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-   -   Need a Tripod, why get Carbon Fiber? (

StevieDgpt Sep 29, 2008 11:32 PM

Looking for a tripod as I have out grown my WallyWorld $30 special.

(bang for the buck that $30 tripodis sure hard to beat)

I DO NOT need a lightweighttripod per se as Iwill be using the tripod forstudio shots (in my business) about 99% of the time. So weight is not an issue andI don't care if the unit weighs 5 ounces or 50 lbs.

(actually I do care about 50 lbs because the tripod will be broken down and stored from time to time, but let's be practical.... I can carry 50 lbs 10 ft to thecloset for storage)

The tripodwill be used forproduct shots for web display and simple product flyers for mailers. Because a good portion of the shots will be from a sharp angle or even overhead I will be getting a tripod with a horizontalarm or capability of adding a horizontalarm.

( I evaluated getting a camera stand, but I have just way too much stuff to shoot and product sizes range from the equiv of quarters and half-dollar sizes up to 20" in diameter crap... better start shooting vertical with an arm (unless somebody has a better idea )

Manfrotto055XPRO or Giotto MT 9370 both meet my basic design needs are are tall enough so I do not have to stoop to see through the viewfinder (KM-5D) for normal shots.

For my vertical shots the Giotto has the ability to place the arm at various angleswhich would allow me greater flexibility in composing shots and duplicating angles, especially versus having to raise or lower the legs to change the height.

I had looked at getting a Slik set of legs andadding an horizontal harm. Might be a bit cheaper in the long run and with the center column on the Slik I could raise the arm as I needed.

Any way, theGiotto and Manfrotto both are available in Carbon Fiber, for more $.

So why get Carbon Fiber versus Aluminum? Is there any great oh, gosh darn gotta have reason other than lightweight? Will Carbon Fiber dampen vibrations more than hanging a bag of rocks from the horizontal arm?

And is the Giotto as good as it looks on paper. Yea, I know... China. But since I am not going to haul the tripod over the river and through the woods to grandma's house we go it should be fine for my business usage. Oh should I get the Slik and add an arm and avoid the flexible angle arms from Giotto and Manfrotto?

PS: Camera KM-5D with kit lens that is being upgraded. But nothing too heavy or huge.

TCav Sep 30, 2008 12:50 PM

Since carbon fiber is light and you intend to use a horizontal arm, you might have a problem with stability. The added mass of an aluminum tripodmay keep the whole thing from tipping over.

BillDrew Oct 1, 2008 9:07 AM

You have missed on major advantage of a carbon fiber tripod: being able to say you have the best (most expensive) thing available. The old "Mine is bigger than yours" braggadillo.

There is a danger of a tripod tipping with an horizontal arm, but that is easily dealt with by using small sandbags on elastic cords. Elastic so the length is not critical while they rest on the floor so they don't swing and cause tripod motion.

TCav Oct 2, 2008 10:00 AM

BillDrew wrote:

... The old "Mine is bigger than yours" braggadillo.
Oh yeah! Well, my hyperbole is bigger than your hyperbole!


scooptdoo Dec 7, 2008 4:31 PM

if your gonna tote your tripod around by all means get a carbon fiber.however if your setting up in your studio or seldon have the need for portability then get a heavy tripod.wooden ones are really a treat to use.heavy bulky and rock stedy!:|

scooptdoo Dec 7, 2008 4:31 PM

if your gonna tote your tripod around by all means get a carbon fiber.however if your setting up in your studio or seldon have the need for portability then get a heavy tripod.wooden ones are really a treat to use.heavy bulky and rock stedy!:|

scooptdoo Dec 22, 2008 10:04 PM

the very best tripod i personally have ever used was a big heavey wooden monster that was modified easily for a was from a servey set.this guy got the tripod and scope for 100 bucks or so from qa pawn shop.some disgrunteled construction ya hoo took it off the job no doubt.but man ive never had a steedier mount.absolutly no vibrations threw 300mm.

Abs.Abando Dec 24, 2008 10:08 PM

Bottom line is: a GOOD tripod could well be worth the expense.

I've seen quite a few guys spend thousands on cameras and lenses and yet scrimp on the platform on which they will mount these contraptions.

I've been using a "medium weight" Manfrotto Art. 144 with an Art 222 Joystick head for the past 17-years. Never regretted what I spent for it! It has served me well both for indoor studio work and shooting on the fly. (Although the heaviest camera I mounted on it was a two-and-quarter "Hassy". Don't expect to mount anything heavier.)

I guess carbon fiber tripods allow you some bragging rights due to their almost obscene cost but I would say, "fit the camera to the tripod and fit the tripod for the purpose".:idea:

StevieDgpt Dec 25, 2008 12:37 AM

My learning experinece.

Manfrotto 055XPROB Aluminumended up being my choice.

Why? Because of the mount in the Giotto was clearly the weak point in the design versus the Manfrotto with the locking fixed point for the horizontal arm.

Does Carbon Fiber have an advantage over Aluminum. Yes. Clearly. Ignore the weight issue for a moment.

(trying to use the proper words but I will most likely screw it up)

CF has less resonance or less vibration than AL.Think of it this way... thump a sheet of window glass and then quickly (and very gently) touch the glass. The vibration you feel is your force rippling through the glass like a rock dropped into a still pond. CF does have a natural resonance, but it is much, much less than AL. Which means CF will stop vibrating faster and is less likely to vibrate to begin with.

On a short 'pod, such as when no legs are extended, the amount of vibration is almost nil for any of these materials. Stretch them legs out, swing the arm up or out and then try to take a test shot with a big zoom and see what happens. Those vibrations inan AL'podwill affect your picture.

Of course one could wait a few seconds and the vibrations will disappear.

But out in a field situation, with the wind blowing and the user constantly bumping and touching the 'pod.... CF clearly has an advantage over AL. Of course wood would be better but who wants to carry wood in the field?

So why did I get AL? First of all I am using the pod nearly exclusively in a studio setting. Secondly I can add weight to the 'pod. Yes weight. Besides helping to stabilize a lateral arm the weight also dampens the vibrations. Not as good as CF, but close enough and besides I can wait a few micro secondsbetween taking pictures.

Oh, did I mention I am cheap? Yep, another good reason for AL.

TCav Dec 25, 2008 11:32 PM

Actually, resonance isn't very much of an issue.

While Aluminum does resonate more than Carbon Fiber, the joints in multi-segment tripod legs absorb much of that vibration, such that an aluminum tripod doesn't resonate much more than a carbon fiber one. And that doesn't count the damping effect of the rubber feet.

Carbon Fiber tripods are more rigid. But that rigidity is because of the tighter manufacturing tolerances because carbon fiber doesn't expand and contract as much as aluminum. It doesn't come because of any difference in the inherent harmonic resonance of carbon fiber vs. aluminum.

But cheap is good.

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