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Old 28th of October 2007 (Sun)   #1
John_TX
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Default Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech GV2?

Has anyone used the Feisol CB-30 ballhead?
http://www.feisol.com/english/cb30.htm

http://www.feisol.com/english/CT3441S.htm
http://www.feisol.com/english/CT3441B.htm

I'm interested in the CT-3441SB package for backpacking & traveling, which is $379 and includes the CT-3441S tripod, center column, bag, CB-30 ballhead & plate.

They sell just the CT-3441S tripod, center column, & bag for $299.
The CT-3441S version holds 22 LBS & is more beefed up & sturdy than the previous CT-3441 (13 LBS max load).
At 2.2LBS it seems like a light enough setup (2.63LBS w/CB-30 ballhead).

The CB-30 ballhead looks very compact & nests well within the tripod when the legs are folded up (16.9" length). If I pass on the CB-30, I was thinking about picking up an Acratech GV2 Ballhead instead. I suspect though, that the Acratech won't be able to remain on the tripod if you fold the legs up for storage. (legs fold 180-degrees up & over the tripod so the feet rest against the head, see pic below)

Will I run into problems constantly removing the head; or do you mainly install the head & leave it be?

In the alternative, I suppose I could pick up both the CB-30 & Acratech ballheads & use the Acratech when I don't need to tightly fold up the tripod & swap out the CB-30 for a compact travel package.

This will be my first "real" tripod, as I've wasted enough on the cheap ones I currently use, thus for the time being, I'd prefer to use the CT-3441S as both my every-day & travel tripod and change out the ballheads accordingly if need be.


Last edited by John_TX : 30th of October 2007 (Tue) at 16:44.
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Old 28th of October 2007 (Sun)   #2
Ultimate CC
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

I have the one listed in my signature and I can fold it up with an arca swiss z1 and it fits perfect in the carrying case, i can even stick the monopod in with the tripod which is very nice for traveling (I can bring my bookbag of camera goods and tripod as carry ons with me)
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Old 29th of October 2007 (Mon)   #3
John_TX
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

Thanks for the info.
After looking at it more, I'm not sure if the CT-3441S will work well with the panning heads I've been looking (Acratech & Markins Q3).

The 4-section CT-3442 on the other hand, looks promising. It folds down to 18.9" & weights 2.31 pounds. Still much lighter than others I've seen.
With the Markins Q3, it comes up to 3.15 LBS.

Question:
Would you be able to roughly measure the diameter of the round base-plate on your CT-3342? And also the widest diameter of the tripod, including the legs (e.g. with the tripod folded up and laying on its side on a table, how tall is it?). I'm trying to get some idea of how much thicker overall the CT-3342/3442 is compared to the current tripod I'm using.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 29th of October 2007 (Mon)   #4
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

The diameter of the tripod is just over 6cm and the acra swiss z1 is 7cm and its a perfect fit, theres a little room to spare so if the ballhead was a little bigger it should still fit, this fits fine too with the adjustment knobs on the ballhead...I debated the 3441s and the 3342 like i got and for me the slightly slower wieght of the 3341s didn't matter for me...its definitely a very sturdy and strong tripod, the combo holds any and all of my lenses without a problem...
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Old 29th of October 2007 (Mon)   #5
jjasc
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

I have the Feisol 3441S and the ultimate ballhead.

It's a great combo. I actually had the Feisol 3441 and ultimate ballhead, but I sent the 3441 back and they replaced it with the 3441S. The main reason I replaced the 3441 with the 3441S is one of the rubber foots on the 3441 came off (you can't reattach it). The 3441S doesn't have this problem as it has removable rubber feet and you can add spikes to the bottom if you wish. It also has bigger and stronger "twists".

Personally, I would go with the actatech over the feisol ballhead anyday. The feisol ballhead will let you fold the tripod up more compactly (the folded tripod length will be two inches smaller), but as far as quality, features, stability, and weight support, the feisol ballhead won't hold a candle to the acratech ballhead.

I just sold my acratech ultimate ballhead and bought a the new acratech V2 version of the ballhead. I found it very annoying having to adust the panning base of the acratech every time I wanted to move the camera a certain direction (usually UP). The V2 doesn't have this problem. It also has a tension knob.
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Old 29th of October 2007 (Mon)   #6
John_TX
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

jjasc,
Do the legs on the 3441S fold up around the Acratech V2? I understand that the V2 head unit is taller than the Feisol ball, and thus will stick out the end some, but my concern was whether the legs fold in tightly with the V2 attached.
From my experience with tripods & traveling in general, the legs are less likely to be damaged while packed in luggage if they fold/nest all the way in.
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Old 29th of October 2007 (Mon)   #7
jjasc
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

Hi. I just sold my ultimate ballhead yesterday. The v2 is on the way and I will have it in a few days. The V2 is the same size as the ultimate however.

I know with the ultimate, you can't really fold over the 3441 (or 3441S) over the acratech. You can, but the tripod legs will not be compact at all -- you definetly can't tie your tripod on your backpack like that, though in a pinch you could throw it in your suitcase. HOwever, folding the tripod legs over the acratech will cause the sides of the ballhead to press into the foam, leaving dents in it.

I found a way to save an inch of foldup space however. You can easily take off the feisol tripod legs, reverse the center colum, so that column post part that sticks like an inch over the top points down. You then reattach the tripod legs and screw the ballhead back on. The ballhead now sticks out an inch less. This is how I travelled around in China with my Feisol 3441 + ultimate ballhead. Currently, my Feisol 3441S and ultimate (well, when I still had the ultimate. Still waiting for my V2), are used in the default mode (like in the pictures). I'm going to switch my tripod around though in the way I just described to you. The extra inch of saved space is just too important for traveling. The only downside is that this gives you 1 inch less height. The 3441S is an inch shorter than the 3441, so if I do this, the camera is like 2-3 inches below my eyeline, which is somewhat annoying; the benifits of the shorter foldup tripod outweight the dissadvantages.

I also recommend you get the optional short column and long metal spikes if you get the 3441. The short colum save weight (and isn't that the point in a travel tripod?) and the long spikes give you more stability when shooting outdoors and about another inch of height on the tripod -- a big deal if you don't use the center column because of stability issues.
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Old 30th of October 2007 (Tue)   #8
John_TX
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

So for clarification,
when you travel, do you just remove the head & fold up the legs over the plate (fold it up as it normally folds up)
?
Or do you just pull the legs in (legs remain below the plate & head) and leave the head sitting on top (like in the picture below)



(picture from Arjunrc's Feisol 3402N review) http://www.pbase.com/arjunrc/feisol_review

Last edited by John_TX : 30th of October 2007 (Tue) at 00:45.
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Old 30th of October 2007 (Tue)   #9
jjasc
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

Ok. Leave the tripod as it is in the picture.

Take the allen wrench tool that comes with the tripod. Unscrew all the legs from the tripod base. Take the tripod base and reverse it so the part that sticks out like it is in the picture now points down to the ground and the flat base is in the air. Now reattach the tripod legs to the tripod base. You can now put the ballhead on the flat part of the tripod base and you shave an inch off the tripod when you carry it around like this or attach it to camera bag etc.

There is no point to trying to fold the legs over once you do this, as it will just result in the same position like you have the tripod in the picture, except the tripod legs will be on backwards (the clips that you push in to move the legs will be facing the foam).

I like doing this because:

1 ) I shave a good inch off the tripod folded height. The tripod + ballhead is now like 18 inches instead of 19.

2) the weight hook (if you have the short column) is now another inch closer to the ground which makes it much easier to hang a camera bag without it pushing against the sides of the tripod legs, as it might sometimes do if you had the tripod setup the regular way and tried to hook your bag onto the hook when using the short column.

Hope that helps
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Old 30th of October 2007 (Tue)   #10
John_TX
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

Thank you for the excellent explanation! That helps a bunch.
Really neat that the base can be flipped over & the whole package made about an inch smaller!

I still can't make up my mind between the CT-3441S ($299); CT-3402N ($209 ($165 + $44 for center column)); CT-3442 ($309)

I guess it's really between the 3441S & 3402N. Their spec's are nearly identical with regards to height, folded length, & leg dia.
However, the CT-3441S hold about 7 more pounds & weights about 1/2-pound less (but cost $90 more).

The 15-pound load rating on the 3402N is way more than I need, but I'm sure the 22-pound rated 3441S is much more stable & steady.
Still mulling over the price difference, but since this will serve a dual-purpose role (every day use & travel), I'm probably leaning more towards the CT-3441S at the moment.

Last edited by John_TX : 30th of October 2007 (Tue) at 01:44.
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Old 30th of October 2007 (Tue)   #11
jjasc
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

Go with the 3441S. The half pound weight difference is a big deal if you want to hike or travel. The ability to hold another 7lbs is also a big deal. The 3441 is a lot more stable; you can also crank out some of the big telephoto lenses if you ever need to.

The 3441S has the ability to put in metal spikes on the feet; this is a really big deal if you go hiking. I've found that metal spikes add a lot of stability and "grip" when putting the tripod on dirt or rocky surfaces. If you do get the 3441, i highly recommend you order the "short column" and some spikes. You might pay an additional 50 bucks, but you can shave a good 200 grams off the weight, so it weighs about 800 grams, not 1 kg.
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Old 30th of October 2007 (Tue)   #12
John_TX
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

Thanks for the recommendations, your reasoning is very logical.

I had one more question (last one I promise!).

I was wondering about the round lip on the plate that faces upwards (red arrow) (after you do the reverse modification you talked about earlier). Does this lip interferer with or make the ball head connection any weaker to the tripod (since there is less surface area to support the ballhead)?
Also, is the 3/8" stud long enough to really screw into the ballhead? I'd hate for the whole setup to only be supported by 2-3 rows of threads.
I assume the Acratech head sits on TOP of that lip; does it by any chance fit inside the diameter of the lip?

So, basically after the plate flipping modification, this is how the 3441S now looks when the legs are collapsed for packing right? (yeah, the picture is missing the 3rd leg...it got erased when I erased the center column).

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Old 30th of October 2007 (Tue)   #13
jjasc
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Default Re: Feisol CT-3441S & CB-30 Ballhead or Acratech Ultimate?

Hi. Yea, that's how the tripod looks in the picture if you do what I'm talking about. Except that the tripod legs are rotated so that the little knob you hit to adjust the tripod legs is faceing outwards, not inwars like in the picture (at least i think the knobs are facing inwards in the picture).

The ballhead rests on the lip of the tripod. What you have to do is push the center column up so that it's level with the lip then tighten the hell out of the centerpost to lock it in that position. This also brings the 3/8 stud level with the lip. The tripod now rests on both the lip and the tripod center part.

Yes, the surface the ballhead rests on is not as flat as if you use the tripod in the default position, but it's still pretty flat.

However, please not that having the center column reversed makes it a pain to adjust the center column -- which is not a problem if you just use the short center column, which you will never adjust anyways. If you intend to use the long center column and adjust it for more height however, then this method will probably not be an ideal setup for you.
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