Whether you wanna buy a spotting scope for hunting or photography, there are lots of factors to take into consideration like waterproofing, design, magnification, and so on. Aside from choosing the spotting scope, you also need to pick out the spotting scope tripod. This raises the question: How to choose the “right” tripod for my spotting scope?
First and foremost, the tripod you pick must perfectly match your spotting scope and thus makes it work effectively. That three-pronged stand gives a stable base for your scope, allowing you to enjoy focused, smooth visuals. Without a tripod, the high magnifications (especially those beyond 60x) of most spotting scopes are inclined to vibrational instabilities.
Many spotting scopes come along with cheap, low-quality tripods. Don’t use any tripod to this end! Your choice must be considered in accordance with the particular scope to be used, intended application, and your height as well. Therefore, you must be sure that the tripod and the spotting scope will work well together prior to buying anything.
The next thing you should take note of is tripod head. This is the part that holds the spotting scope or telescope, camera, binoculars, etc. You should pay close attention to the maximum weight it supports and the types of motions it can provide. Also, remember that spotting scopes with larger objectives or higher magnification require more robust, heavy-duty tripod heads.
While there are different kinds of tripod heads on the market, in general, they all can be divided into three main categories:
The tripod head relies on 3 legs, making the so-called leg set. While the cheaper products often come as an unalterable, single unit that consists of a leg set and head, the customizable higher-end offerings combine varied leg sets and tripod heads so that you can purchase them separately.
The majority of tripods have telescopic legs that can be adjusted to different heights. Nevertheless, the range of heights of a single leg is still limited, so it’s impossible to fold down a tripod to the compact size and extend it out to the full-size height. That’s because of the number of the leg sections needed. As the number goes up, your tripod is less stable. This is why most full-size tripods come with only three leg sections.
Below, you can see some important factors concerning the tripod legs that should be taken into consideration.
After inspecting the head and legs of the tripod, you should take note of other features as well. Here are some features to take a look at:
The market is overwhelmed with tripod models of all sizes and shapes, which makes the purchase much harder. Below, you can get familiar with the best 5 models for 2018. Take the time to check them out carefully.
This balanced aluminum tripod is designed in such a way to provide you with the perfect view all the while. It enables you to adjust 3 different angles – 25, 50, and 80 degrees – which comes in handy when you reach the top of a boulder and want to overcompensate a view while looking downhill.
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 tripod boasts prime low-angle capabilities and bubble levels, which makes it one of the best tripods for birding photography. It is equipped with 360-degree ball head and quick release plate. You can easily move the hexagonal central column anywhere from 0-180 degrees thanks to the ISSL system which repositions that column with just one simple motion.
The legs can be extended up to 68.125 inches, so taller people can use this tripod comfortably. Those legs are fitted with rubber feet and retractile spikes. Folded height is 28.125 inches, whereas the entire unit weighs 5.38 pounds. Note that the maximum loading capacity is 15.4 lbs.
Summary: Swiveling freely 360 degrees, this piece of equipment offers an unlimited range of motion and excellent angling capabilities. It is designed to keep you spotting scope safe and make the most of it.
If you like the simplicity and style of the short length tripod kits that include spotting scopes and want to upgrade it to a stronger and more reliable tripod, this table top model is right for you.
Designed to carry spotting scopes, camcorders, digital cameras, and many other devices, the RetiCAM MT01 Mini Tripod is suitable for windowsill spotting and ground-level spotting. With its durable and sturdy mount, it beats all the small stock tripods on the market. Some of the key features include 3-way head, extendable center column, bubble level, non-slip rubber feet, quick release mounting plate, and quick snap leg locks.
With a max height of 19 inches and a min height of nearly 11 inches, you are confined to pretty low vantage points. That’s fine when setting the tripod on a raised surface, but it will take its toll on versatility when you need to view objects from above. Maximum load is around 6 lbs, which is fairly good for the unit that only weighs 1.5 lbs.
Summary: If you prefer keeping things conventional, check out this small tabletop tripod. It is great for target shooters and hunters looking for a shorter tripod for their tasks. Yet, keep in mind that it is not suitable for big spotting scopes either.
Besides spotting scopes, Bushnell also produces a variety of tripods that are specially designed for their scopes. This brand has been around for more than 50 years and it is often considered the industry leader when it comes to high performance sports optics.
Bushnell 784030 is an advanced, full-size tripod that goes from 18.3 to 61 inches in height, allowing users to cover plenty of ground from one spot. This windowsill tripod suits even the tallest users when fully collapsed because of its perfect closed height. In addition to a spotting scope, you can use it with your SLR camera, binoculars, or camcorder.
The product comes with a 3-way tilt/pan head that lets you explore a broad range of space. The upper parts of the aluminum legs are stuffed with foam for extra comfort when the tripod is used in extremely cold or hot conditions. Featuring 11-pound load capacity, this device is capable of supporting the extra weight.
Summary: A great tripod for activities that involve spotting scope or camera. The aluminum legs are extremely secure so that it handles the extra weight with ease. Even though the legs are padded with foam and almost never get slippery, they imply wingnuts in lieu of quick release legs, which is why it takes longer to set this tripod up.
Made of top-notch anodized aluminum, the SKY-1 Skyline is a spotting scope tripod from Vortex Optics that features rock-solid performance. It is fitted with a durable aluminum body and micro-fluid pan head that allows for precise, smooth adjustment in any direction.
The product in question also incorporates a quick release plate that lets you quickly attach and remove your spotting scope. Strategically placed adjustment knobs allow for optimum accessibility. Once you get positioning done and set your optics up, make use of these knobs to tighten the tripod securely and thus prevent any stray movement. Solid support is also provided by a split center column and anodized aluminum legs with rubber feet and. These rugged legs are very flexible and can be inclined in different ways for positioning on the bumpy terrains.
Vortex Optics SKY-1 has the dimensions of 6 x 12 x 6 inches and it weighs 7.35 pounds. The manufacturer provides the VIP lifetime warranty with this amazing product, which covers all types of damages and defects.
Summary: This tripod kit from Vortex Optics is compatible with various tactical accessories, including binoculars and spotting scopes. You’ll need to buy a separate adapter though. It’s suitable for using a spotting scope in just about any prone position, which makes it ideal for activities like hunting, sniping, and shooting sports.
For keen hunters and other users of spotting scopes, investing in this carbon tripod is like purchasing their scope. By the way, it’s not worth having a low-quality tripod if you own a costly, high-end spotting scope, right? That’s why you need to buy this Swarovski tripod and get the most out of your spotting scope.
It comes with a hefty price tag, but there are lots of good reasons for this. First of all, it’s made from fiber-reinforced components that make it very durable, stable, and reliable for all kinds of terrains. Thanks to an integrated leveler and adjustable carbon fiber legs with retractable spikes, it can be positioned and used on uneven ground. These legs are very lightweight, weighing a mere 3.1 pounds, and you can fold them down to only 19.7 inches. That makes the tripod perfect for hunting, birding, and other activities that require frequent relocation. It can adjust up to 66.9 inches in height. Load capacity is about 12 lbs.
However, the DH-101 head is surely one of the best features this product offers. It involves a clamping system which ensures strong grip as well as a special Fast Mount System that allows you to attach and detach a spotting scope in a matter of seconds. It is possible to adjust both horizontal and vertical axes with one simple movement. There is also a soft shoulder pad from neoprene, which comes with quick release fastenings.
So, which is the right tripod for your optic instrument? You should know exactly how and where you’re going to use your tripod. That largely depends on the type of your scope as well as what you will be spotting with it.
Although there’s a wide range of tripods on the market to choose from, there are two basic things to bear in mind – durability and support. It must survive the harsh outdoor conditions and support the weight of your spotting scope alike. In short, the best spotting scope tripod is the one that’s capable of suiting your spotting scope and your needs wherever you are.