Sun 26-Feb-12 08:58 PM | edited Sun 26-Feb-12 08:59 PM by balzanto
I'm going to be traveling several times over the next few months to some places that scream "bring your camera" (southern California, Maui, Vegas, northern Arizona, and maybe a few others). None of these trips are specifically photo trips, but I will be able to sneak away before and after hours. I'm looking for a very small travel/tabletop tripod that I can pack in a carry-on for some sunrise/sunset panos, landscape shots and whatever other opportunities I encounter. I looked on Kirk's website and saw their tabletop tripod and their Mighty Low Boy. Does anyone have any experience with these? Are there any other small travel pods out there that will hold a gripped D700 and 24-70 f2.8?
The tripod here is a used Leitz/Leica table top tripod. It has rigid legs and body but the central column has a locking screw that allows the legs to rotate around that column and be locked at various angles. As such, you can actually "squeeze together" two legs and use that configuration to provide some security on a pipe, railing, vertical post, or find the best purchase angle for round topped items like public-works waste cans and post boxes.
The ball head is a Really Right Stuff BH-25. This is a very secure head with full rotation. It's not a panning head, but you can use it in a panning motion and it does provide additional support in panning, but it does not restrain the panning motion to any particular direction. e.g. this is a pure ball head. The locking action on the ball is quick and positive with nearly a full hemisphere of motion.
I use this rig as a third-hand with my D700 and 24-120mm f/4 AFS VR. If the lens is not fully extended, it will balance that outfit as a stand-alone support. With my 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS VR1, it is third-hand only use but is a great support.
I can't begin to tell you how many times this unit has saved my bacon while traveling.
Thanks everyone. You've given some good options to consider. The Leitz seems quite similar to the Kirk while the Gorilla has some unique feature and applications. I think I'll head into Chicago to get some hands-on with them at Helix and Central Camera.