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 and without raising the center bar.
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.
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
Sky-Watcher S20520 Star Adventurer
The Sky-Watcher rotates your camera so that it follows the motion of the stars, moon, or sun. This allows you to take long exposures and still capture celestial objects as points of light. It will, however, blur any foreground, so you'll have to blend multiple exposures to capture nightscapes. The Astro Package can be used with a little heavier and longer lenses than the Photo Package version.
iOptron SkyTracker
Although I slightly prefer the Sky-Watch for tracking the motion of stars, the iOptron also does a very good job. It currently costs just a little less and is a little bit lighter.
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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