Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: Michael Erlewine on February 23, 2021, 11:35:46 am

Title: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Michael Erlewine on February 23, 2021, 11:35:46 am
LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy

It threatens spring here, eventually, and with the advancing light each day, I want to get out in the woods, but I am getting old and canít (or donít want to) carry heavy equipment.

I would like suggestions on the lightest carbon-fiber tripod, the lightest locking head (not ball heads), and of course some kind of Arca clamp.

Right now, the best I have is a Gitzo G 1228 Tripod, the Arca-Swiss Monoball PO, and an Arca (tiny-thin) clamp, with a total weight of this system (minus a camera) is 4.187 lbs. (1.899 KG).

Any suggestions welcome. Donít bother with ball-head suggestions. I have plenty and donít use them. I also have the Burzynski ball-head (which does lock), but that is too heavy for this project. This project being getting me in the field.

Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Peter McLennan on February 23, 2021, 07:23:24 pm
Afflicted with the same disease (age) I, too welcome input on this topic.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: seanjkanderson on February 23, 2021, 07:57:52 pm
I think your requirements of the tripod dictate something more substantive than this option, but Jonathan Griffith of Alpine Exposures actually loves this cheap Sony tripod (http://http://www.sony.com/electronics/cyber-shot-compact-cameras-tripods-remotes/vct-r100). His article here (http://https://alpineexposures.com/phototips/tips-from-the-pros-which-camera-gear).  Likely not convincing, but I find it interesting when thinking about all the shots we miss because we thought we needed all the bells and whistles to be in our pack, and thus we were overweighted and missed the prime shooting locations due to fatigue.

Here's another tripod option, this one from Peak Design (https://www.peakdesign.com/collections/tripods/products/travel-tripod?rfsn=3309044.2d181b&variant=29420897402924#shopify-product-reviews), with an impressive form factor in my opinion.

I haven't shot with either of them but find them interesting.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: alan_b on February 23, 2021, 08:03:43 pm
I can't imagine finding anything with better strength/weight than a RRS TFC 14 and BH-25 (2.87lb).  Yeah it's a ball-head.

Or use a clamp with a small head on it.

Have you explored https://thecentercolumn.com? (https://thecentercolumn.com)
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: mcbroomf on February 23, 2021, 08:07:31 pm
I was also going to mention the Peak Design but the other small/light travel tripods I see mentioned on fora is the RRS TFC (Ultralight) models.  The TFC-24 is 3.4lb without a head, the TFC-14 is 2.46lb.

I have no experience with these and suggest checking out The Center Column website.  The RRS TFC-14 does well (top position) in the travel tripod section.  Plenty of other light choices between it and the Peak.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Michael Erlewine on February 23, 2021, 08:20:22 pm
I hear you. Thanks.

I have a number of RSS tripods.

For this use, I feel the Gitzo GIGT1545T Carbon Fiber Traveler Series 1
60.2Ē (8.6í)
Weight  2.34 lb

Is less expensive and will do the job, with the Arca PO Monoball (which locks) and an Arca-Swiss Clamp.

I picked up Gitzo GIGT1545T for $400, used.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: langier on February 23, 2021, 10:34:40 pm
I have some kind of Benro 4-section carbon travel tripod I got on sale a few years ago from B&H. It's the second Benro and both are getting older. For my travel tripod (and even when I don't need to shoot with long glass) I added a Markens Q3 ball head which is basically a down-sized Arca B head and IMO just as well constructed. I think the combined weight is about 3 pounds.

My rig fits in my travel bag and considering the size, I'm not afraid to occasionally use it with a 300 2.8 though that's really pushing it and when I work such larger/longer lenses, I really want to have more height so I'm not bent over.

However, with the newer cameras and lenses with built-in stabilization, I'm finding that within reason, I'm not having to get out the tripod quite as much as I once did. That tech is making it easier and as I age, makes it easier to go shooting especially since I'm not having to lug as much around.

Stabilization isn't fool proof and will take practice but it's allow me not to have to rely upon packing and setting up a tripod quite as often. A tripod is still the best way to go for absolute stability, especially for really long exposure and critical framing and focus, but it's sure nice being able to not have to drag a set of sticks along as much as I once did.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Simon J.A. Simpson on February 24, 2021, 06:55:40 am
"Benro 4-second carbon travel tripod".  ;D

Hey, that's really quick (damned spell-chucker).
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: langier on February 24, 2021, 02:17:14 pm
<G>! Auto completion and auto correction ain't necessarily correct...

Anyway, the last Benro I purchased was on sale a couple of years back, I think it was a model close-out...

My first lightweight carbon tripod was one of the Adorama house brands. The price was right but it was a bit too flimsy for me though it did work. I think it was both five-section and a little too narrow of tubes and after getting home I sold it. In the mean timeI found a more substantial, but light weight and compact tripod on the cheap, a Benro close-out and gave it a try and it was much, much more sturdy. I added the Markens head and it made the grade. The only issue is that instead of a two-piece center column like my larger carbon Manfrotto, it came with a stubby and standard-length column.

A few years later I saw that B&H had a close-out on a similar Benro carbon tripod model and I purchased one for a back-up set of sticks that I occasionally use with a fluid-head for doing motion.

I think the close-out was not much more than a simple cosmetic update by Benro and B&H got a deal which was sold out quickly.

There's a lot of light-weight fully capable tripods available, but the good ones are pricy. If you've got the time, keep looking and eventually you'll find what you need on the cheap, otherwise, suck it up and spend the bucks...
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Paul_Roark on February 25, 2021, 11:04:53 am
Speaking of limiting the photo carrying weight, the ultimate I've found is the Sony a7c with their 28 - 60 zoom.  Don't laugh.  For gallery quality landscape display prints, it does the job.  Note that I'm also a fan of Topaz's Gigapixel AI to take those images' pixels up 2x and do halo-free sharpening at the same time.  Large display prints and light weight are not inconsistent with today's tech.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Manoli on February 25, 2021, 11:51:29 am
Speaking of limiting the photo carrying weight, the ultimate I've found is the Sony a7c with their 28 - 60 zoom.  Don't laugh.  For gallery quality landscape display prints, it does the job.  Note that I'm also a fan of Topaz's Gigapixel AI to take those images' pixels up 2x and do halo-free sharpening at the same time.  Large display prints and light weight are not inconsistent with today's tech.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com

What size prints are you referring to, Paul, 20x30 and up ?
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Ken Bennett on February 25, 2021, 01:21:45 pm
Not sure what you are shooting with, so not sure what would support it. However, I have the aluminum Peak Design Travel Tripod, and I have handled the carbon version. Like any lightweight tripod, it's a collection of compromises in order to keep the weight down.  They prioritized folded size over everything else, but it is reasonably tall, reasonably supportive and stiff, and has an unusual and tiny built-in ball head (I know, I know) which can be swapped out for a flat platform for your own head. The swap out part is something of a PITA and takes awhile.

I am very comfortable using it with mirrorless gear, mostly Fuji X system. Good luck finding what you need.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Paul_Roark on February 25, 2021, 08:52:46 pm
What size prints are you referring to, Paul, 20x30 and up ?

22 x 28 - 34" images are my norm.  I do black and white, and they must be sharp throughout.   I like to use the pre-coated, heat activated 24 x 36" foam core for mounting, then framing.

I'm coming from medium format (Rollei twin lens and SL66, among others) Tmax 100, and Leica M9.  Then I moved to Sony a7r's (KoloriVision UT conversion for Leica glass) and now a7c with the stock arrangement.  The little and light a7c and zoom holds up, with the exception that the very corners at 28mm, wide open are slightly soft, but my usual crop cures that issue.  When needed I carry a Leica-M apo 135 f/3.4 on my belt.  I have not tested my Leica WATE (16 - 21mm), but it's retrofocus and should be OK.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Manoli on February 26, 2021, 01:01:00 am
Paul,
Thank you for the feedback. Much appreciated.

M
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: EinstStein on February 26, 2021, 10:40:34 pm
Tripod and camera bag seem never get right for me.

Now my favorite tripod is Leica tablepod (with the paired ball head).

I use it hand-held to lean on the supporting I can find: wall, tree, rock, etc.. If it is to shoot low angle, I would simply put it in the rock or something. When nothing to lean on, I put it against my chest (vertically). I find it's more stable than completely hand-held.

These work fine except when I need selfie. For selfie, I will try to find someone around and hand him/her my camera.

Oh, when I see people taking selfies, I would ask if I can help them. Very often I get appreciated, and they would ask me if they can help me too.  "     
 
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: BernardLanguillier on February 28, 2021, 06:12:21 pm
So far very happy about the new RRS travel tripod with super light head.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Michael Erlewine on March 01, 2021, 02:29:14 pm
OK. Here is my first pass on a light field system. It totals out at 5.42 lbs. (2461.3 g). Of course, I may switch things around, but this light enough to travel some distance and not have my body complain.

LIGHT FIELD SYSTEM

11.82 oz (335 g) Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO - Nikon Z
22.40 oz (635 g) Nikon Z7 II
12.69 oz (359.7 g) LEOFOTO G2 Geared 3D
02.47 oz (70 g) Arca-Swiss Clamp
37.44 oz (2.34 lb, 1061.4 g) Gitzo GIGT1545T Carbon 60.2Ē (8.6í)

TOTAL
86.82 0z (5.42 lbs 2461.3 g)

Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: NikoJorj on March 05, 2021, 09:06:29 am
I'm not sure if this is a fitting answer, but if you want something really lighter, look for an AOKA CMP163CL. It seems that it goes under the alias Oben CTT-1000L at B&H.
Very good finish (definitely not a toy, on par with a good medium-range western tripod), not very high (72cm if you don't use the additional center column, which you shouldn't) and quite light at 350g (12oz?) without head or center column. 3 section legs with twisting (or threading, better said) locks.
It comes with a small ball head, with separate pan and ball locks and a small Arca clamp.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Michael Erlewine on March 05, 2021, 09:18:11 am
I'm not sure if this is a fitting answer, but if you want something really lighter, look for an AOKA CMP163CL. It seems that it goes under the alias Oben CTT-1000L at B&H.
Very good finish (definitely not a toy, on par with a good medium-range western tripod), not very high (72cm if you don't use the additional center column, which you shouldn't) and quite light at 350g (12oz?) without head or center column. 3 section legs with twisting (or threading, better said) locks.
It comes with a small ball head, with separate pan and ball locks and a small Arca clamp.

Thanks! That looks like a usable tripod, although not very high. I may try it out anyway.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Michael Erlewine on March 07, 2021, 11:38:49 am
Checking out the lightest carbon tripod I could find, the Oben CTT-1000L Carbon Fiber Tripod and head, using their tiny head (which is actually very nice), the Nikon Z7 II and the Laowa 65mm lens, weighs in at about 51.82 = 3.20 lbs 

However, the bottom line for me is that although very well made, that Oben tripod is too spindly for my use. It also is not high enough, unless you put on the center column which is not a center column that passes through the top of the tripod plate, but one that screws directly on top of the tripod base, a total no-no for me. I hate columns, but might use an internal one to raise just a few inches. Mostly, I donít touch columns and store them in a box somewhere, where they have company.

I do like the tiny ball head, which has a carefully numbered (but small) pan base and along with an Arca plate, weighs only 5.3 oz. I am going to keep the tiny tripod and use it for holding diffusers, and use the tripod head when I donít want to use the Leofoto G2 small geared head in the field, for shots that need more angle, etc. I will carry the small head in my messenger bag in case I need it and swap it out (via Arca plate) with the geared Leofoto G2.


Tiny Head 5.3 Oz  (150.3 g) includes ARCA plate
15.4 OZ (436.6) Oben TRIPOD AND Arca CLAMP

SYSTEM WITH NON GEARED HEAD

15.4 oz (436.58 g) Oben CTT-1000L Carbon Fiber Tripod and ball head
11.82 oz (335 g) Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO - Nikon Z
22.40 oz (635 g) Nikon Z7 II
49.62 OZ  = 3.20 lbs (1406.7 G)


SYSTEM WITH GEARED HEAD

11.82 oz (335 g) Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO - Nikon Z
22.40 oz (635 g) Nikon Z7 II
12.69 oz (359.7 g) LEOFOTO G2 Geared 3D
02.47 oz (70 g) Arca-Swiss Clamp
17.60 oz (498.95 g) Oben CTT-1000L Carbon Fiber Tripod and head
66.98 oz = 4.18 lbs

The Oben CTT-1000L tripod in both shots, closest one.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: cortlander on April 10, 2021, 06:55:48 pm
Feisol 3443 2.31 lbs
https://improvephotography.com/34507/feisol-tournament-ct-3442-review

I have been using it for years, slung on my shoulder with a strap
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: mike gannon on May 19, 2021, 03:31:42 am
look into the Field Optics Research , tripods for guns, there is a tripod FBT5436C, Bowl Top, 32mm dia., 8 layer carbon fiber legs. Adjustable height from 3.8" to 54.5". Load capacity 95 lbs , Weight 3.6 lbs.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Philmar on May 26, 2021, 05:15:19 pm
The Center Column is dedicated to providing quantitative data on tripod stability.  This is to both help inform purchasing decisions.
https://thecentercolumn.com/rankings/
The RRS travel tripod is extremely  sturdy for its weight but it's compromise is it is short..47 inches.
On that list you will find the the FLM CP30-S4 II sits in a peculiar sweet spot. You will not find a lighter tripod that is sturdier or taller.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Peter McLennan on May 26, 2021, 10:02:08 pm
look into the Field Optics Research , tripods for guns, there is a tripod FBT5436C, Bowl Top, 32mm dia., 8 layer carbon fiber legs. Adjustable height from 3.8" to 54.5". Load capacity 95 lbs , Weight 3.6 lbs.

Interesting, but for me, too low at max height.

I'd love to hear recommendations for a 75mm bowl top CF set of sticks that won't break the bank or my back.

Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on May 27, 2021, 12:20:25 pm
My solution, adopted when I was in my mid-seventies, involved two steps:

1.   I got rid of all removable lenses and their associated cameras. I now have only two cameras. My "small" camera is a Canon G5X, with built-in zoom lens with a moderate zoom range and very good image stabilization. My "big" camera is a Sony RX10-III with an excellent built-in zoom lens with a range of 24mm to 600mm (full-frame equivalent), and excellent image stabilization (I can spot a bird in a tree and zoom in and get good, clear shots hand-held.)

2.   I gave away my Gitzo tripod to a friend who needed one, since I decided I didn't need to take any more long-exposure photos of waterfalls any more.

No more carrying a bag of heavy lenses to change, no more tripods to log. Just freedom to photograph whatever I see that interests me.  I have never missed the individual lenses or tripods.

Of course, your mileage may vary.
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: Peter McLennan on May 29, 2021, 12:03:17 am
Eric, it's a good strategy.  My RX10 IV was surprisingly capable and the only reason I sold my copy was that I found that AF was unreliable.

My solution is a Nikon Z6ii with the 24-200.  That lens will probably never come off the body, but I do need a good tripod and head for the video aspect of the Nikon, otherwise I'd avoid 'em.

I even shot the full moon eclipse the other night hand-held.  :)
Title: Re: LIGHT Tripod System for an Old Guy
Post by: greyscale on August 22, 2021, 02:05:48 pm
Am about to travel to Yellowstone, Grand Titan, Bryce and Zion. Yes, long trip. For the north part I'll be using a Nikon D800E mostly. For the southern half, I buying a Sony RX100 M7 with a tabletop tripod. Not about to get on/off the shuttle buses in Zion or Bryce with a full size camera.
 Yup, am old & have cane ::)