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11-24-2014, 04:58 PM   #1
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Too good to be true? Opinions and users of the Nest NT-6294C tripod?

I have a Manfrotto 190xProB, along with a 1 pound head from Sirui (K30x), and the whole thing is about 6 pounds and 22 inches long collapsed, rather bulky when attached to a Think Tank Streetwalker Pro backpack. So, I'm looking for something a bit lighter. Carbon fiber is apparently made from a combination of unobtainium and panda, given the price. And Gitzos are obviously hand-wrought and assembled by the rare and magic blind elves of Slovenia, considering their cost. Many other brands are in-between, and one, the Nest NT-6294C (carbon) seems too good to be true, costing about $170 from Amazon, and collecting reviews like this: S.C.V. Photography Ideas: Nest NT-6294CT Carbon Fiber Traveler Tripod Review

The Nest is also taller extended than the Manfrotto, shorter when collapsed, lighter, and the center column can be removed. The Manfrotto's 90 degree column is interesting, and has come in handy several times, but often I simply use it to get low to the ground, because otherwise it badly unbalances the tripod.

So, I'm looking for users of the Nest NT-6294C . Especially useful would be users who have also owned the 190xProB, and have compared them. The review I pointed to above not only reviews the Nest, but literally tears it apart to show how it is constructed. It certainly seems too good to be true, because at 3.25 pounds, even with the K30x, it's pretty light, and the length at 17" folded is good too. Now, I understand that with a larger ball head, I may not be able to fold the legs backwards very well (but even straight, it is 20" instead of 22"). it has 4 sections instead of a 3 sections, too, unfortunately. And the ballhead plate is only 50mm as well, so my ballhead will overhang slightly.

But, at a price of about $200, is there really anything else that will match the Nest 6294C specifications? Quality is of course a concern, but if a can get "sufficient" quality for a lower price, what is the point of spending 2-3 times that amount, especially if you are not "hard" -- a euphemism for careless, I think, but I digress -- on your equipment ? I am not planning on trying to run the tripod over with my car; my uses are usually hauling the tripod around cactus gardens and various "safe" locations. Even if I take seascapes, I do not plan on embedding the legs (neither the tripod's or mine) in sand or sea or silt.

11-24-2014, 05:40 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
And the ballhead plate is only 50mm as well, so my ballhead will overhang slightly.
Camera platform diameter is often a good indicator of intended use. Tripod specifications OTOH can be misleading.* If you are mostly concerned about length (folded), a four-section unit is your best bet. If weight is the major concern, there are a multitude of tripods at the Nest price point at similar weight and comparable capacity. These include both alloy and CF models.

Warranty and presence of a U.S. distributor (for parts and warranty service)** should also be a consideration.


Steve



* Aside from weight, height (extended), length (folded), section count, and lock-type the specs are often misleading. This is particularly true of capacity and materials. Capacity does not translate directly to rigidity/vibration resistance and "carbon" merely tell you that the legs are made of some sort of carbon-fiber-reinforced resin plastic.

** I have used the Giottos U.S. distributor as a source for parts such as additional center columns to mate with different heads.
11-24-2014, 06:11 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Camera platform diameter is often a good indicator of intended use. Tripod specifications OTOH can be misleading.* If you are mostly concerned about length (folded), a four-section unit is your best bet. If weight is the major concern, there are a multitude of tripods at the Nest price point at similar weight and comparable capacity. These include both alloy and CF models.
What would some of those be, for a 4 section, carbon fiber, 3.25 lb tripod for under $200? The ones I have read about (Benro, Vanguard, Manfrotto itself, Induro, Velbon, Sirui, et al.) are all more expensive then that in carbon. And the web site review I pointed at seems to show this "8x Carbon Fiber" diagram. But I absolutely agree that this could be all bunk, which is why I'm looking for opinions of actual users of the thing.
11-24-2014, 07:18 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
What would some of those be, for a 4 section, carbon fiber, 3.25 lb tripod for under $200? The ones I have read about (Benro, Vanguard, Manfrotto itself, Induro, Velbon, Sirui, et al.) are all more expensive then that in carbon. And the web site review I pointed at seems to show this "8x Carbon Fiber" diagram. But I absolutely agree that this could be all bunk, which is why I'm looking for opinions of actual users of the thing.
This would be the one. Although the supported weight is not fantastic.
Vanguard ALTA+ 224 Carbon Tripod with SBH-30 Ball Head ALTA+ 224CB

11-24-2014, 08:03 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
What would some of those be, for a 4 section, carbon fiber, 3.25 lb tripod for under $200?
Why carbon? Go to B&H or Adorama and simply filter for 4-section tripods under $200 and sort descending by price. You will find that the weight target is easy to attain.* Comparable capacity is difficult to assess since the makers tend to overstate, often by a factor of two or more.**

Remember the tripod truth:

Light, Stable, Inexpensive...choose two and only two.


Steve

* For example my Slik 330DX legs are quite capable of supporting a K-30 with moderate weight lenses at 2.7 lbs. Price? $69 USD. Matched with a lightweight head for a total weight of just over 3 lbs., I have used the combination for hiking with both the K10D and the K-3, but usually it is used with my film SLRs. Online reviews HERE and HERE. I would not recommend this combination for general use (too light), but only as an example for comparison.

** This is a difficult matter. Capacity generally assumes the load is well-balanced and dense with zero wind. What is not clear is whether the tripod is fully extended and whether the number is the weight to fail (tripod breaks) or the weight to deform.

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-24-2014 at 08:48 PM.
11-25-2014, 11:34 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rrstuff Quote
This would be the one. Although the supported weight is not fantastic.
Vanguard ALTA+ 224 Carbon Tripod with SBH-30 Ball Head ALTA+ 224CB
Thanks for the pointer. That's an entire foot shorter than the Nest when fully extended, and two inches longer when collapsed. And the supported weight is not fantastic, as you say, especially if the tendency is to *exaggerate* the specifications.

---------- Post added Nov 25th, 2014 at 11:22 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Why carbon?
Because carbon really does absorb vibrations better (and faster) than aluminum. And there is some weight savings, too. The Manfrotto 190xProB takes more than 4 seconds with the column raised to quell vibrations, so the 2 second mirror up in the K20D isn't really long enough. Now, with the K3, I can use mirror up mode and count to 5 and then trip the shutter. Really, I like the Manfrotto; as I said, it's just a bit too big and bulky to walk around with.
11-25-2014, 12:38 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
Because carbon really does absorb vibrations better (and faster) than aluminum.
That is the conventional wisdom, for sure

...though I found it not to hold true at the low end price-wise. Have you considered the Siriu products in the same price range?

As for the 190xProB and vibrations. I agree. I decided against that tripod for exactly that reason and opted for the 1 lb. heavier, but vibration-free very well-dampened Giottos MT9360 instead.

If you do get the Nest, I would be interested in reading your impressions.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-25-2014 at 01:03 PM.
11-25-2014, 12:43 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
For example my Slik 330DX legs are quite capable of supporting a K-30 with moderate weight lenses at 2.7 lbs. Price? $69 USD.
Looking at the specifications for those legs, they don't look too bad at all; thanks for the pointer. The minimum height is still too tall (11" even with the *optional* short column), and the folded length to 4" longer than the Nest. But it has 3 sections, and it's light, and the weight capacity is ok. It is odd that the head is attached with a 1/4"-20? That means they really don't want a very large ballhead. In fact, all the bundles show it with their own pan head.

---------- Post added Nov 25th, 2014 at 11:55 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Have you considered the Siriu products in the same price range?
To get the same specs as the Nest with a Sirui, I'd have to spend nearly twice the Nest price. I use a Sirui head, and it is decent (but not amazing) quality, and it's a bit heavy, too (but much better than the Manfrotto 496 (non-RC) that it replaced, and I get arca compatibility.

11-25-2014, 01:00 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
Thanks for the pointer. That's an entire foot shorter than the Nest when fully extended, and two inches longer when collapsed. And the supported weight is not fantastic, as you say, especially if the tendency is to *exaggerate* the specifications.[COLOR="Silver"]
Thanks for a somewhat aggressive response after I tried to be helpful, thinking I am forwarding a good deal I found. You asked for a carbon tripod below $200 and 3.5 lbs. You didn't specify the height, or supported weight required. I thought you were legitimately asking for an inexpensive tripod, instead of looking for an opportunity to make a snarky comments.
11-25-2014, 01:12 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
It is odd that the head is attached with a 1/4"-20? That means they really don't want a very large ballhead.
Yes, that was my take as well. The camera platform is only 40mm across, the same diameter as the Manfrotto 494 I have it mated to.


Steve

---------- Post added 11-25-14 at 12:16 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
The minimum height is still too tall
That is 11" to the top of the ballhead camera plate. Without the ballhead, it is 8" it is 7 1/2".


Steve

---------- Post added 11-25-14 at 12:19 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
*optional*
The short column is optional in the sense that the long column breaks down into two sections. The short piece is the short column.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-25-2014 at 09:43 PM.
11-25-2014, 02:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
[regarding the Slik 330DX legs] The minimum height is still too tall (11" even with the *optional* short column),
However, looking at the image in B&H, it shows the lowest position at about 4 inches. Interesting. So, either the specs are wrong, the picture is wrong, or they have a new shorter short column.

---------- Post added Nov 25th, 2014 at 02:13 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by rrstuff Quote
Thanks for a somewhat aggressive response after I tried to be helpful, thinking I am forwarding a good deal I found. You asked for a carbon tripod below $200 and 3.5 lbs. You didn't specify the height, or supported weight required. I thought you were legitimately asking for an inexpensive tripod, instead of looking for an opportunity to make a snarky comments.
Sorry, I didn't mean to sound snarky. I did say, "Thanks for the pointer." I also thought I had listed the Nest's specifications above, I see that I did not, my mistake. And indeed, you yourself pointed out the rather small capacity. But really, my point in the posting was simply to find owners of the Nest 6294C tripod, for their comments. All other comments are certainly welcome, though, and I appreciate being shown an alternative.
11-25-2014, 09:41 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by asharpe Quote
However, looking at the image in B&H, it shows the lowest position at about 4 inches.
I remeasured at 7 1/2". The center column length is not what limits. It is 5 5/8" long, but the leg angle and the spider thickness put the platform at 7 1/2" off the floor. I will correct my post above.


Steve

---------- Post added 11-25-14 at 08:50 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I remeasured at 7 1/2".
Ok...here is the product page at the Slik Web site:

SLIK CORPORATION - The most copied line of tripods today

They measure the minimum height at 204mm (8"). I don't know why the descriptions indicate the short column is optional and extra money. The illustration clearly shows where the two halves screw together. OTOH, they may very well have changed the way it is made.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-25-2014 at 10:23 PM.
11-26-2014, 01:00 AM   #13
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I know it is not carbon, but i am saving up to a MeFOTO Roadtrip, I think it looks awaresome.
It is on my christmas list, Hope i will get it
11-26-2014, 12:47 PM - 3 Likes   #14
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Hey there, I have a Nest NT6294C, and have been using it as my "hiking and travel tripod" for about 4 months now. My other tripods are a Gitzo GT3541 (bigger, heavier, solid-er-er), a Berlebach Report 2032 (or is it 3022?) which is ash-wood, 6lbs(!), and kinda short (looks great, though), and I recently sold on my Feisol 3401, which did 10 years of great service with almost identical specs to the Nest. In fact, my Feisol cost $250 when new, with center column (costs a bit more these days).

I've also tested a few tripods (yes, that's me!), so I've not just handled, but abused MeFoto, Gitzo, 3 Legged Thing, Sirui, Manfrotto, Benro, Dolica, etc.

Here's the deal with the Nest tripods: they are made by Ningbo Weifeng, one of the biggest Chinese makers of "slap your brand name here" tripods (sold as Dolica, Horusbennu, Redged, and many others) as well as their own Weifeng (lowest end), Fancier (mid-tier), and the recently added Nest (supposed to be highest-end).

Nest tripods are, I've been told by the distributor, built on a different assembly line and designed by a different team than the other Weifeng (and other brand) products. Although, I understand Dolica USA was set to distribute Nest (as Dolica Nest), but then Weifeng wanted a higher-end cachet and changed distribution models. Anyhow, the point is that the Nest brand is new, but not unknown, and the price is low because Weifeng can afford slim margins on one brand.

Next, I've compared this Nest directly to a Dolica "Ultra Premium" and the difference is stark. They have the same MSRP, but the Dolica has rough edges, a kind of wobbly build, and not-so-durable looking parts. The Nest, however, is quite solidly built, no wiggles or wobbles, and really well thought-out engineering and finish. The leg locks, for example, only turn so far in either direction; so unlocking is a quick twist, and re-locking is the same short throw (while most others are quick to unlock, but can turn and turn depending on how far you "unlocked" them).

I posted this photo to another thread about the Acratech GP, so here is the Nest under a very nice head:



To answer a couple of questions:

1) The top platform is small because the legs fold up around it, but the column is rather long and the leg locks hit the platform, and everything is otherwise kinda thick. If it had a larger platform (suitable for a bigger head) then the folded package wouldn't be as compact, and it already is kinda bulky when folded up. Of course, if your head is wide, you're stuck there anyhow. Personally, I'd like to see the column about 2 inches shorter to avoid this packing problem (and perhaps have a larger platform), but then I frequently take it off completely anyhow.

2) Can it hold up 20kg? Yes, but I wouldn't do it all the time. There is no standard for maximum loads, but tripods tend to be less overstated than ball heads (mainly because a simple, metal ball head can hold up more than gigantic tripods anyhow, so how will you "test it?"). Look at the leg diameters for a hint as to how much they can hold up, with the Nest having 29mm top leg tubes, and only 4 sections. Still rather thick! The Nest feels more solid than the 3 Legged Thing I tested, as well as the Feisol 3441 (latest version), and the smaller Sirui. For the price, it is probably the only carbon-fiber tripod built like this, so otherwise go for an aluminum Manfrotto (190XPro) or aluminum Benro, which are heavier (and the aluminum Benros can ring like a bell with vibrations if you aren't careful).

3) Is it too good to be true? Almost. It's a great mid-sized travel style tripod, for an amazing price in the USA. Apparently Nest-Style UK charges $600+ for the same tripod, with a crappy ball head (Nest ball heads suck, sorry to say, but they are being redesigned... stick with Sirui for that). However, the tripod itself has only two leg angles, and doesn't fold into the most compact bundle, and there is no option for leg spikes or shoes, and although the warranty is 3 years, you'd be sending it back to China (or Texas, perhaps... I don't really know since I'm in Canada, so China for me!).

Bottom line: it is a very nice tripod from a company that otherwise makes fairly mediocre tripods for everyone else (I personally wouldn't buy a Fancier, Horusbennu, Dolica, or a few other rebrands). Yes, there's a risk that it will fall apart in a few years, but I had a Manfrotto do that while my Feisol (which some decry as "crap") never did anything but loose its feet a few times! So far, it has been very good for me, and I use it all the time and am not delicate with it. I really appreciate the no-column option and the monopod leg, along with the stability at a low traveling weight (if not size).

Last edited by panoguy; 11-26-2014 at 01:04 PM.
11-26-2014, 02:59 PM   #15
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I would say it sounds too good to be true, but Panoguy gave a nice response.

I was going to respond because I have the Feisol tripod he mentioned, and I purchased it knowing that it was better than the worst tripods out there and a worthy attempt to put something affordable out there that was at least trying to be like a good Gitzo tripod. It has a lot of the same features as the Nest one mentioned in the review you provided.

The only thing that would concern me about what the previous post brought up is the fact that the same company makes crappier tripods. It may not be too far fetched to think that at some point they could change from the better build experienced by the review you linked to and the experience of Panoguy to something a bit worse. Of course that can happen with any brand, and that was something I considered even buying the Feisol. It's just worth considering. One thing I'll note is that most tripods, especially cheap ones, aren't very good when you use the center post. I try to minimize the use of mine as much as possible.
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