Tripod Help

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by firemedic, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. firemedic

    firemedic New Member

    Mar 29, 2004
    I am looking for a light weight tripod to use when hunting in remote areas.
    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 a moderator: Feb 15, 2010
  2. bitterroot bulls

    bitterroot bulls Active Member

    Apr 17, 2007
    If you are looking for a good multipurpose tripod you should look at a bog pod ( 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!

  3. MtGoat

    MtGoat New Member

    Dec 29, 2007
    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????

  4. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    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.:rolleyes: 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).:D
  5. MtGoat

    MtGoat New Member

    Dec 29, 2007
    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.

  6. gamehauler

    gamehauler Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    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 [​IMG] 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
  7. Chopaka81

    Chopaka81 Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2007
    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.
  8. SES50

    SES50 Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Feisol PB70?

    FEISOL Panning Base PB-70

    Has anyone used this panning head? It looks like a nice package but I have not been able to find any specs on its weight or height.
  9. jcoop

    jcoop Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2008
    I have been using this one for a little over a year. I am using it with my Vortex Razor hd 85mm. I shopped for a tripod that had all the features I wanted for months. I compaired most of them side by side but took a chance on this one and am really happy I did. It has been perfect. Some of the specs online say it weights 5 lb but that is the shipping weight with box and case. It comes in at just under 4 lb. it is extreamly stiff and steady. After using this one I see no reason for a $500 tripod ( yes I have used them). The ball head was something I wanted just to save some weight and bulk. It is not quite as handy as a pan head or pistol grip but I still would not trade it for either. Once you get used to the ball head it is very user friendly.
    Polaroid PLTRIC 65" Carbon Fiber Tripod w/ Ball Head PLTRIC

    I have no idea how i got into this 5 year old poast!
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  10. sparkyman

    sparkyman Member

    Jan 10, 2013
    I use a manfrotto ball head mounted on a cabelas carbon fiber tripod. I like the ball head its small and light. I have used this setup for years and it has worked great. I have a really small silk tripod that I thought I would use for packing, I hated using it. I will always carry the bigger tripod. If you use your tripod for any length of time you will be glad to have the bigger, more flexible tripod. The small tripod will just make your neck ache.
  11. mtnwrunner

    mtnwrunner Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2009
    Zeb, here is what I use and it works absoutely great for cutting weight and gives you a stable platform.
    The one I use for spiking it out and when I want to go lighweight is the Velbon Maxi M. I've attached some photos for you and these will give you an idea of the size and some of the features. It is compact and with the outdoorsman grip head on it---it weighs 2 3/4 pounds. It has a detachable center post if you want to cut more weight and it goes down to 6 inches and when you fold the head down, it is very stable and very accurate to shoot off of. The maximum height is about 55 inches and you can stand and look through it but you have to bend down a little.
    I never stand anyway and it works really really well for sitting. I think that the head weight is rated for 3.5 pounds but I've used a full size Zeiss spotter on it and had no issues and that was sitting---i would not do it standing up.
    One of the photos compares it to a 338 ultra round and a medium outdoorsman tripod which l really like but its bulky.
    I really like the extension features on the velbon---just twist and pull and set it for any length you want. And the best feature is the price----I think that I paid 128 bucks for it.
    I also just noted the date on the earlier posts---oh well.

    Hope this helps


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  12. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2009
    Randy,That is interesting. I have a old outdoorsman and wanted smaller.They would not make it to there smaller size,which was not around when I purchased. I cut mine down to that size,and like it better for packing. The one you showed looked good.