View Full Version : What is you tripod material?

Bill Kumpf
7-May-2008, 05:30
I was shooting in a stream bed last weekend with my aluminum Gitzo sitting in the water. I was concerned about damage and the effect on the leg’s twist lock.

Would a different material serve better?

What is your tripod material?

7-May-2008, 05:49
My aluminium tripods have been in water many times over the past 30+ years, including the sea, and none have suffered any adverse affect. In fact you can't tell.


7-May-2008, 06:22
I haven't had any problems with my aluminum tripods either. If it is exposed to brackish water (in my case-Mono Lake) I rinse it off after use. Aluminum will corrode over time if the minerals are not washed off. I am also careful to keep the joints clean.


Emmanuel BIGLER
7-May-2008, 07:35
I use both alumin(i)um and wooden tripods actually and so far I have resisted temptation of carbon fiber ;)

Bob Salomon
7-May-2008, 07:59
Your poll is not quite right. No one makes tripods from magnesium. They make some castings from magnesium on some tripods. Those tripods could be aluminum, carbon, basalt (lava) or wood with magnesium castings. Those castings will reduce the weight of the casting about 30% over aluminum castings but cost almost 30% more because of the magnesium. But the tripod itself is not magnesium.

Same for titanium. No one is making a complete tripod from titanium.

Aender Brepsom
7-May-2008, 08:05
I only use carbon fiber tripods (Gitzo G1548 for heavy gear and very long lenses - mostly wildlife, G1348 for general use, landscapes and wildlife, G1228 for landscapes when hiking longer distances).

They have been in the water many times, including the sea. Back home, I rinse the legs if they have been in salt water, completely extend the tripod and let it dry for a day or two.

Jim Fitzgerald
7-May-2008, 08:06
I built a Walnut tripod a while ago. I'm redoing it right now due to a disaster. You can read about it in a separate post. My fault all the way. The tripod is very sturdy and holds up well in water of all sorts.


7-May-2008, 09:25
I do like my Ries wood pod. It takes a real beating without breaking, bending, etc. I would have trashed a metal pod by now (or at least would have had to replace legs that dented and no longer telescoped.) Granted, I am rough on my pod -- it is also a cross-country/rough ground hiking-assist device. I use it to take part of my weight...240lbs...to protect my knees when letting myself down rocks, etc). I have also taken a few falls when I have slipped or lost balance with the 45-50 pounds on my back has thrown me off a bit.

That said, I had a 300 series Gitzo (for 5x7) that I really like, too. I broke a leg (pod, not mine -- the threaded portion of the twist lock at the bottom of the leg snapped off ) and it was replaced for free -- and they (B&H) also tossed in a new set of washers for the twist locks for free when I asked. Periotic cleaning kept the twist locks working fine.


Ben Chase
7-May-2008, 09:53
I've used my G1410 in brackish fresh water as well as salt water - with a good rinse and a day or so to dry fully extended, I've never had a problem.

I plan on picking up the GT-3540LS to use for backpacking - which is like less than half the weight of the 1410.

Robert Brummitt
7-May-2008, 10:07
My main tripod is wood but I also have a metal one for my big camera.

Emmanuel BIGLER
7-May-2008, 11:25
Same for titanium. No one is making a complete tripod from titanium.

Gitzo GT90TT limited series. In titanium.
But sure, there are probably some knobs made from another material ;)
The legend says that the Soviets had nuclear submarines made of titanium. At least the outer shell.
So may be we'll see some Russian manufacturer selling titanium tripods from the military stock ;)

David A. Goldfarb
7-May-2008, 11:34
I think the Gitzo anniversary tripod has a titanium crown, but the legs are carbon fiber.

Info here--


It's kind of a complicated multimedia presentation, when a simple spec sheet would do.

Dave Parker
7-May-2008, 11:37
Velbon also has several models that are carbon and magnesium combos..

Turner Reich
7-May-2008, 11:52
Wood and metal.

7-May-2008, 15:26
Field tripod is a Gitzo carbon fiber... studio tripod a Manfrotto aluminum. Both have been exposed to seawater with no ill effect, but I do rinse after such usages. Sand seems to be harder on tripods than saltwater... sometimes the joints get gritty after use in such environs.

Alan Davenport
7-May-2008, 17:21
I'm in the same situation as IanG. I've dunked my aluminum tripods in everything around; had them in snow above the treeline, watched them sink in the sand when an ocean wave gets my feet wet. Not to mention mud and goo many places in between. I'll let y'all know when one of the shows the first sign of damage (hasn't happened from ~1972 until now, but I'm patient.)

Kerry L. Thalmann
11-May-2008, 18:02
I used aluminum tripods for the first nine years I shot large format. They did the job, but I got tired of the weight and switched to carbon fiber over 12 years ago and haven't regretted it for one second. The savings is weight is amazing with no sacrifice in performance.

Back when I was shooting with aluminum legs, I briefly tried a wooden tripod - VERY briefly. I know many LF and ULF shooters prefer wooden tripods, but as someone who hikes and backpack, they definitely aren't for me. Too heavy and too bulky and the best ones actually cost MORE than a comparable (but much lighter) carbon fiber model.


Colin Graham
12-May-2008, 05:51
Wood, if only because I was able to make one that extends to 6' without a center column, and still keep the weight under 4 lbs. Plus, it's so much warmer to carry in the snow and rain.