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Thread: What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

  1. #1

    Question What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

    My current 11lb tripod with a minimum collapsible size of 5ft makes my 2 hour walks nightmarish. I am willing to spend on something better.

    What's your favorite 3lb (1.7KG) or less tripod that can hold a minimum of 12.5lbs and can ideally fit inside your backpack's water bottle pocket? I'm not including the tripod head in the tripod weight. I'd love to see one that allows you to attach your own head.

    I didn't find a thread about this. Please link me if one already exists!

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Benjamin's Avatar
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    Re: What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

    A little bit heavier that you wish at 4.3 lbs, but I love my FLM CP34-L4 tripod for my 4x5 Linhof.

    They have a slightly lighter model, at 3.1 lbs.

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

    It exists in your imagination only. But you can come close. My original old carbon fiber Gitzo Reporter, highly modified by me (including tossing the center column), will compact down enough to fit inside a regulation airline carry-on, and is around 3 lbs. It's an original 3-ply version, and as light as I would personally care to go with respect to wind resistance. Their current version, available in 4-section fashion I think, and a little shorter and lighter, is unfortunately only 2-ply and not as rugged (I've seen those legs break). There is no free ride. But by modifying my Gitzo for a small platform-style head with turnbolt below, it is not only a more rigid setup overall, but alleviates the redundant extra weight of a tripod head, so overall, is a lighter setup. (I only use tripod heads on it for MF applications, not 4x5 itself).

    But there are in fact, lots and lots of previous threads debating all this. Remember, it's actual rigidity that counts, not just alleged "dead-weight" ratings. Just like ladders.

  4. #4

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    Re: What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

    Many options exist…. From all major manufacturers…
    May want to check https://thecentercolumn.com/tripod-reviews/ as they cover specific tests/measurements that are quite relevant to the real world performance.

    Overall ranking is here: https://thecentercolumn.com/rankings/

  5. #5

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    Re: What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

    Dead weight = Dead stability.
    Trade-off will be unescapable.

    First image lost due to tripod instability from being lightweight could "weight in" on this reality.


    Bernice

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

    You really need to test things in person based on your own actual anticipated usage, including specific camera, maximum bellows extension, maximum weight lens to be used, ground firmness conditions anticipated, what amount of wind you typical encounter - real-world variables. Published specs and other people's opinions only tell you so much. But I do appreciate and also find ironic, how the first accompanying article, at the head of the list of thse, on that thecentercolumn.com site, tells you why having a center column itself is a poor idea.

    My own take is that there are times when you absolutely need a lighter tripod, like for cycling, long distance hiking, or perhaps airline usage; but otherwise, go for a heavier more rigid option. So I have both lightweight CF tripods as well as heavier wooden Ries ones.

  7. #7

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    Re: What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

    Gotta wonder, how would a GOOD wood/composite surveyors tripod or a GOOD cinema tripod system fit into these charts?


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi7475 View Post
    Many options exist…. From all major manufacturers…
    May want to check https://thecentercolumn.com/tripod-reviews/ as they cover specific tests/measurements that are quite relevant to the real world performance.

    Overall ranking is here: https://thecentercolumn.com/rankings/

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

    Pretty bad, lightweight wise. Probably way better, rigidity-wise. For several decades, I ordered up a private-label series of the best US-made survey tripods for sake of our own company sales to construction. Sometimes I'd sell these to LF photographers too. These were an excellent value and quite solid, with even the largest model going for only $200. They were super-easy to convert to photo use simply by substituting the standard 5/8-11 turnbolt below the head with a 3/8-16 one, and were fiberglass clad over wood core; but don't expect non-ferrous rustproof hardware like with an expensive Ries. Cheap IMPORT knockoff survey tripods, however, even though they might look identical, are miserably unreliable - slipping legs, hardware snapping in weeks if not mere hours, the usual issues. You get what you pay for.

  9. #9

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    Re: What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

    I don't know what "small" is for you. I hang my tripods on the outside of my backpack -- makes for easier access.

    But in any case, there are tons of "lightweight" tripods out there -- but the shorter they are to pack, the shorter their maximum height.

    So start with your maximum "minimum" height requirement. Then look at their minimum length when folded. That will narrow it down a lot.

    Then look at the weight. You'll probably find several.

    You can weed these out for stability, by setting the tripod at its maximum height, and draping your fully loaded camera/lens bag over the top of the three legs.

    Some will loose stability and others will gain it.

    Then let your wallet decide -- along with the other features of the tripod -- spikes on the shoes, easy of set-up, accessories, etc.

    I use Gitzo Reporter Performance tripods because they let me get basically down to the ground -- where I often find myself. They came in many styles.

  10. #10

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    Re: What's the BEST ultra-light weight, compact 4x5 tripod you've actually used

    I enjoy mu Sirui AM-284. It's low weight is a result of what it sacrifices in height rather than in stability.

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