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Author Topic: Advice requested re travel tripods  (Read 13109 times)

dcm

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2014, 02:36:20 PM »
That's a nice travel set up, but if you can get a good price, the MeFoto is definitely a decent set up.  This is actually my first travel tripod - until now I've just hauled my big tripod around or done without.  More often that not, it was doing without one, so I'm happy to have found a small but sturdy tripod at a nice price.

My daughter is starting to enjoy photography, she uses an old S95 for now, but it's never too early to start using a tripod.  Something other than basic black might facilitate that.   ;)   I have the little Hejnar AS plate for my EOS M (likely her next camera, after the DPAF version of the M comes along), that will work for the PowerShot.

You might want to consider the MeFOTO BackPacker for the M.  It's lighter (2.6 lbs), slightly shorter (51"), only $129, and still comes in colors for your daughter ;-)
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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2014, 02:36:20 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2014, 02:40:19 PM »
I'm not sure how old she is, but you might need to get her the MeFoto SideKick360 as well for selfies ;)

Pretty cool, and a better solution than RRS' iPhone mount options, IMO.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2014, 04:23:34 PM »
So I stopped into Calumet in Cambridge.  They seem to be doing a pretty good job at liquidating, there were far fewer of the MeFOTO tripods left.  They had lots of the tiny ones (Daytrip), but only a few of the larger models were left.  As it seems was the case for you, the RoadTrip seems like the best compromise between portability and stability, so I pulled one off the rack to try it out. 

I used the one-hand twist method I've grown accustomed to with the RRS tripods, and the first leg extended with gravity alone (there is enough friction in the RRS leg collars that you need to pull them out by hand).  I unlocked the second leg, and after the second section extended, the third section fell out...literally fell out, and clattered onto the floor.  I put it back together (two hands to lock the busted section, since the anti-twist did not work either) and decided that I'll stick with my RRS travel tripod.

The MeFOTO tripods were all hanging on a display rack, so in effect they were all demo units.  But still, I'm not sure I like what my experience says about durability.  At least there's a five year warranty!  Hope yours holds up much better than the one in the shop did…
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mackguyver

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2014, 09:39:07 AM »
That's a little alarming, but I read on their blog that the legs are designed to come apart for cleaning, so hopefully that and the demo status of it were the reason.  Obviously it's not going to compare to an $1100 RRS set up, but I'll be shooting with it over the next several days and hopefully it will hold together :)  I'm guessing that you didn't have any luck getting the 300 this time, either?
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2014, 09:54:25 AM »
I'm guessing that you didn't have any luck getting the 300 this time, either?

The rentals were for sale this time, but it seems the first guy was right to question whether the price was for the MkI or the MkII.  The $3600 was for a beat up MkI lens, they wanted $5600 (more than a refurb from Canon) for the rental MkII.  I passed.
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IgotGASbadDude

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2014, 05:22:38 PM »
You might want to consider the MeFOTO BackPacker for the M.  It's lighter (2.6 lbs), slightly shorter (51"), only $129, and still comes in colors for your daughter ;-)

+ 1 on this tripod. I've even used my 5D MIII + 70-200 L on it. Obviously, I prefer my other tripod but for traveling, the MeFoto BackPacker has worked well.

I especially like the fact that it easily disassembles into a monopod! And c'mon, the color choices are awesome.
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traingineer

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2014, 05:51:59 PM »
So I stopped into Calumet in Cambridge.  They seem to be doing a pretty good job at liquidating, there were far fewer of the MeFOTO tripods left.  They had lots of the tiny ones (Daytrip), but only a few of the larger models were left.  As it seems was the case for you, the RoadTrip seems like the best compromise between portability and stability, so I pulled one off the rack to try it out. 

I used the one-hand twist method I've grown accustomed to with the RRS tripods, and the first leg extended with gravity alone (there is enough friction in the RRS leg collars that you need to pull them out by hand).  I unlocked the second leg, and after the second section extended, the third section fell out...literally fell out, and clattered onto the floor.  I put it back together (two hands to lock the busted section, since the anti-twist did not work either) and decided that I'll stick with my RRS travel tripod.

The MeFOTO tripods were all hanging on a display rack, so in effect they were all demo units.  But still, I'm not sure I like what my experience says about durability.  At least there's a five year warranty!  Hope yours holds up much better than the one in the shop did…

Something similar happened with a Gitzo tripod, I was looking at Gitzo's basalt tripod (demo model). slightly twisted the leg locks and the legs fell out (2 legs fell out) I just put them back in, locked it and put the tripod back in it's place. I first though the legs were broken, then I realised that it's just missing some pieces which hold the legs in place.

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2014, 05:51:59 PM »

JumboShrimp

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2014, 06:06:58 PM »
You all probably know this, but ... always pack your tripod in a checked bag when flying. If you carry it on by itself or in your carry-on bag, it will be viewed as a threat (a "club" specifically) and it will not be allowed. Domestic or international - same thing. My first encounter with this situation was on leaving Venice, Italy for a connecting flight elsewhere in Europe. Luckily, I was able to check the "bare" tripod by itself and it arrived safely at my next destination (much to my pleasant surprise, BTW).

IgotGASbadDude

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2014, 02:23:27 PM »
You all probably know this, but ... always pack your tripod in a checked bag when flying. If you carry it on by itself or in your carry-on bag, it will be viewed as a threat (a "club" specifically) and it will not be allowed. Domestic or international - same thing.

This depends on the airline and (I'm guessing) the discretion of the person doing the screening.

I've flown more than once with my MePHOTO in my backpack.   :D

But you've got a point. I haven't really had a "PLAN B" in case they disallowed it.

As for the "threat" associated with a tripod, my 5D to the temple would be deadly. The plastic bag in my backpack could suffocate someone. Matter of fact, the pen in my pocket to the jugular would be deadly.  :o
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dcm

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2014, 03:03:04 PM »
Anyone have experience with the FotoPros that are nearly identical to the meFotos?  They even do the tripod/monopod switch.   The FotoPros have another locking knob on the center column, the legs have 3 levels versus 2 and 4 sections versus 5.    Prices are similar as well - C5i for $189 is similar to RoadTrip and C4i for $149 is similar to BackPacker. Both are on Amazon.

FotoPro seems to make a lot of other tripods as well.  I also noticed that meFoto is actually a spinout from Benro in one of the reviews.  The Benro Travel Angel II appears identical to the meFoto Road Trip.  fstoppers has done a review and comparison.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 03:28:45 PM by dcm »
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privatebydesign

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2014, 11:02:46 PM »
You all probably know this, but ... always pack your tripod in a checked bag when flying. If you carry it on by itself or in your carry-on bag, it will be viewed as a threat (a "club" specifically) and it will not be allowed. Domestic or international - same thing.

This depends on the airline and (I'm guessing) the discretion of the person doing the screening.

I've flown more than once with my MePHOTO in my backpack.   :D

But you've got a point. I haven't really had a "PLAN B" in case they disallowed it.

I have flown all over the world with a tripod as carry on, alone, on the outside of a bag, and inside a backpack. Never had an issue, well once in Japan they measured it but it was well under the regulation 100cm in length. That includes into and out of the USA, where TSA are prone to overreach at any opportunity. I think you might have just got an over enthusiastic agent, how did you get the tripod to Italy?
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JPAZ

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2014, 11:20:37 AM »

I have flown all over the world with a tripod as carry on, alone, on the outside of a bag, and inside a backpack. Never had an issue, well once in Japan they measured it but it was well under the regulation 100cm in length. That includes into and out of the USA, where TSA are prone to overreach at any opportunity. I think you might have just got an over enthusiastic agent, how did you get the tripod to Italy?

There is very little uniformity.  I've been on flights with hiking poles and / or tripod put into checked bag (by their request) while others have tennis rackets, walking sticks and the like in the cabin.  The reason given?  The "spiked feet" !!

At least I know better than to try to bring a Rocket Blower on board (still impessed with that tale of woe, Surapon).
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« Last Edit: April 26, 2014, 11:26:01 AM by JPAZ »
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gshocked

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2014, 07:50:43 AM »
As posted before, one of the few drawbacks of carbon fibre tripods is that they can blow over in the wind.... You can tie down the tripod from the centre column to your camera bag, a brick, or whatever, to make it more stable. Also, if it is tied to the camera bag, thieves can not walk off with it while you are distracted.

Hi Don,

What tripod is that?

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2014, 07:50:43 AM »

mackguyver

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2014, 11:18:58 PM »
I took it with me on a 4-day trip to Orlando and it performed quite well.  As luck would have, it was rather windy 10-20mph the entire time I was there, but with my bag hanging from the center column, it was sturdy enough.  I made many long exposures (up to 30s) with it and it worked well.  The size/weight were perfect for my needs and it fit right into my suitcase. 

The on thing I'll say is that the center column should only be used if you really need it.  I realize that is true of any tripod, but the fully extended center column is extra wobbly on this one. 

The head worked really well and given that I was shooting with a tilt-shift lens most of the time, getting the camera perfectly level was a breeze, which is more than I can say for a lot of (far more expensive) heads I've used.  It held my 5DIII with RRS L-bracket and TS-E 24 II, 85L II, and 24-70 with no problems.

So far, I'm very pleased with my purchase and would recommend the tripod to anyone looking for a reasonably-priced Arca/Swiss compatible travel tripod.  Here's my favorite shot from the trip:

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Shoot123

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2014, 01:06:04 AM »
I've used a variety of tripods for travel, and (to me) one of the drawbacks is how light they all are. My solution to this problem for many years was to attach a bag with rocks to the tripod to add weight, but a couple years ago I got a "Camera Caddy" from Fotosharp. Very handy both for holding gear and adding weight!

http://fotosharp.com/camera_caddy.html

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Re: Advice requested re travel tripods
« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2014, 01:06:04 AM »