Poll

Do you own and use a center column on your primary tripod?

Yes, I own and often use the center column.
- 9 (23.7%)
Yes, I own but rarely use the center column.
- 23 (60.5%)
No, I do not own a center column.
- 6 (15.8%)
No, I do not own a center column, but sometimes wish I had one.
- 0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 38

Voting closed: December 06, 2019, 04:18:26 pm


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Author Topic: Tripod Center Column Usage  (Read 631 times)

Kevin Sholder

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Tripod Center Column Usage
« on: November 29, 2019, 04:18:26 pm »

I'm investing in a new carbon fiber tripod and am wondering how many people actually use the center column or wish they had one to use at times.  My existing tripod does have a center column.  I use it to get to the final height rather than adjusting the legs another couple of inches.  The cost of a center column is another added cost I'm wondering if I can live without.  I know that I can always purchase one after the fact, but am curious what others are doing.
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Jonathan Cross

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2019, 04:38:52 pm »

Rightly or wrongly, I was told that using the centre column lessens the rigidity of a tripod, so I do not use it.

Best wishes,

Jonathan
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Jonathan in UK

Kevin Sholder

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2019, 04:53:04 pm »

Jonathan, I'm rather familiar with the stability argument, just looking for what people do and don't do for their primary shooting setup.

Thank you for your reply!!

Sincerely,
Kevin
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Two23

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2019, 04:58:38 pm »

Depends on the camera and situation.  My usual tripod is a Gitzo 1325.  I used either a Nikon D850 or Chamonix 4x5 on it.  This tripod does not have a center column and I've never missed it.  Second tripod is a Berlebach wooden one.  I mostly only use it with my Gundlach Korona 5x7 (and soon a Kodak 2D 8x10.)  I sometimes raise the center column on it if I need a little more height.  Not much though.  Might get a Reis wooden tripod that is taller which will have no center column.  Third tripod is a Feisol 3441t travel tripod.  Mostly used on trips with D850 or Leica IIIc, sometimes the Chamonix 4x5.  Rarely raise the center column and often just swap it out.  All in all I'd rather have a taller tripod than use a center column.  Probably only use center column for ~10% of my shots, and that's mostly with the 5x7.


Kent in SD
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Kevin Sholder

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2019, 08:04:32 am »

Kent, thank you for sharing your usage examples, as I 100% agree that it does depend on the camera and situations.

The key take away for me from your comments are
I've never missed it

and
if I need a little more height, not much though.

The best one for me is
All in all I'd rather have a taller tripod than use a center column.
  As I'm looking at a 70" set of legs instead of a 58" either of which will take a center column if I desire to add it.

Thank you again for the examples!!

Kevin
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Aram Hăvărneanu

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2019, 08:15:12 am »

I don't like center columns for landscape photography. If you don't use it, the center column just gets in the way, you can't get low to ground, you can't use a leveling base, etc. And if you use it, well, I just prefer a taller tripod.

For stuff like architecture, especially indoors, a center column is useful because it allows for easily making independent changes in height.

Overall I prefer no center column.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 08:27:15 am by Aram Hăvărneanu »
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2019, 08:20:41 am »

I use the centre column a lot. Often height is vital when looking at the juxtaposition of compositional elements.  I find that without the centre column I am constantly adjusting legs. Itís painful. I will only use about 10cm max of centre column.

Size of camera makes a difference. When shooting large format I used a Manfrotto Tri Aut I think it was an 058. The legs slide out under gravity when pushing on a small lever on the tripod. I didnít use the centre column because it was so easy to adjust up and down. Problem is it weighs like a baby rhino. I still have it but donít use it much anymore.
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mcbroomf

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2019, 10:11:13 am »

I adjust the legs 1st (to the max if required) and only then do I extend the center column.  I used it this morning in fact, extended by 9" or so I'd guess.  The tripod I have allows the center column to be pivoted and swung to the side to allow the tripod to be extended out to get to ground level.  It has the added benefit that the column can be extended at right angles to allow the camera to point to the ground further away from the center than just flipping the head over by 90 degrees.  I've found that useful on occasion.

When using the center column I always wait until vibration has died.  If it's windy and the setup doesn't allow for that then I turn on IBIS and hold the camera.  I find that quite effective, although not for very long exposures.
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kers

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2019, 11:38:30 am »

I use the centercolumn a lot; never had any problem that my images were not tack sharp because of it.
A good centercolumn however; one that does not change the direction of the camera when moved up/down is a rare thing.
Only one of the three centercolumns i have is can do that.
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sbay

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2019, 12:19:39 pm »

If you need a higher perspective, then absolutely the center column is incredibly helpful.

You do sacrifice some stability, but if there's no wind and you shoot with EFSC  it can still work great.

rdonson

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2019, 04:51:24 pm »

I have a Sirui carbon fiber tripod with a center column.  I'm 6"4" and my tripod has a 69.7" Height.  That's a bit deceiving because atop the tripod is a RRS leveling base and an RRS ballhead.  I rarely need to use the center column to get additional height but its there for when I do.  If it's windy I have a camera bag that I can hang from the bottom of the center column.  Between that and using a 2 or 10 second shutter delay I very rarely worry about shake.  The center column is also reversible and while I rarely use that capability it has come in handy once or twice. 
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Regards,
Ron

Kevin Sholder

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2019, 07:14:18 pm »

I'd like to thank all of you who commented on this poll, it has been enlightening.

thanks again!!

Kevin
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petermfiore

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2019, 07:59:56 pm »

I use the center column to hang weights, every time I'm outdoors...However the column is never raised. So my answer is, I use it often.


Peter

Rob C

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2019, 04:30:22 am »

When I used tripods, I used the centre column a great deal.

Changing leg heights is a triple pain in the ass, especially when working with human subjects. It takes just exactly the calculated time it needs to kill the moment in its tracks.

My tripod for "serious" work is a massive Gitzo G 410. The head is a Gitzo G 1371. Both always feel a bit stiff. Consequently, I tend - if at all - to wander around with a light Slik that has a centre column but no struts for the legs. It makes a very efficient duopod, far more stable than any monopod. Try that easy technique some time and be thrilled.

Rob

kers

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2019, 12:38:33 pm »

The centercolumn is often not the stability problem- it is touching the camera- i use a wifi remote.
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Lightsmith

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2019, 05:49:57 pm »

I sold my RRS tripod after buying a Feisol CT-3472 which comes with a plate that has a hook below it that can be removed in seconds and either a quick level base used instead or a center column mount. I paid $64 for the Feisol center column and it has a larger diameter and much more rigid mount collar than the Gitzo tripods I have owned.

I found that when photographing wildlife high on a hillside or up in a tree I needed a taller tripod. The Feisol CT-3472 has a working height of 58" and I gain another 3 inches with a gimbal head to the height of the lens. With the center column and no column extension I still gain an additional 3 inches of height for the lens. Even when I have extended the center column 3 inches more for a gain in working height of 6 inches, the support is rock solid and no different than without the center column kit attached.

For travel I want a tripod that will collapse to less than 22 inches in length so I can take it on the plane and slide it into an overhead bin, and the Feisol CT-3472 provides this. I need height when photographing animals high up in the trees and adding the center column provides this capability. When doing landscapes and panos I use the $84 Feisol leveling base and have the perfect tripod for that use.

If you are strictly shooting landscapes then the Feisol CT-3441T is as good as it gets for the traveling photographer. It weighs only 2.6 lb, collapses to 19 inches, and has an accurate load rating of 44 lbs. There is no leg flex at all with them fully extended.   
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bassman51

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2019, 08:01:21 pm »

I use the center column occasionally on my tripods.  Itís like high ISO: if you canít get the shot without it, then use it.  The camera with the center column raised is still more stable than my hands.
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Kevin Sholder

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2019, 10:26:30 am »

I sold my RRS tripod after buying a Feisol CT-3472   

I'm curious how long have you owned this tripod?  It looks like a possible contender to look into further based on their website.

Thanks,
Kevin
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smthopr

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2019, 11:45:01 am »

It seems to me, that in general, the center column, when used in moderation, does not really contribute to destabilizing the camera.  And a short extension provides a fine height adjustment without messing with the legs.

I don't shoot much with heavy cameras or lenses though, and a heavy long lens might change my approach :)
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Tripod Center Column Usage
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2019, 12:20:44 pm »

It seems to me, that in general, the center column, when used in moderation, does not really contribute to destabilizing the camera.  And a short extension provides a fine height adjustment without messing with the legs.

I don't shoot much with heavy cameras or lenses though, and a heavy long lens might change my approach :)

And that makes perfect sense to me.
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