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Old Jul 5, 2009, 8:27 PM   #1
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Default Need a New Tripod

Well, I had a Dynatran AT-150A - its aluminum with plastic parts, and it broke... end of story - no the camera was not on it.

I have been looking around for the last year, but no luck. I would like to keep the same size - about 18 to 20 inches folded so that it will fit into my suitcase. 4 sections with flip levers, and about 2 lbs or so (up to 3 lbs). It can come with a ball head, or I will put one on it, and will also attach a quick release plate. It needs to hold 2.76 lbs (K20 with the 12-24 lens). Metal is fine - I really do not need carbon.

I was thinking of SLIK Sprint, or Pro Ball. Manfrotto Digi Series or 190X Series. Actually the Manfrotto Digi Series looks to be the most promising.

The problem is that I'm unable to find what I want. Every time I think I have found one, it is discontinued and no longer available....

Suggestions, Recommendations????
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 10:53 PM   #2
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to bad about dynatran. i've had 3 tripods from them and never a prob.. you might email them for parts.. you can forget a head and tripod that'll weigh 3 pounds
Passion is in all great searches and is necessary to all creative endeavors. - W. Eugene Smith
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Old Jul 7, 2009, 1:20 AM   #3
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Hi IO,

I've got two lightweight tripods. The larger of the two is a Bausch and Lomb Advanced Titanium. It's the same pod as Slik marketed as the Pro 330 DX. It's longer than you'd want folded, but Slik still markets the Pro 340DX which has 4 sections and folds down to 15.7". It weighs in at a touch under 3lbs, so is on the heavy side of you criteria. AFAIK, the only plastic in the construction is in the flip levers. The legs are made of an Aluminum, Titanium, and Steel alloy and it's reasonably stiff and very light. The weight capacity is 11 lbs, and I actually have used this as my base for the k20/300/2.8 with the B/M 468 and the Wimberley Sidekick when I had to lug the gear a really long way and needed to lighten the load by a couple of lbs. The legs can be independently set for 2 different angles and with the short center column, it can get down pretty low. The Pan and Tilt head that came with it was not to my liking, so I've replaced it with a ballhead.

I think that this might work for you. . .


My other light pod is a pretty old Velbon Ultra Maxi. It weighs under 2 lbs, and it actually is about 5" taller than my B&L without the center column. Folded, it's ridiculously small at about 12". The newer models have individually adjustable leg angles, but mine doesn't. This model has 5 leg sections, and they get pretty spindly. It is an all-metal construction pod though, and probably about as strong as you'd get for something this small that extends as tall. The current models are in the Maxi and Luxi series, but you might have some trouble finding them as they don't seem to be that widely distributed nowadays. I've seen the Maxi 343E touted as a good travel pod, but don't have any personal experience.

The one cool thing about the Velbon is that it has internally locking twist legs, and this is easily the fastest tripod to set up that I've ever tried. Grab the bottom section, turn counterclockwise 4 detents, pull the legs out to the length you want, then turn clockwise 4 detents, spread the legs, and you're done. I use this as my FZ1/FZ30 carry around pod, but haven't used it with any of the DSLRs as I just feel that it's too unstable. It gets more work as a base for a remote flash recently. It might work OK with SR on though, so it might be a consideration -- hadn't really thought about that. . .

I could recommend either of these from a quality standpoint -- stability is another story, though neither is as shaky as some of the really cheap pods I've encountered. . .

Good luck with your search.

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Old Jul 7, 2009, 2:49 AM   #4
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Hi Roy and Scott,

Well, I have been looking, and trying to make up my mind (and add that to the last year that I have been considering all of this). So I just ordered for better or worse a Benro TRA168 Magnesium-Aluminium 4 Section Travel Angel Kit with Quick Release, Supports 8.8 lbs. I ordered from Amazon with free shipping and no tax. It weighs in at 3lbs, it comes with a ball head and a release plate. Physically the material is stiffer, and length wise folded it should fit, so we will see. It has twist leg locks rather than flips, but I think I can live with it. Camera and my heaviest lens weighs in at 2.75 lbs, so I have a 2x margin on the rated weight - which was much more than my old tripod, so if I could live with my old one, this should be a delight.

On my old one, the plastic around the top (where all the legs join together) broke where it was screwed in (with the little set screw). So the aluminun leg popped out of the plastic mounting. I was just going to super glue it, but 2 of the rubber feet popped off. So I bent down to pick them up and the lower leg section popped out (since the rubber foot was no longer stopping it) of the top of the leg and fell to the ground. So I though - no problem, I'll just slide it back in, but the way it is constructed, it appears impossible. So after trying to put everything back together all day Sunday, I just gave up on it (plus my son tried for a couple of hours too).

I will see how this one works out. I did want a ball head - the other tripod had a 3 way, that I used - since I got it for 11 cents and something like $10 shipping off the ebay special that amnova ran a few years back.

One thing that I noticed was, that while I was looking at some 4 other models and makes. I was looking around at B&H and a couple of other places, including Amazon. All of the others were out of stock, backordered for months. And that is after not considering all of the makes and models that have been discontinued and no longer available. Are tripods that popular?
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