January 15, 2019 at 3:16 am #3509
Hi guys. I am a totally new to this. I have gathered a camera body, lens, intervalometer, external battery, massive memory card etc. i have even bought a star adventurer tracker with counter weight etc. I don’t have a tripod
Can anyone give me advice on a tripod to get that will do both landscape astrophotography with just a camera and lens, but also support a tracker with counter weight and small telescope like a WO Z61. I have been researching and am confused. What max weight load should I go for? 15-20kg? Will a tripod with a center post be sturdy enough? I am 6’7” and don’t want to break my back stooping down to check the gear all the time.
Thanks in advance!January 15, 2019 at 11:55 am #3539Dean VinsonPhotog Adventures Team
Hey! A good tripod is essential. I’m a fan of Feisol tripods. They’re lightweight but can support a heavy setup, you can get them without a center column and they’re reasonably priced. I personally use the Feisol CT-3301, one of their cheaper options, paired with a Sirui K-30x ball head. The center column will increase your risk of camera shake.
The star adventurer is a heavy set up by the time you get the counter weight and a long lens or scope on so I would look for something closer to 20K or more for a weight capacity. The CT-3301 I use has a 18K weight capacity and does just fine.
The problem you will have is finding one tall enough. At 6’7″ you might want to look for a “L” (long) version. Keep in mind that a decent ball head will add 3-4 inches to the overall height and then a normal DSLR will add another 3-4 inches of height up to the viewfinder.January 15, 2019 at 3:17 pm #3580Joe.ChoiPhotog Adventures Team
What is your budget? I use a Vanguard tripod. It cost a 150 new on sale with a fairly adequate ball head. I have a stronger ball head now since I need to hold a Tamron 150-600 on a tracker. That said it holds the 6d, 150-600, tracker with counter weight and heavy ball head just fine. If resources are unlimited look at RRS tripods, ballheads and self leveling bases.January 15, 2019 at 6:27 pm #3584
I don’t want to spend a crazy amount but want to do things right the first time. I guess $300-400 Aussie.January 16, 2019 at 7:38 pm #3695slowshutterParticipant
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I also would definitely recommend a Feisol tripod, such as a CT-3372 or CT-3342, probably the latter one unless you are compulsive about having beefy, large, stable tripods. They are an amazing value, and something that you can use for years. As Dean said, no center columns.January 17, 2019 at 2:13 pm #3740Dean VinsonPhotog Adventures Team
Before buying my Feisol I was looking at Benro tripods but I don’t have any experience with them. PetaPixel used to have a 15 or 20% off discount code which makes them pretty affordable. You’d have to compare models but I’ve heard some people recommend them but like I said I don’t have any personal experience with them.January 18, 2019 at 5:31 am #3775
Thanks for the advice guys. All I really have found to guide me so far is that I need to add at least 30% to the payload I want to put on it. I have no idea yet but am guessing a S.Adventurer with 1 kg weight plus camera and lens/small telescope will be in the vicinity of 6kg??? So the tripod max load needs to be at least 8kg. However I have seen some tripods described as max load 15kg but suggested weight as 8-10. So I am a little lost. don’t know how unstable center columns make tripods when they are extended all the way. Obviously some ballast will help stabilise the base but I don’t know about the column. Thoughts?January 19, 2019 at 7:54 pm #3835Kirk KeyesAdmin
Hi Hyjinx! I use a Feisol CT-3342 for regular photography, but for my Star Adventurer, I’ve been using a old Bogen (Manfrotto) 3040 2-section leg tripod. It had a center column with leg braces and is sturdy. It study enough for using an 8×10 camera. It Aluminum and heavy but study.
If you can find one they should be pretty inexpensive, certainly in your price range.
Another option is to get a surveyor’s tripod. I don’t have any suggestions, but I’ve see people using themJanuary 20, 2019 at 4:03 am #3845
Thanks Kirk. I live in a part of Australia that is a long way from anywhere. Second hand anything is hard to come by. You raise an interesting point in having two separate tripods. I am getting the feeling that this will be the direction I will have to go in.January 24, 2019 at 5:52 pm #3987
Thanks for all of your advice. I have bought a Benro Classic A3570T. It arrived today! It is an aluminium with three segments in the legs, max height with a short Center column is an awesome (for me) 173cm! Max load is 18kg. It is a little stiff to move atm but I am sure it will loosen with use. Cost was $236 (Au) with free postage which is way less than I thought I would spend. Really happy and can’t wait for a clear night to try it out.January 24, 2019 at 9:50 pm #3988Kirk KeyesAdmin
Glad you found something you like. Don’t sweat it being aluminum – aluminum is still a great material for tripods. I recently bought a used Bogen aluminum tripod from the 90s for shooting timelapses with. At this point, I’ve got 1 carbon tripod for landscapes, the big aluminum one I talked about for the tracker, and then 4 of the smaller aluminum ones for timelapses or sliders.
KirkJanuary 25, 2019 at 7:22 am #3995
Yeah I would imagine you have a bit of gear. You are fully into this (obviously) where is I am starting out. This tripod was always going to be a compromise as I am using it for everything. I steered toward this aluminium for a few reasons (right or wrong). Firstly the height. Also, I have read in many places that Al is more rigid and the weight helps resist the wind tipping it over and minimising vibration when using a tracker. Also three segments seems better for reducing vibration and holding polar alignment.
I didn’t see the weight reduction carbon brings as a good enough reason for the extra $. It is minimal anyway. I am a big guy and carrying it won’t be a problem. I am starting out and the $ saved will go a long way.
I hope buying it isn’t my first mistake but I am sure it won’t be my last tripod!
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