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Tripod upgrade for AZ-EQ-6

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#1 RaulTheRat

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:33 AM

I'm contemplating a couple of options to upgrade or improve my AZ-EQ-6 which currently sits on a standard tripod.

I'm looking at either:

1. A TPI spreader for the standard tripod
2. A Berlebach Planet tripod
3. An ioptron tri-pier with Skywatcher adapter

Thoughts at the moment are that (1) is overpriced, but reportedly very good and is the cheapest of the 3 options. It's probably a good option, but I'm having trouble bringing myself to spend half the cost of (2) or (3) just for something to upgrade a fairly junky stock tripod, when I could possibly spend the extra to replace it entirely.

The tripier looks great for portability, but I know some people have felt that the feet are a bad design and that puts me off a bit, as well as the fact that it's still an easily ringing metal structure, that intrinsically isn't terribly well damped but maybe that's a prejudice not supported by experience since I've never owned any premium tripod or pier at all so am only going on what I imagine would be the structural characteristics.

The Berlebach looks good, but one concern I have is that it may not weather as well left outside as a metal pier or tripod - I normally leave the mount outside under a tarpaulin and reflective sun protection cover with a few packs of desiccant around the mount head - any opinions from Berlebach owners on the long term durability of these when left out and subjected to the sun, occasional rain (I'm not in a wet or cold climate, it would not be out in extreme weather, but would be in frequent sun, some rain that perhaps occasionally would hit the tripod despite the tarp, could get a bit damp on a dewy night etc etc).

Any other options I should consider? Spending more than the Berlebach or tripier is not an option - in fact, they are kind of pushing it.

#2 Allan Wade

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:09 PM

I have my Orion AZ/EQG on a Losmandy FHD tripod. I like that setup a lot for its great stability. I think the tripod is rated at 450kg. It’s not cheap at around $1000 I think with the pier extender, but it’s a good investment.



#3 Kriz1027

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:23 PM

I'm using the Avalon T-Pod 130 with my MyT mount and it is exceptional.  Lightweight for transport but very sturdy when setup for imaging and observation.

 

https://www.avalon-i...ts/t-pod-tripod



#4 bobito

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:27 PM

I upgraded mine with a Meade Giant Field tripod.  I did need to have a spacer made and a new threaded rod (Meade uses different threads).  You can get these tripods for around $200 used, they show up regularly in the classifieds...

 

I use this setup with my ~45lb 12" SCT and 4 11lb counterweights and it's solid as can be.


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#5 RaulTheRat

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:45 PM

Wow that was quick! Thanks for some nice suggestions to look at - the Avalons look good, but I'm slightly concerned about using metal when wood would be intrinsically more damped imo - nonetheless they are definitely worth consideration and the price is comparable to my other options.

The Losmandy is, I have no doubt, fantastically sturdy but it's also big and heavy - I should have mentioned that portability is necessary, as I do plan to use whatever I get on trips to dark skies as well as at home, the Losmandy just about qualifies as luggable in my books but I wouldn't call it portable and I think that rules it out.

The same as above goes for a Meade giant field tripod, which is a shame because as you pointed out bobito they are available at a very good price for the amount of build quality you get - in a fixed setup, I don't think I could fault this option but it's just too cumbersome and heavy for trips away.

#6 photoracer18

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 02:14 PM

I have a Baader/AP tripod that is similar to the Planet plus mine has a Lapides spreader. I also have an iOptron Tri-pier that carries my AP600. I looked at the Avalons also and have an AP portable pier.

 

Of all of them I bought the Tri-Pier after owning or looking at the rest. I would not trade any of the rest of them for it myself.

I don't think the Tri-Pier has any worries about vibration so far. It has more locking knobs than any mount holder I have ever seen designed. Avalons look nice but the main thing that got me was I could shift everything around on the Tri-Pier to make it taller without having to add any kind of extension on it. The Baader, probably like the Planet, I found with my AP400 bolted to it and locked up as much as possible I could twist the mount back and forth and the tripod head shifted with it twisting some. The AP portable pier seems the most solid but you can't change its height which is a deal breaker for me as I have an IM56 Mak Newt that needs a low position which the Tri-Pier can do. Plus the adapter I got for the Tri-Pier can also handle a Mach1 or Mach2 and with one of my AP adapters will also handle my Losmandy G11G1.

 

AP600-1024.gif

 

I also have a TPI spreader on the CGEM tripod.


Edited by photoracer18, 24 May 2019 - 02:18 PM.


#7 RaulTheRat

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 05:22 PM

Of all of them I bought the Tri-Pier after owning or looking at the rest. I would not trade any of the rest of them for it myself.


Thanks for the info. Do you have the newer tri-pier 360?

I also have a mak-newt (a 190mn) so having a range of heights available is important, as well as having as much clearance possible between a long scope and the legs - if I get a tripod, it will be to use it with the Skywatcher pier extension which is about 8" long and I currently use that to keep my scopes away from the tripod legs as much as possible. Something like the tri-pier with built in good clearance by design would be a real benefit. It's good to hear you don't feel it has any vibration problems compared to a wooden tripod.

How do you feel about the comments I've seen about the feet? That is, people seem to say they tend to flop over when trying to level it (which is obviously not the end of the world, but potentially a bit unergonomic and irritating), but more worryingly I've also seen people say that once it's set up they tend to tip a bit so the legs weight is bearing on a narrow contact patch with the ground, rather than the whole foot staying flat and firmly planted on the ground. Have you seen that, and do you think it's a concern?

#8 bobito

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 06:14 PM

Ya, if portable is a requirement you can strike the Meade Giant off the list!  



#9 Pauls72

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 08:39 PM

I made my own spreader and it works great.

I spent $72, but you can do it for about $25.




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