The pro GT tripod by Vortex Optics is a durable model that offers a reliable performance and one that’s designed to handle any weather conditions or terrain types. It comes equipped with many of the popular features birders are looking for such as the quick-release plate which allows you to instantly detach a spotting scope, while the three-way pan and tilt head offers a smoother performance. The lightweight design will allow you to haul this tripod for several miles without causing user fatigue.
Our Verdict: This model is made out of aluminum and features a lightweight design of just six pounds. However, it offers a better than average max weight capacity of ten pounds, which is a huge plus for any birder, especially the one who owns a variety of heavy optical equipment. The highly adjustable legs and the adjustable center plate makes it easier to adjust the tripod to the perfect height, preventing the user from having to hunch over the scope during use. The included balance hook will allow you to hang a weight from the hook on windy days to improve the tripod’s stability, preventing it from shaking, or wobbling during use. Overall, this is a very beginner-friendly model that’s highly adjustable, simple to use, and a breeze to adjust.
Overview and Features
As you can already see, this is a feature-packed model that comes loaded with some great extras that are designed to improve the tripod’s performance in a wide range of weather conditions and terrain types. The model’s solid build ensures that it’s tough enough to handle the rugged backcountry terrain, which is a huge plus for the serious birder. Of course, its weight of just six pounds will also be a huge selling point, since many birders are searching for a model that’s easy to haul up steep mountain trails or through thick brush in the backcountry. Despite the fact that it’s so light, it still comes with a high max weight capacity, which is pretty impressive and will allow you to use a variety of scope sizes.
The highly adjustable legs are made out of a tough, sturdy anodized aluminum. The legs can extend to sixty-seven inches, which is pretty impressive. Each of the legs features a three-section extension. In order to adjust one of the legs, simply flip the leg lever to unlock it. Next, you’ll slide the leg out to the desired length, then once again, engage the leg lever lock to keep it securely in place.
This model comes with a three-way pan and tilt head which will allow the user to easily track the action on the ground and in the sky. This is the best tripod for spotting scopes since it’s so versatile and allows you to easily and quickly adjust your viewing angle. With this model, you can easily control the tilt and pan action using just one hand. To make a vertical or horizontal adjustment, all you have to do is turn the handle counter-clockwise to free the head’s panning movements. Once you have the scope in the right position, you can then lock it by turning the handle clockwise.
How to Attach the Spotting Scope
Attaching your scope to the tripod is fast and simple. To do, you’ll simply, flip the plate lever lock out, setting it in the free position, then you’ll take off the tripod’s quick-release plate. Next, you’ll attach the spotting scope. Make sure you tighten the mounting bolt to the tripod, via the bottom of the plate. Next, you’ll flip the D-ring, placing it in a flat position.
Adjusting Tripod Height
To change the height of the tripod, you’ll need to loosen the center column using the adjustment knob.
This will come in handy in inclement weather. If you find yourself birding, searching for birds that fly at dusk, in windy conditions, instead of packing up and going, all you need to do is hang a weight from the balance hook to instantly stabilize the tripod and prevent it from shaking and wobbling during use.
This model weighs in at just six pounds and offers an impressive max weight capacity of ten pounds. The lightweight design will make it easier for the birder to haul this model to the birding sight, easily, and without causing user fatigue. Additionally, it’s higher weight capacity makes it more versatile, allowing you to use a variety of spotting scope models.
This lightweight model features a center pole that breaks into a couple of sections, which is what makes it so easy to use and adjust. With its aluminum build, it’s very stable and sturdy during use. However, while it scored big for its adjustability and ease of use, there is an issue with the quick-release plate. The lever is made out of a thick plastic that feels somewhat flimsy. Additionally, on other tripods, the tilt and pan feature comes with a couple of separate locks, so you can lock the pan and leave the tilt lock open.
This allows users to freely scan right and left. But with this model, there’s only a single lever for both pan and tilt, which can be difficult to get used to. While this feature will make it easier for beginners to operate the tripod, seasoned birders can struggle with this limited feature.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Lightweight design
- High max weight capacity
- Highly adjustable
- Fast set up
- Low price
- Single lever lock for tilt and pan
- Quick-release lever is made out of flimsy plastic
Vortex Optics Versus RetiCAM Tabletop Tripod
If you’re not looking for a full-size tripod, then this tabletop model by Reticam may be a better option. It’s much lighter than this model by Vortex Optics, coming in at just one and a half pounds. It comes with many of the same features, such as the three-way pan and tilt head, a quick-release mounting plate, and a durable aluminum frame.
However, it must be set on a stable flat surface for an optimal viewing experience. Of course, it’s lighter design is also a tradeoff in terms of how much weight it can handle. This model features a max weight capacity of just six pounds, which can be a deal-breaker for some potential buyers depending on the weight of their spotting scope. Overall, it’s still a great buy for the birder looking for a sturdy, durable tabletop model.
Conclusion and Rating
This model by Vortex Optics is loaded with some great features and offers the type of highly adjustable design that all birders are looking for. The quick-release feature, combined with the highly adjustable legs will allow you to achieve optimal viewing conditions. Additionally, the leg locking feature combined with the balance hook will ensure the tripod remains securely and firmly in place, even during windy conditions. I gave this model a rating of four and a half out of five stars.