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The great tripod & head thread!

danlindberg

Active member
The great tripod & head thread!

I'm a tripod guy and I guess most in MF are. I thought we could all chip in on what we have and write a short comment on how we feel about our tripods & heads.
I have just got a new tripod and that, ofcourse, triggered my eagerness to tell you about it.

My new 'do-it-all' is an Alpa branded Novoflex Triobalance and in the short time I have used it I like it a lot. A lot.

The ones I have in my stable now are these.



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Gitzo G1500. Bought at the beginning of time. Big, heavy, bulky and ridiculously stable and rigid. I use it for the heaviest cams/outfits I have, for long exposures and for studio. Not really possible to walk around too much, close to the car when out and indoors is where it is used. Extends very high, haven’t got a measurement, but I need a steps to reach teh cam if fully extended. Did I mention that it is stable……

Manfrotto 268.

I believe the biggest ever produced by Manfrotto. It weighs like a small car but can hold a heavy load. I bought this at the same time when I invested in a complete setup of Fuji GX680 III, at the time of its release. This ballhead could easily hold the huge Fuji in place and didn’t even dip when locking. This is my studiohead still but have never taken it outdoors since I got the Linhof.
It really is so heavy and wide base that I can use it as a stand alone as tablesupport for the Sony with the Loxias.

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Gitzo Carbon fibre GT2531.
My hiking tripod. There’s a lot to like with these legs. Light and sturdy and the locking mechanism is hard to beat. Very nice. Great combo with the tiny Magic ball, but it holds the Linhof 3D Micro nicely too.

Novoflex Mini Magicball. What a brilliant little tripodhead! Love this one. So easy to handle, smooth movement and locks down very securly. For the Sony it is a perfect match, but even with the Alpa TC/Helvetar 75/Credo 60 it holds it nicely and I do not hesitate to use this combo if minimum weight is required.
Now it also doubles as a tiny head for monopod use with the new tripodsystem Alpa/Novoflex.

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Velbon Carbon fibre legs Carmagne 630.
Not bad at all. Lightweight and easy to handle. The least stable I have but in no windy conditions it will do the job just nicely. The legs feels nicer than the head that came with it.
I personally never use this one but have it as a ‘quality-spare’ for enthusiasts that come along on my workshops that either do not have a tripod at all or is of terrible quality.

Velbon PH-273QL
Well, nothing really that makes it special. Except its incredible light weight. It is featherlight at 390 gr. Believe it or not but even lighter than the tiny mini-magicball. Not very smooth action and overall less confidence in this one.

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Linhof 3D Micro. My to go head and has served me fantasticly well. I know there are quite a few that are put off with the limited angled reach, but this has not been a problem for me. I extend the legs so the tripod is roughly level and tweak to perfection with the head. No probs. What I find bulky is the seperate 90 degree angle piece. This would have been nice if it was somehow incorporated in the main head.
The smallish knobs for the pano action is a little tough to stay put, you need to tighten a little more than you wish was needed. I know there is a new mechanism for this on the current model so I guess its not only me…
Apart from that, it suits me brilliant and has been a tremendous help in my architectural assignments. But not to forget the precision for keeping the horizon absolutely level in the field. If you have seen any of my landscapes, you see that I never compromise in this aspect and still I never, (maybe one in a hundred), tweak in post. I figure one less time throwing around the pixels is only for the good. Would be tough to part with this one.
A bonus now is that in combination with the new Alpa/Novoflex Triobalance head, the angle reach has increased dramatically. Even if I have managed very well without this extra reach, it never hurts with extended possibilities. Who knows, I might even go wild and crazy and compose with cam tilted….:)
 

danlindberg

Active member
Re: The great tripod & head thread!



Alright, why yet another set of tripodlegs and another head. Well, I really liked the modular concept and there are several factors that made me want this system.

First of all, the levellinghead itself with incorporated leg inserts is slim, small and light. I have the excellent circular bubble level from Alpa that is put on top of any cam and it is spot on. Thus, I can quite easily level my cam in the field with this extremely small head.

Secondly, Novoflex has a number of panoheads and/or quick realises to add on, but maybe even better - I have my trusty Linhof 3D Micro and can ofcourse mount this on top and enjoy even further movement, as I already have said.

Thirdly. I have now a three section ‘standard’ length carbon fibre legs that extend more than enough for my use. But I can quickly unscrew the legs and use the tabletop legs that came with the head and shoot extremely close to the ground, or use only one of the tabletop legs in combo with the large once if leaning against a wall, rock or anything with atleast a metre in difference.
And, maybe the greatest thing of all, to buy the smallest 5 section legs for a specific application in my case which is being able to put the legs and the head inside a backpack, when I go offroading with my motorbike!!!! Now that would be amazing.

Lastly I would say that they look good! Sure, nothing to do with performance, but I am a sucker for stuff that looks good and performs at the same time. Well thought out products that will last and that can be changed/built-on during its lifespan. Great.

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The FPS and Schneider 60XL straight onto the TrioBalance head.

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And here it is used in combination with the Linhof head. (Don't you just love that shade...)
 

segedi

New member
No write-up on the Triobalance?!

A Gitzo and Acratech are what I use. I think the tripod might be lighter than the head!
 

cunim

Member
Dan, that Novolflex trio system looks very good. However, I found their Basic Ball with the solid metal mini legs to be very stable, but resonant. In particular, it was unusable with the old A7R because shutter-induced vibration was obvious in the images. Too bad because it is sometimes useful to insert the metal rods to create a little tabletop tripod. I have not tried the Basic Ball with the A7R2, because I was too lazy to test for vibration. The trio appears much more flexible in allowing the head to be mounted to standard tubular legs but it also accepts the metal rods. Have you tried mounting the head onto the rods, or have you just used tubular legs? No shutter-induced vibration issues?
 

torger

New member
For my Linhof Techno I use a Gitzo 3541XLS (discontinued, the replacement is called 3542XLS) and a Arca-Swiss D4 head. For me this is the ultimate combination.

The special feature of the Gitzo 3542XLS is the length, 2 meters (80 inches) max height. I can't imagine having a shorter tripod as my shooting style often benefits from a slightly higher position, and with sloping ground I often need the height even if I'm not standing on something. The drawback is it's quite long folded size and weight. As a result I generally don't carry it on the backpack, but over my shoulders. With full camping gear when I have a huge backpack with proper carry system I can put it on the backpack though.

Having no center column it's a pain to use for closeup photography, but I do very little of that so I can live with that.

I went for the Arca-Swiss D4 geared head instead of the Arca-Swiss cube. It's lighter and it's quicker due to unlocking action (which I do use from time to time), so I prefer that. The drawback is that it's a bit "jerkier" in the movements when turning the gears but it poses no real problem for composition, and it's rock-stable so to me it's the best tradeoff I could find. Here's my review of the D4 head: Arca-Swiss D4 review

I'm a bit boring for this type of thread though as I really only use one tripod and one head and have used the same over several years.
 

Jamgolf

New member
Nice thread Dan. You are definitely a tripod guy. Wow.
A thread with consolidated tripod and head related information...
Whats not to like :)

Just today I received a TVC-33S tripod. My first impressions are extremely positive.
It is light and sturdy and unlike a Gitzo 5 series I owned for a short time, I think I am going to keep it for a long time.
According to one RRS video TVC-33S, due to its reduced height might be the sturdiest RRS tripod.


As far as heads are concerned after happily owning a Markins ballhead for 10+ years, I wanted to buy one thats geared for easier levelling.
I ended up with KPS T5 based on Ken Doo's recommendation.
A ballhead with gears - I think its just about perfect for my needs.






 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
Re: The great tripod & head thread!

I'm going to have to recuse myself from this thread to avoid self incrimination :)

Would love to know more about the Alpa head though.

Shooting with a 6ft+ friend of mine. My gitzo still had two leg segments left and I had to stand on my pelican case to reach the camera :)
 

Attachments

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
I went for the Arca-Swiss D4 geared head instead of the Arca-Swiss cube. It's lighter and it's quicker due to unlocking action (which I do use from time to time), so I prefer that. The drawback is that it's a bit "jerkier" in the movements when turning the gears but it poses no real problem for composition, and it's rock-stable so to me it's the best tradeoff I could find. Here's my review of the D4 head: Arca-Swiss D4 review
I use a number of tripods and heads and can swap between them easily by using the RRS rail clamp on each tripod and base on each head. I use both the D4 and Cube as my primary heads. The D4 has the benefit of having greater movement potential for shooting down plus also the gear release does allow you to rapidly change the angle of the head. I also like the lighter weight/mass too on smaller tripods vs the Cube. However, when accuracy and micro adjustments are needed the Cube has few peers and I don't forsee ever not using it when I can.

I'm not going to talk about my B1G, Z1 DP, Z1, P0, P1, BH55, BH25, 2x Acratechs, 410, etc etc. :facesmack:

I'm a bit boring for this type of thread though as I really only use one tripod and one head and have used the same over several years.
The horror of such an admission here on getdpi! :ROTFL:
 

Pelorus

Member
Re: The great tripod & head thread!

Dan, I'm sure there's a name for this affliction of tripods and heads :)

Do you have a link for the new Alpa head/legs? I can't find it on their site.



Alright, why yet another set of tripodlegs and another head. Well, I really liked the modular concept and there are several factors that made me want this system.

First of all, the levellinghead itself with incorporated leg inserts is slim, small and light. I have the excellent circular bubble level from Alpa that is put on top of any cam and it is spot on. Thus, I can quite easily level my cam in the field with this extremely small head.

Secondly, Novoflex has a number of panoheads and/or quick realises to add on, but maybe even better - I have my trusty Linhof 3D Micro and can ofcourse mount this on top and enjoy even further movement, as I already have said.

Thirdly. I have now a three section ‘standard’ length carbon fibre legs that extend more than enough for my use. But I can quickly unscrew the legs and use the tabletop legs that came with the head and shoot extremely close to the ground, or use only one of the tabletop legs in combo with the large once if leaning against a wall, rock or anything with atleast a metre in difference.
And, maybe the greatest thing of all, to buy the smallest 5 section legs for a specific application in my case which is being able to put the legs and the head inside a backpack, when I go offroading with my motorbike!!!! Now that would be amazing.

Lastly I would say that they look good! Sure, nothing to do with performance, but I am a sucker for stuff that looks good and performs at the same time. Well thought out products that will last and that can be changed/built-on during its lifespan. Great.

[snip]
 

danlindberg

Active member
Re: The great tripod & head thread!

Dan, I'm sure there's a name for this affliction of tripods and heads :)
But ofcourse.....

We're a bunch of PODHEADS!

1. A person who loves drink coffee made with coffee pods

2. A person wearing headphones who is largely disconnected from the surrounding world.

3. People who are obsessed with podcasting

4. Someone who is glued to their ipod

5. Someone who exhbits a strong dependency on their photographic tripods and constantly updating or tweaking it
 

f8orbust

Member
The link is fine - the problem is with the way forum links/redirects are handled; everything is currently being reported as 'malicious'.
 

danlindberg

Active member


Prepared a backpack with the Alpa MAX, Schneider 60 and Credo. Sony for behind-the-scene-snaps. Tripod fastened horizontal.
Today was extremely hot, 40 C......so the bike was no brainer :)

Wanted to try the larger Max with Triobalance head only to see if it would be frustrating without the precision movements from the Linhof. I must say it was very easy to level the cam and fasten it in place. The bubble corresponded with the two on the MAX. On the snap above I positioned the legs uneven on purpose.






A couple of behind-the-scene shots.
Locking mechanism feels solid, need to turn a little bit more compared to my Gitzo, but feels good. Upper legs have markings which is helpful if you don't extend the full length. Overall it is a great tripod and one that will see a lot of action from my side.
It is still early days, but I can definitely already recommend to try this system out if you are looking for a new flexible tripod system. I probably going to get the short legs too.....:)

 

Geoff

Member
sounds very interesting. How does the Novoflex work? Just release some lock, adjust, and re-lock? Their site is beyond vague about this.
Thanks!
 

danlindberg

Active member
sounds very interesting. How does the Novoflex work? Just release some lock, adjust, and re-lock?
Indeed. A single lock/unlock lever for the levelling head.

I wrote above about the locking mechanism and was refering to the leg sections only.

I have only been out twice but it feels second nature now and love the flexibility it offers.

Just look at this setup for very tight spaces!!! Bringing one of these tiny, featherweight tabletoplegs allows for tripod use just about anywhere....brilliant :)

 

jsf

Active member
I bought a used Majestic tripod (weight 13 lbs) in 1968 it was my sole tripod until 2015 when I bought an Induro with an Induro head. I hauled that Majestic everywhere on every job and I still use it in the studio. I have hauled it and my 8x10 up mountains and into the ocean (just a little bit off shore to photograph a clients very large sculpture) The tripod itself weighs 6 lbs and the head 7 lbs. It extends in height to a bit over 6 feet. It is stable in a high wind. I used it last year in 35 mph winds on long exposures and not a bit of camera shake.
 

HiggsSinglet

New member
Brilliant, from what i understands, you can also attach a gorilla pod on the side to grab on to poles to secure the rig.


Indeed. A single lock/unlock lever for the levelling head.

I wrote above about the locking mechanism and was refering to the leg sections only.

I have only been out twice but it feels second nature now and love the flexibility it offers.

Just look at this setup for very tight spaces!!! Bringing one of these tiny, featherweight tabletoplegs allows for tripod use just about anywhere....brilliant :)

 
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