Best Tripod for Large Spotting Scopes

I recently received a question from someone looking to pair their large 82mm spotting scope with a tripod:

Question IconQuestion: Best Tripod for Large Spotting Scopes

I purchased the Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A spotting scope because of your review.
I live in the mountains of the Ozarks here in Arkansas and the scope will mainly be used at home in the living room looking out several miles from a stationary position.

I never noticed in your review a recommended Tri-pod could you give a few suggestions please.

Answer

Firstly than you very much for the question and I hope that you are happy with your purchase. As I pointed out in my review, I think that the Vanguard Endeavor HD scopes are excellent, especially when compared to others in their class.

Which Tripod?
Vanguard ABEO Pro TripodHowever as you will have seen with their high magnification levels you really do need to have a steady base to work with to get a steady view and thus the best out of them.

Also and as with most large 80+mm scopes, you would have noticed that they are quite heavy as well as long, thus it is no good getting a flimsy and/or cheap tripod as they just wont be up to the task to holding the scope steady and in position.

I personally currently use and indeed highly recommend the Vanguard ABEO Pro 283CGH Tripod, which I have written a review on (just follow the link), so wont repeat myself here.

Made from carbon, it has weight advantages over metal ones, but is not the cheapest tripod in the world.

As you say you will be using your scope from a stationary point in your home, so weight is not a huge issue, so you could also look at metal versions which apart form being heavier, are generally as good in all other areas (they are probably a little stronger as well).

I used the very similar, but much cheaper Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Tripod for many years (indeed I still have it as a backup). Whilst it is heavier, it to is excellent and more than up to holding a full sized scope like the Eandeavor ED.

Me using the Vanguard GH-300T Pistol Grip & a Spotting Scope

Me using the ABEO Pro 283CGH Tripod & GH-300T Pistol grip with the Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Spotting Scope

Just a quick side note, for those concerned with weight and size, but who have a tighter budget, I also recommend taking a look at a travel tripod like the Benro Travel Angel 2 Tripod.

Tripod Heads
I also highly recommend using a pistol grip tripod head like the very good Vanguard GH Series, however other brands like Manfrotto also make very good ones, that you can also look at. The main reason I like using them as opposed to a more traditional pan handle or ball head is that it just makes aiming your scope so much quicker and more intuitive.

Note: The latest Vanguard GH-300T Pistol Grip comes with the ABEO Pro 283CGH Kit and you can read about it in my review of the tripod (link above), however you can just purchase the tripod on it’s own and then select another head if you wish.

I hope this helps and I am sorry that I cannot include a whole range of tripods for you to consider as I am sure there are many, many others out there that are as good as these, however I can only give recommendations based on tripods that I have actually used myself.

 

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