A small lightweight tripod - options?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Treymac, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. Treymac

    Treymac Member

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    Hey guys.

    So I`m going to Peru in April and I`m trying to get my gear ready and pick up some spare accessories before I go that`ll help. I already have a tripod, albeit a cheap plastic one, but it`s too big. I`ve seen some very lightweight black tripods that have thin round legs and have completely independent movements. So it`s something like that, maybe around 4ft in height, that I`m looking for. And It needs to support a Bronica etr-si MF camera. Do you guys know of any that are cheap? I`ve found one, a Quantaray QSX Ultra-Pro but it has terrible reviews.

    Thanks.
     
  2. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    The Tiltall is my favorite all-round tripod. But I also like my Bogen 3001 as a lighter weight alternative. I use it for 35mm, but might be OK for your ETR.

    Bogen is now Manfrotto; who was the original manufacturer. The numbering/naming scheme has changed, so it's no longer "3001", but I think it's now their 190 series. It's a basic aluminum tripod that may be the cheapest good tripod you can find.

    With tripods it's pick 2: good, cheap, lightweight
     
  3. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Though sold under that name in the U.S. (and there only), Manfrotto never was Bogen. Manfrotto always has made, and still does make these things.
    :wink:
     
  4. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    You're correct. Bogen was an importer and dealer of much photographic hardware. I don't know whether they actually manufactured anything themselves. The tripods were branded "Bogen" but made by Manfrotto.
     
  5. blockend

    blockend Member

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    I wouldn't rely too closely on reviews for the job you need a tripod for. Any support that's light enough for backpacking would be a total fail in a studio and vice versa. I'd guess your typical shot might be half a second or so - any tripod that can achieve that without collapsing under the weight of a medium format camera is sufficient.

    If a trip is photo intensive I carry an ancient aluminium tripod with square section aluminium legs, but it's still heavy enough to cuss at by the end of a day. For occasional use that doesn't require head height shooting you can buy plastic tripods with multi ball legs which can lock round tree branches and other solid objects for about £8.00.

    You won't find a perfect answer, if it's solid it'll be heavy, it's a case of where you compromise.
     
  6. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    That's right I think they were like Vivitar who didn't actually manufacture anything, Manfrotto recently bought Gitzo I understand.
     
  7. dhosten

    dhosten Member

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    I use a Manfrotto 055 (old version) with 3 way head for most of my stuff, but sometimes just take my Cullman Magic foldable tripod. I have never put anything really heavy on it, but have put my 9x12 Avus on it, and have put a Rolleiflex TLR, and my Sony DSLR on it. The Cullman Magic is, to me at least, the best backpacking tripod in terms or weight and quality and price. A carbon Gitzo would get you better stability and probably the same weight for many times the price. Depends on your need. Rugged country = Manfrotto. Side of the road/well trodden path = Manfrotto/Cullman Magic.
     
  8. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Not quite.
    Both Manfrotto and Gitzo are owned by the same company, the British multinational called the Vitec Group.
    This holding company bought Gitzo almost 20 years ago, Manfrotto a few years before that (and Bogen a year later).
    Though manufacturing has moved, both brands still exist as separate entities, i.e. continue their own product lines.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    If you're looking for something inexpensive, try to find an older Marchioni or Leitz Tiltall. It's 6 lbs with the head included (the head isn't easily removable). In good condition they're around $100, and they were made to hold a 4x5" press camera.

    If you've got a little more (well, three times more) money to spend and want a very compact carbon fiber tripod, I've been using this one for several months now, and it offers a lot of bang for the buck--

    http://reallybigcameras.com/Feisol/Traveler_Class.htm

    The comparable Gitzo is around $1100 last I checked, and the Gitzo has certain advantages, like legs that don't turn, but the question is whether those advantages are worth the difference in price.

    I use my Feisol CT-3441S with a small Linhof ballhead usually or an Acratech ballhead with larger cameras, and I've cut the telescoping center column, because it's not a feature I want, and it's lighter and more solid without the telescoping joint and extension. For such a small tripod, it's a surprisingly good support. I've used it with my ultralight Gowland 8x10", and within limits (wide to normal lenses, not too much bellows extension, no high winds), it's fairly steady.
     
  10. onepuff

    onepuff Member

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    Have you considered a Benbo? I have a Trekker MkII and it is reasonably light but very sturdy and will certainly accommodate your Bronica. It also has very flexible movements with the legs able to be placed in virtually any plane and the legs are sealed to stop water ingress.
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    The Manfrotto formerly known as Bogen 3001(190) is a pretty sturdy tripod for it's size. It's 21" collapsed and about 46" extended with the column down. Add the head of your choice.
    It's small enough to fit a suitcase with the head removed.
    I've used it with an RB67 and a holga pinhole with the column down it's reasonably steady.
     
  12. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I've been packing around an old Slik S-502 System tripod for the last 20+ years. It collapses down to under 20 inches, extends to five and a half feet, and only weighs a couple of pounds. It is plenty sturdy for my Mamiya C-220 and 330, I even put my Calumet cc-401 on it a couple of times, it strains but handled it. It has tubular legs with twist locks, and a single handle pan head(I wish it were a ball head), and the old style QR studs instead of a QR plate.
     
  13. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    And while we're on the subject, I've yet to find an even relatively inexpensive aluminum tripod that is sturdy and does not have round, tubular legs. There's a reason for that - a circular shape is inherently stable. Think about the arches in old cathedrals. Or an egg.

    I'm sure you can compensate for other shapes with expensive materials or machining, but for bang (stability) for the buck, I'll take round legs.

    One other point, if you just want the tripod to steady your Bronica for slightly long exposures and weight/cost is an issue, you might be better off with a good monopod than a poor tripod.
     
  14. blockend

    blockend Member

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    That may be an oversimplification of what's going on. I'm no engineer but I believe strength can be derived from increasing the wall thickness of a tube or increasing its diameter. Thickness = weight, so is best avoided in portable objects, including tripods.

    Rigidity can be gained from altering the shape of a tube to counter lateral forces - square or egg shaped for example - but most of the flexibility seen in a lightweight tripod will be in the joints, where a degree of ingenuity is required to create a locking and bracing device for the legs that's still light. The shape of the tubing will be less of an issue than bracing this telescopic join.

    Tripods exist that are extremely light, light enough to skid across a hard surface in the wind, but perform well enough as a prop to enable brief exposures. The triangulation of the legs provide the support, not their lateral load bearing capabilities, at least for the camera weight it is likely to encounter.

    If the user requires something to enable extended exposures of a night sky he's going to have to sweat some serious weight, if he wants a tripod to hold the camera still for longer than his hands, say a 1/30th to 1/2 a second, he can carry a much lighter i.e. flimsier tripod.
     
  15. Treymac

    Treymac Member

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  16. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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  17. Lightproof

    Lightproof Member

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    I can recommend the Gitzo GT1550T for travel. It is quite expensive, but amazingly reliable and strong.

    Albeit not being a good tripod for MF on its heaviest side, it holds an Fuji GX680 without being damaged (that test was done after replacing the small ball head with a 2 way head)

    Anyway, for more conventional MF travel stuff (TLR, smaller SLRs and SWC...) it is next to perfect. It was my only option for some long, challenging (5 days in wilderness) trips. It is light enough to serve as a walking stick to take the pressure off my knees when going down dale.
    On my last trip I abused it quite heavily, but after some cleaning it performs like new again.
     
  18. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    You realize that's 360mm high, right? 14" + a little bit. extended you pick up a little bit more.
     
  19. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Brett Weston used an Aluminum tripod with non round legs, the legs were rectangular. He didn't seem to have any problem with his Rollei and RB67.
     
  20. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    If I believe the marketing, the feature that tubular legs need is non-rotation.

    When you inconsistently tighten the sleeves and go to adjust the legs... as you twist, tripods without the feature will loosen the leg you just cinched instead of the section you want.
     
  21. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Monopod! It doubles as a great walking stick.

    ...and if you have two companions, each equipped with a monopod, well then you can put them together into a tripod :wink:

    The other must-have is a beanbag.