Quickie review of Stellarvue Travel Tripod
Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:43 PM
Pro: compact, sturdy, Stellarvue, works with the Stellarvue M2 mount
Cons: hmm. I'll miss the eyepiece tray my Stellarvue Tripod has but the travel tripod can, well, travel!
I have to admit that this is my first compact/travel tripod I have purchased.
I was pretty excited to see the box at the brokers containing the Stellarvue travel tripod and their C17 case. I couldn't help but notice the C17 is one beefy case and was slightly larger than I thought it would be. Definitely checked luggage. The tripod was next. C'mon you say -- it's just a tripod! However, I had looked at several different tripods, mainly camera orientated and this tripod was definitely made for a telescope, which, in my case is an 80mm refractor. The legs are beefy yet not heavy. Solid is the word that came to mind. The tripod head is a solid piece of metal, that I assume is aluminum of some sort. I extended the legs to full length, tightened the locks and gave the tripod a firm downward push. Once again, very solid. I picked up the assembly and felt light for it's appearance. What a telescope travel tripod should feel like.
The rotating locks are easy to grab with mitts on and unlock/lock in less than one rotation. Rough measurement is approx 300 degrees, which I call 3 quick twists of my wrist. The legs are definitely locked into place.
When I got home, I put the Stellarvue M2 alt-az mount on it and the Stellarvue SVR 80mm as well. I think the M2 mount is almost as heavy as the tripod! Together they're going to make a great travel team. Conveniently, the weather cooperated (??) and last night I spent 45 minutes with the combo in -4c weather. A quick setup and I was ready to go. The tripod, which was set up on a cement porch, dampens out in less than a second after a firm rap on the tripod head.
I hope this helps some of the CN'ers with a decision on a travel tripod.
Stellarvue 80mm & 110mm refractor
Meade Lightbridge 16"
and other useful stuff
Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:37 PM
Here are some pics of the travel tripod to expand on my initial comments. Since it was cloudy, I thought I could just play with these new gizmo's to avoid working on the honey do list. I did buy the tripod for travelling with the SVR 80. Qualifiers, I don't work for Stellarvue or have any financial investment with them. Also, I'm not an engineer or work in machine shops, so my observations are based on my experience, which is not green but without years of buying/selling astro gear.
Glossy black. The large nuts that hold the legs to the head are 17mm. The small hex screws are either 1/8" or 3.5mm. Since I couldn't find a 3.5mm, the 1/8" did the trick. These screws seem to adjust the amount of leg flop. This is what the tripod legs do when you pick up the tripod/scope and move it somewhere else. Personally, I want the legs to slide into their vertical position (ie: with some friction) instead of flopping into position. If the legs tend to stay put as you transport the setup through the house, you avoid the legs swinging about and taking out something valuable (uh-oh, negative brownie points!). I could tighten the screws to the point where the flop was almost none existent, but the screws were too tight for my liking. I ended up with a setting that worked for me.
The mount lock nut is a bright orange/ochre colour which would come in handy in the dark in case you completely unthread it from the head and it dropped in the grass. However, that would take extra effort and time to do so.
Polished (or brushed, not sure) stainless tubing. Top section approx 2" diameter. When the legs are fully extended, I noticed if I tipped the tripod to allow a leg tip to clear the floor, the tip moved laterally approximately 1 1/4". This caused a minor concern, but turned out to be a non starter and did not affect stability. With just the tripod setup on a cement slap/blacktop driveway, I tried to get the tripod assembly to rotate on it's vertical axis. Nope, even with more force you would ever expect in the field with your precious scope on top. I didn't notice any effect during the first light the other night with the M2 mount @ 117x.
Locking ring, detail
Well, what can you say about a locking ring that does it's job? One, two twists and the middle leg extends then one, two, three wrist twists and it's locked.
Rounded, firm rubber. Drain hole in the bottom cap, screws countersunk in the side of the cap. Nice.
More dimensions at the Stellarvue website.
I hope that helps!
Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:18 AM
Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:59 AM
I attach the M2/MEC2 combo as one piece to the already deployed tripod. I forgot the MEC2 was part of my mount setup. Sorry about that. Then, of course, the scope. And then, of course, if it's clear, I start gazing. 8^)
Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:28 PM
Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:53 PM