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Light travel tripod?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Jen726, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. Jen726

    Jen726 Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 18, 2012
    Since the point of the m43 system was the downsize and lighten the travel bag, was wondering what everyone has been doing about tripods? Seems silly to get the smallest camera body and lens, and then lug a heavy tripod around anyway.

    All the foldable small tripods I've seen are pretty flimsy- which may be OK since the camera is light. But does anyone have a suggestion for a small foldable carry-on-sized, light and yet sturdy tripod that doesn't break the bank? May be asking too much with that list of requests!
  2. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I'm very happy with my Benro. It's not as small as some, but it's still very sturdy, and quite small and light compared to my Manfrotto.
  3. daveinamblerpa

    daveinamblerpa Mu-43 Regular

    Travel tripod,

    Not sure what your budget is. But Feisol makes some beautiful carbon fiber tripods for under $500.
  4. stephography

    stephography Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 12, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    I use the Tamrac Zipshot mini tripod. It looks flimsy and I wouldn't put my DSLR on it, but the OM-D seems to be just the right size for the tripod. It literally sets up and folds down in a few seconds, which is why I use it (I can imagine late night street photography would be a perfect use for this).
    • Like Like x 1
  5. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    I use this tripod as well for travel, though I have the (slightly) larger version. It's very light at 11oz and sets up blazingly fast. The downsides are it's fixed leg length and a very simple ball-head so you won't be doing any elaborate shots with it. For me it's the "my wife wants a picture of the two of us" tripod & maybe the occasional long exposure. Worked just fine with my GX1, GF2 and G3 with smaller lenses, though the 14-140 is pushing it and the 100-300 was too heavy (ball head slipped quite a bit in use). As long as it meets your basic tripod needs I can recommend it; mainly I like it purely for being tiny, light, and fast.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Exposed

    Exposed Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 13, 2011
    Central Washington State
    Randy dawson
    +1 on the Zipshot. I use it with my epl-2 and kit lens. Small, Light. I use it for backpacking and travel.

  7. akhyar

    akhyar Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 16, 2012
  8. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I received this the other day:
    Amazon.com: CowboyStudio BK-476 Trans-Functional Travel Angle Carbon Fiber Tripod with Monopod for DSLR Camera, Nikon, Canon, Sony Olympus BK-476: Camera & Photo
    I am probably one of the first, as I think it's a new product out of the Chinese factories. It's clearly a Benro knockoff, though I'm not sure if it's a single Benro or a mix of elements from two or three. It also comes in a cheaper aluminum variety:
    Beike BK-475 Tripod Monopod 1550mm 10KG with Quick Release Plate Ball Head+Bag | eBay

    I'm not clear on how reliable the reported weight specs are, as I suspect they omit the fairly substantial ballhead in their numbers. My bathroom scale claims that it weighs 4 lbs. The legs do that nifty reverse flip of the Benro trans-functional, which makes it very compact.
  9. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I am also looking for a very light tripod for hiking. I had seen the Tamrac Zip{I love their bags!} but was unsure as it looks so flimsy. After seeing three different people suggest it in a row I will give it a try. My current main tripod is a Vanguard Alta Pro 263 AT and I love it but it isn't the lightest or most compact. They do make a CF version and it is lighter, there is also the 264 which has 4 section legs and thus folds up a little smaller.
  10. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    I owned the bigger zipshot and it was perfect for my E-PL3 but I had difficulty keeping the ballhead still with my OM-D. It's manageable but not ideal, so I sold mine on eBay, especially I can get away with 2sec exposures (if I hold my breath and stay still) with the OM-D.
  11. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2012
    Gentleman, I'm also in the same boat as y'all. After my last trip and seeing CRAP pictures of me and the wife taken by kind strangers with great aptitude of putting us smack dab in the middle of the frame, cutting off whatever landmarks or interesting sceneries behind us... I've also picked up a Tamrac Zipshot.

    It's flimsy and it 'sinks' a bit when I load my OM-D w/ 12-35 lens on it, but I'd reckon it's better than getting a bunch more centered pictures of us on the next trip.

    I picked up the tamrac quick mount accessory (very small and light too!) and will use an Op/Tech utility sling strap with the om-d.
  12. applemint

    applemint Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2012
    Depends on your budget.

    I recently got a Slik Sprint Pro II GM from amazon (£55) and although I have not had a chance to use it much yet, so far I am pleased with it as a good balance/compromise between weight, cost, size and sturdiness.

    Some pictures here (not mine) Slik Sprint Pro II GM Review « As I Xi It and reviews here (and on amazon) Slik Sprint Pro II GM Tripod with Ballhead - Supports 4.5

    With the ballhead it weighs just under 1kg and folds down to 47cm (fits inside my 35l backpack). The quick release plate is small enough to keep on the camera all the time - (by the way it needs to be quite tight when used in the portrait position with a telephoto lens to avoid creep). Nice small ballhead is a good match for m43 but probably not for a dslr.

    I may upgrade the head at some stage, to one with a friction control and a safety lock for the QR (eg: Manfrotto 494RC2) but the one it came with is fine for now. In fact as a spare ballhead like the one it came with is only £10 more than a spare QR plate I am tempted to pick up another one to keep on my monopod just for convenience.

    Of course if you have more to spend there may be better options (Benbo Travel Angel looked good as did a few others I looked at/researched) and I will probably eventually get something heavier to use when I don't have to carry a tripod all day or very far (Slik Pro 700DX, Manfrotto 055XPROB or 190XPROB all on my shortlist) but for hiking and travel the Slik Sprint Pro looks like a good option, especially for m43.

    Amazon.com: Slik Sprint Pro II Tripod in Gun Metal With Quick Release Ball Head & Case: Camera & Photo
    Weight: 940g Load capacity: 2kg Folded length: 47cm Min height: 17.7 cm Max height: 131.5cm (without centre column extended) 161.5cm (with centre column extended).

    Note there is no spirit level or weight hook or spiked feet - so if any of these are essential then it's not for you (although you could upgrade the head to one with a spirit level).
  13. flipmack

    flipmack Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 23, 2012
    irvine, CA
    I have a Trek-tech T-pod. It's a small portable table tripod but it's built very well and depending on the head you use, can be quite robust. I've successfully mounted my olympus E1 with grip, macro lens, and ring flash with no stability issues.

    The best part of the tripod is its flexibility and portability - it can split in two and I basically bring it with me whenever I have my camera...just in case.

    Sent from my VM670 using Tapatalk 2
  14. Michael in China

    Michael in China Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 7, 2012
    Zhuhai China
    I found a Cullmann Germany NANOMAX 260 with CROSS CB6.3 ball head in a big electronics retailer in Shanghai for a price so low I can't remember it accurately - I think it was under 200CNY (about USD32). They go for about 350-450CNY on the internet here so I guess mine was a bargain.

    The bad -
    • this thing is no more German than I am, Cullmann are having them made in China, hence the low price I paid.
      It feels junky compared to my venerable Manfrotto 190 which was my travel tripod in the days of E100, Velvia and an F3. (No 1 daughter has pinched my lovely old 190 for her DSLR, hence my need for a new tripod).
      The little locking button on the plate had a dag on it which scratched the bottom plate of my E-M5. I'm no stickler keeping a working camera mint, but this still shouldn't have happened.
      The legs don't come out to absolutely even lengths. Outdoors, this doesn't concern me, but on hard surfaces it means a bit of faffing about during setup. Once again, I miss the instant, solid "thunk, thunk, thunk" of the 190's legs sliding into place.
      A little too flimsy to handle big old legacy glass.
      Oh and the ignominy of owning a tripod billed as "ideal for beginners" by Cullmann (if you worry about that sort of thing).

    The good -
    • Good, if unspectacular, materials - lots of aluminium and a little plastic (for the leg clamps).
      Price - If you see one for about USD100 it's probably a good deal. It may not be in the league of pro tripods, but its still a lot better than much of the sub-100 dollar junk out there.
      Neat design tricks. This isn't a knockoff of more expensive tripods, it has some really nice features of its own.
      Specs: claimed 1300 grams weight and 3500 grams capacity, a height range of 33 to 166 cm. These seem ideal for M4/3 cameras and native lenses.
      Comes with a carry bag, which I find useful, and a 10y warranty.

    This has proven to be a good, if not perfect as M4/3 travel tripod. I use it much less than I did the 190 thanks to high ISO and the PP capabilities of digital versus E6 film (no more agonizing over absolutely flat horizons), so comparatively low price makes sense for something I'm not using all the time. But it's tall enough and steady enough to actually be useful when I do want a tripod. That's not an experience I've had ever before with a tripod of this price.

    Hope that's useful,


    PS, Chinese camera shops are full of tripods of all flavours, shapes and sizes. Those planning a travel trip to East Asia, and especially those coming through Shanghai or Beijing, might want to pick up a tripod when here rather than bringing one over.
  15. heedpantsnow

    heedpantsnow Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 24, 2011
    I once saw this quote:
    "In regards to tripods, you can have any two: light, sturdy, or cheap."
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Catscratch

    Catscratch Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 1, 2012

    My experience of owning the Ultrapod for last 6 years has been very positive. I purchased mine at Mountain Equipment Co-Op here in Canada. You can see by the positive reviews on B&H photo that most agree with me. It is small enough to not catch the attention of attendants at museums, galleries, cathedrals etc yet is very sturdy.
    here is a link to see it.
    Pedco #2 Black PD02010 B&H Photo Video

    Good Luck
    Cat Scratch Images, The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Photography Blog
    ON THE DIAMOND - Victoria Mariner Baseball Club Photography.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    I have the Benro mefoto. I've used it for lots of long exposure stuff with no issues. Very happy with it overall. I looked at a number of similarly priced tripods in my local store and ended up thinking it was the best one for the price range I was looking at ($100-$150). I travel with it every week!
    • Like Like x 1
  18. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA

    That's what I have. I've had it for quite a few years now (originally for my FZ-35), and I like it a lot. I might want something a bit heavier if I was a more frequent tripod user, but how big of a tripod do you really need for such light cameras?

    Just note that the bag it comes with is kinda worthless when it comes to carrying the thing around.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    I think that changes a little when you're not screwing a 50-lb SLR on top of it.
  20. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    +1 Like in business world, can have any two: cheap, fast, good. Always trade-offs. :biggrin:

    Sent from my phone, pardon my brevity.
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