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Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead
  
 
josh paris
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


Over the years I've taken so much from this site in terms of insight, advice, and opinions from my fellow photogs- for that I thank you and today I wanted to give a little back.... in terms of a review for tripod/ballhead which in my opinion just might be some of the best gear many of you might never have heard of, I know I hadn't known of them until recently: desmond photo

I'm an Outside shooter, that just means I'm game for just about anything if it gets me outside. But primarily landscapes and nightcaps is what I seem to gravitate towards and often in conditions that aren't the most favorable. Living in the PNW not only has an incredible diversity of weather, but of terrain too....Oceans, mountains,desert...you name it. and gear needs to work in all climates and weather.

My kit revolves around Nikon d810, and several lenses consisting of 16-35mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8, 28-75mm f2.8 and 14mm f2.8. Nothing too extreme here, all just good solid stuff.... all stuffed in a MindShift backlight 26L.

Alright, so most recently I've been using a 3legged thing Travis, which accomplished several goals; cheap, reasonably light weight, portable, and very pretty to look at. However the one goal which it does not due very well is Sturdy. maybe ok for 4/3 kit, but not my kit.

So I was off to find a tripod to change that one (actually 2) very important function(s). Sturdy and inexpensive. My search lead me to Desmond photo and I was immediately intrigued by the 32mm Carbon Fiber 8 wrap legs, this I had to try.... and to top it off they had an option to include a massive 46mm Ball head...and get this, the retail price was only $239 for the whole deal. Sold.




First impressions; it was light, big and gorgeous. Came with a bag (which I'll never use), 4 hex keys, short center column and instructions (also the rubber feet pull off and steel spikes are revealed!). The 32mm Legs are massive, the red anodizing highlights are beautiful and the Demon DB-46 ball head is huge. I'm 6'2" and fully extended (all 3 sections with center column) I can't see my screen unless I stand on something, but even fully extended its rock steady...weird, Texas sized weird, but I like that!



Now everything about this set up is Overkill for me, but for the first time I don't mind, as its the right kind of overkill. Surprisingly, its only about 1 pound weight difference from the 3legged thing travis I've been using, and to get this sort of stability with only a about 1 pound weight penalty is amazing to me. (now its also about 2in longer fully collapsed, however it still fits into my MindShift 26L bag side pocket very securely).





Now I've had the chance to shoot about 20+ times over the last month of so with this set up, several long hikes and many park and shoots too. The action on the legs is quick and easy, as well as quite smooth. The Db-46 action is butter smooth in all directions, lock down is super secure. The pan action is just perfect and I love the built-in levels(4). I shot in some fairly windy conditions and a got nice sharp clean images. Pano's are my gas:




If I was to do all over again, what would I change. I would have likely stepped down a model (I thinks its dcf-428/demon db-40), as I would have saved just shy of a pound and got very close to the same stability (as well as saved another $40).

I will add, the product I think would be my absolute dream set up would like: DCF-432 but the leg sections would be 1-2in shorter, but add a 4th section, short center column and a Demon DB-34mm....of course none of this exists, at least yet. But regardless I'm very happy with the current version DCF-432/Demon DB-46- the value, weight, stability and action is outstanding. Here a a few more shots in action on a night shoota few poor iPhone shots but you get the idea).









Oct 28, 2017 at 07:47 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


So it's a medium-sized travel tripod with a long center column?
I'd probably want to ditch the center column and put a leveling base on it.

I've seen the Desmond along with a myriad of other similar Chinese-branded stuff on the Amazon, etc., but never Demon. Are they the same company as Desmond?

EBH



Oct 28, 2017 at 09:46 PM
nma
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


I can't imagine using that tripod with the center column extended, holding a Nikon 810 and lens. Unless the laws of physics have been revoked for Desmond, there is no way that setup can be "rock solid."


Oct 29, 2017 at 12:09 AM
DesmondPhoto
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


EB-1 wrote:
So it's a medium-sized travel tripod with a long center column?
I'd probably want to ditch the center column and put a leveling base on it.

I've seen the Desmond along with a myriad of other similar Chinese-branded stuff on the Amazon, etc., but never Demon. Are they the same company as Desmond?

EBH



Yes Demon heads are made by Desmond


http://www.desphotodist.com/heads.html



Oct 29, 2017 at 03:34 AM
josh paris
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


nma wrote:
I can't imagine using that tripod with the center column extended, holding a Nikon 810 and lens. Unless the laws of physics have been revoked for Desmond, there is no way that setup can be "rock solid."


easy now...comparatively speaking to most tripods, having 32mm 8 woven CF is quite rigid, yes of course physics still apply.
Personally I keep the center column for the collapsing position for travel, I have shot several times at half mast without issue and found it quite steady.



Oct 29, 2017 at 04:14 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


It looks like there is a short center column for small wildlife, etc. I hope it works out for you.

EBH



Oct 29, 2017 at 06:03 PM
mpoole
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


I've noticed more than a few house brands with a noticeable similarity to Sirui products, which is a good thing. Wonder if they all come from the same plant?


Oct 30, 2017 at 12:43 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



peter_n
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


^ If Sirui products are being copied that would be suitable irony I suppose. RRS has sued Sirui over tripod design patent infringements and I believe has succeeded in getting the offending products banned from being sold in the US.

Sunwayfoto is an OEM for an ever-changing list of brands, and I think its very likely that they are behind Desmond and Fittest. Some Sunwayfoto products are good, some not so good. They have a couple of innovative Arca-Swiss type clamps and plates so they don't just copy. They frequently omit any branding from some of their products, copies or not.



Oct 30, 2017 at 01:37 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


I have a Sunwayfoto ball head and it's excellent, as are the numerous plates and clamps I've bought from them. I have a few Desmond clamps and I've always suspected they were made by Sunwayfoto as there are shared parts and design. I prefer my Sunwayfoto heads over my Sirui.


Oct 30, 2017 at 04:44 PM
Melancholia
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


Thanks for sharing Josh. I have the Desmond DLOW-55 ballhead and I have mostly good things to say about it. While not perfect, it is my go-to ballhead.

My opinion on center columns: As long as one recognizes the limitations of their particular setup, there is no reason to hold any prejudice against them. A D810 with a smallish prime, wider focal lengths, on a windless day, there's no harm to extend the column of this size. Be sure to use a remote and delay firing the shutter after touching the camera to let the vibrations dissipate, if maximum sharpness is important to you.



Nov 01, 2017 at 07:19 PM
jharter
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


Nice review and nice photos. Thanks.

You did not mention how much the tripod + head weigh?

Travel/hiking tripods are always a compromise. The 2 pound, ultra-solid, 6 foot tall, no center column, tripod with a RRS BH-55 knockoff head that weighs 0.5 lb is mythology. I have at least 6 tripods trying to find the perfect one for me.

As for center columns, I have use a 3LT Brian fully extended to about 7 feet with exposures of several seconds that are tack sharp - no wind, good technique etc. Certainly would not work with a 500mm lens in the surf in wind...



Nov 06, 2017 at 03:11 AM
josh paris
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


jharter wrote:
Nice review and nice photos. Thanks.

You did not mention how much the tripod + head weigh?

Travel/hiking tripods are always a compromise. The 2 pound, ultra-solid, 6 foot tall, no center column, tripod with a RRS BH-55 knockoff head that weighs 0.5 lb is mythology. I have at least 6 tripods trying to find the perfect one for me.

As for center columns, I have use a 3LT Brian fully extended to about 7 feet with exposures of several seconds that are tack sharp - no wind, good technique etc. Certainly would not work with a 500mm lens in the surf in
...Show more


You did not mention how much the tripod + head weigh?

-the DCF-432/46mm combo is 4lb 14oz...still hikeable worthy (for me), but its main strength is its sturdiness.

That said I just picked up the lighter model DCF428/40mm as well which is about 3lb 13oz combo- which also give me the option of mix and match head/tripod as gear or journey requires.
And while I have yet to do much with it so far, its also quite sturdy set up as well.



Nov 11, 2017 at 08:45 AM
josh paris
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


EB-1 wrote:
It looks like there is a short center column for small wildlife, etc. I hope it works out for you.

EBH


Correct- a Mini short Center column is included in the bag, along with 4 hex keys (2 of each size).




Nov 11, 2017 at 08:49 AM
Charles Loy
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Tripod Review: Desmond DCF-432 and Demon DB-46 Ballhead


I own this exact set. It fits in the hard saddlebag of my Harley Limited. It's fine for what I bought it for. I dislike the leg spread in it's standard position, I prefer to have a little wider spread. But I use it and have been pleased. The ball head seems to be the Sunwayfoto ball head, as mentioned, and it's a dandy.


Nov 13, 2017 at 02:49 AM







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