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Hiking Tripod
  
 
StarNut
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p.1 #1 · Hiking Tripod


Hi,

I have a wonderful tripod (legs), but it's relatively heavy and bulky. Really not suited for strapping to a backpack and forgetting about until it's needed.

I really need a much lighter one, one that also folds up smaller. My maximum payload need would be a Canon 5D3 with a 70-200 f/2.8 and 2x extender.

Does the Gitzo GT1544T Series 1 Traveler set meet those criteria?

Any other quality products that meet those criteria?

Thanks.

Mark



Jul 24, 2013 at 02:02 AM
binary visions
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p.1 #2 · Hiking Tripod


I have a Feisol 3401 that I've taken on a number of big hikes. It's light and small enough to be functional, and also not so expensive that I'll be heartbroken if it is damaged while riding around on my pack.

At 1/3 the price of the Gitzo, it's worth thinking about.



Jul 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #3 · Hiking Tripod


I used a Feisol CT3441 for a number of years and found it generally very suitable for that use; it has probably been carried over 500 miles of both day- and overnight trips. It is just over 1 kg including the center column, yet is normal height without the column extended, and remarkably tall (though much less stable) fully extended. The legs can be positioned at three angles and a short column is available (though not included). The legs will fold back over the extended center column and ball head (how tight depends on the head; I use an Acratech GP-S), making it about 16 inches long, which attaches nicely to a pack and even a carry-on suitcase.

I think the ratio of weight to versatility, rigidity, and overall performance is very good. I did have some operation and durability issues with it: the legs tend to stick after being wet; the rubber feet come off and can get lost, and some of the angle stops for the legs eventually became rounded and didn't hold the legs at the chosen angle. But despite this I think it did its job well for a number of years and was a good value.

I replaced it with a Sirui N2204, which is slightly heavier, but also a bit taller and with some things I think are better-designed. It has the same overall features and specs of the Feisol in terms of leg diameter, etc. It also includes leg spikes and short center column, which the Feisol does not, and is in the same price range. I have used it successfully on one backcountry trip so far, with no complaints.

For what it is worth, I think tripods of this class are a better choice for the backcountry than the lighter class such as the Benro Travel Angels and similar ones from other manufacturers. Though they may be lighter I think the ~1-1.5 kg range is realistic for backpacking while not being nearly as heavy as many other full-size tripods, and they provide both full height and reasonable stability. For me that is a sweet spot, but it may not be for others.

Dave



Jul 24, 2013 at 02:33 PM
kendalltristan
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p.1 #4 · Hiking Tripod


I have a GT1542T and it's perfectly fine with a 70-200mm f/4 and a 2x teleconverter as long as you keep the center column down. I've taken it on many hikes and it's quite fantastic. I've not used the Feisols that the others have mentioned so I can't comment there, but the Gitzo is indeed very nice and is more stable than its size indicates.


Jul 24, 2013 at 03:44 PM
StarNut
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p.1 #5 · Hiking Tripod


Thanks for the great answers!

I'm not concerned about 150 grams one way or another. Rather, I'm most interested in something that folds into a very small package, while providing a stable platform for photography.

My present tripod is a Gitzo GT3541LS (I'm tall); it's a great tripod for when I'm driving somewhere, but its smallest incarnation is still large and bulky, not well-suited to strapping onto a backpack and forgetting. I'm perfectly willing to stoop down to a lower level for this purpose; I'm just tired of having to hand-carry my tripod on the trail.

Mark



Jul 24, 2013 at 04:14 PM
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p.1 #6 · Hiking Tripod


I find it a little easier to protect a camera, but I find a tripod is just ripe for getting damaged out on the trail. Whether it's having it strapped to the side of the backpack, carrying it extended through trees or rocks, leaning it up against things... It's very easy to scrape it up or bang it.

The consequence being that I'd prefer to carry my $250 tripod out in the wilderness than a $750 tripod. Of course, if money is not a consequence, it may not be an issue - especially if you're making money from your hiking shots.



Jul 24, 2013 at 04:59 PM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #7 · Hiking Tripod


All the ones that have been mentioned so far fold to similar lengths and are similar weight, versatility and functionality. It looks like there are a few inches of differennce in maximum (non-extended) height, but that may not make a difference since for you they will all be short! But one thing that may be a difference is the maximum leg tube size: as a Series 1, the Gitzo 1544T is 24 mm, while the Feisols and Sirui are 28 mm. In theory that translates to a degree of vibration dampening, but I expect overall design and materials details also affect that. But it might be worth considering.

Dave



Jul 24, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Flowernut
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p.1 #8 · Hiking Tripod


freisol makes some 3 section tripods with no center column that are under 3lb and roughly 5ft tall. I think mine is the Tournament Tripod CT-3342. Only problem I've had is the set screws that hold the top plate worked loose bouncing around in a land rover. Make sure they are tight or even use loctight on them.


Jul 24, 2013 at 10:28 PM
 

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peter_n
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p.1 #9 · Hiking Tripod


StarNut wrote:
I'm not concerned about 150 grams one way or another. Rather, I'm most interested in something that folds into a very small package, while providing a stable platform for photography.

My present tripod is a Gitzo GT3541LS (I'm tall); it's a great tripod for when I'm driving somewhere...


Mark I use the same tripod in the same way and I'm small(ish), Gitzo really got it right when they figured the dimensions of it and it's understandably their best selling systematic.

I'm approaching my fourth year with a Benro travel tripod and it has been very reliable, my model is the C2680T and it replaced a Gitzo 1541T. My Benro has a max leg diameter of 29mm, a min leg diameter of 18.5mm and it's folded length is 16.7". If you're unfamiliar with the brand Google the C2680T and you'll find reviews.

You want some stability with a travel tripod so avoid 5 leg section models and use as little of the center column as you can. A good spec. to look at is max height w/out column extended and in the case of the Gitzo 1544T you mention in your OP it's a poor 45.87", my Benro is 51.6" which is very competitive (one of the reasons why the Benro replaced my Gitzo traveler). However I do think that even the Benro might be a wee bit small for you and taller guys often go for the Feisols.

Many like the 3442 model but it's a bit bulky as it's a systematic design with no center column. You might want to look at the 3441T, it has a great max height w/out column extended spec: 56.7". The only issue I see with it is the folded length: 18.9", however it's a foldback design like the Gitzos so once you put a ballhead on the top it's still the same folded length. You can see better pictures of the 3441T on this page.

The metal parts of the 3441T are made of milled aluminum from a solid block. This is a distinct advantage for a tripod with a center column, as some similar Gitzo models have suffered fractures of their cast alloy base in cold weather. You can buy a short center column for it. I think that this Feisol is well worth considering.




Jul 25, 2013 at 02:18 PM
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p.1 #10 · Hiking Tripod


You might want to take a look at the Oben cc-2320 LA. It runs around $300 and I have been really pleased with mine.


Jul 25, 2013 at 02:37 PM
SSISteve
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p.1 #11 · Hiking Tripod


I would take a long look at the Feisol CT-3442. It packs very small, very light, and is a perfect travel tripod. The legs fold back over which makes it even smaller.





Jul 25, 2013 at 07:12 PM
SSISteve
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p.1 #12 · Hiking Tripod


I just remembered that Induro right now has 25% off all of their tripods. I have been really happy with their tripods and they have a great travel tripod and 25% off right now would be a great deal.

Steve



Jul 25, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Flowernut
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p.1 #13 · Hiking Tripod


We haven't really discussed it but generally the fewer sections the more rigid the tripod. This comes from two considerations. Usually the bottom section on a 3 section tripod is larger in diameter than the bottom section on a 4 or more section tripod. My experience has been that the joint represents another point of flexing particularly if the section is fully extended. Leaving part of the section further up inside the section above it provides more stability.

If you do macro work, a center column gets in the way.



Jul 26, 2013 at 12:57 AM
peter_n
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p.1 #14 · Hiking Tripod


The issue with a 3 leg section tripod for hiking is folded length, I can personally attest to it. Also with the modern twist locks a 4 leg section tripod is not such a disadvantage, they are so much better than even ten years ago. I would not go to a 5 leg section tripod though...




Jul 26, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Flowernut
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p.1 #15 · Hiking Tripod


since I attach the tripod vertically to the outside of a backpack, I've not found length a problem in these 5ft 3 section tripods. Length becomes comes more of an issue for me when packing for airline travel. My standard tripod (gitzo 3542xls) has to go into a dufflel bag. The backpack pod into a suitcase diagonally or a duffel. Neither is something I would carry onto a plane.


Jul 26, 2013 at 12:53 PM
jphendren
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p.1 #16 · Hiking Tripod


I have been using the tiny Gitzo GT0530 since 2007. I think it only weighs 1 pound without a head. It's very light, and I have shot up to a Nikon D3 with an 80-200 zoom off of it. It works fine, just don't extend the center column or you can get vibration.

Jared



Jul 26, 2013 at 11:04 PM





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