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Thread: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt head?

  1. #11
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt hea

    Dang, my 7 lb tripod is my light one (for LF)!

    If your present pod has served you well, the increased capacity of your choices should serve you well, also. You might find yourself strapping a bag under your pod (filled with dirt/sand/rock,etc) in the field to give you more stability since the over-all weight has decreased. That is a bit cumbersome, also. It would be great to be able to try out a similar sized pod under your camera to get the feel of it.

    Being tall, I have raised center columns a few times with 4x5 and 5x7, but generally try to avoid it due to stability issues with long exposures. Best to judge/note tripod height without raising the column...if that info is available. Otherwise, the shorter the center column the better, IMO.

    If it keeps you in the field it is definitely worth it, but my pocketbook looks at it as saving 3 pounds of weight at $150 to $250 per pound. And I'd probably just toss in another lens. At the same time, my Ries A100 wood pod and head (17 lb) is a monster to carry on the bike and I might go down the CF road eventually for 8x10 and the bike.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  2. #12

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt hea

    ...another fan of the Gitzo 1325 here which, in combo with the Gitzo 1370 magnesium pan/tilt head - has provided me with the perfect "sweet spot" in terms of sturdiness, efficiency, and portability for use with 4x5, 5x7, 8x10, and even occasional 11x14 formats.

    A word of advice regarding "load ratings." Never, ever interpret these values even close to literally! While that Siriu tripod, weighing in at less than 4 pounds, might indeed support almost ten times its weight...chances are that as soon as you move that much weight away from an absolutely vertical axis, it will be game over!

  3. #13

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt hea

    “I'm expecting to pay from anywhere from $300 to $500“
    I don’t think it’s wise to economize on tripods and heads. Carbon is nice for cutting weight you have to carry, but hanging some weight which you carry anyway on the column is also wise. I think it is very important how you carry, more so than how much weight. So shorter legs which fit in your backpack instead of a tripod with long legs you have to carry outside your bag is also wise. I have the Gitzo GT3543XLS for that reason, I swapped a longer legged Gitzo for this one because I thought that length of the tripod is less important with 4x5 and mostly superfluous.

  4. #14

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt hea

    If you donít want to spend north of $1k in a gitzo/RRS solution, look at Leofoto. They come in different models for height/weight/compactness, are made of 10 layer carbon and are far more economical. I have one for my field 8x10 and itís a great performer.

    They also make heads, levels, etc (basically clones of well known ones) but I donít have experience with those.

  5. #15
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt hea

    I use the Feisol CT-3472 as my lightweight tripod option for both 8x10 and MF SLR with long heavy telephoto lens. It's more rigid than the CT-3372, but was still relatively affordable. It would be a bit of overkill for a TK45, but is fairly tall. I use it platform style, meaning no intermediate tripod head between the platform and camera base itself. It's been modified for direct application using a turnbolt below, just like a Ries tripod. But it would also be easy, I think, to modify some of these larger Feisol tripods for a hemispherical tilting device more stable than a full conventional ball atop a neck, hence much lighter weight and more resistant to vibration. But my own non-any-kind-of-head method is way more stable than even the old heaviest cast Bogen/Manfrotto system, which I also own. It's how surveyors routinely did it for decades prior to modern gear, and just takes some practice.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 31-Oct-2020 at 18:27.

  6. #16

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt hea

    Lightweight, solid, inexpensive.

    Pick two. You won't get all three at the same time.

    A good option is the tried and true Ries wood tripod for LF work. It is still one of the best bargains around.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  7. #17

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt hea

    I just bought the FLM CP34 L4II and can recommend it. But its next smaller size might suit you, CP30 L4II. I use the Manfrotto 3 way head instead of a ball head now. Spend some time at https://thecentercolumn.com/ .
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
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  8. #18
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt hea

    Remembering the OP's motivation -- being able to carry his kit easier and with minimal fuss, I like otto's suggestion about exploring easier, and possibly more comfortable, carrying solutions.

    As a nut who has backpacked with a full pack a few times while carrying the 5x7 on the tripod, I know how one carries the stuff makes a difference. I just don't seem to have much sense about it. Might be due to have gotten use to walking with 600 trees around my waist and a planting tool in hand (1100-1600/day), then spending a decade hiking in the wilderness with a lead rope in one hand and a pickaxe, shovel, or some other tool in the other. Then since 1995 I have been carrying an 8x10 for miles, holding 17 pounds of tripod/head (RiesA100/250) in one hand...on trails, x-country, up (and in) creeks, scrambling up mountains, and other stupid stuff.

    I do not think anything but the Ries could have taken that abuse (I have not always landed on my feet). At least not with major repair/replacement parts. Twenty-five years later, carrying the Ries is no easier, but hiking in the redwoods with it still better than working with weights in a gym. Hand-carrying the pod allows me to de-weight it while stepping up or down in the landscape (such as up and over downed 10' dia. redwoods). That way, when I step up, I just have the 45 pounds in the pack to move with my legs, or less, as I can put weight on the pod to reduce what my legs and knees have to deal with. Getting down off the redwoods or in steep, narrow desert ravines, I have used it as a handhold to help lower myself down drops (me and pack weighing a total of about 300 pounds).

    But if one is not going to do crazy stuff like that, and with a little 4x5, a Ries would be over-kill. The lightest/tallest Ries is still 10 pounds without a head, and of course, not cheap.

    In metal...I have been using Gitzo longer than the Ries (for up to 5x7), but not a Gitzo CF yet. Good luck in your decision!
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  9. #19

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt hea

    Iím surprised people keep recommending wood tripods when OP is asking for light.

    I will keep saying the Leofoto is probably the best compromise between weight, stiffness and cost.

    The LS-323C for example is 3.1 lbs, reaches 1.5 m, and can be had for $280. Only con is itís 3 sections so itís a bit long folded. They have other models with 4 sections that stow more compactly, like the LS-324C.

    reviews right here:

    https://thecentercolumn.com/tripod-r...s-324c-review/

    As they argue in the review, itís not exactly at the level of a RRS, but gets pretty close for less than 1/3rd of the cost.

  10. #20
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a sturdy tall carbon fiber tripod and ball head/pan-tilt hea

    I use a Gitzo 3543 XLS - goes up to just over 2 metres (80 ish inches)

    Not cheap but very stable and not too heavy either.

    Should you wish to, you can swing from the head platform with the tripod fully extended - if you were to ever feel the need.

    I'd buy another one tomorrow if the need arose.

    Another neat feature of the Gitzo is that underneath the central mounting plate is a built in hook - which I use in high winds to tether it to my camera bag - I've had my camera go over in high winds more than once - and would prefer not to do it again.

    No idea about ball heads though - I use a 3 way geared head (Manfroto 405)

    Martin

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