I have a Manfrotto carbon-fiber tripod which I have dragged across the planet with me underneath a variety of cameras ranging from a Hasselblad to my 5x12 (I think I even used it ONCE underneath my Calumet C-1, in an act of desperation). It has been used in snow, rain, running water, sub-zero temperatures. I'm more likely to have a problem with the section locks not opening/closing because they're lever-locks and my hands are too cold to get a good grip on the locks than anything else. Oh, and I've had this tripod for a decade give or take. I'm now contemplating a bigger tripod so I can have just one lightweight travel 'pod to fit all my cameras from the RB67 up to the Canham 14x17, and one that has twist-locks for the leg sections so it's easier to open/close.
Try to contact Craig Richards. He is a "world class" mountain and for that matter landscape photographer. I believe he lives in Canmore and is associated with the Whyte Museum in Banff. He is a LF photographer whose printing is flawless. He stayed with us in Miami about fifteen years ago while giving a workshop. He is a nice guy and could probably give you good advice on the equipment you are seeking. If you reach him give him my regards.
Get it from a online retailer that allows you to take a look at it, if you dont like it (and dont damage it) ship it back. Several (most common) the smaller once let you do this (or at least in europe)
Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
Why not ask Kerry Thalmann about the Feisol carbon fiber tripods he sells? You wont get a more honest answer from anyone in the business.
http://reallybigcameras.com/Feisol/Tripods email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A couple comments. Firstly, I would lean to a non-metallic material like wood, carbon fiber etc. I ice climb pretty much every weekend and the metallic bits I work with all freeze up in short order in cold, wet conditions. non-metallic stuff takes a lot longer to freeze. Basically metal is a great conductor of heat so if anything is going to ice up that will do it first. I suspect this was your problem with the aluminum tripod.
Secondly I would call the folks at The Camera Store in Calgary. There prices are competitive and they are in an area that sees real winter, a condition very different from Vancouver.
Oh, and a parting thought on the fragile nature of carbon fiber. some of the better ice axes out there have carbon fiber shafts. Made well the stuff is bomb-proof and we are renowned for punishing our tools.
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Originally Posted by peeniwali
Perhaps my comments on the strength of carbon fibre might have been phrased better
Carbon fibre can be made bullet proof - see the "survival cells" of the monocoque chassis of a Formula One car, they are nearly indestructable and have saved many lives that would otherwise have been lost or seriously injured - so I do agree that if made well (and for specific purpose) carbon fibre is very strong. What I aslo know is that if the stress point is not designed into the cloth the finished fibre will have less/minimal strength in that area of stress.
I would suggest that a tripod from a renowned manufacturer will be designed to take more stress etc than perhaps one built down to a price rather than up to a quality.
The heat conductivity of carbon fibre is a good point well made - in our mini-cold spell here I replaced a steel monopod with a carbon one and did notice the difference in holding it, but it was only -8 here.
The mountaineers from your neck of the woods are the ones to listen to I reckon, and good of them to chip in.
Reputable, long-established brands such as Manfrotto, Slik and Gitzo, among others, will have invested a lot of time, research, engineering and money into developing carbon fibre products that will easily shape up to the worst conditions of expected use, but in terms of what you put on them is one of prudent decision-making. With CF being light in weight you don't want to put any camera on top that exceeds the published weight limit (I plonk either 400gm pinhole camera or a 2.3kg SLR on either, but the smaller tripod is never used with the big camera with legs fully splayed). You've probably already noticed by now the huge price difference between CF tripods and aluminium. Apples and oranges. My slender Gitzo tripod doubled its usefulness recently as a handy second walking staff during a slippery descent!
I use a Gitzo 3540XLS and have been ridiculed for the high price but it's the toughest, most rigid and unfailing mammer jammer going. I have used it in all situations, beaten it, abused it and it just keeps working flawlessly...Evan Clarke
Thanks again for all your replies.
I did meet Craig Richards and can vouch for his niceness. My wife and I were in the Mountain Equipment Co-op in Calgary where I noticed some greeting cards with pretty much the best B&W reproductions I'd ever seen. I tracked him down at the museum in Canmore and had a good long chat with him about his printing methods and where he got the cards made. I was mightily impressed with his work.
I did ask about this sort of thing a long time ago in the advertisers forum, but got no response from Kerry.
I'll be gazing at my navel for quite a while over this purchase...
Last edited by MurrayMinchin; 12-14-2010 at 09:02 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
A few years ago I refinished my now 30-year-old Zone VI "lightweight" tripod because the original lacquer finish had mostly worn off. I live in Oregon, so rain and salt water are nothing new. I disassembled the tripod and gave the wood a light sanding, then coated the entire thing in oil-based polyurethane. It was a bit sticky at first because the poly tended to grab onto itself, but 9 years later it works like a champ in all weather conditions. I've had it out in freezing temps without a hitch.
Don't know about the graphite 'pods. Can't afford one right now. I'd like one because I'm 30 years older than I was when I bought the Zone VI.