Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-29-2009, 08:13 PM   #1
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
gsrokmix's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CT
Photos: Albums
Posts: 472
Can lighter tripod be as stable as heavier?

Hi,

I think I have narrowed down my 2 choices for tripod / head combinations. I am trying to decide between the Manfrotto 055XPROB legs w/ 488RC2 head & the Feisol 3342 & Photo Clam PC-33NS.

Logic tells me that the heavier setup will be sturdier no matter what. I don't know how much long distance hiking I'll be doing but I don't want to be sorry I got the 055 combo if I do find myself humping my gear a long distance.

My question is, are the lighter CF setups as sturdy, or very close to being as sturdy as the heavier tripods. Will the CF vibrate in the wind with a long lens if where the other setup wouldn't? Are the CF tripods balanced as well with heavier loads? Will they topple over easier if I happen to bang into the legs? I plan on using this tripod to do a lot of closeup stuff low to the ground. Does having the horizontal column on the 055 make it a lot easier than just shooting down from the ballhead?

I want the best of both worlds like everyone, sturdy & light. I just don't have the experience with this gear to make up my mind once and for all.

I'd appreciate any thoughts or comments!

Thanks!

George
K20D w/ a bunch of M42 lenses

11-29-2009, 10:49 PM   #2
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Posts: 12,952
I know for a fact that my Feisol 3342 is more stable than my Manfrotto 055.
I like the Feisol CB50D head quite a bit as well. I don't know if it's a better head than the PhotoClam you are looking at, but it compares very favourably to a friend's Gitzo and was about 1/3 the price.
11-30-2009, 07:05 AM   #3
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 2,867
The feisol tripods always get favorable reviews around here; there are a couple of photo clam head users around here (including myself!). It is very solid, and the friction control works great - if you search the net you'll find some head to head comparisons to Markins as well which indicate the photoclam is just as good, and the panning lock actually works better than the markins (photo clam is essentially a well made markins knockoff - a very good one...the Markins originally being a knockoff as well!).

If I had to do it over again, I would have probably taken a closer look at the feisol legs myself (but am happy with the gitzo basalt legs), but I would not hesitate to buy photoclam again - it is a very functional tool!

edit: I have the pc-33ns, the head you're looking at. It has no problem with the k20/grip and 50-135, my biggest/most off centered (due to 50-135 not having a tripod collar) combination.
11-30-2009, 12:00 PM   #4
Pentaxian




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Chicago suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 1,535
Hi gsrokmix,

I can't comment about the specific tripods or heads, but after using ballheads with only one tension control as opposed to one with separate controls for locking, unlocked tension, and panning. . . well there's no comparison in ease of use -- and I'd never again buy a single control ballhead. The ability to pretension the ball so the camera will be able to move smoothly when onlocked, but still have enough tension to keep it from "flopping", and the ability to release the panning lock independently are ease-of-use features that should not be considered lightly.

Another possible area of consideration would be the QR system. I had previously been happy with the Manfrotto RC2 QRs. They are quick, safe, and pretty stable, but with larger lenses, pretty stable just isn't good enough, and I chose to switch over to Arca Swiss style QR clamps and plates. the A/S type dovetails are about as close to universal as we'll ever see in QR systems, and are totally stable.

Most people obsess about the tripod model and place much less priority to choosing a head. I think that this is a mistake. On most shoots, you'll adjust the camera position on the head many more times than you'll setup or adjust the legs, so speed and convenience in adjusting the head is, IMO much more important.

Scott

11-30-2009, 12:14 PM   #5
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
gsrokmix's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CT
Photos: Albums
Posts: 472
Original Poster
Scott you must have read my mind because I was about to ask about the QR plates. I understand that the Photo Clam heads have thet friction & separate controls you mentioned. I plan on getting a 500mm or longer lens at some point so I know that those things were preety high up on the list.

pxpaulx - what kind of QR plate are you using with the PC head?

Thanks again!

George
11-30-2009, 12:56 PM   #6
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 2,867
I have the stock photoclam plate (32 is in the product description, which is a reference to it's length, can't recall the product number off the top of my head though). It is worth the cost (relative to a cheap ebay knockoff - it is cheaper than most branded offerings though), as it has strap holes on both sides of the plate as well (good for a handstrap on the grip side, and a detachable neckstrap on the other side).

I also purchased a knockoff arca type plate that works fine in the dovetail clamp (though I haven't used aside from testing it as the included screw was too long and I haven't shaved it down). I will probably never use this though - I need to scrounge up $32 for a 2nd plate for my Kx one of these days...

The arca dovetail is such a huge standard over the manfrotto locking plates, and the photoclam has a locking pin to prevent inadvertent slips (if you forget to lock the plate down).

You could also use a markins, kirk, reallyrightstuff or arca plate - if you are already willing to spend in the $200+ range for a head, there is no reason to get one that will lock you into a proprietary mount.

I forgot to mention the friction control - I had a ballhead before (cheap amvona head, manfrotto knockoff - could even use their plates) without friction control - I would never, ever consider another one, friction control is worth its weight in gold as they say. With the photoclam the tension knob is numbered (I think markins are just ticks, not numbers) - the advantage of the numbering is that you can remember which lenses use what amount of minimum tension - so a quick twist of the large knob, followed by a set of the minimum friction thumb screw sets it up for that lens, so you can move the head but it retains enough tension otherwise so your lens doesn't flop over. This is an amazing feature of higher end heads, and works great.

I also agree with scott that a good head is easily as important as the legs it is placed upon.
11-30-2009, 01:02 PM   #7
Pentaxian




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Chicago suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 1,535
QuoteOriginally posted by gsrokmix Quote
I plan on getting a 500mm or longer lens at some point so I know that those things were preety high up on the list.

pxpaulx - what kind of QR plate are you using with the PC head?

Hi gsrokmix,

The Photoclam head that you mentioned uses A/S compatible plates, so if you choose this head, you should be able to use just about any other comparable dovetail plates. The only possible incompatibility is with the safety mechanism which will prevent the plate from sliding out of the clamp. There are a number of designs out there, with each mfg having their own scheme. The plates fit, but the safety system might be compromised.

I don't find this to be a problem though -- and use cross system plates quite a bit. I just have it drilled into my head that I must tighten the clamp before I do anything else, and periodically give the knob a twist during a shoot, just to make sure.

Scott
11-30-2009, 07:01 PM   #8
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
gsrokmix's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CT
Photos: Albums
Posts: 472
Original Poster
Hey one more question pxpaulx. Do you know (or would you mind measuring if convenient) the distance from the bottom of your K20 w/ the grip installed to the viewfinder? I am figuring whether or not to get the optional column for the Feisol & am figuring the total height I need. I do not have the BG2 yet but intend on getting it soon!

Also the Photo Clam plate that Kerry would sell me is a PC-52-UP2 universal camera plate. Is this what you have or I'm guessing the "32" is a different one? Also if you had to have only one set of spikes, would you get the short ones or long ones?

Thanks again!

George

11-30-2009, 07:23 PM   #9
Veteran Member
Ratmagiclady's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: GA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 13,562
QuoteOriginally posted by gsrokmix Quote
Also the Photo Clam plate that Kerry would sell me is a PC-52-UP2 universal camera plate. Is this what you have or I'm guessing the "32" is a different one? Also if you had to have only one set of spikes, would you get the short ones or long ones?
Thanks again!
George
I would not go for spikes. If I did, they would be long. Short ones are rarely worth the trouble.

When I say 'rarely,' I mean, 'Not so much.' Once some helpedkeep me fromsliding off something, but this only improved the photography by virtue of me not plummetting to some uncertain fate.

(I do exaggerate slightly, here, while trying to fix my space bar.) But in earnest, they just aren't that big a deal. If you need them, do serious ones. All the half-measures do is have you cleaning stuff out of the threads.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 11-30-2009 at 07:42 PM.
11-30-2009, 10:17 PM   #10
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Posts: 12,952
QuoteOriginally posted by gsrokmix Quote
Hey one more question pxpaulx. Do you know (or would you mind measuring if convenient) the distance from the bottom of your K20 w/ the grip installed to the viewfinder? I am figuring whether or not to get the optional column for the Feisol & am figuring the total height I need. I do not have the BG2 yet but intend on getting it soon!

FWIW, I'm just over 6' tall and have the same tripod that you have. I do have the column, but rarely use it. Most of the time the Tournament is tall enough, this without the grip on the camera.
Compare the height of the CB-50D head to the one you are thinking of buying to see whether my rig is taller than yours.
One of the things that I find annoying with the Feisol is the lack of locking screws for the head.
This is something that Manfrotto does right. I took one of my mounting plates in and had holes drilled and tapped so that I can lock the head to the base plate. I'm not sure how they will hold up, the metal is quite thin. If I strip the threads I'll epoxy a nut onto the plate.
If you are going to use ground spikes, make sure they are the real deal. Those goofy little 1/4 inch "spikes" with the retracting rubber feat are a joke. They don't do what they are supposed to do, and they scratch hardwood floors wonderfully if you forget to cover them.
11-30-2009, 10:20 PM   #11
Senior Member
TheTenaciousOne's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Adelaide, SA, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 111
To answer your original question, a lighter carbon fibre tripod may not be as `sturdy` but it will stabilize your shots much better than a heavier aluminum one. This is due to the material which the carbon fibre is made from (some sort of polymer-resin substance). It dampens the vibrations where as the aluminum tends to just transmit vibrations.
In simple terms, when you shake at all or wind blows, the tripod will tend to absorb most of it instead of just wobbling .
12-01-2009, 05:25 AM   #12
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 2,867
yeah that is the plate, 52 not 32, Kerry is great! answered a ton of questions for me (thats who I bought from).

As far as height, I have the gitzo basalt 1932 - it is 53.5 inches tall without center column extended. From the specs some of the feisols are actually taller than this as well. Anyway, the photoclam and k20/grip add about 8-10 inches on top of that (I did measure at one point, want to say 4 inches for the head and 5 for the camera). I am 5'10/11 and can use this setup very comfortably without extending the center column. It does require a slight lean-in for me, but no more than I already have to get around the tripod anyway, so I haven't found it straining at all at that height.
12-01-2009, 11:07 AM   #13
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
gsrokmix's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CT
Photos: Albums
Posts: 472
Original Poster
T.T.O. thanks for that info. That is exactly what I was wondering about. I was also thinking that the CF would absorb more vibration than the aluminum.

Well I think I'm going to grab the Feisol 3342 & not bother with the center column but get the bigger PC-36NS head instead of the PC-33NS. I appreciate all of the advice from you guys. I have a little queezy feeling in my stomach paying almost as much for a tripod as I did for the new camera, but I hope that when I get it and start using it that I'll be glad I spent all the $$$!

Thanks again!

George
12-01-2009, 11:13 AM   #14
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 16,676
QuoteOriginally posted by TheTenaciousOne Quote
To answer your original question, a lighter carbon fibre tripod may not be as `sturdy` but it will stabilize your shots much better than a heavier aluminum one. This is due to the material which the carbon fibre is made from (some sort of polymer-resin substance). It dampens the vibrations where as the aluminum tends to just transmit vibrations.
In simple terms, when you shake at all or wind blows, the tripod will tend to absorb most of it instead of just wobbling .
regardless of weight, the best solution to stability is to hang even more weight from the bottom of the central column.

Additionally, many heads are not rigid but also allow vibration. there are long lense supports that can dampen these out.

359 Manfrotto (Distributed by Bogen) Long Lens Camera Support (#3252))
12-01-2009, 02:10 PM   #15
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 2,867
QuoteOriginally posted by gsrokmix Quote
T.T.O. thanks for that info. That is exactly what I was wondering about. I was also thinking that the CF would absorb more vibration than the aluminum.

Well I think I'm going to grab the Feisol 3342 & not bother with the center column but get the bigger PC-36NS head instead of the PC-33NS. I appreciate all of the advice from you guys. I have a little queezy feeling in my stomach paying almost as much for a tripod as I did for the new camera, but I hope that when I get it and start using it that I'll be glad I spent all the $$$!

Thanks again!

George
Great choices there, I just looked at that feisol tripod on really big cameras and it is a nice light setup with a good height as well. The photoclam is great too, you will be impressed with the quality - it pretty much oozes solid build and ease of use - and I've looked at a fair share of other heads in local shops (getting up into the $100s, they carry the gitzos, velbon and manfrotto heads at the main local dealer, national camera).

Even though I don't use my setup as much as I should!...I haven't regretted either purchase at all. This is the kind of equipment you should do right the first time, and you will only have to do it once. (and I think you've made the right choices!)
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
cf, distance, gear, head, legs, lot, setup, tripod, tripods
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Is it just me or most of us? [Stable Hands] joodiespost Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 34 01-09-2010 05:34 PM
On a lighter Note cupic Post Your Photos! 0 08-02-2009 03:04 AM
dodgy zippo lighter... Digitalis Post Your Photos! 20 05-30-2009 04:04 PM
New addition to the stable BeerCan Post Your Photos! 4 06-04-2008 02:07 AM
Basil and a lighter! thomasjmpark Post Your Photos! 10 04-01-2008 11:21 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:50 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top