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Ultralight Tripod
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Ruan Kendall
(Ruan) - MLife

Locale: UK
Re: dslr on 02/06/2010 11:50:47 MST Print View

I think you're basically doomed when it comes to getting lightweight tripods for heavy cameras... either the market doesn't exist or the manufacturers are all blind to it.

Little table-top sized tripods are probably the only way to go. I've just found something called the 'Trek-Tech Optera' that looks like it might be okay, if a little gimmicky. There's a few slightly more conventionally shaped things like the basalt Gitzo GT-921 which are less of a gamble.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
tripods on 02/06/2010 11:59:44 MST Print View

Yep, there is a couple of good ones, but right now if I would buy a smaller one I think I would go with the gorillapod zoom.

I've got a very small Manfrotto 709B Digi but it's really only for the table, a very basic thing.

Furthermore a Benro Travel Angel, which is quite good but too heavy (1,8kg).

The problem is, that mainstream is different, as you say. I would be glad if there was a good and stable carbon tripod around 80-100cm. The problem with the existing ones is, that their legs are to thin and the ballheads too small.
So far I've never seen a small carbon tripod with only 2 segments or so, that can hold a large dslr - and are still lightweight. Personally I don't care if I have to "sit" when I really need a tripod for a picture.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: tripods on 02/06/2010 12:23:22 MST Print View

I stumbled across this a day or two ago. I don't know how it compares to anything else.

Siruri Tripod

Max Load Capacity: 33lb, 54-64", Weight: 2.9lb ,Folded Height: 18.4inch, with removable leg for monopod

You could always remove a section or two to drop some of the weight.

Edited by greg23 on 02/06/2010 12:25:27 MST.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
tripods on 02/06/2010 12:34:52 MST Print View

Hi, thanks for the link

I think there is a similar one from Benro, might be even lighter.
I'm a little concerned though with some "unknown" brands, since I read a review of the internals of the Benro ballhead (as said I own a Benro myself though, and it's quite good).

Removing sections would be a good idea, I thought about that too - but actually never found someone who did this - and I don't want to damage a carbon tripod in this price range :)

Edit: Oh well, looks like it is quite simple:

Edited by chbla on 02/06/2010 12:37:50 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
UL Tripods on 02/06/2010 12:42:11 MST Print View

Manfrotto and Gitzo make great carbon fiber tripods and you can choose the ball head to go with. Cheap they are not and they are not what we would call UL--- you can burn up $300 in a blink and still have a 4-6 pound anchor.

Ain't gonna happen for under a pound if you want a pro grade tripod.

I have a Canon G10 and use an older Slik tripod and a remote release.

Things to look for: raise the tripod to a good working level, grasp it by the top and see if you can twist and flex the pivot and legs. Poorly designed 'pods will wobble like a wet noodle. Locks should be positive and can suffer from the same problems that cheap trekking poles do-- dumping your precious toy in disastrous ways.

I like legs that can be independently splayed for uneven ground and getting low angle shots, but that can detract from a rigid setup.

Like all UL gear, fewer geegaws and features equals less weight and more reliability. Simple is good. Fewer leg sections makes for a longer tripod to carry, but reduces weight, moving parts, complexity, and are more rigid.

See if you can rig a stuff sack with rocks or some other weight to suspend from the center below the tripod. This adds some stability in the wind and reduces shake. This is my solution to using an "amateur" 'pod.

If you aren't using long telephotos, you can get by with a lighter rig and there is less torque on the ball head, etc.

A good tripod can help the sharpness of your photographs immensely, so it is worth the effort. Just the ol' compromises faced with all out other gear-- weight and expense over utility.

I have a few spare amateur type UL tripods if you are interested.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
tripods on 02/06/2010 12:54:47 MST Print View


Well, for me it's the supported weight/weight ratio basically.
And it should support my camera and lenses.

Therefore, I think Gitzo is one of the brands with the best supported weight/weight ratios and quality.
So, given these requirements, I think I can call it lightweight for this purpose...

But I would be very glad if someone could suggest a cheaper, reliable alternative that can support the same weight. My personal experience is that gitzo cannot really cheat on the supported weight values because they would lose their good reputation - whereas others are selling numbers that are way too high.

Gregory Wallace

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Ultralight tripod on 02/10/2010 11:26:13 MST Print View

"Ultralight tripod" can be an oxymoron. The main reason you have a monopod or tripod is to stabilize the camera. A monopod is better than hand held, especially with a long lens (>200). A tripod is much better than a monopod, but just because it has three feet on the ground doesn't mean it's stable.

If you're shooting outdoors, you likely will have to deal with wind and/or uneven ground. With DSLR cameras, even the movement of the camera mirror can cause vibration that can make the photo less sharp (that's why you should use a cable release and mirror up mode for shooting on a tripod). If that small of a vibration can affect the quality of your photo, then much more so wind and uneven ground.

Most ultralight tripods and self-rigged "solutions" such as trekking poles simply won't cut it with the setup you have. The 40D plus 10-22 weighs about 3 pounds. You need something more stable and something that's not going to fall or blow over and ruin $1500 worth of equipment.

While a stable tripod is less needed with an ultra-wide angle lens, you may not want to limit your future lens choices by getting a lightweight pod that only will be effective with an ultra-wide lens. I do a lot of nature and landscape photography, and most of my best shots are with medium and long telephotos.

Gitzo is top of the line and very expensive. I recommend you consider Feisol tripods ( Feisol sells some nice carbon tripods that weigh just over 2 lbs for around $300. You also should consider a good ballhead, such as the Markins Q3 (0.8 lbs) or M-10 (1.1 lbs). Manfrotto/Bogen also has some lightweight carbon and aluminum tripods.

If you're serious about nature/landscape photography, buy a good tripod and ballhead. This is one piece of equipment where quality counts more than ounces. You won't regret it.

Joseph Reeves

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Ultra-light Tripod redux on 02/10/2010 14:44:39 MST Print View

An update on the Tamrac TR406 ZipShot Compact tripod I purchased a month or so ago. While it doesn't have the stability of my heavy and expensive tripod, it does fit in my pack and weighs just 11 ounces. Stands at about waist height. This photograph was taken using my Panasonic GF1 with a manual focus Zuiko 28-48mm old-school lens. Hit the link and expand the image to the large or original size; you can see how sharp the individual trees stand out on Admiralty Island, about 6 miles from where the image was captured.

OM Zuiko 28-48mm lens

Edited by Umnak on 02/10/2010 14:45:43 MST.

joe newton

Locale: Bergen, Norway
Re: Ultra-light Tripod redux on 02/10/2010 15:33:48 MST Print View

Anyone have any experience of this tripod?

9.7oz, ball head, stands 40" tall and supports up to 4.4lb

Benjamin Moryson
(hrXXL) - MLife

Locale: Germany
velbon vpod on 02/11/2010 11:43:25 MST Print View

he joe
i use the velbon vpod together with my GF1 and it is fantastic

Edited by hrXXL on 02/11/2010 12:03:30 MST.

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: Re: Ultra-light Tripod redux on 02/11/2010 12:08:17 MST Print View

I also use a vpod, goes on every trip with me and is the best option available for the best price in this part of the world in my view. Check out Amazon UK as they had good prices a while ago.

joe newton

Locale: Bergen, Norway
Re: Re: Re: Ultra-light Tripod redux on 02/11/2010 12:29:44 MST Print View

Cheers Beni & Roger! I've been using a wee Gorilla-pod but it's not quite good enough when I plan to take specific or lots of photos.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
dslr on 02/11/2010 12:42:59 MST Print View

I think for my DSLR I will go for a compact (travel) carbon Gitzo and remove 2 sections if needed to stay lightweight - any thougs on this?

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Feisol... on 04/08/2010 15:43:22 MDT Print View

"Feisol tripods ("

They have a US reseller now:
The owner, Kerry Thalmann, is well known in the large format community for customer service. And I use a Feisol traveller tripod that I purchased from him for my 4x5, with considerable success.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
tripod on 04/08/2010 16:14:04 MDT Print View

I wish that I had a better tripod solution for weight. First of all, this is no UL thing. Currently I use a big Sigma lens on my camera, and the lens alone weighs 13 pounds. I have a big Indura carbon-fiber tripod that has a big load rating. In fact, it has to be considerably more than the 13 pounds because of the focal length of the lens (300-800mm), so the load rating is up around 25-30 pounds. When I first started using the big lens, I was photographing birds in flight, and that demanded a gimbal head (manfrotto). That also demanded that the tripod height be able to get the center to nearly six feet, which made for a heavier tripod. Now that I restrict my wildlife shooting mostly to terrestrial mammals, I could shift to a shorter tripod, and maybe to a big ballhead. The ballhead would probably save me some weight in transport. Currently the tripod-gimbal head combo weighs 9 pounds. Any ballhead recommendations to save carry weight?

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Ballheads... on 04/10/2010 10:28:24 MDT Print View

One that I can recommend based on personal experience is the Really Right Stuff BH-40, though for your 800mm beast you might end up preferring the larger model, the BH-55.

The BH-40 has worked well for me with a 720mm lens on a 4x5, so it might be enough for even your big lens. It's easier to manipulate a larger camera/lens combo on a larger ballhead than a smaller one, but the weight difference is also substantial, so it might be worth a look. RRS rates their ballheads pretty conservatively.

Arca-Swiss has a new(ish) dealie out on the market that I've seen very strong reviews of but haven't tried yet called the Monoball P0, and it has a big brother (P1). The P0 is extremely light, and like all of Arca's ballheads has a load rating that's a bit over the top relative to its size.

Another option is to check out the off-brand (South Korean, I think) Photoclam ballheads. Chat with Kerry Thalman at Really Big Cameras to get more info about those. They have one that fits inside the reversed legs of the traveler model Feisol tripod that I have (the BH-40 is wide enough to prevent the legs from folding all the way back), costs around $100 IIRC, and is rated for something like 60 pounds. It might be worth a look.