There are many different materials that tripods can be made of, including aluminum, carbon fiber, and wood. While it might seem like wooden tripods are a thing of the past, some birders still swear by them. In this article we’ll find out exactly why.
We will consider the pros and cons of wood tripods in terms of their stability, weight, durability, and appearance. We compare wood tripods to other materials, such as aluminum and carbon fiber, to help you decide which is the best choice for your needs.
Read on to find out whether or not a wood tripod is a good choice for a bird watching spotting scope in this century!
The good and bad of wood tripods
If you’re looking for a quick summary of the main benefits and drawbacks of wooden tripods, here it is.
Advantages of wooden tripods
- More stability in windy conditions, less vibration than carbon fiber or aluminum tripods
- More aesthetically pleasing than other types of tripods
- Durable and long-lasting material
- Do not conduct heat or cold as readily as metal tripods, so can be more comfortable to use
- May be more suitable for use in environments where metal tripods could sustain damage, such as in wet or sandy conditions
Disadvantages of wooden tripods
- Likely to be heavier than aluminum or carbon fiber
- May be more prone to damage or wear and tear over time
- A top quality wooden tripod may be more expensive
The history and popularity of wood tripods
As you can imagine, wood tripods have been used for decades. They have a long history in the industry of bird watching and wildlife photography.
They were once the most popular choice for birders and photographers due to their sturdiness and durability. In fact, some of the earliest tripods were made entirely out of wood.
Over time, newer materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber have become more popular. These metals have a lighter weight. They are usually also more durable.
However, wood tripods have still maintained a certain level of popularity. This is particularly true among those who prefer a more traditional or classic look.
Wooden tripods are often chosen for their warmth and natural aesthetic, as well as their durability and stability. They can also be a good choice for bird watchers who need a tripod that can withstand rugged or harsh environments.
Overall, the choice between a wood tripod and one made from a different material ultimately comes down to personal preference and your specific needs.
The benefits of wood tripods
Natural look and feel
Wood tripods have a classic and natural look that may appeal to some users. They can also be a good choice for photographers and birdwatchers who prefer a more traditional aesthetic.
One advantage of wood tripods is that they can provide a more natural and stealthy appearance in outdoor environments. This can be particularly useful for birdwatchers who want to blend in with their surroundings without disturbing the birds they are observing.
Some types of wood, such as oak or beech, are known for their durability and strength. A well-made wood tripod can last for many years with proper care.
Wood tripods tend to be heavier than their aluminum or carbon fiber counterparts. But this added density actually helps to stabilize the tripod and improve its performance in challenging conditions.
When you’re in a store, you might not notice a difference between a wood tripod and a carbon one. But once you’re outside in the wind, you’ll see that a wood tripod doesn’t shake as much as a carbon one.
Wood is a good conductor of heat. This can be beneficial for digiscopers or photographers who use long exposures in hot weather. The wood can help to dissipate heat from the camera, preventing it from overheating.
Wood is known for its ability to absorb vibrations. This is helpful in reducing camera shake. This can be particularly useful for birdwatchers using a spotting scope. It assists in getting a stable and shake-free view of the birds.
Drawbacks of wood tripods
Of course there’s no denying that a wood tripod weighs more. While it may be slightly heavier at around 3 kg (including the tripod head), for some it is worth the investment. It does of course require extra effort to carry it.
However, it is important to note that not all wood tripods are created equal. It is important to choose a tripod made from decent, sturdy wood that is able to support the weight of the spotting scope.
Top quality costs top dollar
Some might argue that to get the best performance from your spotting scope, you should consider using a high-quality wood tripod. The advantages of a top quality wooden tripod can really be noticed at high magnifications of 40x or above.
A wooden tripod made by a company such as Berlebach can withstand wind much better than a carbon fiber or aluminum tripod.
Can be susceptible to damage
As well as choosing a well-constructed tripod, it’s worth looking for features that enable it to withstand the elements. Many wood tripods are be highly durable. They last for many years with proper care.
Consider compatibility with your spotting scope
Wood tripods can vary in their compatibility with different spotting scopes. So it’s important to check the specification of each product to ensure a good fit.
Any tripod must be able to support the size and weight of your spotting scope. It also must have the necessary mounting plate and connections to accommodate your scope.
Some wood tripods may have proprietary mounting plates or connections that require extra adaptors for use with certain brands of spotting scope. An additional factor is the durability and resistance to wear and tear of the materials used in the mounting plate.
So, is a wooden tripod the best option for you?
Overall, if you are looking for a tripod that can handle rough terrain and extreme weather, a wood tripod is a good option to consider.
Wooden tripods are generally more stable and less prone to shaking in windy conditions. That benefits birding spotting scopes as they require a stable platform for clearest views.
The wood tripods can also be more durable. With proper care, they can last for a long period of time.
In addition, some people may prefer the natural aesthetic of a wooden tripod over a metal or carbon fiber one.
Finally, wood tripods can be compatible with a variety of spotting scopes and may have adjustable mounting plates to accommodate different sizes and weights.
What to consider when buying a wood tripod
One disadvantage of using a wooden tripod for a birding spotting scope is that they tend to be heavier than other materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber. This can make them less portable and more difficult to carry around when you are out birding.
Additionally, wood tripods may not be as durable as some other materials, and may not be as resistant to wear and tear over time.
Finally, wood tripods may not be compatible with all spotting scopes, as some may have mounting requirements that are not met by wooden tripods.
To compare what you’ve learned about these tripods with those made from other materials, feel free to take a look at these articles:
- 1 The good and bad of wood tripods
- 2 The history and popularity of wood tripods
- 3 The benefits of wood tripods
- 4 Drawbacks of wood tripods
- 5 So, is a wooden tripod the best option for you?