December 22, 2014, 09:24:36 PM

Author Topic: Convertible tripod/monopod options  (Read 2385 times)

curby

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Convertible tripod/monopod options
« on: April 09, 2014, 06:41:33 PM »
Hi, I'm looking to replace my current Feisol tripod, due to some space and usability issues.  The Feisol can still be used at home, but I'd like something more compact and modern for travel.  180°-folding legs, monopod conversion, and 5-segment design can help with compactness, and some modern usability features like non-rotating leg sections would be nice. 

I use a non-gripped 70D, and my longest lens is currently a 70-200/4, though I'm looking to extend into the 300-400 range in the next year or two.  I do a variety of travel photography including wildlife, landscapes, architecture, and near-macro.

Options I've found thusfar:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Av1HyANgStffdEJkaHVwd3QzUnFvTWt2R3Ffb0FrcUE&usp=sharing

Must-haves include good reliability and stability for the weight and price class, twist locks with anti-rotating legs, and a monopod conversion feature.  I'd like to spend under $400, but could go higher if there's something amazing just out of that range.  I have a ball head I could transplant, but a good head that comes with the new tripod would work too.

Are there any other options I missed?  Have you had positive or negative experiences with any of them?  Any other thoughts?  Thanks in advance!

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Convertible tripod/monopod options
« on: April 09, 2014, 06:41:33 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2014, 11:37:33 PM »
I's recommend going for a Gizto. 
 
The Chinese brands are inexpensive, and look good on paper, but when one needs a part in a few years, try to find parts for it.  Under good conditions, they are fine, but outdoors in hot, wet, or cold weather, they turn out to not be so reliable.
 
I bought two $400 Benro CF tripods from B&H a few years back.  They are heavy duty, and look nice, I really like them.  BUT !!! There are no parts available, and it turns out that there never were any parts one could get.  That $400 set of legs might just end up in the junk pile, while you will be able to get Gizto parts for many years.

expatinasia

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2014, 02:02:29 AM »
I am a big fan of the Sirui (can't remember the model now - will post later). I travel a lot and frequently use both the monopod and tripod. They are strong and well built. See further comments in my reply to MtSP below.

The Chinese brands are inexpensive, and look good on paper, but when one needs a part in a few years, try to find parts for it.  Under good conditions, they are fine, but outdoors in hot, wet, or cold weather, they turn out to not be so reliable.

That is not my experience with Sirui for example, which is a great monopod/tripod. The monopod is strong enough to hold a 1D X with a 400 f/2.8 ii and is so small it fits inside my carry on luggage with space to spare. The tripod is strong enough for a manfrotto MVH502AH, a 1DX with 70-200 f/2.8 ii.

1D X + backup + different L lenses etc.

curby

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2014, 05:13:24 AM »
Thanks for the thoughts!  I'm trying to travel light, hence the convertible tripod/monopod unit so I don't have to pack four legs.  Does Gitzo offer such a thing?  I don't think they did when I last looked.  Perhaps it's too gimmicky a feature for their intended professional audience?

@expat, I'd love to know which model you got. 

Thanks again!

expatinasia

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2014, 06:47:43 AM »
@expat, I'd love to know which model you got. 

Sorry, am travelling at the moment.

I have the Sirui N-2004. Never had a problem with the monopod in heavy rain (sat out using it all day), humidity etc. many times and never once hinted there may be an issue. It can carry a lot and even more than I described above.

Go to a store and check one out you will be amazed at the monopod part especially, but also just how small the lot compacts into.

I am not the biggest fan of the tripod part, works great and I use it all the time but am about to buy something different, but when I use tripod I mainly am doing video which is why I have the head mentioned earlier.

Enjoy.
1D X + backup + different L lenses etc.

noisejammer

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2014, 08:17:23 AM »
You may want to look at 3leggedthing.com - they have a few models that offer a detachable leg. If memory serves, they are stocked by B&H.

On your choice of lenses - my experience is that you need a very robust tripod for a 400mm but can get away with a reasonable monopod. (For the physics inclined, a long lens / camera combination has a large moment of inertia. This interacts with the torsional stiffness of the tripod to lower the resonant frequency.... and low frequencies tend to have large amplitudes.) A monopod is much stiffer in torsion, so it doesn't feel the pain.

projectmansd

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2014, 09:33:14 AM »
Cowboy Studios has some nice tripods to fit you need. I have had mine for a while and use both tripod and monopod features. Weight is good for traveling and they come with cases. Extra quick release plates are also available.

http://www.cowboystudio.com/product_p/gt3128x8c%20b1%20tripod.htm
http://www.cowboystudio.com/product_p/bk-586.htm

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2014, 09:33:14 AM »

surapon

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2014, 09:44:54 AM »
Cowboy Studios has some nice tripods to fit you need. I have had mine for a while and use both tripod and monopod features. Weight is good for traveling and they come with cases. Extra quick release plates are also available.

http://www.cowboystudio.com/product_p/gt3128x8c%20b1%20tripod.htm
http://www.cowboystudio.com/product_p/bk-586.htm


+ 100 for me, Dear Mr. Projectmansd
http://www.cowboystudio.com/product_p/bk-586.htm

I buy this awesome Chines made, = 120 US Dollars 2.5 years ago, and I love to bring her with me around the world, Because the light weight and can carry the Load =10 Kilos or  20 Pounds. Please see the Photo below.
 Surapon

PS. Yes, I have more than 10 Tripods , Monopod with Cheap  Heads to Top of the Line  Heads= The Cost from  $ 30 US Dollars to $ 1500 US Dollars ( that Tripods + RRS BH-55).
« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 10:28:43 AM by surapon »

JonAustin

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2014, 10:29:40 AM »
Although it exceeds your stated price cap, I'd recommend that you check out the Oben CT-3461:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/864561-REG/oben_ct_3461_be_117t_4_section_foldable_carbon.html

I bought a predecessor (Oben CT-3410) to this model 16 months ago, when it went on sale for $280 (regularly $399). I use it when hiking, and have been very pleased with its performance, light weight and small size when folded down. The ability to convert to a monopod was a big selling feature, even though I've only used it a couple of times -- it's great to have the flexibility when you need it.
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curby

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2014, 03:36:33 PM »
Dang, lots of new ideas.  Thanks so much!  I'll take a look at them later this weekend.

Dantana

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2014, 03:56:45 PM »
You may want to look at 3leggedthing.com - they have a few models that offer a detachable leg. If memory serves, they are stocked by B&H.

On your choice of lenses - my experience is that you need a very robust tripod for a 400mm but can get away with a reasonable monopod. (For the physics inclined, a long lens / camera combination has a large moment of inertia. This interacts with the torsional stiffness of the tripod to lower the resonant frequency.... and low frequencies tend to have large amplitudes.) A monopod is much stiffer in torsion, so it doesn't feel the pain.

I have a 3leggedthing Adrian, and I have been happy with it so far, though I don't have any largish lenses. I have't used the monopod feature, but it's nice knowing it's there. They have a lot of options depending on your needs/budget. I got mine on closeout from Adorama (older model).
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brad-man

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2014, 06:31:29 PM »
@expat, I'd love to know which model you got. 

Sorry, am travelling at the moment.

I have the Sirui N-2004. Never had a problem with the monopod in heavy rain (sat out using it all day), humidity etc. many times and never once hinted there may be an issue. It can carry a lot and even more than I described above.

Go to a store and check one out you will be amazed at the monopod part especially, but also just how small the lot compacts into.

I am not the biggest fan of the tripod part, works great and I use it all the time but am about to buy something different, but when I use tripod I mainly am doing video which is why I have the head mentioned earlier.

Enjoy.

+1 on the Sirui. I have the Sirui M3204x. It is the roughly equivalent carbon fiber version of the N-2004. It is very well made and very reasonably priced considering the specs. It goes to 58" without raising the center column so there's no bending over, weighs less than 4 pounds and collapses to 21".


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/822247-REG/Sirui_BSRM3204_M_3204_4_Section_Carbon_Fiber.html


Tez

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 07:04:52 PM »
For what its worth I bought a Giotto 8255-S2c (earlier model) to carry around Europe for 6 weeks. It worked fine with my 5dII and largest lens being the 70-200 2.8ii and I like the quality. The differentiator for me was the all up weight including the head. For your comparison may I suggest you add in the head weight and cost to the tripod only options.

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 07:04:52 PM »

curby

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2014, 05:53:22 AM »
Ok, it's between these two:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/864571-REG/oben_ct_3581_be_126t_5_section_foldable_carbon.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/926478-REG/benro_c2350q2k_2_series_carbon_travel_tripod.html

They're very nearly twins, but the Oben has retractable spikes and includes a short center column, whereas the MeFoto is slightly lighter and smaller (folded).

I know the 5-segment design will be less stable, but I haven't been able to find a compelling 4-segment model in this price range, and this should help with the folded size.

Any thoughts on one over the other?  Thanks again!

curby

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2014, 07:03:45 PM »
Alright, order is in ... for a Sirui N-2204X and K-20X head.

I decided to go 4-segment, not just for stability, but also for setup speed.  I might not be able to unlock four adjacent locking collars with a single motion, but three should be fine.  Also, it's three fewer collars when the segments are extended.

I decided to go with Sirui because I found this combo for $410 shipped, which is close enough to my budget for a complete system.  Also, the K-20X is remarkably well-reviewed and well-liked for its price and size category.  Many people buy the head by itself, so it isn't cheap "shovelware" added to tripods just to make them kits.  I'll compare it to my Q10 and see how to pair things up.

The toggle-style leg angle locks seem easier to use than the pull-out/push-in locks used by many others. 

I'm not too thrilled with how the split column works (e.g. no hook when running short-column-only) and the exposed hook may be a snag hazard, but we'll see what happens.  Thanks again for all the ideas!

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Re: Convertible tripod/monopod options
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2014, 07:03:45 PM »