My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork
I've been wanting a solid but tiny little travel pod for a while. This is for when a real tripod wouldn't be practical -- lightweight airline travel, casual hiking, etc. Though carbon fiber is lightweight, even a 2-series tripod is pretty bulky, and there are some times when it just wouldn't be along for the ride. I wanted something a bit sturdier and more flexible than a Leica table tripod, though that can be a great little tool in some circumstances. I pieced together a pretty handy and tiny little combo, the details of which might be interesting:
Gitzo 1097 basalt legs: this is a 0-series legset that is now officially discontinued, and for which there is no real replacement. It's closest in specs to the (also discontinued) 1057 carbon fiber legs. The current 0-series in both CF and basalt are either too wobbly with four sections, or too short, and many don't have independent leg angles, which are crucial. This set has good specs for a mini-tripod: 36" height without column, three section legs, ALR locks, and independent leg spread for ground level shooting. Legs alone weigh 1.5 pounds, the same as the carbon fiber version. Available much cheaper now, too.
Head: I was tempted by the RRS BH-25, though I decided to go a little bigger with a Giottos MH-1002 that seems pretty stable, and which has a rudimentary tension control and separate pan lock. A Q3 would be the next step up, but is really getting too heavy for this set.
Clamp: I added a Kirk 1.75" plate -- the slightly older (and lighter) version from ebay.
What really made it all work was figuring out a way to remove the center column. While the legs and spider of this tripod are very stable, the column adds a lot of flex, even when down all the way. It also is too long (14"), interfering with the low-level leg spread.
Gitzo sells a CF short column for the 0-series, which would certainly have done the trick, but I wanted to do it cheaper, and make it more stable. Took me a while to work out a solution, but I think I've found the perfect one. At first, I though about using a 3/8-16 threaded rod, possible with coupling nuts of some sort to keep the lower hook attachment. That seemed too complex, so my next thought went to making my own mini-column out of 3/4" Delrin rod, possible by tapping a 3/8" thread down the center... still too complicated.
My next idea was just to use a 3/8-16 bolt -- but I had to figure out a way to keep it centered in the shaft, and keep it from scratching up the inner bushings, which are relatively fragile. Thought about using a drilled out dowel or something, but then stumbled across the perfect solution while making dinner:
A standard wine bottle cork is a perfect fit. I drilled out the center, inserted a 2.5" 3/8-16 bolt and a washer, and I was in business. With the tripod collar loose, the whole contraption slides right in, and tightening the collar locks it in place (have to be careful not to over-tighten, which will push the bushings up over the top, and potentially damage them. I could then thread a head directly onto the bolt, and the whole thing is very stable.
I went with a pretty basic Cotes du Rhone, but you can go up market as your budget allows. :- )
Total modification cost: one 28 cent bolt, and a 12 cent washer. To be fair, I spent $1.82 on a couple of different lengths of bolts and a handful of washers, two of which I used as spacers below the clamp. Still, lots better than the $69 Gitzo CF column. It's FAR more stable, too. I might rearrange things a bit to integrate a hook.
Then I simply replaced the tripod platform with a 1/4-20-thread Kirk clamp (needed a couple of washers as standoffs). Total weight with the clamp is 2 lb. 1 oz. Even more importantly, its overall packing volume is tiny -- probably a quarter that of a 2-series legset.
Most of the time, I'll never even extend the legs -- and it's incredibly stable that way. I'm still trying it out, but I'm finding it workable at virtually all shutter speeds with my Tamron 17-50. With an 85/1.4, mirror slap blur becomes a risk between 1 sec. and around 1/15th, and with a 180/2.8 anything between 1 second and 1/40th is a gamble. That's well beyond what something like this should be used for, though.
A few pics to illustrate:
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#1. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 0Wed 19-Mar-08 06:44 PM
This, I think, is the most entertaining and educational Frankenstein thread I have read here in a long time .
I especially appreciate the detailed tests on the lenses, including some of the more challenging lenses that might be used in this configuration and the emphasis on the fitness of purpose.
This does beg the question... we all know that you basically get what you pay for when it comes to support gear. Does a cork from expensive fine wine outperform cheap package liquor store samples? I hope vibration tests are forthcoming
#2. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 1Wed 19-Mar-08 07:52 PM
I'm firmly committed to exploring every variable in this equation, so further cork-testing is in order. I've already ruled out screw-tops -- though I have to say I gave them an honest try! I initially thought I should stick with French wine for guaranteed compatibility, but I now realize that Gitzos are now made in Italy -- sheesh, even more vibration testing is in order....
You're absolutely right about fitness of purpose -- I've appreciated your comments on that point elsewhere here. This is not a do-it-all tripod -- it's very narrow in its suitable applications. You have to be quite careful with longer lenses, and use careful technique with any lens. Even with an 85, "long lens technique" is in order, and with shorter focal lengths a hand around the collar of the tripod helps, too.
Even with those limitations, I just didn't think I'd be likely to carry a 2- or even a 1-series many more places than I would a compact 3-series like the 3540LS, and if I were to spend that much money, I'd sure want it to go to the stout legs.
There's been a dealer on ebay clearing out stock on these legs, which is why I grabbed them (they now have a set listed for even less than I paid). When I realized they were selling for about the same price people are paying for well-used aluminum Weekend models, it seemed like a worthwhile experiment.
The basalt construction is perfect for this size tripod. While basalt starts to get heavy in the larger sizes, the 1097 is the same weight as the carbon version, and has similar damping characteristics -- it has a great dense feel, and is very stiff.
#3. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 2Wed 19-Mar-08 09:09 PM
You have very eloquently described exactly why one might want to acquire very undersized legs to solve a very specific problem. That tripod is surely better than none at all and in some situations that is the only alternative, other than something like a beanbag.
I'm trying to visualize LLT with an 85, and I'm having some difficulties, but I'm getting there
Just as an aside, I don't think there is a Gitzo made that I could not put to good use in some real world situation. Even a 00, which would certainly make the classiest lightstand possible for an SB-800
According to your profile, you have a D80? I'm curious about the effectiveness of exposure delay with the 85 and 80-200 on those legs, maybe fully retracted and then fully extended, at speeds around 1/10s. I've concocted scenarios where that doesn't work (on a D200) with Series 2 legs and much larger lenses. It just depends on the length of the vibration decay. It could be an important issue for some in the same position, but I don't think it's possible to come to any conclusion without actually shooting a specific setup. And, of course, this type of configuration does come up fairly regularly. It's nice to be able to link to an image and say "this is what you get". (hint hint)
#4. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 3Wed 19-Mar-08 11:58 PM | edited Thu 20-Mar-08 12:09 AM by Smiert Spionam
That's a really good idea, Neil -- I should go through and test it out with a couple of lenses at different speeds. I've only done quick and dirty tests, but I was surprised by some of what I seemed to see. With the 180, it seemed like the prefire helped, though beyond 1/40th was really chancing it in any case. With the 85, it seemed like the exposure delay actually made things worse once I got into the serious trouble area around 1/10th, and it did better without.
I will do some testing, though it may be a bit before I get to it (and, yup, it's on a D80). It would be good to know what kinds of speeds you at least have a shot at using under optimal conditions, though of course things deteriorate from there. My basic compact kit is the Tamron 17-50/2.8, 85/1.4, and 180/2.8, so I can do some comparison tests across them.
re. the Gitzo lightstand: you bet! I turned a cheap QR plate into a flash foot for my SB-800, and when coupled with a piece of white paper becomes a handy little seamless tabletop setup:
Add a second piece of paper or foam core as a bounce card, and you've got a tent. That's basically how I shot the above pics of the tripod.
I still can't get over how great the SB-800 is when used for wireless i-TTL. I'm not really a big flash user, but I laugh out loud when I remember how much of a wing-and-a-prayer operation shooting the same thing manually on film was.
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#5. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 4Thu 20-Mar-08 12:26 AM
I like my SB-800 so much I bred it and now have a pair . I may breeed it once a year until I have too many to set up and keep track of
Your results so far with the exposure delay are very interesting. I got interested in this aspect of support technique while reading the Markins Vibration White Paper. While scanning the various vibration graphs, I realized that 0.4s after mirror up is not always a good time to be opening the shutter . That is a very interesting read.
Then I started thinking about this while playing around and I watched the viewfinder after firing the shutter- with overloaded legs. I suspect a good rule of thumb is that if you tap test a lens and it takes a full second or more to settle, you may may have a problem with exposure delay.
#6. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 5Wed 26-Mar-08 06:25 PM
Still haven't had a chance to test this conclusively, but my anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that if you've got an even moderately stable platform, the exposure delay does very little in the critical 1/10-second range. I'm suspecting that it becomes more useful when exposures start getting a bit longer, but I don't have any firm results to post.
I do, however, have a significant improvement to my Frankenstein setup. If one bottle of wine is good, then another is better.
I recently bought a Really Right Stuff MPR-CL rail -- it's a 6" rail with an integrated clamp. I may end up trying some panoramic stuff with it (its primary design), but I really got it for macro flexibility and the following application:
I'm using it to help stabilize my 180/2.8, which doesn't balance well on a lightweight tripod or monopod setup, and for which there aren't any good tripod bracket options. The MPR-CL gives me a continuously variable center of gravity, which is nice since I often use this lens on tubes, and occasionally with a 1.4x TC. The only flaw is that it's still got some flex, since the weight of the lens isn't directly supported. All that's needed is a bit of support to firm things up. Of course, as with all things cork-ular, further testing is required....
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#7. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 6Wed 26-Mar-08 07:25 PM
Excellent post, Michael!
As you probably know, I do the same with a Wimberly P40 because I have one handy. An MPR is better, of course, since it eliminates tools to install it on an existing camera plate.
Interestingly, if your exposure moves up to 1/2s or more, you also get the effect of blur reduction due if the exposure significantly exceeds the worst of the vibration decay. For example, a 1s exposure with 1/4s of mirror slap decay results in blur at least 2 stops down from the main exposure. After about 1s blur can disappear if the decay is quick enough. Except for specular highlights at night because the specular highlight exposure is often very short. I doubt that all this can be predicted. One member here has used exposure delay to significantly increase the sharpness of 80-400 images at 1/10s on a Feisol 3442 (4 section 2 series class). It's really hard to predict.
When you say you have not had good success with exposure delay, was that with your Series 1 CF and the 180/2.8?
My own guess, based on limited configurations I can put together and have tested, is that exposure delay works well with something that is not too much overloaded, but at some point the vibration decay is just too long; you may have reached that point.
#8. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 7Wed 26-Mar-08 07:46 PM
Very interesting description -- I know blur will dissipate during longer exposures, of course, but hadn't thought about how it would be visible as underexposed traces.
I am indeed talking about the micro-Gitzo -- so anything with a 180 in this range is pushing things quite a lot. I still need to test it methodically, though.
I didn't know you were using a Wimberley rail that way -- it's nice, huh? I used a RRS rail that way for a while, but sprung for the MPR-CL to get away from tools and to have a firmer grip. The only downside is that it's no longer convenient to use a PN-11 on a rail (though I could mount one on the MPR-CL). The benefits of this combo, though, outweigh that benefit, since I can use it with or without tubes, TC, etc.
It's a lot more intuitive in feel, too, having the weight centered over the mount.
I shot this with this combo today, just casually messing around at lunch:
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#9. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 8Wed 26-Mar-08 08:21 PM
Michael, That's a nice image! If that was shot with the Series 1 maybe I shouldn't talk those legs down so much
It obviously takes a lot of thought to pull it off. A little flash helps too
The idea of the P40 was one of those Slap Your Forehead/Doh! moments when I was trying to figure out how to maintain a sweet spot with a heavy macro load at greater than 1:1. I decided the only sane way to do it, short of a micro-geared head, was to run the ballhead as loose as possible, but that requires precise balance. My load looks like this: D300-->P40-->Kirk Focusing Rail-->Ballhead.
On the body is 2x SB-800 and Wimberly articulated flash arms, plus whatever hardware I need to get the flash arms in place; usually with an L bracket on the body, which serves as an anchor for one of the flashes. I never quite completed the Wimberly macro setup so my arms don't mount symmetrically, but I get the light where I want it and at some point I got tired of buying more modules every week
I Think . Haven't done this since the garden went dormant last fall. I don't even remember what flowers look like this time of year- March is such a "down" month. I may have put the P40 on the Kirk Rail, then the body on the P40. Both configurations balanced; there was some mechanical difference in the setups that had to do with access to the focusing rail adjustment knobs.
One of the nice things about the MPR-Cl is that the MPR rail has a lot of tapped holes in it. RRS sells some odd parts that bolt on; such as
, which could act as a "stand" to put a cork between it and a smaller lens such as maybe a 105 Micro. Or, of course, things could be easily home brewed to bridge the gap.
Your picture of the 180 was another Doh! moment, because this issue of balancing lenses comes up a lot. I've never owned a 180/2.8 but I've always been concerned about balancing issues with it in particular.
#10. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 9Wed 26-Mar-08 08:52 PM
This was actually mounted on my Bogen/Manfrotto legs, though I probably could have done it on the Gitzo (and mine are actually 0-series, so even smaller). I think I was at 1/320 @f8, which can cover a lot of sins.
I got this without flash in sunlight -- it had been hazy all morning (decent fairly flat light), and just as it was starting to burn off, there was a sweet spot where there was nearly full sun, but still a bit diffused. I rotated the image 90 degrees, so the highlights from the side were actually overhead sunlight.
Shooting bees is tricky -- you get a lot of shots of butts! I soon discovered that the more heavily loaded with pollen they were, the slower their takeoff, which gave me a little more time to grab a shot.
You've read my mind on the homebrew possibilities with the rail. I might rig something up so I can have a threaded support that I can adjust up under a variety of lenses. It's amazing how much it helps to have two sturdy points of support, rather than just one (whether a body plate or a lens collar).
I've had similar thoughts to yours about macro flash possibilities -- glad to hear about your setup. I've been tempted by both the Wimberley and the RRS B85/B87 brackets. With iTTL, that sort of thing can become very elegant. But, spendy, especially as you start adding elements.
#11. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 0
A bit of an update, for those stragglers who might still be interested in this experiment. I've done a few more tests, and have come to some conclusions. These are more subjective than perhaps would be ideal, but my results have grown steadily more consistent. Rather than a conclusive data set, I'll share some guidelines and impressions.
What I've learned has helped me not just in figuring out the limits of this particular set up, but some key things regarding tripod use more generally. The best way to learn how to sail is in a dinghy -- every little nuance is magnified, and you really learn how a boat responds to every gesture. Maybe this is a bit like that.
To wit, a few impressions, keeping in mind that I'm using a 17-50/2.8, 85/1.4, and 180/2.8 on these legs:
Everything matters. Lots of small factors influence tripod stability. Obviously environmental issues (wind, ground, etc.) are important, though I haven't tested for them -- but there are lots of other small things, too. I eliminated the washers under the clamp, and replaced them with the original threaded base that came with the Giottos ballhead -- that helped. I reversed the base, so that the clamp was flat against the metal side of the base, rather than a rubber gasket -- that helped. I cut away the portion of the rubber gasket that was still in contact with the ballhead stem -- that helped even more. Kicking out the legs after they're setup (making them slightly sprung) adds a little stability, too. Overall, it really pays to pay attention, and figure out where the flex is in your setup -- when you find those spots and remove them, everything improves.
Overall, the most dangerous shutter speeds are between 1/6th and 1/15th of a second. Longer lenses push that danger zone a bit higher, of course -- 1/15th at 50mm isn't tough, but it is at 180mm. But one thing I noticed consistently with different focal length lenses is that once you're at 1/4 or slower, as long as the legs are basically stable, you're ok. Wind and other environmental factors could of course cause problems at slower speeds, of course -- but the critical zone for shutter/mirror-related vibration peaks around 1/10th of a second.
Getting your hands off the camera with a cable release is crucial. Obviously, this is an issue with any tripod work, but it's especially important with a lightweight tripod. Don't touch. It can be useful to add some pressure to the tripod at the base of the ballhead or use a bungee or cord for downward pressure if it's breezy, but otherwise it's better not to touch. Once you're down around 1/10th of a second, LLT doesn't help, either -- you're just adding shake.
Don't use the smallest leg extension. Another common knowledge issue, but it was very pronounced. I can push this little tripod into good results well beyond it's comfort zone, but not with the last set of legs extended (I suspect they're similar to the smallest one or two leg segments on a 1-series Traveler, like the 1540t). With the 180/2.8, this began to be a problem already at 1/40th of a second.
Eliminate the rapid column. Replacing the center column with a single 3/8-16 bolt added several stops worth of stability. This is a big deal.
Exposure delay (4/10ths of a second on the D80) helps at critical shutter speeds. With longer lenses, it helps give more consistent results in the danger zone around 1/10th. The longer the lens, the more pronounced the effect.
This is all common sense stuff that is repeated elsewhere, but perhaps it will be of use to someone particularly interested in these little tripods. With all of these things in mind, here's what I get with these specific lenses:
Tamron 17-50/2.8: effective at all shutter speeds and focal lengths. I have to be careful around 1/8th, but can still be confident of good results. Exposure delay not a significant factor -- though it may help a small amount at critical shutter speeds.
Nikkor 85/1.4: also largely effective at all shutter speeds, with or without exposure delay. Exposure delay does improve sharpness a slight amount between 1/6th and 1/15th of a second.
Nikkor 180/2.8: I had to get everything dialed in before I started getting decent results with this lens, which is really pushing the limits of a tiny tripod. With the lower leg sections fully extended, I started having problems by 1/40th of a second. I also had to get my setup of the MPR-CL just right in order to make this lens usable at slow speeds -- I ended up flattening the top of my makeshift cork, and then tapping a small hole into the bottom side. I then threaded a 1/4-20 nylon bolt up through the MPR-CL, which allows me to add just enough pressure to take the slack out of the mount. It works! I can't overstate how much this does to improve the usability of this lens (on larger tripods, too).
I can now get usable images with this lens at any shutter speed. The difficult zone is from around 1/8th to 1/20th. Without exposure delay, I consistently get sharper results at 1/4 of a second and slower than I get between 1/10th and 1/20th (though those speeds are still very usable). With the delay, things flatten out, and I get fairly consistent results at all shutter speeds.
So, there you have it. Lots of long-winded common sense stuff, but perhaps some useful tips. The biggest single surprise for me was the overall improvement that came from using slower speeds in the critical shutter speed range. If subject movement allows it, with most lens combinations, I would get sharper results at 1/4 or slower than at 1/8th to 1/10th. An extra f-stop of sharpness may be useful in those circumstances, too, which makes it a win/win.
#12. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 11
#14. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 12Mon 31-Mar-08 08:56 PM
That was a great post! Really excellent! And, I love that two point tensioned support
Although much of what you said has been said before, and much by me based on my own experience, it's good to see others report similar experiences with different configurations, here a small tripod taken to the edge and beyond.
I've previously suggested that it is possible to shoot hands on and get better results than with a remote without mirror delay. At first blush your results may appear to contradict mine, but they don't. My own tests were done on legs that were well within their intended design parameters and there lies the crucial difference. I think that is a very critical issue, and why I don't like to recommend those legs for longer lenses... mainly just because the explanation of how to make the legs work is too complicated and I doubt that many people would go to the lengths you have to make them work. Anyone considering those legs has a bible now, in terms of how to shoot on them.
The one thing that surprised me is your comments about the center column. My experience with the Gitzo Series 2 center column has been quite good, and in fact, generally as good as or better, when fully retracted, than my TB20 replacement plate. I would assume that your results reflect the compromises inherent in the further downscaling of the bulk and weight of the tripod in general and the center column in particular. I didn't test my center column with extraordinary loads such as a 300/2.8, but that might be more comparable to your test with the 180/2.8.
Only one thing to add... try a dusk or night shot at 1/4s to 1s without mirror delay, with a configuration that normally is a problem around 1/10s, and see how it goes. Something with distant lights that create specular highlights. I'll bet you'll get a schizophrenic exposure, with most of the scene sharp but not the specular highlights . Just a tidbit that needs to be considered if one were to use slower than 1/4s shutter speeds as a crutch to tame mirror slap, although it obviously should not be an issue for most daytime shots.
#15. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 14Tue 01-Apr-08 01:08 PM
I should also explain how I tested this. I was set up indoors with the second leg sections fully extended, shooting a printed page taped to the wall. Fixed manual focus, with a flash shot at f8 for reference, then aperture priority as I cycled through the different aperture/shutter combinations. I made around five exposures of each combination. Rather than try to find simply the best possible results from any particular combination, I was looking for a general sense of what I could typically expect. This is all in optimal conditions, so environmental factors could of course come into play.
"I've previously suggested that it is possible to shoot hands on and get better results than with a remote without mirror delay. At first blush your results may appear to contradict mine, but they don't."
Agreed, wholeheartedly. My sense of this matches yours -- these are essentially two different techniques, suited to different sorts of legs.
One area I didn't test extensively is using the legs more conservatively -- fully retracted and set wide as a ground pod. Used that way, my anecdotal results suggest that even the trouble areas with a 180/2.8 even out. Perhaps not quite in the territory of the RRS mini tripod (which I still covet), but pretty good. In that case, hands-on stabilized shooting probably starts to be useful again -- especially with a heavier ballhead.
I should add re. the center column that I didn't do any conclusive tests, so I probably shouldn't condemn it so conclusively. My comments are more directed at using it fully (or nearly fully) extended -- where I did see clear problems. When down, it is indeed pretty solid. I suspect the direct bolt system is still a bit stiffer -- though the biggest advantages of that arrangement are the lower usable leg angles, lighter weight, and the elimination of the temptation to use an extended column.
Will definitely try to test for specular highlights -- that's a very good idea, and may generate some interesting results.
Thanks for the tips and comments!
#16. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 13ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Tue 01-Apr-08 04:25 PM
Michael and Neil
Very nice discussion here. Michael - thanks for the pictures of your equipment to illustrate the discussion.
#17. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 16avm247 Charter MemberWed 02-Apr-08 04:38 PM
Most useful and timely, great discussion! I've been thinking about a lightweight support system for my camera for the summer, this has definitely opened my eyes to the possibilities.
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#18. "RE: My ultra-light travel setup: Gitzo 1097, Giottos, Kirk, & a cork" | In response to Reply # 17Wed 02-Apr-08 07:40 PM | edited Wed 02-Apr-08 07:46 PM by Smiert Spionam
Thanks, all, for the comments -- this has been kind of fun to mess around with.
It bears repeating that the above results are in controlled, optimal conditions, and I wouldn't typically be using this tripod in conditions that pushed its limits quite so much.
I messed around with this again today at lunch, this time aiming for a typical casual use, rather than a best-case test.
These three shots are with the legs nearly fully extended (lower section halfway only), with my 180/2.8 and a wild card: a Kenko 1.4x TC. Obviously way outside the envelope in terms of lens choice. These shots are at 1/40th or 1/50th, though, which is a much more reasonable range to expect to be using this lens/legs combo. Shot with hands on, and only moderate tension on the ballhead.
Minimally processed -- no sharpening or noise reduction, etc. 100% crop inset.
Maybe not perfect, but pretty good -- and a whole lot better than I do with a monopod. That, coupled with stability through the full shutter speed range with shorter lenses, means I can confidently use this on a trip when a larger tripod would be left at home. Gotta shoot on my knees, of course....
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