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Binocular mount advantages

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#1 Pat Bohlinger

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 10:58 AM

I have deep respect and appreciation for the members of this group who offer their time and expertise to answer the questions of those of us less enlightened. And boy, I have a couple of really unenlightened questions I’m struggling with.

I have owned an Orion 8” Newtonian reflector for just over a year now and as I become more familiar with the objects it can render, I’ve never lost an appreciation for what binocular astronomy can bring as well. I have been using a cheap pair of Tasco 12x50’s for about 4 years and plan to upgrade to a pair of Oberwerk 15x70’s this year.

My experience with 12 power binos confirms I will need a mount to stabilize the view and therein lies my quandary. Having purchased $1200 worth of astro-goodies last year and finally getting my wife speaking to me again, the thought of dropping another $500 for binos and a good mount has me washing my sleeping bag and sweeping out the doghouse. Not a bad trade-off since the sky view from the doghouse is decent and the dog doesn’t snore, but I need to get this right the first time if possible.

My style of viewing will probably involve a lot of scanning around and relatively short (2-3 minutes) linger times on objects and the more I have to fiddle with a mount the more frustrated I will become.

Monopods would seem to be among the most flexible and hassle free form of mount, especially the one on Bigbinoculars.com: http://www.bigbinocu...om/monopod.htm.

But please correct me if I’m wrong, doesn’t each change in viewing angle result in some increasingly taxing leg squats and require a change in elevation as well? It would seem regardless of mounting, scanning the heavens would involve more adjustments than Gilligan made at the helm of the Minnow!

It strikes me that this would be an issue with any kind of binocular mount, be it a tripod or monopod, through probably less so with the parallelogram mount. I’ve seen EdZ’s latest post on the UA Unimount parallelogram and that does appear to be the least taxing.

Is anything short of a parallelogram mount a thigh-burning workout coupled with lots of elevation adjustments? My longest observing sessions would have to be while seated, and I’m sure you all prefer that as well. But there must be some positive advantages to the standard sturdy tripod or everyone would be buying parallelogram mounts.

I’m not particularly lazy or anything, I’m just trying to get a realistic idea of what to expect from these different types of mounts.

Thanks in advance,

Patrick Bohlinger
Grand Rapids, MI

#2 EdZ

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 11:14 AM

The most versatile setup is a pgram, and if seated viewing is desired, then it must be with at least 4 degrees of motion. Seated veiwing, other than a mirror mount, is the only way to eliminate neck bending.

As Erik will tell you, and I agree, the fastest out the door setup is a tripod. With center post up, it must be tall enough so you do not need to crouch at all. It is preferable to have a hand crank for the center post. My current tall tripod does not, but my soon to arrive tripod (thanks Erik) comes with a crank.

One of the advantages of a simple tripod is picking up the bino/tripod in one hand and moving to another part of the yard in 10 seconds.

Tripod and head requirements will be determined by how tall you are and how heavy the binocs are. There are many posts on that subject, find links in the "Best Of" threads.

edz

#3 Pat Bohlinger

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 11:24 AM

Good stuff and thanks for your quick reply.

Are there some obvious shortcomings to using a monopod, no matter how well built? Steadiness comes to mind, as does the parking issue while looking at charts.

#4 EdZ

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 11:42 AM

I think those are the key issues.

Sharing the view with someone else becomes an issue.

edz

#5 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:05 PM

I have a pair of Oberwerk 12x60s that I use most of the time, and I generally mount them on my Paragon tripod from Orion. I'm about 6'1", and the tripod is perfect for my height; however, as noted above, it becomes difficult if others of different vertical stature wish to view. I shared the view of Q4 in M44 the other day with a few short lady friends, and I had to adjust it for their view each time. It's a very small problem overall, and the tripod is exceptionally portable. I also have to readjust when looking at things off the horizon and then off the zenith, but that again is so quick and easy to do that I never really considered it to be a problem.

That Monopod looks cool though!

#6 Pat Bohlinger

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:42 PM

I've seen the paragon mounts in Orions's catalog and they seem quite reasonable.

Are you happy with the sturdiness? Have you ever tried using them while seated, or is that more contortion than it's worth?

#7 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:42 PM

I would stay away from monopods for astronomy use. A tripod/pan head system is the simplest grab-n-go setup and cheapest too....which may bolster your arguement with your wife. I have such a setup and I can't really complain. In fact, I can sit down and use a tripod for some observations...but not like a p-mount..having the tripod off to the side.

#8 KennyJ

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:48 PM

Pat,

Your question is not only a very good one , but I must commend you on your application of humour to the domestic situation thus associated.

Whilst now almost certain that the 6 - dimensional possibilities detailed by Ed earlier today in another post MUST be THE ultimate in comfort and flexibility ( along with a de -luxe "binocular -chair" of course , there is also much to be said for the CONVENIENCE and MINIMAL set -up required with a conventional tripod and mount.

You are correct to be thinking in terms of "getting it right" from the start -- and our friend Erik D deserves much praise in my opinion for "getting it right" in the advice stakes with regard to this issue.

I can honestly say that my personal enjoyment of binocular viewing ( with a history going back about 40 years now )has been increased immeasurably AT A STROKE by acting upon Erik's advice and getting myself ( actually getting my wife to buy me ! ) the RIGHT set -up for the job.

In my case , this was the Manfrotto 55B tripod with 501 fluid head , with extra panning handle.

In the US this set -up comes under the Bogen name ( details of which can be found in the relevent thread )

I would give you the Bogen numbers here and now but cannot remember which ones they are ( I have a problem with Bogen numerical systems and would hate to mislead you by providing the wrong numbers )

In any case the set -up I have has a central -adjusting section that takes about 5 seconds to adjust for height , and easily provides for anything up to an overhead zenith view for anyone standing up to 6 feet 3 inches tall.

There is no need to "squat" the legs whatsoever , but neck -ache can become a problem with extended overhead use.

The one I have can take up to 13 pounds weight of bino.

It's main attributes are STABILITY and SMOOTH OPERATION but it also light enough to carry around with binos attached with one hand.

I have mine set -up permanently with 15 x 70s attached.

It is literally a 30 second job to be out of the house and viewing.

Although it has not been mentioned on here before ( or at least I haven't seen it mentioned ) -- the same central adjusting shaft CAN be removed , and slotted in "sideways" to the main body of the tripod ,and with some playing around of a heavy -duty L-bracket CAN be set -up in such a way that you can use it from a sitting position as a kind of "make -shift" short -stemmed "side-mount" , especially if you happen to have an adaptor in which to screw in the counterweight from an EQ mount ( which I happen to have )

I have also found that by inverting the bino ( so that your left eye is looking through the right ocular ) the set-up CAN be configurated such as to use it from a position whilst laying flat on a lounger , facing upwards.

It would take too much of what remains of my brain cells to explain these adjustments in any useful detail , and achieving them proved quite a comical exhibition for other family members , all of whom fortunately accept that I can give the impression of being one sandwich short of a picnic in such situations.

That classic " deck -chair" sketch featuring a guy who succeeds in getting the old -fashioned foldable beach -chair into ANY configuration other than one that can be safely sat upon could have been made for ME :-)

P.S my "trick" of getting my wife to buy me mine for my birthday proved a very succesful application of psychology.

SHE feels that she has really pleased me and it is a bonus for her that if nothing else , it "gets me off this PC" and "out of her way" for a little while at nights ( on the rare occasions that clouds do not abound )

The purchase has also provided a very good reason for getting a "bigger and better" bino to use on it :-)

Good luck with your venture Patrick , and let us know how you go.

Regards , Kenny.

#9 Craig Simmons

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 01:04 PM

From the Mechanical Silliness Department there's the homemade bino chair for comfortable observing and easy maneuvering.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 109302-Bino+Cube-20x90+Obies.jpg


#10 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 01:04 PM

I'm able to use the tripod seated without a problem most of the time, but it does get difficult near the zenith as you would expect. Sometimes I'll lower the tripod as low as it can go and just sit on the ground, so it's pretty versatile.

#11 dgs©

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 01:32 PM

Pat, do you have any children? If you will be sharing the view with other observers of varying heights, a parallelogram type mount seems a necessity. I am thinking of cobbling one together myself to mount on my camera tripod (Slik U212) so my kids (among others) can get a look thru the binoculars without frustrating instructions on locating the target.
With a parallelogram of sufficient dimensions, I should think most, if not all, bases would be covered.

#12 tomhole

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 03:14 PM

The parrallelogram mount is a must have when kids (or vertically challenged folks) are about. Even a basic p-mount will allow the height adjustment that is neccessary to accomodate myriad folks.

Tom

#13 Tom L

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 03:16 PM

Patrick, I'm on a very tight astro budget as well. This was my solution for mounting my Burgess 15x70s...

Sunpak 7500 mount

I am 6'3" and I do have to bend my knees at zenith, but all other viewing positions are very comfortable for me. My total binocular setup cost $200 (binocs and mount) and I believe that I got more than enough of my money's worth with this particular setup.

I will go update my thread with my current thoughts on the mount.

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 03:46 PM

Kenny, I think you have the Bogen/Manfrotto 3221WN tripod. I just remembered that you have the same setup I do minus the 2nd pan handle (I think). So, I can vouch for Kenny that a nice tripod/head setup, like the 3221WN and 501 head, can easily make for quick and simple viewing standing...and sitting to a certain extent.

#15 Pat Bohlinger

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 10:55 AM

Thank you all so much for the excellent advice. I do have young children and my 3 year-old has already expressed an interest in astronomy. Last winter he joined me on the couch while I was reading the latest Astronomy magazine, pointed to a picture of a planetary nebula and asked, “Daddy, is that a star that blew up?”

Nothing would have made me a prouder papa.

Craig, that is quite the spectacular chair. Having worked at the Skyline complex on Leesburg Pike in Falls Church for years, you no doubt built it as an escape from the never-ending traffic!

And Kenny, thank you, my friend, for sharing your experience and wisdom on two of the most mystifying elements in nature: the night sky and women. I find it reassuring that the laws of nature, such that they are, remain constant on both fronts whether one is here or “across the pond.”

Pat

#16 Bill Grass

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 01:23 PM

Last winter he joined me on the couch while I was reading the latest Astronomy magazine, pointed to a picture of a planetary nebula and asked, “Daddy, is that a star that blew up?”

That's awesome! :)

#17 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 04:13 PM

I have suggested and sold a fair amount of the cheapo Barska 15x70's with the 64" Vangaurd Tripod, seems a winner with everybody that has gotten the combo so far.

Cost is under $100 for both. I actually prefer my mounted bino viewing standing up myself, but I am an odd one admiitedly.

#18 Mogster

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 09:42 AM

I have suggested and sold a fair amount of the cheapo Barska 15x70's with the 64" Vangaurd Tripod, seems a winner with everybody that has gotten the combo so far.

Cost is under $100 for both. I actually prefer my mounted bino viewing standing up myself, but I am an odd one admiitedly.


Is the vanguard tripod quite decent?

I'm looking for a bino tripod but don't really want to spend £150+ on one.

Edit.........

This looks OK, extends to 70 inches tall, the 63 incher probably wouldn't be tall enough for me.

http://store.sjgreat...t/vanvt558.html


MOG


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