4.01.2008

Friends Don't Let Friends Skimp on Tripods.....


It's a story told all too often....Bob decides it's time to buy a spotting scope and he wants to get the best scope possible for his budget of $700. There's just one problem; Bob forgot that he needs a tripod in order to use a spotting scope. Not wanting to cut into his scope budget, Bob decides that he can get by with a $50 tripod from his local department store. Bob just skimped on a tripod and consequently, Bob is doing a great disservice to his investment in a new spotting scope.

The correlation between stability and performance can be observed and appreciated in any optical system working at a high level of magnification. With most spotting scopes functioning from 20-60x magnification, stability becomes a huge factor in the quality of one's observations. If it worked well for your camera, it doesn't mean that your light-duty tripod will be suitable for a spotting scope.

Pictured above are two scopes and tripods of different qualities. On the left we have a $700 Bushnell scope on a $250 Bogen tripod. On the right we have a $2000 Zeiss scope on a $50 tripod. If I were to pick one outfit to take on a birding trip with me, it would be the Bushnell outfit on the left. With the shakiness and instability of the small, light duty tripod on the Zeiss scope, despite it's higher grade lenses, any user is going to miss out on a lot of critical detail that can only be resolved with the benefit of a solid platform for the scope. The bottom line, be prepared to budget $200+ for a tripod, and you will be rewarded with better views, regardless of how much you spent on your scope.

1 comment:

Don and Sheryl said...

This is so true especially for digiscoping. My light Sunpak didn't work so I dug out an old tripod I use to use 20+ years ago for my RCA video camera, we all know how big they were. This is just right for now until I can buy a new one.