12 Best Spotting Scope Tripods // 2020 Buyer’s Guide8 min read

Table of Contents

In this post I’m going to personally review the 12 best spotting scope tripods.

I dive into each tripod to uncover the pros and cons in terms of quality, build, important features, etc.

So make sure to read the post until the end. That way you can make the best decision for you!

12 Best Spotting Scope Tripods

#1 Pick (Under $100) - Bushnell 784030 Advanced Tripod - $$4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)
AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod - $4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod - $$4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
RetiCAM Tabletop Tripod with 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head - $4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)
Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Heavy Duty Tripod - $$4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)
Celestron 82050 TrailSeeker Tripod - $$4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Vanguard Alta 233AO Aluminum Alloy Tripod - $$$3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)
Vortex Optics High Country Tripod - $$4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)
Manfrotto Element Traveller - $$$4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)
Bushnell Titanium Tripod - $$$4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)
Gitzo Lightweight Series 1 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod - $$$$4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)
Manfrotto MK190X3-2W Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit - $$$4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Things to Consider Before Buying to Get the Best Spotting Scope Tripod

The best spotting scope tripod is one that works for your standard use case.

If you’re a world traveler who photographs the rugged corners of the globe, then a tripod with durability and transportability is probably what you want.

However, if your bread and butter is in nature photography, where you sit in silence waiting for the perfect moment, then a tripod that is highly rated for stability would be your best asset so you can show off your hard-earned efforts in crisp detail.

With that said, there are a few basics to consider when choosing a tripod:

Maximum Weight

Tally up how much your equipment weighs (lens, body, flash, etc.) and ensure the tripod you choose can handle that load.

Durability

If you’re not going to take your tripod on a hike into the mountains, then durability may not be as much of a factor in your buying decision.

However, if you plan on being in or around rugged terrain than it certainly should be.

Height

How tall are you? Do you kneel or stand when shooting?

These are things to consider when you research your next tripod.

A too-short tripod is going to do you no good while a full-size tripod for someone who shoots on a tabletop isn’t just awkward but often unmanageable.

Panning

How often do you pan? If you’re taking video, then that might be an important feature.

If you’re a wildlife photographer, then you also may require a camera with easy panning. Some tripods pan well and some do not.

Price

The truth is, the cheaper the tripod is the cheaper the materials. However, there is often some great middle ground to be found between price and quality.

The 12 Best Spotting Scope Tripods

Bushnell 784030 Advanced Tripod

best spotting scope tripod

The Bushnell 784030 tripod is a full-size tripod perfect for extended sessions in the outdoors.

While this tripod may be overkill for shooting in your backyard or, say, a wedding venue, it’s the kind of equipment you’d be happy to have in the Appalachian Mountains for wildlife and nature photography.

It can withstand the bumps and wear and tear that hiking brings with it.

 

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4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Padded foam legs keep your hands away from hot or cold metal, depending on your climate
  • Smooth three-way pan and tilt gives you plenty of versatility when shooting

Cons

  • The unit is durable but heavy so it’s great for outdoors but maybe a pain to carry
  • Leg extenders are not quick releasing, meaning you have to take a little extra time to maneuver them

AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag

best spotting scope tripod

If you’re new to photography, then AmazonBasics products are often your best friend.

They’re typically the cheapest option and the quality, while leaving a bit to be desired, is good enough to let you flex your photographic muscle without making a huge investment.

Just remember that, once you grow out of this tripod to upgrade to something better.

 

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4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • You can’t beat the price
  • Two bubble levels give you a fair amount of control over the straightness

Cons

  • It can topple over easily if not careful
  • The pivot controls can be difficult to maneuver

Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod

best spotting scope tripod

If you’re a seasoned professional looking for the “best of the best” and aren’t afraid to pay for it then the Vortex Optics Pro GT is the tripod for you.

It’s rugged, it’s flexible, and it’s easy to adjust.

Once you attempt to adjust this tripod and it pivots for you like it’s on bearings you’ll realize just how much spending the extra money is worth.

 

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4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • The rubber feet give this tripod extra slip resistance
  • The entire tripod is incredibly sturdy and durable due to its anodized aluminum material

Cons

  • It can be a bit heavy
  • Some slight wobbling can occur due to its weight

RetiCAM Tabletop Tripod with 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head

best spotting scope tripod

The biggest and best tripod isn’t always the best choice, especially if you’ve found a niche in food or product photography.

Sometimes a tabletop tripod is exactly what you need. However, tabletop tripods tend to be cheap afterthoughts.

The RetiCAM Tabletop tripod is designed for professionals and has the features that’ll give you what you need during a professional shoot.

 

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4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • It has a short footprint but can extend surprisingly high
  • Three-way pan and tilt give you the maneuverability that most tabletop tripods lack

Cons

  • Many consumers report that it’s difficult if not impossible to get this tripod complete level
  • Because of its small size, it could be dangerous to affix a large and/or heavy camera

Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Heavy Duty Tripod

best spotting scope tripod

While ruggedness tends to mean extra weight, the Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 offers durability in a lighter frame due to its aluminum body.

Lightweight can also mean less stability, but thanks to the Orion’s spiked feet you can really dig into the terrain and keep your tripod from slipping.

The Orion could be a great asset for long shoots in rugged terrain.

 

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4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pros

  • Spiked legs add extra durability
  • The heavy-duty frame is made of aluminum so its lightweight

Cons

  • The legs will slip when extended even when locked
  • The pan head lock slips a bit

Celestron 82050 TrailSeeker Tripod (Black)

best spotting scope tripod

Sometimes photographers would rather sacrifice durability for transportability.

That’s where the Celestron 82060 Trailseeker comes in.

The Trailseeker’s legs extend out in four sections rather than three, making it more compact when completely condensed.

Moreover, the whole tripod fits snugly into a shoulder bag making it even easier to carry with you.

 

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4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros

  • Super transportable—a great lightweight spotting scope tripod
  • The quick-release plate makes removing your camera easy

Cons

  • Its light frame means its less sturdy
  • Pan and tilting can be a little finicky

Vanguard Alta 233AO Aluminum Alloy Tripod with 2-Way Magnesium Alloy Pan Head

best spotting scope tripod

This is a solid full-size tripod ideal for those who need a tripod that can support your heavy-duty spotting scope.

This type of tripod is intended to support heavy-duty spotting scopes with an objective lens diameter of 80mm.

It comes with a nice carrying case and a quick-release plate for fast set up.

The foam legs allow for a comfortable carrying experience, which is great if you are taking it on a long trip.

This is an overall great tripod for your spotting scope that made of durable and high-quality aluminum.

 

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3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Pros

  • Feels and performs solid – built to last
  • Ideal for glassing — a secure locking mechanism can hold the spotting scope in place
  • Tripod offers great weight capacity and can collapse easily when you want it to

Cons

  • Can be jerky when panning
  • Heavier weight capacity of 11 lb/5 kg

Vortex Optics High Country Tripod

best spotting scope tripod

This tripod is the lightweight counterpart of the Vortex Optics GT Tripod.

It’s intended to support scopes with an objective lens diameter of 45mm to 60mm.

The ballhead is easy to adjust and scan.

It is a lightweight, compact, and resistant tripod that’s built to be taken alongside traveling journeys.

The legs can also be splayed down very low, which is ideal for hunting and target shooting.

 

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Both sturdy and lightweight — great for backpacking adventures
  • Great for spotting scopes but also works for binoculars
  • Rubberized feet prevent it from slipping

Cons

  • Narrow legs can wobble a little but still very durable even in stronger wind conditions

Manfrotto Element Traveller Small Aluminum 5-Section Tripod Kit with Ball Head, Element Small 56.3″, Red

best spotting scope tripod

This tripod is easy to mount and dismount. It’s ideal for supporting objectives of 45mm to 70mm.

The removable center column allows for the tripod to get low to the ground and the rubberized grips on the twist lock prevent any slippage. 

This is a portable tripod that’s suited for hikes, backpacking journeys, and overall travelling adventures.

The tripod provides good stability and it’s easy to mount and dismount. 

 

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4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros

  • Legs are easy and quick to adjust
  • Comes with a nice carrying bag
  • Looks very sleek
  • Durable build

Cons

  • Ballhead can have a little bit of trouble rotating smoothly and it can come loose if not locked into place properly
  • Height can be a little shorter if you are on the taller side
  • Lock-legs can jam a bit if not careful

Bushnell Titanium Tripod

best spotting scope tripod

This is a great tripod for spotting scopes and binoculars that works effortlessly with objective lens diameters of 45mm to 70mm.

The three-position leg angle adjustment allows you to set it up really low for maximum stability (useful for prone shooting applications).

The legs can be maximally extended to about 63 inches.

The three-leg angles are excellent for setting up your tripod really low for maximum stability, which is ideal for prone shooting positions.

Overall this tripod is lightweight, and extremely durable.

It’s reasonably priced and it’s titanium construction provides an excellent balance between portability, sturdiness, and durability.

 

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4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pros

  • Excellent load capacity and great maximum height
  • Features a reversible center column
  • Easy and fast to setup
  • Easy to secure, attach, and detach
  • Works in prone position

Cons

  • A bit heavy for long hiking distances
  • Does not come with a carrying bag

Gitzo Lightweight Series 1 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod with Center Ball Head, Silver & Black (GK1545T-82TQDUS)

best spotting scope tripod

This tripod is for those who are serious about their gear and willing to invest a lot of money.

It’s best at supporting spotting scopes with an objective lens diameter of upwards to 75mm. 

It is pretty expensive but it is well worth the money.

This tripod folds up quite small and extends quite high and the center column is removable and can be used to view from the ground level. 

This is a different high-end tripod that’s excellent for professionals.

Overall it’s great for birdwatching, target shooting, and hunting. You can also it for still and video photography!

 

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4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Fluid, smooth, and easy to control ballhead stays secure and locked in
  • Lightweight and offers great payload
  • Compact and easy to carry/pack

Cons

  • Does not come with carrying case
  • Bit pricy for some people

Manfrotto MK190X3-2W Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit with XPRO Fluid Head ,Black

best spotting scope tripod

This tripod is not only great for birdwatchers but also be used for photography and capturing videos.

It is a great multi-functional tripod and is best suited for optics with 80mm or less. Some optics might make it less stable.

This tripod can easily adapt in different conditions and is easy to use in rougher terrains. The specifications and extra features of this tripod make it shine in terms of durability, stability, and an excellent height range when in full extension.

 

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4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros

  • Includes a rotating bubble-level
  • Has great height
  • A smooth panhead
  • Sleek looking carrying case

Cons

  • Can be shaky if left unattended
  • A bit pricey

Concluding Remarks

Those were my 12 picks for the best spotting scope tripods for the money!

Personally, I would recommend the Vanguard Alta 264AO for its sleek design, flexibility, and great value and the Bushnell 784030 Advanced Tripod for the #1 pick under $100!

I’d also recommend the Vortex Optics Pro GT Tripod is another excellent tripod that’s rock solid and well-made.

Whichever option you pick from the list I hope you have a great time using your spotting scope tripod!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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