Flexible Tripods

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by oldracer, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I am in the market for a small tripod for M43-class equipment. Heresy: probably it will be used mostly for a G12 so I can take advantage of the in-camera HDR. The G12 is the walkaround camera when I am not hauling the M43 bag and big tripod/monopod.

    I had kind of zeroed in on the Joby Gorillapod Hybrid, but I see that you are now listing a similar Magnus unit (ex.: B&H # MATB200BK).

    The Magnus legs look to be grippier than the Gorillapod, but it's quite a bit cheaper -- maybe too cheap. Can you compare/contrast the two for me?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. Chuck-B&H

    Chuck-B&H Sponsor

    167
    Apr 28, 2012
    Hello,

    Magnus is a new line of flexible tripods that currently are priced very aggressively. I've seen most of the line and in general they are made to the same or better quality than Joby Gorillapod's. We have many of them on display in our store and I am able to get the Magnus legs to hold and grip in places the other brands cannot not. It looks like they did some research and came up with better solutions or designs for their tripods. They are less expensive but not cheap.
     
  3. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Thanks, Chuck. I just bought one using the forum link. Be sure to send Amin his dime! :)
     
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  4. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    This looks like an interesting product. If you could follow-up with a quick review when it arrives, that would be cool, as there seems to be a dearth of information about this model on the 'Net (or else my Google foo is failing me).
     
  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Yeah. Mine, too. That's why I was glad to remember this forum and to get the quick response from Chuck.

    Wilco. They shipped about three hours after the order was placed (!) so I should see it yet this week.
     
  6. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    OK, tripod arrived today. Report:

    Set up, it's about 10" tall. Legs are 3/4" in diameter. Weight is just under 6 ounces. Build quality is pretty good considering the $20 price. It feels very solid and seems less prone to vibration than my wife's original-size Gorillapod.

    The design of the legs does not copy the Gorillapod. They appear to be made of soft wire (probably annealed aluminum) and are covered with foam similar to pipe insulation. On my wife's Gorillapod, I have noticed that getting all of those cute little ball joints lined up to make the leg straight is a real hassle, so I think this less-cute leg design is better.

    Like the Joby "Hybrid" the head incorporates a tiny quick release plate and base. It is necessary to press a pair of buttons when inserting or removing the plate. This is not a big deal because the hand pressing the buttons can also be holding the tripod, but I much prefer the QR systems that capture the plate automatically when it is inserted. The 1/4-20 screw head is not slotted, which means it's going to be impossible to get the plate screwed really tightly onto the camera.

    The head ball and socket is backwards from most designs. The ball is on the tripod and the socket is attached to the QR base, so it does the swiveling.

    So far, so good, but there is a major design error: Unlike the Joby, this head cannot tilt 90 degrees, so portrait-orientation shots are impossible. Had I compared the two tripods in a store this would have been a deal breaker for me. Now that I have the Magnus unit, however, I won't go through the hassle of sending it back. I may actually try cutting a slot into the socket area to get the tilt. The issue is that weakening the socket like that may destroy its ability to clamp tightly. We'll see.

    Bottom Line: Buy it if you don't care about tilting your camera to portrait orientation. If you do care, don't buy this tripod.
     
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  7. henryp

    henryp Sponsor

    64
    Jan 18, 2010
    New York, NY
    Henry Posner
    Is this the tripod you purchased? If we have one on display in the store I can take a look and see if there's something you overlooked. If not, and you want to exchange this for another, let us know.
     
  8. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Hello, Henry,

    Yes, that is the tripod. If there's a way to get portrait orientation I would sure like to know that!

    & yes, I know I can exchange it. B&H's customer service is always excellent. I like the other aspects of the tripod and for $20 it's really not worth the hassle to exchange. I'll use it as-is and maybe down the road consider modifying it (at the risk of destroying it!) to get portrait orientation. I have a pretty good home machine shop, but I am afraid that slotting the socket will weaken it to the point where it will not clamp.
     
  9. henryp

    henryp Sponsor

    64
    Jan 18, 2010
    New York, NY
    Henry Posner
    You're correct -- the head on the Magnus MaxiGrip does not swivel a full 90-degrees from horizontal to vertical. The G12 weighs just under 1lb so you don't need the most robust tripod. We have about 80 that'll hold between 1 and 2 lbs and are priced <$50.00 here.
     
  10. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    :smile: Mine does now!

    Magnus_Slotted.

    Since I have a nice German precision milling machine, I cut an 8mm (~5/16") slot in the side of the socket directly opposite the clamp. As I suspected, this weakened the clamping force but I can still get enough force to easily hold the camera.

    This could also be done (carefully) with a Dremel tool.

    Henry, if you guys are in touch with Magnus you might want to suggest that a slot would be a big improvement in their design. It would mean retooling one injection mold, but when they added the slot they could also add enough meat to bring back most of the clamping force.
     
  11. henryp

    henryp Sponsor

    64
    Jan 18, 2010
    New York, NY
    Henry Posner
    @oldracer
    You may be gratified to know our product manager's seen this and is sharing your modification with the manufacturer.
     
  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Thanks, Henry. That is fun. Ask him to remember me when it's beta-testing time!
     
  13. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Is it possible to remove the head entirely so I could use a different head? Looks like no, but thought I'd ask.

    Sent from my phone, pardon my brevity.
     
  14. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I think you could do it, but you might have to destroy the ball. I looked in the bottom and can't tell for sure whether the ball is held with a screw or whether it is swaged in place. If the latter, You would have to drill out the stem, possibly involving cutting off the ball at the top.

    Also the result would not have a flat top, so you would have to mill or file at least a small flat for the replacement head. Emphasis on small, since the piece is plastic and not all that thick. You could easily weaken it fatally.

    Personally I would not invest that much time and money in such an inexpensive tripod. Your new head would almost certainly cost more and weigh more that the tripod you started with! There are a couple of bigger Gorillapods that come with 3/8" studs, ready for a head. That's the direction I would go.

    This tripod is what it is represented to be: small, light, flexible, and inexpensive. It's not something that can be converted into a Gitzo or even a Manfrotto!
     
  15. Chuck-B&H

    Chuck-B&H Sponsor

    167
    Apr 28, 2012
    I contacted Magnus and the ball head is not removable. They and B&H really appreciate all the feedback from this thread on this new product line. Thanks for all of your comments.
     
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  16. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    At the risk of being accused of apostasy, I would say that it might be.

    I looked more carefully, and found that the ball appears to be attached from underneath via a bolt that takes a 4mm Allen wrench. Further, there is a little stamped steel insert in there that would serve, I think, as a decent base for another head. I doubt if there is room for a 3/8" bolt from the bottom into a head but there probably is room for a 1/4"-20 bolt.

    Still, I personally wouldn't bother with this kind of mod.
     
  17. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Yes of course you're correct. The problem is I hate Gorillapods! As someone else mentioned (perhaps the OP?) getting all those little bobbles to line up is a PITA. Alas, there seems to be no perfect little tripod, just as there is no perfect large tripod! :eek: For now I'm getting by with my Sirui T005 as short as it will go, and when that's not short enough, I find something nearby on which to prop the camera.

    RRS has what looks to be a wonderful small tabletop tripod with head, but it's over $200. Sigh... I guess nearby rocks & such will continue to suffice for me ... for a while at lest. :wink:

    Thanks for your help! :smile:
     
  18. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Well, now that I have discovered that little steel stamping in there, I am less negative on the idea. And I see your point.

    If you're really determined, give it a try. Or buy one, see if you like the concept, then send it to me and I'll try to make the mod. I can't promise not to destroy your tripod but with luck I'll return it with a 1/4"-20 screw sticking up in place of the ball!
     
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  19. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    What a kind offer! Prolly not worth the effort though. Thx! :smile:

    Sent from my phone, pardon my brevity.
     
  20. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    265
    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic
    I found myself needing to shoot in portrait a couple of days ago. My generic gorillapod copy was useless. The GP2B might be the solution for me. I cannot find the Magnum brand in the UK. I do have access to all manner of mills, lathes etc, plus an ultrasonic welder for plastic.