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Archive 2013 · Need tripod advice, please.
  
 
peter_n
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p.4 #1 · p.4 #1 · Need tripod advice, please.


This is what I use - I put my foot in it.








Apr 17, 2013 at 05:34 PM
maverick777
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p.4 #2 · p.4 #2 · Need tripod advice, please.


I'm a long time reader of this forum and just got an Induro CT214 tripod with a Photo Clam Pro Gold II tripod head. Does anyone know how the CT214 compares to the Feisol CT-3442 or the Photo Clam PT124 or even the PT225? My setup just came in the mail today, so I haven't had a chance to test it out yet.

I got the Induro CT214 because it seems like a well respected tripod with quite a few long term reviews include an excellent rating on B&H. All 3 tripods are in the same price range so I ended up going with the one with the most robust track record. And as a side note I also liked the way the Induro looked cosmetically although that wasn't really the deciding factor.



Apr 17, 2013 at 07:41 PM
davidahn
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p.4 #3 · p.4 #3 · Need tripod advice, please.


@Peter, that sounds like a good setup, as long as your foot is steady!

@Maverick, just an observation on B&H's user reviews... I don't know if you've noticed this, but almost every item has 4.5 stars, which leads me to believe they're filtering some negative reviews. Maybe not a bad thing because some bitter people give 1 star for no serious flaws, but still, hard to believe their star ratings if everything looks equally good. I'm just saying. So I pay a little more attention to actual reviews and user reports on the web, at their actual observations and not just a pat star rating. See earlier posts about Feisol vs Photo Clam vs Gitzo's relative merits.



Apr 17, 2013 at 09:59 PM
maverick777
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p.4 #4 · p.4 #4 · Need tripod advice, please.


davidahn wrote:
@Peter, that sounds like a good setup, as long as your foot is steady!

@Maverick, just an observation on B&H's user reviews... I don't know if you've noticed this, but almost every item has 4.5 stars, which leads me to believe they're filtering some negative reviews. Maybe not a bad thing because some bitter people give 1 star for no serious flaws, but still, hard to believe their star ratings if everything looks equally good. I'm just saying. So I pay a little more attention to actual reviews and user reports on the web, at their actual observations and not just
...Show more

I agree with you. I didn't base my decision only on the B&H comments.

These are a few of the CT214 reviews I read:
http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2012/3/22/induro-ct214-carbon-8x-tripod-bdh2-ballhead-review.html
http://photofocus.com/2009/10/13/how-induro-tripods-got-me-to-make-the-biggest-gear-switch-of-my-life/
http://digital-photography-school.com/induro-phq-3-head-and-ct-214-tripod-review

Photoclam Pro Gold II reviews:
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1027066
http://www.dentonimages.com/page.php?id=Photo_Clam_Pro_Gold_II_Easy_PQR_Review
http://mamaphotography.ca/2011/01/10/shooting-panoramas-a-better-ball-panning-head/

I didn't find as much information on the Feisol although their reputation for customer service seems to be pretty good. I found even less information on the Photo Clam tripod. Which is why I ended up with the Induro. I'm going to use the tripod a lot of the next few weeks, so we'll see how it holds up.



Apr 17, 2013 at 10:20 PM
davidahn
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p.4 #5 · p.4 #5 · Need tripod advice, please.


Let us know how the Induro works out for you. I'm still trying to decide, Feisol vs. Photo Clam vs. Gitzo.

As they say, you can have an inexpensive, high quality, lightweight, and stable tripod; just choose any 3.



Apr 17, 2013 at 10:33 PM
 

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maverick777
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p.4 #6 · p.4 #6 · Need tripod advice, please.


davidahn wrote:
Let us know how the Induro works out for you. I'm still trying to decide, Feisol vs. Photo Clam vs. Gitzo.

As they say, you can have an inexpensive, high quality, lightweight, and stable tripod; just choose any 3.


Will do. Those are the same choices I debated. Feisol, Photo Clam, Induro, or Gitzo. I ruled out Gitzo mainly because of the price and because of people complaining about Gitzo not honoring their warranty. The lifetime warranty doesn't mean much if they don't honor it. However, this may just be a vocal minority with extenuating circumstances. Who knows.

The Feisol is very nice in that the legs are designed to let you flip it over the top and hang your camera upside down for really low shots. However, this also means you'll need to spend extra money on the optional center column if it's not tall enough. This may or may not be a big deal. The column is only $40. The larger spider may also mean more stability, but I haven't seen any conclusive tests for that. Feisol is also seems well known for their excellent customer service. If something breaks, they just send you a new part from what users are reporting.

Photo Clam ball heads have a pretty solid reputation even though they haven't been around very long. Their tripods are even newer so there's not much written about them so far. However, if their tripods are as good as their ballheads, it should be comparable to a Feisol or Induro. Maybe even as good as a Gitzo. I haven't seen any direct comparison so it's hard to say. And that's why I didn't buy it. It's hard to say anything about it because very few people have one right now.

Induro/Benro seem to have a positive reputation overall. They are accused of being a Gitzo copycat. That's seems true in some of their designs, but if Gitzo is considered the best, then it's not such a bad company to copy. The CT214 has a solid reputation as it's been around longer. The Photoclam and Induro both have reversible center columns. So they can achieve the same lower mounted position as the Feisol but you'll have to pull out the center column to do it since the legs aren't able to articulate all the way into reverse position so it'll take longer to do so. This may or may not be a deal breaker for you. For me it wasn't. I'd rather have the center column.

In terms of overall length of track record I would rank them as Gitzo >>>>> Induro/Benro > Feisol > Photoclam.
In terms of value it appears to be Photoclam > Induro/Benro > Feisol (if you have to buy the center column, if not I'd say it's equal to the Induro) >>>> Gitzo
In terms of weight Photoclam is the clear winner at 2.3lbs with a center column while the others are 3 or more. The Feisol is the same weight if the center column isn't used.
In terms of stability, I can only guess they'd be very similar if not a slight edge to Feisol for the wider spider. Although the Induro's extra weight may help. It's hard to tell and I haven't seen/read a comparison.
This is all based on what I've been able to find online so don't take my word for it. I just haven't found any hands on experiences where someone had all these tripods to compare so it's the best I could do.

So based of my limited experience with tripods and the reviews that are available, it appears to be a toss up between the 3 non Gitzo tripods. Clearly most will recommend a Gitzo or RRS tripod if money is no object. Since this is just a hobby for me, money is definitely an issue. The extra money I "saved" from not buying a Gitzo paid for my ballhead. That's a pretty significant difference. Only time will tell if these Korean and Chinese/Taiwanese tripods will hold up to the tried an true Gitzo/RSS pods.



Apr 18, 2013 at 01:08 AM
ffstory
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p.4 #7 · p.4 #7 · Need tripod advice, please.


I would still take the completely removable central column and a wide systematic base as a big advantage of Feisol Tournament-class tripods. I suggest to always look for a design where you can remove the column completely (including any assembly) so that your ballhead sits directly on the flat base that is directly connected to the legs without any extra components.

Even when you never extend the central column or use a short column the section that extends over base is always the weakest part of tripod. Single tube always dampens less vibrations than three tubes. Even 5cm matters no matter how strong the column assembly appears to be. This is especially the true for long focal lengths.

Central column should be seen as a good thing when you need extra flexibility for macro, etc. If you need to use it to reach the height you need the only proper solution is to buy a taller tripod.



Apr 18, 2013 at 01:00 PM
gardenvalley
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p.4 #8 · p.4 #8 · Need tripod advice, please.


ffstory wrote:
I would still take the completely removable central column and a wide systematic base as a big advantage of Feisol Tournament-class tripods. I suggest to always look for a design where you can remove the column completely (including any assembly) so that your ballhead sits directly on the flat base that is directly connected to the legs without any extra components.

Even when you never extend the central column or use a short column the section that extends over base is always the weakest part of tripod. Single tube always dampens less vibrations than three tubes. Even 5cm matters no matter
...Show more



I`m not convinced that an unextended centre column is the weakest part of a tripod. Consider the leg, it is a lever possibly 3 or 4 or more feet long with maybe 2, 3 or 4 joints and is only as strong as it`s weakest component, that being thinnest section which is deployed. And there are 3 of these legs all working against each other in that any flex in one will cause the other 2 to flex also. The centre column is normally made of the same tubing as the top leg section which is the strongest.

A large diameter platform like a Systematic should also be considered a lever therefore the longer the lever the easier it is to move and the less resistant it is to torque. This may be negligible in big strong tripods like Systematics and their equivalent from other manufacturers but it is worth considering.

I agree that a single tube will dampen less vibration than three tubes because energy is attenuated when travelling from one medium to another or to the same medium but with different properties i.e. diameter but it is worth pointing out that 3 tubes may be more likely to cause vibration in the first place!

This is all conjecture and opinion on my part and I make no claim that any of it is able to be proved scientifically but there are many claims made about support systems which provide no evidence let alone proof. As always YMMV



Apr 18, 2013 at 01:46 PM
maverick777
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p.4 #9 · p.4 #9 · Need tripod advice, please.



This test has 4 total parts. He's using some fairly long exposures too so it's more like a worst case scenario. The test were done in a variety of ways to ensure a far comparison including using a mirror lock up and remote shutter release and using a tripod with no center column or ballhead as the reference picture. I think this is the most thorough test I've seen.

http://regex.info/blog/2007-09-21/579

This test didn't focus solely on stability but does include it in the test/comparison among many other variables they tested. This one has Induro (CX 213), Gitzo (GT 2530 EX), and Manfrotto (190 Xpro B) tripods in the tests.
http://www.outdoorphotogear.com/store/images/PDF/Tripod_Test_Final_highlights.pdf



Apr 18, 2013 at 03:02 PM
ffstory
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p.4 #10 · p.4 #10 · Need tripod advice, please.


According to my experience every inch of anything raising above the tripod base counts. I can even see a difference between different heads - an average light head with low-profile is often better than taller and beefier head when it comes to vibrations. My geared MG head is cast from solid metal and weights more than 1 kg and yet it vibrates more than small PhotoClam ballhead weighting 300grams. It is a lever machine that makes the trick:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lever

That's why I don't like non-removable central columns, their assemlies are typically adding height even when not used. If you add a ball head and camera, the problem is even bigger. Every inch counts.

The problem is magnified with increasing focal length and during wind.



Apr 19, 2013 at 08:02 AM
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