Customer Reviews: Celestron Heavy-Duty Altazimuth Tripod
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on January 17, 2012
I bought this tripod to mount 25x100mm astronomical binoculars. The binoculars weigh 10.3 lbs. I bought this tripod because the vendor recommended this when I purchased the binoculars. Being an experienced observer, I should have researched the tripod instead of blindly buying it due to the vendor's recommendation & the Celestron name.

Positives: Minus the very cheesy, lightweight aluminum eyepiece tray that bends & dents by just looking at it (which I do not need since I use this for astronomical binoculars), this tripod is well-built and rock solid. Unlike some reviewers, I did not have any issues with "play" as the mounted binoculars are very secure & steady.

Negatives: The tripod, for astronomical purposes, is extremely limited in its usefulness. I would argue the name of the tripod - "Altazimuth Tripod" - to be misleading The tripod is really an azimuth tripod. Azimuth is equivalent to panning a mounted camera and refers to movement left and right - as in 360-degree rotation per compass bearings. What I didn't initially realize is that it is not made for altitude movement in that (1) You cannot observe anything high in the sky; and (2) the limited [altitude] movement it does have requires a wrench to change the altitude screw. To be perfectly clear, it is impossible to view anything overhead - and in fact anything higher than 25-30-degrees is quite uncomfortable if not impossible.

If one lives on a shoreline - and wishes to use this tripod for terrestrial viewing to observe ships offshore along the horizon - this is a very stable tripod. But for use with astronomical binoculars for celestial observation, the extremely limited altitude movement makes this tripod impractical.

NOTE: For astronomical binocular observation, look for a true ALT-AZ tripod that has a load rating at least twice the weight of your binoculars. 70-80mm binoculars typically require a minimum load rating of 16 lbs & 100mm binoculars require a minimum load rating of 20 lbs.
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on June 14, 2006
All metal construction (except for the knobs) make this a solid mount for a small to medium sized scope. I found very little problem with vibration using a C90 spotting scope at high powers. The sliding 1/4-20 mounting screw allows the scope to be balanced properly. The 1/4-20 adapter also appears to be removable in order to use scope rings or other mounting methods. The fine adjustment knobs offer limited range but precise adjustments for aiming a scope under high power or for tracking distant objects. The fine adjustment knobs are also connected by cables minimizing vibrations and a possible source of misalignment.

A minor quibble with the design of this tripod is the screw-in eyepiece holder which serves to add additional rigidity to the legs. I would have preferred a built-in locking mechanism instead. Another quibble is that the East-West panning axis must be locked for the fine controls to function properly.

The only major complaint I have - and I would have given this tripod 5 stars otherwise - is the design of the altitude/tilting mechanism. While the head can be locked for panning East-West, there is no corresponding up-down tilt locking mechanism. The head only offers a fixed tension for up-down tilting and no lock, unlike typical camera tripod heads (I believe you may be able to actually adjust the tension with a wrench but there is no knob or handle for doing this at will). Furthermore, there is no handle of any sort so in order to tilt the scope up or down, you must push and pull the scope itself to point it up and down which can put a great deal of stress on the single 1/4-20 mounting point. The ease of use of this tripod would have been much better with an adjustable locking tension knob or handle.

All in all, I am still rather pleased with this tripod. It is quite solid with little or no vibration problems and appears well-adapted for terrestrial viewing as well as short-term astronomical observing.

Note: For long-term astronomical viewing, I would instead suggest a German Equatorial Mount (GEM) such as the similarly priced Orion Min-EQ, EQ-1 or EQ-2 Equatorial Mounts or similar which are designed for the specific purpose of precisely tracking astronomical objects over time. Such mounts can even be motorized for this purpose.
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on October 22, 2006
It arrived in good shape, on time. It works fairly well with a Celestron C5, with one major problem. The elevation fine adjust has a huge amount of play, several degrees. The big adjustment screw has a preload or at least an end play adjustment, but the real problem comes from the nut in the middle of this screw. It can move around. The tiny phillips head screw that holds this part in place doesn't do much and eventually worked itself loose again. It may be missing a part, the tripod arrived with no instructions or drawings of any kind. The azimuth fine adjust did not have this problem.
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VINE VOICEon April 30, 2015
For the price, I don't think you are going to do much better than this. I scoured the internet and this was the best I found even at twice the price. The up sides are it is sturdy for its lightweight. The knobs which give you lateral and vertical adjustments in fine increments work smoothly and are quite adequate for small telescopes or large binoculars.

I agree with others that the eyepiece tray is flimsy and a pain in the butt. I do not like that there is no hard lock for the vertical axis as there is for the horizontal. It seems if one is going to be missing then the vertical one should have the hard lock. The weight of telescope and other accessories will put more pressure on the vertical friction clutches than the horizontal. Still, if you are under about 9 pounds I think you will be fine. At least with the adjustable threaded mount you can find a reasonable center of gravity for the scope. I also agree that the height might be a bit low, however the trade off is that the higher you go, the more vibrations seem to show up in the view.

I am using this on a Celestron C90 MAK scope. It was too much for my sturdiest, regular camera tripod. I have attached two photos to sow the set-up and one of the first photos I took of the moon.
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on May 17, 2006
I agree with the two previous reviewers. There needs to be a user manual and there isn't one. The fine adjustment will adjust the vertical angle maybe 15 degrees. This isn't very helpful for star gazing. The maximum height of the tripod is only 45 inches. This is an uncomfortable height for looking through binoculars while standing. Celestron should have a users guide showing how their tripod and binoculars are supposed to work together.
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on October 21, 2008
Bought this for my Celestron SkyMaster 100x25 binoculars. Bad choice (binoculars were a bad choice too). With the mounting screw firmly attached to the binocs, it still has a lot of play. Maybe with lighter binocs or a balanced scope it would work better, but this the the recommended tripod for the SkyMaster 100x25.
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on July 14, 2007
I'm not satisfied with this prduct. I bought it on trusting the Celestron product team. I wanted it to work well with the SkyMaster 25x100 bino. The parts and construction of the tripod have too many cheap metal and cheap plastic parts for cost of the product. I question how reliable and long lasting the core worm drives will be. As noted by other buyers the legs are too short and there seems to be no easy way to get around this with a table, etc. I now wonder if Amazon would buy it back? Also how will I find a suitable triod with having to buy it first? Amazon sold this to me for $99, now less than one month later the price is $35. $35 is more appropriate but possibly not worth the annoyances.
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on April 18, 2007
I have been very disappointed with this product. The overall height is wrong for any situation I can find to use it. I bought it to use with astronomy binoculars. It is too short to use standing and too tall to use sitting, at least for me. (I'm 5'9"). It is solid enough to not shake much and the fine adjustment works well. I would shop around before buying this one. If there were a height adjustment, it would be much better.
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on January 22, 2015
I bought this tripod for use with my Celestron 20x80 binoculars as an Amazon recommended package deal. I should have read the reviews first. The tripod itself is decent but it's not good for use with binoculars. It's too short to use effectively with binoculars unless you're looking below the sky or extremely shallow in the sky (no star viewing). The alt-azimuth adjustment cable/knobs get in the way when looking through the binoculars. You can leave them unconnected, but then you'll have no fine adjust. If connected, you have to move them to the side while looking through binoculars. To view anything in the sky, you have to get down on your knees, even for something at a shallow up-angle. There's no easy way to quickly adjust up and down other than pulling on the binoculars (a tilt handle would have been nice). The attachment knob is clumsy. It's hard to tell whether or not it's engaging in the mounting hole of the binoculars. For a telescope, you'd probably want a level on the stand so you don't become unbalanced when moving it around. If you're handy, you could build a parallelogram mount and stick it on this tripod with no problems (that's what I did). I made my parallelogram mount with wood for about $30. You do have to prevent the elevation axis from moving though. If you're not handy, a better choice for binoculars and stargazing would be the Orion Paragon Plus mount. No manual was included but it wasn't difficult to put together.
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on May 30, 2015
This is a strange tripod. I'm not sure who or what it's designed for. Here are the pros and cons:


+ It is relatively stable.
+ The feet on the bottom-- while spikes-- are not metal, so they can be used on most surfaces without scratching.
+ The cables and knobs are really great for small and smooth adjustments to horizontal and vertical


- As many other reviewers have mentioned, there is very little altitude adjustment available (i.e. this tripod would be useless for astronomy because you can't angle it up barely at all). The tripod is really only good for looking at terrestrial objects that are level with the horizon or slightly above. I bought this tripod for use with a spotting scope at the gun range, so this wasn't a deal-breaker, but be warned if you intend to attempt to use it for astronomy.
- The tripod is of very cheap construction. The legs are uncoated/unpainted matte aluminum, with cheap plastic tension clamps, and what appears to be pressed zinc metal head coated with a thick lacquer of cheap gray paint.
- The tripod is bulky and would not be easy to transport to the gun range or to a any remote location with low light pollution for astronomy use (e.g. up on a hill or out in a field).

Overall, I'm actually really upset that Celestron would sell and market this tripod the way they do. It's really dishonest. They are intentionally selling a very cheap tripod while giving it the appearance of being a quality product. With probably $10 in actual upgrades from the factory, this could be a decent tripod. But they want to create an artificial gap between their low-end cheap tripods and their high-end expensive tripods, so this tripod is artificially expensive. For the price of this tripod, I wasn't expecting a Manfrotto. But I was expecting something better.

I'm going to return this tripod and get a better one for half the price.
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