The GetDPI Photography Forum

Great to see you here. Join our insightful photographic forum today and start tapping into a huge wealth of photographic knowledge. Completing our simple registration process will allow you to gain access to exclusive content, add your own topics and posts, share your work and connect with other members through your own private inbox! And don’t forget to say hi!

The great tripod & head thread!

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
#3. It has higher torsional rigidity. :unsure:

(And @hiepphotog , I am grateful for your excellent and informative post. This is just having a bit of fun. I'm a mathematician precisely because the real world is too difficult. Experimental sciences are hard as hell, and even theoretical physics can get crushed by a dose of reality. Bernhard Riemann wanted to be an experimental physicist, but he wasn't any good. Instead, he had to settle for founding every major field of modern mathematics.)
 
Last edited:

cunim

Well-known member
I'm a mathematician precisely because the real world is too difficult.
So, to you, a tripod is a weapon of maths instruction?

Old chestnut, but my father in law (pure math, now gone sadly) almost fell on the floor when he saw that one.
 
Last edited:

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
So, to you, a tripod is a weapon of maths instruction?

Old chestnut, but my father in law (pure math, now gone sadly) almost fell on the floor when he saw that one.
Hah!

Tripods and everything else. I had to prove theorems to get ahead professionally, but what I've always loved best was shining light on a problem so it could be seen in new and simpler ways. It's amazing how many bad explanations have become canon.
 

Abstraction

Well-known member
Hah!

Tripods and everything else. I had to prove theorems to get ahead professionally, but what I've always loved best was shining light on a problem so it could be seen in new and simpler ways. It's amazing how many bad explanations have become canon.
I beg to differ. I think the vast majority of bad explanations have become Leica Canon.
 
#3. It has higher torsional rigidity. :unsure:

(And @hiepphotog , I am grateful for your excellent and informative post. This is just having a bit of fun. I'm a mathematician precisely because the real world is too difficult. Experimental sciences are hard as hell, and even theoretical physics can get crushed by a dose of reality. Bernhard Riemann wanted to be an experimental physicist, but he wasn't any good. Instead, he had to found every major field of modern mathematics.)
Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed these tidbits. As it happened, one of my past lives was doing experimental research on flow dynamics. While I missed it at times, I am happier where I am, dealing with basic math in daily engineering work :D.
 
A Compact Ultralight Tripod and Head Setup at Workable Height under $150: Marsace XT-26S + Highlights S2QX


I am always on the lookout for a functional, lightweight, and compact setup, especially when it comes to a support system. Zodiacphoto has conducted a thorough three-way comparison between the Heipi, Benro Cyanbird, and Peak Design—definitely worth checking out. After exploring numerous options, I'm eager to share what I believe could be a fantastic find.

Let's dive into a quick overview of the specs. The Marsace XT-26S boasts an eccentric tube design, ditching traditional leg locks for friction locks, significantly reducing its weight. Weighing in at a mere 21.2 oz (600 grams) without the head, it's truly a featherweight. In comparison, the Benro Cyanbird is around 742 grams, Heipi 1070 grams, and Peak Design 1196 grams—all with center columns.

Notably, the Marsace is the only eccentric tube design with 28mm top tubes (likely resulting in a more rigid tripod) and a compact, column-less apex. The Heipi has a 26mm top tube and a larger folded girth than the Marsace. Achieving a compact folded length of 13.7” (347mm), it requires 6 sections; Heipi, Peak Design, and Benro have 5 sections each, but the Marsace's last section has the same diameter as the Heipi’s. A comparison shot next to my Gitzo, RRS, and FLM drives the point home.

Another notable feature is the 24-degree primary leg angle, compared to the 22-degree of the Benro and Heipi and 23-degree of the Peak Design. For an ultralight tripod, every stiffness advantage counts. For the max height without raising the center column, the Marsace matches the Peak Design, with a height taller than both the Benro and Heipi.

Now, onto the Highlights S2QX, the lightest ball head with a 20mm ball size that I could find, weighing in at a mere 2.8 oz. (80 grams). Other mini ball heads I came across, like the RRS BPC-16 and Leofoto MBC-20, have similar or smaller ball sizes but significantly higher weights. The Highlights head features a panning base sharing the same lock with the main ball and a functional Arca Clamp. Despite my attempt, I couldn't manage a reverse mount.

In the field, the eccentric tube design took a bit to get used to, but I quickly adapted. The key is using the right amount of force and double-checking every 2 sections for tightness before setting up the camera. It's not a race for me, so the slightly slower setup time isn't a drawback. Due to the friction lock design, extending and collapsing the legs requires more resistance than the conventional tripod. There are no spike feet, making it suitable for a day hike. The clever ¼” accessory ports incorporated into the spider-leg joints are excellent for space and weight saving. The angle tabs aren't auto ratchet but still easy to control. In practice, the tripod feels sturdy enough for its purpose. The Highlights head securely holds my Sony A9 and GM135 at any angle, making it perfect for my ultralight setup. In short, at a price of less than $150 (I paid around $120 for my combo during the recent sale), this offers excellent performance value.

 
I wanted to thank the community for this thread - it helped my travel & studio tripod upgrades quite a bit.
I went for a 5 section Gitzo 4 series as a travel tripod (to be used with my GF 30 TS and M2 + Rodenstock setup) and for a 3 sections Gitzo series 5 as my studio workhorse.
They are replacing a gracefully aging Gitzo 3 series Mountaineer and a Vanguard Auctus Plus after 10+ years in action.
The centercolumn rankings proved decisive in my final selection. The 2 Gitzos are in a league of their own - I can 100% confirm this :)
 

vjbelle

Well-known member
This is the head setup I use when I am traveling. The tripod itself is a RRS TFC 24. Very light and very wind resistant. The head is a leveling base by Kirk. The camera is an Arca Swiss M-Two with a Fuji 100 ll and a light Schneider Digitar lens. The weight of the full attachment to the tripod is 7.7 lbs. The weight may not be a lot but I have never been able to find a head assembly strong enough to hold this when walking on my shoulder without sag. The Kirk leveling base solves this.

I have tried everything from Arca Swiss Z1 to the Cube but all sagged. With this combination nothing moves...... I mean nothing!! I would trust this to anything. When I have $30 - 50K + on my shoulder I want to trust the support. Not only does it support but it is light. Much lighter than any other alternatives that are less supportive.

Sure I lose the ultimate large movements of a full movement head but at the cost of sag. I can always adjust a leg for more movement.

Victor B.

_DSC0148.jpg
 
Last edited:
I understand
This is the head setup I use when I am traveling. The tripod itself is a RRS TFC 24. Very light and very wind resistant. The head is a leveling base by Kirk. The camera is an Arca Swiss M-Two with a Fuji 100 ll and a light Schneider Digitar lens. The weight of the full attachment to the tripod is 7.7 lbs. The weight may not be a lot but I have never been able to find a head assembly strong enough to hold this when walking on my shoulder as the Kirk leveling base.

I have tried everything from Arca Swiss Z1 to the Cube but all sagged. With this combination nothing moves...... I mean nothing!! I would trust this to anything. When I have $30 - 50K + on my shoulder I want to trust the support. Not only does it support but it is light. Much lighter than any other alternatives that are less supportive.

Sure I lose the ultimate large movements of a full movement head but at the cost of sag. I can always adjust a leg for more movement.

Victor B.
I just tried to see if my Arca-Swiss Leveler 75 would exhibit any sag when carried over the shoulder, like you mentioned. I did a quick and dirty test with my GFX 100 (original + 2 batteries) and my GF 30 TS (with all accessories mounted - tripod collar, hood, hood attachment, polarizer etc.) , and then a full test with the same GFX 100 and Arca-Swiss M2 with the Rodesntock 70 Digaron-W (aperture only) mounted. No sag whatsoever on (my Gitzo 5 sections series 4 and) my Arca-Swiss Leveler 75 - and I did try to bounce the combo around, in various directions ... all perfect! :) (an my 2nd setup was definitely heavier than yours)
 
I hope all your stuff is insured......

Victor B.
I have no intention of messing around with my gear. Thatˋs why I donˋt intend to carry it over my shoulder, fully mounted. I donˋt find that comfortable, at all. But there is nothing in my current tripod + head setup that suggests anything but 100% confidence. Happy shooting! :)
 

ThdeDude

Active member
Tripods and everything else. I had to prove theorems to get ahead professionally, but what I've always loved best was shining light on a problem so it could be seen in new and simpler ways. It's amazing how many bad explanations have become canon.
Tripods have a simple job - to keep a camera steady but yet, also surprisingly complex due to balancing various trade-offs. I feel that many discussions suffer from hidden assumptions and from not clearly stated or defined requirements.

Many regard the optimal tripod height at which the camera display/viewfinder is at eye-level height. No stooping or bending necessary and the camera is easy to operate.

This is a reasonable assumption, but there are exceptions. For example, for portrait photography the optimal maximum tripod height is often chest height (and a waist-level finder is used). Another factor often not considered in the discussion is that the desired maximum height depends largely on the height of the user. Obviously, everything equal, a person who is 6'5" needs a tripod a feet taller than someone who is 5'5". The global average height for men is stated as 5'7" (US 5'9"). I assume most tripod manufactures design their tripod in view of global average height. Furthermore, tripods designed (or marketed) as lightweight are anyway generally shorter (to save weight) this makes it particularly challenging to find a lightweight tripod with a maximum height high enough for a tall person and stable enough to be useful for holding a camera of medium weight.

I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about what would be the perfect backpacking/mountaineering ("hiking") tripod for a person like me who is 6'5" tall. Ari from FLM Canada was very helpful and he was able and willing to custom-build a tripod for me. I am right now finishing up a review of that tripod which I hope to post here within the next few days.
 
Last edited:

vjbelle

Well-known member
To further expand on my first post I received the RRS leveler today which is almost identical to the Kirk - two bowels that fit together and allow around 15 degrees of tilt in any direction. Most importantly is that the bowel parts of both levelers have the largest surface area that I have seen which contributes to their incredible strength. Little gears that are meant to move a plate fore or aft are not designed to carry anywhere near the weight ( 8 to 12 lbs ) that I require. The only tripod head that I know of that is similar is something like an Arca Swiss Z1 ( or similar ). The down side is that the bowel parts are much smaller and cannot handle 10 lbs of weight attached to a tripod carried on a shoulder without potential sag. I like to walk maybe 300 feet maximum with my camera attached to my tripod on my shoulder and from experience I know what is likely to fail and for sure likely to sag. For those that would also would like to carry your camera attached to your tripod for short distances this is the strongest fail proof combination that allows for some movement that I know of. I would trust any equipment with this setup up to 12lbs. I am very aware of the sound a Phase DB makes when it hits cement....:mad:

Hope this helps anyone considering walking with camera equipment like I do...

Victor B.
 

ThdeDude

Active member
Just had a discussion with someone in the tripod industry.

Did anyone here had ever any problem with his tripod as either checked luggage, carry-on, or as personal item?

With a large camera bag AND a large tripod as carry-on?

Traveling with El Al?
 
Last edited:

rdeloe

Well-known member
To further expand on my first post I received the RRS leveler today which is almost identical to the Kirk - two bowels that fit together and allow around 15 degrees of tilt in any direction. Most importantly is that the bowel parts of both levelers have the largest surface area that I have seen which contributes to their incredible strength. Little gears that are meant to move a plate fore or aft are not designed to carry anywhere near the weight ( 8 to 12 lbs ) that I require. The only tripod head that I know of that is similar is something like an Arca Swiss Z1 ( or similar ). The down side is that the bowel parts are much smaller and cannot handle 10 lbs of weight attached to a tripod carried on a shoulder without potential sag. I like to walk maybe 300 feet maximum with my camera attached to my tripod on my shoulder and from experience I know what is likely to fail and for sure likely to sag. For those that would also would like to carry your camera attached to your tripod for short distances this is the strongest fail proof combination that allows for some movement that I know of. I would trust any equipment with this setup up to 12lbs. I am very aware of the sound a Phase DB makes when it hits cement....:mad:

Hope this helps anyone considering walking with camera equipment like I do...

Victor B.
I finally broke down and bought an Arca-Swiss C1 Cube this year, mostly for the precision of movements. However, a very pleasant side benefit is that it does not move unless I want it to move. That means that like you, Victor, I can confidently carry the tripod loaded with the F-Universalis and GFX 100S plus a lens without worrying about sag. I have a permanent scar on one of my fingers from the time the camera tilted on a ball head and my finger was in just the right place for crushing.

I carry my tripod by hand rather than attaching to a backpack, so I needed a way to get the Cube on and off easily. The Arca-Swiss Quick Link system does that nicely. I carry the Cube in the pack, and the tripod in my hand.
 

jng

Well-known member
Just had a discussion with someone in the tripod industry.

Did anyone here had ever any problem with his tripod as either checked luggage, carry-on, or as personal item?

With a large camera bag AND a large tripod as carry-on?

Traveling with El Al?
I have traveled with my tripod(s) both in checked luggage and in my carry-on bag. I rarely check bags but figure that the tripod is the one piece of my camera equipment I'd be least sad to see stolen. According to TSA policy, these are permissible as carry-on items but ultimately it's up to the supervisor on duty to make a determination if they decide to give you any trouble. The only time I had an issue was when I had packed my Novoflex in my rollaboard broken down into legs, apex, and A/S Leveler head. It must've looked weird on the scanner so they just asked me what was in the case. The agents were fine when I explained what it was and instructed them to pull out a leg to take a look themselves (which they did very carefully, as I also explained to them that I had some very expensive camera gear in there as well). So, short version is I've never not gotten through but be aware that if the TSA screeners see something they've never seen before, they might ask to inspect more closely. The key thing is to remain calm and respectful (standing in an airport security line is the last place I want to start an argument). Hope this helps.

John
 

vjbelle

Well-known member
The problem I had with the cube is that - depending on how the tripod was placed on my shoulder - the weight of the camera would literally move the top plate because of weight. I was actually able to move the cube fore/aft plate by hand. If the tripod was on my shoulder with the cube in such a position that the fore/aft movement was close to vertical (at the 12:00 position) the camera weight would cause that movement to take place. I decided that it was better to find a more stable way to support my camera during my short walking excursions.

Victor B.
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
The problem I had with the cube is that - depending on how the tripod was placed on my shoulder - the weight of the camera would literally move the top plate because of weight. I was actually able to move the cube fore/aft plate by hand. If the tripod was on my shoulder with the cube in such a position that the fore/aft movement was close to vertical (at the 12:00 position) the camera weight would cause that movement to take place. I decided that it was better to find a more stable way to support my camera during my short walking excursions.

Victor B.
I wonder if mine is a bit stiffer (bought used). I get no movement at all with an angled carry. I tried moving the mechanism with hand pressure, and it is possible, but very difficult.
 

Mexecutioner

Well-known member
Just had a discussion with someone in the tripod industry.

Did anyone here had ever any problem with his tripod as either checked luggage, carry-on, or as personal item?

With a large camera bag AND a large tripod as carry-on?

Traveling with El Al?
I was in Japan in October of last year and before traveling I saw a forum post (don't remember where exactly, FM I think) where a couple of different people mentioned that on their way back from Japan they had their tripods inside a carry on bag of legal dimensions, but when the bags got scanned and noticed they had tripods in there, made them take them out, measured them and since they were longer than 17 inches made them go back out to the counter to check their bags in. I think it is a little short-sighted, since they were inside of bags of approved dimensions.

Bearing this in mind I got a Novoflex Triopod and a Core 60 leveler for the trip. The tripod, without the head attached measures 16.4 inches. On my way back home, they scanned my bag before the gate, flagged it, made me take the tripod out, took out a measuring tape, checked its length, nodded OK and allowed me to put it back in my bag.

They seem to have revised this for 2024 and now the length is 60cm. Something a little bit more generous and less asinine than what they were allowing before.

There may be a few countries that do that, I recall reading Indonesia does the same thing. Tripod carrying restrictions are airport based, not airline based. ANA didn't care me having the tripod in the bag, or bother to check it leaving the US. Only the flight back from Narita had this "restriction".

That has been the only time I had this issue, I traveled with my series 4 gitzo in the cabin several times before and nobody said a peep. You can always check it in, but I don't trust them and I never travel with checked luggage, but that is a different story.
 

jng

Well-known member
I was in Japan in October of last year and before traveling I saw a forum post (don't remember where exactly, FM I think) where a couple of different people mentioned that on their way back from Japan they had their tripods inside a carry on bag of legal dimensions, but when the bags got scanned and noticed they had tripods in there, made them take them out, measured them and since they were longer than 17 inches made them go back out to the counter to check their bags in. I think it is a little short-sighted, since they were inside of bags of approved dimensions.

Bearing this in mind I got a Novoflex Triopod and a Core 60 leveler for the trip. The tripod, without the head attached measures 16.4 inches. On my way back home, they scanned my bag before the gate, flagged it, made me take the tripod out, took out a measuring tape, checked its length, nodded OK and allowed me to put it back in my bag.

They seem to have revised this for 2024 and now the length is 60cm. Something a little bit more generous and less asinine than what they were allowing before.

There may be a few countries that do that, I recall reading Indonesia does the same thing. Tripod carrying restrictions are airport based, not airline based. ANA didn't care me having the tripod in the bag, or bother to check it leaving the US. Only the flight back from Narita had this "restriction".

That has been the only time I had this issue, I traveled with my series 4 gitzo in the cabin several times before and nobody said a peep. You can always check it in, but I don't trust them and I never travel with checked luggage, but that is a different story.
Thanks for flagging the length restriction in Japan! I had no idea but will definitely keep this in mind if/when I travel there with my camera gear.

John
 
Top