Which Carbon Fibre Tripod

User_Removed 10 4.6k 1 Scotland
11 Apr 2010 9:31PM
As I mentioned on the "What Piece of Kit Next" Thread, I am really thinking that I need to get a carbon fibre tripod.

The Slik 88 that I have used for the past 30 years has served me well but it a heavy beast and advancing years and decrepitude lead me to think that I should invest in something more modern.

My requirements are simple:

1. Should be capable of taking the weight of a heavy DSLR with 500mm f/4 lens.

2. Should collapse to a small enough size to strap on to the back of a backpack without jagging me up the arse every time I subside onto a tussock for a wee rest.

3. Should not go rusty if I set it up in the sea.

4. Should have a smooth ball and socket head with adequate handles.

5. Should be as light as is possible within the above four parameters.

6. Should not cost more than about 300 and hopefully a bit less.

Any pointers from those with personal experience of suitable models?




As you can see from the above photie, I tend to use a lot of elastic bands in my photography!!!


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MattGrayson 13 622 3 England
12 Apr 2010 3:13PM
I use the Manfrotto 190CX Pro4 but the 055CX Pro is a good one too. The CX range are the Carbon Fibre and the Pro ones also have a carbon fibre centre column. The plates are magnesium. On my 190CX I have a 486 RC2 ball head

Manfrotto 055CX Pro3

Manfrotto 190CX Pro4 & 486 RC2

Should come into budget... just.Wink

Giottos are pretty good though so check them out too.Smile
User_Removed 10 4.6k 1 Scotland
16 Apr 2010 7:51PM
Many thanks for the advice.

I have decided to go for the Manfrotto 190CX Pro4. I have an old, fairly basic, ball and socket head that I will use to start with but may seek something more sophisticated soon.

Thanks again,

LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
19 Apr 2010 3:22PM

Any pointers from those with personal experience of suitable models?


The news is not good.
As you are relying on a cable release rather than good long lens technique and your lens does not have tripod mode VR ideally you need a Gitzo series 5 - nearly double your budget. A Series 3 is rated borderline by Gitzo.
The Manfrotto is too light for a 500, especially if you shoot sea birds close up - which require about 3 shutter speeds faster than infinity subjects to eliminate camera shake.
Gitzo Series 3 is just OK for me at effective 600mm with a tripod mode VR lens, though if I am not going far from the car the Series 5 is better.
Whether Manfrotto have upgraded the screws from the original versions I do not know - but the screws on the originals went rusty anywhere near sea water.
As you are Nikon exposure delay mode fires the shutter about 1 second after mirror up - often helpful with static subjects.
photofrenzy 13 424 2 United Kingdom
8 May 2010 2:58PM
I would go for the GIOTTOS MTL 83681B 6 layer carbon tripod with a GIOTTOS MH-1300 ball head and MH-261 quick release plate.

Monfrotto use less carbon in thier tripods which means less stabilaty than the giottos. Monfrotto on the other hand have a qiucker adjustable column system to use than GIOTTOS but looses the stabilisation hook at the bottom end of the centre column. Overall the giottos quick release heads offer perfect balance for BIG telephoto lenses as you can adjust the positioning of the quick relese plate for every lens that you use.

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