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Thread: Any RRS Tripod Owners with a Series 4?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Bend, OR

    Any RRS Tripod Owners with a Series 4?

    I am in the market for a new tripod and wonder if any of you can comment on the RRS series 3 vs series 4 models. I shoot a variety of formats including both 4x10 and 8x10 Chamonix as the largest items that will go on top. My lenses are limited to 450mm on the long end with these cameras. Any insight into the pros and cons for these two series is appreciated (Ill also take comments on leg section numbers as well)

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Palo Alto, CA, USA

    Re: Any RRS Tripod Owners with a Series 4?

    The apex of the series 4 is significantly bigger than that of the series 3. If you don't need a tripod head with a lot of movement the RRS leveling heads keep the camera right down near the apex (both 3 & 4). If you have a head that has something protruding down like some of the Linhof heads do, the large apex of the series 4 may get in the way. The leveling head for the series 4 has a higher weight rating.

    My non-scientific impression is that the RRS series 3 is a little better than a Gitzo series 3. I've been happy with a Gitzo series 3 for 4x5. I think an RRS series 3 would be fine for your Chamonix 8x10 unless the wind was strong. I did get a used RRS series 4 for use with my Norma 8x10 but haven't used it enough to really judge it vs. an RRS series 3. I think most cameras would flex before an RRS series 4 would flex.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Annapolis, Maryland

    Re: Any RRS Tripod Owners with a Series 4?

    I have a RRS 3 but haven't tried the 4. I talked with RRS before ordering and they seemed to push the 3 over the 4. Suggest you call them as well if these are the only 2 tripods you're looking at. Ask their recommendation based on your specific needs. They'll be candid and helpful. The appeal of the 4 to me was fitting in a suitcase to fly as it breaks down shorter into 4 sections I think. That was kind of a boneheaded idea.... though they put it more politely.... 'cause I think Jeff's right in that I think it's intended to get you higher. But since I'm short.... at 5 foot 8, the 3 is stiffer in a breeze with less flex. That was their counsel.

    Much as I like my RRS tripod (I'm an amateur), I tend to think it is overpriced. It is certainly well made and well engineered, and it works just fine with my Chamonix 45. Question is whether RRS is worth the price? and there are those who contend it is. THese guys aren't JUST the folks who get them free in exchange from endorsements. They do. But there are others and they're widely regarded. Searches turn up detractors as well. I'm not one. My "detraction" is price. As to their ball heads and panheads, I sold off the latter I had, and might do the same with my ballhead after switching to a geared head which works with less fiddly-ness for me. RRS sells well. Again... well liked by many. To me, it's just sticks and it was the one I knew and went with 'cause I'd bought their monopod head (I've always been more of a monopod guy from way back in my teens), and I was impressed with it. And then there's all the positive buzz. Look again the detractors take is this: "They're gearheads and don't know what real photographers need. And so they make great stuff no one actually needs." True? Dunno. My reaction? Well I'm NOT a real photographer I guess.... so they see me coming? And it is well made, so I swung and I don't think I missed. But could something else have done the trick? Sadly, there aren't many stores where you can try out tripods for your self (there's one in Fairfax, VA), but for the most part, when and if you find one, they're not inventorying a lot of high end stuff. Mostly it's the cheaper, super lightweight flimsy stuff for $100. RRS is really solid, but the question is whether it will do what you need? What I like most about their gear are the clamp fittings, camera "feet" plates. But the knobs they put on their ball head combos....??? OMG are these ever badly placed and always end up being too tight and too small at the wrong time and then when you loosen them everything goes flying. That turned into a source of frustration as I started using LF but with a digital camera (and that's most of the market they aim at) I think much less so. Let the rise as it will F, and this unworkableness became only more pronounced. So IMHO, their tripod heads weren't all that great FOR ME. Once I read some of Ken Grahamme's stuff on gear and tripod heads in particular, I dumped mine and immediately switched to a geared head which is an amazingly perfect piece of LF gear for me (and can't thank him enough for it BTW). Geared heads are also usable as a small boat anchors if needed, too. Yes, they weigh tons!!! So this really really lightweight graphite RRS tripod.... that once seemed like an extravagance now seems like its absolutely essential to counter the deadweight my geared head. Weight matters and where and how you carry it does as well (and how far). So to paraphrase the Dos Equus man, "Spend wisely my friend."

    Anyway... hope that helps. YMMV and I hope it will. Nothing wrong with expensive gear long as it is the RIGHT expensive gear. My problem is I often find I've bought an expensive gear that's wonderful and amazing and exactly right in my head, but in my hands turns out to be the mistake. The only saving grace is that it was often the perfect mistake to make in order to get 'round to getting it right. Ooops. Again.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Suwanee, GA

    Re: Any RRS Tripod Owners with a Series 4?

    at one time Gitzo and RRS were the only players in high quality CF Tripods and RRS helped standardize QR systems for the digital slr realm. But now you have more choices at lower price points with similar features and quality. 3 vs 4 leg sections? On a tall tripod you may rarely use that 4th small leg section, but if the max height is nearer to 60 inches I would go with a 3 leg section over a 4. Also the size of the mounting plate may be a factor you haven't considered. Beefier tripods tend to have a bigger one which throws out the logic of "fits in a suit case". They are also more top heavy when carrying folded in the side pocket of your backpack.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart

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