With its legs fully extended, the manually-adjusted center post of this medium duty #055XDB tripod and #128RC quick release pan head combination puts spotting scope eyepieces 5’1” to 6’7” above ground level – so individuals from 5'3" tall up to 6’9” can use straight-through spotting scopes without stooping.
Of more benefit for shorter observers, however, is the ability to use the tripod with the center post almost all the way down. This makes for a more stable scope platform, as extending the center post turns the stable tripod into an inherently less-stable monopod sitting on top of a tripod. With the center post lowered, the scope is less affected by gusts of wind or touching the scope’s focusing knob and the images are steadier. The center post features a three-faced design that prevents the center post from twisting off-target as it is raised and lowered, as can happen with a round center post.
The tripod itself has three-section black finish anodized aluminum legs that let it close to 28” (with pan head attached) for convenient carrying and storage. Double wing-type levers lock the legs open at the appropriate height and unlock again with a minimum of effort. This is especially useful for those with weak hand strength, unlike flip lever locks which sometimes require significant effort to open and close if they are not adjusted properly. The levers provide fast set-up and takedown so you won’t miss your chance at a life bird while fumbling with your tripod. Simply turn each lever, let gravity pull the inner leg section out, and tighten the lever again. A quick way to close the tripod is to turn it upside down, loosen each leg lock lever, and let gravity slide the inner leg section closed. The legs are tipped with rubber caps for a non-skid grip on smooth surfaces.
The shoulder of the tripod is made of cast aluminum for strength, and has a 1/4"-20 thread bolt hole in its side for attaching an optional tripod strap. The non-geared center post height is locked by a fast-acting wing-type lever. Simply turn the lever counterclockwise to unlock, pull the quick-adjust center post up to the desired height, and turn the lever clockwise again to lock the center post in position. If you use the tripod for photography, the center post can also be reversed for low-angle shots (shooting wild flowers from ground level, for example).
The legs can be independently opened to various angles (23°, 45°, 65°, and 88°) and locked into place. This gives you more flexibility in setting up the tripod on a hillside or uneven ground. It also lets you lower the minimum height of the top of the pan head to only 23” above ground level for close-up photographic use (or even lower if the center post is reversed as mentioned above.
The supplied #128RC quick release pan head is made of cast aluminum. It comes with a #200PL-14 quick release plate that has a standard 1/4"-20 thread camera/scope attachment bolt for fast scope setup. The head is fluid damped for smooth panning when tracking birds in flight or moving from one subject to another. There are separate large vertical and horizontal lock knobs for adjusting the pan head drag so that your scope does not tilt abruptly if the pan handle is released. The angle of the pan handle can be changed to avoid poking your chest during use and can be set for either right or left hand operation.
The spring-loaded quick release lever on the head locks open for one-hand installation of your scope and attached quick release plate onto the tripod. The quick release lever automatically closes when the scope is inserted into the tripod head. The quick release head has a separate small brass locking lever that must be opened before the quick release lever can be operated. This eliminates the danger of your scope detaching unexpectedly from the tripod if the quick release lever gets snagged on a tree branch or clothing.
The pan head holds binoculars, spotting scopes, and cameras up to 8.8 lbs. in weight, so it will support most spotting scopes with a camera attached. The tripod and pan head combination itself weighs only 6.8 lbs. An optional shoulder strap is available for no-hands carrying of the tripod (with its locked-in-place scope) in the field.