>> Neil: note that the 3342 and 3442 legs also fold over the top of the tripod
Thanks for the correction. I'd forgotten about that (it's been probably 5 years now since I tested a 3342 for about 2 weeks).
That review included an image of the 3342 next to what I assume is his CT-2313. In that image, the Feisol clearly has a smaller stance BUT the Induro should have been set up at the identical height. A taller tripod or a tripod set up taller than another will always have a wider stance. Basic geometry of triangles. Even so, I suspect the difference was more than can be accounted for by the difference in height.
I recall a discussion many years ago with a Feisol 37mm (3371 or 3471) owner where the issue of leg stance came up. I think we decided that the Feisol stance was slightly less than my 37mm Gitzo G1410 and we did set them to a common height. But we were independently measuring and I think that is a difficult measurement to pin down.
My recollection of the 3342 I tested was that the stance was not an issue. I do not recall my measurements although it may be in the archives here. On a quick search I could not find it.
Here are my feelings about the Feisol 3342 construction:
1. It is noticeably "flimsier" than my older Gitzo G1228. I put flimsy in quotes because I don't want to denigrate it but I don't know a more objective way to put that. Among other things it had a slightly greater flex in the leg to mount collar
2. However, in the controlled tests I put it through, and in back yard general testing, it performed comparable and in some tests slightly better than my G1228. And because of my general impressions I was looking for it to perform less well. The G1228 itself was a much maligned tripod in it's day but that is what I have and had that is closest to the 3442 for comparison. A better comparison would be a modern GT254x, which is said to be a significant improvement over the G1228 in particular.
3. The "flimsiness" of the 3342 is directly attributable to the significantly lighter weight compared to my G1228 or the Induro CT-213 with comparable leg diameters.
You can't have it both ways. I suspect most people's impressions of rigidity or flimsiness is basically proportional to the mass of the tripod as long they are equally well built and I think that Feisol was well built considering what they were trying to do.
I suspect that many if not most people that are accustomed to heavier cast mounts would consider just about any well known CNC machined mount flimsier. I could say the same, to some extent, about the RRS mounts, for example, compared to my Gitzo mounts. The CNC mounts are much thinner and that leads to the impression of less rigid. Since we do not know the gentleman that prepared the review we cannot know how much that might have entered into his impressions.
The makers of those CNC mounts basically claim they provide comparable or better performance than cast mounts. I certainly can't answer that question- I think it would be an interesting test, assuming some fair test could be devised. The point being that subjective impressions *could* be misleading in the case of someone equating mass to performance.
A fairer comparison would be the 3342 against a Gitzo Series 2 or a comparable Induro (CT-113) having more similar weight...
I believe the 3342 is a very interesting design because it competes weight-wise against a Series 1 yet has the larger 28mm upper leg diameter. I would expect it to beat any 24mm leg but I've never had the opportunity to test that.
Because of the above I think the 3342 is a very viable travel tripod, and in the case where weight is more important than mount girth it could be tough to top, ounce for ounce. The travel versions could be even better, in terms of portability/performance, but I have never handled one so I can't speak for or of them.
It is very difficult to find negative reviews of Feisol tripods. Regardless of the merits, in whatever context it might have been written, it is certainly an outlier.