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FORUMS General Gear Talk Tripods, Monopods & Other Camera Support
Thread started 07 Dec 2017 (Thursday) 14:44
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Tripod performance in unfriendly conditions

 
neophyte52
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Chanhassen, MN
Dec 07, 2017 14:44 |  #1

Currently shopping for a tripod to replace my Feisol CT3441. Besides needing something a little more solid, I've had a couple of issues w/ this one:

- legs constantly coming loose where connected to the base plate, requiring me to always have an allen wrench handy (this factor is probably amplified by my slipping one leg of the tripod into the loop on my pack when I hike long distances, which I often to to shoot). Per Feisol's suggestion, I've disassembled many times & applied grease, but it doesn't seem to help.

- in areas like S. UT, where the air always seems full of microscopic grains of sand, sand always works its way into the leg locking mechanism. Multiple thorough disassembly, cleaning, & lube don't seem to help, and are a major project (4-legged model).

So, was hoping to find something w/ cam locks to make disassembly/cleaning easier for the second issue, but the brands I keep coming back to (Gitzo, RRS) seem to have only twist-lock legs which, I assume, will also have all the rings/seals that tend to catch the sand (and make maintenance a major project). Have read some reviews of RRS that the first problem mentioned above can be an issue on those.

Interested in what experiences others have had w/ high end tripods when using in harsh conditions, especially where lots of fine sand and grit is present, as that seems to be the biggest contributor to my problems.

I should add that weight is a large factor for me, given that I often hike several miles w/ my gear. Don't want to get into a discussion of this model vs that; the construction & design w/in each brand is fairly consistent in my experience.


Mark
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johnf3f
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Wales
Dec 07, 2017 16:32 |  #2

Just a personal view - but I will not entertain anything other than twist locks. True some are vulnerable to dust/sand but at least that lock! I have had "Flip Lock" tripods before and was never happy with them - just me.

Given your weight requirements I would normally suggest a Gitzo 2 series Mountaineer (+ you can remove the center column to save a few grams and go lower). Unfortunately they are very pricey in the US - perhaps a used one?

I have a bunch of Gitzo tripods and have only once had an issue with sand and, yes, the leg locks were a pain to clean - however the tripod in question (GT3320BS) was virtually buried in beach sand! I can live with that in about a decade of use as I haven't cleaned any of the others - yet.

The older Gitzo non ALR tripods may be of interest as their leg locks are of a different design and are less vulnerable to sand etc. There are two provisos though, namely the locking action is more dependant on the amount of tension applied ( just a moderate twist is plenty!) and the leg sections are free to rotate until locked. All this means in practice is that when setting up you lock the upper sections first and reverse the order when putting it away. Simply a non issue but people liked to make a fuss about it. They are cheaper too:

https://www.ebay.com ...15b512:g:3UEAAOSwc2​FaDHJ6 (external link)

Have fun choosing.


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

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Hokie ­ Jim
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Hillsborough, NC
Dec 07, 2017 19:41 |  #3

I love my Gitzo, but I have a '90s aluminum Bogen as my "I'm going to stick this in a river" tripod. Twist locks just suck in those kind of conditions, exactly as you describe.


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SailingAway
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Dec 07, 2017 20:10 |  #4

I have both styles, flip and twist, as well as a camlock video tripod.

They all work! IMO flip lock do very well, but occasionally need adjustment to lock firmly. Manfrotto supplies a tool for just this purpose - it's easy.

Every tripod needs a little care. A quick wipe with a paper towel or rag will clean the legs. If you can't wipe them down in the field before collapsing, leave a few inches of the lowest section sticking out until you can wipe them down!

There's an older Benro travel tripod that has legs that are sort of upside down - the lock is near the top, and the bottom section is completely sealed. Great for sand and water up to a foot or so. Gitzo used to have their "Ocean" series, with extra seals to keep out the water, sand, and mud, as well as some non-corrosive metals for saltwater. You might find either of these pre-owned.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Omak, in north-central Washington state, USA
Dec 07, 2017 20:38 |  #5

neophyte52 wrote in post #18512814 (external link)
- in areas like S. UT, where the air always seems full of microscopic grains of sand, sand always works its way into the leg locking mechanism. Multiple thorough disassembly, cleaning, & lube don't seem to help, and are a major project (4-legged model).

So, was hoping to find something w/ cam locks to make disassembly/cleaning easier for the second issue, but the brands I keep coming back to (Gitzo, RRS) seem to have only twist-lock legs which, I assume, will also have all the rings/seals that tend to catch the sand (and make maintenance a major project).

I have a Gitzo tripod with twist-lock legs, and I use it in areas with lots of fine dust and sand. . In fact, I was using it down in southern Utah just two weeks ago!

The sand and grit is not a problem. . Why? . Because I ignore it. . That's right - fine grit and sand gets into my tripod legs a lot, and I never bother to do a darn thing about it. . I don't ever clean it. . I don't ever disassemble it. . I never send it to anyone for any servicing or maintenance. . And it just keeps working, regardless ....... even after 8 years of ridiculously heavy use on the same tripod.

Like cameras and lenses, high quality tripods are really tough, and don't need to be maintained or cared for the way many people seem to think they do.

.


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johnf3f
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Dec 08, 2017 17:31 as a reply to Hokie Jim's post |  #6

No I mentioned an instance where my shortie Gitzo 3320BS was virtually buried in beach sand. My tripods (currently all Gitzo) are frequently used as walking poles when crossing rivers, set up in rivers, used as climbing aids and used as brush busters as well as spending time on the beach and that was the ONLY time I have had to clean leg locks.

Still it's only been 11 years so it might happen again? For fun I did show some other photographers how easy it was to fold away my (then) Manfrotto 190 and 055 tripods without releasing the flip locks! However that didn't inspire confidence:twisted:

The longest that I had a Flip Lock tripod was about 6 months - still have (and am delighted with) my 2006 Gitzo - there is just no comparison in my experience.


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neophyte52
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Chanhassen, MN
Post has been edited 1 day ago by neophyte52 with reason 'Misspelled '.
Dec 09, 2017 11:22 as a reply to Tom Reichner's post |  #7

I’d love to just ignore the sand. Unfortunately, when you can no longer extend or contract the legs, it’s kind of hard to ignore ߘ


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Wilt
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Post has been last edited 1 day ago by Wilt. 2 edits done in total.
Dec 09, 2017 11:23 as a reply to neophyte52's post |  #8

Quickly wipe down the legs with a cloth to remove dust/grit, before collapsing them, to minimize the issue?!


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SailingAway
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Post has been edited 1 day ago by SailingAway.
Dec 09, 2017 12:37 |  #9

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18513029 (external link)
The sand and grit is not a problem. Why? Because I ignore it. That's right - fine grit and sand gets into my tripod legs a lot, and I never bother to do a darn thing about it. I don't ever clean it. I don't ever disassemble it. I never send it to anyone for any servicing or maintenance. And it just keeps working, regardless ....... even after 8 years of ridiculously heavy use on the same tripod.

Like cameras and lenses, high quality tripods are really tough, and don't need to be maintained or cared for the way many people seem to think they do.

I’m very glad you’ve had such positive experiences of the toughness of your sticks! I hope it continues that way! I’m not writing about what I think of maintenance. I’ve just had different experiences than you.

I’m dealing with a set of Gitzo cf legs that have been treated the way you’re talking about (not by me!), and, can’t yet get the bottom sections’ twist locks to unlock. I’ve got one in the freezer right now, planning to hit it with the heat gun to see if a little contraction/expansion action will help.

Likewise, regarding Manfrotto flip locks... if/when they slip, grab the included tool that’s snapped onto one of the legs, tighten 1/8th of a turn - good for a few more years, or maybe forever. For me it’s worth it to get the ease and speed of flips, and, yes, I also use Gitzo twists on a different tripod. They’re fine too. But I do stick a paper towel in my pocket for a 10-second wipe down of any of my sticks in unfriendly conditions.

To the OP and other readers of this thread, your mileage may vary! If you decide to go with what others consider to be the ultimate tripod, it’s still just a set of sticks to hold up your camera with some degree of stiffness, vibration damping, and capacity, and some level of ease of use. Occasional care and maintenance may be needed to keep them performing as new, which is easy to do and well worth it!

My perspective is informed by current ownership of multiple Manfrotto, Gitzo, and Sachtler tripods, and, seeing how students in my college program break things. And they do, like in any multi-user environment.

PS. Who’s got a great way to break free Gitzo twist locks? I’m really looking for a solution for that tripod!


From the upper left corner of the U.S.
Photos, Video & Pano r us.
College and workshop instructor in video and audio.
70D, Sigma 8mm, Tokina f2.8 11-16, Canon EF-S f2.8 17-55, Sigma f2.8 50-150 EX OS, Tamron 150-600VC. Gigapan Epic Pro, Nodal Ninja 5 & R10.

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Tripod performance in unfriendly conditions
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