Upload & Sell: Off
So I'm considering revamping my gear setup for traveling, hiking, and backpacking and am looking at different tripod setups and would love to hear your opinions on suitable alternatives to my existing Gitzo 1257. The maximum load I'm gonna put on it will be a 5DII, 70-200 f4 IS, RRS L-plate, 1.4x TC which weighs in a 1.9kg or 2.4 lb without a ballhead.
The Gitzo G1257 I currently have weighs 3.1 lb, stands at 54.1", and folds up to 26".
I'd like a lighter tripod strapped to the side of my pack, and weight is probably one of the biggest things I'd like to cut back on, but not at the cost of stability. I'd also like to shave off at least 5 inches in folded length. The standing height is right about perfect for me w/ a 1-series body and a BH-40, maybe an inch shorter than perfect. With a 5D, I'll be having to stoop. I also prefer 3 section tripods in general, but am willing to compromise and go with a 4-section tripod for lightweight excursions. I'll probably keep my 1257 for regular duty loads with a 1-series and 70-200 2.8 and so this'll be a second set of legs.
Here's the different options I've looked at:
Gitzo 0541: 1.4 lb lighter (woohoo!), 7.6" shorter standing, 7.1" shorter folded up. I'm curious about its sturdiness, particularly in the wind. Also, the fact that it's only 4 feet tall seems a little odd, but I'm willing to compromise since it's such a nice weight savings. For hiking I may remove the center column, and for travel I can use the center column to raise the camera up if need be.
Gitzo 0531: 1.5 lb lighter (yay!), 1 foot shorter standing, 5.1" shorter folded up. Similar to the 0541, but 3 section legs, 0.1 lb lighter, short enough folded up, and ridiculously short when shooting... (I'm gonna have to try setting up my current tripod at these heights when backpacking this weekend and see if I'm comfortable stooping down a foot and shooting so low.)
Gitzo 1541T: 1 lb lighter, 9.6" shorter when standing, 9.9" shorter folded. Half a pound heavier than the 0-series legs, shorter than the 0541 but taller than the 0531 when shooting, way shorter than the minimum I would need folded up. In fact, just barely long enough that it'll still be held in place by the straps on my pack.
Gitzo 1541: 0.6 lb lighter, 0.2" taller standing, 4.7" shorter folded up. Starting to lose the weight savings I was liking relative to the other tripods, but still some there. I like that it's a smidge taller standing and shorter folded relative to my current 1257, but still not a big fan of the 4 section legs. I would really like to save more than 0.6 lb.
Gitzo 1531: 0.6 lb lighter, 1.3" shorter standing, 1.6" shorter folded. Some weight savings, a touch shorter when shooting, and not much savings in folded height. It's still gonna stick up above the top of my pack at this height which may be a dealbreaker. (I don't want it hitting trees when I walk under them or lean my pack against them.)
So yeah, looking through those options, the 0541 looks like a great lightweight set of legs. The 0531 looks nice too, but it's an entire foot lower than my current setup. Assuming these legs are strong enough to hold up the setup I'd like to shoot with, I'll probably go with one of these.
Now if they're not solid enough, let's see... the 1541 and 1531 are only a 0.6 lb savings. The 1541T may work as long as I'm willing to lose almost 10" in height. I like the weight savings relative to the non-traveler style legs.
So yeah, that's my thought process on that one.
For those of you who also do backpacking and travel photography, what has your experience been with lightweight tripods?
Got any opinions on heads? The Markins Q3 seems to be a popular choice. RRS also just released their BH-30 which looks promising as well.