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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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davidpitre
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: Doug D.]
      #3586636 - 01/27/10 08:43 AM

Quote:

) but IMO it simply isn't in the same league as the tripods we are discussing here (e.g., Berlebach, KB, Gitzo).






In terms of quality or rigidity ?
Like I said. I'm wondering about specific comparisons in their abilities to hold a scope rigid, particularly with reference to large moment arms.


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Doug D.
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: davidpitre]
      #3586720 - 01/27/10 09:53 AM

Yes, in terms of both. It has been years since I had the tripod in hand so I can't recall every detail but I will give you my personal opinion, FWIW. In a nutshell, it did not have the rigidity or damping characteristics I desired. Relative to the other tripods we've been talking about in this thread, there is some play where legs attach to top base (i.e., some torsional movement evident - slight, but there). I'm not sure what wood is used but it is a lot softer than the ash used in Berlebach or KB. I know there is a jarrah hardwood option and although not familiar with that, I assume it would be a step up in the rigidity and damping departments. The round double leg struts that clamp to the bottom sliding piece (and the legs in general) are not very substantial and the clamping hardware is ok but not great. I also seem to recall that the wood was soft enough to feel physically compressed/crushed if you clamped down too hard.

On the other hand, it is a very nice looking tripod and it does perform well - just not Berlebach well. If you are using for binos or small to mid size refractors for grab and go low mag, I think you could not do much better for the price. I don't mean to disparage this tripod at all - it is a very good value. For $85 bucks it is a no brainer - unless you are going to want something more substantial anyway. I'd rather not have a tripod sitting around unused. That is why I don't have my Oberwerk, or UNI24 anymore and I haven't bought a Planet. But as always, YMMV.

There is also one lesson about tripods (and other gear) that I learned from the photography world (my other hobby). Thom Hogan wrote a piece for his website on tripod selection for cameras but I think it applies just as well to astronomy. I fit the profile of someone who has ended up spending a lot more money overall on some gear (like tripods and Alt/Az mounts) because I started out with more economical stuff when I should have bit the bullet and just bought better quality to begin with. I know it doesn't always make sense if you simply don't have the budget or if you are just starting out and not sure if you are likely to stick with a hobby like this, which can get expensive real fast.


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maknewtnut
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: Doug D.]
      #3586847 - 01/27/10 11:05 AM

Moderator's note: please note that this is an unsolicited response from the vendor to those reading this thread. The management of CN would prefer that such responses be in answer to a question specifically directed at the vendor. Please bear this in mind when reading. CH

I don't just sell the Berlebachs in N America, I have a bit of 'history' when it comes to tripods and piers in general. I like to put it this way when talking about mount support and/or the alt/az experience.

When it comes to alt/az observing, the overall goal is portability. Of course, the tripod is part of that equation. After you consider we are in contact with the scope and/or mount frequently, if not constantly, stability may be an even bigger issue when compared to a GEM.

When absolute portability(backpacking, travel, etc) is atop the priority list, there are the Gitzos and such. When it comes to carrying a rig from indoors to out, or a regional star party in your car, THAT is when options expand. If most of the scopes we might use are relatively compact, as well as their mounts, the one place where the most to be gained is in tripod selection. Given most are in the same general size range, a few more pounds(such as compared to a light duty alum tripod) equates to a significant increase in the overall enjoyment of the experience.

A nice scope and nice a/a mount on a less than stable tripod makes for a less enjoyable experience.

When it comes to GEM mounting, a vast majority of scope/mount combinations are well served by the superior damping characteristics of a quality wooden tripod. That means the total package, not just what the legs are made of. IMO and from personal experience, some of the heavier duty metal tripods are very stable, but some are less than user friendly when it comes to transport/storage. In such cases, a quality adjustable folding wooden tripod offers both stability and transportablity, as well as often offering a wider height range.

Personally, the most stable portable(for lack of a better term) pier I've ever made was a section of steel pipe with bolt on legs. Toting it's 70lbs was less than enjoyable, even though it did pay off at the eyepiece. Mass and it's inherent stability is actually a good thing for stability, but is impractical for most. That's why a few extra pounds in a tripod is usually a good thing.

When in a position where one must go for lighter weight, something as simple as a bungee cord from the center column to a rock or other object will improve stability of ultra portable tripods. Give it a try.

Edited by Charlie Hein (01/30/10 07:58 PM)


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davidpitre
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: maknewtnut]
      #3588416 - 01/27/10 10:49 PM

I'm not looking to buy an Oberwerk. I own a couple of them.
I'm looking to hear specific comparisons from the eyepiece so that I have a reference for comparison.


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Doug D.
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: davidpitre]
      #3588531 - 01/27/10 11:35 PM

Perhaps you need to hear from someone who has used and compared both an Oberwerk and Berlebach on same night with same degree of leg extension, same scope, eyepiece and mount? I haven't done quite this (maybe no one has) but I have owned/used a Berlebach UNI24, two different TV Gibraltar tripods, an AP/Baader, Gitzo GT2530, Gitzo GT5530S, Discmounts ash tripod, the AP/Baader and an Oberwerk with lots of different refractors and mounts. I feel confident in saying that the Oberwerk was the least rigid (with possible exception of the smaller Gitzo).

The closest I can come to your specific OTA was my NP101 with a heavy binoviewer and front mounted SF70 HA filter. No question that the Berlebach UNI24 or Discmount tripod was rock solid with this scope and either a DM-6 or HH II. I did not have the NP101 when I got the GT5530 but the comparable Traveler rides on that tripod nearly as well as the NP101 did on the others.

I define rock solid as very short damping time (1-2 seconds or less) at high mag following a sharp rap on a tripod leg, no jiggling in moderate wind, and little or no shaking when nudging or slo-mo controlling the OTA at high mags. Of course, your mount will have a lot to do with torsional rigidity, vibration and damping but I assume a solid well-designed mount in this discussion. In more recent times I've used the accelerometer in an iPhone with a vibration app to confirm independently my impressions at the EP when I rap a tripod. But my Oberwerk was never tested this way.

The moment arm of the TOA130 "beast" is a bigger challenge to a mount than your 102 with filters and it performed ok with the DM-6 and Berlebach UNI24. The long OTA acted a bit like a tuning fork on the DM-6 which was reduced somewhat by using twin Tak clamshells - adding even more weight. But clearly, the UNI24 was also at or beyond its limit with this combo. I don't know if it helps but I wouldn't even consider putting a scope like the TOA on an Oberwerk but as I said earlier, they are in 2 different classes in terms of cost, capacity and design/quality so you have to put it all in perspective. Bear in mind, I ended up buying the UNI24 precisely because I was looking for more stability and rigidity than the Oberwerk based on my time logged at the EP. The UNI24 did not disappoint.

I'd also add that Mark is right on the money about the bungie cord trick - I tend to hang a weighted backpack on the center hook of the Gitzos for example, and it can really help (same idea, but I'll definitely try the bungie next time).

Edited by Doug D. (01/28/10 07:21 AM)


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maknewtnut
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: davidpitre]
      #3588565 - 01/27/10 11:59 PM

I've owned, used, and now sell both. Unfortunately, since I now do the latter, CN rules disallow me from offering detailed comment(which might be referred to as product pushing). Cryin' shame, but it's their house.

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andydj5xp
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Reged: 05/27/04

Loc: 52.269 N/10.571 E
Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #3588751 - 01/28/10 04:28 AM Attachment (251 downloads)

Quote:

Quote:

I'm considering a Berlebach tripod for my Takahashi 4" refractor loaded with 6 lbs of Ha filters on the end. Who owns a Berlebach for a 17 lb+ refractor and what do you recommend?
I found that the filters make a huge difference in the requirements for the tripod. So if you used a 4" refractor alone, the same tripod might not work for me.




David,

using for about 4 years now a TEC140 on a Berlebach UNI19 (same as UNI18 but with center column, see pic) I don't think a Planet would be neccessary.

My scope plus accessories is more than 25lbs (11.5kg). It is highly recommended to using vibration suppression pads also. Damping time is below 1 second.

Andreas




As an addendum I'd like posting a pic of my setup for the two opposing altitudes.

As can be seen for low altitudes the center column is fully in and for high altitudes it is fully out. But the tripod always stays in the lowest position which also is the most stable position. Therefore, these arrangements deliver utmost stability (the VSPs aren't shown in the pic).

And in addition I'm always comfortably seating.

Andreas


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eddie kirkland
sage


Reged: 08/12/04

Loc: Alabama
Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #3589240 - 01/28/10 11:26 AM

What is the weight of the UNI-19? I like the center column. I'm thinking of one for my SV105. Is the UNI-19 overkill? Is there smaller Berlebach w/center column that would work?

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swsantos
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Reged: 09/29/05

Loc: Rhode Island
Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: maknewtnut]
      #3589483 - 01/28/10 01:40 PM

Well, I just last week bought the Uni14 from Teton to replace my Oberwork surveyor (which I thought was great) for a TV102 on a Half Hitch II and it was a greater improvement that I anticipated. The Uni14 is also so very well made and finished and it is truly rock solid. What's missing from Teton's website picture of the tripod is the amazing metal leg spreader instead of the chains and the wooden eyepiece tray that attaches to it. I also got mine with the rubber feet instead of the sharp claw feet. The leg extension scales are also a surprising great feature of the Berlebach tripods.

I could not be happier with the Uni14 from Teton and it exceeds my expectations.

Steve


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Doug D.
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Reged: 08/23/05

Loc: Virginia
Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: swsantos]
      #3589492 - 01/28/10 01:43 PM

Quote:

Well, I just last week bought the Uni14 from Teton to replace my Oberwork surveyor (which I thought was great) for a TV102 on a Half Hitch II and it was a greater improvement that I anticipated. The Uni14 is also so very well made and finished and it is truly rock solid. What's missing from Teton's website picture of the tripod is the amazing metal leg spreader instead of the chains and the wooden eyepiece tray that attaches to it. I also got mine with the rubber feet instead of the sharp claw feet. The leg extension scales are also a surprising great feature of the Berlebach tripods.

I could not be happier with the Uni14 from Teton and it exceeds my expectations.

Steve




Steve - that is good to hear, congrats on the tripod. I am very interested in hearing about the metal leg spreader. I remember seeing this on the Berlebach site some time ago but never saw one in person. Do you use this instead of the tray? Any chance you could post an image?

thanks,

Doug


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andydj5xp
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Reged: 05/27/04

Loc: 52.269 N/10.571 E
Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: eddie kirkland]
      #3589532 - 01/28/10 02:03 PM

Quote:

What is the weight of the UNI-19? I like the center column. I'm thinking of one for my SV105. Is the UNI-19 overkill? Is there smaller Berlebach w/center column that would work?




The weight of the UNI19 is specified with 6.8kg but I think it more to be about 8kg. For a 105mm scope it might be some overkill. OTOH, the more solid the tripod the more enjoyable its use will be.

There are some other with center column from the "Report" series like #1022 or #2022. They are much lighter (about 3kg).

I'd recommend asking Mark (maknewtnut) for his opinion.

At any rate it is quite fun to observe relaxed in a seated position.

Andreas


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Scott99
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #3589791 - 01/28/10 04:14 PM

Quote:

Quote:

What is the weight of the UNI-19? I like the center column. I'm thinking of one for my SV105. Is the UNI-19 overkill? Is there smaller Berlebach w/center column that would work?




The weight of the UNI19 is specified with 6.8kg but I think it more to be about 8kg. For a 105mm scope it might be some overkill. OTOH, the more solid the tripod the more enjoyable its use will be.

There are some other with center column from the "Report" series like #1022 or #2022. They are much lighter (about 3kg).

I'd recommend asking Mark (maknewtnut) for his opinion.

At any rate it is quite fun to observe relaxed in a seated position.

Andreas




No way the Report is going to work with a 4 inch refractor. I would say short 80mm and below for that tripod.

If I"m not mistaken all the UNI have the basic build, the one with the center column is the same as other UNIs except for that.


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JimP
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #3589823 - 01/28/10 04:32 PM

Andreas, great pics of your setup with the TEC 140! That answers a question I have been pndering. Which is more stable, a tripod with legs fully extended or a tripod with one of those added columns for additional height with the legs in. It appears from your setup and comments that an extender with my Berlebach PLANET and TEC 160/AP Mach1 keeping the legs IN as much as possible. Thank you very much!!

Jim


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swsantos
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: Doug D.]
      #3590422 - 01/28/10 10:19 PM Attachment (252 downloads)

Here are a few pictures.

Unlike my previous tripod, the eyepiece tray is not part of what makes it stable and do not lock the legs while installed. I use it when I want to use the tray, but it is equally stable without it and use it that way too. The metal spreader is very nicely machined and looks great. The bolt that goes through the middle of the tray is part of the center piece of the spreader so you do not have to fish under the spreader to slide a loose bolt up through the eyepiece tray from underneath. The tray sits on the spreader and the hole engages the integral bolt and you screw down the knob over it. Nice and easy.


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Doug D.
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Reged: 08/23/05

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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: swsantos]
      #3590511 - 01/28/10 11:03 PM

That is really great Steve. The tray is certainly very convenient on these tripods but I was never thrilled with carrying it around when traveling. A spreader is perfect, however, to control leg spread and assist rapid set up and still allow the whole thing to fit in a tripod bag w/o tray. I was going to ask if the tray could be used with it - best of both worlds. Thanks for posting Steve, pictures really help.

Do you know (or Mark if you are reading this) if a spreader like this is available for the Planet series? Is more than one length spreader available to alter leg spread - and related, can the spreader be removed or is it a factory install?


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andydj5xp
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Reged: 05/27/04

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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: JimP]
      #3590817 - 01/29/10 04:46 AM Attachment (176 downloads)

Quote:

Andreas, great pics of your setup with the TEC 140! That answers a question I have been pndering. Which is more stable, a tripod with legs fully extended or a tripod with one of those added columns for additional height with the legs in. It appears from your setup and comments that an extender with my Berlebach PLANET and TEC 160/AP Mach1 keeping the legs IN as much as possible. Thank you very much!!

Jim




Jim,

I even went a step further. Since I don't need the legs to be extended any more due to the center column I've additionally fixed the legs with 6mm bolts right through the legs. See attached pic. Now the legs appear to be one solid block.

This procedure of course should not be chosen if the tripod could be for sale any time later. But I will not do that anyway. But even then it would not be complicated to fill the holes - after removing the bolts - with wooden dowels.

Andreas


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JimP
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: andydj5xp]
      #3590913 - 01/29/10 07:23 AM

Yes, the spreader comes on the Planet series. I just ordered mine from Mark at Teton. It should get here Monday or Tuesday!

JimP


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maknewtnut
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: Doug D.]
      #3591309 - 01/29/10 11:49 AM

Here's the skinny on the new spreader. At first BB listed a spec of 23* for the leg spread when the spreader is used. I asked for a clarification since the listed angle when the snap-in tray is used is 32*(so a simple typo was suspected). My BB contact speaks very good English(better than my German), but there can still be things lost in translation, so I ordered a few to be absolutely sure. There also tends to be some difficulty in expressing that Teton wants accys such as this provided ala carte so that each client's needs can be met on a custom basis. Otherwise, there can be delays in waiting for tripod to be built as ordered and included in a stock delivery(which in generally every 10-14 weeks).

I have verified that the spreader DOES NOT narrow down leg angle, so have begun to offer them, and hope to have them listed on the Teton website soon(which tends to end up as when time allows or periodic task).

I perform installation here, which is rather simple. The existing cross pins to which the tray snaps to are removed and replaced with larger diameter pins which are retained via internally via a step in the pin diameter, as opposed to the external e-clips. The spreader's pivot at each leg via the pin. The new pins for PLANET models also include spacers since the legs are wider.

Lastly, if ordered with a tripod, the tray is provided w/o the snap-on brackets and accociated hardware, and has a pre-drilled center hole for attachment to the spreader(from the top, not the bottom). If ordered ala carte, the owner must install, which includes removing their snap-on brackets and drilling the center hole in the tray.

I have not performed a side by side test, but in checking damping characteristics alone, I did not detect any signficant difference compared to the snap-in tray system(since this method uses the tray itself as a spreader).

Notice of edit - removed unsolicited pricing information. CH

Edited by Charlie Hein (01/30/10 08:03 PM)


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Scott99
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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: maknewtnut]
      #3591457 - 01/29/10 12:54 PM

the spreader is an interesting option - I never had any trouble lining up the legs with the snap-on tray though, you just hold the tray up to one leg and then move the others into place and push down on the tray, elapsed time 5 seconds.

The legs are totally loose until you tighten the clamps on the hub, so it's easy to line them up with the tray. Once the tray is snapped in you tighten the leg clamps on the top hub. But some do like the spreaders!

When I've traveled with the UNI I left the tray at home and took the spreader chain, it also works well and it was solid with a 4 inch refractor w/ only the chains.


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Doug D.
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Reged: 08/23/05

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Re: Which Berlebach tripod ? new [Re: maknewtnut]
      #3591537 - 01/29/10 01:27 PM

Quote:



I have verified that the spreader DOES NOT narrow down leg angle, so have begun to offer them, and hope to have them listed on the Teton website soon(which tends to end up as when time allows or periodic task).





You just jogged my memory Mark and I specifically remember discounting the worth of the spreader after I saw it on the Berlebach site because of what I thought was the leg spread. This is very good to know. So, to confirm - the spreader angle is same as angle with the standard (i.e., mid size tray if memory serves - I use to own 3 different sizes) tray.?


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