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Mounting giant binoculars on a budget.

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#26 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:56 AM

$208 these days....

http://www.bigbinoculars.com/3011.htm

I have had no issues with the setup in a ton of use over the past few years.

#27 EdZ

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 12:37 PM

I've got three of those 3011 (3211 black) tripods, with several different heads a 3130 head as shown in the ads, a Davis and Sanford F-12 head (which is the same as an Orion Paragon head) and the third tripod I switch out different heads. Right now it has the heaviest duty of my small heads, a Bogen 410 geared slow motion head that is rated (13.2#). It carries quite a bit more than the 3130 (8.8#) head. I don't put my 25x100 on any of those combinations. I have tried the 10# 25x100s mounted on those combos and I consider the heads undersized and underrated for binoculars that big, although, of all those, the Bogen 410 would work if you just couldn't get something bigger.

edz

#28 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 12:52 PM

expectations are hard to grasp. I find the setup works well, probably the absolute smallest setup I'd suggest though. It is good that anybody reading this thread can get different opinions on it.

Lots of people have used my setup, and not one has felt it was undersized and underrated. Pretty much a joy to use. Could the panning be smoother? Yes it could... Could dampening times be shorter? Yes it could... Could they be less prone to shake'n in a good breeze? Yes they could.

But for functionality, the setup works very well, and didn't cost all to much, and has lasted a few years now of a lot of use.

Probably the best $200 solution you will find purchasing new.

#29 Erik D

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 01:03 PM

Bogen 3011 tripod and 3130 fluid can be had for $177.88 if you can live with the sliver finish:

http://www.adorama.c...gen 3011 Tripod

I agree the 3130 head is best used for optics lighter than the 8.8 lb rated wt.

Erik D

#30 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 02:03 PM

Pretty reasonble price for how well they handle the 25x100's... On a budget, which I was and always am, that is for sure the one I'd opt for, unless you can find something used that would be better.

#31 Glassthrower

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 02:07 PM

Lots of people have used my setup, and not one has felt it was undersized and underrated. Pretty much a joy to use. Could the panning be smoother? Yes it could... Could dampening times be shorter? Yes it could... Could they be less prone to shake'n in a good breeze? Yes they could.


Some of the same points could be raise about my own Tiffen tripod. For example, when I set up on Grand Isle beach, I had some wind vibration problems. Keep in mind, I was 50-75 yards from the shoreline with no obstructions and a steady, stiff wind blowing in off the Gulf of Mexico. That was the first, and only, time I have encountered signifigant vibration in my setup. Also, the dampening time was almost infinite, since the constant nature of wind continually vibrated the tripod with no chance to dampen and stop. Viewing capability for splitting binaries and averting vision to catch DSO's was next to impossible. The wind was blowing ~15 mph all night long, so it was a problem.

Viewing the moon was still a breeze (no pun intended), and viewing far-off terrestrial targets (ships, oil platforms, etc) was enjoyable, despite the vibration.

Under my usual conditions : observing from my backyard which is sheltered from the wind, I have no vibration problem at all.

Bogen 3011 tripod and 3130 fluid can be had for $177.88 if you can live with the sliver finish:


Under $200 for a Bogen head and tripod combo, who cares what color it is? It could be pink and I'd buy it and paint it black or something less reflective. Not a bad tripod for the price. With deals like that, a really good quality mount is within the reach of all but most budget-restricted observers.

MikeG


#32 Glassthrower

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 02:42 PM

I just wanted to throw out a few more thoughts on my current giant bino setup.

The F-10 fluid head on my Tiffen tripod is certainly overloaded. To what degree I am not sure, as I cannot locate the specifications anywhere. The head size is rather small and judging from the appearance of it, I would hazard to guess it is rated ~5 pounds.

The head can tilt to 180°, but not quite that far with the big binos attached. The top of the head is a flat platform about 2x2 inches. It has a small hole (not sure of diameter) and the top surface of the head is covered with a rubber "gasket". The binos are secured to the head by the means of a brass, knurled knob which has a short, 1 1/4" standard thread. This knob is screwed into the bottom of the bino adapter and then the knob is set down into the hole on top of the head. The base of the bino adapter sits flush on the rubber gasket and another, thick, set screw is turned tight to engage the knurled-brass-knob holding the binos. The set screw holds the brass knob by virtue of direct tension.

I have noticed one lingering, seemingly minor issue, that one should remain aware of if attempting to overload a similar setup. And that is this : If moved too suddenly or briskly, the binoculars will backlash a small bit because the brass-knob adapter will slip against the set-screw holding it in place. The binos are simply too awkward and heavy for the set-screw to hold in place under certain circumstances. This will cause the set screw to "chew" into or grind into the brass-knob and the binos and knob will travel as a pair contrary to the direction the head is being panned. The amount of slippage is very small and it only happens when the head is inclined steeply towards the zenith and only then when the head is panned horizontally while in this position. In a worst case scenario, I could envision the set screw breaking or slipping too much and allowing the brass-knob to be pulled out of the head by force of gravity and vertical alignment. This could result in the binos falling out of the head and crashing to earth.

I am not worried about my rig falling off and crashing, because I am very aware of the slightest variances in my frankensteinish setup. While viewing, if I feel a slippage, I will reach up and place my hand around the base of the top of the head where the bino-adapter joins it.

This is one of the sacrifices that is inherent with using an unorthodox (some would argue "substandard") mount.

Another thing about the tripod. It appears to be discontinued. It is obviously an older model. When I bought it used on eBay, it come in a packing box with no manual or insert. It is put together very well. The joints where the legs meet the center post assembly is very solid and has nice positive engagement with the legs. When fully spread out, it does not wiggle at all - it is as if a spreader is not needed at all. The legs are thick and adjustable via a screw-socket type arrangement - not the little flip levers seen on some tripods. Center post is adjustable by a knob-screw for tension. The tripod is black and looks to be very heavy based on first appearances. Actually though it is very light and folds down into nice compact package. I'm very pleased with it and I consider it to be the best $48.00 I ever spent on eBay.

MikeG

#33 Joe Ogiba

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 03:34 PM

The Bogen 475/501 combo is perfect for the 10# 25x100's .

#34 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 03:50 PM

Can you post some prices / links???

I mean, doesn't that combo go for like nearly $400???

#35 Joe Ogiba

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 04:24 PM

Can you post some prices / links???

I mean, doesn't that combo go for like nearly $400???

prices

#36 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 04:28 PM

Thanks Joe Ogiba, I knew that combo was out of the original posters possibilities price wise.

#37 Rich V.

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 09:17 PM


Bogen 3011 tripod and 3130 fluid can be had for $177.88 if you can live with the sliver finish:


Under $200 for a Bogen head and tripod combo, who cares what color it is? It could be pink and I'd buy it and paint it black or something less reflective. Not a bad tripod for the price. With deals like that, a really good quality mount is within the reach of all but most budget-restricted observers.

MikeG


This stumps me; why is a black tripod or mount considered preferable to a silver one? Don't we use these at night? I have both black and silver tripods and I very much prefer the silver finish as I can see my rig at night. It stands out in the dark. More inportantly, others can see it too. It seems to me a little visibility would be favored and may prevent an accident.

I'm not buying a "reflections" argument. Is this a "sexy" thing??? What am I missing? :confused:

Rich V

#38 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 07:23 AM

Is this a "sexy" thing???

Yep. It doesn't matter. It's a marketing gimmik as far as I am concerned. Black hardware seems neater, cooler. And vendors are cashing in, just a little bit, on that perception.

All of my hardware is black, but I didn't base any selection on that fact.

#39 lighttrap

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 08:31 AM

You folks wanting a good buy on a surveyor's tripod might be interested in this Astromart ad. I have absolutely no connection with the seller, blah, blah, blah. But, $40 for the light duty surveyor tripod is about 1/2 the lowest price I've ever seen on one, and is considerably less than what I'd sell mine for.

Mike

#40 refractory

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 03:00 PM

Hi. I'm building giant binos from two 6" F/8 Celestron Synta scopes. I'll be folding the light path, obviously. I've been thinking about making a forked parallelogram mount myself. I saw something along these lines in an old classified ad at Astromart- essentially this was two parallel- parallelograms side by side. The unit for sale probably wouldn't have been able to take the weight of what I'm putting together, and so my mount will have to be that much more solidly made.

Any thoughts on the issues involved would be much appreciated.

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics AT earthlink.net

#41 Glassthrower

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 03:07 PM

Hi. I'm building giant binos from two 6" F/8 Celestron Synta scopes. I'll be folding the light path, obviously. I've been thinking about making a forked parallelogram mount myself. I saw something along these lines in an old classified ad at Astromart- essentially this was two parallel- parallelograms side by side. The unit for sale probably wouldn't have been able to take the weight of what I'm putting together, and so my mount will have to be that much more solidly made.

Any thoughts on the issues involved would be much appreciated.

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics AT earthlink.net


Hi Jess,

What kind of 6" Celestron/Synta scopes are you using? I assume 6" will mean reflectors, although I bet two 6" refractors would make one heckuva bino!

The Astromechanica line of "binoculars" has some large models that are two side-by-side refractors, you might want to take a look at those mounts and get some ideas.

MikeG

#42 Craig Simmons

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 04:04 PM

How much will the scopes and aligning hardware weigh? Seems like it would be alot heavier than a commercial 6" bino. If you use a P-mount, you'll have a lot of counterweights to deal with and a long boom to allow for the variance in EP height as the bino moves from horizon to zenith unless you're using an adjustable seat. I would think a pier with a fork mount and an adjustable seat would be a more compact and stable arrangement. If the weight isn't too much then a p-mount might work pretty good. A binochair for this size bino would have to be pretty massive to carry the weight.

#43 Craig Simmons

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 04:10 PM

Another thought, if you're folding the light path, wouldn't you have to shorten the tubes to alow the folded light path to travel thru whatever prism system you use? If so this means the focuser drawtube is moved closer towards the light path and possibly vignetting it. Not sure on this though.

#44 Joe Ogiba

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 09:17 PM

Hi. I'm building giant binos from two 6" F/8 Celestron Synta scopes. I'll be folding the light path, obviously. I've been thinking about making a forked parallelogram mount myself. I saw something along these lines in an old classified ad at Astromart- essentially this was two parallel- parallelograms side by side. The unit for sale probably wouldn't have been able to take the weight of what I'm putting together, and so my mount will have to be that much more solidly made.

Any thoughts on the issues involved would be much appreciated.

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics AT earthlink.net

See here .

#45 refractory

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 02:06 AM

To MikeG- They are refractors. I've read that collimation can be a problem with long focus refractor binoscopes, not to mention lens quality.. I'm familiar with the Astromechanica products (have lots of downloaded pics of various binocular/binoscopes). At some point I'll tackle a large deep-sky reflecting binoscope. I've read there aren't any ATM-made ones out there bigger than 27 inches. But then I'm also experimenting with cylindrical optics, so this may end up being an entirely different species. The Synta binos will be for use, now. Lots cheaper than getting anything on the market, assuming everything works well together.

Craig- I will be folding using mirrors, so vignetting not a problem. It is a Z-shaped arrangement I'm thinking of, which will cut the length of the scope to 1/3 of its normal length. The problem here of course is deciding how flat the mirrors need to be- for low powers not so bad but for high ones one might even need optical flat quality. And big flats cost. As for the nonoptical hardware, I've been thinking of making my own housing, so the original heavy tubes, dew shields, lens cells, can go. Basically a lightweight box, internally black-flocked, with baffles. And alot of that can be plastic, on the inside. It would be almost a cube. With folding there is no reason to have long unwieldy tubes. But I never said it would be "pretty".

You're right about mounts, probably, if the tubes are long (and thanks Joe for the pic- had visited the site before but never saw that particular one). But with a lightweight box, with the ep's mounted on the top-rear, the issues are different. Mainly I'm concerned with sharing- different height viewers (esp. young nephews) without loss of object. So parallelogram.

But all of this is very new to me. In the end I might just throw in the towel and put the original tubes back together.

Thanks. More, please!
Jess Tauber


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