December 21, 2014, 09:45:07 AM

Author Topic: Tripod center column - yes or no  (Read 6535 times)

Krob78

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Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« Reply #45 on: July 07, 2014, 04:05:05 AM »
I'm wondering if anyone has any experience or feedback with this model?
"Sirui R-4203L 3-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod"  From what I've seen, it looks pretty darn good for the price but I'm not familiar with the brand.. at 70" it seems that may be a good height for me, I'm 5'10". 

Anyway, please give me your thoughts or comments.  Thanks!   :D

I don't have that tripod but I do have a few Sirui products and find them to be very good. I currently use the P424 Mono pod (similar leg thickness to the 4203 tripod) and  can confirm that Sirui carbon legs are close to Gitzo in performance and I love the Sirui leg locks!
My problem is that I wonder whether you need a monster like the 4203? Yes it is a cracking tripod but what lenses are you going to use it for? If you are looking at a 600 F4 or an 800 F5.6 then the 4203 would make you very happy. However if you are thinking of shorter lenses then have a look at the Sirui R3203. This would be more than enough to do the job with quite large lenses and quite tall enough. I am 5ft 9inches tall and use tripods of 140cm tall quite happily - this one is quoted at 150 cm so it's plenty high enough.
As a footnote I would add that if I hadn't got my Gitzo tripods so cheap the Siruis are what I would have bought.
Yes, I suppose 140cm would suffice.  After the Ball head is mounted it will likely put the viewfinder right about my eye height... I thought the 4203 coming in at 70" or 150cm would give me that extra height should I need it, without a center column. 

Yes, I'm looking to use it with everything from my 100-400L to a 600mm.  Not sure about anything larger than that or my 300 f/2.8 with Teleconverter. 

I noticed the 3203 model has the ability to remove one leg and use it for a monopod!  That's clever, I've got a monopod already but I could give it to my daughter and have an "all in one"!   Thanks for your input.  I appreciate your comments.
Ken

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Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« Reply #45 on: July 07, 2014, 04:05:05 AM »

Krob78

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Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« Reply #46 on: July 07, 2014, 04:08:39 AM »
I'm wondering if anyone has any experience or feedback with this model?
"Sirui R-4203L 3-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod"  From what I've seen, it looks pretty darn good for the price but I'm not familiar with the brand.. at 70" it seems that may be a good height for me, I'm 5'10". 

Anyway, please give me your thoughts or comments.  Thanks!   :D

There is one user on CR who swears by them.  When getting a tripod, and laying out $600, make sure that you can get parts.  With camera sales tanking, I'd expect that tripod makers are hurting too, and some of them will drop out or get bought up.

That's a good thought Mt. Spokane, I hadn't thought about that... I'll have to give it some thought... They make a gimball I was considering as well, looks really well built and strong but quite light...

Well, it's a good point you make my friend.  At least with the bigger companies, there's less chance of them going out of business anytime soon, one would hope! 

Back to the drawing board!  Thanks for your thoughts!   :D
Ken

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GMCPhotographics

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Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2014, 12:12:28 PM »
I'm wondering if anyone has any experience or feedback with this model?
"Sirui R-4203L 3-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod"  From what I've seen, it looks pretty darn good for the price but I'm not familiar with the brand.. at 70" it seems that may be a good height for me, I'm 5'10". 

Anyway, please give me your thoughts or comments.  Thanks!   :D

There is one user on CR who swears by them.  When getting a tripod, and laying out $600, make sure that you can get parts.  With camera sales tanking, I'd expect that tripod makers are hurting too, and some of them will drop out or get bought up.

You would not believe how often i have had to repair my Gitzo GT3541LS. I've replaced all the main screws and the lower legs several times. These tripods don't do salt water very well and if you use spikes, the end pieces have a habit of falling out. They are only push fitted in and even if one glues them in...they weirdly fall out. Every year, i've had around £110 UKP's worth of spare parts needed. I'm seriously thinking of going over to Really right Stuff in the hope their pods are more resiliant.
Ok, I know I shoot in some of the most harsh conditions...but come on! These Gitzo pods are actually quite fragile.

Going back to the OP's original question, if you get a pod with no centre column...then you can't be tempted to use it, which will cause sharper images! For marco work, my Gitzo can my camera to a few inches above ground level and I've never needed a "bouncy" centre column to get closer to a macro subject.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 12:15:40 PM by GMCPhotographics »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2014, 12:16:59 PM »
These tripods don't do salt water very well and if you use spikes, the end pieces have a habit of falling out. They are only push fitted in and even if one glues them in...they weirdly fall out. Every year, i've had around £110 UKP's worth of spare parts needed. I'm seriously thinking of going over to Really right Stuff in the hope their pods are more resiliant.

I've found my RRS legs to be quite robust.  I have spikes for my TVC-33, you have to swap out the 'teardrop' rubber feet but the spikes don't come off during use. 
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Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« Reply #49 on: July 07, 2014, 05:56:39 PM »

You would not believe how often i have had to repair my Gitzo GT3541LS. I've replaced all the main screws and the lower legs several times. These tripods don't do salt water very well and if you use spikes, the end pieces have a habit of falling out. They are only push fitted in and even if one glues them in...they weirdly fall out. Every year, i've had around £110 UKP's worth of spare parts needed. I'm seriously thinking of going over to Really right Stuff in the hope their pods are more resiliant.
Ok, I know I shoot in some of the most harsh conditions...but come on! These Gitzo pods are actually quite fragile.

[/quote]

What are you doing to your poor Gitzo?
I have 3 for over 5 years and 1 (older model) for about 4 years - I haven't repaired anything! I do use/abuse them quite extensively and have had zero issues. They are used as walking sticks (crossing rivers) supports for me when my knees pack in, occasional light brush busting and I put cameras on them as well. The only maintenance I have done was to clean the leg locks of my 3320BS - but then it was almost buried in sand! In salt water environments I normally us my old (secondhand) G1329 Mk2 as the leg locks are easier to clean - but they haven't got dirty yet - still I have only had it about 4 years.

For the OP I am happy with or without center columns on tripods though for long lens (300mm +) work I find a center column to be a significant disadvantage.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 06:05:19 PM by johnf3f »

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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #50 on: July 07, 2014, 09:06:25 PM »
It's been said before that the prefect tripod has three characteristics - rigidity, height, and portability.  Unfortunately you have to decide which two are the most important since no tripod has all three.  Center columns sacrifice rigidity for portability.  Portability sacrifices height without a center column.  I ended up selling my Induro series 2 CF with a center column for a RRS series 24L CF without a center column. No regrets and as the RRS salesman pointed out your second airline portable travel tripod (<20 inches) is replaced by checking lugage.
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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #51 on: July 08, 2014, 04:47:12 AM »
It's been said before that the prefect tripod has three characteristics - rigidity, height, and portability.  Unfortunately you have to decide which two are the most important since no tripod has all three.  Center columns sacrifice rigidity for portability.  Portability sacrifices height without a center column.  I ended up selling my Induro series 2 CF with a center column for a RRS series 24L CF without a center column. No regrets and as the RRS salesman pointed out your second airline portable travel tripod (<20 inches) is replaced by checking lugage.

I usually put the legs into my hold luggage. It's about 2kgs, no great weight. It's the ball head / fluide head which weighs a lot!

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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #51 on: July 08, 2014, 04:47:12 AM »

mackguyver

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Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2014, 10:00:39 AM »
These tripods don't do salt water very well and if you use spikes, the end pieces have a habit of falling out. They are only push fitted in and even if one glues them in...they weirdly fall out. Every year, i've had around £110 UKP's worth of spare parts needed. I'm seriously thinking of going over to Really right Stuff in the hope their pods are more resiliant.

I've found my RRS legs to be quite robust.  I have spikes for my TVC-33, you have to swap out the 'teardrop' rubber feet but the spikes don't come off during use.
Neuro & others - have you used your RRS tripods in salt water very much?  I'm considering the TVC-33, but my tripods go in muddy/sandy salt water about 2/3 of the time I use them. 

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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2014, 11:18:14 AM »
In my not-inconsiderable experience, vibration and movement is just as likely from other areas. All depends what legs you decide upon but my latest, a chunky Induro, when the centre column (I use the short) is not extended and locked-down, there's no perceptible movement at all. However, I struggled for a long time with my previous Red Snapper tripod, thinking it was junk, until I looked much closer and discovered flex in the post of my ball-head. I checked a few different ball-heads and saw the same thing. All that money spent on tripods and it's the stupid ball-head post (connecting ball to plate) that was almost always introducing shake and wobble!

When I bought the Induro, I also bought their second-largest head, after looking at many others. The Induro had a far-thicker and much shorter post on the ball than others I'd looked at so I went for it and haven't looked back since.

If I find movement now, it's most likely to be looseness between the plate/camera or the legs themselves - you will never get an extendible carbon-fibre leg that doesn't flex.

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Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2014, 11:40:04 AM »
These tripods don't do salt water very well and if you use spikes, the end pieces have a habit of falling out. They are only push fitted in and even if one glues them in...they weirdly fall out. Every year, i've had around £110 UKP's worth of spare parts needed. I'm seriously thinking of going over to Really right Stuff in the hope their pods are more resiliant.

I've found my RRS legs to be quite robust.  I have spikes for my TVC-33, you have to swap out the 'teardrop' rubber feet but the spikes don't come off during use.
Neuro & others - have you used your RRS tripods in salt water very much?  I'm considering the TVC-33, but my tripods go in muddy/sandy salt water about 2/3 of the time I use them.
I have had my TVC-34 (and the equivalent Gitzo before that) in salt water and sand lots of times. No issues so far. I clean it in fresh water after every trip and let it air dry.
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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2014, 11:42:26 AM »
To me the center post is something I rarely use, but I am glad it is there when I need it.  I try to buy tripods that will put the camera at my eye height or higher without the center column.  My tallest tripod will put the camera six inches over my head this way, but 18 inches higher with center post.  At an airshow for example, standing on my ice chest, I tower above the crowd and can photograph without interference.

SO as long as I can lock it down, I'd rather have it.

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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #56 on: July 17, 2014, 01:07:15 PM »
I have three tripods. The Manfrotto 055 came with a center column, and I did not use it very often, being aware of the stability issue. The big (CT3472) and little (CT3442) Feisols didn't come with a center column, and I haven't bothered to get one. It does get old trying to adjust the legs by less than a centimeter each. I have thought of getting the column kit and a short column for those times when I might be doing a lot of fussy height adjustment. Besides the simplicity and stability of having no center column, there is the additional 200 grams or so that is saved by not having the center column. On a longer hike, I likely would rather shave the grams and fuss more with the legs, than take a center column. Along that line, for extra stability I hang my water bottles off the tripod baseplate hook, for an extra 1.5-2 kg if water full. I also have a plastic mesh bag from 3# bag of oranges - it can be stuck onto the baseplate hook and a few rocks can be loaded into it.

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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #57 on: July 17, 2014, 01:16:39 PM »
I have three tripods. The Manfrotto 055 came with a center column, and I did not use it very often, being aware of the stability issue. The big (CT3472) and little (CT3442) Feisols didn't come with a center column, and I haven't bothered to get one. It does get old trying to adjust the legs by less than a centimeter each. I have thought of getting the column kit and a short column for those times when I might be doing a lot of fussy height adjustment. Besides the simplicity and stability of having no center column, there is the additional 200 grams or so that is saved by not having the center column. On a longer hike, I likely would rather shave the grams and fuss more with the legs, than take a center column. Along that line, for extra stability I hang my water bottles off the tripod baseplate hook, for an extra 1.5-2 kg if water full. I also have a plastic mesh bag from 3# bag of oranges - it can be stuck onto the baseplate hook and a few rocks can be loaded into it.

Very similar to what I do.... I have a 4mm cord that I use to tension the tripod to my backpack, which is laying on the ground under the tripod.
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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #57 on: July 17, 2014, 01:16:39 PM »

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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #58 on: July 17, 2014, 01:16:59 PM »
I also have a plastic mesh bag from 3# bag of oranges - it can be stuck onto the baseplate hook and a few rocks can be loaded into it.
Great idea on the orange bag! I have used a mesh laundry bag in the past - which also works great to cool food/drinks in streams, but it's too big to work very well as a tripod weight.

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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #59 on: July 17, 2014, 02:08:26 PM »
I rarely use mine, but I have left it on since it's shorter folded up backwards with it on than it would be without. My 3 Legged Thing won't fold backwards around the head without the center column, at least I don't think it will.
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Re: Tripod center column - yes or no
« Reply #59 on: July 17, 2014, 02:08:26 PM »