A whole lot of information on this site, some old, some new, much tailored specifically to a particular use/body. So let me give it a shot, and see if I can get some ideas.
I'm looking for a set of legs - my aluminum ones never make it with me. Primary use is on hiking trips - weight is important, packability is nice, but within limits - opening and closing 3 sets of leg clamps is about my pain threshold before I decide all too often not to bother getting the darned thing out anyway - am I silly not to consider a 4 section design? Novel clamps that actually speed things up and are reliable is a big turn on.
I abuse the sin out of anything I own, so durability is important.
Budget is tight, so if we could keep it under ten bucks, that'd be great. Oh, not feasible? The preference would be $350, with a cap around 500.
I'm 6 ft, shooting a D800 with a 70-200 as the heaviest glass in my meager collection.
A few that seem possible:
Feisol 3442 or 3441-T (I still can't figure out the difference...)
Induro CT-113 (seems possibly too short?)
Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 - price and reputation seem nice, but doesn't pack up well. The 190 seems like it might be too short?
By all means, I'll take feedback and suggestions/clarification questions
#1. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 0Tue 23-Oct-12 07:18 PM
Also, I am not a big fan of center columns. Just one more thing to worry about and add bulk/weight. I'd generally rather adjust the legs to the right heigh than the center column - and rare is the time I need more height
#2. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 1jrp Charter MemberTue 23-Oct-12 11:13 PM | edited Tue 23-Oct-12 11:17 PM by jrp
The Manfrotto 055CX3 Carbon Fiber Tripod legs go for about $300 USD and will better support your gear better than a "PRO" model.
And by all means discard the center column.
You will be operating at its limits with that D800 and 70-200mm but it will work with good tripod-lens technique.
Have a great time :-)
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#3. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 2Tue 23-Oct-12 11:17 PM
Thanks, I see the difference now and completely agree. Any thoughts on the Manfroto vs. the Feisol? Seems weird, but not having a center post actually is starting to seem like a big perk.
#4. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 3Mon 19-Nov-12 06:40 PM
Just wanted to bump up, and see if anyone out there had any experience with the Feisol 3342?
On a feature list view, it seems to be the most highly rated sub $500 tripod that is 1) more or less full height for a 6 ft tall person 2) 2.5 pounds or so 3) no center post and 4) 3 legs
Anyone with experience on this model, or are people staying away from it? If so, thoughts on why?
Also, does anyone wish to comment on their experience with units that have a center post (manfroto 055cx3) or have 4 legs (Feisol 3441T)?
#5. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 4Mon 19-Nov-12 07:36 PM | edited Mon 19-Nov-12 07:39 PM by J_Harris
Sorry, I can't give any information about the Feisol 3342, but if your serious about the Manfrotto 055CX3 I have good news... at B&H there is a discount.
Manfrotto 055CX3 Carbon Fiber Tripod.
-$40.00 (mail-in rebate)
$260.30 (after rebate - ends Dec 31, 2012)
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#6. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 4
#7. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 4Tue 20-Nov-12 10:59 AM
The Feisol tripods are probably the lightest for a given upper leg diameter. The 28mm Feisol legs weigh about the same as a Series 1 Gitzo.
In general, 28mm legs are good for up to 200mm and I think a Gitzo Series 1, at 24mm, is too thin.
I tested a Feisol 3442 against my much older Series 2 Gitzo G1228. I found it comparable, and in some ways performed marginally better in certain controlled tests. I would expect the 3 section Feisol to perform a bit better since fewer leg collars are better.
The Feisol T models have legs that fold over and also have smaller diameter mounts. The 3442/3342 models have the larger flat top mounts. I suspect the fold over travelers might not perform quite as well but I've never handled one. Not to say they won't do the job (can;t speak with experience on that) but on a relative basis.
Feisol has a very good reputation for supporting their products, probably the best in the industry.
For what you want (weight a top priority) the Feisol may be a very good choice or the best choice.
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#15. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 13
#8. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 4Tue 20-Nov-12 05:00 PM | edited Wed 21-Nov-12 11:44 AM by J_Harris
reviewobservations from a previousshort-time owner of the Feisol Tournament CT3342 at B&H. I don't know if his observations are true, but it may be worth a look intoasking current owners about what he claims before purchasing the model.
Edited: Tough crowd.
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#9. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 8danzig37 Nikonian since 25th Aug 2009Wed 21-Nov-12 09:27 AM | edited Wed 21-Nov-12 09:32 AM by danzig37
I've had my CT3342 for a year now... and couldn't be happier. With a Markins Q10 ball head, the combination handles my D300s, with all my lenses up to the 300mm f4 + TC1.4, just fine.
I'm 6', and the 3342 height is perfect for me. My backpacking days are behind me now, but I doubt that the weight and length would be any problem.
Haven't had a need to test Feisol's excellent customer service reputation.
If anything did happen to it, I wouldn't hesitate to replace it with the same make and model.
Dan - Oregon USA
#10. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 8Wed 21-Nov-12 11:15 AM | edited Wed 21-Nov-12 11:33 AM by Chris Platt
I don't know if I would consider that person a previous owner. He bought it, used it once, and returned it. He compared it to a tripod that is was in a different class than the Feisol, and suggested an alternative that he doesn't own. His comment about the leg angles is simply incorrect. His Induro actually has a sharper leg angle than the Feisol: 24 degrees for the Induro vs 25 degrees for the Feisol (not that 1 degree difference makes a hill of beans).
He didn't like the tripod and returned it. That's ok - his choice, but I'd be more inclined to trust the opinions of people who have owned the tripod for some time, used it a lot, and have experience with a number of other tripods.
The Feisol is light, reliable, and quite stable when used with equipment that is appropriate to place on a tripod with the Feisol's specs.
Neil: note that the 3342 and 3442 legs also fold over the top of the tripod. I purchased a Feisol ball head to take advantage of that feature. The Feisol head can't touch my Arca Z1 for quality/ease of use, but it works acceptably and is lighter so I go with it when weight/space is a real concern.
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#11. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 10Walli Registered since 29th Oct 2012Wed 21-Nov-12 12:46 PM
>I don't know if I would consider that person a previous
>owner. He bought it, used it once, and returned it. He
>compared it to a tripod that is was in a different class than
>the Feisol, and suggested an alternative that he doesn't own.
>His comment about the leg angles is simply incorrect. His
>Induro actually has a sharper leg angle than the Feisol: 24
>degrees for the Induro vs 25 degrees for the Feisol (not that
>1 degree difference makes a hill of beans).
>He didn't like the tripod and returned it. That's ok - his
>choice, but I'd be more inclined to trust the opinions of
>people who have owned the tripod for some time, used it a lot,
>and have experience with a number of other tripods.
>The Feisol is light, reliable, and quite stable when used with
>equipment that is appropriate to place on a tripod with the
>Neil: note that the 3342 and 3442 legs also fold over the top
>of the tripod. I purchased a Feisol ball head to take
>advantage of that feature. The Feisol head can't touch my
>Arca Z1 for quality/ease of use, but it works acceptably and
>is lighter so I go with it when weight/space is a real
#12. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 10Wed 21-Nov-12 12:56 PM | edited Thu 22-Nov-12 12:05 PM by nrothschild
>> 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.
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#14. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 12Wed 21-Nov-12 01:57 PM
Thank you all. My wishlist (aka oh, look what santa bought for himself) seems to be set. Not totally psyched at the side of the plate on top, but I think that's the right compromise - I just don't see myself using a 4 section leg tripod nearly as much
#16. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 12Thu 22-Nov-12 11:53 AM
"That review included an image of the 3342 next to what I assume is his CT-213."
Actually, it was his 313. That's what I found annoying about that review. The gentleman didn't own a 213, but he recommended it as an alternative to the Feisol. I'm assuming he was accustomed to the mass on his 313, and the Feisol would definitely give a sense of flimsiness in comparison to that. It DOES feel very light/insubstantial. He accused Feisol of cheating on leg angles to get more height, but if he'd actually checked the published specs for the tripods, he would have seen that the opposite was true - Feisol has a marginally wider leg stance according to the published specs.
I wasn't so much springing to the defense of Feisol as I was suggesting that reading reviews on a vendor's site is probably not a good way to determine the merits of a product. You have no idea how qualified a reviewer is to make comments and that guy invalidated himself by making a demonstrably erroneous observation.
IMO, people are going to get much better and more objective comparisons and reviews by sticking right here on Nikonians than reading posts on a vendor's site. Your detailed and objective comments above are evidence of that.
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#17. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 16Thu 22-Nov-12 12:24 PM
>> Actually, it was his 313.
That was a typo on my part. I understood he was comparing to his 313. And more interestingly, he said that although he had tried out one or more 213's owned by friends, he said he was still looking for the perfect travel tripod. It wasn't clear to me precisely what he was looking for, or if it could even exist. The Feisol too flimsy, the 213 apparently too heavy?
I would not cut too many decimal points on the leg angles specs. I suspect there can be some rounding involved. In the review, though, I don't think he accounted for the flat plate design of the Feisol, which, similar to Gitzo Systematic vs Mountaineer, naturally makes the tripod about 3-4" taller than a comparable folded length center column model. That is because relatively more of the folded length is telescoped, simply by virtue of the shorter flat top mount. That is one reason I bought a Systematic.
I think the idea that Feisol was "cheating" bothered a few here, certainly me. From my perspective it is not cheating, it is simply balancing certain mutually contradictory specifications and features a bit differently. I do believe he may be right about the stance, to some degree, just based on the experiences I mentioned. But in the case where more stability is needed, the right way to stabilize a CF tripod is to hang weight, making minor differences in stance a moot point.
I suspect all the 28mm CF tripods are a bit tippy in a stiff wind, for example, but that should be solved with added weight on the mount hook. It is less true with larger tripods like my Series 3, but then that extra weight is simply embedded in the tripod by virtue of the larger dimensions, making it less travel friendly.
To Jerry: I wasn't trying to be a tough crowd. I just found the review to be an outlier, as I mentioned, and tried to put some sort of context into what I found to be a somewhat confused review, mainly for people to direct further research on the points he raised.
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#18. "RE: Leg updates" | In response to Reply # 16Thu 22-Nov-12 12:25 PM | edited Thu 22-Nov-12 12:39 PM by J_Harris
>IMO, people are going to get much better and more objective
>comparisons and reviews by sticking right here on Nikonians
>than reading posts on a vendor's site. Your detailed and
>objective comments above are evidence of that.
That is exactly why my post ended with; "I don't know if his observations are true, but it may be worth a look into about what he claims before purchasing the model."
After seeing your post it was edited to say; "I don't know if his observations are true, but it may be worth
a look intoasking current owners about what he claims before purchasing the model."
My "tough crowd" comment was used before your post was seen, which are always excellent and very detailed.
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