The Binocular Tripod Adapter

Binocular Reviews Home > binocular accessories > binoculars tripod adapter

One of the most commonly used binocular accessories are adapters that enable you to attach you pair of binoculars to a tripod that are usually referred to as a binocular tripod adapter or a binocular tripod mount. Before we take a look at some of the best tripod adapters and binoculars that can be used with them, I thought that it may be useful to take a look at why and in which circumstances you may want to attach your binoculars to a tripod.

Why Attach your Binocular to a Tripod?
Obviously mounting your binoculars to a tripod is usually done to steady they image, be this because the binoculars are of a very high magnification or in some cases for people who have unsteady or shaky hands. Other people use a tripod for convenience freeing up their hands to do something else or if you want your binoculars trained onto a specific subject for long periods of time, like a wildlife artist for example. Hunters and wildlife enthusiasts will also sometimes mount their binoculars onto a tripod if they are located at a fixed vantage point making it easier for them to scan wide areas looking for game.

Vanguard Screw Type Tripod AdapterWhich Binoculars are Tripod Adaptable?
Binoculars with very high magnifications are far harder to hold steady in the hands as the magnification amplifies any movement and as such they are the ones that are usually attached to a tripod. Because of this most binoculars designed for astronomy or specific long distance viewing binoculars are either tripod adaptable or come with an integrated built-in tripod adapter, but even many "normal" full size binoculars like 8x42's and some compacts can be used with this type of screw thread tripod adapter.

Screw Thread Binocular Tripod Adapters

This is the most commonly used type. The binocular tripod mount for these adapters is usually located behind a covering cap on the central pivoting point of your binoculars. Once you take the covering screws off it allows you to then screw in the adapter on and then attach it to your tripod.

Not all Screw Thread adapters are the same
If your binoculars are tripod adaptable and can take a screw thread adapter, it is important to make sure you get an adapter that fits them and I am not just talking about the actual screw thread. It has more to do with the size of the nut that you use to screw the adapter into the binoculars. With a porro prism binocular that has the barrels set far apart it is not a problem, but because the distance between the two barrels is a lot smaller on many roof prism binoculars, it is important not to get one that is either very difficult to screw in, or indeed too large to screw in at all.

This all probably sounds a little confusing, but it isn't, take a look at the image on the right that probably explains it better than I can in words or at the shot video I made below.

Other types of Tripod Adapters

Not all binoculars have a screw thread and rather annoyingly the thread sizes are not all the same for all makes of binoculars. So it is often best to select the adapter made by the same manufacturer as the binoculars. Another type of adapter is one that I call the Central Shaft Adapter that fits to the central shaft that you often find on porro prism binoculars. If your binoculars do not have the thread or a central shaft, most binoculars can still be attached to a tripod using a Universal Binocular Tripod Adapter (see below) that straps your binocular onto the adapter that then fixes to the tripod.

 

Nikon Binocular Tripod Adaptor - threaded models

Nikon actually make a number of different tripod adapters that will fit their and many other brands of binoculars. If you have or are going to purchase a pair of Nikon binoculars, it is advisable to choose one of the adapters that is designed for your specific model.

Nikon Action & Marine Seris Tripod adapterNikon Binocular Tripod Adapter (Action and Marine Series)
Compatible Nikon binoculars include all the Action series, the Action zoom series, Action EX series, 7x50CF WP/7x50CF WP Compass, 7x50IF WP/7x50IF WP Compass and the 10x50 CF WP binoculars.


Nikon TRA-3 Tripod / Monopod AdapterNikon TRA-3 Tripod / Monopod Adapter
The Nikon TRA-3 Tripod Adapter makes it possible to mount certain Nikon binoculars onto a monopod or tripod with a 1/4 inch screw thread. The compatible Nikon binoculars include the Monarch, Action and Action Zoom series, plus the 7x50CF WP/7x50CF WP Compass, 7x50IF WP/7x50IF WP Compass and 10x50CF WP models.

Where to Buy & Prices
Nikon Tripod adapters range from about $16 to $40 in the US or about £20 to £30 in the UK:

Shop In the USANikon Tripod Adapters on Amazon.com

Shop In the UKNikon Adapters on Warehouseexpress.com

 

 

Vanguard BA-185 Tripod AdapterVanguard Binocular Tripod Adapters (BA-185 and BA-168)

Vanguard currently produce two adapters: The Vanguard BA-185 tripod adapter is made of metal and so whilst it is not the lightest material, it is very strong. It fits easily to most tripods and certainly any Vanguard tripod. It has a drilled hole to accept the location pin on the tripod head which stops the adapter from swiveling during use. The thread is turned by an extending finger knob which has been designed for maximum efficiency and comfort; it extends allowing the adapter to be used where other adapters would be impossible to tighten. The standard thread pulls the binocular on to a rubber seating pad which protects the instrument while at the same time holding it firmly in place.

Vanguard BA-168 Tripod AdapterThe Vanguard BA-168 Binocular Mount is another style that is 5" high and fits all Vanguard full-size binoculars. Unlike the BA-185, this one is made of a plastic type material and is therefore lighter, but not as strong and the height can mean that it prone to more movement, so probably not ideal for giant binoculars, but perfectly fine for standard and compact ones. Because this adapter has a wider nut that you use to screw into your binoculars, it may not fit all roof prism binoculars, or binoculars with barrels that are close together. If this is the case or you are unsure, I would opt for the BA-185 tripod adapter above.

Where to Buy & Prices
This adapter costs around $10 to $20 in the US or about £10 to £20 in the UK:

Shop In the USAVanguard Tripod Adaptor on Amazon.com

Shop In the UKVanguard Tripod Adapter on Amazon.co.uk

 

 

Bushnell Binocular Tripod AdapterBushnell Binocular Tripod Adaptor

Bushnell don't go into much detail on their website about their adapter, in fact what they do say is not strictly true: "Makes any binocular tripod-ready. Recommended for prolonged observation with any binocular of 10x or more."

They won't make any binocular "tripod-ready" but the Bushnell Tripod Adapter will fit binoculars that have a 1/4"-20 threaded tripod socket and fix your binoculars to a standard tripod.

Where to Buy & Prices
This adapter costs around $15 to $20 in the US or about £15 to £20 in the UK:

Shop In the USABushnell Tripod Adaptor on Amazon.com

Shop In the UKBushnell Tripod Adapter on Amazon.co.uk

 

 

Universal Binocular Tripod Adapters

Most universal adapters have a curved base and an adjustable strap that are easy to use and allows for binoculars of many sizes to be mounted to them and then attached to a tripod:

Zeiss Universal Tripod Adapter with tripodZeiss Universal Binofix Tripod Adapter (528387)

Zeiss recommend their universal tripod adapter (Part No. 528387) for use with their Victory FL 7x42, 8x42 and 10x42 binoculars, but it also works with many other of their binoculars as well as other brands of binoculars. The Binofix adapter has a curved base upon which to place the binocular, with anti-slip surfaces right where the binoculars' barrels would rest. The stalk which attaches to the tripod is deliberately offset, so that the pan/tilt arm of your tripod or monopod's head will be out of the way of your face.

The Zeiss Universal Tripod Adapter makes a great tripod accessory for mounting your binocular onto an existing tripod, or for using the same tripod for different-sized binoculars.

Zeiss Universal Binofix Tripod AdapterWhere to Buy & Prices
This adapter costs around $150 to $200 in the US or about £115 in the UK:

Shop In the USAZeiss Binofix Adapter on Amazon.com

Shop In the UKZeiss Binofix on Warehouseexpress.com

 

 

Manfrotto 035BN Binocular Super ClampManfrotto 035BN Binocular Super Clamp

Ideally suited to porro prism binoculars, but will clamp onto any binocular with a tube size from 13 to 55mm. The Manfrotto Binocular Super Clamp is designed to securely hold one of the barrels of your binoculars and is then attached to your tripod head. This binocular clamp is especially useful for binoculars without a traditional tripod moutning thread to be attached to a tripod or monopod.

The Manfrotto 035BN binocular clamp has a load capacity of 15kg. Clamp range round tube: 13-55mm. Attachment to the tripod ot your tripod headc(bottom): 16mm hexagonal + M5 & 1/4" threads. Weight: 0.25kg.

Where to Buy & Prices
This adapter costs around $30 in the US or about £25 in the UK:

Shop In the USAManfrotto Binocular Super Clamp on Amazon.com

Shop In the UKManfrotto Binocular Super Clamp on Amazon.co.uk

 

 

Central Shaft Tripod Adapters

Another type of binocular tripod adapter, is one that attaches to binoculars, usually porro prisms that have a central shaft.

Nikon Tripod AdapterNikon Binocular Tripod Adapter (E Series, Superior E, Astronomy Series & Zoom XL)

This adapter weighs only 0.42 pounds and allows you to easily mount your Nikon E2, Superior E, Astronomy series, or Zoom XL binocular to a tripod. It is also compatible with any binocular with a central shaft up to 14 millimeters in diameter, Use with any tripod head with a 1/4-inch-20 threaded screw.

Usable models

  • 7x50IF HP WP Tropical
  • 8x32SE CF/10x42SE CF/12x50SE CF
  • 18x70IF WP WF
  • 7x50IF SP WP/10x70IF SP WP
  • 10x70IF HP WP
  • 8x30E II/10x35E II

Where to Buy & Prices
These Nikon Tripod adapters range from about $35 to $40 in the US or about £30 to £40 in the UK:

Shop In the USANikon Tripod Adapters on Amazon.com

Shop In the UKNikon Adapters on Warehouseexpress.com

 

 
 
 

Advertisement

 
 

Advertising Opportunities

Advertising opportunities on Best Binocular Reviews
>> Contact Me

 

Annual Bino Awards

Annual Binocular Awards
Best Binocular Reviews Annual Binocular Awards 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014
>> More Details.