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Archive 2013 · Metal v Carbon fiber
  
 
andyz
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p.1 #1 · Metal v Carbon fiber


At my last baseball game my Monfrotto monopod took a foul ball to its lowest section (of 3). It is slightly dented and out of round. Using channel locks I did get it more in shape such that I can push it in and pull it out so it works, though handicapped.

This was a slight dent to the metal. How do you think carbon fiber would have taken a shot?



Apr 02, 2013 at 03:29 AM
JohnBrose
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p.1 #2 · Metal v Carbon fiber


Hard to know, depends on the force of the hit versus the strength of the carbon fiber, but it would have either withstood it or shattered. Carbon fiber is very strong and light weight it just isn't malliable.


Apr 02, 2013 at 03:38 AM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #3 · Metal v Carbon fiber


I dropped an aluminum Manfrotto 190 from kneecap level onto concrete and the aluminum casting the legs attach to cracked on a seam and split in half! Cast parts (pot metal) are relatively weak compared to the tubes used on the legs. Even Manfrotto's carbon fiber tripods use cast magnesium fittings and are probably the weak link in their design. However I've yet to drop my carbon fiber Manfrotto or Gitzo tripods but I suspect they will take impact much better than metal (more elastic & less mass).


Apr 02, 2013 at 04:07 AM
leftcoastlefty
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p.1 #4 · Metal v Carbon fiber


Oh! This is something I know about. Aluminum doesn't take much flexing before it bends, and once it is bent there is no going back. You can easily experience this by playing with an empty soda can. I believe CF is stronger for general abuse, but when it breaks it breaks. I broke two legs off my Gitzo CF tripod while doing something stupid. What was amazing is that the legs didn't totally break off. Instead, some portions broke cleanly (somewhat analogous to glass) and other portions just bent over. The CF naturally wanted to return to the original position and the tripod could actually be used for light-duty work.

I love CF tripods, but for monopods I prefer aluminum. The advantages of CF don't really translate into the same advantages for a monopod. And the lever type adjusters commonly used with aluminum work better with monopods.



Apr 02, 2013 at 05:33 AM
zesto
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p.1 #5 · Metal v Carbon fiber


leftcoastlefty wrote:
The advantages of CF don't really translate into the same advantages for a monopod. And the lever type adjusters commonly used with aluminum work better with monopods.


I agree that aluminium monopods work as well as CF ones although slightly heavier, which isn't much of a disadvantage anyway. However, out of curiosity, why do you say that lever type adjusters work better than the grip barrel lock types?




Apr 02, 2013 at 06:33 AM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #6 · Metal v Carbon fiber


Have to say I'm not too fond of the flip lever locks on my Manfrotto 679B and 190. Greatly prefer the twist locks on my Gitzo and Sirui monopods (grip better). However, I have friends with exactly the opposite opinion so that's why manufacturers give us a choice of models.


Apr 02, 2013 at 08:16 AM
sjms
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p.1 #7 · Metal v Carbon fiber


depending on the composite used (and it can be other materials) it can react in pretty much any way it can be designed to. composites have some advantages over metal alloys but not all the time. the only real world advantage in our field to a CF is its weight reduction overall. and that is relative.

Edited on Apr 02, 2013 at 12:48 PM · View previous versions



Apr 02, 2013 at 10:38 AM
sjms
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p.1 #8 · Metal v Carbon fiber


zesto wrote:
I agree that aluminium monopods work as well as CF ones although slightly heavier, which isn't much of a disadvantage anyway. However, out of curiosity, why do you say that lever type adjusters work better than the grip barrel lock types?



like everything else its an opinion and not a statement of fact and everyone has one.



Apr 02, 2013 at 12:47 PM
andyz
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p.1 #9 · Metal v Carbon fiber


I feel like I can use pliers and get the monopod working pretty well. It's getting scratched a bit as I'm not being real careful, my priority is function, but it isn't too bad. I don't think I could have done that with CF.

I had wondered if the CF would have shattered with a good direct blow. I know it has strength vertically but wondered if like a straw you could push on the end, but the moment you push on the side it will fold. Sounds like the answer is it wouldn't.



Apr 02, 2013 at 12:54 PM
sjms
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p.1 #10 · Metal v Carbon fiber


depending on they way the do the weave "shattering" does not occur. what you will get is a crushing of the layers along with delamination or splitting. this again will depending on the type of strike. a sharp edge high speed strike like an axe will split most normal CF lay ups. alloy aluminum will do the same straw idea but under will deform from a side blow and can and most likely will split from the same axe shot. neither is designed to take massive side loading

the alloy area you reformed is now somewhat weaker then the rest of that tubing section.

CF has other issues that can be taken into account. if the outer gel is compromised moisture can get in and over time in use in cold weather cause delamination. so too high heat.



Apr 02, 2013 at 01:25 PM
 

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zesto
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p.1 #11 · Metal v Carbon fiber


sjms wrote:
like everything else its an opinion and not a statement of fact and everyone has one.


It may be an opinion but was stated as a fact. Hence my question.





Apr 02, 2013 at 06:35 PM
sjms
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p.1 #12 · Metal v Carbon fiber


you know what i do tend to agree with him about lever design working better with a alloy tube then with a CF tube. the lever design is such that it squeezes the actual alloy tube. which is generally slotted and releived to allow for the movement. with CF and the barrel screw lock you impose the force on a seperate inner compression sleeve that locks up around the tube without attempting to deform it.


Apr 02, 2013 at 07:57 PM
leftcoastlefty
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p.1 #13 · Metal v Carbon fiber


zesto wrote:
I agree that aluminium monopods work as well as CF ones although slightly heavier, which isn't much of a disadvantage anyway. However, out of curiosity, why do you say that lever type adjusters work better than the grip barrel lock types?


I am guilty of phrasing my previous post as fact whereas some of it was opinion. Regarding twist/barrel versus lever releases, I personally find levers much easier to use. With twist types, I usually have a hand on either side of the joint because more force is required to undo them and this force tends to rotate the leg. This isn't a big deal with tripods, but it is more so with monopods. Levers, on the other hand, don't cause the leg to rotate and are super easy to undo one-handed while my other hand is holding the camera.

Both of my Gitzo tripods have twist locks, but I have to tighten them really good and double-check them all the time as they sometimes don't hold. A tripod leg has come loose more than once, and bad things can happen fast. Lever locks can sometimes get a little loose too, but all that happens is the monopod shrinks a couple of inches. I've heard they now have lever locks for CF, but I've not tried them.

In short, my Manfrotto 681B is a great product at any price and it is only $60. I can't see how spending $330 on a RRS CF monopod (for example) would improve it any. If my Manfrotto was dinged by a foul ball, I'd go buy another in a heartbeat.



Apr 02, 2013 at 11:32 PM
mpmendenhall
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p.1 #14 · Metal v Carbon fiber


leftcoastlefty wrote:
Regarding twist/barrel versus lever releases, I personally find levers much easier to use. With twist types, I usually have a hand on either side of the joint because more force is required to undo them and this force tends to rotate the leg.


This is true of older twist locks, but for many years now most CF legs have some variety of what Gitzo labels "Anti Leg Rotation" (ALR) which prevents the segments from rotating even when fully loosened for sliding. If you gave up on twist locks several years ago, you might want to try a current model in a store: they're trivial to operate with one hand (IMO, even easier than fumbling for a lever), and lock up quite securely with little force.



Apr 03, 2013 at 01:49 AM
leftcoastlefty
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p.1 #15 · Metal v Carbon fiber


mpmendenhall wrote:
This is true of older twist locks, but for many years now most CF legs have some variety of what Gitzo labels "Anti Leg Rotation" (ALR) which prevents the segments from rotating even when fully loosened for sliding. If you gave up on twist locks several years ago, you might want to try a current model in a store: they're trivial to operate with one hand (IMO, even easier than fumbling for a lever), and lock up quite securely with little force.


Yes, I have the ALR design. I still have issues with them coming loose however. For me levers work better, but I use twist locks on the tripods because that's what all the cool people use.



Apr 03, 2013 at 04:40 AM
Hersch
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p.1 #16 · Metal v Carbon fiber


We use Carbon fiber in making artificial limbs for many of the same reasons it is used for many other things (Strength vs. Weight) as related to intended use. Raw carbon fiber was available to us in a variety of forms such as braided rope, braided tubular stockinette, braided tape, braided sheets and just plain Carbon fiber strands. We even used Kevlar in between Carbon Fiber layers at times.The combination of the layups, thickness, type of resin and the shape and size of how those are combined all affect weight and strength. Bicycle frame makers are now using some of the latest technology in how they size and shape different parts of the bicycle for strength and rigidity. A recent bike using a Cannondale EVO-Nano frame was built weighing 10 lbs. with pedals and water bottle cages included. I don't think this will be available to buy but it shows what's possible. With Artificial Limbs we have to be concerned with activity levels and weight of the amputees that will be using them to fabricate a prosthesis that will withstand the expected use. Some of the newer competitive acrobatic airplanes such as those used in the Red Bull Races are now almost all carbon fiber. All this technology is probably being used with some of the latest Tripods now. Having said all that. I still love to use my old Bogen "Manfratto" Aluminum Tripod on occasion.


Apr 03, 2013 at 05:32 AM
sjms
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p.1 #17 · Metal v Carbon fiber


the much maligned (due to an unrelated component) 787 is currently over 50% composite overall. I say currently as it design and build are still in progression and that percentage will increase as they come off the line with even newer improved structure and components.

its probably better to refer to mixed material as composite then just CF as there is quite a difference. tripods today are still pretty basic tubing layup.

the main braces (see white angled parts left upper in image) on this 787 gear are pretty sophisticated composite components. now these can take a beating.

with this technology you can have that composite camera body you crave vs Mg alloy if you really want and the price comes down.


ref explanation:
http://www.albint.com/businesses/aec/IndustryApplications/SampleApplications/Pages/787-Dreamliner-Main-Landing-Gear-Brace.aspx




sjms 2012




Apr 04, 2013 at 02:37 PM
hans98ko
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p.1 #18 · Metal v Carbon fiber


Between Aluminum (Al) and Carbon Graphite (CG), I will take an Al anytime.
Between Flip Lock (FL) and Grip Lock (GL), I will take a GL over FL.

Here is the reasoning:
Even though CG is much lighter than AL, but is not by a large margin if one consider that only the tubing are involved and the rest of parts are still make with alloy. But the cost for CG is almost double to triple of that of AL.

The next thing is stability, AL is much, much more stable than CG all due to its disadvantage in weight. Because it is heavier the overall center of gravity is lower when the system is mounted.
I almost have my 5D, lens and everything that was mounted blown over on its side and over a cliff in Australia just because it is top heavy.
Ever wonder why Geo-surveying system never ever use CG tripod instead of the usual solid double shank wooden or alloy tripods? Again stability, CG tripod will flex just like fishing rods, although in a much smaller degree, but still flexes!
Do you mean weight is not important to these guys, where CG was here since after WWII?

Now, lets switch to the locks.
FL is much faster to activate than GL, but FL will slip over time while GL can be further tighten.
If one disassemble a FL, one will notice that what actually create the friction is the plastic or rubber parts, but these parts can decompress and wear off easily. Once it wears off there will be very little friction and the tripod will tilt over especially with CG which is smoother base on its material.
But is GL better on CG tripod? Yes and No. It is better when it is new, but over time when one over tightened, the graphite rods can easily be fractured, decompressed and becomes useless. CG is good for its surface tension or stress property but not for compression.
GL on AL tripod will be different because there is no way one can over tighten to fracture the AL tubes. The only thing needed replacing over time is most probably the ring sleeve which we can substitute easily with a thing sheet of plastic or tape.

Now! You can go decide how you want to spend you dollars.



Apr 05, 2013 at 04:38 AM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #19 · Metal v Carbon fiber


hans98ko wrote

Now! You can go decide how you want to spend you dollars.


I own more of both types and tripods than I can possibly use, albeit not more than my camera bag collection! I love my big beefy aluminum Gitzo and Manfrotto tripods just as long as I don't have to actually carry them beyond my driveway. If it wasn't for CF I'd probably never use a tripod or monopod outside of a studio. Like cameras and lenses, the best tripod is the one light and small enough you will actually pack and use it.



Apr 05, 2013 at 08:44 AM
sjms
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p.1 #20 · Metal v Carbon fiber


hans98ko wrote:
Between Aluminum (Al) and Carbon Graphite (CG), I will take an Al anytime.
Between Flip Lock (FL) and Grip Lock (GL), I will take a GL over FL.

Here is the reasoning:
Even though CG is much lighter than AL, but is not by a large margin if one consider that only the tubing are involved and the rest of parts are still make with alloy. But the cost for CG is almost double to triple of that of AL.

The next thing is stability, AL is much, much more stable than CG all due to its disadvantage in weight. Because it is heavier
...Show more

somewhat overly simplified point of reference/reasoning.

weight- the avg difference in weight is 20%+ in favor of composite. what you can also get with that wgt reduction is a reduction in overall volume of the tripod in the same support class. support class including weight , rigidity and structural size.

stability- is a combination of factors. weight alone does not a stable tripod make. now we all carry just a little more with us in I favorite bags. the bag itself is relatively heavy and of the dead weight category. it generally does nothing while shooting. most modern tripods have the hook on the bottom of the centerpost or platform plate. simply add the weight to the tripod. with a strap keeping the mass on the ground from swinging. it works and it works well.

there is always somewhat of a compromise between weight and stability. if you get the right balance and keep it light, more compact and rigid (in its class) you will be more likely to use it more often due to its relative portability and usability.

surveyors tripods- now that's a mixed bag as there are more then a few out in the market place including composite ones (not necessarily CF). one generally does not tend to carry these and the instrument more then to and from a vehicle and limited distances.

Flex- a properly designed and executed composite/CF tripod will flex less then any alloy tripod around. there are other factors then just the tubes that account for the degree of flex in a tripod. the fiber structure in a composite fishing rod is specifically designed/engineered to flex and bend a certain way section by section. this structure is also very different from one used in a tripod leg that is one of the advantages of composite technology you can tune it to what you want it to do.

activation time- are you in a race? another member of an Olympic speed tripod setup team? yes those al tubes drop down easily with that considerable slop. but then the price is paid in a substantially less rigid coupling between sections and additional overall flex. over time and not necessarily long as you anodizing wears. corrosion can form and slow things down too. the setup time differences will vary with the individual. but yes an alloy tripod with slop will win this really important race.

locks and tightening- if you can crush a composite tube with the locking mechanism it is using i'll be impressed with your prowess and lack of thought as these don't require anywhere near the force to lock up the tubing sections. in addition I'd say there is a chance you might have done a bit of damage to the locking mechanism in the process.

your reference to "graphite rods" is inappropriate.

now I will admit that there is a fair amount of questionable product out there but its on both sides of the spectrum.

in a studio environment pretty much all the advantages of CF/composite are reduced to literally nil.

regretfully it seems your knowledge of use of composites is somewhat limited.
I think you as an engineer you need to review the advances that have been made in composite technology in the past 5 years. its really cool. pricing is also coming down but it won't be for some time due to the customizability of the product matrix.

so far as product goes in photography,as a tool, your choice of tripod (except for a select few) will remain consistent for a longer period of time vs your cameras and even lenses.
that being said, you will end up using what you are willing to carry.



















Apr 05, 2013 at 11:57 AM
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