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Advice on binocular/spotting scope tripod/mount

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#1 npc


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:55 PM

I'm looking for a good platform for astro viewing through 20x80 binoculars and a C90MAK spotting scope + DSLR. Both have camera-style 1/4" mounting screws.

"Stable enough" (doesn't need to be a rock, but needs to hold where I point it and settle in a reasonable amount of time)
slow motion control
wide range of viewing (doesn't have to be able to see the zenith, but something more than 45 degrees)

Obviously, I don't want to spend more than I have to.
Portability is good, but obviously a tradeoff with features and stability.
Enough height to make looking through the binoculars comfortable.

The two items that immediately looked promising are the Orion AZ-4 and the Celestron Heavy-Duty Altazimuth tripods. The AZ-4 gets really bad reviews, and the Celestron doesn't seem to go above 45 degrees. Are the AZ-4 reviews unfair? Is the Celestron better than it sounds? Is there something out there that's a step up from these two that won't break the bank?

I *could* use a heavy-duty photography tripod, but finding astronomical objects and locking with a regular tripod is a real PITA. I don't need an equatorial fork or a motor. I just want something that doesn't slip when I lock down 8 lbs of gear and I can adjust.

I looked through the forum and found some similar threads, but nothing that addressed exactly these issues.

Anyone have any suggestions?


#2 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:21 PM

Welcome to CN.

Obviously, I don't want to spend more than I have to.

This could be an issue but you might want to check out Nova Hitch Mount.


I think that Mini Hitch meets your requirement but unfortunately you may have to find it in used market. I haven't used Mini Hitch but I have used three Half Hitch mounts (two HHs and one SHH, Super Half Hitch) and two of them are used for 100mm/82mm binoculars, the third one is used with 102mm-130mm refractors.

On the right, 82mm binoculars/Half Hitch/Carbon fiber camera tripod, my most used grab-n-go setup.

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#3 Mkofski


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:23 PM

I don't have any first hand experience with it but I'm thinking about the "Sky-Watcher AllView Mount" that Celestron sells. It has a rated compacity of 9 pounds so I don't know if that would work for you. If you have a Canon Rebel you can control the camera from the mount. Don't know if you can get to the Zenith with a C6 but it looks like that's doable with your DSLR.


#4 Hikari


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 08:53 PM

For 20x80s, you need a lounge chair and then rig a frame to steady the binos. When I had my 20x80, I found a tripod to literally be a pain in the neck.

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