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Thread: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

  1. #1
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    Just wanted to share a quick mini review of the Feisol line of Carbon Fiber "Travel" series tripods. Basically, it seems the term travel now means a tripod whose legs can fold up over it's own extended center column, thereby making the total folded length less than it would normally be. Gitzo has been doing this for a while and I recently learned that Feisol has a few options too.

    I have two issues with tripods. First is I am am tall and most pods, especially travel pods, do not extend long enough to accommodate my needs. Gitzo has one 2 series that just makes the 5' mark -- but it also weighs as much as my existing 3 series, so I am left asking what the point of that is? Second is since I shoot MF, I need a reasonably rigid pod.

    Historically, a tripod choice has centered around the old balancing act of, going for rigidity, light weight or reasonable cost, and you could have any two of those you wanted. Feisol has broken that mold somewhat.

    I bought the 3441T. Let's start with the specs: it weighs 2-1/4 pounds, folds to 18.9", extends to 56-1/2" without using the center column, extends to 68-1/2" using the center column, can get as low as 8" with the optional short center column ($25) and costs $319 with conventional legs or $414 with the newer anti-rotating legs. I sprung for the no rotate, because having been there before with Gitzo I knew they were worth it! I also sprung for the optional short column and optional spike feet ($15 for a set of 3).

    In use the pod is very light and more than rigid enough for my tech camera, even with the center column extended, though I never do that unless it's an absolute necessity. It sets up quickly and folds easily. The legset seems about comparable to a 2 series Gitzo, but lighter in weight, yet still as rigid or possibly even more so. The main legs are padded plus the tripod comes in a nice padded and zippered storage bag, complete with external pocket that can store the small column and spike feet and wrench -- very nice added touches, especially considering the price! Both columns have a removable hook at the bottom for hanging your bag on to help add rigidity, and have a second 3/8" mounting stud should you want to mount your head inverted on the pod or attach a secondary accessory like a macro flash. To mount the spike feet, you have to first pry the regular rubber feet off as they are not screwed on, just a very tight slip fit over the leg ends. Once out of the the way, the spikes screw into threaded holes in the bottom of the legs and are tightened with the included wrench. This isn't intended to be my main working pod, but will certainly be my main travel pod -- and it is so light and compact it will certainly be with me on all of my car trips as a back-up. There isn't much more to add as it's a just a tripod, but IMHO it represents a good enough bargain I thought it worth sharing!

    I bought this pod from Kerry Thalmann at http://reallybigcameras.com/, and here is the direct link to his Feisol order page: http://reallybigcameras.com/Feisol/Tripods. I have known Kerry for several years, and can tell you he is a great guy and easy to deal with!

    Here are some simple P&S grabs for you to look at, but I did not take one with the legs folder over the column -- but trust me, they do :


    3441T with a my Arca RM3Di tech camera on a small Gitzo 1780 ballhead


    The "Long" Spike Feet mounted -- they are about 1-1/2" long total


    Spike feet can be problematic inside a vehicle, so I cap them with small sections of rubber tubing

    PS: A note on why I like spike feet. Simply stated, as an outdoor photographer they are a lot more secure and rigid on hard rocky surfaces and thicker matted vegetation than rubber feet. Once you've used them, you'll want them on all your outdoor pods.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Re: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    I just replaced an older Gitzo with a Feisol. Having looked at the latest generation of Gitzos I couldn't find a reason not to go with the cheaper Feisol. I can also second Jacks's recommendation of reallybigcameras.com.
    Martin Ranger - Seattle, WA
    www.martinrangerimages.com

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    Re: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    I missed this when you first posted about it. I too saw it in Death Valley and decided to give it a try. Instead of the 3441T I bought the 3441S.

    The difference is 2" shorter folded and about 6" shorter extended but without center column extended. The center column is different than Jack's model in that there are two sections (and the sections tighten just like the legs on the tripod). I like that the tripod is two inches smaller folded because it helps me packing it in carryon luggage. I don't love that that tripod head sits higher. Two options for keeping it lower 1)you can reverse the center column (the hook unscrews and the right size stud is there) and 2)use the short column.

    So far I really like the Feisol

    Here you can see the difference in the center column vs. Jack's picture above.
    terry
    www.terrybanet.com
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    Re: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    Good review, Jack.

    I've been using the Feisol CT3442 Tournament model since 2006-2007. Fitted with an Acratech Ultimate Ball Head and the adjustable column, it is rated up to a 20Lb load and stands as tall as 72 inches, yet packs down into a 19" long, 5" diameter bag that weighs, all up, less then 5 lbs. The only negative is that is isn't a particularly fast operating tripod.

    Good stuff.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    Another thumbs up for the Feisol 3441T tripod.

    I replaced my Gitzo traveller with the Feisol after spending too many shoots out in the field where I had to extend the center column to get a reasonable shooting height. The 3441T solves that problem superbly and although slightly bigger in the case, the extra standard height and lack of need of column extension make it a very usable stable platform.

    I went with the PhotoClam Pro Gold II head which I can also recommend. A more compact solution is the Markins q3t which a good friend of mine uses on the Feisol - it folds the entire assembly a little closer to make the packed tripod take up less space.

    Another big thumbs up to Kerry at reallybigcameras.com - great service and immediate order turnaround and a super nice and helpful guy too!
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Senior Member Braeside's Avatar
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    Re: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    I missed this when you first posted about it. I too saw it in Death Valley and decided to give it a try. Instead of the 3441T I bought the 3441S.
    Terry,
    That is the same model I got. I was worried it might not be man enough for the A900, but it has proven to be fine, even with their cheap ball and socket head that I bought. I also have a Manfrotto 190PROB alloy tripod and would say the much lighter Feisol is as rigid. The Manfrotto is quicker to extend and set up as it has toggles rather than rings to loosen/tighten.

    I have not taken the Feisol on a flight yet, but it is light enough to just go in my suitcase in the hold. I would not risk trying to take a tripod as carry on luggage these days as airport security have been known to confiscate them as offensive weapons!
    David Anderson

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    Re: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    Quote Originally Posted by Braeside View Post
    Terry,
    That is the same model I got. I was worried it might not be man enough for the A900, but it has proven to be fine, even with their cheap ball and socket head that I bought. I also have a Manfrotto 190PROB alloy tripod and would say the much lighter Feisol is as rigid. The Manfrotto is quicker to extend and set up as it has toggles rather than rings to loosen/tighten.

    I have not taken the Feisol on a flight yet, but it is light enough to just go in my suitcase in the hold. I would not risk trying to take a tripod as carry on luggage these days as airport security have been known to confiscate them as offensive weapons!
    I usually carry my tripod head and borrow the legs when I'm traveling. I only really need the tripod a small amount of the time and this saves enormously on luggage space.

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    Senior Member Braeside's Avatar
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    Re: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    That would be ideal Godfrey, unfortunately my travels usually take me to places where finding anyone with a suitable tripod is unlikely. I often think they should hire tripods out at airports. (They could use the ones they confiscate from unfortunate folks trying to take them on board).
    David Anderson

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    Re: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    Quote Originally Posted by Braeside View Post
    That would be ideal Godfrey, unfortunately my travels usually take me to places where finding anyone with a suitable tripod is unlikely. I often think they should hire tripods out at airports. (They could use the ones they confiscate from unfortunate folks trying to take them on board).
    LOL ... I haven't yet had anyone try to confiscate my tripod as a carry-on item, but I have had one stolen from a checked bag. Sigh.

    I should just ship my second legs to the Isle of Man for my next trip, that way I don't have to borrow my buddy's tripod when I get there.

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    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
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    Re: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    Bumpity bump.. I bumped this as its been such a useful thread for me, and I hope others will see it.

    Jack,
    Thank you so much for posting your review. I have been looking for something of this level for ages. I'd rather spend a comparable amount to the value of my cameras than have a tripod that is worth heaps more if you get my drift. Feisols seem to have enough range to suit my budget the hardest will be choosing a model. Thanks also the posters for some great head ideas. I rather like the look of the Markins.

    What I could now use is some advice on a head for use on small HQ compacts like a DP2 or DP2 Merrill, OM-D or X100? I know most things will work but I'd like something light and compact with a QR plate that won't be oversize for the above list.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Tim; 30th September 2012 at 02:43.

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    Re: Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods

    Feisol 3441T with Markins Q3T Head. This combo will fold up completely with the legs parallel for ultimate packing. The head will be more than sufficient for any of the small cameras you mentioned and will also be strong enough for a DSLR outfit with a 'reasonable' lens on it.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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