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Raising tripod center post essential?

mount tripod binoculars beginner
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#1 jxk

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:09 PM

I'm a novice astronomer beginning on binoculars. I'm buying a tripod, and through a connection I got a Benro KH26NL videography tripod for $100 (usually costs $250). It's a very versatile and stable tripod, but it doesn't have a center shaft that can raise and lower. How essential is a center shaft for binocular observing? The other option I have is a used Bogen 3021 with a 3030 head I could buy through craigslist.

 

Any advice is much appreciated!



#2 junomike

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:27 PM

IME it makes things far easier and less neck strain.

I wouldn't be without one.


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#3 msl615

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:39 PM

Ditto.....I have always used the ability to raise the binos very high and adjust for my height, angle and easy viewing. Hard to see how I could do that without a center post.

 

Mike


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#4 ButterFly

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 07:32 PM

As you point up, the eyepieces go down.  Either you raise the binoculars or lower your eyes.  If you're not in a rush, I would wait for a geared center column to come up used.  The geared column lets you adjust on the fly for when you're just panning around or tracking something.



#5 jxk

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 07:56 PM

As you point up, the eyepieces go down.  Either you raise the binoculars or lower your eyes.  If you're not in a rush, I would wait for a geared center column to come up used.  The geared column lets you adjust on the fly for when you're just panning around or tracking something.

I'm on a little bit of a timeline, as if I'm going to forego the current (column-less) tripod, I should return it soon. Is the Bogen 3021 column hard to adjust on the fly?

 

Also, does having a binocular mount on top the tripod make a difference? I've been looking at this DIY mount from Gary Seronik. Just thinking, eyepieces going up and down might be easier to deal with seated... or not. Again, I'm a beginner.



#6 TOMDEY

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 09:38 PM

If you're a fifteen-year-old Olympic Gymnast or experienced Yoga Contortionist... really don't need the crank column; otherwise, it's an essential luxury!

 

Imagine getting into your car or sitting at the kitchen table... and your seat is six inches too high or low. You could still drive and eat... but would be quite uncomfortable and annoyed the entire time. With astronomy targets all over the sky, each time you aim at something else, sure don't want to be trying to adjust tripod legs up and down! The crank column eliminates all that fuss, stretching up or stooping down.

 

The crank is also perfect for showing things to others of different heights... wife, kids, itinerant hobos, semi-permanent squatters...    Tom

Attached Thumbnails

  • 111.1 proper zenith ergonomics telescope.jpg

Edited by TOMDEY, 25 June 2019 - 11:48 PM.

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#7 tmichaelbanks

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:08 AM

Definitely a +1 for the crank!

 

I've had the Oberwerk 5000 tripod and head for a couple of years and I couldn't imagine viewing without the center-crank feature.  As you view targets at various elevations, it makes adjustments for comfort easy.  This is especially important for fine tuning your viewing position when straight-through binocular eyepieces have a smaller exit pupil and/or "sweet spot" for sharp images and/or when ER is tight.

 

Well worth the extra cost.


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#8 Carlos Flores

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:25 AM

The crank center column makes things easier, i could not get a tripod without this capability. 

 

Carlos


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#9 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:46 AM

I'm on a little bit of a timeline, as if I'm going to forego the current (column-less) tripod, I should return it soon. Is the Bogen 3021 column hard to adjust on the fly?

 

Also, does having a binocular mount on top the tripod make a difference? I've been looking at this DIY mount from Gary Seronik. Just thinking, eyepieces going up and down might be easier to deal with seated... or not. Again, I'm a beginner.

 

I am not sure how well I would like Gary's mount, probably not too much.

 

But with a parallelogram mount and a sturdy tripod that's relatively tall, a center column is not absolutely necessary.

 

The Benro looks sturdy enough.  There are plans for building parallelogram mounts from wood...

 

Without a center column, tripod, directly mounting the binos to the tripod head would be unworkable.

 

Jon



#10 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:52 AM

Important to me for sure. I have two tripods with crank adjustable center column and one that doesn’t have a crank but still has height adjustment. I use the one without the crank for much smaller binoculars that make it easy to hand lift the column and set where I need it. Prefer the crank adjustable center column tripods though. 

 

If you combine a crank adjustable center column tripod and an adjustable observing chair, you increase your chances at being in a comfortable position the majority of the time.


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#11 oldmanrick

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 10:24 AM

Not only do I want a geared center column, if at all affordable, but also an adjustable height observing chair.  With the two, I can get very steady plus optimize my observing efficiency.

 

Rick 


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#12 edwincjones

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 10:35 AM

center post better but not essential-depends on object, optics, your flexability

 

edj



#13 Rich V.

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 10:54 AM

If you combine a crank adjustable center column tripod and an adjustable observing chair, you increase your chances at being in a comfortable position the majority of the time.

This works well for me with angled BTs and small scopes.  With straight-through binos, a properly designed p-gram works best for viewing objects high in the sky from a comfortable seated position.  A p-gram works great with a surveyor's tripod; no elevator column is needed nor desired for the sake of stability.

 

For standing use with standard straight-through binos, I recommend a tall tripod/head combo that is at least 6" taller than you are so you can get under the eyepieces comfortably. You may have to "hug" the tripod at high viewing angles so a skinny, spindly tripod isn't the best answer.  This is where the geared elevator column comes in real handy for those minor height adjustments.  Sliding "rapid column" tripods may be OK for lighter binos but once you get into heavier 70mm binos, the geared column is a big help.

 

Rich


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#14 tmichaelbanks

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 01:16 PM

"You may have to 'hug' the tripod at high viewing angles"

 

Hmm...I resembled that remark just the other night......   grin.gif



#15 ButterFly

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 01:19 PM

Sliding "rapid column" tripods may be OK for lighter binos but once you get into heavier 70mm binos, the geared column is a big help.

 

That's exactly my concern with the non-geared columns.  The benefit of a Craigslist purchase is the ability to try them out.  Bring along a pair of binos and ask them.  You can also test out the height.

 

A parallelogram mount is by far the best, but I value the portability of a geared tripod.  If you are more sedentary in your observing sites, it can't be beat.  Making your own is much cheaper if you are handy and a raising column is not a concern.



#16 jxk

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 03:19 PM

That's exactly my concern with the non-geared columns.  The benefit of a Craigslist purchase is the ability to try them out.  Bring along a pair of binos and ask them.  You can also test out the height.

I just got back from testing out the Bogen 3021 from Craigslist-- you all called it right, a geared shaft is definitely needed. I could get fairly sensitive raising of the sliding shaft, but the shaft would rotate a good amount while I was raising it, which seemed problematic. I couldn't feel good about committing to using that tripod for the foreseeable future. For the record, I have 15x70s, so not necessarily light binoculars, but not incredibly heavy either. 

 

I'll keep an eye on Craigslist for a good geared tripod, but I'm not too hopeful, as I'm in a smaller area. Anyone have any brands/models I should keep an eye out for?

 

At the end of the day, I'm thinking I'll go with Jon Isaacs' suggestion, and build a p-gram mount on top of my Benro tripod. I've of course got some questions about how to go about doing this, but I'll start a new thread for that, just to keep things concise. That thread can be found here.

 

Thanks everyone for the advice, it's very much so appreciated!


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#17 Peterson Engineering

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 06:28 PM

Rich has got it right.  A tripod's fine for angled BTs.  But with straight-through binos you'll not be viewing anywhere near to zenith.  A mount designed specifically for binocular stargazing is far superior for viewing objects high in the sky from a comfortable seated position.  

Pete



#18 TOMDEY

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 08:54 PM

I just got back from testing out the Bogen 3021 from Craigslist-- you all called it right, a geared shaft is definitely needed. I could get fairly sensitive raising of the sliding shaft, but the shaft would rotate a good amount while I was raising it, which seemed problematic. I couldn't feel good about committing to using that tripod for the foreseeable future. For the record, I have 15x70s, so not necessarily light binoculars, but not incredibly heavy either. 

I'll keep an eye on Craigslist for a good geared tripod, but I'm not too hopeful, as I'm in a smaller area. Anyone have any brands/models I should keep an eye out for?

At the end of the day, I'm thinking I'll go with Jon Isaacs' suggestion, and build a p-gram mount on top of my Benro tripod. I've of course got some questions about how to go about doing this, but I'll start a new thread for that, just to keep things concise. That thread can be found here.

Thanks everyone for the advice, it's very much so appreciated.

Manfrotto 161MK2B... coulb be more than you need but is really nice!



#19 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:09 PM

Manfrotto 161MK2B... coulb be more than you need but is really nice!

I use a Manfrotto 117B. Geared center column, 40lb capacity. Tall enough for me at 5’ 7” to use standing if needed also. I have a Benro S8 fluid head on it right now but works well with a Tecnosky eLLe half fork also.

 

Agree though that a 15x70 would be better with a p-mount.


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 26 June 2019 - 09:23 PM.


#20 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:20 PM

https://sandiego.cra...6915787801.html

 

Jon




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