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06-25-2014, 04:07 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
When I was shopping for my first tripod, I read an article (sorry can't remember whose) whose author said, in effect, "Spend the money and get it right the first time. Because you're going to be disappointed with cheap, light tripods and you'll end up spending as much (or more) than the good tripod cost, when you end up dissatisfied with lesser tripods."
Was it this one: Tripods and Ball Heads by Thom Hogan

I agree that you shouldn't waste money on cheap and flimsy tripods, a good one will last decades and is more economic in the long run.

06-25-2014, 05:14 AM   #17
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When it comes to ball heads, I'll just tell you where I am as a shopper at this point. Now, either of these options is going to push you over the stated budget; but I think others have weighed in on this emphatically. My priorities here extend to exceptionally light carry weight, but with the sturdiness necessary to handle either of my "compact" Tokina or Nikkor 100-300mm zooms with Tamron SP 1.4x TC attached... in most, if not all conditions. If I get more ambitious at the long end later on, I'll cross that bridge when it's underfoot [note the deft cliche avoidance maneuver there]. Getting this combination of virtues, along with consistently smooth handling, is gonna cost some premium.

I'm also insisting on having a panning mechanism ATOP the ball assembly -- for panoramas and for any other frame stitching application; because I don't want to have to futz with three legs to achieve a dead level operational base every time I wish to pan, despite the problem situations with terrain that will inevitably arise. If some of you Pentaxians more experienced with using quality tripods in the field feel I'm overthinking this qualification, please let me know your ideas.

So, topping the short list is the ARCA Swiss pO. At a smidgen under 10 oz. weight, its rated load capacity seems pretty extraordinary. There are numerous testimonials online. The so far unique (?), compact inverted design makes for a clean, snag-resistant profile, also very suitable for topping a monopod. A one device, all-purpose solution is the way I see it.

Of course, there's the catch. You knew that was coming. Besides requiring the purchase of a broadly compatible ARCA style QR a la carte (there's a hitch with the all-inclusive p0 option, "they" say), the price on these suddenly went from $229... to $289, just like that. FA and DA Limited lens shoppers from awhile back may know the feeling here.

Alternatively, not long ago, Sunway upgraded the controls on their conventional small ball head of about the same weight as the ARCA, also rated for quite a maximum load. This capacity may be partly due to the ARCA-like oblong contour of the ball. Again, testimonials to the smooth action on this one can be googled. From what I've seen, this looks like a real class act. I'm sorry I don't have the exact model number at hand right now (I'm on a mobile device), but it shouldn't be hard to spot. I'll try to follow up later.

There is an inversion kit for Sunway (and others) on eBay, which will permit a quasi-p0 set-up. The catch here is the need to add the panning assembly a la carte -- compare prices that way, as opposed to choosing the conventional panning base version of this model. Big difference, of course. I'm thinking there may be a way to work out a package deal on the head + separate panning base which may feel more comfortable, price-wise. Or, at least, I'm hoping. Either way, this is a cheaper option than the p0 at the new price.

That's it. The Sunway does look a lot like other Asian options, but the impression I get is of a product made by photographers, for photographers... not just something to fill a price point in a marketing plan. Comments and constructive opinions welcome.

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 06-25-2014 at 05:28 AM.
06-25-2014, 10:06 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Matt Miller Quote
I second the Feisol recommendation. Good stuff for sure.
I 3rd Feisol I love mine.
06-25-2014, 05:50 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by neostyles Quote
Looking around on the feisol and the vanguard site, i came across these that look pretty nice. I dont know if they are compatible with each other though
Yes, compatible in the sense that the Vanguard head will fit the 3/8" threaded stud on top of the Feisol tripod. No problems there!

QuoteOriginally posted by Matt Miller Quote
I second the Feisol recommendation. Good stuff for sure.
QuoteOriginally posted by Fl_Gulfer Quote
I 3rd Feisol I love mine.
Is it weird to 4th Feisol?

I have a 3401 that I bought in 2003 (was one of the first tripods Orion shipped internationally) and it is still ready for action today! I had to replace the center column and re-glue the feet back on, but the leg tubes and locks are fine after 11 years of use. The new ones are even better!

Of course, I also own 4 other tripods (Gitzo, Berlebach, Cullmann, Nest) for various uses and occasions, so the Feisol doesn't get out much anymore. And I just finished reviewing 10 travel tripods, so last month there were 15 tripods in my house (not counting my tabletop tripods, or my lamp made from a tripod)! The Feisol 3441SB was one of the ones in the review, and it is quite nice, but pricey. The big difference between the current 3401 and the 3441 and other Feisols is that the 3401 uses cast aluminum parts instead of machined aluminum. Slight difference in weight and rigidity, but still fine for your D600 and up to a full-frame 70-200mm lens.

BTW, your Ravelli is also sold as Dolica or Weifeng, and that is at the low end of the market (but not quite Polaroid low). Almost anything recommended here will be lighter, stronger, and just better. Particularly with a nice ball head!


Last edited by panoguy; 06-25-2014 at 05:58 PM.
06-25-2014, 05:52 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
And I just finished reviewing 10 travel tripods, so just last month there were 15 tripods in my house (not counting my tabletop tripods, or my lamp made from a tripod)! The Feisol 3441SB was one of the ones in the review, and it is quite nice, but pricey.
Where can we see your review?
06-25-2014, 06:01 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Where can we see your review?
Dpreview.com in a few days/ weeks/ however long it takes the editors to go over it all. (They are short-staffed as it is.)
I freelance for them, taking on the really big and really tough jobs!
06-26-2014, 07:47 PM   #22
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If your over 6 feet tall you know how hard it is to look through a viewfinder with a camera on a tripod... I don't have that problem anymore with my FEISOL CT-3441T CF Tripod and that is the main reason I recommend it. Plus it will hold over 60 lbs with no problem.

06-26-2014, 08:19 PM   #23
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Right now it seems Adorama has a 'tripod of the month' sale going on, all fine tripods. I picked up May's deal (Vanguard w/ball head) and it's more tripod than I have ever used. Just keep watching, another great deal is bound to pop up soon!
06-27-2014, 12:28 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
I bought a second-hand set of legs (tripod), figuring they never wear out. A few scratches on the legs don't affect your pictures!

Actually, they do.
Just takes forever.

One of the legs of my tripod wore through the stop finally, so the leg came off.
Between a few rivets, replaced screws, a few washers it's back to being mostly stable now.


But, it's also over 30 years old, so I can't complain. :P
06-27-2014, 01:34 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by hks_kansei Quote
Actually, they do.
Just takes forever.

But, it's also over 30 years old, so I can't complain. :P
Ok, hoping for a new tripod for my 70th Birthday....
06-27-2014, 06:37 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fl_Gulfer Quote
Plus it will hold over 60 lbs with no problem.
I really hope you added a zero there by mistake.

The 3441 is definitely not a heavy-duty tripod, and frankly 60 lbs might snap it like a twig. Feisol says 16 lbs max, and I found the leg locks slip before that was even reached...
06-27-2014, 09:15 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
I really hope you added a zero there by mistake.

The 3441 is definitely not a heavy-duty tripod, and frankly 60 lbs might snap it like a twig. Feisol says 16 lbs max, and I found the leg locks slip before that was even reached...
Really? I have a 3301 with a medium-sized Vanguard head. I can mount my K-3 w/grip and Sigma 100-300 and still lean on it with a good bit of my own weight and have never had it to protest at all. I certainly wouldn't try 60 lbs., but 16 would seem like a piece of cake.
06-27-2014, 09:27 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
I really hope you added a zero there by mistake.

The 3441 is definitely not a heavy-duty tripod, and frankly 60 lbs might snap it like a twig. Feisol says 16 lbs max, and I found the leg locks slip before that was even reached...
Sorry it's 22 lbs max the Head holds over 60 lbs.
06-27-2014, 01:04 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fl_Gulfer Quote
If your over 6 feet tall you know how hard it is to look through a viewfinder with a camera on a tripod... I don't have that problem anymore with my FEISOL CT-3441T CF Tripod and that is the main reason I recommend it. Plus it will hold over 60 lbs with no problem.
Actually my other tripod which i used for my last few quarters came up to around 72 inches. Only problem was the lack of features. it weighs around 20 lbs, and well yeah, the ball head failed after only a few months!
06-27-2014, 04:39 PM - 1 Like   #30
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Maybe they should have, like, little bumper sticker things for users of Ken Rockwell endorsed Dolicas, and their siblings & first cousins -- "The Gitzo Is Home in the Garage".
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