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Take a look at www.redsnapperuk.com. Bought one a few years back and never had any problem.They import directly and cut out the middle man so costs are cheaper but quality is still good.
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keithh - I've not seen one that matches the criteria at beginning of discussion.
Redsnapper looks good - will have to look at reviews and what maintenance/spare parts are like. Thanks.
Just an update.
I have ordered the Feisol CT-3342-Rapid - Medium Tournament Class Carbon Fibre Tripod, it meets my original criteria. So far I have been impressed by the level of response to questions I have asked Feisol, even when I've asked them after 9pm I'm getting a response within 20 mins. The plus' so far have been price, positive reviews, 3yr warranty, information about maintenance and of course accessories should I wish to add to it. I have included spiked feet to my order as I have found these useful in the past.
I will post my first impressions when I receive my order and will give a field review in time.
Carbon : preferred material to reduce weight especially going for a bulkier/sturdier tripod.
Height : would rather not extend any centre columns were possible, I'm just shy of 6ft if that helps.
Transport : want something that is relatively easy to carry not necessarily lighter, walk on average 5-6miles so not totally unfit
Wear resistance: cope with the elements and saltwater so don't want joints that will clog up frequently and corrode easy, don't know whether twist lock legs are better.
Price : will spend up to £300.
My new tripod arrived yesterday, took just 48 hrs to arrive. I took it out for a test today and can say I am more than pleased with it and performs admirably. It matches my original criteria 100%, and is lighter than I expected, but very sturdy. It came complete with its own bag and allen keys to make any adjustments. I purchased some spiked feet, no instructions were provided, so I thought the rubber feet would just pull straight off the legs. After much twisting and pulling they did not budge, so no chance of actually losing them like you do on the Manfrotto tripods. Anyway, all that was required was to ply the sides away from the legs to pull over a ridge then screw in the spikes with the supplied spanner. Although I have not used a Gitzo tripod I think it is very similar in design but lighter and a lot cheaper.
The legs operated smoothly and requires less than a 1/4 turn of the twist-lock leg to extend so is speedy to set up.
The only one negative I found, and it is picky, is there is no spirit level.
Quote: is there is no spirit level.
I have never found those tripod bubbles useful.... spirit bubbles on the head.. yes and even more so on the camera's hot shoe.
So I do not think it is going to be a problem for you.
Seldom use them, if only for panoramic images but I knew there wasn't one when I bought it and should I go down the route of doing more panos then I'll look to buy the levelling base to make quick adjustments.
Edit: Sorry, Just noticed you have already chosen, so my comments were irrelevant.
But do read Roger Hicks in last week's AO (11 Feb issue)
Well I've had the "Feisol CT-3342-Rapid - Medium Tournament Class Carbon Fibre Tripod" for a little over 3 months now and can say that it is spot on. To date I have used it mainly on landscapes, but have done a little bit of seascape photography with it. I have found it really easy to clean, no need for tools to dismantle it. Despite it's light-weight, it performs admirably in windy conditions so long as you hang your bag on the provided hook (something I always do anyway). The spikes I had purchased have been on it 90% of the time, they come into their own when working on side of hills that are slippy. Overall I am chuffed, and my image quality has improved now I have a sturdy tripod.
One problem is handling before you buy.
Looking only at swinging arm tripods (I shoot a lot of flowers) Benro seems easily the best engineered and robust from the list - but I had to go to Focus to examine one in close detail.
Another problem is end use.
About 12 years ago I had a leg go on a 4 week old Manfrotto CF - which has put me off Manfrotto ever since - even though Manfrotto standards have changed in 12 years.
Early last year I had a Giottos which obviously had a very poor machined locking gear - which wore out in weeks. The replacement WEX sent me had the same limitation, as did another I looked at at in Jacobs in Leeds. WEX (then Warehouse Express) accepted the obvious and gave me my money back as not fit for purpose if you want to use the swinging arm regularly. Giottos have since improved the product but I still do not regard it as up to the Benro design.
I got a Gitzo end of line 4 section swinging arm CF version from Ffordes at a good price - prior to going to Focus.
For swinging arm work the Gitzo is the most flexible - but double the price of anything else.
All this has little to do with the OP's purchase decision - but does illustrate with so many new products flooding the market trying one out before you buy is often difficult.
Quote: trying one out before you buy is often difficult.
That, for me is a big problem these days.
I am rather fortunate in having a good local dealer, but sometimes you have to ask for a product to be obtained and whilst they clearly state there is no obligation to buy it makes me a feel a little uneasy.
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