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Alternative to Gitzo Traveler

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by ~tc~, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Played with one at Houston Camera Exchange the other day. Seems everything about it meets my needs nicely, but just can't see spending $700+ on a tripod no matter how nice!

    What other models fold down to that same size and come with a small ballhead?

    Let's say $250 or less. Aluminum legs OK.
  2. Mr Hahn

    Mr Hahn Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 9, 2010
    SLC, Utah
    Look into the Flashpoint series sold by Adorama. The 1128 Carbon Fiber tripod with F1 head weighs less than 3 pounds, folds down to 24" (19" if you remove the head), it will very easily support a m4/3 camera, and together (tripod and head) the cost is only $180 on Adorama right now. Here's a review and some info on Adorama's Flashpoint equipment series found on photo.net.

    Flashpoint 1128 Carbon Fiber Tripod Review - photo.net

  3. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Size is more important than weight in my case.

    Even at 14" for the Gitzo, I could stand to have it shorter. I'll check out the flashpoint line and see if they have a 4 section that goes shorter.
  4. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    * Remember that to obtain a short folded length, the designs will require 5+ leg sections. This is inherently less stable than tripods with the traditional 3-4 leg sections
    * Consider how tall you are compared to the fully extended hight. Most of these ultra compact tripods also compromise on overall height. Even the Gitzo Traveler 1550T (or whatever replaced it) doesn't go as high as most of the rest of their line.
    * Don't forget to check out head weight and size to be included with your comparison.
    * Inexpensive, light weight, stable. YOU can only pick 2. Example: Light weight and stable tripods (like the Gitzo) will be expensive. Inexpensive and lightweight tripods will not be stable. Inexpensive and stable tripods will not be light weight. Kinda helps set your priorities in your mind.

    * With that said, I haven't found a tripod that provides the same quality with the same features as the Gitzo. I've found close but not quite enough. I generally travel with the Gitzo traveler monopod. I'll probably break down and get one... but its low on my list of prioritized wants.

    Benro Angle
    BENRO | Products | Tripod Kits | Travel Angel - AL Twist Lock | A0690TBH00 ? Cat. A0690TBH00
    ^ Nicely built for the price. Weight is about the same as the Gitzo Traveler.

    Cullmann Magic 2
    RTS, Inc./Cullmann Tripods
    ^ An ounce or two heavier the Gitzo 1550T traveler. Neat design that it folds flat. This is one of my most travelled tripod. It is NOT bomb stable as most tripods but I am willing to accept this because it fits in my shoulder bag. You can't use it if you are not willing to take it with you. Comes with head. One of the lens and center column can be combined to be used as a monopod. Even though I use this tripod (even with my Leica), I wouldn't recommend it for large heavy DSLR setups. This will also be a cheapest of the list.... not carbon fibre based.

    Promaster carbon T525P
    ^ Now I don't own this tripod and Promaster isn't high on my list for photo-equipment BUT a local shop has one. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality versus price. More stable than my Cullmann but not as easy to pack. Its not a traveler in design (legs foldable upwards)

    When I go on a hike, I bring a monopod. Either my Gitzo Traveler or My Gitzo walking stick (depending on terrain and length). If I require a tripod, I will make a tripod using the monopod, two sticks, and some large rubber bands that I keep in pocket. Its worked for me quite well. The same rubber band or bongo ties are handy for lashing the monopod to trees, bushes, and such too.
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  5. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Forgot one more.


    The same shop that had the Promaster T525P also had the Vanguard Alta 225 CT. Very similar in specs to the promaster and good quality for the price. This too is not a "travel" tripod in such that the legs folder over and up.
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I understand and am willing to accept the height and stability tradeoffs. This is only for my GF1 - the heaviest lens I have currently is the 45-200, so not that much weight.

    I agree about the "pick two" - just seems that about 3x is an awful high premium.

    I have never used a monopod in real life, but "playing" with one in the store, it doesn't seem all that much more stable - like it would trade off small handhold "jitter" for larger (but smoother) motions when a long shutterspeed is required. How still can you really hold a monopod? Are multiple-second sharp exposures possible?
  7. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    monopods are no more a replacement for a tripod than IS. They are providers of a varying levels of steadiness. Monopods do require practice but A great asset if used properly. If I find myself exposing in terms of seconds, there is absolutely no other solution but a tripod.

    How To Use A Monopod & Multi-Purpose Tripod

    ps... I also carry table top tripods.... different tools different purposes
  8. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Thanks for all the great info!

    HCE carries Benro also, so I should be able to do a direct comparison. The transfunctional travel angel looks great. Monopod for daytime and tripod for night/macro.

    The Giottos Vitruvian VGR series looks like a contender also.
  9. herzzreh

    herzzreh New to Mu-43

    Jan 17, 2011
    Look into Feisol - very happy with their stuff and about five years ago you could get a Gitzo equivalent for around $300.
  10. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio New to Mu-43

    Jan 8, 2011
    Upstate New York
    Or... look into alternatives, like setting the camera on the ground, on a wadded up jacket or beanbag, bracing against a wall, using a good table top tripod (Leitz made a great one).

    The tiny tripods seem nice but you are still limited to shooting low, like 50" max, and they are awfully expensive for the limited use they would get.

    I ran around Paris all night with a 6x9 Fuji without a tripod and still got great (sharp) shots this way.

    Learning to shoot sans tripod is also a useful skill in a museum ;-)
  11. eastspur

    eastspur New to Mu-43

    Jan 1, 2011
    I just ordered a Slik sprint mini II. I've only heard good things. It may be smaller than what you want. They make a pro model as well.
  12. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    How much weight are you needing to support. I've been using a manfrotto 785. Pretty cheap at 70 or so bucks. Holds my ep1 with 4/3 40-150 just fine. Folds down to 12 inches. Its stable enough and takes some serious abuse.
  13. squidbrand

    squidbrand Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 22, 2010
    Hà Nội, Việt Nam
    Normally the Benro Travel Angel tripods seem to come with their low-end BH-series heads, which use Benro-specific plates. I really wanted to start using the Arca-Swiss system for all my stuff though, so I shopped around and discovered the TRA-B069 set, which has the same A-069 legs but includes a much better Arca-Swiss-style B-series head instead. I took that head off and stuck it on my Gorillapod, attached the included non-dovetail plate to my Pentax ME Super film camera, indulged in a fantastically good Markins Q3 Traveler head to pair with the Benro legs (insane overkill for M4/3, but I was actually a 7D shooter at the time I bought it) and stuck a Kirk plate on my GF1 as soon as I got that. Now my film camera, digital camera, little tripod, and "real" tripod (still very little) all play nice together. The plates never come off the cameras. The only missing piece of the puzzle is my monopod, which is currently headless. I'd love to throw this thing on there, but I can't afford or justify it right now.
  14. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I travel with one. There's no brand sticker on it any more but I think it's a Gitzo or similar. It telescopes from 18" to eye level height. The outer tube is about 1 1/4" (32mm), so it's pretty stout. I have a small ball head and QR mount on it.

    First, a monopod helps quite a bit when just used conventionally. I wouldn't agree that the motions are larger but they are definitely smoother than hand-holding. And another way to say "smooth" is to say "less motion" -- which is the objective.

    But the other thing you can do with a monopod is to clamp it with your hand against a tree, against a railing, the back of a chair, etc. I have some nice shots taken during a light show at the pyramids in Giza, done by putting the monopod up against a railing and clamping it with my hand. As stable as any tripod. Fastening with a bungee cord would be even better.

    That said, monopod vs tripod is just one of life's tradeoffs. If you are willing to deal with the bulk of a tripod, your exposures will benefit. Is the benefit worth it? Not to me. In fact, I am thinking of getting one of the walking sticks with a 1/4-20" screw on the top. Like this one: REI Four Winds Travel Staff at REI.com It won't collapse as far as the one I have now (which also works fairly well as a walking stick BTW) but it will be lighter weight.
  15. Bluebird

    Bluebird Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 29, 2010

    Recently purchased a Slik Sprint Pro II ballhead for use with a G1.
    Very impressed with build quality, fits on my rucksack with ease.
  16. Bill

    Bill Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill (really)
    [FONT=&quot]For Christmas I got a tripod from my daughter. (I have to admit that I did have some input into the selection.) [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]It’s a Benro A-0691 “Travel Angel.” It’s aluminum and comes with a ballhead. They also sell a version in carbon fibre, but the cost didn’t seem to justify the small weight saving. I’m 6-1 and this tripod brings my G1 right up to eye height. It folds up to be quite short and comes with a usable case (with a shoulder strap). It has a hook at the bottom of the central post to allow me to hang my bag for greater stability, and (this is clever) one of the legs detaches to make a monopod.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]The ball head is good, but not great – it does the job.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]This is a Chinese version of the better known (and more expensive) tripods, but it does a good job. It’s a quality product. I’m pleased with mine and recommend it. It cost $207 through eBay, which, as I recall, included delivery. (They also threw in an inexpensive spirit level that fits into the camera’s hot shoe.)[/FONT]
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  17. squidbrand

    squidbrand Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 22, 2010
    Hà Nội, Việt Nam
    Hey, that monopod conversion thing is pretty cool. I'm confused about the height, though. My set of Benro A-069 M8 legs (which I assume are the same as the 0691 you have, minus the monopod thing) definitely don't put the camera up to my eye level, even though I'm a couple inches shorter than you and I'm using a bulkier ballhead.

    Also... why so big?
  18. Stephen Geis

    Stephen Geis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    Have you explored tripods by Tiltall?

    I picked on one about 10-12 years back for under $100 and have been surprised at how well it has stood the tes of time. So much so that when I keep going back to explore tripods, I come back and ask myself "Why?" It's sturdy, relatively compact and something that gets the job done. The brushed-aluminum 3-part legs give a feeling of unexpected solidity. At 6 pounds, it isn't the lightest by far, but it pairs well with the metal construction of the GF-1 or the E-P2. And they are still available for under $100

    The one I have is black, but otherwise identical to this:

  19. MikeB10

    MikeB10 Mu-43 Regular

    Newly purchased Benro Travel Angel. This is the TRAB169 with the, Arca Swiss style head. Provides a touch more height than the 069 but is still compact and lightweight, my criteria for a micro 4/3 tripod. Unfortunately this model has been discontinued but I was able to find one through Amazon. The newer transfunctional designs, while compact, are not as compact as this model (folds to 14.1'' and weighs only 3.3 lbs). Have only used it one time and it seems adequate though it is what it is.....a compact, lightweight tripod. It has limitations but it's well built and I'm quite happy with it so far.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeblanchard/5387683522/" title="IMG_1966 by mikebtin, on Flickr">
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    "500" height="388" alt="IMG_1966" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeblanchard/5387684496/" title="IMG_1971 by mikebtin, on Flickr">
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