Tripods, Heads, & Mounts

While you can sometimes get away with not using a tripod during the day, you have to use a tripod at night. You'll be shooting long exposures that cannot be handheld without blurring the image.

Tripod Legs
Gitzo Carbon Fiber
Gitzo carbon fiber tripods are top-of-the-line tripods. They can be a bit pricey, but in my opinion they are well worth the cost, as they should last a very long time. Make sure to get one that is tall enough for you to use without stooping over.
BONFOTO Carbon Fiber
If you're looking for a less expensive tripod, the BONFOTO tripods are of good quality.


Tripod Heads
Acratech Ultimate Ballhead
This is my favorite ballhead due to its great build quality and durability and its light weight. It also has degree markings and a rotating base, which are very important for capturing stitched images at night.
Manfrotto MHXPRO-BHQ2 XPRO Ball Head
This is a less expensive ballhead that also has degree markings and a rotating base. It probably won't last as long or be as relaible as the Acratech, but it is still a good quality product.
Nodal Ninja Panoramic Tripod Head
The Nodal Ninja can help you capture very precise stitched images with no parallex error. However, I don't recommend this if you're just starting out taking stitched images at night. As I explain in my Night Photography Guide you'll find that you usually don't need a panoramic tripod head when capturing stitched images at night.
Gemtune Leveling Base DY-60i
A leveling head can ensure that your tripod head is mounted on a perfectly level surface, which is important when stitching images. If you have a bubble level on your tripod legs, you probably won't need this, though it is easier to get things level using this head than by adjusting the legs.


Equatorial & Robotic Mounts
iOptron SkyTracker
The SkyTracker rotates your camera so that it follows the motion of the stars. This allows you to take long exposures and still capture the stars as points of light. It will, however, blur any foreground, so you'll have to blend multiple exposures to capture nightscapes. This works well with wider lenses and is the least expensive tracker for use with 35mm cameras.
AstroTrac TT320X-AG
The AstroTrac is does a very good job tracking the motion of stars and can be used with heavier and longer lenses than the previous two models. However, it does cost quite a bit more. It's probably best suited for those who want to use it with longer telephoto lenses in addition to wide angle lenses.
GigaPan EPIC Pro Robotic Camera Mount
The GigaPan EPIC Pro automates the task of taking stitched images. I'd only recommend for those wanting to do a very large number of stitched images. When you get the hang of it, it's not too hard to manually take stitched images at night, and you may find that you don't need a robotic mount.


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