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Posted (edited)

It's about time to replace my Manfrotto 190go! tripod. The legs are reasonable, but the centre column is rickety, and overall it's too plasticky. And I rarely use the 90° function. I'm looking for something relatively light that I can bring on a plane and on a bike, and walk around with for hours. It needs to hold a slightly heavy geared head and a Canon 5D with a tilt-shift lens, and I intend to use it mainly for photographing architecture.

 

I've looked at Gitzo Traveler, 4 sections, series 1 and series 2, and at the Feisol Traveler Tripod CT-3441T Rapid and a few of their other models. Does anyone here have any experience with Feisol? (I prefer to avoid Chinese brands, but Feisol is, as far as I know, Taiwanese, so it's not ruled out on that account.) Novoflex tripods look nice, but they're expensive, and I've seen people complaining that the quality doesn't quite match the price.

 

Addition. I've looked at the Kaiser Fototechnik Tiltall TC-284, too, but the 20° leg spread seems a bit narrow.

Edited by Thomas Kyhn

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Posted (edited)

I have the Gitzo, but an older version before the legs would fold all the way around. Therefore it's a 100 grams lighter. It's really sturdy, but I had to re-glue the legs to the metal. Probably because of too much rattling on bicycles.

For travel I use a very small RRS ballhead without gears and even without a bubble level. Cameras have those built in nowadays, or otherwise I use my phone with a level app. It even beeps when it's level.

However I still found the weight and the length too high for cabin luggage and on the bike. So I now use a much smaller and shorter tripod: Sirui T-025SK. Again the previous version, where one had to hack off the center column. Now you can just unscrew it. Mine comes in under 700 grams including the RRS ballhead and is 38,5cm with ballhead or 30 cm without.

Older threads about this: here here and here.

 

I use mine with a 7RII now with 70-200mm and the Canon 17mm TSE with a Metabones (which is as big and heavy as the 5D, but a lot lighter than the DS or DX).

I have used geared heads long ago with film and view cameras, but with digital that's overkill. The grid pattern (and the level) on in the display and if necessary a little bit of tweaking in post is all that's needed. OTOH I still think they are a very attractive piece of kit, with all those nice gears.

On the Canons (which did not have a digital level) I have used these 99cts hot shoe bubble levels.

 

My heaviest regular tripod is around 10 kg I think. Plus a 2 kg ballhead.

A small geared head would look out of place on one of those, but also on one of the travel tripods I think, where it's just too big and heavy. I would certainly try it on any tripod first. (But clearly personally I would ditch it for travel.)

 

wim

 

edit: my travel Gitzo is a series 1; my regular Gitzo is the Explorer.

Edited by wiskerke
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Thanks for your reply.

 

I looked at the old threads before posting, but that didn't bring me any closer to a decision, unfortunately.

 

My 5D (IV) has a digital level, which is perhaps not as easy to use as the bubble type, but it works. Making precise adjustments with a ballhead I find really difficult, so I'm determined to take a geared head with me. 

 

I see that the Gitzo Mountaineer series could also be an option; they seem pretty sturdy.

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3 minutes ago, Thomas Kyhn said:

Thanks for your reply.

 

I looked at the old threads before posting, but that didn't bring me any closer to a decision, unfortunately.

 

My 5D (IV) has a digital level, which is perhaps not as easy to use as the bubble type, but it works. Making precise adjustments with a ballhead I find really difficult, so I'm determined to take a geared head with me. 

 

I see that the Gitzo Mountaineer series could also be an option; they seem pretty sturdy.

 

Mine is the G1058 which doesn't exist anymore. My guess is that it was the Mountaineer series 1, which became the traveler series with the fold-over legs.

The Chinese like Benro do pretty good Gitzo copies of course. If money is no object, I would also take a look at the RRS TFC14. Too long folded and too heavy for me though.

 

wim

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

Mine is the G1058 which doesn't exist anymore. My guess is that it was the Mountaineer series 1, which became the traveler series with the fold-over legs.

The Chinese like Benro do pretty good Gitzo copies of course. If money is no object, I would also take a look at the RRS TFC14. Too long folded and too heavy for me though.

 

I've looked at the RRS tripods, and – like several other brands – they're not distributed in Denmark, which means I'd have to pay VAT in another country on top of the already steep price. And also, their maximum height is rather short considering their folded length.

Edited by Thomas Kyhn

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1 minute ago, Thomas Kyhn said:

 

I've looked at the RRS tripods, and – like several other brands – they're not distributed in Denmark, which means I'd have to pay VAT in another country on top of the already steep price. And apart from that, their maximum height is rather short considering their folded length.

 

All true. I started using RRS while living over there 😉

They do ship over here though and even after shipping and taxes it's usually cheaper than the local distributor. Their stuff is like the name says. Really really good.

But even in this case the Chinese have done some quite decent copies.

Length will always be a problem: 3 section legs are sturdier and lighter, but longer when folded. 4 section legs are shorter, but heavier and less stable. Center columns add height and make a tripod really unstable and heavier, but may come in handy just once in a while. I've hacked out mine from the Sirui, but not from the Gitzo. Both use the same head btw, but heavier tripods use bigger heads as they will all be used within walking distance from the car.

 

wim

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I'm surprised you find the 190 Go too plasticky. I have the carbon fibre version and I love it - best tripod I have ever owned I think. It is very light but it is certainly not flimsy. It is in fact very sturdy for its weight. The leg design with the M lock system is amazing - really fast to set up and take down. You can screw all three legs in and out simultaneously and you don't get blood blisters from catching your fingers. It can take a load of 7 Kg which is very decent. I don't have any kit that would come near that.

 

Also if anything comes loose on a Manfrotto, it is usually easy to fix and all spare parts are easy to come by from the Manfrotto spares dept. 

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18 minutes ago, MDM said:

I'm surprised you find the 190 Go too plasticky.

 

The plasticky part is the base, where the legs are attached and the centre column goes through. And the 90° angle elements don't appear too sturdy either. The legs themselves are OK though, and the centre column too.

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

They do ship over here though and even after shipping and taxes it's usually cheaper than the local distributor. Their stuff is like the name says. Really really good.

 

After having to pay 200 euro (VAT and fees) to receive a box of food and a few personal belongings sent from Japan, I've avoided ordering larger things from outside the EU. I would consider buying a tripod in the US, though, next time I go.

Edited by Thomas Kyhn

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Most of the time these days, IS and a higher ISO function as my tripod. I do still have a real tripod. In fact, I used it two nights ago. It was a nostalgic evening. Mine is a Slik Pro 804 CF Carbon Fiber. It's solid but lightweight. Not sure they still make that model. I carry it in a rifle-like sling over my shoulder. I also have a Leitz table pod. 

 

Edo

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1 hour ago, Ed Rooney said:

Most of the time these days, IS and a higher ISO function as my tripod. I do still have a real tripod. In fact, I used it two nights ago. It was a nostalgic evening. Mine is a Slik Pro 804 CF Carbon Fiber. It's solid but lightweight. Not sure they still make that model. I carry it in a rifle-like sling over my shoulder. I also have a Leitz table pod. 

 

I was actually looking at the Slik tripods too, PRO CF-834 and a smaller model. I bought a cheap Slik tripod a few years ago, it was around 10,000 yen; not that solid but definitely decent for the price.

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I bought mine at Adorama in NYC some time ago and paid $300. It's more than strong enough for these light Sonys mirrorless cameras I use now. 

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Posted (edited)

I've had a Manfrotto 190 MF4 carbon fiber (made in Italy) for over 15 years now and I've used it in salt water (dried up after) and it's light and still very solid. I used it when the Slik tripod I got as a college graduation gift (along with a couple of lenses for my very light Olympus OM-1 SLR) broke while I was shooting with my then new D70 -on assignment. I had no clue that tripods were rated for weight - fortunately I was holding the part that broke off. I got the Manfrotto at Adorama for around $200-250 back in 2006 which seemed like a small fortune back then when I was just starting out. It has traveled all over with me and is light and sturdy. It fits easily on my large camera backpack in the straps. I have a ballhead on it now but I had what I guess is considered a video head which was so easy to move and precise - but heavy so I got the lighter ball head for travel. Can't you replace the center column or whatever parts aren't sturdy? 

 

About 5 years ago I bought a very light Promaster XC522 (not sure who makes it - it's a generic brand that small independent camera stores here in the US sell - and I believe different brands make items for them) - but the description might give you something worth looking for - it's a small carbon fiber, much lighter than my Manfrotto. I picked it up for my light Olympus mirrorless when I was out in the midwest about 5 years ago - it's nice because one of the legs unscrews and you can screw the small ball head onto it to make a monopod - I can fit the leg for the monopod in the outside pocket of my new shoulder bag camera bag and put the little ballhead inside and carry it all day - and it is sturdy enough for my Sony mirrorless and large lenses. When I got it, I was still using the D700 and it was sturdy enough for that and all my lenses too (I make sure everything is rated for a few pounds more than I need these days). The entire tripod fits easily in a carry-on bag. You might find something similar where you are. It has held up well - it sits out in my ungaraged car even in freezing NY weather (I got it in Indiana in the winter). It has two levels. It's got 4-part legs and it's not super steady on its own but it has a hook under the center bar where you can hang your bag to steady it. It comes larger too. Mine was around $100 in the middle of nowhere in Indiana. I'm sure in NY it would have been less. 

 

I'd avoid Tiffen, which given the brands you're considering I'm sure you know. I bought a taller supposedly sturdy (extremely heavy) Tiffen rated for more than twice my heaviest camera and lens many years ago and it broke (with the camera in my hand again thank goodness) the first time I used it. The store I'd purchased it from had gone out of business and it had a warranty but the shipping charges to Tiffen back and forth weren't worth it since I just didn't trust it. It was $100 - and not carbon fiber, which is so much sturdier than aluminum. 

 

A Manfrotto seems like a lifetime investment. My only regret was that I didn't get a slightly larger one than I have, though the 190 is great for travel. I'm with Wim, I'd contact Manfrotto about replacement parts before investing a fortune in something new.

 

I also agree with Edo, I usually bump up my ISO and shoot handheld with anti shake on at night and indoors - with my Sony it's a breeze and I'm 60 and my hands have not been perfectly steady since I had Lyme Disease half my lifetime ago. But there are times when you need a tripod, even with the newest equipment. 

 

The little monopod- tripod combo is pretty nifty. I borrowed a friend's monopod in Iceland and liked the idea of it, and I've been very happy with the little combo. In my experience, the carbon fiber makes it strong, and I've heard great things about the reasonably-priced ones.The Manfrotto quick release plates also work with the Black Rapid straps. Wish the plate on this one did. 

Edited by Marianne
Checked my Model #'s
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This is what I used the Sony RX10 and my tripod for this past week:

 

T61RAP.jpg

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Oh Edo I'm jealous! (that's why I gave you a greenie🤢😎

Hoping to get to Cadiz to visit my niece sometime later this year or next. Can't wait. 

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I have an Induro CT114 with an Acratech ball head (GP, I think), but that might be overkill for an RX10.  Had one of the Gitzos back in the US, but sold it and my first Acratech ball head when I left the US.  Bought another one.  It takes standard Acra-Swiss compatible plates, which I think is the best way to do.  I've got a plate for a Sony a7 permanently on one of that model camera.   This model Induro is a bit light for full sized DSLRs, works for my a6000 on a universal cork based plate and with the a7 Sonys with up to 210mm lenses (might be okay with longer, as I used a 400 mm f/5.6 on a D300 with my first venture into carbon fiber tripods (the Gitzo, but it was heavier) and pricier heads.  I also bought the short column for it.

 

If I didn't have the Acratech head and could afford one, I'd look at the RRS heads, but have never seen one in real life, or talked to anyone who had one.   They do seem to be highly regarded, and come in several sizes.   Acratech makes a couple different designs of heads.  I think mine is

 

Induro tripods come with a case and tools in a pouch and a set of ground spikes, nice touch. 

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I use a Gitzo Carbon 6x (GT3540XLS) with a center column, for the ball head I use a FLM Centerball 58FT with a Really Right Stuff plate and brackets. I have had it around 15 years now and found it to be a very sturdy and well made tripod, as most of my photographic work is of Commercial/ Industrial buildings it takes a fair amount of knocks.

 

Nigel

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16 minutes ago, Nigel Kirby said:

I use a Gitzo Carbon 6x (GT3540XLS ) with a center column, for the ball head I use a FLM Centerball 58FT   with a Really Right Stuff plate and brackets.   I have had it around 15 years now and found it to be a very sturdy and well made tripod, as most of my photographic work is of Commercial/ Industrial buildings it takes a fair amount of knocks.

 

Thanks for the reply. After you mentioned FLM, I had a look at their tripods, they seem quite decent too. 

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Thanks for your input. Finally, I've made a decision and ordered a ProMediaGear TR344 (from Augenblicke in Germany).

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1 hour ago, Thomas Kyhn said:

Thanks for your input. Finally, I've made a decision and ordered a ProMediaGear TR344 (from Augenblicke in Germany).

 

Really interesting specifications and impressive reviews.

I'll definitely look into it when I'm ready to shop for carbon legs for my BH-55.

 

wim

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Posted (edited)

As a result of this thread I have bought an open box Leofoto LS-324C complete with their BH-40 ball head locally. The head came with it, I hadn't planned buying it. 😉

My RRS BH-55 is a bit overkill on the Leofoto. The tripod without head fits in my carry-on. So it's either my heaviest travel tripod or my lightest all-round one. As such it will replace my very unstable (but very versatile) Gitzo Explorer mk1.

Was it in this thread where someone mentioned The Center Column? Anyway his findings and rankings were a great help.

 

wim

 

Edited by wiskerke
stupid typo
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1 hour ago, wiskerke said:

As a result of this thread I have bought an open box Leofoto LS-324C complete with their BH-40 ball head locally. The head came with it, I hadn't planned buying it. 😉

My RRS BH-55 is a bit overkill on the Leofoto. The tripod without head fits in my carry-on. So it's either my heaviest travel tripod or my lightest all-round one. As such it will replace my very unstable (but very versatile) Gitzo Explorer mk1.

Was it in this thread were someone mentioned The Center Column? Anyway his findings and rankings were a great help.

 

wim

 

 

I looked at the link given thinking it might be a political party. What a disappointment!😞

 

Allan

 

 

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4 hours ago, wiskerke said:

As a result of this thread I have bought an open box Leofoto LS-324C complete with their BH-40 ball head locally. The head came with it, I hadn't planned buying it. 😉

My RRS BH-55 is a bit overkill on the Leofoto. The tripod without head fits in my carry-on. So it's either my heaviest travel tripod or my lightest all-round one. As such it will replace my very unstable (but very versatile) Gitzo Explorer mk1.

Was it in this thread were someone mentioned The Center Column? Anyway his findings and rankings were a great help.

 

wim

 

 

Fascinating link, thanks.

 

Mark

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