Carbon Fiber Vs. Aluminum Tripod

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by wmc1117, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. wmc1117

    wmc1117 TPF Noob!

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    I am looking into buying a tripod and I know this is a question asked quite frequently but can someone please explain to me why it is better to spend extra on a tripod and purchase tripods from companies like Manfrotto and Gitzo, then say to purchase an $80 dollar aluminum tripod? What are the benefits of spending more on the tripod?
     
  2. battletone

    battletone TPF Noob!

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    I asked myself the same question not too long ago. Then I went to the store to get a $80 do all tripod. After messing with a tripod next to it for twice the price and half the features, I was sold on a Manfrotto. I do not have a bubble level, nor a built in monopod, its about 5" shorter, and its a bit more work to extend the legs. But mine feels like it will work for more than an afternoon.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Not all Manfrotto and Gitzo tripods are Carbon.

    It would seem you've not really looked at them yet.

    I'm partial to www.giottos.com tripods and heads myself. I have an aluminum one, in the MT line, the MT 9360.

    I've also been looking at the aluminum Benro tripods and think I might get one of theirs to try.

    A good aluminum tripod will still cost you $200+ not including a head.
     
  4. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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  5. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    But there are reasons to go carbon fiber vs aluminum vs wood. I went carbon fiber to shave some weight off my gear pack when doing nature work, and carbon fiber for use in the cold winter months here in Montana. Tripods are not an area to skimp on. Actually, there really isn't an area to skimp on too much in photography. Is there over kill? Of course there is, but there is also garbage. Super cheap tripods are clumsy, wobbly, often heavy. The leg locks are not as secure and easy to use (generally speaking). The load limits are (generally) not as high. Also, some of the cheaper tripods are not as feature rich as some of the others, but often times they are. If you want something solid and durable, shy away from the really cheap stuff. An entry level tripod will cost close to 200 dollars (american monies)
     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    I have a good solid aluminum pod (Bogen 3021), but it's a heavy beast. Given the choice and the $$, I'd much rather have a good CF pod. On the other hand, just because a pod is made of CF, doesn't mean it is well made. I'd rather have a well built aluminum pod than a poorly built CF one.

    Pods are one thing you should consider buying used. A good pod is sort of hard to screw up. I got my pod and ball on e-bay for less than half what they would have cost new. The ballhead was in like-new condition. The pod was a bit beat up, but works fine.
     
  7. Eco

    Eco TPF Noob!

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    I just purchased a new tripod last week after the one I bought back in 1990 died. After looking at the Manfrotto tripods at both Best Buy and at my local camera store I was not impressed with how stiff the releases are on their legs. I must of tried a half dozen models and with the exception of one model that had twisty releases they all failed to meet my needs.

    Not to plug Best Buy since I think the store sucks but I ended up buying a Rocketfish carbon & steel tripod from them Rocketfish™ - 65" Carbon Fiber Tripod - RF-TRP65C

    The Rocketfish's legs extend back up past 90 degrees (far enough to set it up upside down) which is perfect since I am generally setting up the tripod in the woods or on rocky coastlines. The carbon takes off some of the weight but since they still use a bunch of steel it weighs about a ton......or feels like it after toting it around for hours.

    Cheap tripods...... take your camera to Best Buy or any other retail store and set it up on the cheap tripods. Now activate your shutter......do you feel the movement? Now level the tripod up and down and side to side, how easy is it? Will the cheap tripod allow you to flip your camera over on the side for shots?
     
  8. Eco

    Eco TPF Noob!

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    I forgot to mention, if you do the craiglist thing there are plenty of used tripods on there. This past weekend I stumbled across a few Manfrotto tripods for under $90.
     
  9. Graham18ce

    Graham18ce TPF Noob!

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    Sorry for rehashing an old post.
    Eco - What are your thoughts on the quality of the RocketFish tripod? Something i just saw online today and looked interesting.
    Were you able to find specs on it for weight limits etc...
    how stable is it with the D90 and 70-200 2.8...?
    Cheers
     
  10. Eco

    Eco TPF Noob!

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    So far I love it and use it at least 4-5 times a week. The caring case is nice but you either have to remove one of the handles or have it sticking out (doesn't really bother me).

    The unit is a little on the heavy side put I would not trade the extra weight for the stability it offers. After removing the head I know where the weight comes from:lol:

    I have not had any issues with my D90 & 20-200 on it, it supports it fine and I'm not forced to use a remote all of the time like with my old tripod.

    ** The only thing that bothers me is the rubber feet and what happens in 1-5-10-20 years if I need to replace one.
     
  11. Graham18ce

    Graham18ce TPF Noob!

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    Good point about the feet. Lol...of course, at the price, you could buy a second for spare parts! hahah

    You mentioned taking the head off. Does it come off that you could mount a ball head...that has been my only thing against it from what i've been reading
     
  12. Eco

    Eco TPF Noob!

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    The head does come off and it comes with some other adapter to mount other heads (assuming that is what it's for). I played with a bunch of tripods and heads at a couple of my local camera stores and with the exception of one pistol grip head I really like the one that comes with the tripod.

    I would suggest bringing your camera into Best Buy and giving one a try before you buy just to be sure you like the way it operates.

    Lol, the little devil inside of me keeps saying to call Best Buy and claim that the box was missing all 3 feet and the mounting plate but that darn little angel keeps saying that karma will catch up to me.

    I almost forgot, the tripod comes with an allen wrench so I can take the whole thing apart and pack it in my suitcase when I travel!
     

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