Spotting Scope Tripods: Which One Should I Use?

Tripods can be used with telescopes, observation binoculars, cameras, and other optical equipment—not just spotting scopes. They are deemed vital accessories because they don’t only enhance the security and steadiness of the gadget when in use; they also carry the weight of hefty and large instruments.

Parts of a Tripod

Tripods may have different styles, prices, and features, but they will always have two basic parts: the tripod head and the tripod leg set. Tripod heads are responsible for holding the optical instrument, and tripod legs are in charge of making the tripod stand up like what human legs are for. Affordable tripods, priced less than $100, come with the head and legs. Most of them won’t allow you to remove the head and replace it with a new one. Expensive tripods, on the other hand, allow you to remove the head or leg sets and change them with different ones.

Take note that tripod heads are used for heavy instruments, making them costly. When you’ve decided you’re going to buy a tripod, ensure that your needs will be met; or else you’re just throwing away money. Cheap tripods usually come with heads made of plastic, which can be easily cracked. They can also easily let go of your spotting scope. Before purchasing one, do your research and read our reviews.

Types of Tripods

Shooter’s Tripod or Table Top Tripod

This tripod is tailored to be used on a shooting bench or a table, as the name implies. These tripods are usually eight to 18 inches tall, depending on the manufacturer and the model.

Table top tripod

Advantages:

  • They are lightweight, making them easier to carry around and handle
  • Their narrow leg span makes them perfect to use in limited spaces
  • They consist of a knob which can be utilized to make fine adjustments on the windage and evaluation
  • They are budget-friendly because less material is used

Disadvantages:

  • They aren’t recommended for heavy equipment
  • They do not have strength to stabilize long-range optic devices
  • They do not come with telescopic legs, which limits the range of their adjustability as most of them can only be adjusted with an extendable center column
  • Some models do not come with an extendable center column

BOTTOM LINE: Use table top tripods if you usually go from place to place when you glass; they’re easier to bring because they’re light.

Compact Tripods

These tripods are bigger than the previous type but are still convenient to use even if you’re sitting on a chair.

Advantages:

  • They are ideal for spotting scopes which are no more than 70mm
  • Mountain hunters and backpackers love them because of their portability

Disadvantages:

  • They are inconvenient to use on top of a table
  • They are a bit awkward to use with spotting scopes bigger than 80mm

BOTTOM LINE: Use compact tripods if your existing spotting scope has an objective lens diameter of 70mm and if you regularly sit while glassing.

Full-Size Tripods

Man looking through a scope

These tripods allow the users (with average height) to utilize a spotting scope while standing.

Advantages:

  • A full-size tripod with its head fastened extends from 26 to 57 inches but can go further up to 72 inches with its center column at the highest point.
  • They are recommended for extra-long range scopes with 80mm or greater objective lens diameters

Disadvantage:

  • Just because they’re full size doesn’t mean they’re perfect for heavy equipment. If it’s made of low-quality material like plastic, it can only be used for light loads and cannot be depended to handle heavy ones.

BOTTOM LINE: Use a full-size tripod if your spotting scope is large, if you usually stand while glassing, and if you are into digiscoping in areas with drastic weather conditions.

Reminders:

Before purchasing one, you should make sure that the strength of the tripod can match the weight of your spotting scope.

Also, consider the height of the tripod before the weight.

You’ll regret it if you don’t install your tripod incorrectly the first time, so be sure not to make that mistake by spending enough time to set it up.