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Lightweight travel tripod....

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by chrism_scotland, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I've currently got a fairly heavy tripod I use mainly indoors but from the few times I have used it I get much much sharper shots!

    Just wondering if there's any recommendation for a lightweight one that perhaps goes down to a fairly small size for transportation?
  2. brutto

    brutto Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 17, 2011
    I recently bought a Manfrotto MKC3-H01 from Amazon for the princely sum of £37.16. I didn't expect much but it is a great bit of kit for the money. It would't do for a big DSLR but for my E-P3 it is fine and much lighter than my standard tripod.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    I was on the hunt for this same sort of thing. Since we don't need to have super heavyweight pods for m4/3 gear it makes the cost quite a bit cheaper.

    I went with a new tripod model, the Benro MEFOTO.

    Amazon.com: Benro MEFOTO Travel Tripod Kit, Titanium (A0350Q0T): BENRO: Camera & Photo

    It only weighs 2.6lbs, folds to 12.6", extends to 51.2 inches. At $140 its not super cheap but it seems to have a quality that equals the money spent. I like the lock rings have a great feel to them, I can get it out really quick and shoot (which to me is something I value!). For me it was a good balance of quality and utility without spending huge amounts of cash
  4. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Is the ball head on that any good, or does it need to be replaced/upgraded?
  5. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    These are relatively tiny, but very sturdy by all accounts - depends if you want the head included or not as to which you'd buy....

    Velbon Ultrek 43D - Review

    Velbon Ultra Rex-i L - Review

    I've got a couple of heads, so am going to go for the Rex-i L myself.... a bit taller and sturdier as well I think....
  6. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    I think it is actually pretty nice mainly comparing it to more expensive tripods in Kenmore camera. And it was much better than a lot of the slightly cheaper ~$100 ones. The mounting plate leaves a bit to be desired though. It takes a Swiss-Arca type so that makes replacing that quite easy.
  7. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    X2 for Benro - mine is the carbon fiber version of the one above.

    They also have a new "flat" design that is easier to pack.
  8. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I've been trying to save for the Gitzo 1550T traveler but unexpected expenses keep getting in the way. If you can afford it, its a nice tripod.

    I was at the store the other day and a new comer has appeared in the local markets recently: Sirui. Their T005 aluminum tripod folds down to 11.8 inches with an arca swiss style head. Runs locally here for about $129. They have a carbon fiber version that is lighter in weight but folds down to an inch or so longer. The store also had the MEFOTO Benro tripods. The Sirui actually folds shorter.
  9. CUB

    CUB Guest

    I suggest the Benbo Trekker.

    Personally, I use a Tiltall tripod for all 35mm and m4/3 work and a very heavy Manfrotto (075 IIRC) for 4 x 5. Even though the Tiltall is fairly light it is overkill for m4/3.

    I used to own a Benbo Trekker and it was ideal for use with 35mm rangefinder cameras with lenses up to 90mm, so it should be perfect for m4/3. It typically costs £90 legs only and £135 with the ball head and a carry case.
  10. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I have a Benro Travel Angel, aluminum, not carbon. Very well made, nice combo head (ball and pan) and one leg can be removed and the head attached to it to make a monopod. Small enough it fits in a standard suitcase with the head attached. Certainly not as sturdy as my 10 lb. Manfrotto, but I think it's quite good for the weight.
  11. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic

    I've got this one one my shopping list too. Available in black or silver.
  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010

    I have had the Gitzo Compact Reporter and the Benro Travel Angel, both in aluminum. They are fine tripods with little to choose between them.

    But I now have the Benro "Travel Flat" C2192T bought in a kit with the B1 head from dc-stuffs on eBay. It's carbon and one leg converts to a monopod, eliminating my former need to carry a separate Gitzo monopod. Between those two things, the weight of my tripod/monopod kit dropped by a third, almost a kilo.

    Until you've packed one, it is hard to appreciate the benefits of the flat design. But eliminating the awkward bulk of a conventional tripod is significant. My measure: We carried the Gitzo in Africa last fall and my wife frequently complained about the space it took in our one checked-baggage bag. We carried the Travel Flat in California in May and she didn't complain once!

    The main disadvantage of the Travel Flat is the column or, rather, the lack thereof. If you frequently use an inverted column then this is not the tripod for you. I don't. I have also found that I rarely attach the goofy little Travel Flat column. I just screw the ball head to the legs, which puts the camera just a couple of inches below eye level for me, and it works fine.

    The Benro ball head is good but not great. It cost me an extra thirty bucks to buy in the kit, so I figured that I could always sell it at a profit if I didn't like it. But I kept it. Arca-Swiss clamp type bases are no good on monopods, though, so I switched the base to a real quick-release system, a Velbon that I happened to already have. The Manfrotto RC2 would also work well.

    Life's a tradeoff, but if you can live with the Travel Flat's lack of column flexibility, IMHO it is the best travel tripod going.

    (Here is the one I have: BENRO C2192TB1 Carbon FLAT Tripod Kit (2 QR Plate Package) *C2692TB1 Alternative | eBay The seller includes lots of good photos. There is also an Italian video on YouTube that's worth watching.)
    • Like Like x 1
  13. michaeln

    michaeln Guest

    Best place to buy Benro and Sirui (which I much prefer over Benro) is holgacamera.net. They are in Hong Kong, but ship very quickly, and stuff arrives to the west coast USA in just a few days. Their prices are the best in the world, and they have free worldwide shipping. Very reliable seller.
  14. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    A couple of things I forgot to mention:

    1) The Travel Flat versions with monopod legs seem be be a bit uncommon. The USA and Canada importers do not handle them and I don't see them at Holga either. Having the monopod is so handly I would not consider buying a non-monopod version. Holga's non-monopod versions are more expensive than dc-stuff's monopod versions, too.

    2) The rubber feet on the Benro unscrew and you can screw in the spikes that are included. Too much hassle for me. I bought a set of Gitzo convertible feet from B&H and they screwed right in. Gitzo GS5030VSF Retractable Spiked Feet Adapter Set GS5030VSF
  15. michaeln

    michaeln Guest

    The Sirui N-series (I have the N-2204) has convertible feet (screw the rubber part in or out to expose the spikes) but the spikes are stainless steel instead of the cheap chrome-plated mystery metal Benro uses. The N-series has other advantages over the equivalent Benros too (short and long center posts supplied, the monopod leg attachment is more secure and comes with a separate screw and plate and handstrap, extension markings on the lowest leg sections, foam on two legs instead of one).

    Sirui is more expensive than Benro and less expensive than Gitzo model for model, but I have owned two Benros and three Gitzos and now this Sirui, and it is clear to me the Sirui is the better tripod, even over the Gitzos.
  16. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    You guys are all just brimming with dough! :smile:

    For my needs (and I am talking E-PL3 plus 14/20/or even the kit lens) - that eBay table-top tripod (that sometimes comes even free with some kit purchases) works well. :biggrin: I just set a 2-second delay and off it goes.

    Even my regular-sized tripod (aluminum, lightweight, no-name brand free from my previous DSLR purchase) works good enough for the :43: gear. I just make sure no one bumps into it. Nor have I ever been to any place where winds reach 400 mph. Nor have I been caught taking a picture when an earthquake struck. And I didn't need my tripod (yet) to fight off a street thug.

    So yes - those cheapies work well for me, and I'm able to save for more important outflows. You know, like lenses. :biggrin:
  17. Exposed

    Exposed Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 13, 2011
    Central Washington State
    Randy dawson
    I use a Zipshot tripod from Tamrac. Use it when I travel and backpacking. Even used it for pano's. The only drawback I have found once you have it setup, no center column for those times you need a little more height. Otherwise, very nice. I use it with my epl-2.

  18. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    You can have cheap, light, or sturdy - pick two.
  19. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I have seen the Vitruvian range which seemed good, even the Aluminium ones seemed light, and they fold small as well, not bad for the price they seem to be.
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