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| Re: Lightest tripod rig for 500 F4 |
I look at tools from a purely technical and then investment aspect.
the Feisol 3372 uses machined alloy components which tend to be more robust in use in a greater variety of conditions. being that it is a design similar to the RRS/Gitzo, that being modular in nature in its platform options allows you to use it and them in many ways.
this also carries through with the other mentioned brands but each then has their particular design strengths and weaknesses.
you need to look into the real technical aspects of each brand and model. some seem subtle but turn out to be rather well thought out and add to the usability.
now I use a 300/2.8 with 1.4x and 1.7x extenders yielding roughly a 420 f4 and 500 f4.8 in the use. granted it is not quite a 500 f4 but for my uses it works well. I originally used a Feisol CT3371 with a RRS BH55 and a Wimberley Sidekick. I then went to a TVC33 and use the same head setup to this day. I use(d) both tripods with a leveling platform pretty much from day one. the Feisol is a "cousin" in design to the RRS but not quite as robust overall. it will do the job though.
some accessories from Gitzo are completely usable on a RRS but not on a Feisol such as the spiked feet. (which I have installed on my GT2540EX, TVC33 and TQC14)
each company has their own platform design and they are not interchangeable. the one deviation from this is the RRS leveling platform will fit the previous generation Gitzo systematic 3 series tripod (RRS designed it this way) not the new one though. Gitzo made changes to its design so it would not be usable.
each offers their own interchangeable platform. as I said above the RRS and Feisol were similar but not.
the Feisol has a drop in platform that sets into a fully solid circle spider. the platform is secured into place by 3 Allen type screws from 3 points 120 deg apart. It holds very well.
RRS on the TVC33 does the same thing (solid spider ring) but with an additional added security item. there is in the spider slot assy a floating metallic ring that when the screws set 120 deg apart are individually tightened the ring is deformed to slot into both the platform and spider grooves in its deformation. so when any 1 screw is set and locked the platform is secure when all 3 are set (you get a trilobal shape deformation) your not getting it off w/o unscrewing all 3. it is very secure, solid and essentially reqs no user intervention other then tightening the 3 Allen bolts
Gitzo has used a split spider w/flange assy since its inception. it has a open slot so it can spread and accept the flange of the platform into it. at the split is a crossover bolt/ and recently added ratchet setup which snugs and closes the gap around the flange thus securing the platform. they have recently added a security piece to help prevent the platform from coming out should the crossover bolt loosen and allow the platform to move.
The center posts on each are again both similar but different.
Feisol system is again similar to RRS but they use a CF center post. Prices out at approx $60 and just short of 1lb total travel approx 17"
RRS supplies the drop in Locking CP assy and the CP. The original platform and hook from the tripod are used to finish the Assy. CP is aluminum. Cost $110 and adds approx 13oz to the tripod total travel length is 12.5 ". They do not feel that the the real world difference in total weight warranted the higher cost.
The Gitzo version for the newer 3 Series is a CF tube CP that weighs in at about 18oz and prices out at $239
When measuring the base height of a tripod make sure to take into account the height with and without a CP. tripods with CP's add generally a minimum of 2.5"to the base height.
Take into account the height of your ball head too.
Just some hard data to work with. No ankle biting and all traceable.