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Fluid heads for big binos and BTs

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#1 ThomasM

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 06:07 PM

I learnd from the forum here that fluid heads seem to be an interesting alternative to fork mound for binos. I am trying to get an overview of fluid  heads and experience some difficulties. The companies have different lines and it is not straight forward, at least for me, getting an idea which model fits. 

 

From astronomical applications the import numbers seem to be:

 

- payload/ diameter of the axis

- distance between the center of gravity of the telescope and the fluid head (how is that actually defined, distance to the top plate or to the rotation axis?) / strength of the spring

- damping time

- weight

- price

 

Why I am asking, I would consider a fluid head as an replacement for the APM single arm fork mount for the APM 70 bino, hoping to  get better balance with heavy eyepieces ( Baader Morpheus), but also better damping. But  also for a big 12 kg binocular telescope I might be interested if I can get very good stability (damping time less than 1 sec) and also reasonable lightwight ( < 5 kg).

 

What confused me, the Cartoni Focus line (6-22) is clearly described, but I have difficulties to understand the Vinten heads and the same holds for O'Connor.  More specifically, why are the Vinten and O'Connor heads much heavier for the same payload? Then, it seems to me that they are much more expensive. Why? Are there other interesting manufactores which I am not aware of?

 

Fluid heads are not developed for binos, is there a line which fits best for binos in terms of performance, weight and may be also price?

 

Many thanks for comments

 

Thomas

 

 

 



#2 ihf

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 06:33 PM

People here had good experience with the Manfrotto N8 for lighter and N12 for APM100 class binos. See for instance

https://www.cloudyni...ss-fluid-heads/



#3 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 07:03 PM

 

What confused me, the Cartoni Focus line (6-22) is clearly described, but I have difficulties to understand the Vinten heads and the same holds for O'Connor.  More specifically, why are the Vinten and O'Connor heads much heavier for the same payload? Then, it seems to me that they are much more expensive. Why? Are there other interesting manufactores which I am not aware of?

 

Hi Thomas,

 

Look at load curve and center of gravity graph and compare.  They are very different counter-weight moment 

 

O'Connor 2560, 23Kg at 210mm-ish.  This is what I use for TEC-140ED binoscope (50-ish lb loaded)

https://www.ocon.com...d-heads/2560-2/

 

For Focus 22, 24-ish Kg at 50mm

https://www.cartoni....F2200-focus-22/

 

Tammy


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#4 ArsMachina

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 02:43 AM

Here is the graph for the Vinten Vision 30:

 

Bild 14.10.20 Um 09.37

 

Jochen


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#5 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 12:12 PM

 

Fluid heads are not developed for binos, is there a line which fits best for binos in terms of performance, weight and may be also price?

 

I think that it is hard to generalize which brands are good for range of load and good price.

 

For APM 70, I think N12 (maybe N8) is a good choice.   I am happy with N12 and Oberwerk 70mm binoculars.

 

For your 160mm binoscope, you would have to look for used one for good price.  Fluid heads designed for professional heavy video camera that can carry large binoscope cost quite a bit as new but they are built to last and perform very well.

 

One feature that I found very important to me is long dovetail with snap-in top loading on fluid heads.

It is safety issue for me to set it up quick and securely.

 

I am looking for another fluid heads for next binoscope in 2021 :)

 

Tammy


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#6 ArsMachina

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 01:10 PM

I am looking for another fluid heads for next binoscope in 2021 smile.gif

 

Tell us :-)

 

Jochen



#7 ThomasM

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 01:55 PM

Thanks for all the helpful comments, especially Tammy.

 

At the moment I am just curios, my APM 70 bino was first mounted on a AOK Vamo traveler mount, it is reasonable stable, but the APM single fork mount is more convenient to use, you can put the bino and the fork together in a backpack. I will have a look on the N12 and it will be interesting to compare. For the 160 mm bino I would only go for a fluid head in combination with a tripod with geared column provided it gives exceptional stabiliy. I thought the Cartoni Focus 18 might fit, but I have no idea if it would be an improvement over my present set up. I am more in the phase of thinking, trying to learn what are the advantages of fluid heads compared to fork mounts.

 

Thomas



#8 ArsMachina

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 03:06 PM

Hi Thomas,

 

you will only find out when you can put your hands on a big fluidhead setup.

This is at least what I needed, the feeling and difference to a fork is hard to describe.

 

But it is a heavy extra weight, a single fork is impossible to beat in size and weight...

Both do have their advantages.

 

I am still thinking about constructing a single fork to use away from home and stay with the fluidhead in my yard.

 

Jochen


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#9 range88

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 09:35 PM

For 70, buy a Cartoni Focus 8 or Manfrotto N8, or if you are rich, RRS FH350.

For heavier loads(100 ~120), a used Vinten Vision 8,11 or 100 are best choices considering price performance ratio, Vision 30 or Vector 450, 950 are best for 150 and up.

Some Cartoni and Oconnor are also good, but not as good in precision as Vinten, and they are relatively new so will usually charge more.


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#10 ThomasM

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 09:22 AM

Many thanks for the recommendations, I am in the phase of learning.

 

For 70 mm it seems to be rather clear, the single arm fork (APM 1, 8 kg), Vamo travel fork mount from AOK (1.7 kg with bino L) and the Cartoni Focus 8 ( 1.8 kg) have similar weight, the Vamo travel is more stable than the APM fork. I would be interested to see how the Cartoni Focus 8 compares in terms of vibrations, balance of the APM sinlge arm fork is rather poor if you use different eyepieces.

 

For mid size binos (120 mm ? , 10 kg) there was a discussion

 

https://www.cloudyni...noculars/page-3

 

according to which the fluid head (Cartoni Focus 22 ?) in term of vibration at high magnification was almost equal to the the Binopitc II fork mount. The fork mount is quite a bit heavier ( ~6kg) compared to the Focus 22 (3.9 kg).

 

The fluid heads recommended  for big binos, 150 mm, are all in the 10-15 kg range, or do I miss something?  And the price is a very different story if I buy a new one. I would be interested to learn how they compare with the wooden, dobson stile fork mounts

 

https://shop.abenteu...ktor-p129631562

 

In terms of weight there seems to be a clear advantage for the fork mount ( 5.5 kg for the 140 mm APM bino, 20.5 kg).

 

Thomas



#11 range88

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 09:39 AM

Many thanks for the recommendations, I am in the phase of learning.

 

For 70 mm it seems to be rather clear, the single arm fork (APM 1, 8 kg), Vamo travel fork mount from AOK (1.7 kg with bino L) and the Cartoni Focus 8 ( 1.8 kg) have similar weight, the Vamo travel is more stable than the APM fork. I would be interested to see how the Cartoni Focus 8 compares in terms of vibrations, balance of the APM sinlge arm fork is rather poor if you use different eyepieces.

 

For mid size binos (120 mm ? , 10 kg) there was a discussion

 

https://www.cloudyni...noculars/page-3

 

according to which the fluid head (Cartoni Focus 22 ?) in term of vibration at high magnification was almost equal to the the Binopitc II fork mount. The fork mount is quite a bit heavier ( ~6kg) compared to the Focus 22 (3.9 kg).

 

The fluid heads recommended  for big binos, 150 mm, are all in the 10-15 kg range, or do I miss something?  And the price is a very different story if I buy a new one. I would be interested to learn how they compare with the wooden, dobson stile fork mounts

 

https://shop.abenteu...ktor-p129631562

 

In terms of weight there seems to be a clear advantage for the fork mount ( 5.5 kg for the 140 mm APM bino, 20.5 kg).

 

Thomas

I never go back to fork after using my first professional fluid head Focus HD for 100ed bino.

There is just no comparison, buy a proper used Vinten and you will know why.

I use my Cartoni Focus 22 for 150ed bino, no problem, all the way up and down to 90°.


Edited by range88, 15 October 2020 - 09:43 AM.

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#12 ArsMachina

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 10:53 AM

The fluid heads recommended  for big binos, 150 mm, are all in the 10-15 kg range, or do I miss something? 

You probably missed the OConner:

 

https://www.videodat...ad-Package.html

 

Less weight, higher price :-)



#13 range88

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 09:20 PM

You probably missed the OConner:

 

https://www.videodat...ad-Package.html

 

Less weight, higher price :-)

The Oconnor's actually not as smooth as Vinten, but the 1040 or 2560 can support quite high and weight low.


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#14 Tyson M

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 10:52 PM

I never go back to fork after using my first professional fluid head Focus HD for 100ed bino.

There is just no comparison, buy a proper used Vinten and you will know why.

I use my Cartoni Focus 22 for 150ed bino, no problem, all the way up and down to 90°.

Wow $4600 US for that head....but then again, if it handles the 150 binos no problem its worth it.



#15 ThomasM

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 04:32 AM

I never go back to fork after using my first professional fluid head Focus HD for 100ed bino.

There is just no comparison, buy a proper used Vinten and you will know why.

I use my Cartoni Focus 22 for 150ed bino, no problem, all the way up and down to 90°.

Thanks a lot for your comments, so you are happy with Cartoni Focus 22. If you compare it with the Vinten 100 which you recommended above, what are the differences? In terms of payload the Vinten 100 and the Cartoni Focus 18 are similar, what about vibration and damping?
 



#16 range88

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 04:57 AM

Thanks a lot for your comments, so you are happy with Cartoni Focus 22. If you compare it with the Vinten 100 which you recommended above, what are the differences? In terms of payload the Vinten 100 and the Cartoni Focus 18 are similar, what about vibration and damping?
 

Vinten 100 cannot support a 150ed load, that's the difference.

Vinten 100 is clearly better than Focus 18 in these terms.


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#17 range88

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 05:04 AM

Wow $4600 US for that head....but then again, if it handles the 150 binos no problem its worth it.

https://www.bilibili...o/BV1a7411u7Eg/

https://www.bilibili...o/BV1B741177aG/

The first clip is how Focus 22 handles my 123 bino.(damping fully off, similar feeling with 150ed)

The second link contains 3 clips, shows how it will look like after the eyepieces with 150ed on Focus 22.(sorry for my shaky hands.)


Edited by range88, 16 October 2020 - 05:05 AM.

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#18 Christine_Z

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 06:20 PM

Just to recontribute...My manfrotto nitrotech 608 arrived today, and I just finished installing it

 

Initial impression: I am so glad I swapped out the Oberwerk 5000 head for this one.

 

While there is nothing wrong with the Oberwerk 5000 head, I just felt it was at it's extreme limit in handling the Oberwerk BT-100XL SDs. And once you go up, it just throws the balance back and the resistance just cannot handle the 7kg+ of BT and eyepieces and finders. 

 

The added adjustments on the Nitrotech 608 are worth the extra money alone. All the alt and az resistance knobs are easily accessible. The alt resistance is midrange setting for my BTs, so plenty of leeway for lighter and heavier. Significantly, the Nitrotech has an interesting CB arm, that works really well and is great to make fine adjustments when swapping eyepieces. The dovetail plate is extended and seems to have a much wider mechanical balance adjustment range.

 

The lock is double engaged, so little chance of accidental fingers releasing it.

 

The only con I can see right now, is that mounted in the direction it's supposed to go, the BT's will not go to zenith. I haven't measured, but it looks to be around 85°-ish. Interestingly, if I swap the dovetail plate (it is unidirectional on the head) on the BT base plate, it will go to zenith, but then the panning handle is in the forward position...I am going to have to figure that out...or read the directions, maybe there is something I am missing. I do note that they will go to nadir+ . Maybe that is a feature of a video head, directly down is desirable?

 

Anywhohow, the Nitrotech 608 head handles the Oberwerk BT-100XL SDs very nicely.


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#19 Rich V.

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 07:01 PM

Yes, you'll have to turn the handle around pointing "backwards" to reach zenith.  That's a normal issue with most of my Manfrotto video heads.  You lose about 5" of pan handle length that way, though.  You end up with the handle on the left side only, as the head's tension knobs get in the way on the right.

 

I originally rued having only one handle after being used to two set up like handlebars on my previous head.  I've got used to the single handle again, however.  I did put a longer, adjustable length Manfrotto 519HLV handle on the N12 for my Miyauchis but they're longer than the average BT and I preferred the extra length.  The supplied handle should be OK for you with the shorter XL BT.

 

Rich


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#20 BarrySimon615

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 09:40 PM

I am a big, big believer in fluid pan head mounts for large binoculars.  For years I have used and owned a Bogen 3036 tripod with the standard head.  Back about 18 or so years ago I purchased my Miyauchi 20x100 (with 45 degree prisms).  For awhile I used it on my Lightspeed Wagon mount which is a large alt-azimuth mount with encoders.  That mount has a 60 lb. capacity which is more than enough for the under 20 lb. Miyauchi binoculars.  Great mount, but cumbersome.  

 

About 2004 or 2005 I purchased a 516 dual arm Bogen fluid panhead for the tripod above.  Match made in heaven.  I use it with the Miyauchi binoculars.  Two arms are also better than one and this fluid panhead has a capacity of about 23 lbs.  Not sure if it is still available but I am sure that Bogen/Manfrotto has an equivalent.  Great combination.

 

Pictured below are the Miyauchi binoculars on both the Light Speed Wagon and on the Bogen tripod with pan head.

 

Barry Simon

Attached Thumbnails

  • Miyauchi 100's on Wagon (left).jpg
  • Miyauchi Binoculars at Camp Ruth Lee.jpg

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#21 Moravianus

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 03:30 PM

Last night I used my APM 120 on the DM-8 mount with the APM L bracket. It was slightly windy and at 100x, there was image jitter. I was already for some time deliberating on the APM fork mount with encoders. I like the encoders&SkySafari setup on my current mount.

 

Can you imagine some solution to mount encoders on the fluid head, right now I think Vinten Vision 20 would be good for my needs.



#22 range88

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 06:56 PM

Last night I used my APM 120 on the DM-8 mount with the APM L bracket. It was slightly windy and at 100x, there was image jitter. I was already for some time deliberating on the APM fork mount with encoders. I like the encoders&SkySafari setup on my current mount.

Can you imagine some solution to mount encoders on the fluid head, right now I think Vinten Vision 20 would be good for my needs.

Some heads with suffix e are equipped with encoders. If somebody can write some codes, I believe it will work.

#23 Moravianus

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 11:20 PM

Some heads with suffix e are equipped with encoders. If somebody can write some codes, I believe it will work.

The price is prohibitive.

 

But DIY https://www.cloudyni...i-and-encoders/

 

or take some ideas from add-on offered for virtual sets. So it would be possible but who would make it for me..

Some of the solutions by Tecnopoint are clever, like the Cartoni MK2 tilt=altitude pull rotating the axis with the encoder.


Edited by Moravianus, 18 October 2020 - 11:33 AM.


#24 ThomasM

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 01:54 PM

The Cartoni Focus 18 comes in two versions, one with +90 to -70 degree, the other other with +90 to -90 degree, the latter with a sliding base plate, which is more expensive. How are the angles defined? For  the night sky 0- 90 degree is sufficent, the sign plays no role, or do I miss something?

 

Thomas



#25 Andeas72202

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 02:04 PM

Hi Thomas,

 

for normal daytime use you might want to tilt downwards as well as upwards. Don't know which one is restricted to 70°, but I can imagine, that there are usecases, in which you want to have the full 90° tilting angle in both directions.

 

Best regards

Andreas




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