I live in upstate New York and frequently hike along the trials of the Fingerlakes and Apps (often hiking 20+ miles a day). Considering the length of the hikes, I am considering purchasing a carbon fiber tripod. However, I also don't know if I can justify the several hundred bucks more for the carbon fiber (especially since I'm only a poor college student). I would appreciate some recommendations on the "cheaper" carbon fiber (CF) models available as well as some slightly heaver alternatives to CF (I guess that would be aluminum...not really too familiar with tripods, other than my titall). Obviously, the quality and variety of available heads for any legs is important. I would appreciate any comments or recommendations.
#1. "RE: tripod for nature photography" | In response to Reply # 0jrp Charter MemberSat 08-Dec-01 01:38 AM
Hate to tell you but there are no cheaper carbon fiber tripods.
1st are the Gitzos, then the a bit less expensive Manfrottos (Bogen). But there are alternatives in aluminum as you can see n this thread here:
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#2. "RE: tripod for nature photography" | In response to Reply # 0BJNicholls Charter MemberSat 08-Dec-01 02:02 AM
I liked my Manfrotto 441 carbon, which is a less expensive carbon model. It is duplicated in aluminum as the 3001PRO model. The center column can be used horizontally (great for macro work) and can be left behind. There's a widget that stores on the bottom of the column that fits in it's place so you have a platform to mount the head. Either would be a good choice.
I went for the recently introduced Gitzo Explorer. It has a great capability with levers that allow infinite leg angle adjustability and the center column can be adjusted to various angles (even better for macro work). It's heavier than the Manfrotto and moderately more expensive. The carbon version is 4.5 lbs. and the aluminum one (reasonably priced) weighs a half pound more. The Gitzo is more solid, but there are times when I wish I had the option of carrying the 441 to lighten the load.
#3. "RE: tripod for nature photography" | In response to Reply # 2KTT Basic MemberSun 09-Dec-01 08:21 PM
ALTERNATIVE: As a poor college student, a reasonable alternative might be to buy the Jacko Royal Deluxe w/ Shock Absorber Hiking Staff containing a camera screw in the removeable wooden handle; replace that handle with a heavy duty ballhead w/ quick disconnect. The hiking staff is made of 7075 aluminum and adjusts from about 28" to 50 something and it has a covered spike for on or off trail along with a cup to prevent it from being driven too deep in anything soft. The shock absorbing mechanism is superb for the down hill stuff!!!! I hike and prefer this to my tripod because mosttimes I hike a lot farther than I take pictures and the hiking staff is adjustable for uphill or down. I used mine full height as a monopod at Big Bend and am dropping my film speed from 200 down to 64 now. I use it with my camera strap attached and still around my neck (just in case gravity sneaks in) and balance it all on my shoulder as I stroll in places where I might shoot. I bought it off ebay for $28; keep looking, they show up time and again. The ballhead cost a good bit more but I can transfer it to my at-home tripod or mini-travel keep-in-my-bag travel tripod. Ken
#5. "RE: Jacko Royal Deluxe" | In response to Reply # 4JM Registered since 01st Mar 2007Mon 10-Dec-01 02:54 AM
I have seen similar designs at outdoor stores, REI and Eastern Mountain Sports, but they run closer to $50 depending on manufacturer. Both of these stores have on line sites with pictures for you to check it out.
#6. "RE: Jacko Royal Deluxe" | In response to Reply # 5BJNicholls Charter MemberTue 11-Dec-01 07:35 PM
LAST EDITED ON Dec-11-01 AT 10:42 PM (GMT)
I've never heard of or seen a Jacko Royal Deluxe hiking staff, nor has the Google search engine. Any help finding a source would be welcome.
I have tried various hiking staff solutions for backcountry photo hiking. I most recently bought a Gitzo Monotrek, which can be bought in a couple of versions. Mine came with a small ballhead that has a cap that provides a rounded top. It has a nice cork-rubber grip, a wrist strap, and a carbide tip with a snow basket you can install.
This would be a great choice except that the alumninum tubing isn't the strong tempered material used in good ski and hiking poles. I braced against the Monotrek while hiking down a trail and having my feet slip. The lower section simply bent over like soft aluminum will do. Tempered tubing would have snapped after taking much more force than I applied to the pole.
Bogen doesn't carry the leg section and my Monotrek is now officially field-tested junk. I advise that you don't use a standard monopod for a hiking staff since it will not hold up well to dings and use as a support staff.
Right now I've mounted a Manfrotto tilt-swivel head (that I prefer to the tiny ball head) on a Tracks hiking staff that is made of stronger stuff. These are available at REI and most other outdoors stores. If Jacko sticks were carried anywhere around here or at the larger online retailers I'd know it since I looked long and hard for all the options.
If I were hiking 20 miles a day, I'd go for the lightest solution possible. A hiking staff with a camera mount is good, or one of the small lightweight Ultra-pods would save a lot of weight over even a carbon fiber tripod. There's also the tiny Giotto's Q-pod.
#7. "RE: Jacko Royal Deluxe" | In response to Reply # 6Wed 12-Dec-01 11:34 PM
Sorry to hear about the accident with your monopod. Did your accident create abnormal stress to your pod that any one of them would have collapsed under the pressure? Can it be repaired? Maybe it is not worth the cost unless it is under warranty? I have noticed several of the hiking staff monopods that have the mount on a couple of the afore mentioned sites. I wonder what the quality of these pods are and if they have any decent warranties? It now appears that should be a major concern after your mishap.
#8. "RE: Jacko Royal Deluxe" | In response to Reply # 6Thu 13-Dec-01 10:16 AM
Come to think of it....isn't "Jacko" a moniker for Michael Jackson (i.e. self proclaimed King of Pop?) There was just a TV special with him on. A person would think a web search should pull up something old or new concerning "Jacko?"
#9. "RE: tripod for nature photography" | In response to Reply # 0
#10. "RE: tripod for nature photography" | In response to Reply # 0
I have bad experiences with the Gitzo carbon Mountaineer (first model on the market). The rubber adjustment fittings tend to come loose. There is a problem with the glue to fix the rubber to the carbon. I 've sent the tripod back to the manufacturer, got a new one and again have the same problem. In fact, it is the worst tripod I've ever had. It is lightweight, but that's the only positive thing I can say about it.
#11. "RE: tripod for nature photography" | In response to Reply # 0
It's a little pricey for a lightweight model, but I would look at gitzo's G126 "Tatalux" model- real light, AL so it's not outrageously $$, 4 leg sections for max efficiency, "performance" model means adjustable leg angle settings, and compact enough for pack use (< 20in w/ reasonable head.) Good luck and good shooting.
Spoil yourself when it comes to tripods- They will improve your photos like no other accessory, and when you have the appropriate and convienient equipment, It really makes using a tripod fun rather than drudgery, like with cheap #####. (sorry).