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Author Topic: The (Serious) Tripod Thread  (Read 382004 times)

David Eichler

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The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« on: October 03, 2017, 10:45:19 pm »

I am soliciting opinions for top quality tripod brands and models of carbon fiber tripods from those who have used these enough to have an informed opinion about their functionality and durability.

Of course Gitzo has a long reputation as a professional standard. Many say they are overpriced, but is that really true compared to what you get from most other brands, in terms of reliability and longevity? Lately, Really Right Stuff seems to have gained a very good reputation in some quarters, but they haven't been around nearly as long as Gitzo and I wonder how much of their reputation is based on actual, hard, long-term use.

To start out, I will say that I will never again buy an Induro or Manfrotto carbon-fiber tripod. The Induro is an awful design and the Manfrotto plastic flip-lock levers can be broken too easily.
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StephenStarkman

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 11:24:13 pm »

I've been very happy with my RRS legs (TVC 34-L) used with an Area Swiss ball head. Certainly not my first tripod - but I've had it since 2013. No issues, but I'm not a heavy tripod user unless in the field a few times a year.

Peter McLennan

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2017, 12:21:32 am »

[Removed by Moderator]  They'll get no more of my money.

I have the Gitzo "Giant" tripod. It defines the term "serious tripod". It'll put my D800 nearly nine feet in the air.  Very useful sometimes.  Also an incredibly rigid unit.  Might seem heavy to stills users, but, having shlepped film camera tripods for years, I think it's not that bad.  When you need a tripod, you need it to be perfectly rigid.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/548442-REG/Gitzo_GT5561SGT_GT_5561SGT_Giant_Systematic_6X.html
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 08:42:42 am by Chris Sanderson »
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alan_b

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2017, 01:28:25 am »

I have a RRS 24L as my light tripod, usually with an Arca P0 head.  Love it, use it weekly for the past 5 years or so.  I got it because it was more compact (spider is smaller) than Gitzo 3-series, with the same diameter legs.  I replaced the feet with Gitzo spikes & rubber feet that fit over them.

My others are aluminum Gitzos, series 3 & 5 (giant) that I've had for 10-15 years.  No nonsense, durable, stable and heavy.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2017, 04:05:46 am »

In my country, there are basically two main brands: Gitzo and Manfrotto. The latter are more expensive, but they "feel" better, and I can attest to their longevity.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2017, 04:27:48 am »

I used to be a happy Gitzo customer and still have a 2 series that I use a lot.

For the rest I own 3 RRS tripods (4 series, 3 series and 1 series) that I have been very happy about.

Cheers,
Bernard

p.s.: very surprised about this anti-gay stance comment
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 05:40:23 am by BernardLanguillier »
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dasuess

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2017, 05:24:46 am »

I have been very happy with my purchase of an Induro tripod and ball head:

* Tripod - CLT203
* Ball head - BHL1S
* Lens plate - PL60

www.indurogear.com



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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NancyP

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2017, 10:06:07 am »

Yes, if I had specialized needs, significant height or extreme weight, I would go for the Gitzo Giant.  And Kevin of Northlight reviewed a 5 meter tripod-plus-tower set-up a while back.

I think that for most users and most small format ("135"/"FF" or smaller) cameras, the top line of a non-European manufacturer may be fine. I use Feisol "systematic-like" CF tripods without center columns, a big one (3472) with an Arca Z1 ball head and optional half-gimbal attachment (this half-gimbal is fine for a 400 f/5.6 lens), and a hiking/travel one (3442) with an Arca P0 ball head (landscape, astro, lightweight macro). For either one, hang a 1 L bottle of water off the bottom of the center plate for additional stability, will do just fine for 30 sec astrophotography exposures. Will this do if you have a 100 MP medium format back? I have no idea. I use these with 20-24 mp FF and APS-C cameras. I have an old aluminum 055 Manfrotto with the Manfrotto 410 smallest geared head, and that works fine as long as there isn't wind or other need for vibration damping, which carbon fiber handles way better than aluminum. OK, so I am a tripoholic.... ???

History about the anti-gay stance comment topic. In 2008, the then-owner of RRS, a LDS (Mormon) church member, contributed to the anti-gay-marriage amendment (amendment 8) campaign in California, as did most well-off LDS members in good standing in the state of CA - I gather that the local bishops were doing face-to-face asking for donations. It is a moot point at the moment. I crossed them off my list in 2008, but a few years later bought a specialty plate from them - why keep them crossed off the list when it doesn't matter anymore? I don't know if RRS is still owned by the same individual.
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2017, 12:09:13 pm »

History about the anti-gay stance comment topic. In 2008, the then-owner of RRS, a LDS (Mormon) church member, contributed to the anti-gay-marriage amendment (amendment 8) campaign in California, as did most well-off LDS members in good standing in the state of CA - I gather that the local bishops were doing face-to-face asking for donations. It is a moot point at the moment. I crossed them off my list in 2008, but a few years later bought a specialty plate from them - why keep them crossed off the list when it doesn't matter anymore? I don't know if RRS is still owned by the same individual.
Weird about this thread and what was deleted and what is apparently the current truth:  https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51185644  Folks really ought to do their research (Google is your friend) before posting fake news!!!
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Christopher Sanderson

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2017, 12:24:16 pm »

With apologies to the OP for derailing the thread which I sincerely hope will find its original track, the following:

Before anyone else makes unsubstantiated slurs against RRS, I think it important that they read the DP Review thread in which Joe Johnson, owner of Really Right Stuff replies to the anti-gay comments. I will now leave it to the individual posters to edit their posts or not. My previous edits stand.
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Mike D. B.

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2017, 01:47:09 pm »

My Gitzo carbon fiber tripod and Manfrotto 3-way gear driven head are some 20 years old.  They've been used often in all sorts of weather and terrain.  All my landscape and macro shots were taken using this tripod, where I was located in a stream, the Baltic Sea, in muddy, dry or swampy terrain, in the cold and heat, it never let me down.  I cleaned everything when home again using a hose, brush and rag, then let to dry.

I removed the center post and the gear head is securely mounted instead.  I can't make friends with spikes, so I've kept the rubber caps on all legs - they're still in fine shape and don't fall off.

It represented quite an investment, but was well worth it in my view.  I expect to keep using it until my final photographic days.
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Kind regards, Mike

myotis

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2017, 02:01:11 pm »

Although I have always used Gitzo (oldest is now 35 years) and Linhof tripods (plus a couple of Manfrottos, which I never liked and have had bits break off and loosen), the tripods that have the best reputation that I am aware of, are Sachtler.

Not aware of any with centre columns, but based on reputation and comments from users, this is what I would be buying as my main tripod, in addition to a couple of lighter weight Gitzos.

Graham
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Jeremy Roussak

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2017, 02:17:05 pm »

In my country, there are basically two main brands: Gitzo and Manfrotto. The latter are more expensive, but they "feel" better, and I can attest to their longevity.

Manfrotto are more expensive and fell better than Gitzo?

People here used to talk a lot about Feisol.

Jeremy
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Dward

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2017, 03:01:55 pm »

I am interestedin carbon fiber tripods that work OK in water.  At least 3' of water.   I work in the water lily ponds at Longwood Gardens, using a 645z with 90mm lens--a heavy combination.  And I need about 6' of extension.  I currently use an aged aluminum Manfrotto with an Arca-Swiss head.   This works OK, but it's heavy and not as stable as my Gitzo carbon fiber tripods.  But the Gitzos I have don't respond well to water.  The fiber bushings in the legs swell with exposure to water and freeze the tripod.  I had to totally disassemble the tripod and let the parts dry for more than a week before the legs would run smoothly.   Do any of the RSS tripods tolerate water?  I know that the Sirui 2204 is sold as waterproof, but I'm not sure it's heavy-duty enough for my gear--perhaps I'm mistaken about this.  Any recommendations or experiences with carbon fiber tripods in water?

thanks.
David V. Ward, Ph. D.
David Ward Fine Art Photography
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Robert DeCandido PhD

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2017, 07:41:34 pm »

So the owner of RRS admits he financially supported the Proposition 8 amendment in California.

(a) Why is it unfair for people to boycott his business - or to bring up that incident? "Traditional" marriage only sounds nice - but its effects (if it was ratified) were not so nice. That amendment would have had financial impacts on other good people...such as my gay friends who want to get married. Thankfully, they now can - and have the economic benefits that go along with getting married. So as innocuous as Mr. Joe's comments are/were, they would have been quite onerous, monetarily, to other people.

(b) that is his (Mr. Joe's) side of the story in the message he sent to Fred Miranda and reprinted at DP Review. Perhaps there is more to this than his side of the story?

(c) why not invite Mr. Joe to update his comments on "traditional" marriage here at LL? Ask him if the world has ended or tanked since marriage between adults of any sexual persuasion has become the law of the land. Maybe he will say he (like many other Americans) was wrong - and yes he is 100% free to take any side on the issue he wishes - that is his right. It is my right not to spend any money at RRS until I am 100% sure they (and Mr. Joe, the owner) support more than "traditional" marriage.
======================
The high end Benro Carbon Fiber tripods are good value - they go for about $500 on Ebay. Yes Chinese but several hundred dollars less expensive than Gitzo and others.

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NancyP

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2017, 08:26:28 pm »

I did see the 2008 RRS owner's name on the list of donors to Amendment 8, back in 2008. I knew someone whose marriage was at risk of involuntary repeal through Amendment 8, and I did take enough offense in 2008 to scratch RRS off my buying list. But do I care now? No.

As for the tripod in water, you might be able to find a largest-size Uni-Loc or a Benbo 2 http://www.patersonphotographic.com/benbo-tripods.htm

Uni-loc website is not well maintained, but it is legit despite the non-updating of certificates. However, I don't know if they are still in business. You may need to haunt ebayUK . Here is a review: http://stage-www.photographyreview.com/tripods/uni-loc/tripods/system-tripods.html  . The bent-bolt tripods (Benbo and Uni-Loc) are weird critters, it takes practice to use one, they do have some unique capacities. I have seen one other UniLoc/Benbo design tripod in the St. Louis MO area. When you release the clamp, all the legs are moveable. "Wrestling an octopus" is the comment I heard about learning to use it. They weigh a "TON", and this is a GOOD thing if you are working in water. I have seen one UniLoc/Benbo design tripod in the St. Louis MO area - not at all common in USA.
Here is text off their site:

www.uniloctripods.com
from their site:
Hand Crafted in England * Quick Set-Up * Stable & Sturdy
 Waterproof Bottom Segments * Flexible

What makes UNI-LOC Tripods and Monopods so special?

If you are and OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER OR VIDEOGRAPHER and your tripod is wobbly or takes forever to set-up on uneven ground, you will love our fast set-up line of solid tripods. UNI-LOC tripods utilize a single bent-bolt locking system; this system locks the legs and center post in position with a quick twist. This bent-bolt system provides outstanding stability and balance that other tripods can’t. Our lower leg segments are fully sealed with spiked feet (toe-point) and can be immersed in mud, sand and water.

There are two tripod series, the Standard Series, which are constructed from 1-1/4” (30mm) outer tubes and 1” (25mm) inner tubes and the heavy-duty Major Series, which are made from 1-3/8” (35mm) outer tubes and 1-1/8” (28mm) inner tubes. The center column of both the Standard Series and the Major Series are one-piece, “System” tripod center columns have a swivel (hinge) for additional flexibility.


FOR United Kingdom and European Orders and Pricing
 UNI-LOC Products,
 Cottingham Farm,
 Flaunden Lane,
 Bovingdon,
 Herts HP3 OPD
 UK
 ring: +44 (0) 1525 372030 or email envoyuniloc@gmail.com

FOR U.S., Canada and Mexico Orders and Pricing
 UNI-LOC North America
 6708 90th Street E.
 Bradenton, FL 34202
 phone: 1 941 928 0006 or email UNILOCNA@GMAIL.COM

FOR U.S. & North American UNI-LOC Tripod Pricing,
 FOR U.S. & North American UNI-LOC Ball and Pan Head Pricing,
 FOR UNI-LOC TRIPOD PARTS LIST.
phone: 1 941 928 0006 or email UNILOCNA@GMAIL.COM

You want the largest possible one:
Major 2300: Max height 239.1 centimeters / 94"
Folded: 104.0 cm / 41" (the lower of the two legs is 99 to 100 cm long, upper leg is contained WITHIN the lower leg, hence ability to use in water  - a sealed system - you could likely work in 75 cm deep water and not have water get into the tripod workings)
Weight: 3.9 kg / 8.6 #


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NancyP

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2017, 08:28:40 pm »

Another thought concerning the need for water-immersion tripod. How about a surveyor's tripod?
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2017, 09:15:42 pm »

I have a Feisol 3472 with solid base and a second one with the leveling base and center column.  I also have a side mount column.  Both have been absolutely excellent tripods.  They are very light weight for their size and get decently tall.  I compare them to a gitzo 4 series.  The leg diameter is huge.  Excellent value. 
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Peter McLennan

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2017, 12:34:15 am »

Another thought concerning the need for water-immersion tripod. How about a surveyor's tripod?

Good idea. I used to be a surveyor. They are usually very robust and have only two sections.  Used ones may be available.
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scooby70

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Re: The (Serious) Tripod Thread
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2017, 05:19:39 am »

As for the tripod in water, you might be able to find a largest-size Uni-Loc or a Benbo 2 http://www.patersonphotographic.com/benbo-tripods.htm

Uni-loc website is not well maintained, but it is legit despite the non-updating of certificates. However, I don't know if they are still in business. You may need to haunt ebayUK . Here is a review: http://stage-www.photographyreview.com/tripods/uni-loc/tripods/system-tripods.html  . The bent-bolt tripods (Benbo and Uni-Loc) are weird critters, it takes practice to use one, they do have some unique capacities. I have seen one other UniLoc/Benbo design tripod in the St. Louis MO area. When you release the clamp, all the legs are moveable. "Wrestling an octopus" is the comment I heard about learning to use it. They weigh a "TON", and this is a GOOD thing if you are working in water. I have seen one UniLoc/Benbo design tripod in the St. Louis MO area - not at all common in USA.
Here is text off their site:

I just wanted to add something to the Benbo handling question.

You can add an additional centre post bracket which allows independent movement of the post and so improves the handling and cures the drunken octopus syndrome. I assume the same would be true of a Uniloc. It's a bit difficult to describe so I've attached a picture of my tripod, I hope people can see it.

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