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Berlebach Planet, Uni, Geoptik Hercules, or...?

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#1 orlyandico

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 08:24 AM

Ok so I finally want to spend more than $70 for the tripod underneath my Mach1. The biggest thing I can currently put on top is a C9.25 - and even the $70 Celestron tripod can handle it, albeit with jiggling if there's any wind.

But the real reason is that I think my Mach1 is dying of embarrassment. Or maybe I am. So I want a better tripod. And Rob Miller is still AWOL.

So.. Berlebach Planet, or Uni? Marion at Berlebach said a 25kg load would still be within the Uni's grasp. Not that I'm economizing, but the Planet is heavy at 11 kg.

The Geoptik Hercules costs a bit less, made in Italy, but weighs only 6.5 kg, a considerable advantage. I don't know if its 100kg rating is realistic though (the Planet is also 100kg).

#2 mgwhittle

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 08:51 AM

I like my Planet. It doesn't seem heavy to me. I use it with my iEQ45 but when I buy a Mach 1 in the future, it will be what I use with it. My opinion is don't skimp....the Uni would work but why load something to near it's capacity if you didn't have to?

#3 orlyandico

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 09:03 AM

Mark, what tripod are you using on your 900? or is that permanently mounted?

My inherent cheapness again makes an appearance, because there's a Losmandy HD tripod local to me for $400. :tonofbricks: I know it's ugly and has sharp edges and bolts to whack you when you bump into it at night, but...

#4 maknewtnut

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 09:09 AM

There are tradeoffs to weigh with most decisions. When it comes to tripods, one must consider stability and portability.
IMO, to obtain stability, it's worth the tradeoff to sacrifice a bit of portability. If portability is more important for a given person's needs, then a bit of stability might be sacrificed to meet that need.

Comparing UNI and PLANET, the tradeoff is a bit more weight for only marginally larger physical stowed size. Increased mass is inherently more stable. If it were me, PLANET.

I have not used the Geoptik Hercules, so cannot comment on it's comparitive stability.

#5 WesC

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 09:26 AM

What about the AP Eagle? It was made for the Mach 1.

#6 orlyandico

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 09:28 AM

Too pricey (the AP Eagle).

Another query: sometimes the old AWT000 Baader wood tripod comes up for sale. AP no longer sells this, what they sell now is the Berlebach Planet.

How does the Planet compare to the Baader?

#7 mgwhittle

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 10:43 AM

Mark, what tripod are you using on your 900? or is that permanently mounted?

My inherent cheapness again makes an appearance, because there's a Losmandy HD tripod local to me for $400. :tonofbricks: I know it's ugly and has sharp edges and bolts to whack you when you bump into it at night, but...


I'm using the AP Portable Pier (which is very sturdy) until I can get an ATS pier. As you noted, Rob Miller is not and may never be an option at this point.

I considered buying the adapter plate offered by Berlebach to mount the 900 on the Planet to use with my C11 but it was $300+. That money can be better spent elsewhere and besides, like I mentioned, the Planet is marked for use with a Mach 1 sometime next year most likely.

Having said all that.....I would grab that Losmandy tripod if it was in good shape. You can't beat that price and it's very sturdy.

#8 mgwhittle

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 10:50 AM

Too pricey (the AP Eagle).

Another query: sometimes the old AWT000 Baader wood tripod comes up for sale. AP no longer sells this, what they sell now is the Berlebach Planet.

How does the Planet compare to the Baader?


Someone else asked that same question: Planet vs Baader

#9 orlyandico

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 12:30 PM

Sigh. I've had my eye on that Losmandy for months. Can't bring myself to buy the thing.

There's something about the aesthetics of wood... life's too short for ugly stuff. It would cost me about $1000 to buy directly from Berlebach and have it shipped to my location. The cost of shipping is almost 1/3 the total, which bums me..

#10 Scott99

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 01:09 PM

Did you ask Berlebach about boat shipping? It would take a long time but it might be cheaper.

I've got a Planet and a UNI, the Mach1 seems too large for the UNI. The Planet barely takes up any more space and only weighs a little more, I think around 20 pounds without the tray. I think the Planet is actually a bargain for what it costs. AP dropped their old wood tripod and switched to the Planet when it came out.

The Losmandy tripod would be rock solid also, I think the wood Planet is lighter which helps portability. The Planet sets up very quickly without any tools, it really is a masterpiece.


#11 orlyandico

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 02:08 PM

I'm trying to work out some deal with Markus at APM. Berlebach uses FedEx which is pricey - almost $300 for shipping.

What bums me is that Berlebach wants an extra 90 Euro for the mount to adapt to an ADATRI, while they charge zero for the others. C'mon drilling and tapping 3 holes costs 90 Euro? I'm of a mind to buy the Planet with a plane plate and drill & tap it myself. Just to be ornery..

I believe the first Planets in the US were like this.

#12 Patrik Iver

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 02:36 PM

What bums me is that Berlebach wants an extra 90 Euro for the mount to adapt to an ADATRI, while they charge zero for the others. C'mon drilling and tapping 3 holes costs 90 Euro? I'm of a mind to buy the Planet with a plane plate and drill & tap it myself. Just to be ornery..

I believe the first Planets in the US were like this.


Are you sure it is just three holes? I don't have that particular model of Planet myself, but I believe that the 90 € buys you the machined adapter ring which fits the AP mount.

I own a UNI since more than 10 years, and a Planet since almost 2 years. I definitely recommend you to choose the Planet for the load you are contemplating. My UNI 18L (? I think...?) is rated at 55 kg, which is pretty high, but the Planet is much sturdier.

#13 mgwhittle

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 02:37 PM

What bums me is that Berlebach wants an extra 90 Euro for the mount to adapt to an ADATRI, while they charge zero for the others. C'mon drilling and tapping 3 holes costs 90 Euro? I'm of a mind to buy the Planet with a plane plate and drill & tap it myself. Just to be ornery..

I believe the first Planets in the US were like this.


That is exactly my plan. Use it now for the iEQ45 then drill it out for the AP adapter when I get the Mach 1.

However.......I am pretty sure that 90 Euros covers an adapter similar to the AP already attached so all you do when you get the Planet is bolt up the Mach 1, no need to buy the ADATRI. You might want to email Berlebach about that........they are very good at answering questions.

Edit: I see Patrik and I posted at the same time. And I believe we are both correct. :grin:

#14 mgwhittle

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 02:42 PM

Another thing, if the adapter for the Mach 1 is similar to the adapter for the 900 then it is a beautiful piece of machining. As good or better than the AP adapter.

#15 AndreyYa

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 06:42 PM

I use Celestron Heavy Duty Tripod #93493 with Mach1. Works like a charm.
A bit heavy, but has about 200-300 lb capacity. Just $300 from B&H.

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#16 Doug D.

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 07:03 PM

Why not a used AP Baader wood tripod with ADATRI installed? These seem to be going for good prices used lately, probably because AP now sells the Planet. I don't have much trouble believing the Planet is a "better" tripod but I'd need to try them both to be convinced - the AP/Baader is a great tripod. And this used to be what AP sold as the tripod solution tor the Mach 1.

I use to use it with my Mach 1 until I splurged on a used Eagle. Now I use the AP/Baader with a DM-6 for my 140. Still rock solid and looks great. Not what you'd call light weight though.

#17 orlyandico

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 09:11 PM

I already have a couple of ADATRI's. So getting another one or its work-alike is surplus to my needs.

AndreyYa - I am currently using a Celestron adjustable tripod on my Mach1. I want something better...

Doug - the consensus is that the Berlebach Planet is superior to the AWT000 Baader Hardwood Tripod, which is derived from an old Zeiss surveyor tripod. True that AWT000 goes for around $500 shipped, although if it has the Lapides spreader sellers are asking for much more ($800+).

#18 Doug D.

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 04:03 AM

The Lapides spreader is pretty rare and I installed one on my AP/Baader - it is a brilliant piece of gear and worth the premium if you can find it. I'm surprised there is a "consensus" that the Planet is "superior". I'd suggest they represent an area of diminishing returns in which the Planet may be measurably "better" but in real-world practice with a Mach 1 for visual, I'd be surprised if there were much to distinguish them at the eyepiece. I've got nothing against Berlebach, I owned a UNI-24 and it was a fine tripod (by the way, I don't consider a UNI equal to the task of a Mach 1). I'd gladly buy a Planet over the AWT000 if I didn't already have the Baader. Balancing price vs. performance though, currently tough to beat what the AP/Baader represents IMHO. If "superiority" is in fact more what you are after, then it would seem to me the Eagle may be worth saving for.

To me, The Planet wins on looks and the fact that it has indexing on legs, I loved that for easily leveling my UNI at different leg extensions. The Baader is tall enough (for me at least) to use without leg extension. With legs extended significantly on both of these fine tripods my guess would be that the Planet is more stable. Again though, I would need to extend the Planet based on its starting height but the Baader I almost always use collapsed.

#19 orlyandico

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 04:44 AM

Doug, the Baader is rated at around 100 pounds, the Planet is rated at 220 pounds. A used Baader with the Lapides spreader costs as much as a new Planet...! so for me a used Baader with the Lapides is a non-starter. And I don't use my Mach1 for visual.. right now with the $70 Celestron tripod, I have up to 85lb total on it (mount + C9.25 + camera + weights).

A non-Lapides Baader would be a bit more than half the cost of a new Planet.

As for the Eagle pier - I prefer wood. The thing that stopped me from buying a Rob Miller (back when I could still buy one) was I was suspicious about the longevity and resistance to dings of that nice anodized aluminum.

#20 ichdien

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 08:33 AM

I guess I underestimated the market when I sold my Baader with Lapides spreader for $700 last year. I can't compare it to the Planet because I have no experience with the latter, but I *can* compare it to my two current tripods: a Rob Miller 36M, which is way lighter than the Baader and just as sturdy, and a Tak heavy duty metal tripod, which is way heavier than both the Baader and Miller but far more stable than either. I know you don't like metal, but the Tak is built like the proverbial tank. I'm not sure whether a gently used one, like the one I bought, would be in the same price range as a Planet. Good luck with your choice.

Jim

#21 tomcody

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:30 AM

If it were me;

I would go with the Losmandy HD, most bang for the buck! It is height adjustable and can be leveled and is strong. ( Also almost everybody makes reasonably priced mount adapter plates for it). If the knobs bother you? buy the accessory handles from Losmandy to smooth out the profile.

second choice: Meade LX200 field tripod with Losmandy MA adapter or custom fit one of the AP adapters to it. Cheap, strong, don't have to worry about damaging it (who cares?) and adjusts nicely.

third choice: AP portable pier, light, stronger than it looks but not height adjustable or able to be leveled easily. (easier to move it to a flat location rather than play with the turn buckles). Also, talk about ugly, the flat crinkle paint AP uses is IMO just bad to look at!

Personally, I would never buy a wood tripod again, too easy to damage when storing or moving it ( and a good re-varnish job takes a lot of time).
Rex

#22 Doug D.

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:38 AM

Well, given the payload you expect to need I'd say you are on the right track with the Planet. It is no doubt an excellent choice and the fact that A-P dropped the Baader for it should tell us something.

The Lapides spreader seemed for a while to have some kind of holy grail status..... It is nice but I wouldn't think it worth some of the crazy prices I've seen in the last few years (I know because it took me a long time to find one I could afford). I just couldn't stand dealing with that tripod tray (and dropped hardware in the grass) of the stock AWT00. I grant you, given a choice between the AP/Baader with Lapides and the Planet, I'd take the Planet for the money. Luckily, the Eagle satisfies my need for stability and the Baader is great with the DM-6. As much as I like the thought of the Planet - in my case I can't justify it at this point. Good luck - and post some pictures at some point please.

#23 astrophile

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:31 PM

Second the Losmandy HD. I've never had an issue banging into the knobs at night. (Can't say the same thing for my door frames when hauling the thing out of the basement...but the long wood tripods ding the doorframes also!) As for looks--cmon, how much are you seeing or looking at the tripod at night? :question:

The added bonus: If you sell the Losmandy later in favor of wood, 11kg of Planet will seem positively light to lift! ;)

#24 Mauikj

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 12:50 AM


Aloha Orlyandico,

I vote Planet. I got one a month ago for my DM6 mount and my Takahashi TOA130 and I love it. It looks great, is rock solid and really is not hard to move around. I live in Hawaii and they shipped DHL express from Germany which was kind of a joke - the tray came in two weeks and the tripod took 5 (so I'm sure the tripod was on a boat). It cost 170 euros shipping to Hawaii but I got a 100 euro German Value added tax credit so it was not that bad. (total cost with the double leg clamps and extra rubber feet was 691 euros - which is not bad for the quality of the tripod). I tried a Losmandy HD but that was really heavy (but super stable too). So just one guys opinion.

#25 orlyandico

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 03:20 AM

I'm really also leaning to the Planet, but I'm curious about Tom Cody's assertion that he'll never buy a wood tripod again.

I always thought wood tripods would be the easiest to refinish if they got dings (due to having wood putty and tung oil readily available)..






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