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Best tripod head for binoculars

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2011 at 21:07
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Optics GrassHopper
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Do you prefer a ball head or pan head for glassing with binoculars??
 
Thanks for any input you have,

Jordan
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2011 at 22:55
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I have two, older, Manfrotto 501 Pro Video Fluid Heads with pan handles, which are used for high magnification binos on Manfrotto tripods. (3246 & 3021BN)
 
I also have one newer Manfrotto 503HDV Pro Video Fluid Head with pan handle which I also use for larger, higher magnification binoculars and a Celestron C5 spotting scope, mounted on a Manfrotto 3246 tripod
 
I also have a Manfrotto 322RC2 Grip Action Ball Head (pistol grip) which I have attached to a Manfrotto 682B Self-Standing monopod.
 
All of these heads have quick-detachable floorplates.
 
You can do a Google search Google It for photos of these items.


Edited by Bird Watcher - March/11/2011 at 23:05
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2011 at 09:25
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I have a Manfrotto 055XV tripod.  I have the Outdoorsmans’ panning attachment along with their pistol grip.  I have tried other grips although this set up is my favorite.  They have a quick detach adaptor that works great. 

http://shop.outdoorsmans.com/category.sc?categoryId=2
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2011 at 11:18
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It comes down to personal preference.
 
I like the pistol grip head for when I'll be doing static viewing, like at the range.  Just set it and leave it.  If you will be doing sweeping motions such as when glassing, you may prefer the fluid head to smoothly pan from side to side or up/down.
 
Really the only way to know for you is to try both styles out.  Each have their place.  I have the Manfrotto 128RC fluid head and a 322RC pistol ball type head.  Really like them both for their repsective purposes.  Both have the q/d shoe.
 
Have the Manfrotto 190XB legs and a window mount which covers my uses nicely.
 
If you are only going to be glassing with binos, and not with a heavier / longer scope, you may like the pistol grip head.  The size of most bino's will keep the weight low and centered mostly over the head.  The grip can also be moved to the left or right side, where as a fluid head usually has a handle the comes out the back and angled down slightly.  Depending on your setup, this handle could get in your way.
 
The best solution, although a little more costly is to get both.  I did just that so that I can have a head mounted to my legs and window mount at the same time, which makes swtiching my Razor spotting scope just a matter of slipping it out of one and right into another with a quick click.


Edited by FireEMT5 - March/11/2011 at 11:23
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/12/2011 at 11:01
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Bird watcher: How stable is that 3021 tripod when mounted with heavier scopes?



Edited by Alan Robertson - March/12/2011 at 14:08
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/12/2011 at 15:42
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Originally posted by Alan Robertson Alan Robertson wrote:

Bird watcher: How stable is that 3021 tripod when mounted with heavier scopes?
I have no issues with stability, as long as you use it on soft ground vs. concrete or asphalt.  The harder surfaces do not seem to dampen as quickly as soft ground.
 
My complaints would be that the overall height is somewhat less than I like,  and the center column is NOT geared, so, it makes raising and lowering a heavy binocular, or spotting scope, rather clumsy, and not totally safe when lowering same.
 
I'm 6' and I don't like the fact that I have to raise the center column to maximum height for viewing with giant binoculars.
 
Actually, I use my Manfrotto 3246 tripod for my Celestron C5 spotting scope, mainly because it has a geared center column, which offers smoother, safer raising & lowering, and, the overall height of the 3246 is 63.7" (without using the center column) not including the height of my 501/503 heads. 
 
Stan
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