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.
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.
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).
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?
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
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.
Originally Posted by Cybertrash