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Travel Tripods and due diligence

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Ducati_Don, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. Ducati_Don

    Ducati_Don Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 28, 2011
    Vancouver, WA
    Cheers all,
    I have done a site search and reviewed all the posts in regards to tripods for
    travel. I have not found anything that is truly "compact' with the ability to fold down to 12" or less. I understand that I will have to compromise on weight/size/extension/flimsiness.

    I need to find a decent tripod that will travel easily and compact down to a size that I can pack in my small carry bag. Flying for a living requires me to be lightly packed.

    I am actually looking towards the Tamrac Zipshot, although it is 15" in length, the weight and packability are very appealing.

    Can those of you who travel extensively provide me with tips on how and what you are carrying in regards to tripods?

  2. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    do you need a full tripod? If not my wife uses a gorillapod slr for her epl-1 when she is flying, it works great, just wrap it around a pole or set it you on a rail, or set it up on the floor, and use a timer release.
  3. Ducati_Don

    Ducati_Don Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 28, 2011
    Vancouver, WA
    I am trying to find a full tripod for the times when I really can't mount a small tripod to anything.
  4. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    the only problem with the tamrac is when you are on un even ground, it is not that stable. We looked at it as her travel case is pretty full. And also it is set at one height, so if it is not at the right height there is not much you can do.

    Have you looked at those monopod with the stand attachments. They are more compact then a tripod, but at least it gives you hight adjustment. And if you are not walking away form it, then stability should not be a big issue.

    682B Manfrotto 682B Self-Standing Pro Monopod, Black Anodized
  5. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    Option 1 - what I bring on motorcycle trips:
    Amazon.com: Velbon Ultra Maxi SF Tripod with Ball and Socket Head: Camera & Photo
    Not the tallest or most stable, but one of the smallest around. Hard to find these days. It's held my Pentax K20d + 16-50 F2.8 zoom. Truth told, not all the shots were sharp; I had to shoot multiple with the intervalometer to get a good one. The final result was fine though
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Rapeseed Field, Czech Republic by john m flores, on Flickr

    Option 2 - the Tamrac Zipshot
    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX-rEiEAT0g]YouTube - Tamrac ZipShot Tripod[/ame]
    I haven't used one myself but it does look promising, particularly with smaller, lighter M43 setups. The downside is that it is only 1 length.

    Option 3 - SteadePod and similar
    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNe7cuI_3q4]YouTube - SteadePod[/ame]
    Ultra small and lightweight. Not a tripod of course, but probably worth an extra stop or two.

    Hope this helps
    • Like Like x 2
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Check out my "alternative to Gitzo traveller" thread
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Thanks for the reference to the 'Alternative to Gitzo" thread. That was interesting.

    Here's a revelation I had recently while using my Chinese knock-off tripod: If you're using either the rotatable VF-2 viewfinder on a PEN or a Panasonic with the tilt-out screen, you don't have to have the tripod very high. Looking down at the image is actually quite comfortable. I find that I can work very easily with only 3 of the 4 leg sections on my tripod extended and the central pillar all the way down. I have to lean over to peer through the viewfinder, but this is not awkward at all.

    So if I were looking to save weight/size, I'd look for the lowest tripod I could find that is acceptably stable (excluding, of course, the table-top models).
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Ducati_Don

    Ducati_Don Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 28, 2011
    Vancouver, WA
    Good point on the tamrac, I'll have to keep looking. Thanks,
  9. MikeB10

    MikeB10 Mu-43 Regular

    It doesn't quite make it to 12 inches folded but at 14.1 inches it is very close to your requirement. It should easily fit into any number of carryon bags. It is surprisingly well built and sturdy for such a compact design. Though this particular model has been discontinued it is still available, as evidenced by the following link:

    Amazon.com: Benro TRAB169 Travel Angel Tripod Kit: Camera & Photo
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Andrew Riddell

    Andrew Riddell Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2010
    Another 'no' for the Tamrac, I'm afraid. I tried one in a shop and the legs bend under very mild pressure. It's a good idea, but the execution is poor.

    • Like Like x 1
  11. m1pui

    m1pui Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 30, 2010
    Sunderland, UK
    I've been considering this one, but can't find any local stores stocking it as I'd rather see it in the flesh before I decide to buy or not.

    Velbon V-Pod
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Ducati_Don

    Ducati_Don Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 28, 2011
    Vancouver, WA
    This has made my short list!
  13. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I tried the Benro out in the store it's definitely worth a look. Note there are three models - the regular travel angel, the travel angel trans where one leg can be unscrewed and act as a monopod, and the travel angel flat the folds into a flat profile.
  14. yoshi234

    yoshi234 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 20, 2010
    West Hollywood

    I photograph several destination weddings a year and just got back from India earlier this week. The Slik sprint pro has been with me all over the world with me.

    For price, size and weight it can't be beat.

    I can't show the wedding, but I put together a little personal BTS travel video (part I) with the GH2. The panny was practically glued to the Slik except when I had to photograph some long exposure stills with my Canons for my client. Even on a lot of the walking shots, I just loosened the ballhead and just let the tripod dangle while shooting.

    [ame=http://vimeo.com/19779720]India 2011 - Part 1 on Vimeo[/ame]

    btw, the tripod got knocked over and trampled by a big herd of goats on the Rajasthani Dunes. The super fine sand got inside and couldn't close the legs but luckily it loosened up just before I left so didn't have to throw it away. It lives to see other countries :2thumbs:
  15. joele

    joele Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 12, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks for the zipshot link John, I already have a decent (but heavy) tripod, but wouldn't mind that when I can't be bothered carrying a heavy tripod.. It isn't too expensive locally either (which is rare for camera gear in Australia)...

  16. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I have looked into the zipshot locally... its not good. Basically a bunch of tent poles with no adjustment in height. I dont even think you can use it in its folded state as a table tripod.

    Here's my traveller:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    There are also these style tripods that are easy enough to find:


    Many different manufacturers make them. I had one I used for a spotting scope. I didn't find it stable enough for photography.. maybe with a P&S.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Just looked on B&H and these might work:

    Slik Spring Mini II, max height = 43", folded length = 13.8", supports 4.4 lbs
    Slik Sprint Mini II GM 4-Section Tripod w/ SBH-100DQ 611-806 B&H

    Davis & Sanford Mini Traveler, 39.5", 10.75", 2.5 lbs.
    Davis & Sanford Mini Traveler Tripod with MINITRAVELER B&H Photo

    Cullmann 1001 Touring Set, 33", 12", 5.5 lbs.
    Cullmann Touring Set CU 1001 B&H Photo Video

    They're all not very high, but like I posted earlier that's not really a problem if you have the VF-2 or one of the Panasonic's rotatable screens.
  18. Ducati_Don

    Ducati_Don Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 28, 2011
    Vancouver, WA
    Good stuff! Thanks, Don
  19. hillwalkinggirl

    hillwalkinggirl Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 9, 2011
    Wales, UK
    It's a great tripod for travelling. I use it far more than my Manfrotto 190XB, as it's so much lighter, compact and quick to set up. Only thing I have changed is to replace the ball head which came with it (now on my monopod) with a Kood BH-02. I decided to change it as the ball head on the Sprint doesn't have a secondary safety lock, and also the kood has an extra knob which adjusts the tension so that the camera doesn't flop about when adjusting the ball.:thumbup:
  20. petach

    petach Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 18, 2011
    I have travelled from UK to the USA and Aus' with a fully extended Manfroto monopod without the gubbins at the top. I used it as a "Walking aid" and no one was any the wiser. The business end of it was in luggage. Now lets throw that into the mix?
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