This lightweight and compact Konus tripod lets shorter birders add a good-quality tripod to their spotting scope or binocular set-up at a very
low cost. The image above shows the tripod collapsed to its lowest possible set-up height of 25.75”. With its legs fully extended, the geared center post puts straight-through spotting scope eyepieces 51.5” to 63.5” above ground level – so individuals up to 5’9” tall can use straight-through scopes without stooping. Of course, even considerably taller birders can observe comfortably using a scope with 45° angled viewing.
The tripod has three-section light alloy anodized aluminum legs that let it close to a compact 26.5” long for convenient carrying and storage. The tripod weighs only 3.45 lbs (57 ounces), which means that carrying it won’t be a problem, particularly as the tripod has both a carrying handle built into the tripod head and a soft nylon carrying case with shoulder strap. The rigid oval legs are tipped with rubber caps for a non-skid grip on smooth surfaces. Flip-lever leg locks provide fast set-up and takedown so you won’t miss your chance at a life bird while fumbling with your tripod. When the legs are open, a twist lock at the bottom of the center post clamps the legs’ aluminum spreader bars firmly in place to improve the tripod’s stability.
A bat-wing knob locks the crank-operated geared rising center post in place at the desired height. There is a hook at the bottom of the center post that provides a place to hang the supplied carrying case. The hook can also be used to suspend a small sandbag or other similar weight from the tripod to add to the tripod’s rigidity and vibration damping when digiscoping at very high magnifications.
The integrated pan head has 3-way motion (up/down, right/left, and a 90° swing up to change from a landscape to portrait orientation for photographic composition). A large ribbed knob locks the vertical tilt (altitude) at any desired angle. A separate bat-wing knob locks the pan (right/left) motion, while another bat-wing knob locks the swing-up camera platform at a landscape or portrait orientation (or at any angle in between). The pan head is not fluid damped, but the pan and tilt movements are smooth enough for cleanly tracking birds in flight or moving from one subject to another.
The pan head has a quick release plate with a standard 1/4”-20 mounting bolt for fast scope setup. A spring-loaded pin in the plate fits into the second hole in the bottom of many camcorder and spotting scope mounting feet to keep the camera or scope from pivoting unexpectedly on the tripod. The pin retracts automatically if there is no second hole in the scope mounting foot.
There are two bubble levels built into the tripod. One is a circular level at the top of the tripod legs for leveling the tripod. The second is a tube level on the side of the pan head for leveling the up/down pan head tilt.
The tripod’s payload is not specified, but we have used it with binoculars and scopes up to 80mm in aperture, so it should be able to hold most reasonably-sized spotting scopes, even with a camera attached. While it is not the equal of Manfrotto tripods costing more than two to four times its modest price, this Konus tripod offers a surprising amount of performance at a surprisingly small cost for the birder on a budget.