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Carbon Fibre Tripod - Essential or Luxury ?

Munro 13 45 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 2:38PM
I have the 055 Aluminium version which I use extensively along the coast and like previous comments It does show noticeable signs of wear due to exposure to salt water etc. However, I have not experienced any problems in it's use other than looks. I also purchased the cf 190 as a lighter option when out hillwalking. whilst this is not the 055 cf version you have been considering, although it is lighter I do find the overall stability not to be as substantial as an aluminium option. there is greater flex in the legs, which although would likely be lessened With the 055 I anticipate still would not be the same as your current model.
puertouk 9 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 2:57PM
OK Derek, I have the answer for you. Either fly in by helicopter if you cannot reach it by car or if you cannot afford the helicopter, don't trek as far! Simple. Smile
mikehit 12 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 3:02PM

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

Have you tried mounting upside down on the backpack because that will put the head at waist level and reduce any leverage? I guess if your pack has the tripod mounts with the pocket to hold the legs, the head will not fit in the pocket but just a thought...
looboss 14 3.1k 7 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 3:41PM
Thanks to a brilliant result in the ephotozine xmas comp Inow have the luxury of owning a carbon fiber tripod

I find the weight or rather the lack of it a godsend, also since I don't do photography in stormy gale force winds I find it more than stable for most uses.
however I do prefer the handle tightening grip locks rather than the twist locks for the legs.
GarethRobinson 15 1.0k 2 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 6:03PM
cf is the way to go, they also have a little hook at least on my o55cf mf3 to attached a bag full of rocks or sand for them windy days. They are strong as i used mine as a crutch to get me of the mourne mountains 2 years ago when i broke my ankle and im 6ft6 at 14 stone. So there ya go they have more than one

ianrobinson 11 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 8:09PM

Quote:1. Are the carbon fibre legs really that much lighter?
2. How stable are they in the wind?

1. In a word yes it does, I have both and now never ever use the ali one.
2. very stable indeed i have had this on mountains in rivers and everywhere basically and it works as well if not better than the ali one does, hard to believe i know, it took me some convincing too but glad i did, the weight difference is very noticeable.

Dvaid 12 257 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 8:16PM
CF every day.I use a Giotto MTL8351B

But what about heads? I've found my Giotto MH7001 is beginning to wilt under the weight of camera and lens. Any suggestions guys?
Dvaid 12 257 United Kingdom
31 May 2012 8:21PM
Incidentally I find that removing the centre pole and replacing it with the sub one firstly reduces the weight further, and secondly allows me to lower the shooting level to very nearly ground level, which you cant do without digging a hole for the centre pole (unless you invert it and use the camera upside down).

Use of the centre pole destabilises the tripod too.

JJGEE 16 7.9k 18 England
31 May 2012 8:33PM

Quote:Use of the centre pole destabilises the tripod too.

But you then need a tripod that has the higher height without the centre column.... with the Gitzo this is possibly the 5 series which are quite expensive Sad
Kris_Dutson 19 8.2k 1 England
31 May 2012 9:10PM
Re weight distribution on a backpack: turn the tripod upside down so the weight's at the bottom; something I've done on a long trek.

But then I changed to a simple ball head making the whole set up even lighter and weight distribution on the backpack was no longer an issue. Smile
lemmy 14 2.9k United Kingdom
31 May 2012 11:30PM
I had a Manfrotto aluminium tripod and swapped it for a carbon fibre one. In use I find hardly any difference and weight wise, once you've put a substantial head on it the weight diffence not particularly noticeable.

If you have nothing better to spend the money on, I'd get the carbon fibre but personally I wouldn't be bothered another time. If one tripod weighed 5 kilos and the other 1 kilo, maybe.
JohnParminter 14 1.3k 14 England
1 Jun 2012 12:17AM
Stick with the Ali one Derek, its character building if nowt else.

derekhansen 12 210 24 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2012 7:27AM

Quote:Stick with the Ali one Derek, its character building if nowt else.


You must have been speaking to my wife John.Grin

Thanks everyone. I guess the Jury is still out but on balance I am sorely tempted to give CF a go.
mikehit 12 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2012 8:33AM
I recently bought the Velbon UltraRexiL ( It is lighter than my Manfrotto 190XProB, and the same weight as the CF version, it packs smaller (better for putting on rucksacks) extends higher and is more stable. And at 110 it is half the price of the CF version. What is not to like?
The only downside I can think of is that it does not have a hook for hanging ballast but I am experimenting with different ways of donig this. I still use my Manfrotto for serious macro because the centre column flips horizontally but for backpacking I take the Velbon.
mattw 17 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2012 11:19AM

Thanks everyone. I guess the Jury is still out but on balance I am sorely tempted to give CF a go.

If price is an issue, you could have a look at Giottos - a fair bit lower in price than the Manfrotto equivalent, but the quality is still good (OK, I managed to break a Giottos tripod once, but I think it was through misadventure.)

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