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Old Mar 3, 2005, 12:38 PM   #1
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I am looking to supplement my current (heavy) Manfrotto tripod and head with a lightweight carbon fiber tripod and (magnesium?) ball headfor hiking.

I will be using this for landscape photography. I also have an interest in creating panaramas, so I'd like some way of levelling the tripod. If this is a problem though, I'll just resort to a separate spirit level.

I'm hoping to get a substantial refund from the IRS this year so I'll probably be using this set-up with a 70-200 f/2.8VR and a 2x teleconvertor in addition tothe D70 and it's kit lens (and possibly a 12-24 F/4 Nikor). Therefore stability is pretty important.

I'm prepared to pay for quality. I'm interested in the Gitzo 1325 (no center column) but would like to know of alternatives to this.I have no idea on the head so feel free to recommend away.
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Old Mar 3, 2005, 1:56 PM   #2
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we can spend that refund with no problem.

the 1325 is no real lightweight alternative after you put some form of ctr pieceon it. it is certainly not aeasy hiking piece.with the leveling base and the real world weight factor it is in excess of 5.5 lbs and ~27+ inches long with the leveling base or ballhead. it is a nice piece though. you just have to work out the carrying arrangements.

the new lvl series from gitzo is ok but in my opinion they are limited too. as a travel tripod i use the g2228 explorer. this allows me to do just about any type of imaging at any angle. in addition i have the manfrotto leveling post which will be usable in the g2228 without any modification whatsoever by just swaping out the center posts. it will be less bulky, weigh moderately less, and probably allow the greatest versatility around. withe the manfrotto you have the option of either carbon or aluminum there is only a minor weight difference

another option is the manfrotto 055MF either 3 section or 4 section. built on the 3021pro design and about 1lb lighter. again the leveling ctr post fits here too.

Ball heads. my! what a hot topic.5 players

RRS, Markins, Arca-Swiss, Kirk, Acratech

i can opinionate on 4 of the 5 after owning those.

RRS BH-55- currently the top of the heap. bar none the easiest to setup and operate with the highest repeatability for settings and function. Downside: 10+week waiting list and a approx $450 delivered price tag w/flip lock. i have one of the originals. my favorite.


Markins- a reverse engineered Arca Swiss B1. the main differences are size and weight. both reduced by about 30%. very finely made. this one sits on my G2228 as the travel set. it has been modded now using a RRS flip lock clamp vs the original screw type arca clamp. with original markins arca type screw clamp approx $350. acn be ordered rht han or left hand and w/o a clamp (mounting stud included in titanium) for you flavor of clamp. min in the image has a RRS flip lock QR.


Arca Swiss B1- the origin of the species. Swiss built swiss quality. newer version since 2002 better then the old (minor issues) a excellent original but the markins does the same job for less weight and less $$$ approx $400 with screw lock and $429 w/their fliplock qr. sold mine for the markins.


Acratech- different, light ,and beautiful. skeletonized designed suffers a slight design issue from my point of view due to its 45 deg harp design. will become apparent in use. some find it acceptable some don't. approx $280 w/rubberized knob also available rt or lt hand.


theseare just the most popular models and these all support the arca swiss type QR system. there are more

oh the gear i use is a 1Dmk2 and a 1Dsmk2 with lenses from 16-300 all 2.8 also i borrow a 400 2.8 from a slighly better off friend. so the gear i generally talk about i use.

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Old Mar 22, 2005, 4:15 AM   #3
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Arizona Steve

Sorry about getting to this a bit late. A few weeks ago I bought a new tripod for about the same things your looking for. I ended up getting a Velbon EL Carmagne 540 Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs (Black) with PH-250B 3-Way Panhead. This is a very nice tripod, with excellent build quality, weighs almost nothing, and is very stable.

In the 2 weeks that I have used it, I have not had any problems with it. Sometimes I feel that I don't have it with me, because it is about half of what my old tripod weighs. This tripod also have the center column as removeable so that you can basicly have it lay flat on the ground.

When I was at B&H, this is the tripod that they recomended for my camera setup.My requirements forbeing lightweight (hiking back trails and mountains), something that would not break the bank,and very sturdy.My camera setup is a Canon Digital Rebel and my largest lens is a 75-300 mm.

I know that youare looking at a ball head, and so was I. The 3-way pan head works nice. It is much nicer than my old tripod. I ball head could always be added at a later date.

Here is the link to it if you want to review it.


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Old Mar 23, 2005, 9:11 AM   #4
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my basic issue now with "normal" vertical type tripods is that the lack the versatility available to me. after you use one with lateral capability you just can't go back.
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