View Full Version : Feisol Tripod and ballhead help
Looking to replace my 10 year old Bogen 3021 w/ 3047 head with something MUCH lighter!
The Feisols look like the best deal around but I want to get enough tripod and not over-kill to save weight.
I use a tachihara, biggest lens being a 210mm f5.6 so I don't think I need the biggest tripod around. I also shoot with a dslr and 80-200 being its biggest lens.
I am thinking about the 3401N with the CB30-c ballhead.
This should support 17 pound, shouldn't that be sturdy enough?
I owned the CT-3301N (3 section version) and it was about right for what you are seeking to do. I prefer three section tripods to four section tripods, since there's one less joint to open/close and one less joint to flex. The only downside is the longer folded size.
The standard size Feisol (3301/3401) is not the absolute best in stability, but it is a nice rigid tripod. I think with the longer lens on either 4x5 or on the DSLR you might run into more trouble in breezy conditions, but overall it is an excellent value and a good all around light (LIGHT!) tripod.
I don't know much about the Feisol Ballheads... The CB-30C looks a little small. I'd at least go with the CB-50C. Personally, I'd go to a more mainstream ballhead manufacturer, something like the Kirk BH-3, Acratech Ultimate, Markins M10, Arca Z1, or RRS BH40. On the used market, the BH-3 is a good value and a nice match in size/weight. It's what I used on my Feisol and I thought they were a good pair.
For the record, I eventually upgraded to a Gitzo 1325 and Markins M20.
I just bought a Flashpoint CF tripod from Adorama. It's their housebrand, similar if not identical to the Feisols and Benro (B&H). Made in China. I got the middle size, rated at 17.5# with their middle ballhead rated at #11. (probably should have got the largest head). Total weight 4.3#, price shipped $265.
Plan on using it with my Tachihara.
I got a 3301/CB50 combo, which I use with my Hasselblad. I think it's good enough for that and I really like that combo. I do think that you could use a Tachi on that tripod, but you have to take care and think about placing, wind etc. Hanging e.g. your backpack or some other weitht to the hook on bottom of the center column does help. (I think there's a short center column available too if you don't like the idea of center columns as such. The backside of the short center column is that you still need to purchase a "normal" center column, as the fitting between the tripod and the column is needed. What I'm getting at here is the addition of weight at shooting time which aids stability.)
About the ballhead, I think that the CB50 is sufficient, but not more for my needs. Personally I wouldn't even consider a smaller ballhead for any LF camera.
I've been using this combo with a Hassy and a 350mm lens in windy conditions, which really puts a strain to the ballhead as there is no tripod mount on the lens. Still the pictures was good.
Finally, for my LF needs I purchased a CT3371 with a levelling base upon which I've placed a Sinar pan n' tilt head. That works very nice with my Sinar cameras.
I've been using a 3401 for the the last six months with my Tachi. The stability is fine. If at any time you think the breeze is affecting your images, just hang your bag or backpack on the nicely provided and sturdy hook on the underside. I went for the 4 section for its ability to compact smaller and go lower. It's tall enough for me and I'm 6'2". There are situations where i would have liked a little more heighth, but other factors outweigh this small drawback. I would suggest the Acratech Ultimate ballhead. Weighs just a pound and is rock solid rated up to 25 lbs.
I just bought a Flashpoint CF tripod from Adorama. It's their housebrand, similar if not identical to the Feisols and Benro (B&H). Made in China.
There is no comparison between any house brand and/or the Benro made in China and the Feisol made in Taiwan. The Chinese made 'pods may look alike on the outside but they almost always are much more cheaply made when you take them apart and will not stand up to the weight or the abuse that a Feisol will. The Feisol's are reliable solid tripods. I can't speak for the Adorama house brand or the Benro but wouldn't trust my equipment or an important shot to either one.
I up-graded from my Gitzo 1325 to a Feisol CT 3301 and have been happy with it. Very well-made, very light, and it has several nice touches included in the base price that are extras with most other tripods (including my Gitzo that cost about 3 times what the Feisol cost) - padded legs, carrying case, and hook from which to hang a pack for extra stability. I'd be a little concerned about using it in a strong wind but other than that it's been great. My only mild complaint is that the cap on the bottom of one of the legs has come off.
I don't use the Feisol head, I use a RRS head. Can't remember the model # and it isn't written on the head but RRS makes 3 ball heads in terms of size/capacity and mine is the middle one, i.e. not the smallest and not the largest. It's been perfectly fine with my Tachihara and now with my Chamonix and saves some weight vs. the largest of the three (which I think is the BH40). The Gitzo 1325 with Bogen 410 head now stays home except for architecture where the geared 410 is better than a ball head.
I have no beef with the Feisol. The ones I've seen seem reasonably well made and the pricing seems fair. I personally use a Velbon 630 with an Acratech head. I have no issues recommending this kit. I have a Tachihara and a heavy calumet rail. Biggest lens is a 210/5.6. It has been fine with either combo.
Thank you all for the advice.
I am also contemplating a Manfrotto 055Mf3 with a 488rc4 head.
Just need to decide between the two.
I've been using a Bogen 3443 Carbon Fiber tripod with a Kirk BH-3 for at least 5 years.
Great set up. Lighweight. Plenty of grip and rigidity for a 4x5 and big glass.
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