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02-22-2019, 05:36 PM   #1
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Carbon Fiber Tripods and shutter shock

Carbon Fiber is said to dampen vibration better than aluminum tripods. My question is will it help reduce shutter shock on the K-1. Has anyone tested this theory?
My Bogen 3001 has served me well with Medium Format film, but I am thinking an equivalent CF tripod might help reduce the weight and get sharper images too. Only I want to be sure that the extra cost will be worth it.

Yes I know about LV ES and avoiding the shutter speeds that cause the most problems. It is not always convenient to use the work arounds.

02-22-2019, 05:45 PM   #2
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I had CF. I lost in FL. Replaced with aluminum. Liked much better.
02-22-2019, 08:08 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I have a Bogan 3021 and a car on fiber NEST and honestly I see limited differences in ringing and vibration. I think the carbon pod is slightly better at moonshots with long lenses but it is a very small difference.
02-22-2019, 11:39 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSLRnovice Quote
Carbon Fiber Tripods and shutter shock
Not sure about shutter shock. Using LV zoomed @100% with supertele lens, with SR disabled, shows the tripod sensitivity external disturbance (wind, feet on the ground, touch the camera / lens), and carbon fiber happens to be the worst choice to cope with vibrations. Carbon fiber doesn't damp at all, it flexes and gives back energy. I've compared a Manfrotto medium sized all metal tripod to my 37mm Feisol carbon tripod, and the Manfrotto metal is as good as the carbon, although the cabon tubes are significantly larger. Other thing to be concerned about: tripods often have a hook to add weight, but that also isn't good because the added weight will move with wind and keep moving for a while after placing the tripod. The best solution I've came up with is a weight belt added around the tripod legs just below the ball head fixture, but that requires to carry extra weight.

At the end of the day, either the sources of vibration/motion are removed (MLU, electronic shutter, timer) , or weight should be added to dampen vibrations, but carrying weight requires additional effort... Carbon tripods have been successful because the flawed logic. Light weight goes again steady. It makes no sense to buy a carbon tripod because it is light weight and add up weight to it to make it stable, better buy an old plain metal or wooden tripod.


Last edited by biz-engineer; 02-23-2019 at 12:02 AM.
02-23-2019, 01:30 AM   #5
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Following is my recall from "Field Photography" by Blaker.
It is somewhat dependent on the camera, but shutter shock is often worst around 1/60 s and going down to 1/8s or up to 1/250 s will likely alleviate it, so given the range of f-stops, and usable iso, seems like you could work out an exposure that avoids it mostly. Also a sandbag placed on the camera, or even holding the camera w/ fleshy pads of ones hands while it is loosely attached to the tripod, also alleviate it, by absorbing the energy.
02-23-2019, 02:45 AM   #6
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The tripod won't eliminate shutter shock of any camera. But if a tripod is used, it mostly means that the scene is static, and if it is so , using the electronic shutter shouldn't be a problem.
There are at least 4 ways to eliminate shutter shock.

- use of ES in LV mode, adjust outdoor LCD back-lighting to taste
- shot pixel shift raw and disable pixel shift for the raw development (keeps one of the 4 frames captured electronically)
- use TAv mode and set shutter speed to 1/200 or faster if auto ISO hits the minimum value, set aperture at desired value
- add a 3 stops ND filter and slow down shutter speed to below 1/10th or slower

If top notch resolution is needed, and tripod is used, rotate the camera to vertical and take 4 x overlapping shots and stitch and crop to 3:2 or 4:3 or any desired aspect ratio.
02-23-2019, 04:34 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Hanging weight from the tripod works well if you can get the weight to touch the ground but still remain mostly suspended. Even then strong wind is a problem but the bare tripod alone is not immune to wind.

---------- Post added 02-23-19 at 06:40 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Not sure about shutter shock. Using LV zoomed @100% with supertele lens, with SR disabled, shows the tripod sensitivity external disturbance (wind, feet on the ground, touch the camera / lens), and carbon fiber happens to be the worst choice to cope with vibrations. Carbon fiber doesn't damp at all, it flexes and gives back energy. I've compared a Manfrotto medium sized all metal tripod to my 37mm Feisol carbon tripod, and the Manfrotto metal is as good as the carbon, although the cabon tubes are significantly larger. Other thing to be concerned about: tripods often have a hook to add weight, but that also isn't good because the added weight will move with wind and keep moving for a while after placing the tripod. The best solution I've came up with is a weight belt added around the tripod legs just below the ball head fixture, but that requires to carry extra weight.

At the end of the day, either the sources of vibration/motion are removed (MLU, electronic shutter, timer) , or weight should be added to dampen vibrations, but carrying weight requires additional effort... Carbon tripods have been successful because the flawed logic. Light weight goes again steady. It makes no sense to buy a carbon tripod because it is light weight and add up weight to it to make it stable, better buy an old plain metal or wooden tripod.
Good carbon fiber is vastly stiffer than aluminum. Bad carbon fiber can be slightly less stiff. Read this for empirical data:

Carbon Fiber vs. Aluminum Tripods – The Center Column

02-23-2019, 05:06 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Good carbon fiber is vastly stiffer than aluminum. Bad carbon fiber can be slightly less stiff. Read this for empirical data:

Interesting article. The first chart shows that carbon can carry more weight before it breaks. The second charts shows no correlation with better damping with either carbon or aluminium.


The problem is not stiffness. The problem is dissipation of energy (damping) when the material is excited by a dynamic force, which is not the same concern as how much weight can be put on the tripod before it bends and break. If you take aluminium and apply a vibration to it, the vibration is absorbed for the softness of the material. For bikes frames, the absorbsion of force (damping) is the thing to be avoided so that when the bike flexes under effort it flexes back into place given back energy instead of dissipating it. So for bikes, stiff frames are more appreciated for professional performance (best enegy efficiency) at the expense of comfort, carbon is good for that. But for a camera tripod, you want the opposite of propagating vibration, you want that the frame doesn't bounce back when wind blowing on it, aluminium and weight absorb the vibrations better then carbon fiber. The use of carbon for tripods is essentially for the light weight advantage, at least that's how I understand it.

Use of center column decreases stability. The most stable tripod solution is 3 section legs (the less sections the better), without center column and mount of the camera directly to arca ballhead on the base plate, or camera directly screwed on the tripod base plate. Anything added my improve convenience but weaken stability.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 02-23-2019 at 05:22 AM.
02-23-2019, 07:21 AM   #9
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Put a big sandbag on top.
02-23-2019, 11:41 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Interesting article. The first chart shows that carbon can carry more weight before it breaks. The second charts shows no correlation with better damping with either carbon or aluminium.


The problem is not stiffness. The problem is dissipation of energy (damping) when the material is excited by a dynamic force, which is not the same concern as how much weight can be put on the tripod before it bends and break. If you take aluminium and apply a vibration to it, the vibration is absorbed for the softness of the material. For bikes frames, the absorbsion of force (damping) is the thing to be avoided so that when the bike flexes under effort it flexes back into place given back energy instead of dissipating it. So for bikes, stiff frames are more appreciated for professional performance (best enegy efficiency) at the expense of comfort, carbon is good for that. But for a camera tripod, you want the opposite of propagating vibration, you want that the frame doesn't bounce back when wind blowing on it, aluminium and weight absorb the vibrations better then carbon fiber. The use of carbon for tripods is essentially for the light weight advantage, at least that's how I understand it.

Use of center column decreases stability. The most stable tripod solution is 3 section legs (the less sections the better), without center column and mount of the camera directly to arca ballhead on the base plate, or camera directly screwed on the tripod base plate. Anything added my improve convenience but weaken stability.
I really don't think we read the same articles.
02-23-2019, 12:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I really don't think we read the same articles.
communication is not my thing, also because I am not a native English speaker (that I think caused me some issues when communicating). I think I understood your point, and it is valid. My point is a bit different from the article because I have 4 tripods, and I compared how shaky the image is in live view magnified with the DFA150-450 at 450 and 2x TC, so it is hyper sensitive to any move. From home, I mounted the DFA150-450 with TC pointing outside of my living room, zoomed in LV , I looked at the display from the back of the room, and just making a step forward made the live view image move and slowly become still again. So I compared aluminum with carbon. With aluminum , the image shake go back to steady quickly, with carbon the image shake and takes longer to become steady again. If I hit the tripod leg, does the live view image vibrate? how fast do it stabilize again with the carbon tripod? and with alu tripod? That is the experiment I've done.

---------- Post added 23-02-19 at 20:25 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
Put a big sandbag on top.
Sandbag is the best but a bit heavy to carry around.
02-23-2019, 12:31 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
communication is not my thing, also because I am not a native English speaker (that I think caused me some issues when communicating). I think I understood your point, and it is valid. My point is a bit different from the article because I have 4 tripods, and I compared how shaky the image is in live view magnified with the DFA150-450 at 450 and 2x TC, so it is hyper sensitive to any move. From home, I mounted the DFA150-450 with TC pointing outside of my living room, zoomed in LV , I looked at the display from the back of the room, and just making a step forward made the live view image move and slowly become still again. So I compared aluminum with carbon. With aluminum , the image shake go back to steady quickly, with carbon the image shake and takes longer to become steady again. If I hit the tripod leg, does the live view image vibrate? how fast do it stabilize again with the carbon tripod? and with alu tripod? That is the experiment I've done.

---------- Post added 23-02-19 at 20:25 ----------


Sandbag is the best but a bit heavy to carry around.
Reading the article you will see that the very best pods were carbon only but that with the ones that were good and offered multiple leg options the carbon ones were best at dampening and rigidity. The problem with comparing only the items we might own is that they may not have similar quality. I will agree that carbon pods vary vastly and the legs on one could be poorly constructed and work less well than aluminum. I'd argue that the quality of the tripod would matter most.
02-23-2019, 12:41 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Stiffness is not a measure of how much weight a tripod can hold before breaking. When it comes to carbon fiber quite the opposite. Carbon fiber is incredibly stiff, but will shatter. Aluminum isn't as stiff, but will bend dramatically before breaking. That said, no reasonable photographer would ever load enough weight onto a tripod to break it. Stiffness is actually a measure of how much the tripod (and associated camera) will move when subject to a force, such as shutter shock. Damping is the ability of the tripod to absorb the whatever vibrational energy is induced. Both are valuable, but stiffness is incredibly important towards making sure the camera doesn't move much in the first place. Carbon fiber has both better stiffness and damping characteristics than aluminum. As I showed in the article though, there is significantly more variance in the damping characteristics of tripods. This makes sense. First, there are more factors that go into the damping of a tripod than the stiffness, such as the top plate. Second, aluminum is a fairly uniform, isotropic material. Carbon fiber tubing on the other hand, varies dramatically in quality and design characteristics. Quality carbon fiber tripods are unquestionably better than their aluminum counterparts.
02-23-2019, 01:00 PM   #14
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The OP has used a Bogen 3001 with medium format and was happy with the results. Has he tried the same tripod with his K-1? There's no point buying a new tripod if the existing one already does the job with his existing kit, or is a longer tele/zoom in prospect? Of course, the only proper course is to spend four figures on a carbon 'pod and a ballhead rated at 500kg – that way there's no arguing the kit isn't up to the job – but I feel some authorities believe the DSLR shutter is a 5-ton portcullis...
02-23-2019, 01:11 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dave645 Quote
Carbon fiber has both better stiffness and damping characteristics than aluminum.
If they have equal weight maybe. When I compared tripods, the aluminum one is heavier than the carbon tripod, the additional weight help dampen vibrations I suppose. Some wood made tripod claim to be extremely good for damping vibrations, I hope this is the case when the wood tripod weights six times more than the carbon tripod.

---------- Post added 23-02-19 at 21:14 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Dave645 Quote
Quality carbon fiber tripods are unquestionably better than their aluminum counterparts.
At same weight, sure, I also believe so.
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