Hiking/ backpacking tripod?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by ezwriter, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. ezwriter

    ezwriter Member

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    Anyone reccomend a not-exorbitant backpacking tripod? i've got about 4 of them now, weighing about 2.4lbs and trying to lighten my pack.
    Can't afford the $300 carbon ones!
    is that tent pole Slip shot? tripod any good, looks kinda flimsy, tho light.
    Or do i need a mule like Ansel? ;>
    thanks
    kEN
     
  2. JDP

    JDP Member

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    Hi,
    I recently went through the process of buying a new tripod and also wanted to use it for back-packing. I bought a lightweight Davis and Straub unit with a ball head. It is well made, and very light, but unfortunately just not rigid enough for exposures of ~1 second or more. I came to the conclusion you cannot argue with physics and a rigid tripod needs to be chunky, and heavy. I ended up with a carbon model (Velbon) for 'short' walks (probably weighs ~4lbs), but if going into the mountains I actually take a monopod with me. This allows steady exposures down to aleast 1/4 second, and often is good at 1/2 a second. it weights about a pound, and doubles as a walking pole. Recommended.
     
  3. Juraj Kovacik

    Juraj Kovacik Member

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    I'm afraid a mule is only solution. My tripod and head is around 5 lbs and I give up trying to find something not so heavy. But maybe monopod is a great idea - I've never try to use it.
     
  4. Kc2edh

    Kc2edh Member

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    It might not be exactly what you're looking for, but I highly recommend the Gorillapod. Very light, stable on all the surfaces I've used it on, and very compact. Its only drawback is that the camera sits about a foot off the ground- no problem when using a waist level finder, but it can prove difficult to compose the shot when using an SLR. It's worth checking out though, I don't go hiking without it.
     
  5. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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  6. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    for what its worth, it is VERY hard to judge the quality or usability of a tripod online. Its one of those things you just have to see for yourself. Find a local camera dealer that stocks high-quality tripods.
     
  7. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I actually have a donkey (not a mule), and I'm pretty sure he isn't stable enough for 1-second exposures either!

    Personally, I've decided to sacrifice weight for stability. I have a cheap 1970s tripod of some generic brand, and it's plenty stable enough for 35mm or TLRs, but it certainly weighs more than your 2.4 pounds. However, if I'm already carrying water at eight pounds per gallon, a few metric tons of assorted cameras, and so forth and so on, the weight of the tripod is kind of down in the noise---I decided it didn't make sense to optimize for weight at that level. Better to suffer and get good photos than not to suffer at all, right?

    -NT
     
  8. coigach

    coigach Member

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  9. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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  10. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    I have an Adorama Flashpoint tripod that I've been very happy with. Here's one on sale for $140 similar to the one I have: http://www.adorama.com/FPTPF2228.html I've shot 4x5 and my RZ67 on mine without any problems. Just need to add a decent head; I have a little Bogen ballhead that works fine.
     
  11. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Depending what you shoot and how versatile you want your tripod, Gorilla pods are good for hiking. I have one that will hold about 6lbs. I've set them on rocks, logs and wrapped the legs around tree branches. They weigh less than a pound. I use it with a shutter release. They cost about $50.

    http://joby.com/gorillapod/slr/
     
  12. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    A monopod or a table-top tripod.

    While the table-top tripod might not be as flexible (pun intended) as a Gorillapod, a good one (I use Manfrotto, Leica is also supposed to be a very good one) can be much more stable, if you're in an area offering some kind of off-ground support (stone walls, boulders, tree stumps, etc).

    Just for fun, I mounted my Pentax 6x7 on the Manfrotto: it looked absurd but was steady... :wink:
     
  13. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    Four tripods and not one serves the purpose? I suggest a savings plan whereby sufficient funds are reserved to satisfy the CF want...lest a sixth or seventh tripod arrive.

    I've been using a Gitzo Series 0 Carbon 6x tripod over the course of many miles and remain pleased. It weighs 1.5 lbs and supports a conservative 11 lbs.

    Gorillapods are OK on a very temporary basis but nothing you'll want to crawl around for a day of shooting. Tall grass, weeds, snow and topogrophy limit the usefulness. Crouching/kneeling on sharp rock/gravel/mud/broken glass, etc. gets old. Get off the floor, man!:D
     
  14. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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    Look into the Slik Sprint pro series. Ive had one of years without problems.
     
  15. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Right, the cheap tripods sometimes make false economy. I've read good reviews about Feisol.

    I used to backpack with a 6 lb Star D, a gold standard of stability and height. I replaced it with a sleek Linhof, which I lost then as a budget move replaced with an older 3 lb 9 oz aluminum Linhof. If not for a few years prosperity, I would still be using the Linhof, it's stable and not too hard to carry.

    But I did get a chance to buy a Gitzo G1027 and put a small leitz ballhead (the one with grooves cut into the ball) as a topper for it. At 1 lb 15 oz, I can carry it in one hand like a soda bottle without fatigue, or strap it to the daypack and not even feel it.

    The new Gitzo's have a channel lock so the legs don't untwist wrong. It's a rotten annoyance that you want to unlock a leg and the relatively loose segment above or below rotates.

    Maybe you will find someone who wants to dump the old version for the newer series.

    The lighter-than-required tripod has cost me some shots, but I have no excuse since there is a hook and I could have hung a bag of rocks from it.

    To sum up, look for something around or under 2 pounds. 3 pounds is excessive unless you shoot 4x5.
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Try to find a used Bogen 3033. They are somewhat big, but they don't weigh a lot, and they are very quick to set up due to the flip tabs used for leg extension, and the fact that all three legs come out together in one movement. They are not the all-out best choice for large format in terms of stability, but they do have struts, and they do the job just fine. They are a good compromise between the solidity of a 3036 or 3051 and the light weight of a strutless model like a 3021. They should also be quite cheap: $100 to $150 in good condition with a head.
     
  17. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Speaking of cheap tripods and false economy. Is there any chance the cheap 'carbon fiber' tripods are actually just plastic tubes? How would you tell the difference?
     
  18. lacavol

    lacavol Member

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    I have a velbon that works fine without the ball head it takes a moment to aim. Where I go you have to take a bear canister. I carry some cord and suspend it from the center of the tripod with rocks in with my food. This stabilizes the whole structure from wind. And with a cable release. It takes a while to setup but gets easier. You just carry the light tripod and use available (and some disposable) weights to get rigidity.