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handheld bino rig for weak, short arms

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#1 silv


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Posted 06 March 2019 - 05:33 AM

I'm new to enjoying binocular star gazing. The immediacy of handholding lower powered binocs in particular proved a joyful addition to the Goto refractor/binoviewer setup I use for mid magnification. 


Holding my old, rather heavy 7x50 only allowed very short stints and mounting them on a tripod seemed overkill in relation to its  cumbersome ergonomics. 


Accidentally, I found this contraption had stabilisation merit in that

- it keeps my hands beneath  chin height

- and also close to the body.

- But not too close to each other like in holding a monopod.  The greater distance between the hands makes a difference in weight perception and stabilisation. And also gives room to breathe without the chest movement being transmitted to the bino too much like it does when handholding the monopod. 


It extended viewing duration from short stints to relaxed, unnoticed forever-sessions with my, now 10x50. It only wasn't too comfy to hold at the edgy long bar and the short  knob you see in the photo in the other thread. 


The camera rig below now makes it perfect. I don't notice the additional weight of it which I estimate at 1200gr. Although, if I could, I would shorten the protruding bars in the back to lose a few superfluous grams. 

On the other hand, the bars form a cool bino stand, too. 


- Handle distance is adjustable.

- By pivoting the handles slightly backwards,  the hands can be placed under the centre of gravity or a bit further out .

- My Solomark bino adapter has a slim foot which makes mounting the binos on the sled close to the barndoor's centre bar possible.

Another bino adapter whose swan neck is curved backwards more and also has a wider foot

results in the mounting point being further away from the centre bar. Not good. 

- the bino adapter gives an additional height to the eyepieces which in turn allows the hands to be held even lower = better. 

Binos mounted without such additional height can surely also gain from the rig, I believe, but not AS much. 

- Lying down or slouching in deck chairs benefits from this rig, as well. By pivoting&tightening the handles towards your body, you lose that extra distance that makes holding binocs lying down cumbersome. But currently, I'm using it standing up or straight-backed sitting down. Only dry-tested the other body positions on my couch.  


At the bottom of the sled is a 1/4" thread to mount the rig on a tripod. I don't see an advantage in mounting the bino rig on a tight-frictioned ballhead. But haven't tested it during the short clear periods we had so far.


Because the handles are adjustable in their distance, in theory, by attaching Manfrotto rig clamps and dove tails to the handles, it can also be mounted on my iOptron CubePro II  with enough swivel room above the Cube's head. I write "in theory" because that adaption would make more sense with much bigger binocs and exchangeable eyepieces=higher mag, i.e. heavy binocs. I've seen a review where someone puts 2.3kg  on the rig and it doesn't budge. But 6-7kg binocs, the ones I would consider benefiting from Goto, might kill it.

Might. Maybe a more massive centre bar could ... dunno. Can't test it. Yet laugh.gif Maybe next year. 


It came with a shoulder support but that's useless in this adaption because it can't be mounted as close and as low as to actually fold around the shoulder. So in actuality, only the barndoor and the bars with sled and its 1/4" mounting plate is required. 


Reviews on Amz speak of fiddly setup and too tiny half-wing screws. I can understand that that would be an issue with

a) bigger fingers than mine and

b) where the rig has to accommodate different cams and lenses which require adjusting the rig often.

Used as a bino rig, I only have to adjust it once until I find the sweet spot according to my body build.  After that, it just stays like this. No adjustment required when exchanging 10x50 with 20x60, either.  


The rig is a stable heaven with 10x50 at night. 20x60 is pushing it wink.gif = Not good. But during the day,  the handheld viewing duration even with 20x60 gains from it. 


New on Amz.de for €39.99 . The low price was a deciding factor in pursuing an improvement of what I already had with the other contraption. Glad I bought it. 

As a small women with shorter and weaker arms than the average bino user I gain more joy. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Binorig.jpg

Edited by silv, 06 March 2019 - 05:39 AM.

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#2 williew


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Posted 06 March 2019 - 03:45 PM

      Hi Annette,

 Yes, my 10X50s are still attached to my monopod. Worked so well, I saw no reason to take them off.


#3 silv


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Posted 07 March 2019 - 01:43 AM

Thank you Bill for your reply. I'll store your update in my memory banks :D 


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