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My quest for the ultimate tripod

  
 
qtluong
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


After using many different tripods (surveyed in a previous article linked within), I convinced myself that my next general-purpose tripod could be, finally, the last one I bought. With that in mind, I removed the budget as a consideration and set up to look for the perfect tripod. Read this article to see which tripod I chose, and more importantly, why: https://qtl.us/4bQmDQN


Mar 11, 2024 at 06:30 PM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


Thank you for the write-up. A few notes

Leg angle of tripods is easily adjustable of you are comfortable with an angle grinder or a file. The leg tabs are aluminum and it is straightforward to shave them a bit at a time until you reach the desired spread. My Leofoto 284C is now magically a 26 degree spread with less than an inch loss of height which more than makes up for the pathetic lack of stability of the 284C out of the box.

You state that a TVC-24L is heavy and not that stable. Without the bottom section extended a TVC-24L is probably more stable than the top rated TVC-23. Otherwise you are comparing apples to oranges.

Finally you remove budget as a consideration but are not specific about the other important determinants of performance - weight, max height and folded size. You seem to lug your tripods through all sorts of difficult terrain and if stopping a bit is a discomfort you should then be valuing tripods that extend into the upper 60 inches range higher so they can be used on steep inclines and eep snow. You can always choose not to extend the bottom section of a 4 segment tripod and make it behave better than an equivalent 3 segment but you can never have a 3 segment go higher.



Mar 12, 2024 at 02:48 AM
sjms
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


everyone has a perspective and they vary widely. then there is the time factor till the next "ultimate".

the "read about" statement made should be referenced and shared as i personally have never had the leg loosen on either.

i myself have removed and replaced the apexes on my 2 tripods (RRS TQC14 purchased in 2012 and TVC24m2 purchased in 2018) for clean out and on the 14 TFC swap out numerous times over the years of use. never had the legs loosen in use. but then there are simple things to do to make sure it won't. its called preventative maintenance. a little medium strength thread locker (vibra-tite medium or loctite 242 or 248 lipstick version)

to truly prevent issues is to do your due diligence on all your tools before you step out the door. check everything. i do.

PMG tripods are neat looking but tend to be somewhat overly complex in build to me. though that comes from someone who worked in commercial aviation for 33 years. some of their methods are used in aviation.

i do like PMG's GK Jr gimble. been using that for a few years now. easy to maintain over the years.

Edited on Mar 12, 2024 at 11:19 AM · View previous versions



Mar 12, 2024 at 07:54 AM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


qtluong wrote:
After using many different tripods (surveyed in a previous article linked within), I convinced myself that my next general-purpose tripod could be, finally, the last one I bought. With that in mind, I removed the budget as a consideration and set up to look for the perfect tripod. Read this article to see which tripod I chose, and more importantly, why: https://qtl.us/4bQmDQN


Are you evaluating legs for use with a large format film camera? (i.e. heavy weight, long exposure) That's a very different use case than the typical photographer with a small format digital camera. I no longer shoot large format so my point of view is purely from a small format perspective.

If I am carrying a tripod, I am carrying a backpack as well. Simply hanging my pack from the tripod underside as a counterweight has a dramatic effect on vibration damping. Even relatively small, inexpensive legs become incredibly stable when anchored with a moderate counterweight.

Fewer leg sections certainly improves rigidity. For me, 3 section legs are just too cumbersome to carry any distance. 4 section legs that extend to my preferred working height of ~1500mm typically collapse short enough to ride in or on my backpack without extending above my head while carrying. It really all comes back to the best tripod being the one you actually have with you. The super stiff, 3 section legs never leave my house. The lighter, 4 section legs are portable enough to actually get used.



Mar 12, 2024 at 10:18 AM
qtluong
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


GroovyGeek wrote:
You state that a TVC-24L is heavy and not that stable. Without the bottom section extended a TVC-24L is probably more stable than the top rated TVC-23. Otherwise you are comparing apples to oranges.

Finally you remove budget as a consideration but are not specific about the other important determinants of performance - weight, max height and folded size. You seem to lug your tripods through all sorts of difficult terrain and if stopping a bit is a discomfort you should then be valuing tripods that extend into the upper 60 inches range higher so they can be used on
...Show more

Thank you for the notes. I understand that preferences and requirement vary. However, in comparing the TVC-33 and TVC-24L as eye-level tripods for a person of my height (5'11"), the later needs to have four sections extended. By the way, I am not sure why a TVC-24L with 3 sections extended would be more rigid than a TVC-33. If I carry a 4-section tripod and do not extend the last section, then the tripod will not reach eye-level for me, and I will have carried the weight of an additional section for nothing.



Mar 12, 2024 at 05:53 PM
qtluong
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


jeffbuzz wrote:
Are you evaluating legs for use with a large format film camera? (i.e. heavy weight, long exposure) That's a very different use case than the typical photographer with a small format digital camera. I no longer shoot large format so my point of view is purely from a small format perspective.

If I am carrying a tripod, I am carrying a backpack as well. Simply hanging my pack from the tripod underside as a counterweight has a dramatic effect on vibration damping. Even relatively small, inexpensive legs become incredibly stable when anchored with a moderate counterweight.

Fewer leg sections certainly improves rigidity.
...Show more

It is from the perspective of a digital photographer. Let me quote my own comment from https://qtl.us/3j6lU44: " I do not agree with the conventional wisdom that heavier and bigger cameras require a bigger tripod. I routinely use my 57 camera on a series 2 tripod. Being bigger, unlike a 35mm camera, it reaches a perfect height for eye-level viewing. Because the transparency requires five times less enlargement than a 35mm frame, I can get away with lesser resolution, and therefore more camera shake than would be necessary for a smaller camera. It is true that the large format camera requires a slower shutter speed, but even at the typical 35mm shutter speeds used in landscape photography, camera shake will still impact resolution. "

About hanging weight, you may find this an interesting read: https://thecentercolumn.com/2018/02/18/stiffness-and-damping-vs/

If I had to do a lot of bushwhacking, I am sure I'd prefer a more compact tripod, but on the terrain I frequently cross, having a tripod sticking out is almost never an issue. I know folks who routinely carried non-foldable time-lapse sliders (think six foot long) to remote locations.



Mar 12, 2024 at 06:10 PM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


qtluong wrote:
It is from the perspective of a digital photographer. Let me quote my own comment from https://qtl.us/3j6lU44: " I do not agree with the conventional wisdom that heavier and bigger cameras require a bigger tripod. I routinely use my 57 camera on a series 2 tripod. Being bigger, unlike a 35mm camera, it reaches a perfect height for eye-level viewing. Because the transparency requires five times less enlargement than a 35mm frame, I can get away with lesser resolution, and therefore more camera shake than would be necessary for a smaller camera. It is true that the large format camera
...Show more

The need for controlled lab conditions in David's tests was understandable. For myself and I assume most backpacking photographers, the counterweight is not "hung" as a free swinging pendulum. The pack is resting on the ground and lashed to the tripod. The benefit is two-fold. First, wind induced vibration is countered. Second, the legs are more firmly planted into the dirt or snow reducing slippage of the feet on uneven or soft terrain.



Mar 12, 2024 at 08:07 PM
Bobarino
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


William Shakespeare wrote "A rose by any other name,,, would smell as sweet." (Romeo & Juliet). Well it looks like RRS has gone with "the other name".

While browsing the above article on the "ultimate tripod", I saw the RRS TVC-23 and TVC-24L get mentioned, and decided to have a look at the specs. The first thing that pops up is "2-series",,, and as I read a little farther into the leg diameters, it hit me like a ton of bricks,,,, this is not a "2-series" at all. Apparently, RRS has taken a 3-series tripod, and simply re-named/advertized it as a "2-series",,, probably with the intent of making it look much stronger than any other "2-series" on the market.

Don't believe me Have a look at the specs. Same applies to the TVC-24L.Check the weight while you're at it.

https://thecentercolumn.com/tripod-reviews/really-right-stuff/really-right-stuff-tvc-23-test-results/

https://www.gitzo.com/ca-en/tripod-systematic-series-3-3-sections-gt3533s/

https://www.gitzo.com/ca-en/tripod-systematic-series-3-long-4-sections-gt3543ls/

I haven't looked at any of the other RRS offerings, but I'll have a look later.



Mar 14, 2024 at 01:17 PM
mkuznicki
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


Maybe I'm missing something, but I never even considered that the series designations would be standardized between manufacturers.

Bobarino wrote:
William Shakespeare wrote "A rose by any other name,,, would smell as sweet." (Romeo & Juliet). Well it looks like RRS has gone with "the other name".

While browsing the above article on the "ultimate tripod", I saw the RRS TVC-23 and TVC-24L get mentioned, and decided to have a look at the specs. The first thing that pops up is "2-series",,, and as I read a little farther into the leg diameters, it hit me like a ton of bricks,,,, this is not a "2-series" at all. Apparently, RRS has taken a 3-series tripod, and simply re-named/advertized it as
...Show more




Mar 14, 2024 at 01:57 PM
sjms
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


oh there not. with Gitzo you need a multivolume book to cover their nomenclature for their models over the years.

another thing that RRS did was replace all that Mg alloy and swapped in some good old 6061-T6

i went through a few Gitzo's in my youth then the madness stopped



Mar 14, 2024 at 02:35 PM
 


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Bobarino
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


mkuznicki wrote:
Maybe I'm missing something, but I never even considered that the series designations would be standardized between manufacturers.



They're not. Gitzo wrote the book though, on referring to "series numbers", and others followed suit in trying to match the weight/size within that specific leg category.. The series number is always based on the top leg-section diameter. Some oriental products stretch the parameters slightly, but only by a tiny margin. (example 30mm (Leofoto as opposed to 29.2mm/Gitzo) That margin is somewhat acceptable since they use thinner-walled tubes than the Gitzo..The tube wall thickness is seen by comparing the diameter difference between any larger tube and the next tube size down..

The 3-series Gitzo is 32.9mm diameter, while the supposed 2-series RRS is 32.8mm.. I'd say that's pretty close,,, wouldn't you?

The reason this is important, is because Traveller tripods tend to have an upper limit of 2-series. If you simply substitute a 3-series as a so-called 2-series,,, it can be categorized as a Traveller,,, and it then appears to beat all the others in the category.

Edited on Mar 14, 2024 at 04:30 PM · View previous versions



Mar 14, 2024 at 03:56 PM
Bobarino
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


sjms wrote:
oh there not. with Gitzo you need a multivolume book to cover their nomenclature for their models over the years.

another thing that RRS did was replace all that Mg alloy and swapped in some good old 6061-T6

i went through a few Gitzo's in my youth then the madness stopped


Aha , switch subjects eh? That "Magnesium alloy by the way,,, is not pressed powder like I've seen so many state over the years,,, it's a poured casting. The load limits are testimony to the tripods' capacity and strength.

On the subject of designations,, Gitzo has one of the,,, if not "THE" simplest designation systems around. A series 2 tube for example, is always a series 2 tube,,, whether it's the top tube on a 2-series tripod,,, or the second tube in a 3-series tripod,, or the third tube in a 4-series tripod,,, etc It never varies, whether that's on a Traveller,,, a Mountaineer,,, or a Systematic.

So there,



Mar 14, 2024 at 04:21 PM
sjms
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


In magnesium die casting, molten magnesium is injected into a die or mold cavity under high pressure. The resulting product, known as a magnesium cast, takes on the unique properties of magnesium alloy.
The process begins with the preparation of the magnesium alloy, which is carefully melted in a furnace.
The mold (die) used for casting is typically constructed from durable materials like steel and meticulously designed to produce the desired shape of the final part.
Once the molten magnesium is introduced into the mold cavity, it rapidly cools and solidifies under high pressure.
This method allows for the creation of intricate and complex shapes that would be challenging to achieve through alternative manufacturing processes1.

in the end though it still suffers from being Mg alloy and must be over sprayed with a paint for corrosion resistance.

some things do not change. remember i too previously owned a few gitzo tripods.






Mar 14, 2024 at 05:27 PM
Bobarino
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


Formula 1 cars as I recall, use Magnesium wheels, lighter , faster, stronger? ? ?

Aluminum tripod parts are mostly anodized, are they not?



Mar 14, 2024 at 05:44 PM
sjms
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


they also burn real well after you crash. and that's a fact. you don't want to be there.

how many Mg alloy hulls have you seen on boats vs aluminum?

do you know the difference between paint and anodizing?

oh, both Aluminum and Mg corrode the difference is Mg does it considerably faster.

just in case you didn't know you can reanodize a part if you really need too just as you can repaint Mg alloy.




Mar 14, 2024 at 05:57 PM
runamuck
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


Ultimate for what purpose? I have tripods from 6 inches to to 65 inches tall. I do macro to pano. There is no "one size fits all."


Mar 14, 2024 at 06:38 PM
Bobarino
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


sjms wrote:
they also burn real well after you crash. and that's a fact. you don't want to be there.

how many Mg alloy hulls have you seen on boats vs aluminum?

do you know the difference between paint and anodizing?

oh, both Aluminum and Mg corrode the difference is Mg does it considerably faster.




Boat hulls,,, cost factor,,, Mg alloy =$$$$ While Aluminum = $

I've got 5 Gitzo tripods, and oddly,,, not one of them shows even the slightest hint of corrosion, nor chipping... Go figure. I've seen quite a few long-term Gitzo owners here, mentioning that their tripods are still like they were 20 years ago (and longer)

That said,,, this is turning out to be a "bait & switch" discussion. We're talking series numbers and leg-tube diameters. RRS's claim that the TVC23 is a 2-series tripod, over-shoots conventional naming protocol by a HUGE margin. and RRS wuld stand alone using this criteria. Apples to apples,,, or apples to raisins ?.I would challenge anyone to find an equal deviation with any other brand. With a three series,,, each of the leg tubes, from top to bottom,,, are one full size larger than a 2-series. That's 29.2 for the Gitzo top tube, and 32.8 for the RRS TVC-23. A difference of 3.6 mm.

Edited on Mar 14, 2024 at 08:32 PM · View previous versions



Mar 14, 2024 at 07:01 PM
sjms
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


Boat hulls,,, cost factor,,, Mg alloy =$$$$ While Aluminum = $

wrong- Corrosion factor. no one uses Mg especially in the ocean. except as a sacrifice material for galvanic corrosion on steel hull ships along with zinc. not quite as pricey as you think.

i have a TVC24 its no lie. RRS has their series nomenclature 1/2/3/4 and the second number is the leg sections 3/4

don't equate the 2 companies naming nomenclature. they use their own tubing dimensions from their own source in the US.

RRS is not trying to be Gitzo. there is no need to be. its RRS they want to be.

here is a whole room of it its built to their spec:

just remember the real ultimate tripod is of course the one you believe in.













Mar 14, 2024 at 07:36 PM
Bobarino
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


sjms wrote:
wrong- Corrosion factor. no one uses Mg especially in the ocean. except as a sacrifice material for galvanic corrosion on steel hull ships along with zinc. not quite as pricey as you think.

i have a TVC24 its no lie. RRS has their series nomenclature 1/2/3/4 and the second number is the leg sections 3/4

don't equate the 2 companies naming nomenclature. they use their own tubing dimensions from their own source in the US.

RRS is not trying to be Gitzo. there is no need to be. its RRS they want to be.

here is a whole room of it its built
...Show more




Mar 14, 2024 at 11:24 PM
Bobarino
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · My quest for the ultimate tripod


sjms wrote:
wrong- Corrosion factor. no one uses Mg especially in the ocean. except as a sacrifice material for galvanic corrosion on steel hull ships along with zinc. not quite as pricey as you think.

i have a TVC24 its no lie. RRS has their series nomenclature 1/2/3/4 and the second number is the leg sections 3/4

don't equate the 2 companies naming nomenclature. they use their own tubing dimensions from their own source in the US.

RRS is not trying to be Gitzo. there is no need to be. its RRS they want to be.

here is a whole room of it its built
...Show more

None of what you're saying, has anything to do with what I posted. RRS would be the "ONLY" company describing this tripod as a 2-series tripod,,,No other,, none,,, zip,,, zero. I didn't talk about metalurgy,,, nor "paint",, nor corrosion,,, nor boat hulls. I'm not comparing it to Gitzo either. I'm just pointing out what's in print...black & white.
.
Take a peek at this;,,, no "specs" showing on their tripod web-page.

https://reallyrightstuff.com/tripods/versa/



Mar 14, 2024 at 11:25 PM
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