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  1. #1

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    Analysis paralysis on tripod purchase!!

    So, I am having a rather severe case of what I understand to be analysis paralysis: the inability to make a decision over a product purchase! After a few posts on APUG and other webpages, and talking to my local camera shop, I am unsure of what to buy. Here is a bit of a recap: I use a Nikon FE2 and will be using asap a Hasselblad 500cm with lenses up to 150mm. I shoot fine art landscapes in inclement weather (snow, wind, rain).

    Carbon Fiber: I was original hesitant to go with carbon, but many have suggested that it is better to simply buy carbon now, b/c eventually you will want it anyway, so you might as well just buy now. The Gitzo Mountaineering, Induro 8x CT214, and Manfrotto 055cxpro carbon, have come up most frequently. I can't imagine a significant difference between any one of these. The Gitzo I've held - it's very nice. Both the Induro and the Manfrotto have rave reviews on B&H.

    Aluminum: After having decided on Carbon, I began to freak about spending $600+ when I could possibly buy aluminum legs and a great ball head for 1/2 the price. Of course, weight doubles, but unless I am missing something, I can't seem to see any other real advantage to carbon over aluminum other than weight. Many have suggested Tiltall and others have suggested that the Manfrotto 055 is great (800 plus very convincing reviews on B&H), sturdy tripod. Of course, Gitzo also makes aluminum.

    Heads: I've not even begun to research these!

    So this will be my final post on tripod legs. I'd welcome any advice on helping me make a decision based upon the above info. The decision is resting upon just spending the money upfront now for carbon, or going with aluminum to save $.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Barry S's Avatar
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    I've never heard of anyone regretting the purchase of a good tripod and head. The Hassy is not a light system and it really needs a tripod, so save some weight with your tripod. Go for the CF--it's lighter and a lot nicer to use in the cold. Aluminum does a terrific job draining the heat from your hands, unless it's the summer, when it heats up and gets uncomfortably hot.

  3. #3

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    I use similar equipment and in similar conditions (less the snow). The Manfrotto 055 is a classic selection that a lot of folks like, as you found out. I went even lighter and have good success with a Manfrotto 190 and ball head. That will hold securely a Hassy with 150mm, and a FE with MD and 200mm. The best part -- very affordable and lightweight.

  4. #4
    Dan Henderson's Avatar
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    I spent the Big Bucks for a Gitzo CF tripod several years ago. I have had to send it back twice to have the legs reglued into the top frame. Third leg I reglued myself. I've found I really have to twist the leg locks hard to keep them from collapsing. One of the upper leg sections seems to be separating slightly from, I believe, this excessive torque. If I ever have to buy another tripod it might not be CF, and certainly won't be a Gitzo.


    web site: Dan Henderson, Photographer.com

    blog: https://danhendersonphotographer.wordpress.com/

    I am not anti-digital. I am pro-film.

  5. #5

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    You really can't beat a used Tiltall for "bang for your buck". I recently bought a lightly used Leitz Tiltall at a camera meet for $75.00.

    That said, you really can't beat a carbon fiber for light weight.

    You just need to decide if less weight is worth it to you. If you do a lot of hiking in inclement weather I would go for the carbon fiber, no contest.

  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    If cost is more of an issue than weight check out Induro tripods. The same models are available in alloy and carbon fiber. The prices are very reasonable for either and surprisingly, the alloy models aren't that heavy. I have an AKB-2 (cf equiv would be CKB-2) that features a ball head and will support up to 22lbs. I recently purchased a pan head for it and prefer that. I use mine to support a Calumet cc-400 and cc-401 4x5 camera.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  7. #7
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Regarding carbon fiber, I have had very good results from my Feisol. I have the older version with legs that rotate. A minor annoyance. Feisol used to say they were stronger than non-rotating ones, but the newer Feisols have non-rotating legs.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  8. #8

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    I'm using a mamiya RZ67 with a Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod and hydrostatic manfrotto ball head.
    --
    Kenton Brede
    http://kentonbrede.com/

  9. #9

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    Analysis paralysis on tripod purchase!!

    I believe carbon is better at absorbing vibration than aluminium. Similar size tripods in carbon are noticeably lighter than aluminium. I have had the same Gitzo problems as mentioned in an earlier post. The top of the legs on mine are threaded so that they are both screwed and glued into the metal ferrule. Mine have come apart and I have now fixed them myself with epoxy glue. I also find the leg locks need careful tightening to prevent slipping. Giottos carbon tripods get a good name here in the UK, and are well priced. You should look at them if they are available where you are. I have a Manfrotto o55 in alu which is great, but I wouldn't carry it very far. Alex

  10. #10
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    Carbon fibre also has the advantage of being more hands-friendly in very low temperatures. If your hands ever remained "glued" to a very cold aluminium tripod then CF would help.

    That said: if you bring your tripod with your for many hours on the mountains, go for CF.
    If you use your tripod for a normal let's say 2-hours photography sessions then I'd suggest to save the money for something else.

    Don't forget tripods are something which are at risk of being forgotten (think tube, train, restaurant, it's a bit like an umbrella) or stolen (car trunk) more often than a camera. For instance one would not leave his camera in his car trunk, but it is more common among photographers to have a tripod in their camera.

    Aluminium is good stuff. Wood would also be good in very cold climate and I would consider it an alternative.

    For landscape I would advice a three-way head rather than a ball-head, but that goes down to personal preference a lot, so YMMV.

    Look for features like rubber/spike under legs to be changed easily or instantly (so that you can adapt to mud or rock).
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

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