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Downsizing from DM6/Planet ?

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#1 Mark9473

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 04:15 AM

I use the great DM-6 mount on top of a Berlebach Planet tripod. It's a dream set-up really; rock steady and smooth as silk. Bought this initially for my Mewlon 210 but now also use my 107 apo on it.

The thing is, my back yard doesn't exactly have wide open views so I need to be able to carry the 30 kg rig around to look in different directions, and it's really taking a toll on my back. There are a few narrow passages so wheels are not an option.

Is there an alt-az mount / tripod combination avalaible that would be close to my current set-up in capacity, stability and ease of operation, but weighs something like 10 kg less?
Don't mention Rob Miller's tripods as these are not available.

I have a Giro-3 and that is not quite up to the task. For starters I'd need a counterweight with my Mewlon on it and that defeats my purpose. It's also quite frankly not in the same league on stability.

#2 Kunama

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 06:01 AM

DSV-3

#3 RAKing

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 06:55 AM

The Mewlon is right at the upper limit, but my first choice would still be a DM-4.

You might give Tom Peters a call and see what he thinks.

I am going through a similar thought process because of my medical issues.

Cheers,

Ron

#4 Patrick

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 07:11 AM

I don't think your DM6 is the problem. I think what you need to do is find a different tripod. The Berlebach Planet tripod by itself weighs almost 25 lbs. I'm currently using a Vixen HAL130 tripod with my T-Rex and it's very steady. The HAL130 has a top height of 51" and weighs only 12 lbs. If you need a little more height you can add a 9" extension weighing 3.4 lbs. For comparison, the Berleback Planet has a top height of 54".

I've found the HAL130 to be an extremely portable tripod. When carrying the HAL130 in the field with the mount head and scope sitting on it, you can leave the legs extended but easily collapse the tripod leg set by lifting on the center spider and then carrying the whole assembly over your shoulder using the leg set to grab and counterbalance the scope and mount head.

The HAL130 tripod is undervalued in the astronomy world for some reason, but I've found it to be a real workhorse. The HAL130 tripods are the one's sold with Vixen's GP and GPD2 mounts. The GPD2 is rated to carry a 35 lb payload.

For car transport, the HAL130 tripod collapses to a package size of about 6" x 30".

At any rate, I don't think you'll be very happy losing your DM6, especially compared to any of the other alt/az mounts out there (except the T-Rex of course :) ).

Clear skies!

Patrick

#5 Mark9473

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 01:21 PM

Thanks for the feedback, guys.

Kunama, that DSV-3 looks like a Giro3 class mount; I'll look for reports from people that have compared the two.

Ron, the Mewlon is actually over the rated limit of the DM4 but I know there are numerous reports it's been rated too conservatively. I still think it's more an option for when I decide to downsize the scope too.

Patrick, I've followed your thread about your magnificent T-Rex set-up. The tripod is a surprise. I'm curious how that HAL130 tripod differs from the Vixen tripod that came with my Super Polaris mounted 90mm achromat I bought in '89. I didn't like that tripod. It was certainly strong enough but very prone to vibration.
You're right about one thing, I will hate to ever give up the DM6. I still kick myself over being able to buy that whole set-up used for a steal.

#6 Waduino

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 02:36 PM

I'm in a somewhat similar boat, wondering what lightweight, rigid tripod for a DM4 and TV85 for grab 'n go. It's on a Porta now, and I swapped the aluminum legs for wooden ones, which made a noticeable difference for stability.
I'm wondering why the HAL130 is so much more stable.

#7 Patrick

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 03:00 PM

I'm curious how that HAL130 tripod differs from the Vixen tripod that came with my Super Polaris mounted 90mm achromat I bought in '89. I didn't like that tripod.



It's a completely different tripod. The aluminum Super Polaris "AL" tripods were a split design with a sliding center piece similar to many wooden tripods today (and also similar to the Porta mount leg sets). The HAL130 upper leg is a hollow extruded member that the similar hollow extruded lower leg slides within. My guess is that the hollow extruded legs are much stiffer than the split design.

Personally I hate a shaky setup, so if it wasn't sturdy, it would be gone! ;)

Patrick

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#8 Mark9473

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 03:12 PM

Thanks Patrick. I found a few other favourable opinions, so I'm definitely going to look into this tripod. Biggest question will be how to mate it to the DM6's flat bottom.

Could you let me know the diameter of the top of the tripod (the part your T-Rex mounts to)?

I'm also thinking about doing some landscaping in the garden so that I could use wheels under the Planet.

#9 Patrick

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 03:24 PM

Biggest question will be how to mate it to the DM6's flat bottom.



Uhh...hacksaw? :grin:

On the T-Rex there is a special bottom plate to accomodate the polar axis post. I believe the flat on the base is about 5" with a recessed area about 1.5-2" in diameter for the bottom of the GP2 mounts to fit in.

Perhaps the DM folks have some kind of adapter for use with tripods with the polar axis posts?

Patrick

#10 skullpin

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 03:55 PM

I successfully used a DM4/DiscMount tripod with a 15 lb refractor that with diagonal and rings weighed in at over 19lbs. It worked fine, so I suspect it would support the Mewlon 210 even better as the weight is similar but the moment arm is shorter.

The simplicity of a DiscMount I prefer to the DSV-2 that I previously owned. No backlash adjustment, no altitude locking/unlocking, no rebalancing, no levelling. Just plunk the scope in the saddle and observe.

Ecstatic DM4 owner, Keith

#11 Waduino

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 05:58 PM

I would do the DM tripod in a heartbeat but I tried a TSA120 on a DM6 and didn't like that when you're on uneven grass gravity makes the uphill and downhill movements uneven. I would prefer being able to level the head and legs that close to get out the door. I'm a big fan of the simplicity though.
Patrick has me thinking about a HAL130 and removing the pin. That would be a light, apparently solid, setup for my little TV85.

#12 chaoscosmos

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 01:29 AM

A Berlebach Uni would save you about 6 lbs off the Planet.

#13 mistyridge

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 02:00 AM

I use the DM tall tripod with my DM6. It carries my Edge C8HD with no stability issues, its like a rock. It weighs about 15lbs.

#14 Mark9473

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 03:26 AM

Thanks all; I'm going to be thinking this over some more. Thanks for the input.

#15 skullpin

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 05:08 AM

The DiscMount tripod does allow some levelling: the spreaders attach to the legs with knobbed screws through slots about 1 inch in length. Loosen up the knobs and the legs can be adjusted about 5 degrees which can accommodate an uneven, but generally level, lawn. Retighten and away you go.

That said, I am usually too lazy to bother and put up with a little imbalance. The friction discs compensate well enough for my tastes.

Keith

#16 JMW

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:34 PM

I have the DM6 with 12 inch Losmandy extension on a Planet. Rock solid great setup for my TEC 140 or C11 EdgeHD. I use a DM4 on my Gitzo 5541LS carbon fiber tripod when I want to have a quick grab and go or need something compact for travel. It handles my SV115T apo just fine. Should handle your 107 apo without difficulties. I can related to the tree problem. I pick up my SV115T attached to my DM4/Gitzo setup and can carry the whole thing around the yard or through the front door after bring all the legs together. Going through the door on my DM4 ash tripod is much harder with the leg spreaders in place.

The Gitzo 5541LS weighs about 6.5 pounds. There is a big difference in the DM4 (5.2 pounds) vs DM6 (16.2 pounds). I think these weights are without saddle and the 8 inch extension would be more. I think you could have a DM4 on a Gitzo and still be under 14 pounds with the saddle. I have no shake/steadiness issues on the Gitzo. Just keep an eye on it around people because all the weight would be at the top of the tripod. It would take quite an effort to knock over my Planet. I prefer the Planet when doing outreach because of the lower center of mass.

#17 Mark9473

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 04:09 AM

Yes for the 107 the DM4 would be a no-brainer. The Mewlon is still a bit heavier though.
That Gitzo tripod is a lot more expensive even than the Planet. :shocked:

#18 daniel_h

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:45 AM

Mark I'm surprised the giro3 is not steady, what tripod do you have it on?

#19 Mark9473

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:35 AM

I have it on a Manfrotto 117 actually. It's a good combination for the 107 especially since it has a geared center column. But the alt/az movements on the DM6 are definitely smoother. Whatever shortfall of stability there is in this combination will be due to the tripod not the Giro 3 mount, no doubt about that.

#20 Waduino

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:35 AM

It seems the GT5541LS is no longer sold. I'm checking what might be equivalent.
Wad.

#21 Waduino

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:24 PM

Turns out the new model is GT5542LS and the 3 section model is GT5532LS. The model line is call Systematic. Wow, $1100 or so, plus taxes, etc.
Wad.

#22 Mark9473

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:32 PM

Yes at that price my interest is zero, to be honest.

#23 daniel_h

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:10 PM

Anyone know the weight ratings for the 1002/1003 KB ststems tripods? I know televue use the smaller model as well as half hitch, I can't find what weight people load on the bigger tripods. They look interesting

#24 JMW

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:56 PM

I paid $900 for my Gitzo 5541LS back in Jan 2010. My justification was about 75% regular landscape photography and 25% as a travel tripod for my DM4. Now I also use it as my tripod for my Astrotrac and Skytracker when doing wide field DSLR astrophotography. It is rated for 55 pounds. I consider tripods to be a critical component for shake free viewing so I have no regrets in my investment.

I would recommend the GT5532S for $1050 as the best Gitzo tripod for astronomy. It is rated at 88 pounds and weighs 6.2 pounds. It goes to 51 inches maximum height. The legs are in 3 sections so they are quite thick. My 5541LS has legs in 4 sections and goes higher but I only use the 3 thickest sections for astronomy.

#25 Mark9473

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:23 AM

kbsystem.com does not show those tripod numbers, Daniel.






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