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12-18-2011, 10:28 AM   #1
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travel / basic tripod

Ive been looking at the Manfrotto compact and Hahnel Triad 40

They are light and might not be stable if its windy, but I'm looking for something light and compact and at the cheaper (so that rules out carbon fibre)

Any comments or advice welcome

12-18-2011, 10:43 AM   #2
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Dolica AX 620. Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head: Camera & Photo

I put a pan head on mine.

For traveling I would stick with a solid 6" mini tripod you can set on top of something or brace against something.
12-18-2011, 12:38 PM   #3

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I have the Velbon CX mini, which is small table top tripod. And if you are with that it is a nice tripod.
12-18-2011, 12:46 PM   #4
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Look into the Manfrotto 290-series, especially the 293 4-section model. It's a nice step-up from the the "compact" models they offer and you can get a kit with either a 3-way or ball head with or without QR. I just ordered this tripod with a ball QR head, I should be receiving it this week. It folds into a small-ish 52 cm long package. I bought it mainly for travel, weighs just under 4 lbs.

Linky: Manfrotto 293 Aluminum Kit, Tripod 4 sections with Ball Head QR - Kits

12-18-2011, 02:35 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Dolica AX 620. Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head: Camera & Photo

I put a pan head on mine.

For traveling I would stick with a solid 6" mini tripod you can set on top of something or brace against something.
I've been extremely happy with mine for the past year. Traveled with it, done HDR with it, used it for Macro work inside and out, its a very nice tripod for not much money. Swapped out a Manfrotto head and moved the head from this one to my monopod, but other than that no worries. Case is also surprisingly solid.
12-22-2011, 01:54 PM   #6
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I got my Manfrotto today, specifically the MT293A4 legs and 494RC2 ball head with quick release. First off, it's very solidly built as expected. Leg action is very smooth and there are two leg angles set by a small rotating collar at the top of each leg. Two of the legs have foam grip, one without. The center post is triangulated so it won't rotate and can be reversed to put the camera under the spider for very low shots. The center post length is reasonable for this size tripod. The legs are 4-section and it folds up pretty compact, 52 cm according to specs (did not check it). The leg sections lock with flip locks that move 90 degrees. They snap open and closed easily and firmly. I did not notice any slippage, but a key is included to adjust the tension of the locks, and clips to a leg for storage.

The ball head has a release and a tension adjustment. The ball is reasonably small, I'd guess about 1-inch, but seems to lock very firmly. The tension adjustment goes from very floppy to firm resistance. The quick release and plate are pretty well designed, but the locking tension of the spring seems a tad on the low side. If you just let the locking lever move into the locked position on it's own, there is a small amount of plate movement possible. This is easily handled by closing the lever with your thumb and giving it a press towards the camera back when locking it. In this way it locks well and I didn't notice any significant movement. A surprising feature is that the ball head base rotates freely when the release is unlocked, so not only can you rotate the ball in the socket but the base rotates as well. I guess this is to allow you to position the groove for the ball in any position. There is no panning scale or separate pan lock. The head attaches to the center post with a 3/8 thread, but surprisingly the post is lacking the set screws I am used to seeing on older Manfrotto tripods to firmly lock the head from coming loose. There seem to be un-drilled holes in the casting, so it is possible to rectify this. I will probably just put some blue loc-tite on the threads to keep the head on tight. Obviously you can upgrade the head easily if needed.

With my K-5 on the quick release plate, it's a bit below eye level, I'm 6'0", but it's very usable in height considering the portable nature of this tripod. Weight is reported to be 1.8 kg (just a tick under 4 lbs).

I haven't shot with it yet so I hope to post a more thorough review of performance soon, but I really like it so far. It's very compact, fairly light for a pro-quality piece of gear and very well made. It is made in Italy by the way, not in China. This looks like a near-perfect travel tripod.

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