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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:26 pm 
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Hi folks,

I'm looking for a light and compact tripod which I won't end up leaving behind when I go walkabout (unlike my 3kg/6lb Bogen monster). This has turned out to be far more difficult than choosing a camera. :x

Rather than ask "what is the best..." I'll offer my initial choice, with reasons, and ask if anyone can suggest a better option.
    Tripod: Gitzo GT1540T
    Reasons: Low weight (0.9kg/2lb), really compact when folded (less than 40cm/15"), reasonably firm when carrying a DSLR plus up to a 200mm lens and yet has a good height when extended (134cm/53").

    Ballhead: Markins Ball Head Q-Ball Q3 Emille
    Reasons: On the face of it there is quite a wide choice here but a deciding factor was the diameter of the unit (4.8cm/1.9"). My understanding is that anything wider will give the Gitzo tripod difficulty in folding completely. The Q3 is light, has a good carrying capacity and I understand that Markins is a well respected name. Another big plus point is the wealth of information on the Markins site (can't even find the Arca-Swiss site!)

    Accessories: If I go with the Markins ballhead then it would be natural to buy their plates for my EOS 40D and EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens (for which I already have a collar).
The intended use is for landscapes rather than wildlife and budget isn't a huge issue as I would rather get it right first time. Are there any other recommended alternatives which satisfy my size and weight constraints?

Bob.

P.S. By the way, I cancelled an order for the Gitzo GT1550T. Not sure that the included ballhead with that model was good enough.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:27 am 
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Hmm, that's a tricky one Bob - as a keen hiker, I've tried all sorts of lighter tripods or monopods and always been disappointed. The closest I've got to something which works the way I do is a Gorillapod with a ball and socket head, but they're no good if there's nothing to attach it to...


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:33 pm 
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Gordon, are you saying a gorillapod with a ball and socket gives you more stability than a ful size tripod? Or just that it's more practical?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:53 pm 
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Nope, it's not as stable as a proper big tripod, but its much more portable - and I find it preferrable to using little travel tripods when I'm hiking...


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:12 pm 
This is a good topic Bob, as I’m in the market as well for a good tripod for hiking and backpacking. As you mentioned it is harder to decide which model to choose over the decision of a camera.
Gordon I was also looking at the gorillapod as a possibility, as it would be easy to store and lightweight. I am looking forward to further suggestions from other members.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:17 am 
Maybe grow some mussels and take the tripod you have now :D


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:44 pm 
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Hi folks,

Well, the decision is finally made! Of course I don't make life any easier for myself by choosing a tripod that is so new it isn't even in stock yet. :roll:
    Tripod: Gitzo GT1541T
    Reasons: Low weight (1kg/2.2lb), really compact when folded (41cm/16"), reasonably firm when carrying a DSLR plus up to a 200mm lens and yet has a good height when extended (134cm/52"). This unit replaces the GT1540T and the big difference is the rated load capacity of 8kg/17.6lb compared to the GT1540T's 4.5kg/9.9lb. That should translate into a much stiffer unit for virtually the same weight and size. 8)

    Ballhead: Markins Ball Head Q-Ball Q3 Emille
    Reasons: On the face of it there is quite a wide choice here but a deciding factor was the diameter of the unit (4.8cm/1.9"). My understanding is that anything wider will give the Gitzo tripod difficulty in folding completely. The Q3 is light, has a good carrying capacity and Markins kit is well respected. Another big plus point is the wealth of information on the Markins site (can't even find the Arca-Swiss site!)

    Accessories: Markins PG-40 and PL-55 plates for my EOS 40D and EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens (for which I already have a collar) and the Markins MP-3 protective cap for the ballhead.
The intended use is for landscapes rather than wildlife. This isn't a cheap set-up unfortunately but I have hopes that this is the right one for me. I'm glad I dithered long enough to find out about the forthcoming Gitzo tripod.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:27 am 
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Hi folks,

Well, I am now the proud owner of a Gitzo GT1541T tripod and an Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1 DP ballhead. I'll work up a few thoughts for a User Review (hopefully some time next month) but initial impressions are excellent.

One, or even two :!: , of you may have noticed that in the end I decided not to go with the Markins Q3 ballhead. I ordered the tripod first so that I could check the dimensions and it became clear to me that even the Q3 wouldn't allow the tripod legs to fold completely flat when reversed around the head. As a result I was able to consider a head with a bigger base and as the Arca-Swiss Z1 has a panoramic head option above the ball the decision sort of made itself. With the legs retracted the tripod is so compact that tripod plus head is still shorter than my backpack is tall.

The Really Right Stuff BH-40 PCL has the same capability as the Arca-Swiss Z1 DP but in the end I stuck with a European manufacturer with a sales presence here in the UK. Arca-Swiss nearly lost it though, as their engineering excellence is nearly eclipsed by an inexplicable unwillingness to provide even the most rudimentary web presence. The link I provided above is to the Amazon sales page! The only detailed information I could find about the Z1 was in this review at The-Digital-Picture.com. :evil:

While I build myself up to doing that user review here are a couple of pictures plucked from the web to be going on with:-

Image Image

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:52 am 
Seems like you ended up going for a pretty good option there, how is the stability on the tipod? This might be kind of personally but how much was each part?

All the best

EDIT: just got it, clicked on the image and it took me to the location :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm 
good buy Bob..... enjoy

had a gitzo for over 20 years, bit heavy to carry around all day but very stable with long lens...... used to use it to hold a Mamiya 6x7 on location.... then a client run over it on a job last year and almost destroyed it, had repairs done but not as stable as it used to be...... only good now to hold a flash

...... about a month ago, while having a social visit at my camera and lens supplier, I spotted a second hand Gitzo tripod, same as my old one, in a much better condition than my old tripod before it was run over, for $200 dollars..... made my visit worth while......


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:15 pm 
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Hi Alex,

Regarding stability, the ballhead is stellar. The tripod is a very lightweight design so while the three legs seem to be doing a good job with the centre column down if I raise the centre column fully and then give my 200mm zoom a tap the vibration is noticeable and takes around a second or two to die away. Things are much better, as you would expect, with the centre column down with a much higher frequency of oscillation at much less amplitude which seems to die down in under a second after a tap. That "tap test" with the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM was done with the camera's plate (a Kirk Photo PZ-120 designed for the EOS 40D) attached to the ballhead. I'm not sure a lens plate would help as, while the camera plus lens would be better balanced, the ballhead is easily able to cope and the same mass is still oscillating on top of the column.

As you noticed, this isn't the cheapest kit in the world, unfortunately. With the ballhead the price buys quality engineering, in my opinion, and it's worth every penny. With the tripod the price buys the light weight and compactness that high-tech four section carbon fibre legs offer. Obviously it can't be as stable as something three times its weight and twice its bulk but I have one of those and there's no way I'll cart that up and down the hills on my back! However, using a cable release and with my backpack hung from the centre column some initial pixel peeping looks encouraging and I think it will be stiff enough. The really severe test, though slightly unfair given I bought the tripod for landscape shots, will come with, say, a one second exposure at 200mm and with mirror lockup either enabled or disabled. :? I need to do a bit of planning for those shots, rather than ad hoc tests in the garden, so that I can get a good idea of just how good, or bad, the tripod is.

@BP, That's a great recommendation if you end up buying the same kit twice. Which model, if I may ask?

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:30 pm 
[Edited by me: Removed line]




I'm so sorry, no offense, I guess I'm just not used to these prices :oops: Must be one hell of a tripod ...


Last edited by Cheezbrgr on Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:40 pm 
Well its quite interesting to knw! Remember that tripod that i was refering to on a previous thread? The prozigma tripod, it was only about 150US dollars and it was made from carbon fiber was it was about the same weight, but extended to a bit higher 153cm, this seemed like a very sturdy tripod to me

I wish i could play around with both and see if i could notice the difference

Now how come the ball head was so expensive, it was more pricey then the tripod itself? what so different from that ball head to a Digipod BH-52Q apart from it max capacity?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:46 pm 
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Hi Cheezbrgr,

My guru was Thom Hogan, in this instance, and his article Tripods and Ball Heads, so I blame him. I think it's useful to remember that the Arca-Swiss ballhead should last me right through the next decade at least so on a cost per year basis it ain't too bad.

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Last edited by Bob Andersson on Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:51 pm 
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alex168 wrote:
...how come the ball head was so expensive...

Maybe the elliptical ball? Maybe the name. Maybe that Markins, Kirk and RRS are also not exactly cheap. I do know that, even after the briefest acquaintance, it's a dream to use. Everything feels silky smooth. 8)

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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