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Buyer's guide for tripods

Man using tripod with spotting scope

Choosing a tripod

It’s essential to have a good quality tripod to use alongside your spotting scope or large binoculars. A good tripod will ensure that your optics can perform to the best of their ability, are supported securely, and allow you to be comfortably positioned when using them.

So you know that a tripod is important, but what should you look for? Our handy guide to buying a tripod will give you some simple tips to help you choose the best tripod for your optics.

Sturdiness and stability

When it comes to choosing a tripod for your spotting scope, stability and sturdiness are the most important features to look for. Spotting scopes typically have high magnifications, and due to this they need to be held particularly still to ensure that the images they produce are clear and do not become distorted due to small movements. In addition, spotting scopes generally weigh at least 1.5kg and have large lenses that are often 80mm or above in diameter. With this in mind, it’s vital that your tripod is designed to support a good few kilograms of weight to avoid the risk of your spotting scope falling over and becoming damaged.

Construction material

What your tripod is made from will effect its weight. Tripods are often made of aluminium which is both strong, durable and cost effective. If you’re looking for a tripod that will effectively support your spotting scope or large binoculars and you’re not too bothered about how much it weighs, then an aluminium tripod will be a great option. If you’re planning on transporting your spotter and tripod around a lot, then you may want to spend that bit more and opt for a carbon fibre tripod instead.

Tripod height

Be sure to check that the maximum height of your tripod will work for you; especially if you are taller than average.

Tripod head

Alongside the stability of your tripod, another important thing to consider is the quality of the tripod head. The tripod you choose should have a head that pans smoothly and is easy to control for both side to side and up and down movements.

Quick release plate and 1/4 inch thread

Most sporting optics that are tripod adaptable have a 1/4 inch hole in them which allows you to attach them to your chosen tripod via a binocular or spotting scope tripod adapter (sold separately). Be sure to check that the tripod you choose has a 1/4 inch thread, and you may also want to consider choosing a tripod with a quick release plate which will allow you to remove your spotter quickly and easily with a simple flick of a lever. 

Conclusion

So we’ve taken a look at the key features to consider when buying a tripod, and the main thing we want you to take away is the importance of choosing a tripod that is suitable for you and your chosen optics. If you’ve bought a high end scope, then opt for an equally good quality tripod to ensure that you’ll get the best out of your optics. Consider your personal specifications such as your height, and also your optics specifications such as its weight to decide how tall your tripod needs to be and how much weight it needs to hold. Don't forget that you'll also need a tripod adapter to connect your tripod to your chosen optics. These can be found in our Tripods, bipods and adapters collection

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