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Author Topic: Looking for tripod advice...  (Read 15266 times)

wickidwombat

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2011, 06:51:28 PM »
Has anyone had experience with Benro?  I just tried out a couple of Benro Travel Angels:
http://www.benrousa.com/products_catalog_TransfunctionalTravelAngel-CF-TwistLocks.html

The sales people suggested this as a better alternative to Gitzo.  I looked at the 2691 and the 1691.  The ballhead that comes with the 2691 looked ok and usable, but not great.  The one for the 1691 looked weak. 

The tripods seemed fantastic though.  Carbon fiber, lightweight, great design for short folded length (legs bend 180 degrees up toward ballhead), hook under non-rotating, reversible column, twist-lock non-rotating legs, rubber and spiked feet, foam over one leg, very good quality case, converts to monopod, packs flat...  Both the 2691 and the 1691 seemed to have about a 1/2-stop (sic) better load rating than equivalent models from other makers.  I'm not a big fan of five-segment legs -- four is about as much as I would like -- but they were solid and straight at full extension.

Also, when I went back over to the Gitzo tripods, two of the three legs fell off of a GT2541 when we loosened them!  The sales guy was embarrassed.
yes I have the CF Benro travel angel and I love it it really is a great tripod, the aluminium one isn't a whole lot heavier either. its very solid, even when I use it with a gigapan epic pro, 1D and heavy lens, I think my novoflex head weight more than the actual tripod though :)

I got mine from here
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Benro-C-2691TB1-Carbon-Fiber-Travel-Angel-Tripod-B-1-/330538387722?pt=AU_TripodsMonopods&hash=item4cf59f890a
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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2011, 06:51:28 PM »

Harley

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2011, 09:53:33 PM »
yes I have the CF Benro travel angel and I love it it really is a great tripod, the aluminium one isn't a whole lot heavier either. its very solid, even when I use it with a gigapan epic pro, 1D and heavy lens, I think my novoflex head weight more than the actual tripod though :)

I got mine from here
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Benro-C-2691TB1-Carbon-Fiber-Travel-Angel-Tripod-B-1-/330538387722?pt=AU_TripodsMonopods&hash=item4cf59f890a


Thanks for the feedback!  Really helpful.  Does yours have the monopod leg?  If so, do you use it? 

I feel like I'm close to finding the right thing.  I was going to check out a Feisol CT3442 & CT3441T -- I just found a dealer that is nearby.  He also has Photoclam ballheads, which I've heard good things about. 
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ronderick

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2011, 10:30:07 PM »
@Harley: Just some suggestions.

If you are sure you want to get a carbon fiber tripod and is deciding between Gitzo and Benro, I'll give you the same advice the local camera store shopkeeper gave me when I was checking the prices: you'll get what you've paid for.

I remembered he said there's different grades of carbon fiber, which influences the price and quality (stiffness, load capacity, etc.) of the respective tripods.

It's been a few years, so my memory is a bit thin here, but you can look up the information or ask your dealers before you make the choice.
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D_Rochat

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2011, 11:16:16 PM »
I was looking to buy my first tripod and I wanted something in the sub $100 range as well as travel friendly. I ended up going with the Manfrotto Compact 5 Section Aluminum Photo/Video Kit with Quick Release. It's good, but not without it's flaws.

First off, I wasn't expecting much for under $100. I just wanted something relatively durable and light enough to pack around with me. It does those things just fine. The closed length is 18 inches and it weighs 2.5 lbs. I attached my old camera strap to it and it hangs from my shoulder and I hardly notice it. The overall construction is good and it'll extend up to 5ft. The big plus for this tripod is the portability and weight.

The bad..... I don't like the head all that much. I get that it's more of a compact video head, but it just seems a little weak. I don't feel like it's going to fall apart, it's just a little to hollow and plastic for my liking. When I throw my 24-70 L on it, it wants to creep a little with straight shots due to the weight of the lens. It doesn't support forward weight that well. To keep the compact 18 inch closed length, they had to make it a 5 piece telescopic leg which makes it slightly wobbly with the skinny bottom legs extended. You just have to make sure that it is still for long exposures or weigh it down if it's windy.

It is what it is. Would I recommend it? Yes and no. If you need a decently built, cheap tripod for traveling, city shooting and hiking, then I say go for it. If you want a rock solid tripod for lots of landscape, wildlife or studio, then it's useless.

Harley

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2011, 12:03:27 AM »
@Harley: Just some suggestions.

If you are sure you want to get a carbon fiber tripod and is deciding between Gitzo and Benro, I'll give you the same advice the local camera store shopkeeper gave me when I was checking the prices: you'll get what you've paid for.

I remembered he said there's different grades of carbon fiber, which influences the price and quality (stiffness, load capacity, etc.) of the respective tripods.

It's been a few years, so my memory is a bit thin here, but you can look up the information or ask your dealers before you make the choice.

@ Ronderick: Thanks for the advice!  I've felt the same way and was surprised that our local pro photo store guys gave me the opposite advice when we were trying out tripods today.  And then, as if to emphasize the point, the Gitzo fell apart when we extended the legs!  Exactly the opposite of what I would have expected based on many of the comments here.  So this really threw a wrench in my decision making process.

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« Last Edit: December 29, 2011, 12:06:54 AM by Harley »
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ronderick

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2011, 04:50:53 AM »
@ Ronderick: Thanks for the advice!  I've felt the same way and was surprised that our local pro photo store guys gave me the opposite advice when we were trying out tripods today.  And then, as if to emphasize the point, the Gitzo fell apart when we extended the legs!  Exactly the opposite of what I would have expected based on many of the comments here.  So this really threw a wrench in my decision making process.

When you say 'fell apart', do you mean that the leg became detached after turning the lock/joints many times in the "loosen up" direction?

Assuming that's what you've witnessed, the mechanism of the gitzo tripod is designed for that.

When you extend the legs, you're only supposed to rotate the joint a little bit (about half-a-turn of your wrist), just loose enough to extend the leg, and lock it in position by turning the joint the other way after ur done extending it.

The time I have the legs detached was when the shop people took it apart to help me clean out the sand from an outing at the beach.

Of course, they put the parts back together when they're done, but that's not something I'd try on my own...
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Flake

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2011, 08:05:13 AM »
My advice is the same as in previous posts - avoid Manfrotto like the plague!  They used to be brand leaders but have now cheapened their products to such an extent that it has become very poor value.  Almost everything which comes as standard on other brands is an optional extra on Manfrotto, meaning that a similar set of legs actually costs double when it's brought to the level of rival products.  Then there's the column, many brands will allow variable angles from the vertical, but the Manfrotto will only allow vertical or horizontal, and there's no hook on the centre column for additional weight (unless you pay more for it!)

Carbon fibre is for me something of a 'look how much money I've got' feature rather than being of practical benefit.  When you have a chance compare the aluminium & carbon fibre versions of the same legs & check the weight saving - it isn't much, and you will often find that the maximum weight loading is compromised.  Lets say the Aluminium model takes 10Kg, but the Carbon one saves 300g but will only support 6Kg.  The carbon model costs a lot more, saves very little weight & isn't as stable.  This is something which you must consider before you make a purchase

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2011, 08:05:13 AM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2011, 05:35:43 PM »
I still say the Benro tripods are great Value and excellent build quality
the other benefit of carbon fibre is no corrosion, if you plan on standing the legs in salt water or water for that matter this should be a big consideration, other than that I agree with flake the Aluminium versions are cheaper
and awesome value too the weight difference isnt alot especially if you put a bigger heavier head on it you will never notice the weight difference.
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DavidRiesenberg

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2011, 07:36:22 PM »
I can also vouch for the Benro CF legs. Mine are branded as Induro but they are one and the same. Very stable with my typical loads (either a gripped 7D with 70-200 2.8 as the biggest lens or an RZ67) and even when I'm shooting video with a medium-ish rig on it they seem to transfer vibrations very well.
When I was debating the issue myself, the Gitzo ones that I tried didn't justify the big price difference. Maybe if I was using heavier setups it would be different but as it is I am very happy with its performance.

Harley

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2011, 07:40:49 PM »
When you say 'fell apart', do you mean that the leg became detached after turning the lock/joints many times in the "loosen up" direction?

Assuming that's what you've witnessed, the mechanism of the gitzo tripod is designed for that.

When you extend the legs, you're only supposed to rotate the joint a little bit (about half-a-turn of your wrist), just loose enough to extend the leg, and lock it in position by turning the joint the other way after ur done extending it.

The time I have the legs detached was when the shop people took it apart to help me clean out the sand from an outing at the beach.

Of course, they put the parts back together when they're done, but that's not something I'd try on my own...

I turned each of the twist locks about a quarter turn or so to loosen the leg sections.  All of the leg sections stopped at full extention and I tightened each back a quarter turn.  However, on two of the legs, the upper sections slid right out of the top twist lock joint.  I showed the salesman who played with it.  He said that wasn't normal and took it over to their service department.  They examined the joints and then took it to the back room for fixing.

I still say the Benro tripods are great Value and excellent build quality
the other benefit of carbon fibre is no corrosion, if you plan on standing the legs in salt water or water for that matter this should be a big consideration, other than that I agree with flake the Aluminium versions are cheaper
and awesome value too the weight difference isnt alot especially if you put a bigger heavier head on it you will never notice the weight difference.

I had an exceptionally good experience recently ordering some equipment from a Korean seller on eBay.  Since wickidwombat had a good experience with his Benro purchase from China and I read some other forum posts with similar stories, I decided to take a risk and give it a shot.  The Benro C2691T+B1 here in the States is about $530-$540.  Ordering one from China on eBay is about $360 including international shipping.  I corresponded with the seller to get some assurances that it is the real product with a manufacturer's warranty.  Plus he has a lot of satisfied customer according to eBay.  I guess I'll find out if it's worth it or not!
« Last Edit: December 29, 2011, 07:49:38 PM by Harley »
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wickidwombat

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2011, 07:51:35 PM »
good choice i'm sure it will be fine

I use these novoflex products as the head on mine got them all from B&H

http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/camera-support-systems/ball-heads/magicball/
http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/panorama-photography/panorama-plates/
the panorama one between the tripod legs and the magic ball

and on top of the magicball a Q mount
http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/camera-support-systems/quick-release-systems/qmount/

not cheap but reallly good quality

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kimloris

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2011, 08:17:25 PM »
The BENRO tripods are really good. I bought one last year.  ;D
Since I did not want the ballhead, I called my dealer (www.photoaddict.fr in France) and asked if it was possible to only have the tripod from the Travel Angel kit C-2692TB1.
It was possible and I saved ~130€ from the kit price.
The reason I wanted without the head was that I already had the excellent Markins Emile Q3T but I read a lot of good reviews on the BENRO B1 ballhead.

The benro travel angel system is really well done. I actually like the fact that the legs fold back on the ballhead (and protect it from lateral shocks) which is nice when you know the price of a Markins ballhead (more expensive than the tripod).
The only issue I had was with the carrying case: one of the plastic buckle broke and I had to fix it (superglue).

It is a not an extremely light tripod (even though it is carbon fiber) but it is really stable (nothing to worry about for long exposure on a windy day). You can even put some more weight on the hook (using your camera backpack for exemple) to gain additional stability.
If you are carrying a lot of lenses and gear, the additional weight could be an issue for long hikes.

I do not regret my purchase.

Harley

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2011, 11:20:27 PM »
I started checking this website over a year ago out to figure out when the 5D Mark III would be coming out.  I had no idea what a learning opportunity this forum was going to be.  Really great contributors!
 
Thanks to everyone in this particular string, regardless of your specific recommendation.  I have learned more about tripods in the last week than I have in several years leading up to now.  I really appreciate your recommendations and I looked into each with equal enthusiasm. 

I think I've found the right thing for me.  I'll post again once I've had a chance to test it out and let you know the results.  Cheers!
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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2011, 11:20:27 PM »

Harley

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2012, 04:23:43 PM »
yes I have the CF Benro travel angel and I love it it really is a great tripod, the aluminium one isn't a whole lot heavier either. its very solid, even when I use it with a gigapan epic pro, 1D and heavy lens, I think my novoflex head weight more than the actual tripod though :)

I got mine from here
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Benro-C-2691TB1-Carbon-Fiber-Travel-Angel-Tripod-B-1-/330538387722?pt=AU_TripodsMonopods&hash=item4cf59f890a


Got my tripod from China today.  I ordered it on New Year, so shipping to the States was pretty quick.  It appears to be the real deal direct from Benro!  Tags, warranty card, allen wrenches.  Everything was packaged like it came straight from the factory.  So thanks, wickidwombat, for scoring the best deal on a carbon fiber tripod!  (+1)

I haven't tried it out yet -- only took it out of the packaging to inspect it -- but it's super stable, the joints are stiff and smooth.  Large diameter legs.  Loading my 300mm f/2.8 will not be a problem at all for this thing.

The tripod itself (w/o ballhead) is just over four-and-a-half feet tall (1400mm) without the column extended.  It folds to under 18" (450mm) and since the legs fold up around the ballhead, the ballhead doesn't add to the packed length. 

Speaking of the ballhead, it is much better than I would have expected.  Nice extras included like a weight hook under the center column, closed cell foam padding on the leg that turns into a monopod, spikes for the feet, bubble level on ballhead, alfa-swiss QR plate, etc.  Surprisingly, the carrying case is quite nice, too.  I may actually use it. 

Not bad for under $350.  Thanks for the help everyone!  I'll let you know how it works out. 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 04:26:27 PM by Harley »
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Harley

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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2012, 08:09:32 PM »
Finally tried out the Benro C2691T Travel Angel and B1 ballhead with my FD 300mm f/2.8 L and it worked perfectly!  I was worried the ballhead would be undersized, but it held firmly, panned smoothly, and the traction control was easy to fine adjust.  The tripod was rock-solid.  Really happy with the combo and since it's so easy to travel with I will be bringing it along everywhere.
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Re: Looking for tripod advice...
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2012, 08:09:32 PM »