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How to stabilize traditional binoculars?

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#26 Nate1701

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 09:23 AM

I like chair and mounted. For small - medium size binos an idea has been lingering in the back of my mind....

a "stake mount" with articulating arm attached. The advantage is that the vertical column / pole can be closer to the chair than a tripod, which is less leverage on the arm.

This is the best mounted setup i have used - compared to P-gram, tripod, monopod, fluid head w/ boom arm. 

 Only con is that you need soft ground. The cross piece is so that i can stomp the stake in the ground. 

I was on hard packed dirt when this was taken.... 

 

stake.jpg

chair.jpg

20x60side.jpg


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#27 ihf

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 12:42 PM

I took my 7x50 Steiner Night Hunters out tonight to look at the stars. I am very new at this. I used a reclining chase lounge chair. I gave up after a few minutes and used my Canon 10x42 IS binoculars.

Just wondering about technique. Do you wear glasses? If not you could try placing the rim of the eyepiece on the bone above your eyes. If you do you could place your index fingers onto that bone. The idea is to get an as solid connection to your head as feasible. Ideally one manages to lock down 2-3 degrees of freedom (out of 6), which reduces the amount of shaking that can still happen. Ideally though the back of your head also rests on something reasonably unforgiviging. And/or fix your elbows. Time the breathing. I have a camping chair that allows to sling my body over it to provide ok support to the binos. But honestly I cannot sit hours at a time in these positions. (If I could, I would probably fall asleep.) It is very enjoyable though when camping in the desert southwest in winter. Cold but dry.



#28 ScopeJunkie

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 12:52 PM

Nate, a parallelogram mount would allow you to sit/lay in any type of chair you like and be easier to use than that type of mount. Parallelogram mounts allow you  to easily Change targets to.
I applaud your ingenuity though.  I haven’t seen a bino mount like that.

Here’s a pic of the parallelogram mount I built.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 66FB696D-0A6A-40B8-A835-7F5CED1E1B63.jpeg

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#29 Nate1701

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 02:21 PM

Nate, a parallelogram mount would allow you to sit/lay in any type of chair you like and be easier to use than that type of mount. Parallelogram mounts allow you  to easily Change targets to.
I applaud your ingenuity though.  I haven’t seen a bino mount like that.

Here’s a pic of the parallelogram mount I built.

funny enough - i also built a P-gram that looks very similar. (nice job on yours btw! waytogo.gif )  So i know about using a P-gram.

 

Easier than an articulating arm? I'm not so sure. 

 i found the articulation arm more comfortable and easier to line up with my eyes - it has A LOT more degrees of motion. It's so-so attached on the chair ( because of heartbeat) and ok on a tripod - i was sure there was a way to make it work - just needed the right idea - and i think i found it.

 

I found the P-gram is hard to get it to hover just above the right spot on the chair - its doable and takes practice. Also there is the extra weight etc. - it's just a bit more cumbersome. My P-gram is solid enough and can provided enough counter weight i am confident i can put a 28x100 on it - a big step from 25x100.  I'm not saying I don't like it - just wanted something a bit more flexible / portable / simple / more grab and go-ish than tripod-ish if you get me. However yours looks very light weight so it definitely could be an option. Mine is not as light as yours, i can tell just by looking. 

 

Pic of my P-gram with 25x100. 

Argus25x100.jpg


Edited by Nate1701, 05 November 2020 - 02:25 PM.

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#30 ihf

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 07:57 PM

I like chair and mounted. For small - medium size binos an idea has been lingering in the back of my mind....

a "stake mount" with articulating arm attached.

The articulating arm idea looks interesting. Which arm did you use and why did you attach it to the stake and not directly to the chair? What is the weight limit that you experience?



#31 Nate1701

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 08:46 PM

The articulating arm idea looks interesting. Which arm did you use and why did you attach it to the stake and not directly to the chair? What is the weight limit that you experience?

I have the Manfrotto 244N.

I did attach it to the chair in the past - using the Canons - so i didnt have to hold them up over 1-2 hours. The reason i prefer mounted to a stake or tripod is that my heartbeat ( or anyones) will cause vibrations in the chair - much stronger than one would think - which reverberates through the arm to the bino and causes annoying jumps that are amplified by whatever magnification one uses. I could tolerate it for short views - but it's annoying after a while. 

I used the arm to hold the Canons and hoped that it would cancel the jumps. It DID NOT cancel, but it did reduce somewhat, but the I.S. cannot really deal with the quick jumps - surprisingly. Maybe it would be a bit better if i used Lithium batteries. But using an arm to stabilize and Support Image Stabilized Binos that cannot really handle the vibrations of the arm is becoming a bit ironic. 

The arm is rated for 6 lbs. I did a test with my Skymaster 20x80 which are at 4.5 lbs. or close to it ( if my memory serves)  - and the arm really struggled. So i would really put the actual Load rating to 4lbs. which for me is disappointing for a Manfrotto. It kind of turns me off Manfrotto really - and i don't see a reason to not try Neewer and other Chinese brands in the future. The 244RC is rated for 8 lbs. and looks exactly the same - maybe slightly better springs or internal guts - which is also a bit of a marketing scam - since how much does a spring or washer really cost? Enough to double the price? Baloney. Anyway sorry - I'm on a rant now. 

Hope that answers your questions. 

https://www.cloudyni...wer/?p=10011918


Edited by Nate1701, 05 November 2020 - 08:49 PM.

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#32 ScopeJunkie

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 09:03 PM

Thanks Nate. I used a high hat stand from a drum set for the parallelogram mount’s small tripod base. Very sturdy.

#33 Nate1701

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 09:15 PM

Thanks Nate. I used a high hat stand from a drum set for the parallelogram mount’s small tripod base. Very sturdy.

cool idea!!



#34 ihf

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 09:45 PM

Thank you for confirming about the heartbeat.

 

I have the Manfrotto 244N.

I did attach it to the chair in the past - using the Canons - so i didnt have to hold them up over 1-2 hours. The reason i prefer mounted to a stake or tripod is that my heartbeat ( or anyones) will cause vibrations in the chair - much stronger than one would think - which reverberates through the arm to the bino and causes annoying jumps that are amplified by whatever magnification one uses. I could tolerate it for short views - but it's annoying after a while. 

I used the arm to hold the Canons and hoped that it would cancel the jumps. It DID NOT cancel, but it did reduce somewhat, but the I.S. cannot really deal with the quick jumps - surprisingly. Maybe it would be a bit better if i used Lithium batteries. But using an arm to stabilize and Support Image Stabilized Binos that cannot really handle the vibrations of the arm is becoming a bit ironic. 

The arm is rated for 6 lbs. I did a test with my Skymaster 20x80 which are at 4.5 lbs. or close to it ( if my memory serves)  - and the arm really struggled. So i would really put the actual Load rating to 4lbs. which for me is disappointing for a Manfrotto. It kind of turns me off Manfrotto really - and i don't see a reason to not try Neewer and other Chinese brands in the future. The 244RC is rated for 8 lbs. and looks exactly the same - maybe slightly better springs or internal guts - which is also a bit of a marketing scam - since how much does a spring or washer really cost? Enough to double the price? Baloney. Anyway sorry - I'm on a rant now. 

Hope that answers your questions. 

https://www.cloudyni...wer/?p=10011918

Thank you for confirming the heartbeat issue!

 

I did some searching Amazon for Neweer etc. but I suspect many of those are for very light loads. There might be something I am overlooking though.

 

What I found for heavy loads though are adjustable (gas spring) monitor mounts. Some of them have to be locked into place using an allen wrench. But others I think remain adjustable. Say some of the Monoprice (B01J6KLGKC, B074R8WVJH) or I see a MOUNTUP gaming (B087CL1BJM) that look promising. About USD 50-60. Load capacities probably more than 10lbs maybe even 15lbs. I will think about it a bit more.



#35 ScopeJunkie

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 10:32 PM

You can always swap out allen head screws with screws that have small knobs for hand tightening (as long as you have the room necessary for the knob).

#36 sevenofnine

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 12:06 AM

I just received my new Nikon 10x50 AE's and wanted to try out something I read about on another post. I mounted them on my very light weight Manfrotto BeFree Advanced photo tripod. While seated on the TeleView AirChair, I tipped the tripod mounted binoculars back on just two legs. The stability was amazing! Better than seated with my monopod. I guess two legs are better than one wink.gif


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#37 jrbarnett

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 02:09 AM

I have been spoiled by my Canon 10x42L IS binoculars.  Using them is so easy.  Press the button and just view what I am looking at. 

 

I dusted off my 7x50 Steiner night hunters the other day.  Standing up, they seem almost useless.  The shake makes using them an exercise in frustration.  I can't get anything close to the good image I am used to seeing in my Canons. 

 

I am physically fit and healthy.  I don't drink coffee.  I have tried all the tricks on using my hat for stability, elbows against chest, using the strap.  These only marginally help.  I don't want to use a monopod or a tripod. 

 

What am I doing wrong?

 

Thinking of putting the Steiners up for sale and only using IS binoculars from this point on...

What are you doing wrong?  Not using a monopod or parallelogram mount with big, heavy binoculars!

 

No free lunches in binocularland, sadly.

 

Best,

 

Jim


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#38 barbie

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 09:25 PM

Fortunately, I can hand hold my Oberwerk 12x60LW for a couple of hours at a time while only taking the frequent opportunity to look at star charts. I am always in a comfortable chair when using them and I can usually view at zenith with little to no shaking in this way. Now that winter is coming, I'll spend even more time with my binoculars viewing wintertime objects, all while comfortably seated of course.


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#39 MartinPond

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 09:41 PM

There is a tripod....at 7x or 10x, the tripod just has to be

     a level or two up from the cheapos.

Of course, you need to check and see if it's tall enough

   (usually printed)

 

 

But here is a very effective stabilizer:

----mount the binoculars on a cheap lightweight tripod, legs fully extended.

----tape the legs all together and sticking out front (but out of the line of view).

----then, putting your hands at a near-balance point, simple lift the tripod

    off the ground and start pointing where you want.

This stabilizes the view a lot, doesn't add much weight, and points where you want.

 It's simply an axis-stabilzer....voila.   3 legs together in the air are much less

 shaky than the cheap   tripod sprawled like a spider on the ground.

  Clumsy on the ground, graceful in the air.

 

There is one main "gotcha":    you need to be a few feet clear

    of other people  you might whack with the thing..


Edited by MartinPond, 09 November 2020 - 09:42 PM.


#40 brentknight

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 01:30 AM

I've never liked tripods for binoculars.  They seem to control you and your motions as you have to accommodate to fit under them.

 

My zero-g chair is a work in progress and while I'm still holding the binoculars myself and supporting their weight, adding the raised armrests to the chair make it possible to hold the 25x100's more than steady enough for DSO's.

 

Zero-g arms-2SM.jpg   Zero-g armsSM.jpg


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#41 ScopeJunkie

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 10:01 AM

Brentknight, you need to make yourself a parallelogram mount. They work like a dream. You could sit in that gravity chair and stargaze practically hands free using one. They hold binos in whatever position or angle you want without needing to be held.
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#42 brentknight

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 11:46 AM

ScopeJunkie...

 

In terms of mounts, I'd agree with you that the parallelogram is best, but there are disadvantages I just don't want to deal with.

 

  • I don't like being under a mount basically fixed in place.  This chair provides 90° vertical motion and close to that horizontally without having to move the chair.  Last evening I was able to view M15 in Pegasus and M27 in Delphinus without moving the chair horizontally.  A serious look in the Cygnus region would have required moving the chair a bit more to the west. 
  • I don't like the angle the binoculars fit on the mount.  They may hold the weight and allow you to get away from the legs, but they can still be tilted at a steep angle causing a crick in my neck.
  • They don't allow easily switching between different binoculars.  I just grab the 25x100's, 12x70's, 10x50's or 7x35's from the little table next to the chair.
  • If I used this chair with a parallelogram, I'd have to bring two things out with me (in addition to all the binoculars).
  • The solution didn't cost me anything - I had the scraps of wood and screws just lying around.


#43 ihf

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 11:53 AM

IIRC somebody once added a horizontal board over the chair like a little breakfast table.


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#44 dd61999

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 12:21 PM

I like to handhold my binoculars. The freedom of not using a makes for a pleasurable experience

 

Shooters use “natural point of aim” to eliminate shake from their rifle scopes. 

 

I find these techniques work well for binoculars too. But it takes practice 
 


Edited by dd61999, 12 November 2020 - 12:22 PM.

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#45 jrbarnett

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 08:08 PM

Brentknight, you need to make yourself a parallelogram mount. They work like a dream. You could sit in that gravity chair and stargaze practically hands free using one. They hold binos in whatever position or angle you want without needing to be held.

I like p-mounts, but actually they are rather a PITA with zero-G chairs IMO.  With even a 6-axis p-mount you need to relocate the p-mount tripod and/or the zero-G chair relatively frequently to survey all but a fairly limited slice of sky comfortably.

 

Compared to a telescope on a GOTO tracking mount with an adjustable observing chair, I'd rate the multi-degree-of-freedom p-mount and zero-G chair combination as actually being a bit LESS convenient that the telescope combination.  On the other hand, zero-G chairs are comfy.  I've fallen asleep in mine camping with binoculars hovering in front of my face several times.  :)

 

The least fussy way to add stability to largish conventional binoculars is to get a tall monopod - I like Manfrotto aluminums as they're made well, very sturdy and not too expensive - and a quick release tilt head, and call it "good".  If you don't mind investing a little more in your pod, go for the Manfrotto model with the fluid tripod feet.  A monopod set up with a tilt-head essentially doubles the aperture of your binoculars - that is roughly how much more detail you'll see in a given celestial target vs. hand-holding.

 

To not mount them, you're basically leaving a lot of potential on the table.  But you are also avoiding even the minor expense and hassle of monopod mounting.

 

Best,

 

Jim  

 

  

 

Best,

 

Jim


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#46 brentknight

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 09:06 PM

I like p-mounts, but actually they are rather a PITA with zero-G chairs IMO.  With even a 6-axis p-mount you need to relocate the p-mount tripod and/or the zero-G chair relatively frequently to survey all but a fairly limited slice of sky comfortably.

 

Compared to a telescope on a GOTO tracking mount with an adjustable observing chair, I'd rate the multi-degree-of-freedom p-mount and zero-G chair combination as actually being a bit LESS convenient that the telescope combination.  On the other hand, zero-G chairs are comfy.  I've fallen asleep in mine camping with binoculars hovering in front of my face several times.  smile.gif

 

The least fussy way to add stability to largish conventional binoculars is to get a tall monopod - I like Manfrotto aluminums as they're made well, very sturdy and not too expensive - and a quick release tilt head, and call it "good".  If you don't mind investing a little more in your pod, go for the Manfrotto model with the fluid tripod feet.  A monopod set up with a tilt-head essentially doubles the aperture of your binoculars - that is roughly how much more detail you'll see in a given celestial target vs. hand-holding.

 

To not mount them, you're basically leaving a lot of potential on the table.  But you are also avoiding even the minor expense and hassle of monopod mounting.

 

Best,

 

Jim  

 

  

 

Best,

 

Jim

Since I cobbled together my little chair, I did fall fast asleep one night with the 10x50s in my lap.  Had I had a blanket, I might have been there all night...

 

I was able to pick out the 4 stars in the Trapezium with the 25x100's using just the zero-g chair.  I believe you though...I'm losing some potential by not mounting them, but if I want a really close and steady look, I'll pull out the refractor...  I've never fallen asleep behind the refractor though...


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#47 jrbarnett

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 01:20 PM

Since I cobbled together my little chair, I did fall fast asleep one night with the 10x50s in my lap.  Had I had a blanket, I might have been there all night...

 

I was able to pick out the 4 stars in the Trapezium with the 25x100's using just the zero-g chair.  I believe you though...I'm losing some potential by not mounting them, but if I want a really close and steady look, I'll pull out the refractor...  I've never fallen asleep behind the refractor though...

And you may well have better arm and shoulder strength than I do.  I've been a desk jockey for too many years.  My stability handholding has definitely declined along with my general upper-body fitness level.

 

Best,

 

Jim  


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#48 Sarkikos

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 10:50 AM

The forehead rest was actually a significant factor in my recent purchase of the 10X42 Swarovski NL.  It took a little getting used to, but I now find that it does improve stability noticeably.  It has had the effect of making these 10X42 the binocular that I regularly reach for first whether for use in the day or at night.

 

I have owned the Canon 10X42 L IS before, and while they are very nice optically and the IS system makes a big difference, there were other aspects of the ergonomics that led me to pass them on.

What other aspects of the ergonomics?

 

Mike



#49 Sarkikos

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 10:57 AM

Ways to help stabilize hand-held binoculars:

 

(1) Sit down.  Bring along a foldable camping stool.  Sit on it.  IMO & IME, sitting is always better than standing for any type of astronomy.  Unless maybe you are lying down.

 

(2) Hold the binoculars near the ends of the barrels, as close to the ends as possible.  

 

(3) Position your elbows down and close to your sides.

 

(4) If possible, rest the binocular eyepieces against your eye ridges.  If you wear glasses while observing with binoculars, gently rest the binoculars against the rims of your glasses.  This works with some binoculars with some observers.

 

(5) Exercise to strengthen your arms.  At 64 years old, I do 100 pushups every other day, either 4 sets of 25 reps, or 40, 30, 20 and 10 reps.  Seems to help.

 

(6) Another option is to mount the binoculars on a monopod.  But that's cheating, though not cheating as badly as mounting the binoculars on a tripod.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 19 November 2020 - 12:23 PM.

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#50 MartinPond

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 12:12 PM

I love seeing the night sky in wide field “stereovision”, but I built a DIY parallelogram mount. It works great, but it’s pretty bulky.
If you need help stabilizing your binos and a tripod/monopod/parallelogram mount is out of the question, then you need one of these:

https://www.adorama....rge/mvvs600.jpg

It’s a Professional handheld stabilizer system w/counterweights designed for video/dslr cameras, but it uses the same 1/4-20 thread a bino mount uses. You can get one for $25.

Unfortunately, that stabilizer is designed to keep a camera pointed

  level to the horizon.   


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