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Carbon Fibre Tripod - Essential or Luxury ?


derekhansen e2
6 200 24 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 1:18PM
I currently use a manfrotto 055XPROB Aluminium tripod. I have had it for a couple of years and really have no complaints except on long treks the weight becomes an issue especially with the 405geared head I use. I would never give up the head heavy as it is but I am considering the 055XPROC carbon fibre legs.
I have two questions.
1. Are the carbon fibre legs really that much lighter?
2. How stable are they in the wind?
I am frankly dubious about spending 220 quid replacing my heavy but otherwise superb tripod so need a little convincing

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JackAllTog e2
5 4.0k 58 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 1:29PM
Hi Derek,

I'm sure you've seen this but the weight difference is a bag and a half of sugar if I have read it right.
On a long trip this will add up very quickly.

Weight 3.1 kg http://www.manfrotto.com/photo-kit-with-055xprob-tripod-322-head-80cm-padded-bag is this 2.4Kg without the head?
weight 1.65 kg http://www.manfrotto.com/055-carbon-fibre-q90-3-section-tripod

Interested to hear what you decide....
JJGEE 9 6.4k 18 England
31 May 2012 1:33PM
2)
I have far more confidence with my Gitzo aluminium than my Gitzo Carbon Fibre in windy conditions
In addition to stability in the wind one also has to consider stability on the beach / seashore with small waves etc. Wink
mattw 11 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 1:34PM
Yes they are a luxury - but that luxury is the weight.

They are not exactly weightless, but the difference is noticeable after carrying it around all day.

If photographing in strong wind, I open the legs wider, and the stability is fine (I found a little flex in the legs with my old Aluminum tripod when opening the legs wide - there is none with my CF tripod). If necessary, just hang your bag from the tripod, and then any lightness in the tripod is not an issue.
sausage 10 287 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 1:35PM
I've just bought a carbon fibre tripod to replace my 055PRO - I bought the Giotto MTL 8361B last week. Early days yet but it is much lighter - and with the Manfrotto 808RC4 head it weighs a tad over 3kg.
derekhansen e2
6 200 24 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 1:43PM

Quote:Yes they are a luxury - but that luxury is the weight.

They are not exactly weightless, but the difference is noticeable after carrying it around all day.

If photographing in strong wind, I open the legs wider, and the stability is fine (I found a little flex in the legs with my old Aluminum tripod when opening the legs wide - there is none with my CF tripod). If necessary, just hang your bag from the tripod, and then any lightness in the tripod is not an issue.



Interesting regarding the lack of flex, which could be a definite advantage on slippery surfaces.
User_Removed 12 2.8k 11 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 1:52PM
I bought my Carbon Fibre Manfrotto about 7 or 8 years ago and the weight is significantly less than my aluminium model. Most of the weight now comes from the Geared head but it is altogether lighter and just as stable (in my view) as the Aluminium set up.
The other reason I bought a CF model was the fact that it will probably out live me and 200 odd pounds over the next 30 odd (I hope) years is very good value in anyone's book, as long as you look after it. Smile
derekhansen e2
6 200 24 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 1:59PM

Quote:I bought my Carbon Fibre Manfrotto about 7 or 8 years ago and the weight is significantly less than my aluminium model. Most of the weight now comes from the Geared head but it is altogether lighter and just as stable (in my view) as the Aluminium set up.
The other reason I bought a CF model was the fact that it will probably out live me and 200 odd pounds over the next 30 odd (I hope) years is very good value in anyone's book, as long as you look after it. Smile



Some very good arguments for CF Laurel. I take pretty good care of my tripod but even after a couple of years of occasional coastal photography the metal is corroding.
JJGEE 9 6.4k 18 England
31 May 2012 2:08PM

Quote:Most of the weight now comes from the Geared head

Cannot dispute that statement.

Within the last two years I have moved to the Arca Swiss range of heads, firstly the p0 ball head and 3 months ago the manual D4.

The Manfrotto 410 junior geared head that I had previously used for about 12 years is now gathering dust in the garage.
puertouk 3 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 2:13PM
On your long treks, are you carrying your tripod in your hands or on a backpack? If you are carrying it by hand, try using it on a backpack, as you shouls not really notice it. If you are carrying it on a backpack - don't be such a lazy sod and whimp! TongueWink
sherlob e2
8 2.4k 126 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 2:14PM
It depends partly on what you use it for. I do a lot of work where the tripod gets wet - often in sea water. As a consequence I find I only ever get limited time out of any tripod - it works hard for its living often dying young as a consequence (abuse rather than use?). I used manfrotto CF for 2 years and in this time went through 2 tripods! The problem wasn't the legs as such as the fittings - leg clamps etc. I find I can usually eek at least twice as much life from my aluminium tripods.

Adam
sherlob e2
8 2.4k 126 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 2:16PM

Quote:On your long treks, are you carrying your tripod in your hands or on a backpack? If you are carrying it by hand, try using it on a backpack, as you shouls not really notice it.


I'm not sure I agree. I find that with a heavy head the weight distribution is a problem when I have the tripod on my back - even more so when this is a CF tripod as it becomes really top heavy.
MikeA 10 1.2k England
31 May 2012 2:19PM
Not good in wind as already stated, legs flex quite a lot and the joints are becoming loose, even after tightening. I also use the 405 head, excellent piece of kit.
derekhansen e2
6 200 24 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 2:20PM

Quote:Most of the weight now comes from the Geared head
Cannot dispute that statement.

Within the last two years I have moved to the Arca Swiss range of heads, firstly the p0 ball head and 3 months ago the manual D4.

The Manfrotto 410 junior geared head that I had previously used for about 12 years is now gathering dust in the garage.



Bl**dy hell dont start me thinking about heads now Jeff. I am having palpitations thinking about buying the CF legs Grin Grin
derekhansen e2
6 200 24 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 2:26PM

Quote:On your long treks, are you carrying your tripod in your hands or on a backpack? If you are carrying it by hand, try using it on a backpack, as you shouls not really notice it.

I'm not sure I agree. I find that with a heavy head the weight distribution is a problem when I have the tripod on my back - even more so when this is a CF tripod as it becomes really top heavy.



I have tried carrying on my backpack but you are spot on about the weight distribution issue Adam.

However Stephen you are correct ....I am lazy sod and a wimp Wink

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