Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1] 2 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Tripod Choice  (Read 6273 times)
Eldor
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 68



WWW
« on: January 20, 2008, 09:00:04 AM »
ReplyReply

I currently have two tripods which I really love... Both are carbon-fibre Velbon models.  I have the 530 and the 730.  

On the 730 I have a full Wimberly Loctite'ed onto it.  I use this with a Canon 500mm f4L IS (even with extenders) and it's superb.  Rock solid.  Just a bit heavy and of course with the Wimberly on it, it becomes pretty much a dedicated tripod for the 500mm lens.

I have  RRS BH-55 on the 530 and it's my favorite.  I am finding however that with a bigger lens (I HAVE used the 500 on it, with a Sidekick) it's not quite as steady as I'd like.  And even with shorter/lighter lenses, since I started doing more HDR (multiple image) shots, I'm not getting the consistency shot to shot that I'd like.

So I'm looking for something pretty much between the two models.  I thought the Velbon 630 would be ideal.  And now after more than a week of looking, I haven't been able to locate one.  B&H has one they call the "630A" but that doesn't appear on the Velbon website.  It looks more like their model 635.  (The difference between the 630 and the 630A or 635 is the 630 has twist-lock legs and the others have lever lock - I want the twist lock!).

The dealers I've called haven't been any help.  Neither has the Canadian distributor who after a week hasn't answered my email.  Velbon Japan hasn't replied either.  So I'm looking at other options.  Sorry for the long preamble, but I want you to know where I'm coming from with this.

The Gitzo Mountaineer GT2530 has caught my attention.  But I'm confused.  Here's why:

Velbon 730 - weight 2.35kg - load 8kg
Velbon 630 - weight 1.61kg - load 6kg
Velbon 530 - weight 1.41kg - load 4kg

Gitzo 2530 - weight 1.4kg - load 12kg

At first glance it appears that the Gitzo is incredible!  Lighter, yet able to handle a heavier load than even the Velbon 730!  And I know the 730 is superb with the 500mm lens.  However (you knew that was coming, right?)... the Gitzo specs says this tripod is for use with a MAXIMUM lens of 300mm!

I just don't get it.  It'll hold 50% more weight than the Velbon 730 (which we know is great with the 500mm) yet it'll handle only up to a 300mm lens.  How is this?  Is Velbon being over optimistic and Gitzo pessimistic?  Support-wise would these be just about the same?

My plan is to move the 530 into my studio for only indoor studio shooting.  I'll still keep the 730 for dedicated use with my 500mm and the new tripod (most likely the Gitzo) will be for everything else.

Any help with this would be very much appreciated.  

Eldor
Logged
ErikKaffehr
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7640


WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2008, 01:16:58 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi,

Two points.

1) The relation between load and weight of tripod and head should be sane. 12 kg on 1.4 kg tripod would be way top heavy.

2) I use a Velbon 630 with a RRS BH 40 head as my "walkaround" tripod. I use this with a Minolta 400/4.5 with 1.4x and 2X extenders and it works just fine.

Best regards

Erik

Quote
I currently have two tripods which I really love... Both are carbon-fibre Velbon models.  I have the 530 and the 730. 

On the 730 I have a full Wimberly Loctite'ed onto it.  I use this with a Canon 500mm f4L IS (even with extenders) and it's superb.  Rock solid.  Just a bit heavy and of course with the Wimberly on it, it becomes pretty much a dedicated tripod for the 500mm lens.

I have  RRS BH-55 on the 530 and it's my favorite.  I am finding however that with a bigger lens (I HAVE used the 500 on it, with a Sidekick) it's not quite as steady as I'd like.  And even with shorter/lighter lenses, since I started doing more HDR (multiple image) shots, I'm not getting the consistency shot to shot that I'd like.

So I'm looking for something pretty much between the two models.  I thought the Velbon 630 would be ideal.  And now after more than a week of looking, I haven't been able to locate one.  B&H has one they call the "630A" but that doesn't appear on the Velbon website.  It looks more like their model 635.  (The difference between the 630 and the 630A or 635 is the 630 has twist-lock legs and the others have lever lock - I want the twist lock!).

The dealers I've called haven't been any help.  Neither has the Canadian distributor who after a week hasn't answered my email.  Velbon Japan hasn't replied either.  So I'm looking at other options.  Sorry for the long preamble, but I want you to know where I'm coming from with this.

The Gitzo Mountaineer GT2530 has caught my attention.  But I'm confused.  Here's why:

Velbon 730 - weight 2.35kg - load 8kg
Velbon 630 - weight 1.61kg - load 6kg
Velbon 530 - weight 1.41kg - load 4kg

Gitzo 2530 - weight 1.4kg - load 12kg

At first glance it appears that the Gitzo is incredible!  Lighter, yet able to handle a heavier load than even the Velbon 730!  And I know the 730 is superb with the 500mm lens.  However (you knew that was coming, right?)... the Gitzo specs says this tripod is for use with a MAXIMUM lens of 300mm!

I just don't get it.  It'll hold 50% more weight than the Velbon 730 (which we know is great with the 500mm) yet it'll handle only up to a 300mm lens.  How is this?  Is Velbon being over optimistic and Gitzo pessimistic?  Support-wise would these be just about the same?

My plan is to move the 530 into my studio for only indoor studio shooting.  I'll still keep the 730 for dedicated use with my 500mm and the new tripod (most likely the Gitzo) will be for everything else.

Any help with this would be very much appreciated. 

Eldor
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168361\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Logged

GregW
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2008, 02:18:25 PM »
ReplyReply

In my experience Gitzo are rather optimistic with their weight specifications and I take them with a handful of salt.  Don't let that put you off.  They are good products and for the last few yeas I've not bough anything else.
Logged
JeffKohn
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1671



WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2008, 02:20:57 PM »
ReplyReply

I find it curious that you specifically want the twist locks. I personally hate twist-locks with a passion, it's the reason I refuse to use most tripod brands including Gitzo and Feisol.  The lever locks are 10 times more convenient to use, and I really don't see a downside to them.

My small/light tripod setup for hiking is  Velbon El Carmagne 630 with a Markins M10 ballhead. This combo works really well with most lense I have. I've even used this tripod/head combo with a 200-400vr on a SideKick, and it works well with a "loose" head when tracking moving objects. It's not really up to the task of locking down to shoot a static scene with a slow shutter speed with the 200-400 though. For all my other lenses it works quite well, I'd say the 630 is every bit as good as a Gitzo 2-series, only at half the price.

(BTW the El Carmagne 630 is the "original" 630 with lever locks, before they started making the two similar models that only differed in leg locking mechanism).

My larger tripod is a Dutch Hill P900 with RRS BH-55, and that tripod can handle pretty much anything, but it's just not really practical to carry on long hikes.
Logged

GregW
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


WWW
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2008, 02:30:08 PM »
ReplyReply

I only have experience of the Manfrotto lever locks but when wearing gloves during cold weather I find twist locks easier to use.  It's possible the OP has had a similar experience.
Logged
Ken R
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 492


WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2008, 03:45:11 PM »
ReplyReply

I have a GT2530 and its a great tripod, it replaced my 3 series studex gitzo alum which I  havent used at all since I got the 2530. Its very light, stiff and stable.
Logged
Eldor
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 68



WWW
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2008, 06:29:03 PM »
ReplyReply

Thanks for commenting, Erik.  The figures I quoted (weight of tripod and rated load) come directly from the manufacturers' web sites.  I agree with you that there's something insane about the numbers.  That's why I'm confused.

As I said, the Velbon 630 was my first choice, especially since I've been so happy with my 530 and 730.  I just can't find one!!  I don't want a model with lever-lock/snap legs.  Where'd you get yours?  And was it recently?

I have a RRS BH 55 on my Velbon 530 and it's wonderful.  I think that head on the 630 would be a perfect combination.  

But can't find a 630 and the BH 55 is backordered for 6-8 weeks!  Which is why I've been looking for alternatives and have gotten confused by the specs which I can't make sense of.

Cheers!

Eldor


Quote
Hi,

Two points.

1) The relation between load and weight of tripod and head should be sane. 12 kg on 1.4 kg tripod would be way top heavy.

2) I use a Velbon 630 with a RRS BH 40 head as my "walkaround" tripod. I use this with a Minolta 400/4.5 with 1.4x and 2X extenders and it works just fine.

Best regards

Erik
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168410\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Logged
Eldor
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 68



WWW
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2008, 06:50:31 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi Jeff,

As Greg suggested, it's in cold weather when wearing gloves that I find the lever-lock/snap legs difficult.  (Try opening those snaps when wearing cold-weather mitts!  I'm often shooting in conditions where I'm wearing gloves AND mitts on top of them and believe me, I don't want to take the mitts off any more than I absolutely have to.)  That, and the fact that they need more regular adjustment than twist-lock legs (I forgot to mention that I also have a Gitzo 2220 with off-center column and snap legs that I use for macro work).  AND, it's possible to pinch your skin in the snap lock if you're in a hurry and not careful.

As far as your suggestion that the El Carmagne 630 is the original 630 but with lever-lock legs, I don't think that's quite right.  At least not according to the Velbon web site or my own experience... both my 530 and 730 tripods (twist-lock legs) are El Carmagne.  And B&H used to have the El Carmagne 630 with twist lock legs, and now they have the "630A" with lever lock.  But it seems the "El Carmagne" designation is local to B&H (maybe others) and it is not shared by Velbon themselves on their website.  They call these "Sherpa Pro" models.

Bottom line is that confusion reigns supreme!  

Cheers!




Quote
I find it curious that you specifically want the twist locks. I personally hate twist-locks with a passion, it's the reason I refuse to use most tripod brands including Gitzo and Feisol.  The lever locks are 10 times more convenient to use, and I really don't see a downside to them.

My small/light tripod setup for hiking is  Velbon El Carmagne 630 with a Markins M10 ballhead. This combo works really well with most lense I have. I've even used this tripod/head combo with a 200-400vr on a SideKick, and it works well with a "loose" head when tracking moving objects. It's not really up to the task of locking down to shoot a static scene with a slow shutter speed with the 200-400 though. For all my other lenses it works quite well, I'd say the 630 is every bit as good as a Gitzo 2-series, only at half the price.

(BTW the El Carmagne 630 is the "original" 630 with lever locks, before they started making the two similar models that only differed in leg locking mechanism).

My larger tripod is a Dutch Hill P900 with RRS BH-55, and that tripod can handle pretty much anything, but it's just not really practical to carry on long hikes.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168423\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Logged
Eldor
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 68



WWW
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2008, 06:55:44 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
I have a GT2530 and its a great tripod, it replaced my 3 series studex gitzo alum which I  havent used at all since I got the 2530. Its very light, stiff and stable.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168440\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


As I said in another message a few minutes ago, "confusion reigns supreme"...

How is it that Gitzo uses the "GT2530" name for several different tripods?  A friend pointed out to me that the Explorer and the Mountaineer both have GT2530 versions.  It's the Mountaineer that I'm looking at.  Is that the one you have?

I'm encouraged though by your satisfaction with it.

Cheers!
Logged
JeffKohn
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1671



WWW
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2008, 10:49:02 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
As far as your suggestion that the El Carmagne 630 is the original 630 but with lever-lock legs, I don't think that's quite right. At least not according to the Velbon web site or my own experience... both my 530 and 730 tripods (twist-lock legs) are El Carmagne. And B&H used to have the El Carmagne 630 with twist lock legs, and now they have the "630A" with lever lock. But it seems the "El Carmagne" designation is local to B&H (maybe others) and it is not shared by Velbon themselves on their website. They call these "Sherpa Pro" models.
I think they've diversified the model line since I bought mine 3-4 years ago. At that time, I don't recall seeing any 630's or 530's with twist locks. I bought mine from some other place than B&H that was about $100 cheaper, but I don't recall where it was.
Logged

aaykay
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 359


« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2008, 11:13:08 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Velbon 730 - weight 2.35kg - load 8kg
Velbon 630 - weight 1.61kg - load 6kg
Velbon 530 - weight 1.41kg - load 4kg

Gitzo 2530 - weight 1.4kg - load 12kg

At first glance it appears that the Gitzo is incredible!  Lighter, yet able to handle a heavier load than even the Velbon 730!  And I know the 730 is superb with the 500mm lens.  However (you knew that was coming, right?)... the Gitzo specs says this tripod is for use with a MAXIMUM lens of 300mm!

Gitzo is right that this tripod can RELIABLY STABILIZE only upto a FOCAL LENGTH of 300mm.  Please note the portions I have put in caps, since it is not the weight of the lens you have placed on the tripod that matters, but the view-angle or the Focal length of the lens, that is of even more importance.

This is because of something known as "Torsional Rigidity" of a tripod.  The load that can be placed on a tripod (12kg etc), should be separated from what the tripod can reliably stabilize, since these are 2 different things and only Gitzo seems to be publishing such dirty little secrets.  

The Series-2 Gitzos (comparable to the Velbon 530, 540 etc) can take upto around 26lbs but are rated to reliably stabilize lenses with FLs upto around 200mm.  300mm is stretching it.  

For 300mm etc., a Series-3 Gitzo (comparable to a Velbon 730 etc) would be a better bet with the exception that a Series-3 "systematic" Gitzo can stabilize upto a 500mm lens, reliably.  This is because the "systematic" or modular series, have a top-plate with a larger diameter than other Series-3 Gitzos, thus enabling it to have a higher "Torsional Rigidity".  Note that a Series-3 Gitzo can take a load upto around 40lbs, which has nothing to do with the Focal lengths of the lenses it can RELIABLY stabilize.  

For lenses with Focal Lengths higher than 500mm, Gitzo recommends their Series-5.

We need to keep in mind that only a pro-oriented company like Gitzo publishes such statistics about the load capacity of the tripod versus the Focal lengths it can stabilize.  Several companies just publish the load capacity of the tripod and its weight, with none of the underlying fundamentals behind taking a stable (critically sharp) image.
Logged
Eldor
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 68



WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2008, 01:12:37 PM »
ReplyReply

Aaykay...

Thank you for your great reply!  Now it's all finally starting to make sense to me.

I think though (and hope!) that the Gitzo Mountaineer 2530 will be at least as good as the Velbon El Carmagne 630 (and not just equal to the 530 as you suggest).  I will keep my Velbon El Carmagne 730 with Wimberly head for dedicated use with my 500mm f4L IS lens and will use the new (2530?) for everything else.

Surely the 2530 would be AT LEAST as good as the Velbon 530, which I've used on occasion (in a pinch) with a Sidekick and my 500mm lens.  And I'm betting that it's even more solid than the 530.  Heck if it was equivalent to the 530, what use would the Gitzo Mountaineer 1530 be?  Only for a small point 'n shoot camera?

It's a holiday today in the States and my dealer isn't able to find out if the distributor has any stock, but by tomorrow I'll be ordering... either from B&H who claim to have it in stock, or my preferred dealer (Allen's Camera) if he can get it quickly.

Thanks for your help...

Eldor
Montreal, Canada
Logged
ErikKaffehr
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7640


WWW
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2008, 01:21:45 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi,

My Velbon 630 has twist locks. It is something like 4-5 years old. Wish you good luck in your search.

Best regards

Erik
Quote
Thanks for commenting, Erik.  The figures I quoted (weight of tripod and rated load) come directly from the manufacturers' web sites.  I agree with you that there's something insane about the numbers.  That's why I'm confused.

As I said, the Velbon 630 was my first choice, especially since I've been so happy with my 530 and 730.  I just can't find one!!  I don't want a model with lever-lock/snap legs.  Where'd you get yours?  And was it recently?

I have a RRS BH 55 on my Velbon 530 and it's wonderful.  I think that head on the 630 would be a perfect combination. 

But can't find a 630 and the BH 55 is backordered for 6-8 weeks!  Which is why I've been looking for alternatives and have gotten confused by the specs which I can't make sense of.

Cheers!

Eldor
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168464\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Logged

Osprey
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 18


« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2008, 04:23:11 AM »
ReplyReply

Sorry to hijack, but don't want to start a new thread.  Anyone have any Gitzo recs for someone who uses a  Nikon D200 and possibly D300 with my longest lens being the 70-300 VR Nikkor?  I am not into birds, it would be mostly for travel, landscape and around town at night/dusk/dawn.  I am 6 foot and prefer not to crouch or extend a center column.  I would like to spend less than $600 US.

Thanks
Logged
k bennett
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1463


WWW
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2008, 07:01:38 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Sorry to hijack, but don't want to start a new thread.  Anyone have any Gitzo recs for someone who uses a  Nikon D200 and possibly D300 with my longest lens being the 70-300 VR Nikkor?  I am not into birds, it would be mostly for travel, landscape and around town at night/dusk/dawn.  I am 6 foot and prefer not to crouch or extend a center column.  I would like to spend less than $600 US.

Thanks
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=168957\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Well, the height requirement is the issue -- you want a tall tripod without extending a center column. I recently purchased a Gitzo 3530LSV, a Systematic series tripod which is tall enough for me at 6-2 without a center column. But it's $650 at B+H. Nice tripod.
Logged

Equipment: a camera and some lenses.
Eldor
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 68



WWW
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2008, 03:36:21 PM »
ReplyReply

Got my new Gitzo Mountaineer GT2530 today and so far I like it very much.  It opens and closes faster than my Velbons and it's taller (without extending the center column) as well.  Now I just have to find padding for the legs somewere (my dealer didn't have any).

A friend was over after I got the new tripod and he too likes it very much.  He was about to order the Mountaineer GT3530 but after looking at the specs he and I were both surprised to find that this heavier-duty tripod isn't as tall as the 2530!  And he was looking for something even taller than the 2530.

Thanks to everyone who helped with my decision...
Logged
JeffKohn
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1671



WWW
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2008, 02:48:45 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Now I just have to find padding for the legs somewere (my dealer didn't have any).
Go to a home improvement store and get some pipe insultation, works great at a fraction of the cost of those gitzo pads.
Logged

Eldor
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 68



WWW
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2008, 05:08:28 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Go to a home improvement store and get some pipe insultation, works great at a fraction of the cost of those gitzo pads.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=169315\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Funny you should suggest that... it's exactly what I did this morning!  Actually I didn't have to go to the hardware store as I already had some of those things kicking around in my garage.  That and a bit of duct tape (or as a friend calls it, "duck tape") and I was all set.  It's not all that durable though as I already nicked it walking through the woods late this afternoon.  But the price sure is right!

This solution (and the commercial after-market leg coats) isn't as good as what Velbon has on their CF tripod legs.... it's a closed cell foam which is MUCH more durable and the best part of it is that it's fixed tight (glued?) to the leg itself.  So it doesn't twist at all.  I found this foam stuff twisting as I tried to lock/unlock the legs today.  Not sure if it would be a good idea or not to contact cement the foam onto the legs.

A friend just ordered the same tripod after seeing mine and he's also ordered the leg coats.  When he gets his order I'll see how it compares with this cheaper and simpler solution.

Cheers!
Logged
amoergosum
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 26


« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2008, 10:02:35 AM »
ReplyReply

Any other ballhead recommendations for the Velbon 630?
Logged
DarkPenguin
Guest
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2008, 10:08:45 AM »
ReplyReply

Just the usual suspects.  The RRS BH-55 and BH-40.  The Kirk BH-3 and BH-1.  (I think it is the one.  The big one.)   The acratech ultimate ballheads.

Are you planning on buying an L-bracket for your equipment?  If not the feisol ballheads are nice and cheap.  (And remarkably good service considering they are on the other side of the planet from me.)  Actually the feisols *might* work with arca swiss style plates.  (They look like they should but I don't know that they do.)

My brother in law owns a ton of milling machines.  I should start making L-brackets.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad