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Old 08-02-2019, 04:33 PM
Redeye
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Tracker Mount - Sturdy tripod?

I often see a recommendation to get a "sturdy Tripod" for a tracker mount such as a Star Adventurer.

What do people consider a "sturdy Tripod" to actually be?

I have considered surveyor tripods, using a CG5 set of legs and actually currently use a set of pretty heavy duty aluminum tripod legs due to portability considerations.

Interested in what other people's thoughts are on the subject?
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Old 08-02-2019, 06:16 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Survey tripods are roughly equivalent to the larger sized stainless steel tube legs that ship with say a Skywatcher EQ5 or EQ6.

Better though are the Oberwerk tripods.

Then there's Berlebach; in addition to mine, I have seen a few others with the Berlebach Planet with say EQ6 or AZEQ6 mounts on top; and I have seen a couple of the smaller Reports with altaz mounts with smallish scopes (a C5 and a 127mm Mak, as I recall). The Planet is a significant improvement over all the survey tripods, and vastly better than the Skywatcher metal ones. Berlebach ship to Australia and no issues. Berlebach will supply the head to match specific mounts too.

There's the Geoptik Hercules too, though I haven't seen one here.

There are some heavy-duty metal ones I am aware of too, the AP Eagle for example.

You can also buy aluminium tripods from Losmandy.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:11 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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I use these, I have two, EQ5 legs bought the second to use with this

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky...nt-tripod.html

As you can see they happily mount my 120mm triplet Esprit on Skytee 2 head

You need to use a little common sense, there are £500 legs out there like the Geoptik Hercules too but the head you are looking at is £200, that is what I call real overkill, is supporting a 12.3 Kilo 120mm triplet, 1.5Kilo camera, and diagonal not enough ? Skywatcher EQ3 legs £100
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:19 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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You don't say what you want it for
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:58 PM
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Icearcher (Chris)
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Plus one for the survey tripod.

Iv been using one for a few years and cant fault it, its perfect for my SA.

Cost me under $100 and 20 minutes to modify for my use.

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...d.php?t=156710
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Old 09-02-2019, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icearcher View Post
Plus one for the survey tripod.

Iv been using one for a few years and cant fault it, its perfect for my SA.

Cost me under $100 and 20 minutes to modify for my use.

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...d.php?t=156710
Link does not work
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:26 AM
Redeye
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Thanks for the input all.

Icearcher, it was your post that I happened across that started me thinking about this in the first place! A trip to Bunnings is likely in order! I like the idea of the survey tripod for less portable situations, such as driving around and setting up near the car, but suspect that probably wouldn’t be a good solution for more mobile requirements, say flying somewhere? I think they will be more portable than the cg5 legs, cheaper and lighter and as you say, provide similar levels of performance (regidity, payload and vibration suppression)

Ukastronomer, the question was more generic than specific. ie “what is a sturdy tripod?” Rather than “this is my setup what is the sturdiest tripod?”. However, to answer your question, my tracker setup is a Star adventurer, but the Tripp’s solution may also be used with an Az-Gti in equatorial mode. The payload being either a full frame DSLR with a 24mm F 1.4 lens, or a Full frame DSLR with a WO Z61 and ultra mini autoguider.

Following other discussions the concept of “sturdy enough” has been raised. ie a solution which is sturdy for a DSLR widefield setup, might not be sturdy enough for a telescope setup with a longer FL, so a sturdier tripod solution would be required. Add to this, travel and portability, and there may be a range of solutions and compromises such as for travel, a camera tripod, but the vibrations from wind etc May limit tracking to 60 secs at longer FL?

What I suspect, as with everything, is that one solution rarely meets all requirements, portability, vibration at wide and long focal lengths, payload weight and cost.

Ultimately, for me personally, I will probably use a surveyors tripod or set of cg5 legs for long and short FL where portability is not critical, and a relatively quality (ie expensive) tripod where portability or reuse with just the DSLR, is important and then take the hit that I might be limited in tracking time at longer focal lengths?

Last edited by Redeye; 09-02-2019 at 08:31 AM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 11-02-2019, 02:24 PM
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sil (Steve)
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Redeye, Your question is a good one and i dont think is ever defined. As you point out its more turned into "what do you want to do?" etc. Generally, I consider a sturdy tripod one that will hold a OTA/scope without wobbling while you adjust focus looking through eyepiece. That is the view doesnt wobble from side to side. Typically when you buy a telescope package they eyepieces are low grade as is the tripod and mount, this is where cost cutting and profitting is made.

I can appreciate its rarely possible to go see and test the tripods in your budget. An assembled setup I consider needs to be rock solid to be considered sturdy. So looking through an eyepiece you can tap the scope or tripod gently and the view has little or no wobble visible. Also the quicker the wobble returns to a solid view the more sturdy it is. Its common for people to look at the maximum load weight spec of a tripod and pick something thats barely above the weight of the gear they want to use on it. This means that setup is being used at or close to its limit which really means its all being stressed, not that it spontaneously collapses. Its more that parts may bend, gears and electrics are strained and likely to be burnt out and fail. For both a chance of sturdiness and accuracy its best to find a tripod that seems like overkill, something that can handle a vastly greater load of gear so that your piddling little gear is pretty much unnoticable to the tripod.

A vital part of owning gear, especially portable rigs, is to properly maintain them. Clean, lubricate and check/tighten all fasteners to make sure they stay fixed. A sturdy setup should never rattle anywhere if you picked it up and shook it.

No you dont "Need" a telescope tripod or even any tripod really. The purpose of a tripod is to provie a rock solid base for a mount and OTA to sit on top of. You could use a bean bag, rice bags have been used for decades by photographers to provide a sturdy base to plonk their camera onto on uneven surfaces. Audiophiles have levitation plate to keep turntablesphysically isolated from vibrations reaching it.

A heavy tripod gives stability through inertial dampening Which is why a piere is used in permanent setups and portable piers exist but at the cost of weight. The advantage of tripods is usually the legs can be adjusted and having three single point contact points means it can be used on any surface, doesnt need to be level and smooth. With adjustable legs thes top of the tripod can be made level for the mount to put attached to.

Which is why putting money into a solid tripod is important. It doesnt matter how much you spend on titanium and carbon fiber doohickies you put on top, if the tripod base transmits vibrations and wobbles you will never overcome that limitation or experience the best your mount and OTA can offer.
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Old 11-02-2019, 02:44 PM
Redeye
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Thanks Steve,

The vibration test is one I had forgotten about from my shooting days and think is a useful measure of "sturdiness" for any given setup.
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Old 11-02-2019, 03:47 PM
Redeye
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I guess what we are looking for then is “functional sturdiness” in a tripod, based on some specifics around vibration damping and flexibility (wobble) of the tripod when supporting a specific load?

This leads to a conclusion that a tripod which may be “functionally sturdy” for one load configuration in one circumstance (no wind) might not be “functionally sturdy” with the same load when used in another circumstance (light breeze)?

The resultant of this being wobble and vibration which leads to blurry long exposures and lost or unusable subs.

This leads to the thought that it all boils down to what configuration you have, what you want to do with that configuration and how (long exposures or multiple shorter exposures), in what circumstances or conditions and what your tolerance for lost or unusable subs is?
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Old 19-02-2019, 09:23 AM
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functional sturdiness = put the scope in space

Personally I think use is irrelevant, a cheaper tripod option to save bucks is useless for any good use. You never ever see anyone doing high quality astronomy with thoes flimsy wooden tripod that come with cheap nasty scopes. Look at the setups people use and you notice there are common components this is because they work best at the budget and skill levels of those people. On the budget scales there are "humps" where there is a single product that is best for the price with nothing else close or maybe one competing option. Which can be decided depends then on features and what gear you already have as some gear combinations and control are better supported than others. Not because one product is better than the other, its not that simple. To go to something better you then jump greatly on the budget scale and again and again. There is no single product that does everything you will ever want. People upgrade until they hit their budget limit so many people end up with the same gear as the top grade components are not replaced by the manufacturers every month like mobile phone seem to be.

Another thing rarely considered is living with the telescope and setup. Can you have it assembled and just move outside when needed? Where do you then store it? will it fit out the door? will it be in your way inside? How is your health? Will you be able to handle the weight and awkward shape of moving a setup around?

I was in good health when I had a stroke. It left me with permanent disabilities. As well as the inability to use my 11" SCT setup. Maybe I could with a motorised wheeled platform of some sort to move it out the garage but thats a financial barrier I'll never be able to reach either.

As you go up in price and sturdiness you also go up in weight of the setup making it more difficult to use and also adding strain to the gear itself which is why is dumb to buy something that can only just handle the weight you want to put on it as it'll be strained all the time, shortening lifespan and reducing accuracy/reliability. Though the benefit of weight itself is stability, by default the mass creates hude inertia to absorb vibrations creating stability.
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Old 23-02-2019, 12:54 AM
Sunfish (Ray)
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For the Star adventurer for travel I use an old Manfrotto solid top 3/8 inch fixed bolt tripod with a large alloy disc top to match the SA wedge , with extendable 25mm stainless legs. Big Butterfly screw leg locks. Very sturdy yet portable for plane travel. Then you can add a head for other uses. The cheaper light Manfrotto are no where near sturdy enough for any kind of large lense let alone a star adventurer.

In the backyard , bolt it to a telescope tripod.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Redeye View Post
I often see a recommendation to get a "sturdy Tripod" for a tracker mount such as a Star Adventurer.

What do people consider a "sturdy Tripod" to actually be?

I have considered surveyor tripods, using a CG5 set of legs and actually currently use a set of pretty heavy duty aluminum tripod legs due to portability considerations.

Interested in what other people's thoughts are on the subject?
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Old 23-02-2019, 01:11 AM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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"sturdy" is a pointless concept, it is common sense that counts, the right mount for the head and scope,
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Old 23-02-2019, 10:09 PM
Sunfish (Ray)
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The op stated
“sturdy Tripod" for a tracker mount such as a Star Adventurer.”
So that is a concise definition of sturdy for a purpose.

A Travel mount that can travel , ie. carry on baggage ,but will reliably support a Star adventurer. My answer is a 25mm leg stainless steel tripod with a fixed 3/8. Bolt in an alloy plate about 60mm 75mm diameter. A standard manfrotto extra heavy duty camera tripod without the head . Get one second hand for very little. I also use a three way Manfrotto head on the same tripod that will perfectly support more than 6kg of equipment or the same tripod will support a giro 2 with two 3kg balanced weights at 2/3 height as long as it is visual use.
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Old 24-02-2019, 01:55 AM
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I have to agree (Hello Ray^), a Manfrotto tripod would be an excellent "sturdy" choice for the load suggested. I would recommend something like a model 055. They are very well made and can be had for reasonable sums on the used market, or much more if you really need new and exotic light materials (not so much, unless you're on Everest)

Best
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