaging? I'm also thinking of getting one for use with a Mach 1 and 130mm OTA.

#12 BlueGrass

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 11:05 PM

Thanks for all the responses. Have to say though, just looking at the PWT page, a Mach 1 may be 'over-mounted' on one of those piers, if that's possible.

Marcus, thanks for the info on the Mach1. I just saw the post Marj put up and that is good news. I was hoping they'd make a run early this year vs. later.

For me, after thinking about it most of the day, it will probably come down to a G11 HD or an Eagle. I've seen a few Losmandy tripods sell over the past 12 months for a very reasonable $300 or $400, so that's really what's driving my choice ... besides it being a very solid tripod. The Eagle looks to be the class portable setup for a Mach1. If the funds are there later this year, then maybe ... but the cost savings of using a Losmandy will translate into addons, CWs, etc for the Mach1 which would get me up and running quicker.

Pop, I agree about getting the 900 instead of the Mach1, but I don't see me looking to mount any imaging gear in excess of 20 to 25 pounds in the near future. And, if the time comes, and I want to move up, I have no fears in being able to sell the Mach1 to help fund a 900.

Guess I better get off the dime and get something put together if AP already has them in production .... :roflmao:

#13 Adam E

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 09:50 AM

Congrats on going for the Mach1, George!

That mount is number 1 on my list for future upgrades. The 900 is number 2 in the event that I find a pot o'gold somewhere. Gotta build an observatory first though. That's my promise to myself: no mount upgrade until I have a concrete pier to put it on.

#14 mewmartigan

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 10:40 AM

George,

How come you've ruled out the portable pier? I really like the look of the eagle too buts its more than double the price and the piers are supposed to be pretty solid when setup. The only disadvantag i see is that you can't level them.




#15 Ad Astra

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 04:50 PM

My vote goes with Rob Miller's new series of TRIxxL tripods where the xx is the height in inches. Under ten pounds, rigid, beautiful to see, and pretty cheap at around $600. He advertises on Astromart. I'm not sure why he isn't here on CN as well.


I've been in touch with Rob. The design seems to be very strong and lightweight. He can also make custom heights and has mating plates for almost any mount. I plan on going with his rig when I'm ready for my Titan.

Dan

#16 mewmartigan

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 08:13 PM

I've been in touch with Rob. The design seems to be very strong and lightweight. He can also make custom heights and has mating plates for almost any mount. I plan on going with his rig when I'm ready for my Titan.

Dan [/quote]

I really like the idea behind Rob's lightweight tripods and the cost is right one. I just wish there were more user reviews out there.
Also, from the pictures, doesn't it appear that the tripod "feet" don't sit level on the floor? maybe its just a bad angle in the pictures....

#17 BlueGrass

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 10:47 PM

Marcus,
The portable piers just don't seem to have the range of adjustment I'd need. Last year, I traveled all over the West and really need to be able to level the tripod over just about any terrain I come across. From sloping ground to level desert, I really need the flexibility.

Adam,
Good luck in getting your observatory built. That is the ideal setup, solving so many nagging problems in one fell swoop. No breakdown, setup. Polar align once. Wind and weather protection. A list of pluses and minuses for an observatory has practically zero entries for minuses ... :bow:

Have to say, I've thought about making the move to an AP mount for a number of months, weighing the costs and what I've already invested in my CGEM.

Then it dawned on me.... I don't recall seeing one post here on CN saying 'Gosh, I'd wish I'd never bought that darn AP mount...' I guess that pretty much made the decision for me... :usa:

#18 M13 Observer

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 12:04 AM

Marcus,
The portable piers just don't seem to have the range of adjustment I'd need. Last year, I traveled all over the West and really need to be able to level the tripod over just about any terrain I come across. From sloping ground to level desert, I really need the flexibility.


Rob's tripods will handle about 5" of elevation change from one leg to another. Not too bad.

Yes, the feet/footpads are angled so that the bolts sticking out take the wear and 'dig in' to the dirt/grass. Adjustable footpads are supposed to be available shortly. Rob says replacing the bolts is way easier and cheaper than replacing the pads.

Yes, the tripod is really quite rigid. It is hard to believe that it would be since it looks so bloody spindly, but it is.

I am NOT affiliated in any manner, just a super satisfied customer. I am thoroughly impressed with my TRI36L (TRIpod 36" Light). I am awaiting a TRI36M (Medium) for a different mount.

#19 M13 Observer

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 12:06 AM

So does the L (Lightest) Tripod from Rob sufficiently support the Mach 1 for imaging? I'm also thinking of getting one for use with a Mach 1 and 130mm OTA.


With a Mach1GTO? Yes!

#20 RAKing

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 07:55 AM

Then it dawned on me.... I don't recall seeing one post here on CN saying 'Gosh, I'd wish I'd never bought that darn AP mount...' I guess that pretty much made the decision for me... :usa:


You probably won't ever read anything like that, either. :) I moved from a Losmandy to the Mach1 when my name came up on the list a couple of years ago and I don't have any plans to ever get rid of it.

As far as supports go, my Mach1 has been on A-P Portable Piers, a Losmandy HD tripod, and now it sits on the Eagle.

The A-P PP are much better than you think. They can be used on a variety of terrain. Accurate leveling is not necessary with a GEM - close enough is fine. The downside are the fixed heights, but you can buy additional center posts and struts from A-P as needed.

The Losmandy tripod is superb, but it's the heaviest of the three support platforms. With the A-P adapters, it goes from about 35 inches on up. This is fine for refractors and SCT, but it's not short enough for my Newts.

The Eagle is the most expensive by far - but it's also the lightest (26 pounds) and easiest to fold and transport. It can adjust for every scope I own and is simply a beautiful piece of gear - fitting for the beautiful mount it supports. :waytogo:

Every one of these supports worked well for me and you should be happy no matter which one you choose.

Cheers,

Ron

#21 BlueGrass

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:29 AM

Ron,
Thanks for the insights on the PP. With a post extension, I'm sure it would probably fit my basic needs (APO & SCT).

My primary concerns are its range of adjustment for leveling and of course its fixed height. Depending on what AP setup I used, the ability to adjust the height as necessary is an important 'comfort' aspect. Not critical but I don't want to have to re-think my purchase later on wishing I had gone the adjustable tripod route. Although AP calls them portable, the design really looks best suited for a fixed or relatively flat, clean environment. I still have a few months to decide, so I'll keep them in mind.

The Eagle is a beautiful piece of engineering. Over in the Yahoo AP group, there are some pics, one of a Mach1 mounted on an Eagle.... very enticing ....

oh, and while you're over there checking it out, take a look at one of the tracking performance graphs posted ... if that was an EKG, I'd only say 'He's dead, Jim!' ... :grin:

#22 Scott99

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 10:33 AM

how much load is going on the Mach1 and are you doing visual or imaging? I use a Berlebach Planet tripod, it's wood and not quite as stable as a metal pier like the Eagle but it only weighs about 20 pounds (without the wood tray attached), it should be enough for most visual telescope setups.

Berlebach will sell you the Planet pre-drilled to accept the standard AP mount adapter. It is made in Germany but don't forget Roland Christen also came from Germany.

also FWIW I do break down the Mach1 into 2 parts every time I observe, only 4 screws need to be taken out to separate it, takes about 1 minute. It really is just a smaller version of the 900.



#23 RAKing

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 10:38 AM

George,

Unless you are setting up on the side of a hill, the leveling problem is not too bad. I've always been able to find a "reasonably flat" spot to set up. The fixed height is an issue if you have more than one style of scope. I currently have three different center posts - and have hacksawed more than one that was too long to bring it down to my height. :cool: The PP is very portable and breaks down quickly into easily manageable pieces. I stuffed all the parts into an Orion refractor bag when I traveled and never had any problems.

Having said all that, the Eagle is better. It's lighter and folds even faster.

How good do the Mach1 and the Eagle look? They look so good together that my wife lets me store mine in the living room. :bow: :roflmao:

BTW - those performance graphs are what enticed me to put my name on the Mach1 list four years ago. I had to wait 18 months to get it, but it has been worth every penny. I consider it one of the best purchases I ever made - period. :)

Cheers,

Ron

#24 BlueGrass

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 12:00 PM

Scott,

The Mach1 would be used mainly for AP. My CGEM is fine for visual and is really a fine mount in that respect. Once a 2+4 alignment is done, its gotos have been very accurate. The max load would be around 25lbs of AP gear without counter weights.

Ron,

I mainly image with my 106, lately with the AT65Q piggyback. A 4" / 5" APO would be the normal setup so the pier height would be based on that configuration. Currently with my CGEM and an Atlas pier extension, it's at 36" with legs completely retracted for stability. From my experience, for the times that I used it for visual only, it is just too short for comfort. If I used an astro chair, that would change things, but I like to stand. But again, its main role would be for AP, so portable pier height is not that critical. It helps not having to 'grovel' for an alignment star, but since that isn't done too often... it's OK... :grin: If I go the PP route, I'll have to do some testing to find out if a 42" works or if I'll need a 48". :question:

#25 RAKing

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 05:51 PM

If I go the PP route, I'll have to do some testing to find out if a 42" works or if I'll need a 48". :question:


Well don't feel bad if you need something "in between". It's easy enough to cut down a post that's too tall - it's more difficult to create aluminum for one that's too short. :lol:

If you go this route, I suggest you get the 48 incher.

Cheers,

Ron






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