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Archive 2016 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4
  
 
Andre Y
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


I've carried an RRS TVC34 (not the L version) in the RRS bag on a domestic US flight (United) along with an FStop Kenti as my other carry-on item, and no problems there.

I also extend the lower sections first, so water doesn't get into the higher screw locks.



Oct 21, 2016 at 06:42 PM
Abbott Schindl
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


I went through the "3 sections or 4" thought process a number of years ago. At that time the 4-section Gitzo Systematic was $100 more and something like 1 pound heavier than the 3-section version. Most of the advice I got at the time was to go for the longer 4-section unit, which I did.

In particular, aside from the extra weight, I was concerned about fully extended rigidity and was reassured by owners that this wasn't a problem with this particular carbon tripod.

It was some of the best advice I've taken over the years. Like others in this thread, I usually extend either the bottom or second-to-bottom section first, saving the top-most section for adjustments. This approach works very well, even with a long, heavy lens and a pro body.

The weight difference doesn't bother me, and I really don't care about folded length for this tripod as I have smaller units for travel.

What I do care about is that the tripod does the job I bought it for, and the longer 4-section unit's been far more useful to me than a shorter one would have been. I've used it fully extended to take pictures at events. I've used the length to contact the ground when I've shot from atop a boulder or other ground that lacked sufficient room for both me and the tripod. I love that I can extend the legs horizontally to support the camera in narrow canyons and other places (although this isn't the most rigid support, it's a lot better than nothing) and so on.

You can always leave some sections collapsed on the longer tripod, but there's no way to get another foot of extension from the shorter one.



Oct 22, 2016 at 12:57 AM
Peter Figen
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


I've never understood the idea of getting a tripod your height or a bit taller. There are so many times, and not just on hillsides where you might want to have your camera much higher or much lower. I have five different tripods with a 5562XL just added and that's a six section that goes well over a hundred inches tall and that's not counting the Cambo camera stand that hits about 13 and a half feet at its highest - and yes, I've been all the way to the top with that in the studio. Earlier in the year I was shooting the Petersen in L.A. and was at about 8 feet - as tall as the Majestic would go and could have used another foot or so for the shot. Just a month ago, I needed the camera to be at about nine feet for an exterior shot I was doing. Now let's talk about the folks who preach no center columns because they are not stable enough. I'd rather get the shot.


Oct 22, 2016 at 08:04 AM
nolaguy
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


Peter Figen wrote:
There are so many times, and not just on hillsides where you might want to have your camera much higher or much lower...

...Now let's talk about the folks who preach no center columns because they are not stable enough. I'd rather get the shot...


+1




Oct 22, 2016 at 08:57 AM
RobAmy
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


I use the Gitzo GT4552TS and love it, had it for years. I use it for everything all the way up to my 800mm. I find it the best for my needs and great for travel. I have used it will ball heads, gimbals and video fluid heads. I mainly use video fluid heads now. I have used and owned RRS and other models of Gitzo also but this one it the winner for me, mainly due to it's size. 5 star vote here.


Oct 22, 2016 at 10:26 AM
EB-1
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


Peter Figen wrote:
I've never understood the idea of getting a tripod your height or a bit taller. There are so many times, and not just on hillsides where you might want to have your camera much higher or much lower. I have five different tripods with a 5562XL just added and that's a six section that goes well over a hundred inches tall and that's not counting the Cambo camera stand that hits about 13 and a half feet at its highest - and yes, I've been all the way to the top with that in the studio. Earlier in the
...Show more

Field nature work is usually different. I need to shoot at 6 inches above the ground far more often than 6 feet.

EBH



Oct 22, 2016 at 08:54 PM
Abbott Schindl
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


Why not just carry a groundpod? There was a recent discussion about plattypods with some useful thoughts. Here's the PlattyPod:
http://www.platypodpro.com

You can search for the discussion, which I think was in this forum about 6 weeks ago.

My homemade groundpod gets my camera a couple of inches closer to the ground than any of my regular tripods do with their legs extended flat.



Oct 22, 2016 at 10:05 PM
Frogfish
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


As a European living in China I want to throw a light from another perspective on this thread.

Americans, naturally enough, tend to focus their attentions on RRS whilst Gitzo (French), Manfrotto (owned by Vitec who also own Gitzo and several Chinese brands) & Cullman (German), for example, are very popular in Europe. However there is clearly a case of diminishing returns between the very (debatably) best and those a tier below. And probably the affect on your photography is even less than the difference in quality, if even discernable. Certainly there is a huge difference in price because there are always people willing to pay for what they believe is the best available.

I have never had any issues whatsoever with Manfrotto, Benro and currently Sirui, whose gear is superb. Also well worthy of consideration are Feisol, the newer Benro tripods, Nest (excellent top quality gear from HK - I've owned and used these), Vanguard, Velbon etc.

I have just got back from Iceland where I could only take a light travel tripod, one from a Chinese brand 99.9% of people here will never have heard of, Qingzhuangshidai or QZSD as they are labeled. It performed admirably and even in Iceland's infamous winds held up well giving me ultra-sharp long exposures.

The other observation that relates to your use (shooting motorbikes, sport etc. with a 400/2.8) is that you don't need a tripod that is going to give you the ultimate dampening since you are not going to be shooting long exposures for landscape/astro and typically your shutter speeds will naturally be far higher. I have been photographing birds (and some paid sporting events) for years with a 500/4 or 300/2.8+TCs and really can't see any advantage to paying $1,000 for a tripod over those I've used costing no more than US$500, for your specific use.

Personally I'd definitely save $300-400 and go for a Sirui or Feisol, the odds are strongly in your favour that you'd never notice the difference to a Gitzo or RRS, if there is any.



Oct 24, 2016 at 07:44 AM
rw11
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


I agree, esp. re the increment.

But one thing holding Gitzo back in the US is the importer - parts/repairs can be glacially slow.

re the next tier down, you have to think hard about years of use and how a tripod will stand up to that, not just when new

So I say either RRS or Gitzo (maybe 2 Gitzos? with one as a spare) and buy used.



Oct 24, 2016 at 07:56 PM
 

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la puffin
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


I know there's a lot of good reviews about Sirui gear, but my P424 monopod was slipping on Saturday night. I don't know what happened, but I lost shots because of it. I use it on practically every shoot, so dealing with warranty service is going to help me out for this Wednesday or Saturday. Now I'm shopping for a Gitzo monopod and tripod.


Oct 24, 2016 at 08:01 PM
bikemore
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


Frogfish wrote:
Personally I'd definitely save $300-400 and go for a Sirui or Feisol,


I ordered a Feisol Elite CT-3372 a few days ago. I'm pretty happy with one of their monopods;



Oct 28, 2016 at 05:44 PM
elkhornsun
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


With a 3-section there are 6 leg locks every time you collapse or extend the tripod. With a 4-seciton tripod there are 9 leg locks to deal with every time you collapse or extend the tripod. The drawback to the 3-section tripod is that when it is collapsed it will be longer than the 4-section version of the same tripod. If you need to put the tripod inside a case that is 24" in length as with standard luggage then a 4-section is the way to go.

After trying a couple new Gitzo tripods and finding problems with their design and construction and trying tSirui and Oben tripod legs, I found the Feisol CT-3472 carbon fiber tripod that has a max height without a center column of 70.5 inches and collapses down to 22.4 inches and weighs 3.9 lbs. (5.5 lbs if you use it with the quick level mount that can replace the standard mount plate). It has a load rating of 66 lbs. and this is an accurate assessment by the manufacturer which is seldom the case with tripods from other companies.

The Feisol is stiffer than a 3 series Gitzo and better made in terms of the metal components. The ability to change it to a quick leveling tripod with a $79 leveling base in a couple minutes is something that is unique. I have the Gitzo 2531LVL tripod with the quick level feature and it has been great for panos and videos but this tripod is not up to handling a 600mm lens nor can it be changed to make it lighter.



Oct 30, 2016 at 11:40 PM
kaplah
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


EB-1 wrote:
You may be able to use only three sections most of the time unless you are tall, and the extra height is good for hillsides, etc.


The extra height is also good for birds, planes, and anything else in the sky - so one does not need to crouch.





Nov 04, 2016 at 06:15 PM
EB-1
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


elkhornsun wrote:
Feisol CT-3472 carbon fiber tripod that has a max height without a center column of 70.5 inches...


No, it is only 58 inches without the column. The 5.1 lb. version with the center column goes up to 70.5 inches.

EBH



Nov 08, 2016 at 02:58 AM
elkhornsun
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


Actually the CT-3472LV only goes to 59.8" with the legs. The 70.5" requires full extension of the center column and so is not of value in real world shooting situations. I never include the column extension in comparing the height of different sets of legs.

The Feisol 3372 and 3472 tripods work with the $79 Feisol leveling base that can be used instead of the standard plate. At a weight of 0.97 lbs. it adds some weight to the tripod but no more than a center column and being able to put it on or take it off depending upon the nature of the photo excursion is a big plus.



Nov 08, 2016 at 10:45 PM
Two23
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


rw11 wrote:
re the next tier down, you have to think hard about years of use and how a tripod will stand up to that, not just when new

So I say either RRS or Gitzo (maybe 2 Gitzos? with one as a spare) and buy used.


I've been using a Gitzo 1325cf since about 2003--13 years? It's been through hell! Knocked over by a buffalo, singed by flowing lava, brushed by a train, blown off a river bank, frozen to the bottom of my duck boat. Never even had to replace a part! The Gitzo has seen five Nikon DSLR now, and three more film cameras (F100, Hassleblad, Shen Hao 4x5.) It will likely be working for me in another 13 years.


Kent in SD




Nov 09, 2016 at 06:52 AM
Daniel Smith
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


Look at Ries and other wooden tripods. Much nicer in the cold. Less vibration in use. They work, and work well.


Nov 10, 2016 at 03:33 AM
EB-1
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Tripod - 3 sections vs. 4


Daniel Smith wrote:
Look at Ries and other wooden tripods. Much nicer in the cold. Less vibration in use. They work, and work well.




EBH



Nov 11, 2016 at 12:29 AM
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