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Hi guys,

 

my Manfrotto MT293A3 tripod is going to say bye bye very soon unfortunately for the second time this year. It's time to update it with something more serous and resistant hopefully. I begun to check several light and professional travel tripods on line like the recommended Gitzo GT1542T. I have a Nikon D800 with 24-120mm, 16-35mm and 70-200 f4 mm lenses. What tripod would you recommend for my travels and which heads?

 

Thanks!

 

Stefano

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I have a carbon fibre tripod from Giotto's with a ball head. It does work well and is very light, but I only use it with my 5D Mk II as it is without a battery grip and I can only use it with my 70-200mm F4 lens (in addition to standard and wide-angle zooms). Anything heavier is too much. 

 

Unfortunately, I don't have the tripod on me right now, so I can't give you the exact details on what I have.

Edited by vpics
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I had the gitzo 1541t model but I ended up selling it because I didn't think it was stable enough for my setup (canon 5D with f/4 FF zooms). The tripod is indeed very light and due to the way the legs fold, has a very small packed size (small enough to fit inside your pack). However the legs have relatively small diameters (larger diameter -> stiffer) and the last leg is pencil thin as I recall.

 

Currently I'm using a velbon elcarmagne 640 as my travel tripod (when flying) and if I had to replace it I would get something of similar size (maybe a gitzo 2-series or possibly a RRS tripod). If I had to use the gitzo traveler tripod, I would probably bring a bungee cord and hang my pack from the center column.

 

Regarding tripod heads, check out the RRS bh-40 although there are lots of heads that will work.

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Thanks Stephen for your experience. I see yours is discontinued as availability in B&H or other camera shops.

I saw Gitzos are sold without head balls. Among these ones, Adorama suggested the Induro PHT Series 3-Way Panhead. Would be suitable to be mounted on a Gitzo GT1542T tripod?

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Better a head ball or a pan/tilt head?

Apples and pears.

 

A ball head allows rapid movement  - I use a pistol grip style ball head which is great for landscape format, but there is too much overhang with the camera used in portrait format.

 

If you shoot video, pan shots, panoramas or want accurate alignment, the pan and tilt head is better.

 

I have and use both. In truth I don't take many shots with a tripod, but, of the two, I have made more use of the ball head.

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We've been using a set of Manfrotto 190CX3 carbon fiber legs for several years.  They're discontinued now and don't know the replacement model.

 

Head is a Manfrotto pistol grip ball head 322RC2.  It does have some overhang in portrait position. However it will hold without problem provided the appropriate quick release plate (200PLARCH) is used in portrait position to prevent slipping/drooping with bigger/longer lenses that have a tripod foot.   We like the pistol grip head because it locks the camera in position as soon as the pistol grip is released.    

 

The combination is lightweight and we've had no stability issues.   

Edited by Phil
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I have a tripod that is light and a joy to use.  The legs are Gitzo 2530 (very stable carbon fibre)  Markins Q-ball M-10 head, and RRS L plate and quick-release clamp.

The L plate for your camera is essential to make portrait and landscape images equally easy.  Who wants to knock the camera on it's side to lose perspective (and flexibility)?

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Stefano,

 

You have not specified your needs other than replacing a pretty generic Manfrotto. How do you travel: by car or with carry on only?

Do you walk and have to carry your tripod the whole day? Does it have to fit in a specific bag? In your carry on?

Or are you more of an Edward Weston type: “Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn’t photogenic.” (attributed to both Edward and his son Brett btw)

 

Most photographers have more than one set up. From where I am sitting I can see 5 of my tripods and 2 of my monopods, all in regular use. My table tripod is next to my keyboard by pure coincidence. It normally does not leave my bag.

Here is some info about real minimalist options:

In this post there are some of mine with sizes and weight. And in this thread there's some more on stability. (These threads have lots more info than my posts alone.)

 

wim

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Sorry, Wim, definitely you're right.

I am looking for a stable and durable replacement for my photo travels. Most of the time I travel by public transportation such as trains or buses. Currently, I am travelling through Western USA by rented car but this is an exception for my way of travelling. Often, I walk in the cities to take photos and I carry my tripod. So, I was looking also for something lighter than my current Manfrotto tripod. A friend of mine who is a travel photographer suggested me a Gitzo GT2941L which, I checked, is no longer available. I saw it's heavier than the Gitzo GT1542T I was looking for but in the same time is higher (which can be fine considering that sometimes I am taking photos behind walls and fences). If you know any tripod similar to Gitzo GT2941L let me know in order I may consider pro and cons before my final decision.

Thanks again guys!

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In that case the Gitzo GT2530 Mountaineer 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs would fit the bill.  It has been replaced with the 2531 or 2532 which is essentially the same.  The 2941 has a four section design that is more compact when collapsed, but in my experience is not as stable as the three section legs.  The 253X will fit in a medium suitcase with the center column detached.

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The Manfrotto 190CXPro4 goes most places with me. It's lightweight carbon fibre but pretty sturdy and folds up small for travel. I use a lightweight ballhead with fairly light prime lenses on D800. Works fine for landscapes and has the advantgage that the centre column can go horizontal and legs spread wind for close-to-the-ground photography. I think it is quite a bit cheaper than the lightweight Gitzos. 

Edited by MDM
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Gitzo,

 

Anyone that knows me knows that I will never mount a camera on a GITZO again.  Since the company has been

bought out by Manfrotto they do not make the best tripods, I still have a two legged GITZO....  I do wish I could find

a real working tripod not made by Manfrotto or GITZO, but I have not been able to find one.

 

See previous posts about GITZO and Manfrotto.

 

Chuck

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I'm not sure if it will fit the bill for you (tripods are very personal) - may be a little light on the weight requirements but I own and use multiple tripods and my favorite one if I need to carry one around is a MeFOTO A0350Q0K

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/926387-REG/benro_a0350q0k_0_series_travel_tripod_kit.html

 

It's rated to hold 8.8 lbs.

 

I don't like carbon fiber for multiple reasons (the biggest one being price) but if you're looking for an economical alternative, the MeFOTO MIGHT work for you.

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Western USA is a big place ;-)

Very nice too weather too, if you're not too far up north this time of year.

RRS is in San Luis Obispo, half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

If you're in LA or in SF, go to Samy's.

Nothing beats holding a tripod in your hand or giving it a good whack.

Samy's is not cheap though.

 

There has been another thread lately about stuff that lasted 20 or more years: they were almost all tripods.

A lot were Gitzos. They are expensive to buy, but not in the long run. Having said that I have wrecked a couple aluminum ones: I'm on my third aluminum. I have 2 carbon Gitzos: a tiny 4 section Mountaineer and an Explorer. I had to epoxy 2 of the legs of the Mountaineer, but it had been around the world once or twice by then, and I'm not overly careful with my tripods. Often they get loaded far beyond the max load with usually my bag over the body or sand bags or lead pellets on top.

I don't expect my even smaller Sirui to last as long as he Gitzo, but it can be folded to go into my carry on. Even with the ball head attached it goes on top of my bag with some bungee cord, without sticking out too much. When I bought it the sales person mentioned the great warranty of 6 years. He looked truly horrified when I said I would be hacking parts off with a saw blade. So that one was epoxied the week I bought it. (After some testing.)

 

The legs are usually without any cover or bag, but I do cover the ball heads with free or 99ct neoprene can holders.

neoprene-can-holder-extralarge.jpg

If it travels on the outside of my bag it's wearing a more expensive one with a draw string: $1.99.

 

Neoprene-Water-Bottle-Holder-41020-B-_20

 

My Gitzos are the most expensive tripods I own. The cheapest is wooden surveyor tripod, free from the skip, that I converted while in art school to use with my view cameras. A couple of years back I mounted the spikes again and I now use it with extremely long lenses in the field. I can stand on it while it's fully extended.

My heaviest one (10kg) is a converted Vinten video tripod. I have used it to crank up darkroom sinks and hold them level. It's slightly to light to jack up a car I think.

(The heaviest camera support is for the studio and not a tripod, besides I don't use it: it's in store - in parts.)

 

Anyway they're all tools. Just like hammers and spanners. Cheap ones will usually work too (maybe not as well though). With some care they may even last a while too.

 

wim

 

edit: typo

The can covers I use are usually black btw

Edited by wiskerke
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I'm not sure if it will fit the bill for you (tripods are very personal) - may be a little light on the weight requirements but I own and use multiple tripods and my favorite one if I need to carry one around is a MeFOTO A0350Q0K

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/926387-REG/benro_a0350q0k_0_series_travel_tripod_kit.html

 

It's rated to hold 8.8 lbs.

 

I don't like carbon fiber for multiple reasons (the biggest one being price) but if you're looking for an economical alternative, the MeFOTO MIGHT work for you.

 

Ed,

 

I suspect that MeFoto tripod is the same as my Sirui. However I do have the carbon one: it's lighter and it's easier to hack off those upper tubes and epoxy the rest (an inch or so) back in. That way it's way more stable. The price difference between aluminum and carbon was $45 or so.

Be very careful with that ball head that comes with it. The friction makes it feel quite sturdy, however that quality feel is caused by using a funny sort of grease: it's more like a sort of glue. The Chinese manufacturers love it. However your camera may flop over without any warning, as mine did. Admittedly it was a 1DS with a 70-200 AND a little bag of lead pellets. It held up the camera fine. That bag of pellets made it flop over in an instant, not sag slowly in seconds. Very scary!

The clamp is the lightest ever I believe: I now use it on my table tripod. To get it off, apply some heat.

 

wim

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I'm not sure....I haven't had a problem with the head (yet).  I thought it was a decent deal for what you get.  I also have a smaller Manfrotto MKC3-P01 but I would not recommend it for a DSLR.  The thing I like about the MeFOTO is that it's so small I can fit it into a daypack and it extends pretty high.

 

I'm not a fan of carbon fiber mostly from experience with fishing rods.  With aluminum, you can generally see any damage and act on it.  With carbon fiber, it tends to shatter and you don't see the damage until it falls over.  The other thing is carbon fiber conducts electricity better than aluminum.  Afternoons on Colorado mountains with thunder storms rolling in can be exciting (not that I do much of that anymore)....but I've had a couple of experiences that have left hair standing on end (literally).  I have no idea if it's a factor in a tripod but I don't want to take chances :)

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