Review of Swarovski Carbon Fiber Tripod [CT-101]

As the saying goes, “your spotting scope is only as good as your tripod” or something to that effect. This statement holds a lot of truth but finding the “perfect” tripod is a lot more difficult than finding the perfect scope.

Swarovski Carbon Fiber Tripod CT-101
Swarovski Carbon Fiber Tripod

There are an unbelievable amount of tripods on the market, as paging through any birding magazine will show you. The tripod we wanted most was Swarovski’s carbon fiber CT 101 model with accompanying FH 101 head. This gorgeous tripod is incredibly easy to use and packs a lot of versatility in a pretty compact package.

The tripod’s legs are broken up into two movable segments which slide silently and are locked in place with durable latches. The height is perfect for all but the tallest of birders and the legs can spread low for extreme low-angle viewing. No matter what terrain you are birding on, the tripod can be adjusted accordingly.

Swarovski FH 101 tripod head
Swarovski FH 101 Tripod Head

The FH 101 head attaches seemlessly to the tripod and provides super easy movement with one hand. The head locks two ways independently: one lock stops panning motion and the other lock holds your scope in vertical position. Both locks are located ideally and require little effort to operate.

With the locks open, you are free to move the scope in any direction, perfect for following birds and especially useful for digiscoping. Swarovski Balance Rail The mounting plate can be ejected in order to attach other plates such as the Swarovski balance rail (sold separately). The balance rail (shown at left) is much appreciated when digiscoping with a large camera such as a digital SLR as the weight is much better distributed. The tripod easily handles the weight of the scope and camera (about 7.1 lbs).

Weighing in at 4.3 lbs and nearly impossible to break, the Swarovski Carbon Fiber Tripod is wonderful for digiscoping and birding in general.

10 thoughts on “Review of Swarovski Carbon Fiber Tripod [CT-101]

  1. I need to save my pennies to get one of these. I’ve played with one a bit. The weight, or lack thereof, is unreal. Also, I really liked the head mechanism. It’s way better than the little screws I need to turn on my $250 Bogen.

  2. Sounds interesting! But like all Swarovski gear – it is over the top expensive. (What by the way is the only point of critique I have on their products)
    In this case you get comparable products for considerably less money.
    Cheers, Klaus

  3. Nice review! I am the proud owner of a Swarovski tripod and I back up all claims that it is an amazing piece of carbon fiber and plastic! I can also say that it works even when full of sand (as mine became on a recent trip to Superior WI).
    However, even though the Swaro head has some really great features, such as the locking mechanism instead of screws, it does have a drawback. The little plastic lever that operates the catch that holds the quick release plate to the tripod head, tends to break easily. If Swarovski were to fix this, it would be by far the best tripod set on the market.
    As of now, the Bogen head is a much more reliable head to buy with this tripod.
    Now I just have to save up for one of their outrageously expensive scopes……

  4. Hey, nice review. I own one of these and agree its a great tripod. The drawback is the head. While being well designed, they could have built it a little more sturdy, since at times it is too flexy and loose, also it may be fragile like someone said. I still like it, but it annoys me sometimes. Actually, the price on this tripod compares very well to other carbon ‘pods of equal caliber, and I chose it because it was actually cheaper!

  5. Wonderful points! After using the tripod a bit more, the head is a bit “loose” but I think you can tighten it (haven’t tried yet). Sometimes it slips a little and you can adjust the tension on the front/back movement which is nice. As for fragility… it seems very tough thus far. Overall it is still great and much easier to use than others I’ve tried.

  6. I have the ct101 tripod and matching head….A great piece of equip.;
    But agree with another posting..the plastic latch’s on the tripod
    do break easily…for the cost of the tripod, nylon instead of plastic
    would have been much better…..broke one today, will see what
    Customer Service says……….Still a great tripod….

  7. Neil – agree that the latch is not as good as it should be. It is a wonderful tripod but pricey and has a couple flaws. I still enjoy the lightness of it being carbon fiber; gets me to carry it more than I would otherwise.

  8. Does anybody know where I can get replacement foam for the tripod legs. One of the foam tubes that protect the legs has split.

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