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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    116

    Question Lightweight tripod recommendaions for DSLR

    Hi, I want to be able to take night photos, long exposures, etc., but don't want to have to lug around a 10 lb tripod/head in order to do it. Do you have any recommendations?
    I normally use a monopod, but I don't think that will work for long exposures. I was looking at the Bogen Manfrotto 680 Monopod with universal detachable tripod legs (sold seperately) but wasn't sure if that would even be stable enough for night shots. It would work for me because it's light, the legs store inside the monopod and the monopod folds down really small so it's easy to carry around. Some people have told me that they don't think this would be stable enough for long exposure shots.
    I did a search for Carbon Fiber legs and found a Davis & Sanford 70" CarbonLite X10 Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod with FGX10 3-Way Head. On amazon it's about $186. I've never heard of this brand. If any of you have, I would appreciate any comments or reviews.
    My other alternatives are the Slik 813 Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs but I don't know what type of head to get for it. On Adorama, they recommend the sh705 or sh706, but I don't know anything about these heads. (They seem pretty cheap at $39 each. I don't want cheaply made junk, but I don't want to spend an arm and 2 legs! ) I am partial to the 3 way pan heads since I would probably switch out my DSLR w/ my camcorder for convenience.
    For heads, I was also considering the Bogen-Manfrotto 488RC4 Midi Ball Head and the Bogen / Manfrotto 701RC2 Mini Fluid Video Head w/Sliding RC2 Rapid Connect Plate but I don't even know if they will work with the Slik and/or if I want to spend that much. Since I'm spending so much on the legs I don't want a junk head, but I don't want to spend too much uneccesarily either.
    Basically, if you all say you've heard good things about the Davis and Sanford I'll probably get that because the price is right. But if you say bad things, I'll probably get the Slik, and one of these heads I mentioned above. Any thoughts on the Davis and Sanford tripod, the Bogen Manforotto monopod w/legs or the Bogen Manfrotto heads mentioned above?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    2,267
    I am quite happy with my Velbon 640CF. It came with a pan-tilt head, but I swapped on a Manfrotto 486CR2 ball head. It has been great at night with my Oly E500 and 11-22mm lens. I went with this 4 section carbon tripod as it was only a few ounces heavier than the 3 section. It collapses small enought to fit into a small suitcase (under 22" with the head) and is actually a few inches talller that the 3 section without the center column extended. There are probably a few better leg sets out there, but none met my main collapsed size and height requirements.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    116
    Quote Originally Posted by kgosden View Post
    I am quite happy with my Velbon 640CF. It came with a pan-tilt head, but I swapped on a Manfrotto 486CR2 ball head. It has been great at night with my Oly E500 and 11-22mm lens. I went with this 4 section carbon tripod as it was only a few ounces heavier than the 3 section. It collapses small enought to fit into a small suitcase (under 22" with the head) and is actually a few inches talller that the 3 section without the center column extended. There are probably a few better leg sets out there, but none met my main collapsed size and height requirements.
    Wow I didn't even know Velbon made carbon fiber legs. I'll look into that.
    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Cheyenne, WY
    Posts
    8
    I have a Manfrotto 725B ballhead thats fairly small and lightweight(probably less than 3 pounds) and is super sturdy. I use it frequently for shots of the moon using a Sigma 50-500(a 4 pound+ lens) with my D80 and it works just fine. Its my "on the go" tripod when i dont want to lug around the heavier ones. They can be found for about 110 bucks at most better photo shops or online.
    Visit my site at http://photosbyjerrfy.zenfolio.com/

    Nikon D80 - Nikkor 18-135, Nikkor 105VR Macro, Nikkor 50 F1.8D, Sigma 50-500 "Bigma", SB-600

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    116
    Quote Originally Posted by JerrfyLube View Post
    I have a Manfrotto 725B ballhead thats fairly small and lightweight(probably less than 3 pounds) and is super sturdy. I use it frequently for shots of the moon using a Sigma 50-500(a 4 pound+ lens) with my D80 and it works just fine. Its my "on the go" tripod when i dont want to lug around the heavier ones. They can be found for about 110 bucks at most better photo shops or online.
    Thanks, I looked into it and for the price and the weight it looks really good. I'm very tempted to buy it for a travel tripod.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    2,364
    Have you looked into feisol's travel pod?
    www.feisol.com
    US Navy--Hooyah!

    Nikon D700/D300|17-35 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, Sigmalux, 80-200 f/2.8, 16 f/2.8 fisheye,

    Lots of flashes and Honl gear.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,225
    Your shooting goals are somewhat at odds with your tripod goals. There is no substitute for weight in a tripod. Weight dampens vibration, which is the main goal of a tripod. That said, I'm somewhat of the poster boy for this article by Thom Hogan. I've had the SLIK tripod. I've had the Velbon tripod. I managed to read the article before I got the sort of mid-range tripod.

    So, I have a Gitzo 1327 with a RRS BH-55LR ballhead. The Gitzo has 3 segment CF legs, is tall enough that I can stand up straight and look through the VF (with the column all the way down), has a hook to take additional weight, and comes apart for cleaning.

    The ball head is MASSIVE. It doesn't look so big in the picture when you order it, so when it arrives and you take it out of the box, it's one of those OMG moments. It has the Lever type quick release head. All the controls are silky smooth and when you lock them down, there's absolutely no doubt.

    Finally I have the L plate for the D200, and I need to order the L plate for the MB-D200, since I've recently added the battery grip.

    Yes...It was expensive (about $1000).
    Yes...It's fairly massive (The pod and head is just over 7lbs).
    Yes...It's like the rock of Gibralter.

    Now, I'm not sure this rig is ideal for backpacking, but for anything up to a day hike, I can stick any lens I have (or am likely to get) on it without any concern.

    Eventually, I may get another, lighter weight tripod, though it will probably still be a Gitzo. The ability to take it apart for cleaning cannot be overlooked.
    Eric Lund
    Nikon D200
    Nikkors: 17-55mm f2.8, 18-200mm f3.5-f4.5 VR, 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR, 35mm f2, 50mm f1.8, 55mm f2.8 AI-S micro, 105mm f2.8 VR micro
    Other Lenses: Tokina 12-24 f4, Tamron 75-300mm f4-5.6 LD macro
    Stuff: Nikon SB800, Nikon MBD200, Gitzo 1327 Tripod w/RRS BH-55LR Ballhead, Sekonic L-358 meter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    83
    I just gotten a carbon fiber Feisol CT-3301N tripod with the center column and a Feisol CB50D head, weighting total of just under 2kg. I had never had a top end tripod before this one, so I can't tell if the other top end non carbon fiber tripods are more solid than my, but I found it very stable and solid.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    116
    Quote Originally Posted by eman View Post
    I just gotten a carbon fiber Feisol CT-3301N tripod with the center column and a Feisol CB50D head, weighting total of just under 2kg. I had never had a top end tripod before this one, so I can't tell if the other top end non carbon fiber tripods are more solid than my, but I found it very stable and solid.
    Did your come with the center column or did you have to pay extra for it? Where did you buy it from. So far, when doing a quick search I've only found it on Ebay. I would want the center column.
    Thanks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    116
    Quote Originally Posted by erichlund View Post
    Your shooting goals are somewhat at odds with your tripod goals. There is no substitute for weight in a tripod. Weight dampens vibration, which is the main goal of a tripod. That said, I'm somewhat of the poster boy for this article by Thom Hogan. I've had the SLIK tripod. I've had the Velbon tripod. I managed to read the article before I got the sort of mid-range tripod.

    So, I have a Gitzo 1327 with a RRS BH-55LR ballhead. The Gitzo has 3 segment CF legs, is tall enough that I can stand up straight and look through the VF (with the column all the way down), has a hook to take additional weight, and comes apart for cleaning.

    The ball head is MASSIVE. It doesn't look so big in the picture when you order it, so when it arrives and you take it out of the box, it's one of those OMG moments. It has the Lever type quick release head. All the controls are silky smooth and when you lock them down, there's absolutely no doubt.

    Finally I have the L plate for the D200, and I need to order the L plate for the MB-D200, since I've recently added the battery grip.

    Yes...It was expensive (about $1000).
    Yes...It's fairly massive (The pod and head is just over 7lbs).
    Yes...It's like the rock of Gibralter.

    Now, I'm not sure this rig is ideal for backpacking, but for anything up to a day hike, I can stick any lens I have (or am likely to get) on it without any concern.

    Eventually, I may get another, lighter weight tripod, though it will probably still be a Gitzo. The ability to take it apart for cleaning cannot be overlooked.
    Hi, I actually did buy a Carbon Fiber tripod, and with head it weighs about 5-6 lbs. I'm a small person, so that's a lot of weight for me to carry around all day long. I'm still looking for a small, light cheap throwaround tripod just for travel because that plus the gear is going to be very heavy for me. Thanks for your input. I did read the article by Thom Hogan and he did bring up some very good points.
    I know it's kind of an oxymoron to say I want lightweight and sturdy at the same time. I basically want something 'good enough' for travel that is lightweight. The reality for me is if it's too heavy, I won't take it, and I won't be able to take shots with longer exposures at all. If I have something that's 'good enough' but not necessarily the greatest, I may still be able to get some decent shots off with it as opposed to none at all.
    Thanks!

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