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Help with minimum size tripod need please

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Looks like an interesting option, and of course RRS nearly always makes super-high-quality bits, but dang! People complain at the price of the Peak Design and these are twice that price...!

G
The pre-release PD tripod (which I now have) was also at that show. It felt like jello next to the RRS. I use the PD for iPhone movies. Maybe Fuji X with a not too long lens. But the RRS 1-series is in a different league.
 

Shashin

Well-known member
Looks like an interesting option, and of course RRS nearly always makes super-high-quality bits, but dang! People complain at the price of the Peak Design and these are twice that price...!

G
Just imagine how it lightens the wallet and reduces the load you need to carry...
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
The pre-release PD tripod (which I now have) was also at that show. It felt like jello next to the RRS. I use the PD for iPhone movies. Maybe Fuji X with a not too long lens. But the RRS 1-series is in a different league.
It better be at the price they want for it. :)

Just imagine how it lightens the wallet and reduces the load you need to carry...
Hmm ... I will celebrate the day my wallet becomes a burden to carry due to its weight. :)

One thing I have to say is that the PD Tripod is usable and convenient enough to always have with me to the extent that I have had it for a wide variety of shots that I would never have had a tripod with me, for lack of patience or motivation to manage the bulk or use. And that means that I made more photos that were satisfying enough. That alone is worth the cost, even if it is not the ultimate tripod for all purposes.

G
 

Shashin

Well-known member
One thing I have to say is that the PD Tripod is usable and convenient enough to always have with me to the extent that I have had it for a wide variety of shots that I would never have had a tripod with me, for lack of patience or motivation to manage the bulk or use. And that means that I made more photos that were satisfying enough. That alone is worth the cost, even if it is not the ultimate tripod for all purposes.

G
I agree. That is the compromise we all need to make (fortunately, unlike China and children, we can have as many tripods as we want ;) ). I have been erring on the lighter more compact side of the equation. Personally, I have not found I am a good judge of stability (that is not quite true, I can recognize bomb-proof tripods). I have gotten away with less than ideal equipment, at least on a spec type of assessment. But I found like many things, it comes down to a risk assessment--how much risk are you willing to have? (I could get a tripod that works in a hurricane, but given the number of times I have shot in a hurricane (once and I didn't use a tripod), the risk of camera shake is high, but the risk of using it is low.) Given the environments I have taken my gear in, physical endurance is a factor for me. Not only in whether I can haul the stuff, but also the impact on whether I have the physical and mental energy to work. In a complex equation, I try to optimize the variables, rather than maximize them. Naturally, the optimization is a complex balance.
 

Greg Haag

Well-known member
Thank you for the pointer. I built the exact same thing, and it is my favorite tripod ever. RRS 14 for lighter stuff, Gitzo 4/Markins for the heavier stuff.

I may be the only person on the planet who isn't in love with the P0. It's easy to use, but a BH 40 or AS D4 feels better (although heavier) on top of the Gitzo 4. If I want weight savings for the heavy, I much prefer an L60. For lighter equipment, the BH-30.
Matt,
I agree. That is the compromise we all need to make (fortunately, unlike China and children, we can have as many tripods as we want ;) ). I have been erring on the lighter more compact side of the equation. Personally, I have not found I am a good judge of stability (that is not quite true, I can recognize bomb-proof tripods). I have gotten away with less than ideal equipment, at least on a spec type of assessment. But I found like many things, it comes down to a risk assessment--how much risk are you willing to have? (I could get a tripod that works in a hurricane, but given the number of times I have shot in a hurricane (once and I didn't use a tripod), the risk of camera shake is high, but the risk of using it is low.) Given the environments I have taken my gear in, physical endurance is a factor for me. Not only in whether I can haul the stuff, but also the impact on whether I have the physical and mental energy to work. In a complex equation, I try to optimize the variables, rather than maximize them. Naturally, the optimization is a complex balance.
"Naturally, the optimization is a complex balance."

So true!!
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Matt,


"Naturally, the optimization is a complex balance."

So true!!
Oh, indeed yes. I do tend to collect gear (yeah, no one else has THAT problem...). Lately, I've been getting rid of stuff I don't use. No matter what you 'should" think of something, if you carry it, it is good. If you don't, then it isn't.
 

Greg Haag

Well-known member
Oh, indeed yes. I do tend to collect gear (yeah, no one else has THAT problem...). Lately, I've been getting rid of stuff I don't use. No matter what you 'should" think of something, if you carry it, it is good. If you don't, then it isn't.
Matt, I have been trying to work myself up to that, even went so far as taking pictures and boxing some things up. I need to do that!
 

tcdeveau

Well-known member
Not sure if it’s been mentioned or not, and forgive me if it has, but another option I’m using is the Alpa triobal mini and legs. Its pretty small and compact, and another feature that’s handy is the legs unscrew from the base which can make it easier to pack/Stowe is some situations. It’s made by Novoflex, and there’s also a non-Alpa-branded version (triobalance) if you’d like.

The RRS ascend is another intriguing option, but pricey.

I also have a TVC-33 that has been with me all over the place that is great and has held up wonderfully. +1 for that option if you go heavy. I personally like the peace of mind of a bigger more stable tripod with my tech cam setup but to each their own.

tripods are like bags and it’s easy to get caught up in the rabbit hole :)
 

jng

Well-known member
As I read somewhere before, the "best" tripod is one that's infinitely light when packed up and infinitely heavy when a camera is placed on top of it for the shot. I'm not sure what Greg has in mind in terms of distance/difficulty in his intended hikes (and whether he can conscript one of his assistants/daughters to haul his gear for him :love: ), but one lesson I learned the hard way is that if the weight of the gear keeps you from getting to your destination, it won't matter how good your gear is. On the first day of my trek in Patagonia I took a bad step while walking downhill and wrenched my knee. It was all I could do to limp the next 60 km to get out of the park not on the back of a pack horse, but his also meant that I had to forgo the big climbs to get to the towers so no trophy shots for me. In retrospect I was carrying way too much weight in my pack, which I'm sure contributed to my injury. Fortunately, when it came time to scale the tops of the climbs I handed my little APS-C Sony to my daughter with the instruction "f/8 and be there" so not all was lost...

John
 

Shashin

Well-known member
Oh, indeed yes. I do tend to collect gear (yeah, no one else has THAT problem...). Lately, I've been getting rid of stuff I don't use. No matter what you 'should" think of something, if you carry it, it is good. If you don't, then it isn't.
I believe the term is "invest"...
 

PSS

Member
The pre-release PD tripod (which I now have) was also at that show. It felt like jello next to the RRS. I use the PD for iPhone movies. Maybe Fuji X with a not too long lens. But the RRS 1-series is in a different league.
I agree that with the legs fully extended, it does feel like jello BUT when it comes down to it, it does perform extremely well, (I would say unheard of well) and especially compared to anything slightly larger and heavier....the weak point IMO is the head, which is also solid, just takes some getting used to....
of course bigger tripods will have an advantage but I would say it beats anything up to about twice its size and weight...
 

vieri

Well-known member
Just as a further consideration, independent of what tripod / brand / head one chooses.

As with any piece of equipment, my choice of tripod is purpose-oriented: for me, the reason to carry a tripod, as obvious as it might sound, is to have a stable platform to support my camera(s). This is true regardless of what I am shooting and where. I.e., I never think in terms of "well, today I'd rather carry a smaller & lighter tripod which might result in just 50% of the photos ruined than no tripod". If I am on a photo-related trip, for the kind of work I do that means that I carry a camera than needs a tripod, and in turn that means I also carry a tripod that I am sure will do the job. If my pack is too heavy, I will take out something else to lighten it, rather than even considering carrying a tripod that won't do the job 100%. There is simply no point for me to risk having 150 MP (or 50, with my previous camera) worth of micro movement in my images :)

For casual shooting, street, city, and so on, I carry no tripod, and carry a camera that I will use hand-held. Hence, I only have one main tripod, the RRS I posted above. Since things can go wrong, and since I do this for a living, I always also carry a second, backup tripod. In this case, even if it stays in my luggage all the time, which means I won't have to carry it around, I don't need that to be a second TFC-34. That one is a smaller one, to be used as a stopgap until I replace or repair the one that had an accident. So far my backup tripod got used only once for a few days a few years ago, when my Gitzo Series 3 self-destructed in Iceland (which, incidentally, resulted in my move to RRS) :D

Again, just my .02, of course your purpose might be different and consequently your approach to choosing a tripod will be too. Best regards,

Vieri
 

Greg Haag

Well-known member
Just as a further consideration, independent of what tripod / brand / head one chooses.

As with any piece of equipment, my choice of tripod is purpose-oriented: for me, the reason to carry a tripod, as obvious as it might sound, is to have a stable platform to support my camera(s). This is true regardless of what I am shooting and where. I.e., I never think in terms of "well, today I'd rather carry a smaller & lighter tripod which might result in just 50% of the photos ruined than no tripod". If I am on a photo-related trip, for the kind of work I do that means that I carry a camera than needs a tripod, and in turn that means I also carry a tripod that I am sure will do the job. If my pack is too heavy, I will take out something else to lighten it, rather than even considering carrying a tripod that won't do the job 100%. There is simply no point for me to risk having 150 MP (or 50, with my previous camera) worth of micro movement in my images :)

For casual shooting, street, city, and so on, I carry no tripod, and carry a camera that I will use hand-held. Hence, I only have one main tripod, the RRS I posted above. Since things can go wrong, and since I do this for a living, I always also carry a second, backup tripod. In this case, even if it stays in my luggage all the time, which means I won't have to carry it around, I don't need that to be a second TFC-34. That one is a smaller one, to be used as a stopgap until I replace or repair the one that had an accident. So far my backup tripod got used only once for a few days a few years ago, when my Gitzo Series 3 self-destructed in Iceland (which, incidentally, resulted in my move to RRS) :D

Again, just my .02, of course your purpose might be different and consequently your approach to choosing a tripod will be too. Best regards,

Vieri
Vieri,
Your first paragraph rang true to me! I think I have been approaching this incorrectly, at least for my goals. I do want a stable platform 100% of the time, yet I do want to reduce the weight and bulk of my current setup. The website “The Center Column” that Victor posted has been very helpful in researching options. I think everyone’s feedback in this thread has helped to clarify my both my needs and objectives, as well as, set a more realistic expectations.
Thank you,
Greg
 

vieri

Well-known member
Vieri,
Your first paragraph rang true to me! I think I have been approaching this incorrectly, at least for my goals. I do want a stable platform 100% of the time, yet I do want to reduce the weight and bulk of my current setup. The website “The Center Column” that Victor posted has been very helpful in researching options. I think everyone’s feedback in this thread has helped to clarify my both my needs and objectives, as well as, set a more realistic expectations.
Thank you,
Greg
Hello Greg,

glad you agree with my approach, and that my post helped. Of course, that said, I also prefer to carry as little weight as possible - that goes without saying. After years, I found that the RRS TFC-34 M II with the Arca-Swiss P0 is the best solution, all things considered. I am not saying that it's the only option, by any means - it's just what works for me.

Best regards,

Vieri
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
...
As with any piece of equipment, my choice of tripod is purpose-oriented: for me, the reason to carry a tripod, as obvious as it might sound, is to have a stable platform to support my camera(s). This is true regardless of what I am shooting and where. I.e., I never think in terms of "well, today I'd rather carry a smaller & lighter tripod which might result in just 50% of the photos ruined than no tripod". If I am on a photo-related trip, for the kind of work I do that means that I carry a camera than needs a tripod, and in turn that means I also carry a tripod that I am sure will do the job. If my pack is too heavy, I will take out something else to lighten it, rather than even considering carrying a tripod that won't do the job 100%. There is simply no point for me to risk having 150 MP (or 50, with my previous camera) worth of micro movement in my images :)

For casual shooting, street, city, and so on, I carry no tripod, and carry a camera that I will use hand-held. ...
I'm in total agreement with your first paragraph. When I'm out shooting with a purpose, whether at/around home or traveling, I would never consider carrying a tripod (or any other gear) that will not fulfill the purpose 100%.

The second paragraph, however, is where we differ. I'm often out shooting casually, and when I do this I often don't need a tripod (or at least, "don't think I need a tripod") because much of what I'm looking for on such outings is not technically demanding, needing the camera and lens to be so rigorously stabilized. However, I've observed MANY occasions where I find I need a tripod or some kind of support even for such simple needs as wanting to get a photo of myself and someone I've met up with, or when I see something and light levels are iffy—any small or modest support will do and stabilize the camera enough just by taking my hands off of it to release the shutter, in many cases. I have an assortment of tabletop tripods, clamps, etc to handle many of these situations that are substantially more compact than any travel tripod ... However, I observe often that no matter which or how many of these I have along, most are simply not versatile enough to handle more than half of the situations where a simple support would be useful. Thus my desire/need for a more robust, lightweight, yet still small and easily cartable tripod: A tripod like the Sirui or Peak Design is simple dozens of times more versatile (and much more stable) than any of the dozen other small camera support gizmos I've found to work with.

So these things are all a compromise. As Greg said above: "Naturally, the optimization {of what to use} is a complex balance."

I will say that even though many of these kinds of casual outings are not done with the notion that I would be making my living from the resulting photographs, it has turned out that I've sold a hefty number of such photos, made with notably second tier equipment that happened to fit what I was willing to carry and the situation, and managed to do the job presentably well. ;)

G
 

ThdeDude

New member
Greg,
I am right now also on a quest for a lightweight yet stable tripod.
Before giving any recommendations based on my ongoing research, let me ask first what your wants and needs are.
HEIGHT:
Most comfortable tripod height is camera at eye level height. Generally also the maximum tripod height.
Do you want/need camera to be at eye level height?
If yes, what would this be? If not, what maximum tripod height would you like to have?
Center column needed, OK, or not OK? (I believe center columns are a bad idea for a lightweight tripod, but for some they are an OK compromise or needed for their photography.)
WEIGHT:
What is your maximum weight you would consider, what is the preferred weight.
COMPACTNESS:
An issue?
USE:
Primarily for Studio/Field, Travel/Hiking, or Backpacking/Mountaineering? Or Oceanic/Water?
MN
 
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Greg Haag

Well-known member
Greg,
I am right now also on a quest for a lightweight yet stable tripod.
Before giving any recommendations based on my ongoing research, let me ask first what your wants and needs are.
HEIGHT:
Most comfortable tripod height is camera at eye level height. Generally also the maximum tripod height.
Do you want/need camera to be at eye level height?
If yes, what would this be? If not, what maximum tripod height would you like to have?
Center column needed, OK, or not OK? (I believe center columns are a bad idea for a lightweight tripod, but for some they are an OK compromise or needed for their photography.)
WEIGHT:
What is your maximum weight you would consider, what is the preferred weight.
COMPACTNESS:
An issue?
USE:
Primarily for Studio/Field, Travel/Hiking, or Backpacking/Mountaineering? Or Oceanic/Water?
MN
This morning I ordered the Really Right Stuff TFC-34 Mark II tripod that Vieri recommended, this decision was different than what I had expected when I started this post. Based on much of the feedback, I was afraid that a travel tripod was not going to meet my needs, so then my search changed to what was the best all around solution for my needs. The RRS TFC-34 was my conclusion/compromise, it is almost 0.65lbs lighter than my Gitzo GT3533LS and has a folded length that is about 5.5 inches shorter. In addition to that, when needed, I can shave another 1.15lbs off of that by switching from my D4 head to my P0. Now to your questions.

HEIGHT: preferable in the 50-60", I would say most often my tripod height when shooting is 48" or lower.
Center column needed, OK, or not OK? I never use a center column.
WEIGHT: I had hoped to stay under 3lbs, in the end I did not, I came in at 3.85lbs
COMPACTNESS: My current tripod with the D4 head on it is nearly 31", at times this left me feeling a bit top heavy. The RRS TFC-34 will be approximately 25" with the D4, I hope this helps with that issue.
USE: I shoot automobiles, architecture and here my current setup was great. I also hike with my pack, typically never more than 10miles round trip, here is where I have been trying to shave weight. I find significant elevation changes or sand to be where I really suffer. I have gone from a backpack weight of just over 31 lbs to my current weight of 25.5 lbs. I am hoping that makes a big difference.

Good luck in your tripod journey!
 

Abstraction

Active member
Greg,

I once conducted a test. Since it's a common perception/knowledge that a center column is bad for stability, I took two tripods: One really heavy and tall and the other medium weight tripod. I extended both of them and I extended the center column and then I tugged on the top of the center column to see where it would flex. To my surprise, the tripod didn't flex at the base of the center column, as I expected. It flexed at the section joints. It flexes at the thinnest joints first (naturally). I repeated the test with a big and heavy tripod and I saw the same scenario, albeit to a lesser degree because the leg sections were thicker. If I extended the center column only half way, the flexing was CONSIDERABLY less.

My take away from all this was the following: For best stability, use a tripod with the fewest sections, thickest possible legs and don't extend the center column more than half way up. That should give you a good idea of what type of tripod to look for.
 
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