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Thread started 01 Apr 2009 (Wednesday) 12:20
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Review: Feisol CT-3442 tripod, Photoclam PC-40NS ballhead

 
MrGreen
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Apr 01, 2009 12:20 |  #1

Hello fellow POTN'ers,

I'm not sure if reviews exist for these or not, but if so here's another opinion anyways.

I recently purchased a new carbon fiber tripod and ballhead after many months, and months of research online and trying some out in stores. I came
to the decision of purchasing a Feisol 3442 carbon fiber tripod, and I went with a Photo Clam PC-40NS ballhead. I also bought a used Kirk L-plate for
my XTi off eBay.

The tripod and ballhead were bought through Really Big Cameras in the good ol' US of A: http://www.reallybigca​meras.com/ (external link)

How I came to deciding this was the right combo was a combination of a few factors. I hike a lot, so I needed an extremely light weight combo that I
wouldn't notice on my backpack. I'm also not short being 6'4", so the height was a major factor as well. Most tripods out there that are tall
enough for me are too heavy to consider taking hiking. Manfrotto is a perfect example. Sure they're nice, but not hiking tripods, even their carbon
fiber models are heavy in comparison.

Anyways, I've been VERY happy with my purchase and have had a chance to get out and use it a few times now. I'll break this into sections for now to
make it easier to talk about one thing.

The tripod: Feisol CT-3442 Carbon Fiber legs with the CT-3442CC centre column kit.

It's very light, being under 3 lbs with the centre column kit.

Strong holding 22 lbs max load, and handling telephoto focal lengths quite well even in windy conditions. I recently was shooting the sunset on a
windy night at the beach and got sharp shots at 105mm focal length. This was with no extra weight to stabilize the tripod, but the legs were not
extended at all, and it was quite low to the ground.

Extending the legs is fairly quick, and 9 times out of 10 they will unlock just fine. Every now and then you wont be able to twist the lock free
because the leg is rotating, so when that happens you need to tighten the previous lock above it to stop this. Honestly, this doesn't bother me at
all. I know some people whine and complain because certain tripods don't have Gitzo's "famous and wonderful" G-lock system, but it's really a
non-issue. I tried out a Gitzo in the store and I couldn't for the life of me see why it would be worth so much more. The Feisol is equal in
quality, strength, and ease of use, so nothing justified the whopping extra cost to me.

Now, as for the length - both folded and fully extended - it meets my requirements just fine. As I said previous, I'm tall, but fully extended this
tripod will go higher than I can even see through the camera. With the legs fully extended and the centre column down all the way, I can almost see
through the camera without bending over. To me, this is just fine.

Tripod fully extended - column down ||||||||||||||| Tripod fully extended - column up

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8468.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8469.jpg

Extending the centre colum is a breeze really. There's one big screw, with two fat tabs, that you turn and you can then slide the tube anywhere you
want. Just tighten the screw down again and it'll stay in place. It's VERY secure and quite solid when it's locked. I tried to slide the tube
with the screw tightened and I couldn't - not without breaking something.

Having the legs extended all the way out, but angling them out so you can get low to the ground does not work however. It's very flimsy and bouncy.
I could push down with my pinky finger and make it bounce. Here's a pic to show the set-up I am talking about.

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8470.jpg

If you want to get low to the ground you have a few options. You can retract the legs and extend the centre column up a bit, like this:

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8472.jpg

You can unscrew the plate at the end of the centre column and slide the tube out, reverse it and feed it through from underneath. This takes a bit
of time however, so I prefer to just reverse the legs by folding them backwards - basically turning the whole tripod upside down like this.

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8474.jpg

Now mind you, if you do this the picture will be upside down too, and you'll have to get down low to see through the viewfinder which is not
comfortable. I really wish I had Live View for stuff like this!

Being able to fold the legs back in a reverse position is handy for packing it up too. If you want to stuff it in a suitcase it's quite small if you
do this. Also, this will allow it to fit in the supplied carrying case EVEN with the ballhead attached.

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8482.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8485.jpg

And finally, the tripod with the legs in the normal position, fully closed, fits perfectly on my camera bag - Lowepro Dryzone Rover.

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8459.jpg

My site: www.millionflame.com (external link)
Gear: 7D - Zeikos Grip, Rebel XTi/400D - Opteka Grip, EF 24-105mm f/4L, EF 100mm f/2.8L MACRO, EF 50mm f/1.8 (Nifty Fifty), EF-s 55-250mm (Nifty Two-Fifty), Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Σ 150-500mm (Bigmos), Σ 35mm f/1.4, Σ 85mm f/1.4, Feisol CT-3442 CF Tripod, Photo Clam PC-40NS Ball head, 580 EX II Flash

  
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MrGreen
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Apr 01, 2009 12:21 |  #2

The Ballhead: Photo Clam PC-40NS

Here's a video showing the ballhead in use. If you can get past his goofy accent, it's a decent video! http://www.youtube.com​/watch?v=rTPYidyUzXs (external link)

First off, probably the best feature about this ballhead is that it's fully Arca compatible. Meaning, you can use L-plates from Really Right Stuff,
Kirk, or some other companies that may or may not exist. Also, that gives you MANY more plate options and in my opinion is a better system than the
crappy Manfrotto plates.

Here's a picture showing the profile of the clamp, and with my L-bracket/camera attached too.

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8479.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8476.jpg

Another really awesome feature is the ballhead is very light. It weighs in under a pound, but it's extremely well built. The operation of all the
knobs and do-dads are very smooth and you can feel the quality when you use this thing.

Twisting the panning lock knob will allow you to rotate the head on it's panning base. This is quite useful for panoramas. If you use the bubble
level in the clamp to get it level, then you'll have very little horizon shift when you pan the head. Besides using this for panos, it's also nice
to just quicky rotate the ballhead without resetting the ball position.

Turning the lock knob for the ballhead is quite easy and requires very little effort to free the ballhead. However, once the ballhead is locked IT
IS NOT MOVING! You don't need to crank the knob either, just twist it gently and it'll lock the ballhead in place good and tight. Here's the big
knob you turn for that!

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8477.jpg

Not much else to say about the ballhead really. It's a fairly simple piece of equipment so no need to ramble on about it.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Conclusion of the pair:

Overall, I couldn't be happier with this combo. The two are definitely worthy of being called professional, as they are extremely well built, and
perform very well. I would recommend this combo to anyone looking to save money over a Gitzo, but still get something just as good.

Here's a few more pix to show the tripod, ballhead, L-bracket, and my camera. These illustrate a few things I talked about earlier, and hopefully
help you visualize what they look like together.

Close-up of the legs with centre column, column twist lock, ballhead.

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8463.jpg

Showing the column fully extended. As you can see, it's not going to be nearly as stable as it would be down, but it IS surprisingly more stable
than anything I would have expected. It's completely useable to me so long as there isn't a strong wind.

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8465.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8466.jpg

Here's the screw-on hook you can use to add extra weight for added stablity. Pretty simple, just screw on, and screw off.

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8487.jpg

Here's a final picture showing all the stuff that you get with the tripod: optional screw-on hook for the centre column kit, flat plate that
normally comes with the tripod, tools to install the different plates, tighten screws on the tripod, etc.

IMAGE: http://www.millionflame.com/photo/Reviews/Feisol3442/images/IMG_8491.jpg

My site: www.millionflame.com (external link)
Gear: 7D - Zeikos Grip, Rebel XTi/400D - Opteka Grip, EF 24-105mm f/4L, EF 100mm f/2.8L MACRO, EF 50mm f/1.8 (Nifty Fifty), EF-s 55-250mm (Nifty Two-Fifty), Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Σ 150-500mm (Bigmos), Σ 35mm f/1.4, Σ 85mm f/1.4, Feisol CT-3442 CF Tripod, Photo Clam PC-40NS Ball head, 580 EX II Flash

  
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reprazent
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Apr 01, 2009 17:17 |  #3

Thanks for this review, I'm very interested in the Feisols for the very same reason: it must be lightweight and portable. Sadly no store carries Feisols over here. I want to try one in reallife cos probably the only thing that could prevent me from choosing Feisol are the twist locks, Today I tried various Velbon Sherpa legs with similar looking twistlocks- and I hated it: it's slow and unreliable. On the other hand I fell in love with the fliplocks on the Manfrotto 190/055CX.


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Laramie
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Apr 01, 2009 17:32 |  #4

reprazent wrote in post #7647036 (external link)
Thanks for this review, I'm very interested in the Feisols for the very same reason: it must be lightweight and portable. Sadly no store carries Feisols over here. I want to try one in reallife cos probably the only thing that could prevent me from choosing Feisol are the twist locks, Today I tried various Velbon Sherpa legs with similar looking twistlocks- and I hated it: it's slow and unreliable. On the other hand I fell in love with the fliplocks on the Manfrotto 190/055CX.

I have a Feisol 3441s and Markins Q3T ballhead.

I've never felt my Feisol twistlocks were slow or unreliable. I love mine and it's very light and easy to carry.


5DIII | 40D | 17-40 f4L | Tamron 28-75 2.8 | 50 1.4 | 70-200 2.8L | Oly Zuiko 50 macro | Tamron 1.4x

  
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moeronn
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Apr 01, 2009 17:59 |  #5

I just got the 3441s and the twist locks work great. It will take me a few uses to get the most efficient proceedure down (opening and closing sections in the right order) so I'm not unncessarily spinning sections.

cowboylife wrote in post #7647148 (external link)
I have a Feisol 3441s and Markins Q3T ballhead.

I've never felt my Feisol twistlocks were slow or unreliable. I love mine and it's very light and easy to carry.

Where did your review go? I used it quite a bit while deciding on a combination (thanks), but haven't been able to find it for the past few days?


flickr (external link)

  
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Laramie
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Apr 01, 2009 18:10 |  #6

moeronn wrote in post #7647306 (external link)
Where did your review go? I used it quite a bit while deciding on a combination (thanks), but haven't been able to find it for the past few days?

I have posted pictures and quite a few comments/feelings about my Feisol but I don't think I wrote a formal review.

I'm glad though that my comments were able to help!


5DIII | 40D | 17-40 f4L | Tamron 28-75 2.8 | 50 1.4 | 70-200 2.8L | Oly Zuiko 50 macro | Tamron 1.4x

  
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MrGreen
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Apr 01, 2009 19:10 |  #7

reprazent wrote in post #7647036 (external link)
Thanks for this review, I'm very interested in the Feisols for the very same reason: it must be lightweight and portable. Sadly no store carries Feisols over here. I want to try one in reallife cos probably the only thing that could prevent me from choosing Feisol are the twist locks, Today I tried various Velbon Sherpa legs with similar looking twistlocks- and I hated it: it's slow and unreliable. On the other hand I fell in love with the fliplocks on the Manfrotto 190/055CX.

Trust me, you'll like the twist locks once you use them a bit. I used to be a big proponent to level locks, like Manfrotto uses, and I still am because they are fast and reliable, but the locks on the 3442 AND 3441s are the NEW updated locks and work great.

The only thing that's annoying a bit, as mentioned before, is the legs twisting when you unlock them. You get around this pretty quickly though.


My site: www.millionflame.com (external link)
Gear: 7D - Zeikos Grip, Rebel XTi/400D - Opteka Grip, EF 24-105mm f/4L, EF 100mm f/2.8L MACRO, EF 50mm f/1.8 (Nifty Fifty), EF-s 55-250mm (Nifty Two-Fifty), Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Σ 150-500mm (Bigmos), Σ 35mm f/1.4, Σ 85mm f/1.4, Feisol CT-3442 CF Tripod, Photo Clam PC-40NS Ball head, 580 EX II Flash

  
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Jethro790
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Apr 01, 2009 20:30 as a reply to  @ MrGreen's post |  #8

Very nice review. For some reason I can not get over the name, "Photoclam"...


If you must know...

  
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René ­ Damkot
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Apr 02, 2009 08:36 |  #9

Nice review, added to the sticky :)


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ChrisMc73
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Jun 23, 2009 15:36 |  #10

What would be the PhotoClam comparable model to the Markins M20?




  
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MrGreen
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Jun 24, 2009 11:11 |  #11

ChrisMc73 wrote in post #8161081 (external link)
What would be the PhotoClam comparable model to the Markins M20?

Just by comparing specs, probably the PC-44NS which is what I have. The Photo Clam is cheaper though: $269 compared to $390 for the Markins.

To be completely honest, I doubt you'd ever find much of a difference between the two models besides cosmetics. My ballhead is still going strong and I use it a lot. I don't regret buying it at all, nor my tripod.


My site: www.millionflame.com (external link)
Gear: 7D - Zeikos Grip, Rebel XTi/400D - Opteka Grip, EF 24-105mm f/4L, EF 100mm f/2.8L MACRO, EF 50mm f/1.8 (Nifty Fifty), EF-s 55-250mm (Nifty Two-Fifty), Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Σ 150-500mm (Bigmos), Σ 35mm f/1.4, Σ 85mm f/1.4, Feisol CT-3442 CF Tripod, Photo Clam PC-40NS Ball head, 580 EX II Flash

  
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ChrisMc73
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Jun 24, 2009 19:12 |  #12

MrGreen wrote in post #8166362 (external link)
Just by comparing specs, probably the PC-44NS which is what I have. The Photo Clam is cheaper though: $269 compared to $390 for the Markins.

To be completely honest, I doubt you'd ever find much of a difference between the two models besides cosmetics. My ballhead is still going strong and I use it a lot. I don't regret buying it at all, nor my tripod.

Yep, you're setup looks awesome.




  
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Bubble
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Jun 25, 2009 01:46 |  #13
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i just wonder what Gitzo model is the same as Feisol CT-3442 ?


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MrGreen
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Jun 25, 2009 11:02 |  #14

Bubble wrote in post #8170976 (external link)
i just wonder what Gitzo model is the same as Feisol CT-3442 ?

I'm not too sure to be honest. When I was looking around I ignored Gitzo early on because they didn't seem to have a tripod with the right specs I was looking for - height, weight, etc. They have some great tripods, but none fit the bill for what I was looking for.


My site: www.millionflame.com (external link)
Gear: 7D - Zeikos Grip, Rebel XTi/400D - Opteka Grip, EF 24-105mm f/4L, EF 100mm f/2.8L MACRO, EF 50mm f/1.8 (Nifty Fifty), EF-s 55-250mm (Nifty Two-Fifty), Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Σ 150-500mm (Bigmos), Σ 35mm f/1.4, Σ 85mm f/1.4, Feisol CT-3442 CF Tripod, Photo Clam PC-40NS Ball head, 580 EX II Flash

  
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ddong
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Jun 25, 2009 16:03 |  #15

Photo Clam ballhead is good, but not Feisol tripod. I'll go for Gitzo for next purchase.




  
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Review: Feisol CT-3442 tripod, Photoclam PC-40NS ballhead
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