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Tripod Help

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Unread 10-03-2007, 07:48 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 3
Tripod Help

I am looking for a light weight tripod to use when hunting in remote areas.
Publisher's Note: Really good choices, including the Jim White head, the Outdoorsmans tripods and the $99.95 vanguard tripod & head, at the LRH Gear Shop
I will be using a Zeiss Diascope 85 that I currently mount on a Manfrotto tripod (3205GN3 legs and a 3130 head) The spotter weighs four pounds and the tripod weighs 6.5 lbs. I would like to find something that is a bit lighter for backpacking into these areas. I don't really need a tripod that I can use standing up, obviously this would be an advantage at times but not a necessity as I do most of my spotting setting down.

Current options for legs are:

Slik 613 carbon fiber
K & K
Gitzo carbon fiber (expensive)
Feisol carbon fiber

Options for heads are:

K & K ball/grip head
Jim White pan/tilt head
Really Right Stuff BH-25 or BH-40 (expensive)
Outdoorsmans pan/tilt head (expensive)
Outdoorsmans ball/grip head

What is everyone's preference for a head? Pan/tilt or ball?
I know that I am not the first person to look at this. Can someone shed light on what works best for them?

Cost is obviously somewhat of a factor but I don't mind spending the money to get a better product.

Thanks in advance


Last edited by Len Backus; 02-15-2010 at 07:47 AM.
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Unread 10-04-2007, 09:12 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Western Montana
Posts: 25
If you are looking for a good multipurpose tripod you should look at a bog pod (boggear.com). These are sold as shooting sticks with aluminum telescopic legs and a stoney point rubber v rifle rest screwed on the 1/4" threaded post. As delivered, it is an excellent shooting tripod. However, you can easily screw off the rubber v and replace it with a bogen mini ball head. Add a bogen quick release plate and you can switch instantly between shooting rest, spotter, binocular adapter, rangefinder, camera, etc. The tripod will adjust from just inches from the ground to standing heights (the leg sections are long, but spread wide to get low). The best part? The tripod with shooting rest is $99.99 plus shipping. Add the head with quick release $60.00 (Bog gear does not sell heads, but the Sportsman's in Missoula, MT carries the heads, QR adapter, and QR plates in stock). I am using this very setup this season and it has proven rock steady with my binoculars and Leupold 12-40X60 Gold Ring spotter during bow season. It replaced my spotter tripod and Stoney Point shooting sticks (i will still use the stoney tripod to support the butt of my rifle this year) all while lightening my load quite a bit. The tripod weighs less than three pounds. Check it out!
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Unread 12-29-2007, 08:03 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 4
I also use a Bogen 3205GN3 and it is a great tripod. You can cut the weight by replacing the center column with the stubby one available from Bogen. The other thing I am looking at is cutting the legs down so the tripod will fit in my pack.

I have been using the Bogen grip action head (too heavy) then went to a Bogen ball head and finally ordered a Jim Allen head which I received yesterday. I looks as if my search for a lightweight head is over. I got a couple of plates and will get more to go on my range finder, shooting rest, spotting scope, and other scopes.

I am also looking into the K&K tripod (to save the 3205 from the hacksaw) and Slik Mini Tripod to see if they will do the same job but fit in my pack pocket (18") Setting down I only need 24" of height (plus some for the downhill leg on a sidehill).

Slik tripod...611800 Slik Sprint Mini Tripod with a Ball Head & Tripod Case, Black Color

Low angle adapter for Bogen 3205...190LAA Bogen - Manfrotto Low Angle Adapter for 3001N, 3001BN, 3011BD, 3011BPRO, 3205GN3 and 190MF3

Does anyone lese have recommendations or have they used these tripod's????

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Unread 12-29-2007, 08:39 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,876
Just a humble suggestion.

From going from the Manfroto and fancy head which was too heavy though served well for spotting I have the following suggestion.

Component #1: A decent sturdy inexpensive camera tripod. Dig around the rack for one that passes your test.

Modification #1: Trash the tilt/rotate head. What's left should be a 1/4-20 threaded hole. Make a short stud from a 1/4-20 screw or all thread. Cut to length that leaves sufficient length for attaching the next component. Devcon/cold weld/JB Weld the stud into the tripod.

Component #2: A Handy-Vise. The type that is used for mounting PDAs on the dash board or something. Disassemble the unit and clean the ball ends. Lightly lube with a light grease. I rigged mine up at camp and was forced to used Bag Balm. Worked great.

The handy-vise will screw to the tripod stud.

On the other end, top, of the handy vise design and mount a transition piece to mount the scope holder. Again I was in camp and rigged a small block of wood, mounted to the handy-vise with 4 small screws and another 1/4-20 stud.

Adjust the tension on the handy vise to that it pans and tilts to your liking.

It sounds pretty chinchie but was nearly perfect and was actually more useful and handy than the expensive rig.

The field craftsman was sufficient that I doubt I'll make any changes. Its light, compact, solid, rugged and fits well in the pack.

Oh, and its inexpensive (read cheap).
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 12-29-2007, 09:23 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 4
I would be cautious of a ballhead for spotting scope work as you may find that you need to add a panning feature to your set-up.

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Unread 12-30-2007, 08:44 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Central AZ.
Posts: 239
I just got the Slik mini Pro last year for packing and love it
I added a Jim White panning Attachment and Slik ball head.
Very nice set up. Lite, compact and smooth.

Jim White Panning Attachment The Jim White panning attachment allows easy
side to side panning when use in combination with a ball head or pistol grip. Some hunters who use a tripod for effective glassing say they like either a ball/pistol grip head or a pan head but at times wish they had the features of both. The ball or pistol grip head fans like the feature that allows you to quickly scan the terrain from left to right and up and down with a single motion. The hunters who enjoy a typical pan head like the more disciplined approach of panning right or left while locked on an elevation covering the terrain in a grid pattern. This new product from Jim White allows you to glass in either fashion.
The panning attachment is machined from 6061 T-6 aluminum, uses sealed ball bearings and a bronze tipped panning control knob. There is also a bronze tipped set screw that allows you to set some light drag on the unit to prevent it from spinning freely when the panning control knob is in the open position.
The unit weighs in at a minute 3.6 oz. and is only 1.5 inches tall.
It is also available mounted to a light weight ball head (see photo below). That matched unit, with the ball head and panning attachment, weighs only 8.6 oz and stands only 4.75 inches
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Unread 12-31-2007, 03:21 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 330
I purchased a Alpen Micro-adjustable Table top tripod - Model 705, it has the vert & horiz panning features you mentioned. the price was $42.00 from an ebay store named Pacwest Outdoors. The owner of this outfit had a table at the Washington Arms Collectors Gun Show recently and he is a man of integrity.
The tri-pod is not lightweight, it is made of steel. For the price, I will pack the extra pound.

Snohomish Co. Washington
NRA Life Member
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