Travel Tripod?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Cybertrash, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    I've been looking around a bit for a tripod that is easy to take with me on trips, hiking and also for "field use" (I don't have a car, so I use public transport to move around). I currently have a Manfrotto 055BC with a 029 head, but I find that it is a little too heavy to be lugging around all day. Light weight (preferably under 2KG) and portability (folding upp to small size) is important.

    I currently shoot mostly with a Hasselblad 500CM, but I'm also doing 4x5 with a Speed Graphic, so ideally I'd want the tripod to be able to support these cameras. I am however planning to exchange the Speed Graphic for a Shen Hao PTB later on (and get myself a monorail for studio use), which is considerably lighter, so full stability with a Speed Graphic isn't a must.

    I'd prefer something that's around £100-200, I'd get a Gitzo if I could afford it but unfortunately that's not the case. I had my eyes on the Benro Travel Angel series, but an article I read cast some doubt on their stability.
     
  2. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I have Manfrotto 055 tripod too and agree that it's too heavy to travel with and I too am looking for a suitable travel tripod and think the Aluminium Benro Travel Angel is about the best available at around £150 is about the best affordable option because anything better is much more expensive and more than I want to pay for the few occasions I travel on.
     
  3. Trail Images

    Trail Images Subscriber

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    I've used a combination of a Feisol 3301 tripod and Vanguard Ballhead for a few years now and find the lightweight combination much nicer then my previous Bogen 3221.
    I field use this setup for both my Mamiya RB67 and Wista DXIII 4x5 without any issues to date.

    Feisol 3301 & Center Column

    Vanguard 250 Ballhead
     
  4. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I have a Gitzo carbon fiber with the magnesium ballhead that the tripod (without the head) folds to 21.5 inches the combined weight is about 5lbs. It holds a Hasselblad with up to the 250mm lens as well as the 150mm + 2x with no problem. I haven't tried it with my 4x5 although it is rated to hold about 18lbs. I'm not sure how it will work with the bellows fully extended and I'm not crazy about using the 4x5 with a ballhead. The Gitzos are rather costly so there may be another brand with comparable capacities. I've had mine for a number of years and use it mainly when traveling/hiking. Around town or when convenient I use a larger and heavier tripod. There are shoulder straps that make carrying a tripod easier if you don't already have one. I think Domke still market them.

    You can easily find the size, weight and capacity of most tripods online or better yet if there is a camera store with a decent supply of tripods take your equipment and try it out at the shop.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  5. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    The thing that worries me about the Benro Travel Angel is that you more or less have to extend the center column all the way to get a useable working height, and I think that would make the tripod fairly unstable and prone to vibration.
     
  6. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Try a Manfrotto 190.Not as big (tall) as a 55 but still sturdy and about half the weight. I have one fitted with a B&S head and a hexagonal quick release adapter plate and it is fine for walking with.
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I have an Induro aluminium tripod, I want to say it's the 013 model (compact, lightweight, 3-section legs). It is perfectly stable for my Rolleiflex. I have never tried putting my RB67 on it, so I can't say if it would be good for the weight of that beast or not. I wouldn't try using a 4x5 of any flavor with it - they're just too big even if they're light. On the upside, it is very inexpensive - $100 USD (which is what, 60-70 GBP)? I would take it over the Travel Angel as the leg sections seem more rigid to me. I have flown with it several times now, taking it to the wilds of Michigan, the streets of New York, and across France (Paris and Chalon-sur-Saone), as well as frequent use in bad weather (snow, rain, wind and cold) here in Washington DC.
     
  8. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    I've been looking into the Travel Angel Series for quite a while, but haven't seen one on person.
    I remember another member (also a Hasselblad user) mentioning having a tripod of this series and he was quite happy.
    However, it should be the higher end of the line: A2682, A2692. The former is 4 section and extends up to 1.38m, but I don't know if it's enough for WLF and/if it includes the ballhead into the measure.
     
  9. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I've considered this but the folded height is too long to go in my checked luggage when flying.
     
  10. rayonline_nz

    rayonline_nz Member

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    If you want even smaller and fits inside a daypack horizontal - Gitzo Traveler series I have a G1550T. Feisol also makes one like this with the 180 deg fold back design to min the storage space and MeFoto does too I think. Mine folds down to about 30 or 35cm with the ballhead, b/c it folds back 180deg the ballhead is next to the bottom of the tripod leg. 2lbs all up. You can also fit a more decent ballhead like the Markins Q3 and you can utilise the L bracket etc.
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I use a Slik Swift Pro II for traveling, it's small enough to go inside a medium sized backpack and quite light. It's also sold by Calumet at a slightly lower price, they come with a pan/tilt or ball head. It's marketed for digital equipment but is fine with my Speed/Crown/Super Graphic or Wista, so OK with a Shen Hao.

    Ian
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have the Feisol CT-3441 with the reversible legs. When I got it, I didn't care for the telescoping center column, which tended to rotate when I panned the camera, so I cut off the telescoping section and epoxied the extra base from the part I removed to the open end of the large column tube, giving me a solid medium-length column, and this was a real improvement in stability, also shaving an ounce or two. I shaved a little more by removing the neoprene leg covers, which seemed unnecessary for a small tripod. The column still has a base at the other end that can be unscrewed, so I can swap my modified column with the short column.

    I use it with either the Linhof Ballhead 1 (49mm base) or the Acratech Ballhead, and have been able to support even an ultralight 8x10" Gowland Pocket View, with lighter wide to normal lenses, and no more than 12 inches of rail.

    Those heads are too large to reverse the legs neatly, but I only need to reverse them when I'm packing the tripod in my luggage, so I can take the head off for that purpose, invert it, and then the head will fit with the legset in its original bag toward between the feet of the tripod. With the Linhof head and legs not reversed, it's about 23" (still small enough to fit a large suitcase), and reversed, the legset is 19" (fits in a rollaboard).

    It occurs to me that I could use a smaller head without a panning base to eliminate one knob (if you loosen the center column, you can pan with that instead of a panning base), which would make it easier to carry with the legs reversed, head attached, but looking at the heads actually out there that don't have a panning base, they are mostly too small for my needs. One possible exception may be the FLM CB-24E, but I haven't tried it out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2014
  13. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Tripods are a very individual, personal thing with many aspects to be carefully considered, more so if you are a traveller without transport.

    The tripod must be light enough to carry all day if necessary, strong and rigid enough to support the weight and bulk of your camera with its largest lens and the head assembly is probably the most important component of all — not wood, not alloy, not carbon fibre, not composite, but the head, where the camera mounts. I don't really think what is suitable for one, two, three, four or more people will necessarily be suitable for the next person, so I am loathe to make any one recommendation, save to show obvious bias toward Manfrotto which I have been using for more than 25 years. That's all that was available at the time. My latest is a 190CX 3-section carbon fibre with custom stainless steel screws and nuts to guard against saltwater derangement and teflon sleeve inserts to provide instant fall and recess of the legs. All this customisation reflects experience in the field, but chiefly exposure of the tripod to salt water. Retractable spiked feet were fitted on delivery several years ago to provide precise placement on e.g. rock surfaces. Many tripods come with these installed as standard, but they can raise the ire of airport inspection personnel when retracted spikes show up in the X-Ray machine! The legs are attached to a Manfrotto 3D magnesium head that in turn is matched to the weight of the heaviest camera and lens (Pentax 67 with 165mm f4 LS). The weight is 2.40kg. I cannot carry this tripod in a backpack: I must carry it by hand. It does however double as a useful "walking staff" when required. My 35mm work I have a Gitzo carbon fibre tripod with a 498RC head and this has been packed along on bushwalks and holds my EOS 1N and compact digmon very well. Either and both tripods have been taken with me as carry-on (straped together in a black bag) and slipped into the overhead locker.

    My budget for each tripod was 3x your high limit: the tripod has a vital role to play — it holds and steadies a camera, in itself not cheap, and really when you're committing a Hassy to it, it had better be sturdy and reliable.

    Whatever tripod and head you end up with, practice, practice mounting the camera on and off, even blindfolded so you essentially are guaranteeing you will not inattentively overlook something like docking the camera securely or having the tripod head suddenly fall down e.g. forward, potentially damaging the lens(common) and camera. There are some ridiculously priced tripods out there, I'm sure they have their place for gear freaks and those that must be seen. I consider tripod head to be where the investment should be assessed (behind stability and ease of use).
     
  14. Cybertrash

    Cybertrash Member

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    I'm unable to find any mention of a Tripod with that name, but I can find something called a Slik Sprint Pro II, would that be the same one?
     
  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's the same tripod, I've got the ball head version. You need to look at one really to see if it's OK for you, small tripods are a bit of a compromise.

    Ian