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View Full Version : Seeking a travel tripod - $300 to spend - need your suggestions!


franklinn
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 06:43
Just as the title states, I've got $300CAD to spend for a tripod that I can take out onto the field for landscape shots. I've used a friend's Bogen/Manfrotto set up (with ball head), and I really liked the sturdiness that it offered.

I'm leaning towards Manfrotto tripod legs, but I am unsure of what type of ball head to get. What are the primary differences between 484RC2 Mini Ball Head versus the 488RC2 Midi Ball Head? Is it just the weight it supports? My gear isn't too heavy - the 17-40L mounted on my 40D is what I intend on using.

Also, between the 190XPROB, 3021PROB, and 055XPROB, which would be the best to invest in?

Poindexter
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 07:17
Check out the traveler tripods: http://www.feisol.com/english/feisolen.htm

Needsnow
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 08:20
I have sure enjoyed my Carbon Fiber Velbon 540. With a light travel head, it weighs only 3.2 lbs and is only 20 inches tall.

scot079
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 08:44
I vote for the 190XPROB w/ 486RC2 ball head. The 486 is midway between the 2 heads you mention. $210

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/494111-REG/Bogen_Manfrotto__190XPROB_Tripod_Kit_Black_.html

John_TX
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 09:17
The main difference between the 486 & 488 is that the 488 has a horizontal rotating base, thus it allows you to pan horizontally which is very helpful if you want to stitch pano shots together. I'm not sure about any other lighter setups with a panning base in your price range though.
The 488RC2 is a solid 1.5 pounds (maybe a hair more with plates).

The Markins Q3 & AcraTech ballheads are a hair under 1 pound, but they'd blow your budget as the heads + plates will be over $300 by themselves.

BearLeeAlive
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 10:20
Check out the traveler tripods: http://www.feisol.com/english/feisolen.htm
Those look very nice. I like the idea with the quick release being round, it could work well for rotating the camera horizontally for pano work without having that as a separate control, thus keeping the size down. I have a Feisol monopod and really like it, it is light, strong, well built, and was relatively inexpensive compared to the likes of the Gitzo offerings, which are of course, at the pinnacle of performance.

I have the Gitzo Explorer GT2540EX Tripod and find it to be a fantastic piece of gear, though would like something more compact myself for urban travel.

I am looking forward to see what other ideas folks come up with.

Poindexter
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 12:48
Those look very nice. I like the idea with the quick release being round, it could work well for rotating the camera horizontally for pano work without having that as a separate control, thus keeping the size down. I have a Feisol monopod and really like it, it is light, strong, well built, and was relatively inexpensive compared to the likes of the Gitzo offerings, which are of course, at the pinnacle of performance.

I have the Gitzo Explorer GT2540EX Tripod and find it to be a fantastic piece of gear, though would like something more compact myself for urban travel.

I am looking forward to see what other ideas folks come up with.

I don't own a Feisol product, but have tried them. I think it is definitely one of the better "in-between" brands (Between Gitzo and Bogen). I've been thinking about picking one up to be a carry-along solution to my GT3530S and just donating my Bogens to the "people who came to shoot with me, but forgot their tripod" collection. I liked the quality of the Feisol I tried better than almost every Bogen set I've used. Definitely better than Induro legs too.

John_TX
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 13:01
My new Feisol CT-3442 just showed up today! I played with it for about 10 minutes with a 3-pound, 82mm Kowa spotting scope and this thing is SOLID! I picked up the Feisol center column as well and it's wonderful. I've got a Manfrotto 488RC2 ballhead on top of the center column and it seems like a great setup. My scope balances perfect on the ballhead.
I'll write some more tonight & hopefully get some pictures posted.

To give you an idea of the size, the BOX it shipped in is ONLY 20" x 5.5"!!! And the tripod comes in a nice padded & zippered nylon carry-case. I'm blown away by how light-weight it is as well. When I first picked up the box, It almost felt like something was missing. :lol:

franklinn
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 13:52
The main difference between the 486 & 488 is that the 488 has a horizontal rotating base, thus it allows you to pan horizontally which is very helpful if you want to stitch pano shots together. I'm not sure about any other lighter setups with a panning base in your price range though.
The 488RC2 is a solid 1.5 pounds (maybe a hair more with plates).


I would love to pan horizontally for panoramic shots... the 488 is definitely more tempting now. Is the 055XPROB an improvement over the 3021BPRO? I know the manufacturer says it is an improvement, but what is the difference between the two sets of legs?

franklinn
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 13:56
I should also mention that I would like something specifically for urban travel :)

scot079
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 14:05
The 055 legs allow for the column to go horizontal easier without any disassembly like the 3021 legs. I own the 055XPROB and love it, but I don't mind the extra bulk. The 190XPROB is the same set of legs, but a little less heavy duty than the 055X

franklinn
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 14:09
thanks for your responses Tim, I really appreciate it.

Do you use your 055XPROB for urban travel? Or, could you use it for urban travel? or do you think it would be a little tiresome to do so (due to its bulk)?

scot079
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 14:20
Negative, I'll carry that thing anywhere. If only my camera bag were that light! I got mine with the B/M bag as well (kit from B&H)

http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u264/scot079/IMG_5737.jpg

franklinn
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 14:25
i think i'm sold on either the 190XPROB or the 055XPROB... that's a fantastic shot btw.

scot079
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 14:28
2 thumbs up!

franklinn
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 16:34
did a bit more research, seems like many people prefer the 055X over the 190X, for stability, height, and just overall "burliness" of its construction.

The weight difference between the two is almost negligible.

In terms of height, I read that there's a significant difference between the two tripods. I'm 5"11, is the 190X suitable for me? Or would it not extend high enough and thus have me cramping over often?

*darts a look over at Tim, hoping he'll respond again :)*

BearLeeAlive
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 17:28
Don't forget that the camera sits atop the head, which sits atop the max height of the tripod, and that it is natural to bend over some to avoid the legs in many cases. That, and your eyes are set down from the top of your head too. ;)

Though, one thing to remember, most tripods stability becomes more compromised the further out the center column is, and a taller set of legs allows you to either forgo the column, or at least keep its length to a minimum.

I would guess that the top of the tripod mounting plate could be 12" less than your body height and still be tall enough to be comfortable. For lightness, I would be willing to sacrifice at least this much.

Ultimate CC
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 17:34
I vote feisol as well, i have them and love them, holds any combo in my sig and is super light...

John_TX
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 17:49
I posted a write-up of my Feisol CT-3442 a few minutes ago (with lots of pics).

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=406696

Hope it's helpful!

javanutsy
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 18:45
Another vote for Feisol. Just received my CT-3402N last week. I'm very impressed. I got it mainly so that I can take it any where with me. Topped with the 486RC2, it weighs in at ~3.5 pounds. The legs fold to 16.9 inches. Great value for the money.

BearLeeAlive
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 19:24
I'm about 90% sure I will get the Feisol CT-3441S. I am not sure about the CB-80 ballhead as I can't find a review on it anywhere. I really like the idea that it fits with the legs folded over for travel. Has anyone here tried one? For $80, one can't really go wrong.

John_TX
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 19:48
I'm about 90% sure I will get the Feisol CT-3441S. I am not sure about the CB-80 ballhead as I can't find a review on it anywhere. I really like the idea that it fits with the legs folded over for travel. Has anyone here tried one? For $80, one can't really go wrong.

I assume you were talking about the CB-30 ballhead? I would imagine the CB-30 is probably one of the few ballheads that can be folded up inside the legs. With the 3441S, you're really going to need a slim profile head.
I bet some of the smaller Gitzo & Bogen/Manfrotto's would also work. Your right though, for ~$80, it probably isn't a bad deal at all. Although I'd look through the various ballheads on B&H (sort them by price) and I'm sure there's a number of small heads that would work great and probably not cost as much either.

The 488RC2 barely folds up inside the larger 3442. If the pano base release and the main tension knobs weren't placed 180-degrees apart, it would have been a perfect fit. But even so, the 488RC2 fits well folded up in the 3442.

John_TX
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 19:59
Depending on what you want to spend & how much support you need, some of these might be a bargain for a small & light setup. Judging by the size of the RC2 clamp on my 488RC2, I think it would probably be too wide to allow the legs on the 3441S to completely close up around it. I'd try for any of the smaller ones with a round mounting plate for the camera.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=pagination&A=nextPage&Q=&catId=140&compareCatId=140&shs=&ci=140&ac=&atl=&mnp=0.0&mxp=0.0&cmpsrch=&cltp=&clsgr=&bl=&sb=bs%2Cupper%28ds%29&sq=asc&sortDrop=Price%3A+Low+to+High&fi=all&pn=1&image.x=0&image.y=0


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/429977-REG/Gitzo_G045_G045_Ballhead_for_Monotrek.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/272986-REG/Bogen_Manfrotto_482_482_Micro_Ball_Head.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/272987-REG/Bogen_Manfrotto_484_484_Mini_Ball_Head.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/272988-REG/Bogen_Manfrotto_486_486_Compact_Ball_Head.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/48600-REG/Slik_618_709_Standard_Ball_Head_II.html


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/490023-REG/Giottos_MH1304_110C_MH_1304_Pro_Series_II.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/272512-REG/Sunpak_620711_Medium_Ball_Head.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/394669-REG/Novoflex_BALL19P_BALL19P_Ball_Head.html

BearLeeAlive
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 20:12
Good list of ballheads there John. I have the second one on the list, but it is very wimpy. It was fine on a lightweight trekking pole, but I would not want to use it on a tripod. None of them hold quite as much as the CB-30 either. I have both the 486RC2 and the 488RC2 that I use on my monopod and Gitzo tripod respectively.

John_TX
13th of November 2007 (Tue), 20:39
In that case, seeing as shipping from Taiwan is rather high, I'd probably go ahead & order the CB-30 ballhead along with the 3441S (I think its the 3441SB package). Worst case, if you don't like it, I'm sure you could easily sell it for what you paid for it (since ordering it separate is $89 + $19 s/h).

So basically if you order it with the tripod your getting it for $80 vs $108.

Poindexter
14th of November 2007 (Wed), 07:03
The ultimate travel tripod head is the Markins Q-Ball Q3 in my opinion. Yes, it is a bit more expensive but you really don't want to skimp on stability. http://www.markinsamerica.com/MA5/Q3.php ....I think of skimping on stability like putting cheap brakes on your car - you're not going to stop as well, they're going to be noisy and wear bad, then you're going to want something different soon anyway, and when it is all said and done you've now spent more money than you would have doing it right in the first place.

I use the M20 on a set of Gitzos for regular use, and that setup is super light for what it is - holds super telephotos like a champ! I can only imagine how light a Q3 is and how awesome a Q3/Feisol combo would be for easy traveling.

BearLeeAlive
14th of November 2007 (Wed), 09:38
I would love to get the Markins Q3, but am concerned that its diameter might not let the legs collapse completely. I think I will get the Feisol CB-30 and give it a try. If it does not perform good enough I might relinquish it to use on my monopod and then go for the Markins. At only $80 more than the cost of the tripod it would not be a huge loss either way.

rang
15th of November 2007 (Thu), 15:25
Just as the title states, I've got $300CAD to spend for a tripod that I can take out onto the field for landscape shots. I've used a friend's Bogen/Manfrotto set up (with ball head), and I really liked the sturdiness that it offered.

I'm leaning towards Manfrotto tripod legs, but I am unsure of what type of ball head to get. What are the primary differences between 484RC2 Mini Ball Head versus the 488RC2 Midi Ball Head? Is it just the weight it supports? My gear isn't too heavy - the 17-40L mounted on my 40D is what I intend on using.

Also, between the 190XPROB, 3021PROB, and 055XPROB, which would be the best to invest in?

The 484RC2 will be to smallish feeling for your setup.
The 486RC2 is just like the 488RC2 and will feel and be much more substantial like the 486...you just get one more very nice feature...a *separate* pan control so if you are doing landscapes and later decide to stich...there is a scale on it. With the 486RC2 and it's sincle control...it's diceier. Chances are no matter how carefull you are you will induce some wiggle in some plane.

I use two of the 190XPROB's with the 488RC2 heads and love them. After trying them vs. the old 3001/486RC2 combo for macro shooting and landscapes ...my 11 year old elected to spend his hard earned bucks on the 190XPROB/488RC2 combo instead of a bunch of games. That says something.

franklinn
16th of November 2007 (Fri), 04:12
rang,

thanks for you input. I have expelled the 484RC2 from the list, and I was debating between the 486RC2 vs the 488RC2. Only a $50 dollar difference, I think I'm going to opt for the latter. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about both ball heads however - I just believe that I will put the separate pan control into great usage in my silly attempts at pano shots ;)

rang
26th of November 2007 (Mon), 18:30
CorporationMe,

I was off line during the holidays but thought you might find this interesting.
I went to a Canon sponsored event a while back on Catalina Island. There was a pro doing the Panorama session. He pointed out a product he recommended branded by LensPen. It was some stiching software and a little gizmo that "clicked" as you moved your camera. It had a scale and then after downloading the pics onto your laptop; you run the software and Voila!...you have a panorama.
It works. It is kind've cool and on B&H it was *cheap* ~$25.00 USD I think.

The only simple improvement I would make is that I would make the gizmo a little beefier. If you load an XTi with a grip and say a wide angle lens...it is tough to hear the "clicks". But if you are careful in listening...it works great.

-rang

franklinn
5th of December 2007 (Wed), 13:27
CorporationMe,

I was off line during the holidays but thought you might find this interesting.
I went to a Canon sponsored event a while back on Catalina Island. There was a pro doing the Panorama session. He pointed out a product he recommended branded by LensPen. It was some stiching software and a little gizmo that "clicked" as you moved your camera. It had a scale and then after downloading the pics onto your laptop; you run the software and Voila!...you have a panorama.
It works. It is kind've cool and on B&H it was *cheap* ~$25.00 USD I think.

The only simple improvement I would make is that I would make the gizmo a little beefier. If you load an XTi with a grip and say a wide angle lens...it is tough to hear the "clicks". But if you are careful in listening...it works great.

-rang

Totally forgot that I had this thread! Rang, thanks for the cool info! Definitely worth looking into!