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The Scopes Advisor

Binocular Advisor

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Vortex STX Tripod

with Manfrotto 128RC Fluid Head

Review by Michael and Diane Porter, 2010

Vortex STX      Manfrotto 128RC

Best buy in a basic tripod and head for a spotting scope

The Vortex STX tripod is now our favorite tripod for use with a spotting scope. It's well engineered. It's sturdy. It's relatively lightweight.

Vortex STX TripodEach leg can spread independently to your choice of three angle settings, determined by a simple, fast, and easy-to-use catch at the top of each leg. This flexibility can be a great help when you're using your scope on very uneven ground.

It also provides an alternate way to lower the scope, by angling the legs out farther.

There's a level at the top of one leg to show you at glance whether you got everything even. A small compass is built in also.

Kind to your shoulder

Two of the legs have cushiony rubber wrapped around the top section

Leg LeversLeg locks and rubber feet

We like the way the legs lock to set the height of the scope. Their flip levers are dependable and easy to work. The non-slip rubber feet provide security when you're working on slick surfaces.

Specifications for legs alone:

Material: aluminum construction
Color: black
Leg sections: 3
Folded height: 29.5 inches
Folded width: 4.2 inches
Weight of legs: 4 pounds, 12 ounces


The tripod legs are under warranty from Vortex, the manufacturer, for three years after purchase.

A perfect match for the Vortex STX

We really like this tripod paired with our favorite moderately priced head, the Manfrotto 128RC. This head has a smooth panning motion that birders find ideal.

When you add the 128RC's 2.2 pounds to the weight of the legs, your tripod and head kit weighs a manageable 7 pounds. The maximum load is 8.9 pounds, which is more than adequate for an 85mm spotting scope, camera adapter, and small digital camera.

Price info for legs and head kit
Price info for legs only



Birdwatching Dot Com

Please call us toll free 800-779-7256 for advice on choosing scopes or other birding products.
FAX 641-472-7256
Birdwatching Dot Com Store
2197 236th Blvd.
Fairfield, IA 52556

Images and text are copyright 2009 Michael and Diane Porter.