Choosing the Right Spotting Scope Tripod

When you want to choose the right spotting scope, it is not easy for you because there are a lot of factors to consider such as magnification, design, waterproofing, and so on. However, even when you already choose the right spotting scope, you still have to choose the right spotting scope tripod for your device.

In fact, this is one of the most important things and if the tripod you chose can’t fit your spotting scope perfectly, this will make the scope work ineffectively no matter how expensive your scope is.

Therefore, you have to make sure that the spotting scope and the tripod can work well together before buying anything. Here are more details about spotting scope tripods for you:

Spotting Scope Tripod: Definition, Uses

In general, tripods are an important accessory not only for spotting scopes but also for many other types of optical equipment such as cameras, telescopes, binoculars and more. In details, you can use a tripod to improve steadiness when you use high magnification instruments.

It can also support the weight of your heavy and large instruments. For the sake of simplicity, just think of tripods as having two main parts, they are tripod head that can hold your optical product and tripod leg set.


Compact Tripods

A compact tripod is generally a bit too large to use on a table but it is quite comfortable for you when it sits in a chair. This type is believed to be the favorite of mountain hunters as well as backpackers who don’t mind sacrificing height for portability.

Compact Tripods

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A compact tripod is the best choice for spotting scopes of 70 mm or even smaller and fore digital point cameras. However, this is not a good choice for you when you need to stabilize 80 mm or larger spotting scope.

Full-Size Tripods

A full- size tripod allows the user of average height to use a pair of binoculars, spotting scope or camera while they are standing. However, full size doesn’t mean heavy duty. You’d better match the tripod strength and weight with the weight and size of the binocular, spotting scope or camera.

Overall, an average full- size tripod associated with head attached extends from 26 ‘’to 57’’. Its legs are fully extended, the center column is down and up to about 72 ‘’ with the column at its highest. Remember that there is no such thing like a tripod which is both stable and cheap. The larger the load on a tripod is, the more you have to pay for this accessory.

Table Top/Shooter’s Tripods

Shooter's Tripods

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You can use a table top tripod on a shooting bench or a table and it is usually between 8’’ and 18’’ in height, depending on which model it is.

This type doesn’t have telescoping legs; instead, the little range of adjustment of the tripod depends on an extendable center column.

A tripod for a shooter is basically a short top tripod with a knob for adjustments in evaluation and sometimes, it can also windage.

Furthermore, thanks to the lighter weight as well as narrow width of leg pan, a table top tripod is a good choice if the space is narrow.

However, remember that it is quite large and heavy for you to carry in your whole trip.

Tripod Heads

When considering a tripod head, you need to care about types of motions it provides and the weight it can support. In general, tripod heads are consist of 3 main categories- two way tripod heads, three- way tripod heads and the last one, tripod ball heads.

Two Way Tripod Heads

A two- way tripod head is the most common tripod head and people call it a camcorder head or a video head. This type can allow you to move it in 2 directions- horizontally and vertically motion. According to my experience, this is enough for you when you are using a spotting scope, giant binocular or a video camera. In addition, this one is the most stable and simplest one.

Two Way Tripod Heads

Image source: TechRadar

Three Way Tripod Heads

Basically, a three-way tripod head just adds an extra motion to the two-way head. In addition to right- left and up-down, this three-way head can allow you to flip your camera on its side. Therefore, a photographer can swap from a horizontal frame pic to a vertical frame pic. You can also use it to take pictures below the tripod.

That’s the reason why many photographers are fond of this type of tripod heads. Additionally, they can use it with all kinds of optical instruments including binoculars and spotting scope.

Tripod Ball Heads

A ball head tripod is a head on top of a ball. This will allow the user to move the head in any direction with just 1 motion. For examples, in order to target an object both off and up to the side with a 3- way or 2- way head, you have to move the head up in 1 motion and after that move it over in another motion.

What’s more, ball- heads come in with different models, some lock with a trigger whereas some lock with conventional levers. However, keep in mind that even the largest and most expensive ball- head tripods can’t support as much weight as a high- quality two- way head.

Tripod Ball Heads

Image source: Digital Photography Review

Besides, ball heads also sit higher on the leg than 3- way or 2- way heads. This can result in balance problems with heavy loads. Don’t forget that in a tripod, stability is always top priority for all of users.

Tripod Legs

After the head, you have to take into consideration the legs of the tripods. In fact, almost all tripod legs telescope in and out so as to accommodate different height. However, there is still a limit to the range of heights which a single leg set can handle.

Tripod Legs

Image source: DVuser

For example, no tripod can be fold down to a compact tripod’s size and then extend out to a full- size tripod’s height. For short, the problem is the number of leg sections required. Specifically, the higher the number is, the less stable the tripod will be.

In theory, you can completely make a standing height tripod associated with even 6 leg sections. They can probably collapse to about 12″. But this tripod will be very unstable at full height; this is also a common reason which stops us from buying a tripod.

Therefore, most full- size tripods limit the number of leg sections to 3 or at most 4. Actually, that’s enough for the tripod to cover all users from standing to sitting.

Here are some specific factors related to tripod legs for you to consider:


The conventional tripod leg material is aluminum and it is generally a solid choice for all of you. In order to shave weight, many manufacturers use carbon fiber to create tripod legs. The legs made from carbon fibers are less prone to shakes and vibrations. They are also a great choice for high magnification spotting scopes. However, carbon fiber is very expensive, when compared to aluminum. Furthermore, the weight savings is generally less than the same model which is made from aluminum.


Tripod legs are extended and then they are locked into position with different mechanisms. Remember that the slowest but most durable locks are a twist collar or a simple wing nut. It has to be tightened for each leg section. For some applications, such as hunting or birding, especially when you need to get setup quickly, this will be a little bit slow.

However, lever locks are pretty much quicker. You just need to simply flip a lever and the leg section will be fully locked and there will be no tightening needed. If the quality is good, the lever locks are definitely durable. But keep in mind that if you apply lever locks on cheap tripods, they are notoriously prone to failure.


These are arms which connect the lower portion of tripod legs so as to add support as well as rigidity. Leg braces are suitable for locations with a level, smooth surface such as a living room, photography, law and so on.

Nonetheless, the tripods with leg braces are not a good choice for you to use around bushes, rocks and other objects. This is because the braces can totally jam against large objects beneath the tripods. This can even prevent you from using your own tripod.

Other factors:

Bubble Level

This is an important feature for a photographer to make sure that a subject is farmed and leveled in the camera. But this is not always used, even for photography. In fact, the bubble level has no essential application for binoculars or spotting scopes.

Leg Warmers

Many high- quality tripods have a layer of foam on the top section of their legs. This will cushion the legs while you carry the tripod over your shoulder. This is very usual, especially when you use cameras or spotting scopes.

In details, the leg warmers can keep a metal leg from touching your body in cold weather. Overall, this is not really important for you to care about. But if you live in extremely cold conditions, just consider buying a tripod which comes with leg warmers.

Tripod Feet

In general, for the sake of traction, spiked feet are the conventional type of foot used out in the field; however, it is not something you want to use in a living room or a studio.

Tripod Feet

Image source: juventudSucre

For these applications, a rubber foot is a better choice. Thereby, a lot of tripods nowadays provide a retractable foot that can be threaded back in to the certain leg. To be honest, it is the best for you to get both a rubber foot and a spike.