Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1] 2 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: carbon fiber tripods  (Read 10549 times)
Joe Dragon Fine Art Photography
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 20


WWW
« on: July 21, 2009, 09:13:54 PM »
ReplyReply

Hello,  I am looking for some insight and assistance. I am going to upgrade my al tripod to a carbon fiber one. Had a chance to visit B&H recently and looked at the Gitzo GT 2531EX three section unit. I wanted to check out ball heads to compare the Markins M10, RRS BH55, Kirk BH1, Acratech Ultimate and Arca Swiss Z1. Believe it or not they did not have any of these available for examination on display, only the Gitzos. The Gitzo heads I looked at appear substantial but I wanted to make some hands on comparisons.
My current equipment is a Manfrotto 3221 tripod with a Bogen 3047 head which has served me well since purchasing them in 1999. I'm still shooting film with my Nikon F5 and will be learning to use my Toyo 4X5 field camera. Obviously I have been reviewing info on the above equipment but physically handling each was not to be. Feedback on ball heads would be appreciated also.
With respect to the 2531 tripod, I would like to know if anyone has one and your take on it. I like the idea that you can lock the legs at any position but I'm wondering if no detents for initial set up has been a problem. Also, has there been any problem with the large locking lever for each leg at the top of the tripod. Thanks for any help you can provide. Best of luck in your shooting. Joe Dragon
Logged
spotmeter
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 310


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2009, 10:29:57 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Joe Dragon Fine Art Photography
Hello,  I am looking for some insight and assistance. I am going to upgrade my al tripod to a carbon fiber one. Had a chance to visit B&H recently and looked at the Gitzo GT 2531EX three section unit. I wanted to check out ball heads to compare the Markins M10, RRS BH55, Kirk BH1, Acratech Ultimate and Arca Swiss Z1. Believe it or not they did not have any of these available for examination on display, only the Gitzos. The Gitzo heads I looked at appear substantial but I wanted to make some hands on comparisons.
My current equipment is a Manfrotto 3221 tripod with a Bogen 3047 head which has served me well since purchasing them in 1999. I'm still shooting film with my Nikon F5 and will be learning to use my Toyo 4X5 field camera. Obviously I have been reviewing info on the above equipment but physically handling each was not to be. Feedback on ball heads would be appreciated also.
With respect to the 2531 tripod, I would like to know if anyone has one and your take on it. I like the idea that you can lock the legs at any position but I'm wondering if no detents for initial set up has been a problem. Also, has there been any problem with the large locking lever for each leg at the top of the tripod. Thanks for any help you can provide. Best of luck in your shooting. Joe Dragon

I recommend you avoid any tripod with a center column. Too much vibration. Also, I recommend the RRS BH55 with a lever clamp. Avoid the screw clamp. I lost a camera with that one.
Logged

wolfnowl
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5791



WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 01:22:14 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: spotmeter
I recommend you avoid any tripod with a center column.

Yes...  If you raise the center column on your tripod you've turned it into a monopod. Weight, max. height, min. height, load capacity and stored length can all be factors to consider depending on your use of it.


Mike.
Logged

If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
~ Jean Cooke ~


My Flickr site / Random Thoughts and Other Meanderings at M&M's Musings
francois
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6873


« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 05:23:06 AM »
ReplyReply

Another vote for the RRS BH-55 ballhead. It's a big and heavy ballhead but it works very well. The lever clamp is a must have, really! The Acratech Ultimate BH is a very light and simple design. I use one as a backup or when hiking in the mountains. It's not as convenient as others such as the BH-55 or the Arca Swiss.

Regarding the tripod, as Mike & Spotmeter said above, avoid center columns. If your tripod has one, then don't be lazy and extend the legs only, use the center column for very fine corrections.
I have no personal experience with the Gitzo 2531 model but I own a couple of other Gitzos (smaller and larger) and never had any problem.
Logged

Francois
JeffKohn
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1671



WWW
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2009, 09:46:30 AM »
ReplyReply

I use a Gitzo 2-series (2531 I believe) for longer hikes when I don't want to carry a bigger/heavier tripod. I can't say that I'm all that pleased with it. Gitzo decided that they would get more height out of shorter legs by narrowing the default angle of leg spread. While this does give you a taller tripod in a small/light package, it seriously compromises stability (which is the whole point of a good tripod). You have to be very careful to adjust the legs so the tripod is as level as possible or there's a very real risk of it falling over, especially if there's any wind. It's already happened to me one. I can honestly say I regret selling my Velbon 630 to get the Gitzo 2531. The Velbon was a better tripod, even if it was just a hair heavier.

Unless size and weight are the critical factors for you, I strongly suggest moving up to the Gitzo 3-series. Even the 4-section 3-series will be much more stable and robust than the 2531.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 09:47:21 AM by JeffKohn » Logged

John Collins
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 33


« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 10:08:41 AM »
ReplyReply

Unless weight is a very high priority, get a tripod that is a bit larger than you think you'll need. It wouldn't make everyone happy but I use a 5 series Gitzo CF for everything (I got it for a camera, lens & head combination that weighs about 16.5 pounds). Even though it's heavy there are no worries about stability. Make this another vote for the BH55 and a 3 series CF tripod.
Logged
BernardLanguillier
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8199



WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 04:34:55 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: John Collins
Unless weight is a very high priority, get a tripod that is a bit larger than you think you'll need. It wouldn't make everyone happy but I use a 5 series Gitzo CF for everything (I got it for a camera, lens & head combination that weighs about 16.5 pounds).

Same thing here, most of my recent shooting has been with a Gitzo 5531s and BH-55. A heavy combo for sure, but if you like tack sharp on a high resolution body, with possible pano applications with heavy lenses, then I can totally recommend this.

Overall Gitzo tripods are very good at what a tripod should be doing: make you forget that it is there and just work day in day out. The only problems I have had is with legs freeze at very low temperature following cycles of usage at varying temperatures, but I guess that any tripod would (it is more a photographer's issue).

Cheers,
Bernard
Logged

A few images online here!
JeffKohn
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1671



WWW
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2009, 05:56:24 PM »
ReplyReply

Bernard have you ever considered/tried a geared head? They're so much better than ballheads for landscape work IMHO. I have a Bogen/Manfrotto 405 on my big Dutch Hill tripod, and an Arca C1 Cube on my Gitzo 3541XLS. Both are a joy to use when making small adjustments for precise composition. A ballhead is downright crude in comparison.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 05:56:51 PM by JeffKohn » Logged

Geoff Wittig
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1017


« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 06:43:20 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: JeffKohn
Bernard have you ever considered/tried a geared head? They're so much better than ballheads for landscape work IMHO. I have a Bogen/Manfrotto 405 on my big Dutch Hill tripod, and an Arca C1 Cube on my Gitzo 3541XLS. Both are a joy to use when making small adjustments for precise composition. A ballhead is downright crude in comparison.


No doubt correct, but the Arca C1 Cube tripod head is an absolutely absurd $1,699 at B&H. If money is absolutely no object, then feel free to pull out the plastic and fire away. To me that's just crazy money.

I've used Kirk's BH-1 head with complete satisfaction for about 10 years. It's about $100 cheaper than Really Right Stuff's BH-55, albeit not quite as nice.

I'd also put in a plug for Velbon's "neo carmagne" 830 carbon fiber tripod, if you're tall. At $599 (U.S.) it's a couple hundred dollars cheaper than Gitzo's equivalent. Extending the legs alone puts the head platform at about 76" from the ground, which is a godsend if you're over 6' tall and ever work on a slope. I took a hacksaw to the center column and now the tripod goes nearly to ground level. The leg locks are distinctly more robust and easily handled than Gitzo's, and they're very easy to disassemble for cleaning. Finally, Velbon sent me a lower leg section for less than $50 when I broke it falling 10' onto sharp rocks in icy conditions. Took me about 5 minutes to replace it.
Logged
JeffKohn
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1671



WWW
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2009, 09:13:48 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Geoff Wittig
No doubt correct, but the Arca C1 Cube tripod head is an absolutely absurd $1,699 at B&H. If money is absolutely no object, then feel free to pull out the plastic and fire away. To me that's just crazy money.

I've used Kirk's BH-1 head with complete satisfaction for about 10 years. It's about $100 cheaper than Really Right Stuff's BH-55, albeit not quite as nice.
Yes, the C1 is expensive. The Bogen/Manfrotto geared heads are quite competitive with the popular ballheads though, and still far more precise. I just got sick and tired of not being able to make a slight vertical adjustment to my composition without screwing up the level horizon, or vice-versa.
Logged

stever
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1065


« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2009, 11:21:04 PM »
ReplyReply

i agree, the more experience i have with ball heads (and i now have accumulated a substantial investment in a variety of them), the less i like them for most purposes

i greatly prefer something like the 4th Generation Mongoose gimbal that i recently purchased - needs an L-bracket and nodal slide for short-lens applications and i may have to add a leveling head, but it's about the same weight as a good ball head, has independant horizontal and vertical movement and locks, and is wonderful with long lenses.  Not as precise as a cube, but much more versatile
Logged
BernardLanguillier
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8199



WWW
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2009, 12:53:47 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: JeffKohn
Bernard have you ever considered/tried a geared head? They're so much better than ballheads for landscape work IMHO. I have a Bogen/Manfrotto 405 on my big Dutch Hill tripod, and an Arca C1 Cube on my Gitzo 3541XLS. Both are a joy to use when making small adjustments for precise composition. A ballhead is downright crude in comparison.

Jeff,

Yes, I have considered the Cube, but considering that 90% of my shooting is done with a pano head anyway, I have not yet decided to invest that kind of money. It is somewhere on my list of want items, but has not made it yet to the "need item" section.

Cheers,
Bernard
Logged

A few images online here!
MarkL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 341


« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2009, 06:39:05 AM »
ReplyReply

I'm not well up on gitzo's new models (who on earth names them!?) but have a gitzo 2 series and 3 series. For a reasonable size slr and especially a light 4x5 (which get affected by wind) I would def go for the 3 series gitzo, it is substantially more stable. If you are usuing lenses 200mm or more on the F5 even more reason to move up.
Logged
Joe Dragon Fine Art Photography
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 20


WWW
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2009, 11:01:07 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: spotmeter
I recommend you avoid any tripod with a center column. Too much vibration. Also, I recommend the RRS BH55 with a lever clamp. Avoid the screw clamp. I lost a camera with that one.
Thanks for responding. I agree re center column and no intention of using same except in a short horizontal position where leg position can't gain side movement. Joe
Logged
Joe Dragon Fine Art Photography
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 20


WWW
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2009, 11:06:07 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: wolfnowl
Yes...  If you raise the center column on your tripod you've turned it into a monopod. Weight, max. height, min. height, load capacity and stored length can all be factors to consider depending on your use of it.


Mike.
Thanks for the reply. Agree re ctr column. Joe
Logged
Josh-H
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1910



WWW
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2009, 11:07:27 PM »
ReplyReply

I am likewise not up on Gitzo's current model numbers and line-up. But I do own a Carbon Gitzo 8x 3 section tripod with a RRS Ball head and its the best combination I have yet tried for my style of work.
Logged

Joe Dragon Fine Art Photography
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 20


WWW
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2009, 11:11:40 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: francois
Another vote for the RRS BH-55 ballhead. It's a big and heavy ballhead but it works very well. The lever clamp is a must have, really! The Acratech Ultimate BH is a very light and simple design. I use one as a backup or when hiking in the mountains. It's not as convenient as others such as the BH-55 or the Arca Swiss.

Regarding the tripod, as Mike & Spotmeter said above, avoid center columns. If your tripod has one, then don't be lazy and extend the legs only, use the center column for very fine corrections.
I have no personal experience with the Gitzo 2531 model but I own a couple of other Gitzos (smaller and larger) and never had any problem.
Thanks for the reply. I have been leaning toward the BH-55. Re the tripod, trying to get feel for the lever locking system wherein there are no detents when setting it up. Joe
Logged
Joe Dragon Fine Art Photography
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 20


WWW
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2009, 11:13:09 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: JeffKohn
I use a Gitzo 2-series (2531 I believe) for longer hikes when I don't want to carry a bigger/heavier tripod. I can't say that I'm all that pleased with it. Gitzo decided that they would get more height out of shorter legs by narrowing the default angle of leg spread. While this does give you a taller tripod in a small/light package, it seriously compromises stability (which is the whole point of a good tripod). You have to be very careful to adjust the legs so the tripod is as level as possible or there's a very real risk of it falling over, especially if there's any wind. It's already happened to me one. I can honestly say I regret selling my Velbon 630 to get the Gitzo 2531. The Velbon was a better tripod, even if it was just a hair heavier.

Unless size and weight are the critical factors for you, I strongly suggest moving up to the Gitzo 3-series. Even the 4-section 3-series will be much more stable and robust than the 2531.
Thnks for the reply. Will ck out your info. Joe
Logged
Joe Dragon Fine Art Photography
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 20


WWW
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2009, 11:14:30 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: John Collins
Unless weight is a very high priority, get a tripod that is a bit larger than you think you'll need. It wouldn't make everyone happy but I use a 5 series Gitzo CF for everything (I got it for a camera, lens & head combination that weighs about 16.5 pounds). Even though it's heavy there are no worries about stability. Make this another vote for the BH55 and a 3 series CF tripod.
Thanks for the reply. Have been leaning toward the BH55. Joe
Logged
Joe Dragon Fine Art Photography
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 20


WWW
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2009, 11:16:05 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: BernardLanguillier
Same thing here, most of my recent shooting has been with a Gitzo 5531s and BH-55. A heavy combo for sure, but if you like tack sharp on a high resolution body, with possible pano applications with heavy lenses, then I can totally recommend this.

Overall Gitzo tripods are very good at what a tripod should be doing: make you forget that it is there and just work day in day out. The only problems I have had is with legs freeze at very low temperature following cycles of usage at varying temperatures, but I guess that any tripod would (it is more a photographer's issue).

Cheers,
Bernard
Thanks for the reply. Have been leaning toward the BH55 and will look into the 5531 . Joe
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad