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The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii

  
 
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


I have been on the hunt for the goldilocks hiking tripod lately - 59" or more max height without center column, at minimum 28mm leg diameter, 4 leg sections, 3-ish lb height, mid price range (<$500).

The FLM CP30-M4 II seems to be the goldilocks tripod.



https://english.flm-gmbh.de/tripods/cp-30/cp30-m4-ii.php

Thicker legs than the Leofoto 284CEX at about the same height and weight, excellent reviews on thecentercolumn.com... but does not seem to be for sale anywhere.

Yes I have looked at the S4 (too short) and the L4 (needlessly tall for the intended use, likely to snag on overhead obstructions).

Would rather buy this than the Leofoto 284CEX...



Mar 10, 2024 at 01:40 AM
40Driggs
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


GroovyGeek wrote:
I have been on the hunt for the goldilocks hiking tripod lately - 59" or more max height without center column, at minimum 28mm leg diameter, 4 leg sections, 3-ish lb height, mid price range (<$500).

The FLM CP30-M4 II seems to be the goldilocks tripod.

https://english.flm-gmbh.de/tripods/cp-30/cp30-m4-ii.php

Thicker legs than the Leofoto 284CEX at about the same height and weight, excellent reviews on thecentercolumn.com... but does not seem to be for sale anywhere.

Yes I have looked at the S4 (too short) and the L4 (needlessly tall for the intended use, likely to snag on overhead obstructions).

Would rather buy this than the Leofoto
...Show more

Have you tried emailing Ari from FLM Canada? He's a really nice guy and may be able to help you out.

email: [email protected]



Mar 10, 2024 at 01:55 AM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


Yes I have an email to Ari. Not holding my breath because I can't find the M4-II for sale anywhere. Interesting that the M3-II in on B&H


40Driggs wrote:
Have you tried emailing Ari from FLM Canada? He's a really nice guy and may be able to help you out.

email: [email protected]




Mar 10, 2024 at 01:59 AM
hiepphotog
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


GroovyGeek wrote:
Yes I have an email to Ari. Not holding my breath because I can't find the M4-II for sale anywhere. Interesting that the M3-II in on B&H




The strange thing about FLM is that they only listed the popular ones. You can find different models on their German site. Best to contact Ari and most likely he can get it for you. Great choice going with FLM, better than Leofoto for sure.



Mar 10, 2024 at 06:26 AM
Twells
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


Ari is great to deal with.
When my ballhead clamp broke while in Nova Scotia last year, he went above and beyond to help me out.



Mar 10, 2024 at 08:17 AM
sjms
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


which head and what was the failure point?


Mar 10, 2024 at 11:20 AM
Bobarino
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


GroovyGeek wrote:
I have been on the hunt for the goldilocks hiking tripod lately - 59" or more max height without center column, at minimum 28mm leg diameter, 4 leg sections, 3-ish lb height, mid price range (<$500).

The FLM CP30-M4 II seems to be the goldilocks tripod.

https://english.flm-gmbh.de/tripods/cp-30/cp30-m4-ii.php

Thicker legs than the Leofoto 284CEX at about the same height and weight, excellent reviews on thecentercolumn.com... but does not seem to be for sale anywhere.

Yes I have looked at the S4 (too short) and the L4 (needlessly tall for the intended use, likely to snag on overhead obstructions).

Would rather buy this than the Leofoto
...Show more

What's the intended application (landscapes, wildlife),,, and what max focal lengths are you looking to support?



Mar 10, 2024 at 01:22 PM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


sjms wrote:
which head and what was the failure point?


I have two heads - Acratech that I tend to use on the lighter tripods because of it's higher profile, and a BH-40 that pretty much lives on a RRS TVC-24L. The TVC-24L is mostly used in the winter when the hikes tend to be of limited length and I need something that can be used in deep snow. Most of the time I use a Benro Mach3 TMA27C which is plenty strong but not as tall as I would like. Something that reaches 60ish inches without a center column and collapsed to 20ish inches, is around 3 lbs, and is under $500 would be ideal - which are pretty much the specs of the Leofoto 284CEX and the FLM CP-30M4 II.

Ari responded today promptly, as he always does, and said that he can order a CP30-M4 with just a couple of weeks of lead time. Price is a hair under $500. I may still go for the CP30-L4 because it is about as long as the TVC24L which I find to be manageable.

Bobarino wrote:
What's the intended application (landscapes, wildlife),,, and what max focal lengths are you looking to support?


Landscapes. The longest lens I have is a 100-400 but usually long exposures are the most demanding application.

Ari tried to talk me into the CP30-M5 which he said some of his customers use with medium format cameras. It has a good review on thecentercolumn but 5 sections is too much of a hassle even if it is stable enough.



Mar 10, 2024 at 09:48 PM
Bobarino
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


GroovyGeek wrote:
I have two heads - Acratech that I tend to use on the lighter tripods because of it's higher profile, and a BH-40 that pretty much lives on a RRS TVC-24L. The TVC-24L is mostly used in the winter when the hikes tend to be of limited length and I need something that can be used in deep snow. Most of the time I use a Benro Mach3 TMA27C which is plenty strong but not as tall as I would like. Something that reaches 60ish inches without a center column and collapsed to 20ish inches, is around 3 lbs, and
...Show more

Another possible alternative then,,, considering you plan on doing longer exposures,,, and you have the 100-400mm lens, might be a 3-series CP34 M4,,,, if it exists (or eventually becomes available).

The CP30 M4 is a 2-series, and even Gitzo's 2-series limits recommendations for focal lengths (DSLR & lens) to 200mm Max,up to 300mm.

I believe there's only 3cm's difference in folded length, and the payload of the CPM4 doubles,,, from 20kg to 40kg. That's a remarkable increase in stiffness and capacity, for .a 0.3 lb.weight difference.(estimated)

I'd imagine that FLM will eventually . have more M4's available,,, question is,,, when?. That said, the L4 is available now, but longer pack-length,,, heavier,,, and more $$$. I just tried to find a 3-series 4-section Systematic on Gitzo Canada's website,,, and those are AWOL as well. They only have LS and XLS versions within the 4-section format.

Edited on Mar 10, 2024 at 11:40 PM · View previous versions



Mar 10, 2024 at 11:11 PM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


Weight is a bigger priority for me. I already have a 4.2lb tripod, need to stay around 3 lbs with this one. My long exposures are usually wide. Ordered the CP30-L4 from B&H, worst case I return it.

Bobarino wrote:
Another possible alternative then,,, considering you plan on doing longer exposures,,, and you have the 100-400mm lens, might be a 3-series CP34 M4,,,, if it exists (or eventually becomes available).

The CP30 is a 2-series, and even Gitzo's 2-series limits recommendations for focal lengths (DSLR & lens) to 200mm Max,up to 300mm.

I believe there's only 3cm's difference in folded length, and the payload of the CPM4 doubles,,, from 20kg to 40kg. That's a remarkable increase in stiffness and capacity, for .a 0.3 lb.weight difference.(estimated)

I'd imagine that FLM will eventually . have more M4's available,,, question is,,, when?. That
...Show more



Mar 10, 2024 at 11:38 PM
 


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Bobarino
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


GroovyGeek wrote:
Weight is a bigger priority for me. I already have a 4.2lb tripod, need to stay around 3 lbs with this one. My long exposures are usually wide. Ordered the CP30-L4 from B&H, worst case I return it.



That CP30 L4 II could turn out to be a real blessing in disguise. The extra leg length is always handy for landscape applications (sloped terrain) Weight seems perfect for your original demand. The only caveat is the folded length, which exceeds TSA air travel limits by 1". In a pinch, you can always disassemble the lowest leg-segment or remove the feet to get around that.

If you'll be talking to Ari again, ask if you can get replacement shims. I'll be very interested in reading your impressions. Good luck.

One more point; when you receive the tripod, install the spikes before testing stability and plant them firmly into the soil. Yaw stiffness might be a concern in a long-exposure with a crosswind. TCC.com shows the yaw stiffness of the CP30 4L II as being slightly lower than the 1-series Gitzo Traveller.(GT-1545T) The combination of spikes and shortening a lower leg-section should improve yaw stiffness.



Mar 11, 2024 at 10:49 AM
Michel85
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


I was on the same lookout to get the CP30 M4 II as an upgrade for my Gitzo GT1542 mountaineer (which I like but it lacks spikes and I'd like slightly better height and thicker legs). The CP30 M4 seems like an almost perfect tripod for my needs with height right to eye level.
However I decided to go for the CP30 L4 II instead, mainly because the height with only 2 sections extended (so 1 section collapsed) is already very usable for most of my shots. That means I can extend it realy fast with added stability when needed and still a very decent working height (with 2 sections collapsed it has same working height as my Gitzo with center column down, so I'm very used to that height). But I will have the added height if I realy need it.
Maybe something you want to consider when choosing the model.



Mar 18, 2024 at 04:16 PM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii




Michel85 wrote:
I was on the same lookout to get the CP30 M4 II as an upgrade for my Gitzo GT1542 mountaineer (which I like but it lacks spikes and I'd like slightly better height and thicker legs). The CP30 M4 seems like an almost perfect tripod for my needs with height right to eye level.
However I decided to go for the CP30 L4 II instead, mainly because the height with only 2 sections extended (so 1 section collapsed) is already very usable for most of my shots. That means I can extend it realy fast with added stability when needed
...Show more

Agree. The 30-M4 and 30-L4 weigh almost the same and the extra height of the L4 is quite beneficial. I actually ordered a 30-L4 and it is in my possession. It is meaningfully heavier than spec though, 3 lbs 5 oz vs a spec of 3 lb 1 oz. As such it is only 6 oz lighter than the RRS TFC-24L that I already own. There is just too much overlap in specs and capability to keep both.

Ideally I need a tripod that I can take on demanding hikes that is good enough for 98%+ of situations. That means close to 60 inches max height, 3 lbs or less, reasonable stability. Ari offered to place a custom order for a 26-L4, 60" max height, 2.4lb weight. I am holding off on considering this until I see what the Leofoto 284CEX looks like. It has slightly thicker legs (28mm) and about the same height, but at well below half the cost. Yes Leofoto's have a small leg angle but they can be fixed with minimal loss of max height by grinding down the leg stops a tiny bit. If I am not happy with the Leofot I will go back to Ari and order a 26-L4.

By the time I am done paying for all return shipping I would have probably spent more :-D



Mar 18, 2024 at 05:55 PM
Twells
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


sjms wrote:
which head and what was the failure point?


CB-48 FT head with the CRB 60 quick release plate clamp.

Near as I can tell, while traveling last fall, I leaned the tripod, in its travel bag, against the wall in an airport men's room. The bag slid and hit the floor.

When I pulled the tripod to use it in Nova Scotia, the threaded stud on the tightening knob was bent. Evidently it took the brunt of the fall.

I got a hose clamp at the hardware to get me by until a QLB 60 arrived.





Mar 19, 2024 at 07:55 AM
sjms
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


thats all it took?!


Mar 19, 2024 at 07:59 AM
Twells
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


The threaded stud worked for a bit, then snapped.

The hose clamp kept me going, but hardly fit the quick release description.

Ari got me the new plate and I was back in business.





Mar 19, 2024 at 09:11 AM
sjms
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


i would request a second one as an "enroute" back up. kind of makes me that a short fall as you described would cause that sort of damage you said. it is a material issue. can you send me an image of the part and the breakage preferably a close up?


Mar 19, 2024 at 09:21 AM
Bobarino
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


GroovyGeek wrote:
Agree. The 30-M4 and 30-L4 weigh almost the same and the extra height of the L4 is quite beneficial. I actually ordered a 30-L4 and it is in my possession. It is meaningfully heavier than spec though, 3 lbs 5 oz vs a spec of 3 lb 1 oz. As such it is only 6 oz lighter than the RRS TFC-24L that I already own. There is just too much overlap in specs and capability to keep both.

Ideally I need a tripod that I can take on demanding hikes that is good enough for 98%+ of situations. That means
...Show more

Go try the Gitzo 2-series Traveller (GT-2545T) and you'll probably call it a day.



Mar 19, 2024 at 10:41 AM
Michel85
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


GroovyGeek wrote:
Agree. The 30-M4 and 30-L4 weigh almost the same and the extra height of the L4 is quite beneficial. I actually ordered a 30-L4 and it is in my possession. It is meaningfully heavier than spec though, 3 lbs 5 oz vs a spec of 3 lb 1 oz. As such it is only 6 oz lighter than the RRS TFC-24L that I already own. There is just too much overlap in specs and capability to keep both.

Ideally I need a tripod that I can take on demanding hikes that is good enough for 98%+ of situations. That means
...Show more

If the weight of 3 lb 5 oz as you say is correct than at least the listed weight on the German website of 1.5 kg is accurate (3 lb 5 oz = 1,502 kg).. that is re-assuring for me.
I just hate it when equipment is significant more heavy than listed weight. Especially when gram counting for multiple-day hiking trips and try to stay within a certain self-imposed weight limit



Mar 19, 2024 at 12:05 PM
Bobarino
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · The elusive FLM CP30-M4 Ii


Problem here is,, at what cost in stability The short CP 30 S4 II has a yaw stiffness of 723,,, while the taller CP 30 L4 II drops to 501 yaw stiffness, which is lower than a Gitzo 1-series Traveller. The M4 version should be somewhere in between (610 ? )

The 2 series Gitzo Traveller weighs 2.9 lbs. TCC didn't test the 2-series Traveller, but they did test the 2-series Mountaineer which has the same legs, and yaw stiffness there is 853.

On my 2-series Traveller, I'm shooting at eye-level while standing fully erect, and that's with the Gitzo GH-1382QD head and a camera. (no levelling base) I'm 5' 9"..The included columns (short column and standard reversible column) are exceptionally rigid, Folded length with the head mounted, is under 18"

Edited on Mar 19, 2024 at 01:43 PM · View previous versions



Mar 19, 2024 at 01:17 PM
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