View Full Version : Questions about tripod purchase?

2004-Aug-17, 05:08 PM
Hi everyone, a short intro for my first post. I have been fascinated with space and astronomy and all things related since I was very young. I had always wanted to do stargazing with more than my naked eye. So here I am turning 30 and find it is about time in my life to get sucked up into another hobby (still can't find one that is cheap though). My loving wife decided on her own to do some research and help me get started. She came to the conclusion that I would be better off with a pair of Binos first. So as a total surprise I got a pair of Orion Vista 10x50 and a couple books. After some reading it sounds like it was a very good idea and I am very happy to have them (although I have not used them just yet).

On to my questions. I think the next best thing to get is a good tripod to mount them on. I don't have tons of money so every purchase needs to count for me, but I am willing to spend the money for the right thing. I was looking at the Paragon Plus XHD tripod and have heard good things about it. I don't really have the money for the actual bino mount right now though, so can I just use the tripod with nothing more than a binocular adapter? I was thinking if I could get by without some type of bino mount for now, I could make do with just the tripod and maybe buy a mount later. Maybe I could get the mathcing paragon plus bino mount which also seems to get some good reviews. Also, what is a good bino adapter to get, the Orion L-adapter or the versatile adapter or some other make and model of adapter all together? Finally, will the Paragon Plus XHD be a good tripod for other uses as well like maybe a telescope in the future? I would really like to spend the money for something that will be flexible enough for different situations if that is possible. So if I should really get a different tripod with the thoughts of using beyond just the binos, what would be a better choice?

Sorry for all of the questions, but this seems like the best place to ask (and hopefully this is the right forum to post in). Thanks for any help.

http://www.telescope.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=77&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat =6&iSubCat=24&iProductID=77&relateInfo=2&add=yes#t abLink


2004-Aug-17, 05:37 PM
On to my questions. I think the next best thing to get is a good tripod to mount them on. I don't have tons of money so every purchase needs to count for me, but I am willing to spend the money for the right thing.

I'm not familiar with the brands and I'm only a once-a-year-astonomer, but my advice would be to go for stability over portability. Stability often translates to mass, and heaviness is a very good thing -- until you start moving it about. But, I ditched a lightweight (maybe 4-pound) tripod for a 15-pound one. (It's just a small telescope.) The physical effort of moving it is recompensed by lack of frustration at having things bobbing around in the eyepiece.

Heavy might cost more, though.

Hopefully, someone else will know about brands.

2004-Aug-17, 06:41 PM

Hi. Welcome to the board and the wonderful world of astronomy.

I wouldn't worry about a tripod just yet. Get a confortable shaze (sp?) lounge, you know the kind that the back can be reclined, put a blanket on it (this helps with the chill) and learn the sky like that. 10x50 binos aren't that heavy and you can recline to an angle where you can rest you elbows on the arms or you chest to steady them.

Just my two cents.

Enjoy your new hobby.

Jim Charboneau

2004-Aug-17, 08:47 PM
Another 2 cents :D . I agree that a tripod is not necessary, but it sure can be nice. It will allow you to see at least another mag deeper due to the stability of the image. However, don't wait until you get a tripod to start. Go outside on the next clear night and look to the sagitarious region (the heart of our galaxy). The binocular targets there are the best in the sky IMHO.
Also, if you are somewhat handy you can look at building a binocular mount like this one (http://www.astro-tom.com/projects/binocular_mount.htm). I'm looking to try the project myself as soon as I can find the time.
Good luck.

The Supreme Canuck
2004-Aug-17, 10:24 PM
I've always wanted a pair of these. (http://www.astronomycentre.org.uk/Projects/Binoculars/binocs01/DSC00008.JPG)

2004-Aug-17, 10:41 PM
I've always wanted a pair of these. (http://www.astronomycentre.org.uk/Projects/Binoculars/binocs01/DSC00008.JPG)

A pair yet no doubt. Another silly english word. :lol:

2004-Aug-17, 11:31 PM
If the tripod has a camera adapter on it (the little screw that fits a standard camera), then a simple bino adapter (looks like an L shaped piece of metal) will let you attach the binos to the tripod.

I use this technique, the disadvantage is that it is hard to look at objects near the zenith.

With 10x50's, you don't need a tripod although it is nice. And you don't need a real solid tripod, any camera tripod will do, because the 10x50's aren't very heavy.

2004-Aug-18, 01:06 PM
Either adapter would work fine for normal binoculars. The versatile is just a little less 'clunky' and allows you to adjust the binoculars a little more freely. The L-adapter is designed for larger model binos.

The Paragon XHD can hold something as heavy as a ShortTube 80 or an Apex 102. Anything heavier is going to give it fits.

You might wish to get the tripod now, and later on get this for your binos:

http://www.telescope.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=7639&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainC at=6&iSubCat=24&iProductID=7639

Just a thought or two from your former Orion employee.

2004-Aug-18, 01:12 PM
Yet another vote for passing on a tripod for the 10x50's. The mag and weight allow for decent hand-held views, especially if you brace up against something. There's techniques you can use to help steady your view as well. One is to hold the binoc's between your middle and ring fingers (using the other 2 for additional support) and then placing your thumbs pointing down along your cheek, with your pinkies extended out towards the optical end. If this doesn't feel comfy, I usually get a steadier view just holding the binoc's out towards the end, where they're heavier. Of course, you'll want to get 'em in focus first. . .

Your wife was very smart getting you the binoc's first. My personal opinion is that this is the best way to get started. You'll learn the sky, plus you'll be amazed at the stuff you can see!

2004-Aug-18, 06:56 PM
Thanks for all of the tips. I did some more research last night and realized the big difference between azimuth style and equitorial style tripods as well. Now I really am not too sure about the whole idea. And I can appreciate the thought of getting by without a tripod, but the thought was that maybe if I can line up on something for a second I could share the view better with my wife. She is typically too easily bored with something as leisurely as stargazing; but I think if I could show her some of what there is to see, she would learn to enjoy. And if not I would still have a nice tripod of some sort for future use. So now I am on the fence about the decision. Maybe I should just personally enjoy the binos for a while and save towards a scope all together later on.


2004-Aug-18, 07:17 PM
I don't know what your wood working skills are but $75 worth of Ash or hard Maple and some hardware, will be enough to build a REAL STURDY tripod. There are plans on several on the woodworking sites and I think I saw one on one of the astronomy sites.

Just a thought. :)

2004-Aug-19, 08:37 AM
offset, check www.bigbinoculars.com and www.cloudynights.com for ideas about mounting binoculars and other tips for observing. Also search for Bogen/Manfrotto tripods/accessories (I don't remember the official site).
If you finally decide that you need a tripod, make sure that it can hold many times the weight of your binos, in case you purchase a bigger model in the future. If the mount has a pan/tilt head, you must check that you can reach zenith with the binos on.