The Binocular Site
The Best in Binocular Tripods
Most binoculars are meant to be portable. Lightweight, compact models are popular because not many people want the burden of carrying something heavy and awkward when they're hiking, boating, or just sightseeing. But what about those times when you want to observe something in one location, for a long period of time? Maybe you're a birdwatcher and want to train your binoculars on a nest full of eggs on the verge of hatching. Or perhaps you own a pair of astronomy binoculars, and want to be able to enjoy the night sky without tiring your arms out, holding up heavy binoculars for hours at a time. The answer is a binocular tripod.
There are a few types of tripods for binoculars, and which one you choose depends on two factors—the type of binoculars you have, and where the tripod will be set up. Sure, price is also a factor in buying a binocular tripod, but you can easily find one to suit your needs, and not spend a fortune. Save that extra cash for the binoculars themselves.
Carson 3-Way Panhead, which adjusts from 11 to 18.5 inches in height. It has a quick release feature, so if the object you're viewing shifts position for any reason, you can quickly follow it and not lose any observation time. Made from aluminum, it's also lightweight. Compact tripods range in price from $22 to more than $500.
Depending on how your viewing location is set up, a tabletop tripod may be what you need. As the name suggests, this type of tripod sits on a table, allowing for stable, comfortable viewing. They're adjustable, and usually extend from about five inches to 16 inches at the highest center point. A tabletop tripod is easily carried in a small bag or binocular case, and normally weighs less than a pound. Most models can hold almost five pounds, so they're sturdy enough for even heavy duty binoculars. Tabletop tripods range in price from $50 to about $70.
A tripod that isn't really a tripod is a monopod, which, as the name suggests, only has one leg. It's not meant to stand on its own. Instead, the binoculars are mounted onto the monopod, and the entire ensemble becomes portable. When you're observing something that is slow-moving, or you're the one in motion, viewing something from several different angles, you want the images you see to be steady, or you want to avoid fatigue from raising and lowering your binoculars too often. That's when you need a monopod. Binocular monopods have adjustable legs, and they range in height from 7 inches to 65 inches. They're lightweight and easy to carry, folding down to be small enough to fit inside a travel or gear bag. Monopods range in prices from $38 to $140.
Astronomical/Heavy Duty Tripods
Zhumell Astronomical Binoculars Tripod has a weight rating of 25 pounds. In addition to swiveling back and forth, the mounting head on astronomical binoculars is also adjustable for azimuth, allowing for easy viewing of the night sky. The height can be adjusted to reach anywhere between 32 and 78 inches. Astronomical tripods range in price from $145 to $350.
If you ever plan to use your binoculars for long-term viewing, avoid the fatigue and increased risk of dropping due to fatigue by getting a binocular tripod. Spend a little now to save a lot in the future.