Best Tripod for Astrophotography: 2020’s Top Picks

Best Tripod for Astrophotography - curiouscapture.com
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There are a lot of accessories a photographer will need to get that amazing shot. One of the most important pieces of equipment is a good tripod. This is especially true if you are an astrophotographer. You will need to be steady and sturdy for those long exposure shots and higher intensity magnification.

In order to choose the right tripod, there are a few things that you will want to pay attention to as you sift through all the available options. These factors are the same ones we used to craft this list of the best tripod for astrophotography options.

These main factors are:

  • Materials & Durability – Look for a tripod that is lightweight, as well as durable and stable.
  • Movement of the Ball Head – You want to be able to pan and tilt easily.
  • Load Capacity – Some cameras can be a little heavy without a lens, so when you add the weight of a large telephoto lens, you will want a tripod that can handle it.
  • Height Adjustment – You want a tripod that has a decent amount of height adjustment capability for your ease of use.

With that in mind, let's dive into the five tripods that we think are some of the best among the many options on the market today.

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Comparison Chart

Best Tripod for Astrophotography Reviews

Celestron Heavy-Duty Altazimuth Tripod

Our first tripod can handle the heft and length of refractor telescopes or cameras easily, so you can catch all the wonder and beauty of a night’s sky. It is designed to give astrophotographers the ability to go hands-free, and that is one giant step for tripods.

Review

Building a good tripod comes down to the features and the materials used in the product. Celestron realizes this, and that is why they have been one of the go-to brands in optics for decades. With this model, they maintained the level of excellence by including the following features:

  • Aluminum legs that extend
  • Durable mount head
  • Mounting screw sliding
  • Slow-mo cables for altitude and azimuth
  • Load – 10 lbs.
  • Height – 45”

There is a lot to love about this tripod from Celestron. It is crafted with high-quality aluminum and fitted with legs that are easy to adjust. This gives the tripod extra stability while still being lightweight. Where this model shines, though, is the cable operating system that allows for great control of fine movements. This combines to make a great investment for those photographers who love to capture a beautiful night sky.

There are some drawbacks that we would be remiss without mentioning. Both of the major issues have to do with adjustments. With this model, there are some limits to the adjustments. Tracking an object is a little difficult, as there is a point where the system stops moving completely. There is also the limited declination ability, and for some, these issues may be enough to make them keep looking.

In the end, if you are looking for a lightweight, easy-to-transport option, then the Celestron Azimuth tripod could be a winner for you.

PROS

  • Heavy-duty and stable
  • Built with lightweight materials
  • High-quality, cable-operated system for fine controls
  • Price versus value is excellent

CONS

  • Tracking an object for a long period of time is difficult (limited range of fine adjustment)
  • Limited declination

Orion 5378 Paragon HD-F2 Heavy Duty Tripod

This tripod is heavy-duty and crafted to offer stability and versatility of use. With the Paragon, the team at Orion has tried to bring you a tripod that is functional and budget-friendly.

Review

Like Celestron, Orion has been a name in optics and camera accessories for decades. The company has strived to deliver quality products that are durable and affordable. With the 5378 Paragon, they have certainly done this. To bring you those attributes, the engineers and designers made sure the tripod was built with these features:

  • Adjustable legs and lever locks
  • Two-way fluid pan with tension adjustment controls
  • Tri-braced leg design
  • Load – 7 lbs.
  • Height – 72”
  • Quick-release shoe

Simplicity sometimes leads to excellence. The Orion 5378 doesn’t have a lot of external frills, but it is made using premium-grade aluminum with tri-braced legs to enhance the stability of the unit. The smooth, built-in controls are easy to use and give the photographer excellent control of the finer adjustments. Then, when you add in the ease of assembly, set up, and adjustment, you get an excellent design that will elevate your night-time photography capabilities.

That being said, there are a few design issues that may detract a bit from the performance of the piece. The first is that the pan does not lock down. This means that the head moves easily, which could be bad for some of those long exposure shots. Other than that, the unit's lightweight build may be a problem for those photographers who use a heavier camera set-up.

All in all, if you are an astrophotographer who uses a smaller camera and does a lot of panning to catch shots, then this tripod is a great choice for you.

PROS

  • Simple to adjust
  • Easy to assemble and set up
  • Built-in systems for smooth control
  • Tri-braced legs for enhanced support

CONS

  • Pan doesn’t lock down – moves easily
  • Too lightweight for larger cameras

Andoer Professional 67 Inch Tripod

This next tripod is created with a fluid, hydraulic, quick release and is able to hold up to 22 pounds of weight. The amazing features and design of this tripod make it the perfect option for any night-time star gazing.

Review

Andoer is not to be outdone amongst a field of competition, so they designed a tripod that is versatile in use. Whether you are capturing stills or videos, this tripod has everything you need for amazing astrophotography (or videography).

In order to bring their customers this high-performance tripod, they included the following features:

  • Premium-grade aluminum
  • Telescoping legs
  • Height – 67”
  • Load – 8 lbs.
  • Built-in bubble level
  • Non-slip rubber feet

Durability and stability are the two words that come to mind when we look at this model. Most tripods use plastic components to help with the weight issue, but Andoer wanted to elevate the durability of the unit. To do this, they used premium-grade metal parts, including the movement plate. This tripod offers smooth and easy-to-adjust panning and tilting to help you capture everything. You can also lock it for long exposures and not worry about the camera moving at all, because it has a secure locking system.

There are only a few issues that we found with this tripod, and none of them have to do with performance. The tripod comes with a carry bag, which is great for portability. Unfortunately, the bay is not as high quality as the tripod itself and tends to break. The price may be a concern for some, as well. While it is not the most expensive option on the market, it is a bit higher priced for an aluminum tripod.

Perhaps you are not concerned with the price and are fine with purchasing your own carry bag, or perhaps you don’t transport your setup often. If so, the fact that you have so much control over your shots should be enough to consider this option as your go-to astrophotography tripod.

PROS

  • Durable due to the use of metal parts
  • Nice, smooth head for improved panning and tilting
  • Crafted with heavy-duty weight and improved stability
  • Does not wiggle or move – tight lock

CONS

  • Issues with the durability of the carry bag
  • Some may find the price a little too expensive

Davis & Sanford PROVISTA18 Tripod

The PROVISTA18 is the next tripod. Built with smooth controls and a system that is easy to set up, the team at Davis & Sanford has brought their customers a great option for astrophotography.

Review

In order to deliver the best quality tripod for any type of photography, there are a few set features that have to be present. Davis & Sandford made sure to include top-notch features in the design of the PROVISTA18. Some of these features and attributes include:

  • Gear-centered column w/ self-locking feature
  • Good-quality pan and tilt head
  • Quick-release built into the tripod
  • Fitted with non-skid runner feet
  • Height – 78”
  • Load – 10 lbs.

The PROVISTA18 is built with care, and this is one of the best options available to photographers. The use of high-grade materials has brought the photography world a sturdy and durable tripod option. On top of that, this unit comes with a couple of great additions. Things like an extra release plate and well-made carry bag all serve to elevate the performance, comfort, and usability of this model. It is also easily adjusted, and that is why it has found itself on our list of the best tripods.

Now, even with all the ease of use and performance, there are still a few areas we feel could be improved upon. It is sturdy, but only on flat ground. Some have had issues on uneven ground, so we feel that it is not as good for rugged photography where you have to hike to the site of your photoshoot. The head is also a little bit of a problem. It lacks the much finer adjustments that most astrophotographers would like.

If you are someone who works in areas where the ground is fairly level and doesn't need a lot of adjustment, then you may want to consider this tripod when making your decisions.

PROS

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Comes with a good quality carry bag
  • Comes with an extra quick-release plate
  • Has good height adjustment capability

CONS

  • Issues with the level of leg adjustment – not good on uneven surfaces
  • Head lacks fine adjustments

Dolica GX650B204 Proline GX Series Tripod

Our last entry is an aluminum tripod that is not only lightweight but offers good stability for most astrological viewing. Dolica has built a tripod that can hold a good deal of weight and go anywhere with you. This may be one of the best travel tripods on our list.

Review

Dolica is a newer company that wanted to bring consumers the products they were looking for. To do this, they assembled a team of professionals and let them decide what features and attributes should be added to the products.

When it came to this tripod, the team decided that the following were the most important things to include in the design:

  • Center column stability
  • Flip-leg locks
  • Built-in bubble level
  • Quad-angle leg adjustment locks
  • Height – 65”
  • Load – 5.5 lbs.

Our last entry is certainly no slouch when it comes to performance and quality. The tripod was built with superior materials and designed to be very stable when in use. Even with all the features and attributes, it is still lightweight and easy to transport, which is just what every photographer wants. The unit is built with durable and easy-to-use flip locks. As an added extra, the ball head is marked with degree markings. This will help you make sure that all your shots are exactly what you want.

Now, there are some issues that could cause some problems with the execution of your shoot. The first is that, unlike other models, the handle is not removable, which may make panning difficult. The other issue that we have found is that it just doesn’t hold up to rugged photography as well as other options. It is not as stable on extremely uneven ground and is a little too lightweight when it comes to wind.

Those who are looking for a great option for flatter, less windy areas and who aren’t concerned with panning may find this to be the perfect choice for their needs.

PROS

  • Durable flip locks
  • Ball head comes with degree markings
  • Good stability
  • Lightweight and easy to transport

CONS

  • No removable handle for panning
  • Not good for rugged photography

FINAL VERDICT

Trying to get a crisp, clean shot of the night sky without a tripod is nearly impossible. With the additional weight of the lens and the larger magnification, one simple sway of the hand can destroy a shot you have been waiting hours for.

In order to prevent that from happening, investing in a good quality tripod seems like an essential purchase. There are many great options available, but by using our selected features, we were able to find five of the best tripod options for astrophotography.

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