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  1. #1

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    Suggestions for light, affordable travel tripod/head for medium format

    I need a relatively light and affordable travel tripod I can haul around to use with my Hasselblad while I'm backpacking. The tripod needs to be able to support the 500cm with 150mm Sonnar and prism, which weigh in at around 5 lbs. total. For instance I'm looking at the combo of a Manfrotto 190XDB and Mini Ball Head with RC2. That would weigh around 4.25 lbs. and carry up to about 8.5lbs. I was looking at some of the cheaper travel combos on Adorama, which are a good bit lighter at around 3 lbs., but the reports of bad construction and unstable ball heads scared me away from those. Carbon fiber is too expensive at this point. I don't need anything fancy. Just quality, stability, and pan/tilt at a minimum. Suggestions?

  2. #2

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    I think ball heads require greater bulk and weight to achieve rigidity that a simple pan/tilt head (assuming same material). If nothing else, for friction area on the ball. Of course, ball heads have their own advantages which may be more important to you.

    Is the prism necessary or can you use a WL finder? If prism is necessary, than is it 45 or 90 degrees? Sounds like a dumb question except that the more the legs are extended (to achieve height) the less stable a given tripod will be.

    For example, my Bogen/Manfrotto 3001 (precurser to the 190) with it's most basic head (I think it is called the 3d head) is usable at slow shutter speeds with my 500c and 150mm only when kept very low. Weighting down the tripod helps.

    My favorite tripod for use with my 500c is my Tilt-all. I might hike with the Tilt-all, but I would not backpack with it. Carbon fiber is too expensive for me too.

    Tripod light weight, good rigidity, low cost - pick 2.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  3. #3
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I have an Induro AT113 which I use with a Gitzo or a Manfrotto ball head. It's fine for travel, and it worked just fine with my Rolleiflex 2.8E doing 16-30 second exposures at night.



    Given that, were space (and budget) less of a consideration, I'd opt for something a bit beefier just because. Any compact tripod in that size range will feel a little wiggly when extended. I would NOT use it with the center column fully extended (which wasn't really an issue when shooting the Rollei, which only has the waist-level finder).

    The ball heads I have are older models that they don't make anymore, but the equivalents are the Gitzo 2750QR or the Manfrotto 496RC2. Both are light-weight, compact, and will hold your Hassy with ease. The old Manfrotto ball head I have has a single lock for the ball as well as for panning (a BAD idea), but I think the new one has them separated. The Gitzo has separate controls for panning and for the tilt of the ball, as well as friction adjustment. IF you go with a ball head, I would highly recommend getting one that has those two controls (ball positioning and ball friction) separated, to make it easier to control large and fine movements).

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by mgb74 View Post
    I think ball heads require greater bulk and weight to achieve rigidity that a simple pan/tilt head (assuming same material). If nothing else, for friction area on the ball. Of course, ball heads have their own advantages which may be more important to you.
    OK, I'll give that some consideration. I was looking at the ball heads because they seemed to be a little lighter than the traditional pan/tilt heads, while still having sufficient capacity specs.

    Quote Originally Posted by mgb74 View Post
    Is the prism necessary or can you use a WL finder? If prism is necessary, than is it 45 or 90 degrees? Sounds like a dumb question except that the more the legs are extended (to achieve height) the less stable a given tripod will be.
    For the time being the prism (a 90 degree, non metered deal) is all I've got, so I need to plan for using that.

    Quote Originally Posted by mgb74 View Post
    Tripod light weight, good rigidity, low cost - pick 2.
    Right, it's always going to be a compromise. Another way to phrase the question might be: What's the lightest tripod that's sufficiently stable and less than $300? Thankfully I'm still fairly spry, so I'll gladly haul an extra 2 lbs. around if it's going to save me $100/lb.

  5. #5
    pasiasty's Avatar
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    I consider Cullmann's MAGIC SystemPod for very similar purpose. Good feature of this is that it folds flat, and you may use one of the legs as a monopod. And they provide 10 years warranty (at least in Europe).

  6. #6

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    I weighed my old Leitz Tiltall tripod and pan/tilt head combination for you. It weighed 8 lbs but is rigid and only cost me $75.00.

  7. #7

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    Induro CT014 with a Markins Q3 ballhead. Light, sturdy and compact.

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I don't know whether it is light enough or affordable enough to meet your criteria, but my "new" Manfrotto 054 head works really well with my 35mm equipment, my Mamiya C330, my Mamiya 645 and my Mamiya RB67.

    It might even work with my digital body.

    Here is a link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Ball_Head.html
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9
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    No experience with it yet, but I've been looking at the Sirui T-1205X for many of the reasons you listed.
    It's a five section carbon fibre (so a little expensive), but it folds down to just 13.4" and weighs only 1.8lbs.
    Claimed load cap. is 22lbs.
    They can be found here (LINK) , at B&H.


    Rob


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by aarontalcott View Post
    I need a relatively light and affordable travel tripod I can haul around to use with my Hasselblad while I'm backpacking. The tripod needs to be able to support the 500cm with 150mm Sonnar and prism, which weigh in at around 5 lbs. total. For instance I'm looking at the combo of a Manfrotto 190XDB and Mini Ball Head with RC2. That would weigh around 4.25 lbs. and carry up to about 8.5lbs. I was looking at some of the cheaper travel combos on Adorama, which are a good bit lighter at around 3 lbs., but the reports of bad construction and unstable ball heads scared me away from those. Carbon fiber is too expensive at this point. I don't need anything fancy. Just quality, stability, and pan/tilt at a minimum. Suggestions?
    Tiltall.

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