A lot of nonsense is talked about tripods, because good new ones are expensive and people feel the need to justify their purchases.
I have about a dozen. I lost count some time ago because I've been accumulating kit for a long time. Unlike you I am no longer young (56 on June 15) and I've been an amateur almost 40 years and first worked professionally over 30 years ago.
ALL tripods are a trade-off on weight, minimum size when collapsed, maximum height when extended, vibration damping, convenience and cost. The trade-offs are so complex that no two photographers are likely to agree on what needs to be done to their 'best' tripod to make it better.
My favourite ultra-light tripod for MF and light 4x5 cameras is wood (MPP, 1960s, 1 kg without head) and my favourite for bigger cameras is wood too (French 1950s, not a name I've ever heard of, 4 kg with head, holds 8x10 inch easily). But I also like, for maximum stability, an 11 kg Linhof tripod, and for 35mm and some MF my wife and I use two metal 1 kg tripods, Velbon and Slik, that collapse a lot smaller than the MPP and include the head in the weight.
Most wood tripods are 'crutch' style, two almost-parallel upper leg struts in a very long, narrow V with the top of the V on the tripod boss and the upper part of the lower leg clamped in the bottom of the V. Both my favourite 'woodies' have light alloy lower legs with wooden uppers.
But I also use Benbos (metal), a Gitzo (metal), an (almost) all-wood Gandolfi and an (almost) all-metal Gibran. In the studio, I wouldn't even consider a tripod: I use a column- or pillar-type stand, in my case IFF but I learned with Cambo. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE PERFECT CAMERA SUPPORT!
Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com -- where you can see in the galleries that I do a lot hand-held too...)
Don't get me wrong, I like my wood and use them, but I also have aluminum tripods(6 of them) that get used as well, when I am shooting my 35mm with large lenses and my wimberly head, then I shoot with an adaptall that I modified so I could change heads, but all of my tripods get used, depending on what I am doing, I have tripods set up for LF, MF and 35mm but they all get used. Myself personally don't like the carbon tripods, but that is a personal opinion, I have many friends that shoot carbon and love them...as JP said, there is no right or wrong or one simple answer.
What could be uglier than a beautiful wooden camera on a metal tripod? I think I'm gonna. . . . hurl! :o
"A certain amount of contempt for the material employed to express an idea is indispensable to the purest realization of this idea." Man Ray
FWIW, I fully agree with Roger's posting. Frankly, I could care less as to whether the tripod is wood or carbon fiber or aluminium as long as it does the job.
I've had Berlebach pods before and, yes, they're terrific when you're out in the cold weather using them. They're a LOT warmer on the hands.
At present, I have a Manfrotto 475 (aluminium) for field use and I quite like it for the way "I" work. As with some shooters here, I don't hike long, long distances away from the vehicle. As a result, weight considerations are not AS crucial in my mind. That said, I use to use a Majestic pod that was huge and heavy! I don't think I'd personally go that route again but, unlike you, I'm also getting a bit older as well!
And, I concur with Roger in that I wouldn't use anything other than a proper studio stand (Cambo or Manfrotto 280) in the studio. But, you're sure NOT going to be dragging one of these guys out into the field with you... no matter how young and strong you are!
So, whether it's wood, carbon fiber, or aluminium... you need to find a tripod that will support the equipment you're working with. Don't discount one material over the other. And, given time, you'll come to a very personal conclusion as to what you like and dislike about a LARGE variety of tripods. [Oh, and make sure that it mates with your tripod head properly too!]
If you buy the "best" tripod in the world but it doesn't suit the weight of your gear... then it's going to be FAR, FAR from being the best tripod in the world. Comprende?
off course I understand the whole tripod issue is not so simple. If it was than tere was only one brand and one type.
I think that with my foba I found one of the top alu tripods. It is completally in a different leaque than my old bogen 144b. that's good.
It is quitte heavy but 9 of 10 times that's no issue. I used my gitzo studex performence 3 today. I noticed that the tripod still was somewhat shakey after releasing the shutter.
then I read all this wood dampens things very good stuff, so I started thinking. I figured why are we not all using wood...
Still have not found a satisfying answer actually. I understand that every camera end purpose ask for a different tripod. But when exactly does a aluminium tripod has advantages over the better damping of an alu tripod? that's what I am curious about.
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Though not always the case, aluminum tripods will frequently fold up and collapse to a smaller package. As Roger mentioned above, however, that is not always the case.
Other advantages to the wood (I think already mentioned) and the carbon fiber tripods is that they are not as cold to the touch in cold weather or as warm to the touch in hot weather as aluminum tripods. This is part of the reason that many aluminum tripod users will either purchase the special leg covers or use pipe foam placed over the legs. Carbon fiber will generally be hotter than wood tripods in the heat because they are black in color.
Wood tripods tend to be heavy and the one I tried for a while (a Zone VI) was also bulky and awkward to carry and set up and take down (though maybe not after one gets used to it). The best tripod in the world isn't any good if it's so heavy and awkward to use that it stays in the closet. I've been using a Gitzo 1325 for quite a while and like it a lot - light, sturdy, pretty easy to set up and take down. I like the larger collars Gitzo started using at some point, I also have an older aluminum Gitzo and I didn't like the small collars on it.
The design of a tripod is as important as the materials used. Wooden tripods usually have good spacing between the upper attachment points of each leg. This contributes to stability. Some metal tripods, especially those with tubular legs, have a small area for clamping leg to head. Only a slight amount of movement in this area contributes much to camera movement and vibration. Despite this, some tripods with such designs do work well.
Consider where you will be using the tripod. I shoot in the woods, and my elegant Gitzo is worthless there. I need my heavy wood tripod with the long leg spikes that I can sink deep into the earth for stability. My best tripod is an older wooden Surveyor’s tripod on which I’ve mounted my Arca B2. Sure it’s heavy, and it doesn’t collapse to a small package. But it is VERY STURDY. Indoors, the Gitzo is best.
Originally Posted by resummerfield
Though the Carbon Fiber Gitzo tripods are elegant, the new 6X tripod feet are removable and replaceable with screw in spikes. The spikes may not be as long as those on my Ries H100, but they may prove practical.