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Tripod for BT100 Size Binoculars

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#1 Keith-in-Texas

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 06:36 PM

For those of you who use 100mm size of BT style binoculars do you find that a geared center column is nice to have, strongly recommended or an absolute requirement?

 

Given that the weight of this class of binocular telescope with fluid head and large eyepieces can approach 18 lbs and in some cases exceed 20 lbs how do those of you who use a tripod with a non-geared center column find the ease of adjusting the column during an observing session?

 

Is slippage and dropping of the column a viable concern? If you had to do it over again would you purchase a tripod equipped with a geared center column?

 

For those of you who use a tripod with a geared center column, are there any significant disadvantages to using this type of tripod?

 

Thanks in advance for your reply!

 

Keith



#2 wrvond

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 07:20 PM

I have an Oberwerk TR3 hardwood tripod with Oberwerk 5000 head and 21" carbon fiber lift tube, which is a friction lift tube. According to Oberwerk it is limited to 16 pounds.



#3 SMark

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 09:40 PM

It's nice to have but not absolutely necessary for me. I had a geared column with my previous tripod, but not with my current tripod. I don't find it inconvenient, but it is a little more work. 



#4 oldmanrick

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 09:40 PM

I would say a geared center column is "highly recommended".  Not having one is a pain in the neck!

 

If you don't have one, an adjustable observing chair is almost a must.  I use both the geared column and the adjustable chair, and highly recommend that combination for the most efficient observing.

 

All of this is of course based on the premise that you want to look at a large vertical span of the sky.  If you are willing to only take in a relatively narrow elevation band a certain distance up from the horizon, you can set up your tripod to the proper height to do this.  Whether standing or sitting, changing your eye height to view very far up or down from this elevation band will become very difficult.  Even with the geared column and adjustable chair, viewing near the zenith is difficult with 45 degree angled eyepieces, as at any angle above 45* you will be looking up into the eyepieces.  The higher you look, the more difficult it becomes.

 

Although I haven't used one, I'm sure a 90* instrument is much easier for purely astronomical use. 

 

I have never used a friction column with a large instrument, but I think it would much more difficult to manage, and present a much greater risk of the instrument dropping.  All of the geared columns I have used stay in place where the crank is stopped.  I do always tighten the screw holding the column in position, as most columns are quite wobbly with it left loose.

 

Rick


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#5 ch2co

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:08 PM

A tripod with a geared center column is must in my book. I love mine. A parallelogram mount takes up more space but it is another viable option.
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#6 robertph1963

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 02:46 AM

I have an oberwerk bt100xl on a n-12 head, tr-3 tripod and the carbon fiber column works great. Adjustable column yes, geared is a personal preference.

#7 chris charen

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 05:15 AM

About a year ago I sold my Oberwerk 45/100 BT's and replaced it with an 'no name' OEM 20-40x100/45 binocular from a local optical wholesaler. This version does 'appear' to be similar to the one of the Kunming United BA5 series. This 45/100 I have does appear to be sold world wide under other various names.
I must admit I got frustrated with the overall weight of the big Oberwerk 45/100's, with the fork mount it weigh's in at 50 lbs + / 22 kgs. +.
There is no doubting the optical performance of the big Oberwerk's, [this 100/45 gives about 90% the performance of the Oberwerks at half the price], however, it was just was not a 'grab and go' bino. This BT bino replacement on a Slik tripod weights all up at 27lbs /12.2 Kgs. - just over half the weight of the Overwork’s and are far more manageable. The Slik tripod has a 9 in. crank mount which makes such a big difference when adjusting the viewing height.
It was difficult with the big Oberwerks adjusted the legs to suit the viewing angle esp. at night. Really a crank mount is a must with these large 45/100 BT type binos.

The tripod is a spare old Japanese Slik Easi-Glide VD fluid head tripod that I had for 20 odd years, which is rated at 18 Lbs / 8kgs. The 100 /45 OTA is rated at 16.7 Lbs / 7.6kgs. so it is at the 'maximum', however at no stage did it feel unsafe at an angle.
Definitely get crank mount, it makes observing far more, 1/ safer, 2/ practical and 3/ pleasurable.

 

Chris

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#8 yukosteel

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 10:05 PM

Now it makes me wondering if it's reasonable to create hybrid of geared column and half-ball.

I like how APM 100 operates on a N12 head, but default tripod has no column. I can't say it is not convenient, because it's relatively quick and easy to change tripod height and then fine tune level. However with geared column it would be MUCH easier.



#9 CMacD

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 06:31 AM

I just purchased a tripod with a geared column and can say with confidence that the ease of use was far greater than my reason would have thought it to be.  Racking up and down makes the use of a heavy instrument enjoyable as you remain at the eyepieces and continue to think about your next target rather than guessing if you have raised or lowered the whole setup too much or too little. Sure it can be done without a geared column but I think it's pretty much a necessity. 


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#10 ArsMachina

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 08:29 AM

For me a rigid tripod with self locking geared center column in combination with an adjustable chair is an absolute requirement to use big binoculars with angled eyepieces with fun and ease.

 

This will be my setup for the APM 150mm bino, the center column has a diameter of 70mm...

 

IMG_5916.jpg

 

Jochen


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#11 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 09:14 PM

For me a rigid tripod with self locking geared center column in combination with an adjustable chair is an absolute requirement to use big binoculars with angled eyepieces with fun and ease.

 

This will be my setup for the APM 150mm bino, the center column has a diameter of 70mm...

 

attachicon.gif IMG_5916.jpg

 

Jochen

 

Hi Jochen,

 

The geared center column diameter looks larger than 70mm :)

 

I've been using 100mm+ binoculars without center column tripod for 10 years or so.

I didn't find it a show stopper until I tried heavier instrument.

I felt necessity of geared center column setup for something heavy, above 40+ lb to set it up safely.

 

Looking back, when I used large binoculars (100+ mm), I often know what I am looking forward to viewing it

since my viewing time is limited.  So I didn't find it inconvenient not to be able to change height of binoculars.

 

Now I have two geared column tripods for both small (70mm f/5.6) and large (140mm f/7, roughly 50lb) instruments.

 

As long as geared center column doesn't contribute to shaky setup, I think it is very nice to have.

But I can live without it with 100mm-sh setup since I've been using it for 10 years :)

 

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large.jpg

 

Tammy


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#12 ArsMachina

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 05:00 AM

The geared center column diameter looks larger than 70mm smile.gif

Thats because the tripos is relatively small :-)

Both, the column and tripod are made by Linhof.

 

I went for the smallest but still rigid Linhof tripod to attach the column to because I am only observing while sitting and so I do not need a high tripod.

All heigh I need os provided by the 800mm travel of the column.

 

I did even cut away the leg extensions of the tripod, so this setup still is very lightweight...

 

Jochen



#13 GamesForOne

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 06:58 AM

...

 

I did even cut away the leg extensions of the tripod, so this setup still is very lightweight...

 

Jochen

From the angle you took that pic it looks like it is standing on two legs! Magic tripod!  lol.gif

 

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#14 jcj380

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 08:42 AM

I don't have giant binos, but I do have a Manfrotto 475B with a geared elevator column.  I doubt I would ever want to go back to a "vanilla" tripod. 

 

I do have one lightweight Benro with a non-geared locking column for light binos or my ST80, but there's no comparison IMO to the geared Manfrotto.

 

FWIW.



#15 hallelujah

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 09:00 AM

This one is recommended by others here:

 

https://www.ebay.com...sacat=0&_sop=15

 

Stan


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#16 Allan Wade

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 05:28 PM

do you find that a geared center column is nice to have, strongly recommended or an absolute requirement?

None of those in my experience, especially for the larger and heavier class of binoscopes.

 

I would avoid an adjustable centre column if possible and find a better solution. I use a fixed tripod which is a more rigid setup that eliminates vibration and an adjustable seat which is quicker to use than a geared column. Ultimately what I was aiming for with my setup was observing simplicity and maximum stability.


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#17 hallelujah

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 05:57 PM

I don't have giant binos, but I do have a Manfrotto 475B with a geared elevator column. 

I doubt I would ever want to go back to a "vanilla" tripod. 

 

I do have one lightweight Benro with a non-geared locking column for light binos or my ST80,

but there's no comparison IMO to the geared Manfrotto.

Geared center column Manfrotto tripods are especailly nice if you are sharing with others of varying heights.  like-button.jpg

Quick and easy, up or down movements, with minimal effort, etc.

 

Stan


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#18 Keith-in-Texas

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 09:23 PM

Lots of great input, thank you to everyone who has responded to my inquiry!

 

Keith



#19 yukosteel

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 04:05 PM

Here's the visual difference in EPes location when mounted on a stationary height tripod:

 

sXIZS3348.JPG

sXIZS3349.JPG

sXIZS3350.JPG

 

I'm also thinking about Manfrotto 475B as a quick adjustable base, or alternatively just using adjustable chair.


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#20 GamesForOne

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 07:27 PM

That's the problem with the 90 deg model. If you set your tripod and adjustable height chair for comfort at near-zenith viewing, you can't reach the eyepieces for a near-horizon target without standing and bending while on a ladder, or you must set your adjustable chair so you are on the ground with your knees in your chest.

 

Otherwise you have to just adjust the tripod height from near-zenith to near-horizon.

 

A center crank shaft helps to some degree, but the required travel in my experience still results in having to adjust the tripod legs to cover the entire sky comfortably -- and even then there is no comfort in bending my neck over parallel to the ground when viewing near-horizon for any extended period. It is an inherently unsteady position at any kind of magnification as well.

 

In hindsight I wish I'd kept my 45 deg model.

 

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#21 Allan Wade

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 08:36 PM

That's the problem with the 90 deg model. If you set your tripod and adjustable height chair for comfort at near-zenith viewing, you can't reach the eyepieces for a near-horizon target without standing and bending while on a ladder, or you must set your adjustable chair so you are on the ground with your knees in your chest.

But you don’t observe astronomical targets on the horizon, so that’s not an issue. But you do observe them at zenith. In my case that makes 90 degree binoscopes mandatory for my neck.

 

I do realise though that everyone’s necks and preferences are different.


Edited by Allan Wade, 25 October 2019 - 08:38 PM.


#22 GamesForOne

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 01:05 AM

But you don’t observe astronomical targets on the horizon, so that’s not an issue. But you do observe them at zenith. In my case that makes 90 degree binoscopes mandatory for my neck.

 

I do realise though that everyone’s necks and preferences are different.

I observe numerous astro objects that never get above 50 degrees over the horizon at northern hemisphere mid-latitude (Sgr, Sco, Sct, CMa, Orion). The 45 was perfect for those.

 

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Michael Mc



#23 Allan Wade

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 07:38 AM

I observe numerous astro objects that never get above 50 degrees over the horizon at northern hemisphere mid-latitude (Sgr, Sco, Sct, CMa, Orion). The 45 was perfect for those.

 

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Michael Mc

That’s a really good point Michael that I have never considered before. Choosing between 45 degree and 90 degree binoscopes probably depends somewhat on what hemisphere you are in, and maybe even what latitude you observe from.



#24 mneder

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 10:17 AM

For me a rigid tripod with self locking geared center column in combination with an adjustable chair is an absolute requirement to use big binoculars with angled eyepieces with fun and ease.

 

This will be my setup for the APM 150mm bino, the center column has a diameter of 70mm...

 

attachicon.gif IMG_5916.jpg

 

Jochen

Jochen, what make/modelf tripod is that in your picture?



#25 ArsMachina

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 05:09 PM

It is a Linhof Professional, it is still available today slightly altered.

But it comes with a geared center column of just 50mm diameter.

 

http://linhof.com/pr...l-rohrstativ-2/

 

The 70mm column I am using comes from a big Linhof studio stand:

 

👉-Linhof-Professional-Säulenstativ-SGS-003431-Universal-Studio.jpg

 

Attaching the 70mm column to the Professional stand needs quite a lot of machining ...

 

Jochen


Edited by ArsMachina, 26 October 2019 - 05:11 PM.



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