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Archive 2012 · Graphite tripod maintenance.
  
 
ben egbert
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


My Aluminum Gitzo 1340 purchased in 2004 has been a workhorse. I have never cleaned it other than to wipe the mud off the legs. I lost a foot and broke the level. But it has worked fine.

I would like a lighter tripod and now that I am only doing landscape, I would like a center column. I am looking at the Gitzo 1541

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/569102-REG/Gitzo_GT1541_GT1541_Mountaineer_6X_Carbon.html

But the need to take it apart and clean it and regrease it put me off. Not just the work, I have plenty of time to do this, itís the need that puts me off. If you ever read the RRS maintenance instructions, it makes you think you have a Ferrari to take care of when I am more used to stuff that just works.

http://reallyrightstuff.com/websiteinfo.aspx?fc=150

Tell me your personal experience with graphite tripods.



Nov 22, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


I haven't found that carbon fiber tripods require any special care. If the leg locks ever get gritted up with sand, you can always take it apart, wipe it off, and after a few years of doing this you might need to add some more grease to the leg locks --- but an aluminum tripod with twist locks will require the same treatment. I've greased my Gitzo 2530 only once, and it was purchased in 2007. My other gitzo tripods haven't required any maintenance.


Nov 22, 2012 at 06:49 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


This is what I wanted to hear. Of course any tripod maker will tell you how they would like for you to take care of their product, the question is how fragile it really is.

I don't abuse my tripod, but it has fallen a few times, and gets jostled in the back of my covered pickup bed, and has been in water and so on.



Nov 22, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


ben egbert wrote:
This is what I wanted to hear. Of course any tripod maker will tell you how they would like for you to take care of their product, the question is how fragile it really is.

I don't abuse my tripod, but it has fallen a few times, and gets jostled in the back of my covered pickup bed, and has been in water and so on.


On my last trip, we had to lower our packs over a cliff on a rope. My tripod was well protected behind my tent that was strapped to the side of my pack, but my buddy wasn't so lucky. His pack slid down the first part of the cliff with all 90lbs of pack grinding his RRS carbon fiber tripod into the sandstone. It has a few scrapes on it now, but nothing more than cosmetic damage. Carbon fiber is very strong. The only real weakness to CF is extreme cold. We're talking conditions that are so cold that you might not be shooting in them anyway. Under such conditions, the glue that holds each leg into the metal socket becomes brittle.



Nov 23, 2012 at 01:56 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


ben egbert wrote:
But the need to take it apart and clean it and regrease it put me off. Not just the work, I have plenty of time to do this, itís the need that puts me off. If you ever read the RRS maintenance instructions, it makes you think you have a Ferrari to take care of when I am more used to stuff that just works.

Tell me your personal experience with graphite tripods.


You can always send a tripod in for service.

I've never done anything to my Gitzos as they have not needed it yet. By the time they become difficult to use I might just buy something new.

EBH



Nov 23, 2012 at 01:59 AM
sjms
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


it's all relative to how and who is using them. I have one of the original 10 RRS TVC33 tripods produced and it gets used pretty regularly. keep it clean and grit off of it at the slide in points and they just keep going.


Nov 23, 2012 at 02:34 AM
sjms
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


Ben Horne wrote:
On my last trip, we had to lower our packs over a cliff on a rope. My tripod was well protected behind my tent that was strapped to the side of my pack, but my buddy wasn't so lucky. His pack slid down the first part of the cliff with all 90lbs of pack grinding his RRS carbon fiber tripod into the sandstone. It has a few scrapes on it now, but nothing more than cosmetic damage. Carbon fiber is very strong. The only real weakness to CF is extreme cold. We're talking conditions that are so cold that
...Show more

what do you consider extreme cold and was there a failure?

the adhesives today that are available take considerable low temperature. and I do mean low. these adhesives have been around for quite some time in aerospace and are no longer considered "exotic" in nature or pricing.

these adhesives are being used regularly at high altitude 36k-42k ft (and higher) along with temperatures in the -45f to -65f range



Nov 23, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


sjms wrote:
what do you consider extreme cold and was there a failure?

the adhesives today that are available take considerable low temperature. and I do mean low. these adhesive have been around for quite some time in aerospace and are no longer considered "exotic" in nature or pricing.

these adhesives are used regularly at high altitude 36k-42k ft and at temperatures in the -45f to -65f range


One of the tubes on my 2530 has weakened up top where there is some play, but that's not the result of cold temperature --- it probably just wasn't glued as well as it should have been from the get go. I haven't had it fixed yet, but will have to do so at some point.

On the note of cold though... it seems like once you get well below freezing it's more common for the glue joints up top to become weak -- especially if the tripod is placed in deeper snow which causes the legs to become stressed. I haven't had this happen to me, but it has been an issue for many people. I don't know how the RRS tripods fare and if their glue is any better, but I'm definitely aware of the issue with Gitzo CF tripods in these situations.



Nov 23, 2012 at 03:52 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


Cold and tripods.

I spent many hours with my aluminum Gitzo and 500F4 at Lake Coeur D' Alene shooting eagles. What I hated most was freezing my hands on the cold aluminum and that's with double gloves and hand warmers. It was usually between 5 and 15 deg F. I don't do many landscapes that cold. But for eagles you stand in one place for hours.

I no longer do birds, so I sold the 500. But I have started doing night stuff in the cold, where it can get down to 20 deg f. Usually no snow however or very little (desert environment).

I guess one concern is using a lighter tripod for 30 second night time exposures. My old tripod is rock solid and of course any but a light wind ruins the shots I am attempting anyway. I suppose hanging my bag on the tripod would help a lighter graphite job.

I suspect glue issues would be minimum for my uses.



Nov 23, 2012 at 05:41 PM
sjms
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


Ben Horne wrote:
One of the tubes on my 2530 has weakened up top where there is some play, but that's not the result of cold temperature --- it probably just wasn't glued as well as it should have been from the get go. I haven't had it fixed yet, but will have to do so at some point.

On the note of cold though... it seems like once you get well below freezing it's more common for the glue joints up top to become weak -- especially if the tripod is placed in deeper snow which causes the legs to become stressed.
...Show more

that does seem to be a methodology issue on the part of gitzo and I am aware of it. maybe they might have it worked out in the new series? I have used my RRS legs in well below freezing and unfortunately below that magic 0F mark too. New England has a special kind of cold, believe me.
CF itself big issue is with high temps.



Nov 23, 2012 at 09:45 PM
 

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ben egbert
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


So is a 1 series RRS or Gitzo heavy enough for 30 second exposures with a 1DS-mk3 and lenses from 14 to 70MM. That would be a 16-35 and 24-70 plus some primes.

I really want a center column this time. Looks like it is only standard on a 1 series RRS. I suppose I could keep using the aluminum for night work and get the 1 series for hiking.



Nov 23, 2012 at 10:46 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


Perhaps it will be enough if there is no wind, but a 2 series is the minimum I use with full-sized bodies/lenses.

EBH



Nov 23, 2012 at 11:41 PM
sjms
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


i own a TQC 14 it it is pretty much the equivalent to a 2 series Gitzo. i would say that there are way too many variables that could affect a 30s exposure on any tripod. your second statement is the most appropriate


Nov 23, 2012 at 11:48 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


I looked at a 2 series RRS, I would want to add a center column and then buy a hook which is not included. My old tripod does not have either. It is great for birds with a gimbals head, but a pain to set up for landscape when I need to change height slightly for composition.

I am not sure I even want to spend the money. Other than weight for hiking, and the center column, my old tripod serves well.



Nov 24, 2012 at 12:56 AM
sjms
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


when you purchase a tripod from RRS it comes with the flat platform. that platform comes with a screw out hook in the flat base. you then transfer that hook assy to the bottom of your then purchased separately center post assy giving you your hook. it works like that on my TVC33.

ref: http://reallyrightstuff.com/mmrrs/Others/QuickColumns.pdf

now you can purchase their little toolkit screwdriver and thread it onto the hook and slide it into the CP too.

their tripods, right down to the TQC14 accept the gitzo spikes with the removable footpads I have them on both my RRS tripods.

in the end you get a superior tripod to the equivalent Gitzo.

that then is money well spent. an investment.



Nov 24, 2012 at 01:20 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


Thanks, I thought I had to buy the hook separately, did not know it came with the legs. That save about $30.


Nov 24, 2012 at 05:09 PM
sjms
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


actually it comes with the basic platform which then comes with the legs or you'd have a gaping hole where you'd put your head to begin with.


Nov 24, 2012 at 07:09 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


Never have seen a RRS up close. My Gitzo Aluminum is different and does not have a hook.


Nov 24, 2012 at 07:19 PM
sjms
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


on the TQC14 I can remove the CP and make it a fully functional non extendable platform using the platform and hook assy with one allen key.


Nov 25, 2012 at 01:41 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Graphite tripod maintenance.


Going to have to decide between a 1 or 2 series. The 2 series is starting to look like not much weight savings. I am thinking almost 5 pounds with a column and 4.4 pounds without it versus 7 pounds for my aluminum pod and head.


Nov 25, 2012 at 02:47 AM
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