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Tripod recommendation

Folks,

My apologies if this is a beat up question :). I was previously fine with my set up of RRS TVC 33 with BH55 ball head on my Hasselblad X1D/907X and the XCD lenses.

Now, since I've recently start the Cambo Actus journey, the set up is slightly higher. With Arca Swiss C1 head is now even higher, I'd say 2-3 inches higher than my eye level.

I'm between 5'10-5'11, I've been browsing some online sites but would probably stick with RRS tripod, That said I was thinking on the TVC 34 model, so my question is, does anyone here have the RRS TVC 34 model and same height as me? what is your current tripod/head set up?

I know and aware most likely impossible without me comparing in person at store but alas I don't live in NYC where I can easily go to BH to check.

Thanks in advance!
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Tripods are more stable if the legs aren’t completely extended. What’s wrong with using your current tripod that way?
 

Greg Haag

Well-known member
Not quite sure I understand what you are looking for, but here is my setup (I am 5'9")

RRS TFC-34 Series 3 4-Leg Sections MK2 Fixed Apex
Arca Swiss d4 head
Cambo WRS-1600
 
Not quite sure I understand what you are looking for, but here is my setup (I am 5'9")

RRS TFC-34 Series 3 4-Leg Sections MK2 Fixed Apex
Arca Swiss d4 head
Cambo WRS-1600
I was trying to see if TVC 34 will compensate to my eye level height with only 3 sections instead of 4 extended due to the height of Head and Actus.
 

anwarp

Active member
As @MGrayson suggested, extend the lowest sections only partially to get the right height. I do this with my series 3 gitzo.
I have marked the correct point on the last segment with a silver permanent marker on all 3 legs. I extend the lowest sections first using the silver ring as a reference and the extend the upper sections fully (and quickly).
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
There's a convenience argument for keeping the uppermost section not fully extended. That way adjustments to leg length don't require reaching the lower leg locks. I confess to using that method. Some tripod I had (Novoflex?) had only the uppermost section marked with lines so that the legs could be extended equally.
 

FloatingLens

Well-known member
There's a convenience argument for keeping the uppermost section not fully extended. That way adjustments to leg length don't require reaching the lower leg locks. I confess to using that method. Some tripod I had (Novoflex?) had only the uppermost section marked with lines so that the legs could be extended equally.
Gitzo Systematic 3 has those middle section markings, too.
 

jng

Well-known member
There's a convenience argument for keeping the uppermost section not fully extended. That way adjustments to leg length don't require reaching the lower leg locks. I confess to using that method. Some tripod I had (Novoflex?) had only the uppermost section marked with lines so that the legs could be extended equally.
What Matt said. The 3 series RRS is very stable when used in this way - I've run 2+ minute exposures with long (and I mean long - up to 490mm) telephoto lenses without issue. I suppose in theory minimizing the extension of the lower segments would be best, but not sure this make a difference in the real world.

John
 

dchew

Well-known member
I'm between 5'10-5'11, I've been browsing some online sites but would probably stick with RRS tripod, That said I was thinking on the TVC 34 model, so my question is, does anyone here have the RRS TVC 34 model and same height as me? what is your current tripod/head set up?
I have the TVC 34L. According to the RRS website, with 3/4 sections extended:
34: 44.1"
34L: 51.8

The L is 7.7" longer with 3/4 legs extended. For the regular length: 44.1" plus the cube, which adds about 4-1/4". I use the A/S quick-link connection, which adds another 3/4". You should be right around 48-49" to the bottom dovetail on the camera. Now, it depends on your preferences.* I like to look over the camera if possible, so I set mine up a little low for my 6'-4" height. That's why @jng laughs at me when I crouch down to see the screen. If you want the screen at your eye level you will probably have to extend the last leg several inches.

As to whether the last leg should be the bottom or the top, I've swung both ways. For years, I took the @anwarp approach and left the bottom leg not extended or partially extended. I still do that when using smaller tripods like the RRS Ascend. But for the sturdy RS-3 series, I just do what Matt and John said; extend the bottom two sections and adjust final height with the top section. It is so much easier to do that, especially making adjustments after setting up. That bottom leg section is waaaaaayyyy down there. :rolleyes:

Dave
*Also assuming camera height is not critical to the perspective (i.e. you are using longer lenses so a few inches one way or the other doesn't matter).
 

Pieter 12

Member
I would think that with sections collapsed, the tripod should be just as stable as a tripod that is the same height fully extended, maybe even more so since the diameter of the legs being used is bigger. I have also read recommendations to extend the smallest sections as little as possible whenever you can. I shoot low to the ground often with all the legs collapsed, sometimes spread wider. It all seems very stable. Hang a sandbag or other weight from the center if you think it is not as stable as you'd like.
 

dj may

Well-known member
I use a Gitzo Systematic 5. It is so stable that I have no worries about extending the bottom section. As @MGrayson said, the convenience of adjusting the largest section is preferable. Fully extended, the camera is over 2 meters high. Having a tripod with this reach is also very helpful on slopes and uneven terrain.
 

Rand47

Active member
I just popped over to “The Center Column” to see if there were any tests on stability : leg extension. Nothing that I could find.
Intuition seems to indicate that less extension means more stability. The “trend” in tests seems to indicate that shorter tripods of the same make, e.g. RRS TVC 33S score better than the TVC 33 and TVC 34L.

Another thought. I just did maintenance on my RRS TVC 44 and had the leg sections apart. The bearing contact surface is the two little shim “shoes” that ride on the top of the leg section and the tube itself is “clamped” by the leg section screw collar. Seems to me that there’s more mechanical advantage when the leg is farther into the tube and “some distance” from the collar than when the top of the tube and it’s little shim/shoes are “all together” in the same place with the collar clamp - ergo (me thinks) the OPs existing tripod, with the legs not fully extended to achieve the desired height, might actually be more stable than when fully extended. An (hopefully) educated guess for sure.

My TVC 44 goes well beyond my normal usable height. I’m a “don’t use the skinniest sections if you don’t have to” person - despite the less convenience in making adjustments. What I’ve done to make it convenient to always get a level starting place at my preferred height is to mask off a very thin section of each leg and then paint it with silver fingernail polish. It’s pretty durable and a thin enough “coat of paint” to just slide into the collars smoothly. Makes setting it up quickly a breeze. With the C1 head I very rarely need to make leg length adjustments for “level” on any reasonably level surface.

Rand
 

SrMphoto

Active member
I just popped over to “The Center Column” to see if there were any tests on stability : leg extension. Nothing that I could find.
Intuition seems to indicate that less extension means more stability. The “trend” in tests seems to indicate that shorter tripods of the same make, e.g. RRS TVC 33S score better than the TVC 33 and TVC 34L.

Another thought. I just did maintenance on my RRS TVC 44 and had the leg sections apart. The bearing contact surface is the two little shim “shoes” that ride on the top of the leg section and the tube itself is “clamped” by the leg section screw collar. Seems to me that there’s more mechanical advantage when the leg is farther into the tube and “some distance” from the collar than when the top of the tube and it’s little shim/shoes are “all together” in the same place with the collar clamp - ergo (me thinks) the OPs existing tripod, with the legs not fully extended to achieve the desired height, might actually be more stable than when fully extended. An (hopefully) educated guess for sure.

My TVC 44 goes well beyond my normal usable height. I’m a “don’t use the skinniest sections if you don’t have to” person - despite the less convenience in making adjustments. What I’ve done to make it convenient to always get a level starting place at my preferred height is to mask off a very thin section of each leg and then paint it with silver fingernail polish. It’s pretty durable and a thin enough “coat of paint” to just slide into the collars smoothly. Makes setting it up quickly a breeze. With the C1 head I very rarely need to make leg length adjustments for “level” on any reasonably level surface.

Rand
Tripod Stiffness vs. Height
 

Pieter 12

Member
From one of the comments in the above-mentioned article:
"Most of my tripods are over 30 years old and still work smoothly, and that little extra step, retracting the legs a bit, I think may be related to that. I have acquaintances with similar tripods, and they insist on always extending the fattest tubes fully and using the skinny lower tubes for elevation and leveling adjustments. On most of theirs, there is surface evidence of “crippling” where the ends of the tubes are deformed because that lateral load on the leg has allowed it to bend just past the elastic limit of the material. I feel like this could have been prevented with the discipline to not fully extend every section. If one needed a hardware solution, about half an hour with a roll of fat heat shrink tubing and a tea kettle to place a spacer to limit the extension of the inner tube, might be a great tool for lots of people to improve their tripod performance and extend it’s service life a bit."
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
In my experience, people sometimes make the mistake of selecting a tripod that is too short. You can always control the height of a taller tripod by not extending the legs. Like most folks here, I have several different tripods ranging from my Gitzo giant to the RRS TVC 3 series, both three and 4-section tripods which can be helpful for travel (4 sections typically pack shorter).

I follow the same approach of setting the bottom legs so that the average height on level ground is my typical working height and then adjusting for uneven situations by adjusting the top section height. Likewise, owning a taller than "necessary" tripod is helpful for those situations where you are shooting on the side of a slope etc., and you can adjust just one leg to accommodate those situations.

My ideal set-up for my Actus DB / IQ4150 is the Arca D4 and TVC 33 tripod. I do have the Gitzo SGT and Cube, but this is overkill unless shooting close to the 4x4 camera bag. It does make for a great personal protection club should you ever enter into dodgy territory :) For the Actus, a good geared head helps set up the camera accurately versus a ball head, IMHO.
 
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Rand47

Active member
Thanks for this. Confirms my intuition. Surprised I didn’t find this in my search.

And…

” . . . ends of the tubes are deformed because that lateral load on the leg has allowed it to bend just past the elastic limit of the material. I feel like this could have been prevented with the discipline to not fully extend every section. . . . “

Also would seem to confirm intuition . . . At some point there may be diminishing returns for how obsessive I get, but I’m going to rethink my current deployment strategy and see how much of a pain in the butt it will be to follow this advice.

Rand
 
I have both the RRS TVC 34 w/ D4 and 34L w/ Cube. At 5'10" the TVC 34 w/ D4 is a perfect height. Bonus if you take off the top mounting plate of the TVC 34 it exactly fits in an international carry on suitcase. I also use mine with a 75mm bowl and Sachtler FSB 8 head. Works great.
 

SrMphoto

Active member
We can adapt the old saying: the best tripod is the one that you have with you. I have several RRS and Gitzo tripods of all sizes, but the PD tripod is the one that comes with me most often.
 
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