At long last, birdwatchers have a tripod head designed specifically for following the action of birds. Gitzo incorporates fluid cartridges to guarantee exceptionally smooth and controlled manuevering for tracking at a long distance and close to friction-free repostioning when the action speeds up. Once the bird settles in one spot, a single large control knob makes it a cinch to make pan and tilt adjustments to the head positon or lock it into position without any give or play. Add to all this the exceptionally light weight of only 1.5 pounds, amazingly low profile of 4.2 inches, and impressively strong load-bearing capability of 13.2 pounds, and this tripod head becomes the must-have for serious birdwatching.
|Quick Release Plate
||Allows quick attachment of equipment to a tripod head.
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Quality head for larger scopes
Jim from San Francisco
I've had this for a few weeks now, using with a Kowa 883 scope. This is the only head I've ever used with a scope, so no point of comparison, but it's solid kit. I like the single "wheel" knob for adjusting pan / tilt. It feels stable for the 85mm scope. Primary con for me is the very high price, but I've rarely been disappointed with Gitzo quality.
GH2720QR Head with Gitzo Traveler 2545T Tripod
Steve M. from Columbia, SC
A single knob will secure the head in place. The mount permits movement, which will allow the scope to be balanced on the head. With the scope balanced, the scope will stay in place (without securing), if no one bumps it. Head movement is smooth and fluid. The head allows wide and free panning motion. No vibration.
An excellent review of tripods and heads is in the November 2015 issue of ABA's Birder's Guide to Gear magazine, pages 10-17, by Bill Schmoker.
Finally, the folks at Eagle Optics are great to work with!
Quality Smooth Head
Jeff C. from Spring, TX
This was a family Christmas present and it's been a wonderful hit!
The Gitzo GH2720QR head was purchased along with a Swarovski 95mm objective, a Swarovski 65mm objective, a Swarovski Spotting Scope Rail II, and a Gitzo GS3542LS tripod. This setup is wonderful and will be enjoyed by my family for many years. With the exception of the tripod, all the gear was purchased at Eagle Optics. From my initial inquiries through purchase and delivery it was a wonderful experience with great communication and transparency, thank you Eagle Optics.
This head is a quality product that works wonderfully with a single knob to adjust pan and tilt.... I highly recommend.
GH2720 Birding Head with 2542 Mountaineer
Paul from WI
I purchased the GH2720 birding head to use with a Vortex Razor 20-60x85, and the Gitzo Mountaineer 2542. I initially tried this with the 1542 tripod, but it had a smaller base plate and no grub screw. It is a perfect fit for the 2542, however. The quality of the magnesium components is impressive; The base plate slides in easily, and locks in before needing tightening, such that it cannot fall out, even if the lever becomes loose. The base plate also has a locking pin for the scope, such that it will keep the scope from falling off due to a loose screw. Very nice indeed. The long base plate allows for about an inch of fore-aft adjustment for balance, though my scope requires it to be all the way aft. There is no counter-balance adjustment like the GH2180 has, so at high tilt angles, the control knob needs to be fairly tight.
The primary reason I went with this style head was the single large knob. Most heads have very small knobs to tighten the head, which are very difficult with arthritic thumbs. This feature makes it a 5 star product for me, and a nearly perfect fit. The downside to a single knob is that pan & tilt cannot be controlled separately. I've found in cold/wet conditions that the pan friction is too high, even with tilt friction all the way loose.
The stability of this head is very good with my 85mm scope. I compared to the GH1720, and the difference was significant. The smaller 1720 has far too much flex for a large scope even when completely tightened down.
The handle can be completely removed, and a separate cap put in place, which is nice, as a large scope is sometimes easier to move without a handle. I probably will not keep the handle mounted. If needed, it could easily be shortened by sliding off the foam handle (a tight friction fit) and sawing a bit off.
Last minor issue, I would prefer a larger lever for tightening down the plate. It moves very smoothly, though, and requires very little force to keep the plate locked.
Nice Spotting Scope Head
John R from TN
I have been looking for the holy grail of tripod heads for my spotting scopes for the last several years. I have had several scopes from Nikon, Pentax, Leupold and Swarovski in both angled and straight. I have used Manfrotto heads, (Model 3130), ball heads, and most recently the Swarovski DH101. I could never get the 3130 to keep the correct tension, especially on the pan adjustment. The Swarovski is nice but the non-metal head leaves a concern about durability and a recent return to Swarovski due to issues with the pan, started making noise, bears that out. My current scope is a Swarovski ATX 85 so a Manfrotto or Swarovski head allowed the scope foot to snap into the mount with no adapter plate needed. With the recent issue with the Swarovski head I decided to switch over to the new Gitzo head for bird watching.
The mount is definitely well built. Although an adapter plate is now needed it is unobtrusive. It requires you to slide it on and then tighten a side lever to lock it in place. To remove you loosen the side lever and then you have to push in a button on the opposite side to lower a pin that secures the mount from coming out even if the locking mechanism is loose. A little more hassle but easier to use than it sounds and with the cost of the scope a feature I like. The single adjustment for tension and to lock the mount is a bit sensitive but it is easy to get used to and I really like the single adjustment to lock the scope. If you want to be able to adjust the pan and up and down movement separately then you may want a different head.
Finally the handle can be easily adjusted for angle with the use of a coin to loosen a slotted head bolt. On the Swaro head you have to remove the scope to get at the screw that adjust the handle angle.
Bottom line is for me this head is the best compromise for the features I was looking for. If the foot of the Swaro scope would fit in the head without an adapter it would be perfect.
Finally the best thing about this is the technical support you get from the Eagle Optics crew. I have been buying from EO for about 15 years and they always give the best support in the business.
Dan E. from Massachusetts
I originally purchased this tripod head with digiscoping in mind. I really liked the idea of locking down both pan and tilt with one knob. What I found, however, when I connected just my scope (Swaro ATX 85mm) was that I really had to crank down on the nob to lock it into place and in the process kept scraping my thumb knuckle on the metal base plate. Even when trying to be careful and mindful that I have big hands, I kept scraping my knuckle. I'm sure this is a quality product, but I found the Swaro DH-101 tripod head a much faster and more solid to lock into place and more user friendly option with the added bonus of clipping directly into the ATX spotting scope versus needing an adapter that the Gitzo birdwatching head needs.
Don from Florida
Easy to find and follow birds or planes, with a device that can tighten up and/or down with one large knob.