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The great tripod & head thread!


New member
I bought a ProMediaGear tripod and while it was beautifully made, I did not like the narrow leg angle. Too narrow. I also didn’t care for the knurled aluminum leg locks. They look beautiful, but are sub-optimal in actual use. Cold as heck in cold weather, too easily banged up. I ended up returning it after one outing with it. The real deal-breaker was the too narrow leg angle. After using other premium brands of tripods, the PMG felt less stable / tippy when working around it. I found this a real shame, because in all other respects it was a beautiful, well made, piece of gear.

Rand, I believe PMG increased the tripod leg angle to 24° about a year ago or so.



Well-known member
Does anyone have experience with Feisol tripods? On my quest for ultralight hiking tripods I came across their CT-3332 and CT-3342 offerings, which seem to be fairly interesting weight-wise.


Well-known member
Does anyone have experience with Feisol tripods? On my quest for ultralight hiking tripods I came across their CT-3332 and CT-3342 offerings, which seem to be fairly interesting weight-wise.
I have a CT-3441T. It's quite good. It's held up over a lot of years of use.
I've been utilizing the stiffness scores provided by TCC ( in conjunction with various tripod reviews, notably the one from Dpreview (, to strategically select the best 2-3 tripods that align with my requirements. During this process, I've developed a method for calculating the stiffness scores for tripods that aren't listed in the TCC database. My primary focus has centered on four leading brands: Gitzo, RRS, PMG, and FLM.

These stiffness scores consistently align with both the qualitative analysis found in the Dpreview tripod review and my own practical testing. However, it's important to note that my calculations are based on several assumptions, primarily due to the limited data available on TCC. My intention is that these findings can prove beneficial to individuals making decisions about their next tripod purchase.

In addition to the assumptions based on TCC data, I've incorporated the following assumptions into my calculations:

  1. Stiffness Variation with Height: I've assumed that stiffness variations concerning height remain consistent across the four brands when their main tube diameters are similar (e.g., PMG 34mm vs. RRS 33mm). This relationship is considered linear within the maximum height range of these tripods, a reasonable assumption based on the stiffness vs. height plots available on TCC.
  2. Maximum Stiffness at 0m: To assess the quality of a brand's carbon fiber material, I've calculated the maximum stiffness at ground level (0m) for each brand and matched it to the data available in the TCC database. This maximum stiffness value is then used to determine the tripod's overall stiffness score.
  3. Maximum Stiffness Difference Due to Segments: I've considered the maximum stiffness difference due to the number of segments, relying on data from RRS.
  4. Leg Angle Adjustments: I've factored in the 2-degree increase in primary leg angle for PMG tripods (from 22 degrees in the old design tested on TCC to the current 24 degrees), accounting for a 10% increase in stiffness, which is a more conservative estimate compared to TCC findings. Similarly, for Gitzo Mountaineer/Systematic tripods, I've considered the effect of using the Markins tripod hub, which increases the primary leg angle from 23 degrees to 25 degrees, resulting in a corresponding gain in stiffness.
  5. Heigh and weight data are from the official data.
Additional Notes:

  • Comparison with dpreview: The stiffness rankings observed in the dpreview tripod comparison (RRS TVC-34 > Gitzo GT3543LS > PMG TR-344 > FLM CP34-L4II) closely align with the calculated stiffness scores for these tripods, providing validation for the methodology.
  • Personal Testing: In my personal testing between the Gitzo Mountaineer GT3542 (with the Markins hub modification) and the RRS TVC-24 and TFC-24, the Gitzo demonstrated superior stiffness in both configurations, consistent with the stiffness scores derived from the calculations.
  • TCC and CAL: On the table, "TCC" indicates that the stiffness score is sourced from the TCC database, while "CAL" denotes the calculated value.
  • Stiffness-to-Weight Ratio: I believe that evaluating stiffness relative to weight is a valuable approach to assess how each brand optimizes stiffness through their overall tripod design and the quality of carbon fiber they employ.
  • Focus on Specific Top Tube Range: My primary focus has been on tripods with top tube diameters ranging from 33mm to 37mm, primarily due to the extensive RRS data available in this range on TCC.
These assumptions and observations have guided my approach to evaluating tripod stiffness and may serve as a valuable reference for others in their tripod selection process.

Tripod Stiffness score.JPG
The FLM GX ball head series intrigued me due to its lightweight design for its class. FLM already has a great reputation with the previous CB series and with the promises of a ground-up and improved design of the GX series, I decided to get one to try. I actually got the G47 without the 15o stop pan control. In this first impression, I delve into the some details of this new series, exploring its strengths and areas of improvement.

**Precision in Motion: Ball Movement and Locking Drift**

One of the standout features of the G47 is its smooth and even ball movement. Gliding seamlessly and maintaining uniformity throughout, it is slightly less smooth than my well broken-in Markins Q20i yet more even throughout the ball movement range. The locking drift is minimized, much better than the Markins Q20i and slightly better than the much bigger Gitzo GH4383.

**Efficient Controls: Short-Travel Panning and Lock Controls**

The panning action, though not dampening, offers a consistent feel throughout. The short-travel panning knob and lock lever, designed for swift and efficient operation, add a layer of convenience. Good sizes of both the knob and lever render them well-suited for operation even while wearing gloves.

**Surprising Versatility: Weight and Invertible Design**

The G47 surprises with its lightweight design, 230 grams for a 47mm ball size without the clamp (adding another 60 grams for a simple Arca QR clamp), making it remarkably light for its substantial ball size.

The inclusion of an invertible design is another highlight (though seems like an afterthought) with a 3/8" hole on the stem. Adding a light clamp to have an inverted top panning clamp adds an unexpected dimension to its versatility.

**Possible Improvements**

As we navigate through the positives, there are potential areas for improvement:

- Friction Setting/Pre-clamp Knob: Introducing a friction setting or pre-clamp knob would be a valuable addition, particularly considering the presence of the short-travel lock lever.

- Shorter (and possibly thicker) Neck: A minor adjustment to shave off 1-2mm from the neck length could further enhance stiffness, taking inspiration from the exemplary Markins design.

- Full-Fledged 2-in-1 Ball Head: Consideration of a versatile 2-in-1 configuration, akin to Acratech GXP and Novoflex Classicball, would elevate the GX47's appeal. This could include normal and inverted setups, accompanied by appropriate markings and a non-removable disc for the inverted configuration.


In summary, while it may resemble many other Chinese ball heads, FLM's design is a cut above, well-thought-out with superior material quality, the FLM GX47 impresses with its smooth ball movement, minimal locking drift, and thoughtful design elements.
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Well-known member
Hi, tripod users/lovers :)

I recently acquired a Leofoto 324 carbon tripod with LB40 ballhead. Now that winter is approaching here in Russia, I'm using that tripod in ever colder conditions. I must tell you that I hate wearing gloves (in general, and especially when photographing) and I am surprised that this tripod gives such a cold feeling to the hands ... almost like my old aluminium tripods ... Before, I used a Berlebach wooden tripod, that always had a nice 'warm' touch to the hand, but now the carbon Leofoto really feels cold ...

Is this normal ? How do you "winter shooters" handle this ?

Stay safe,


Well-known member
The heat transfer coefficient of carbon fiber can vary a lot depending on how it is manufactured and how it is measured (it is different in different directions). Regardless, it definitely higher than wood, but lower than aluminum. Wood is like 0.2 W/m2/K; carbon fiber 2-20 (but can be made as high as 200), aluminum 160 or so.

I was just out over the weekend here in Sweden; it was about 4 C and damp. I wore light gloves. I don't particularly like wearing gloves either, but I bring them in my coat's outside chest pocket so I can quickly put them on or take them off and store them.


P. Chong

Well-known member
love this idea! Thanks!

I do this for my bike, and if you trim the end appropriately , it can stay close on its own, as the end of the bar tape is adhesive. Otherwise, electrical tape works. And often used on the bike as well!

This stuff has lasted one field season so far and is in great shape. The tricky bit is the ends. I wrapped the tops with hardware store vinyl electrical tape. There are likely better products for that.

View attachment 207992


Active member
I used this stuff to wrap the ends:

Silicone tape. Wraps tight, and self fuses. Carbon fibre legs “supposedly” are not as cold in the snow etc., as metal legs, but I’m here to tell you they are COLD. The cork bicycle handle bar wrap has been a very nice addition to my tripods.



Well-known member
Hi to all tripod users who posted excellent options.

Because of where I am right now (in the middle of nowhere, in rural Russia), not all the options proposed are readily available but I did find the solution suggested by Jaap (heating pipe isolation) ... for 1,12 $, I bought a 2m tube with an inner diameter of 35mm, the upper legs of my tripod being 32mm, so ever so slightly wide ... applied 30cm of it to one leg and saw that with the one leg protected (that's what I need to carry the tripod) the tripod even folded to it's usual minimal dimensions ...

Very happy thus, and waiting for the cold test, maybe tonight, but certainly in the next days since they announce -10°C over the weekend ...

Thank you all for your great info !!!

Nerd talk about Tripod's CF material and technical info

It's essential to note that there's a lack of standardized testing among photography tripod brands. So that is why there is little actual technical info out there.

DaveTCC mentioned that the torsion stiffness of tubes increases in proportion to the cube of the tube diameter; presumably, he's referring to the stiffness change concerning tube diameter. The formula is:
Torsion Stiffness of a tube = G/L * (pi/32 * (do^4-di^4))
Moreover, tube size is the only information universally shared by all brands. Therefore, it makes sense to use it as a basis for classifying and comparing various tripods. In my opinion, delving deeper is irrelevant since other technical details are not disclosed by all brands, with Really Right Stuff being the worst offender in this regard.

But this is a nerd talk about it :D.

Before going further, I'll share my thoughts on the current state of tripod tests available. The gold standard presently is TheCenterColumn data by David Berryrieser. His site provides the only quantitative assessment of support systems available. I appreciate the effort he put into it and his willingness to share findings for free. While Markins, the tripod head company, conducted their tests in the past, the data was never widely shared. However, I acknowledge that David's work lacks thorough review by other experts, and his methodology/test equipment isn't certified for this purpose by anyone. This is in contrast to the optical tests by Roger Cicala of Lensrentals, which use certified equipment and numerous sampling points. The next best tripod test comes from Mark Banas of Dpreview. At least, Mark's methodology is repeatable and replicable by others, though it remains a qualitative assessment.

It should be noted that Gitzo is the only one following recognized and certified standards when stating their load rating (still a poor measure of tripod capability, in my opinion). Also according to TCC data, Gitzo uses the best stiffness material on the market, far ahead of the competition, especially as the tube size grows bigger.

- Type of carbon fiber: No information from RRS. Gitzo, at least, shares that they strategically use High Modulus carbon fiber for any tubes with a diameter of 25mm or smaller. The rest of the brands, especially from China, state that they are using TORAYCA. I assume these tripods and also the ones from RRS are Standard Modulus type (DaveTCC also assumed so). But looking at the TORAYCA catalog, you will see many types of Carbon Fiber materials: Standard Modulus, Intermediate Modulus and High Modulus. Without knowing which types, we, as consumers, are in the blind. Marsace, through their constant upgrades, stated that they are currently using T700S. They shared that the reason they moved to T700S is that they suspected it is the same type RRS is using. Fotopro also stated that their top-of-the-line Pantour tripod series is using either Mitsubishi 30T (a tensile strength spec.) or Torayca 1k (a filament count spec.). Not as useful.

- Filament count and weaving/braiding type: almost no info on this from any brand, including RRS. Fotopro states that their high-end tripods use 1K type and mid- and low-end use 3k types. On the other hand, Marsace uses 12K type. Which one made the right move, I simply do not know for sure (no test data). According to Toray, Toray US only produces 12K and up, while elsewhere, it is from 1K to 6K (lower density). It should be noted that there seems to be a trend toward higher density CF, stated quite often by various Chinese brands. It is also fun to read about the twist designation as well since the US CFs are never twisted, which might give better strength performance. No info at all on the weaving/braiding type. The much copied Snow Capped Mountain pattern by RRS is only for cosmetics.

- Number of layers and Thickness: No info from RRS. Gitzo's latest gen has 6 layers. The number of layers is often used by tripod brands in China to suggest, or for marketing purposes, stronger tubes: 8 layers for low-end and 10 layers (most common) for high-end. While it might seem to relate directly to the tube thickness (thicker equals stiffer as Marsace's guide suggested), the majority of Chinese brands optimize for around 1mm thickness; Marsace's owner wondered how other brands can fit so many layers into such thickness. Thinner tubes do lead to a bigger last section, which might help improve overall stability. Gitzo initiated this trend with their latest gen. While brands do not share the tube thickness, you can estimate it by looking at the tube size reduction between each segment. If the difference is around 3mm, the thickness is likely 1mm (shim thickness is about 1mm). RRS's difference is around 4mm while Gitzo is around 3.5mm.

- A quick personal note on stiffness score difference: DaveTCC never made it clear what kind of stiffness difference threshold would be detectable in the real world. We know that the difference of 600 (the difference between TVC-24 and TFC-14) would be felt. But in the end, extra precaution can be taken to offset some of the differences. So, many photographers can still take great photos with their inexpensive Chinese-made tripods. Chinese manufacturing has caught up with the more advanced countries in these non-specialized applications, as Marsace's maker has noted. With proper maintenance, I do not see how a Leofoto would not last as long as a Really Right Stuff; so anecdotal experience of someone who has used RRS for a long time does not mean a Leofoto user would not be able to get the same lifespan with their equipment. It is only for the measurbators to care about the stiffness difference. I admit I am one of them.

In conclusion, while the CF material and various other technical aspects are important to gauge the tripod tube performance, only tube size information is available for us to compare. Of course, keeping in mind that the material would have a significant effect on tube stiffness. Such a difference, however, might just be compensated by proper shooting techniques. So unless you care about the stiffness of your tripod, which is only a part of the overall system stiffness, cheaper alternatives might just work. Proper maintenance and shooting techniques should be more important.
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