Accessory Review: Manfrotto 294 Carbon Fiber Tripod

Manfrotto 294 Carbon Fiber Tripod
$319 (with Compact Ball Head - as tested) www.manfrotto.com

Carbon fiber is recognizable by its distinctive 'woven' appearance and useful because of its impressive strength-to-weight ratio. This makes it a great choice for structures and products that need to be light and portable, but capable of supporting a lot of weight. For this reason, carbon fiber is all the rage in the high-performance world of motorcycles, cars, boats and also photography.

Traditionally, one of the main downsides of carbon fiber from a consumer's point of view is its price premium, but Manfrotto is looking to change that with the introduction of the 290 Series tripod lineup, a more affordable alternative to the company's 055 pro line. Although the 290's price tag may seem intimidating when compared to its aluminum competitors (including the considerably cheaper aluminum version of the 294 itself), it's a far cry from the top-of-the-line carbon fiber tripods that can easily crest the $1000 mark.

Manfrotto 294 CF - Key Specifications

  • Maximum load capacity (with Compact Ball Head): 5kg (11 pounds)
  • Closed length (no head): 61cm (2 feet)
  • Maximum extended height (no head): 1.7m (5.5 feet)
  • Maximum extended height (no head - center column down): 1.4m (4.6 feet)
  • Weight (no head): 1.6kg (3.5 pounds)

Some may balk at the price gap between the carbon fiber and aluminum 290 series models, but let's compare them. The 294 CF system is over half a pound lighter than its aluminum fraternal twin. Though that may not seem like a significant weight reduction, carbon fiber has a few other advantages. For one, the material is far warmer to the touch, making it much more inviting to handle during the frigid winter months than aluminum. Aluminum is also more susceptible to corrosion due to the elements than carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is also superior to aluminum when it comes to vibration dampening, which can be important in particularly extreme, windy conditions. 

Manfrotto offers a few variations in the 290 lineup, including a choice of three or four section legs and with the option to bundle a ball mount or pan tilt head. I was sent the Manfrotto 294 CF model, which features three-segment legs and came supplied with the Compact QR (Quick Release) Ball Head. This model retails for around $320.

Not including head, the 294 CF has a folded length of 2 feet (61cm) and can extend to a maximum length of 5.5 feet (1.7 m) with the center column fully extended.

The tripod can reach 4.6 feet (1.4 m) without the center column extended.

The whole shebang - tripod and Compact Ball Head - weighs 4.4 lbs. For an intermediate to pro level tripod, the Manfrotto 294 CF is fairly easy to lug around. At just over four pounds, the tripod was not an obtrusive addition to the outside of my photo backpack. The 294 tripod is fairly rigid and can withstand up to 11 lbs. of gear.

I tested the 294 CF with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm lens and Speedlite 580 EX II flash attached, which is roughly a 5 lb. (2.2kg) load - way off the maximum rated load of 11 pounds. I used this setup in multiple shooting environments, including commercial real estate, food photography, portraits and landscapes. Even with the Mark III cocked completely at a right angle facing downward toward a plate of gourmet food, I didn't have a problem with stability. 

The Manfrotto 294 CF's quick-release friction locks make setup quick and easy, and hold the legs firmly, when extended.  The Compact Ball Head that I was sent with the tripod has a great (if fiddly) quick-release mechanism, but lacks independent tilt and pan controls, as well as leveling bubbles. My advice is to invest in a better head. 

The legs of the tripod are locked with quick-release flip locks, which spring up instantly for fast adjustment. I was able to reduce setup time, thanks to the flip locks. The legs could also be set at two angles: 23 and 51 degrees by simply flicking the three flip locks near the base of the center column. The ball head I was sent with the tripod has a quick release plate system that allowed me to snap the camera right in place in a split second. The tiny release lever is a bit fiddly, but far from the worse I've used. 

I'm not a huge fan of the Compact Ball Head itself though, mainly because ball heads don't allow independent control over pan/tilt. You have a single locking nut, and when loosened, the head moves freely in all dimensions. When the nut is tightened, it doesn't. As a result, precise alignment is very difficult - not aided by the lack of a leveling bubble in this budget model. The good news is that the head is interchangeable, allowing the 294 to be upgraded to a more advanced 3/8" mount head with levels and independent tilt and pan control. And of course, if you already have a better head, you can just buy the tripod on its own. 

Summing Up

If there's one single thing that Manfrotto is known for, it's quality tripods, and the 290-series Carbon Fiber lineup is firmly in that tradition. Manfrotto has found a way to pack light weight, advanced functionality and ease of use into a highly attractive package, at a price-point that while higher than equivalent aluminum models, isn't prohibitively high for the average photo enthusiast. If this describes you, the 294 CF is definitely worthy of consideration. 

What we like: Feathery weight, ease of use via flip locks and quick release mechanisms, versatile legs with two different angles and a maximum height of nearly six feet, interchangeable head, beautiful carbon weave pattern that glimmers in the sun

What we don't like: Not a lot - the price may be a little high for some, and the optional Compact Ball Head is on the basic side


Mike Perlman is a freelance photographer and writer, based in Bar Harbor, Maine. After a spell reviewing camcorders at Camcorderinfo.com, Mike moved to infoSync World as the Senior Photography Editor, before taking up a role at TechnoBuffalo.com as the head of the Photography department. These days, Mike runs his own photography business and contributes to dpreview between shoots.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 48
tbcass
By tbcass (3 months ago)

Only weaklings with money to burn buy carbon fiber tripods. I'll save my money and go for metal tripods every time.

0 upvotes
LachieC
By LachieC (Nov 6, 2012)

So, review doesn't contain any data; I think everyone agrees.

Also, the 290 series are not "...more affordable alternative to the company's 055 pro line.." They are smaller/cheaper ideas brought to life in China.
The 190 series is a lot closer to the 055, the scale is merely smaller.
290 series uses all different hardware, the leg locks are different, the upper casting is different, the leg-angle locks are different etc. etc.
This is Manfrotto's attempt to claw its way into the lower market level where the Velbons and Slik's have been doing well.
I'm my opinion these 290's are good for lightweight DSLR. I can't see them being capable of excellent results under critical inspection with the reviewers camera. Maybe in less than challenging conditions but I suppose it depends how picky you are.
Also, there was some glossing over ballhead limitations, not all ballheads have a single lock lever. Many have separate pan locks.
The 190 series and 055 are *significantly* better tripods.

1 upvote
techmajesty
By techmajesty (Dec 24, 2012)

Ye lo http://www.techmajesty.com/

1 upvote
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Nov 5, 2012)

Here is a spot to pitch something in addition to a tripod. Once you got the shots, you want to display them using the new IPS (in-plane switching) technology. This technology has superb color coverage across wide viewing angles. IPS displays are going sub-$200 for a 24" diag with 1080p resolution.

After you shoot the movie (yes, you'll need a tripod), you want to display it on an array of IPS displays. Dpr will then tell us how to put several panels together.

Finally even a photo enthusiast will be able to have a visual (or video) wall just like Arnold in Total Recall [if we cannot go to Mars right now].

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Mr Fartleberry
By Mr Fartleberry (Nov 4, 2012)

25 years ago carbon fibre was an exotic material used in small quantities for things like audio tone arms. Today it's nothing but a profit generating rippoff just like what Gore-Tex used to be.

The people that keep paying the price keep that price so high. I bet today an aluminium tripod is harder to fabricate. Don't fall for the CF ripoff. Whether it's warm or not LOL.

1 upvote
NZ Scott
By NZ Scott (Nov 4, 2012)

The main benefit of carbon fibre is that it is significantly lighter than aluminium, which means that a CF tripod is easier to carry. As you correctly point out, it is more expensive that aluminium. If you are using a tripod in a static situation, such as in a studio, or shooting from a car, or are on a budget, then aluminium is probably your best option. If you are willing and able to pay more, and if you carry your tripod while walking/hiking/travelling, then carbon fibre makes a lot of sense.

3 upvotes
tbcass
By tbcass (3 months ago)

You must be weak. I'm 68 years old and have no trouble carrying a heavy aluminum tripod. I get the impression that many photographers are flabby and soft.

1 upvote
Dabbler
By Dabbler (Nov 4, 2012)

Tough room..

3 upvotes
NZ Scott
By NZ Scott (Nov 4, 2012)

Not a very informative "review" - if it can even be called a review. It is more of an advertorial for the Manfrotto company.

Dpreview, the next time you run a tripod review I suggest that you make a bit more of an effort to gather normative data. One method is to place different combinations of cameras / lenses on the tripod, aim it at a distant object, fire off a long exposure, then examine the exposure for signs of droop or vibration. This is the bare minimum I would expect from a professional review.

You should also have compared the tripod to competing models and suggested possible alternatives.

17 upvotes
jake yer cousin
By jake yer cousin (Nov 3, 2012)

Informative article, but well behind the curve on pricing. The cost of carbon fiber tripods has dropped into the $100 US range.

I recently purchased a Sunpak carbon fiber tripod at Costco for $99US. This pod has three section legs, extra post, reversible post, quick-release leg locks, pistol grip ball head with levels, which can be panned for video use. It weighs 3lbs and extends to 65" and comes with a case.

In use, it has proven to be everything but a willing sex partner. It is easy to carry, setup, and use. The quick release camera plate works fine (it can be a bit hard to flip out the curved tightening aid). The tripod is steady until the column is fully extended, then it is a bit wobbly.

Found them on Ebay as well: http://tinyurl.com/d3doab3

Happy Photographing

I was unable to find it on Costco.com just now, although I still see them in my local store.

0 upvotes
NZ Scott
By NZ Scott (Nov 4, 2012)

A lot of the cheaper carbon fibre tripods are "cheats" in that they are actually aluminium tripods with a bit of carbon fibre stretched over the top. This is what you will get in the $100 range.

I paid $250 for a Sirui carbon fibre tripod with the same specifications as yours and which weighs only 900g (2lb).

You get what you pay for.

2 upvotes
jake yer cousin
By jake yer cousin (Nov 4, 2012)

I am not able to speak to your tripod, but the Sunpak 423PX2 3-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod that I purchased has seven layer carbon fiber legs. The specs can be seen at:
http://tinyurl.com/3nrujam

Certainly, there are differences between tripods, and those costing more often offer advantages over a less expensive model. All I can say is that I have been a photographer for over 30 years, I own Bogen pods that will hold up a large horse if needed. For ease of use, ease of carrying (which this old fart greatly appreciates) this pod has served admirably in wind, snow, shooting stills and video.

Is it the equal of a $500 pod? Probably not, but I'll put it up against tripods costing two or three times a much and be happy to pocket the difference.

0 upvotes
NZ Scott
By NZ Scott (Nov 4, 2012)

As would I with the Sirui. It's the poor-man's Gitzo Traveller.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Nov 3, 2012)

While it is nice to have top-of-the-line equipment, sometimes the price simply doesn't look reasonable. I understand there will always be people to whom that won't matter, but the rest of us will just make do with what we can afford.
True, carbon fiber is lightweight and strong. Some products withstand much stress, as arrows for example, and CF arrows are among the best. But CF products are sensitive to scratches, and when some fibers break, the whole thing deviates a bit. Also, the exposed fiber ends are more than dangerous to the touch. For arrows, that is the end of their service. Maybe the tripod will not suffer so much from superficial damage, who knows, but it will become risky at the damaged spot if it isn't immediately repaired.
All equipment should be resistant to rough usage. A good tripod has to be sturdy, and has to lock well. It shouldn't be too heavy, but not many tripods are, anyway.
For me, aluminum tripod works well, and for decades already.

1 upvote
Kuppenbender
By Kuppenbender (Nov 3, 2012)

This review really doesn't tell me anything more than the manufacturers spec sheet.

A tripod review is pretty meaningless to me without:

A) Some kind of comparison. Either three or more similarly specced tripods at three different price ends to show what you're getting for the extra money. Or three similarly specced tripods at a similar price point from different manufacturers.

B) A few moderately demanding tests such as a DSLR with a 200mm+ lens, 10 second timer/ remote release and 2 or 3 slow shutter speeds (1/50, 1/10, 60 secs.) of a test card.

"24-105mm with a flash"? All I can tell from that is that the tripod is steady enough not to topple over, and strong enough not to crumple under the weight. Three rolled-up newspapers would manage that.

Without a meaningful test and tangible result (test photo) then these articles are just free advertising for tripod manufacturers and DPR should get some kind of payment from them. The article should then be tagged as 'sponsored'.

Comment edited 15 minutes after posting
16 upvotes
parkmcgraw
By parkmcgraw (Nov 3, 2012)

Hello Kuppendender

Have you had the opportunity to use the Slik Sprint Mini II Tripod with Ball Head?

I’ve been using the tripod for about 3 years, with several different DSLR camera bodies and configurations and have had a far amount of success.

I used the Slik tripod 2 weeks ago to photo the Space Shuttle at night, the photo carried by Space Travel Today.

The tripod is not that tall when extended, hence may not meet your shooting height requirements.

The tripod is light and small in circumference, hence keep a strip of Velcro with me to strap the tripod legs to a fence, car door or pole if I need to.

It’s small enough that I can hold the tripod up against a glass window such as those found in museums to photo artifacts.

The tripod is thin, with one set of legs extended, and column at max height, can use the tripod as a monopole, shooting with a 2 sec delay to capture overhead shots.

I have a short review for the Slik Mini II posted under the name Directed Energy on Amazon.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Fazal Majid
By Fazal Majid (Nov 3, 2012)

I had a couple of Manfrottos a decade or so ago. I ditched them because I kept getting my fingers pinched in the flip lever locks. Gitzo-style rotary locks, as copied by the likes of Benro, are far superior in my book.

5 upvotes
Andreas Stuebs
By Andreas Stuebs (Nov 3, 2012)

I prefer the Gitzo type lock - however my wife prefers the Manfrotto lever locks - so it takes all kinds. (Perhaps it is because women are better at multitasking? Come to think of it neither of us is in the habit of chewing gum - so I cannot verify the point about that and walking)

1 upvote
parkmcgraw
By parkmcgraw (Nov 3, 2012)

Hello Fazal

I'm very happy to read that you shared the point regarding the workings of the leg compression clamps on the Manfrotto (Bogen) tripods.

Even though I own several of their tripods, I to avoid taking and using their tripods, less I absolutely need too, and for the exact same reason you shared.

In fact, of the many different tripod brands I have used over the past 35+ years, no brand has pinched my fingers as often as Manfrotto, leaving small little blood blister like bruises. After more than 15 years of this nonsense and irritation have placed my Manfrotto (Bogen) tripods second in terms of selection priority when going on a shot, using at times a tripod less rigid or robust, to avoid using the Manfrotto leg compression clamps.

The brash person slighting you only demonstrating their lack of extensive personal experience with the Manfrotto product line.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
StanRogers
By StanRogers (Nov 8, 2012)

Time to let the Bogen name die; it hasn't been current for a long, long time, and was just an American branding thing even back in the '80s. (As a Canadian, it used to irritate me to no end to read reviews/ads of Bogen gear in US-based publications—that is, about 70% of the available English-language stuff—then have to find the Bogen-to-Manfrotto dictionary to check things out myself locally. The only consistency was in the Avenger grip line, since Avenger was the primary brand and Bogen/Manfrotto were a sort of "brought to you by" tag line.)

0 upvotes
Torkn Photo
By Torkn Photo (Nov 3, 2012)

A shame there was no testing of performance, or comparison to other popular tripods with similar weights or costs. For example, how does the 290 differ from the 190 and 055 series carbon tripods? Are there other 1.4m tripods that weigh less, cost less, and can take a DSLR? Manfrotto is not going to tell us - it would be nice if an independent reviewer could tell us. Tell us something that is not in the brochure.

Tripods are really hard to buy based on manufacturer spec sheets alone. It would be nice if somebody could actually test them.

6 upvotes
Andreas Stuebs
By Andreas Stuebs (Nov 3, 2012)

I agree. I bought my last two ripods two years ago after the 2010 Photokina. (Sadly neither Manfrotto nor Gitzo were at this years show) I had agood look at tripods then. I would not buy a tripod, which I had not seen and handled in real life.
I second all those who feel that there should be a comprehensive test of of tripods and heads. For example - how well do the considerably cheaper carbon tripods from Sirui compare with the big names. Or Calumet's own brand?
BTW I own a Gitzo Traveller, a Calumet own brand and a Sirue monopod.

0 upvotes
parkmcgraw
By parkmcgraw (Nov 3, 2012)

Is the center column removable?

Though appearing not to be the case, helpful to know if the center column can be attached to the upper leg braces in a horizontal configuration? If so, what is the maximum horizontal distance from the tripod vertical center line that one can place the maximum rated load without tipping the tripod, for both radially coincident and anti coincident with a tripod leg

Given the parts, should they exist, can a tripod head be attached to both ends of the center column?

Can the center column cap plate or tripod head be repositioned to the bottom of the column, and or the column inverted top to bottom? If so, what is the minimum distance from the end of the column cap plate to level ground?

If the column can be inverted, with the tripod head removed, can the legs be completely folded?

Is there an available extension for the center column?

What is the foot print diameter of the tripod legs for both collapsed and extended positions for the two angle stops?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Nov 3, 2012)

I agree with the assessment of the ball head (the late Herbert Keppler using one was "like walking a drunk"). What I don't see in this review is how Manfrotto keeps the cost down. For example, those quick flip leg lock things are plastic, which IMO is more important than the pattern of the carbon fiber as it glimmers in the sun.

1 upvote
Marc S
By Marc S (Nov 3, 2012)

'If there's one single thing that Manfrotto is known for, it's quality tripods...'
I like to disagree. I worked with some Manfrottos and tried some of the newer models of the 'usual suspects' (aka MA 190, MA 055, ect). Manfrotto tripods are not really good quality or sturdy enough for a DSLR and lenses like 70-200/2,8 for instance.
Compared to real quality tripods Manfrottos are cheaply made and too wobbly.

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
WellyNZ
By WellyNZ (Nov 3, 2012)

Totally disagree with you. I have a Manfrotto 055CX3 and use this tripod with both a 4x5 field camera - using a Manfrotto 410 geared head - plus a monstrous Cambo 8x10 large format monorail camera - using a 3 way fluid video head - which is much, much heavier than your DSLR and 70-200 set up. My tripod supports both those cameras absolutely rock solidly and my images are tack sharp. My 055CX3 has been subject to plenty of violence - thrown into the back of various vehicles, dropped from various heights and it still continues to work wonderfully.

I would buy another Manfrotto tripod tomorrow and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to other photographers.

3 upvotes
Photo Pete
By Photo Pete (Nov 2, 2012)

I'm with other posters re the review format. No disrespect but this didn't tell me anything other than carbon fibre is lighter and less prone to vibration than aluminium and that the reviewer doesn't like ballheads. The manufacturer's weight rating means nothing.... It may be able to support 11kg, but vibrate like a jelly when it does so.

More critical information would be a guide as to what focal length lens can be used without vibration blur for a mid weight dSLR kit, or did the head exhibit lockdown creep or jerk when making fine positional adjustments. What is the range of support positions possible (max height, min height, angle to vertical etc).

Unlike one poster above, I think a degree of lab testing is something to be expected from DPReview. The forums are the place for opinions, the reviews should be the place for quantifiable and impartial assessment.

The idea of a vibration test by measuring the number of pixels blurred is a good idea. You could use a standard dSLR kit with 300mm lens focused on a test chart. Take one shot at 1/1000 second and one at 1 second (critical vibration from shutter and mirror movement is usually most visible between about 1second and 1/20 second) and measure the extra number of pixels of blur in the longer exposure. NOT using mirror up or exposure delay mode would allow the shutter vibration and mirror slap to expose any instability. Provided you use the same dSLR and lens for each test this would be a good and relatively quick way to compare stability of an overall leg / head kit.

For the heavier duty kits it would be possible to use a longer focal length lens as a more stringent test.

If you wanted to test just the legs then you could use a heavy duty Arca Swiss head in the test. If you wanted to test just the head then you could mount it directly onto studio legs or directly onto a test bench.

If you really wanted to be thorough you could additionally test with centre column up, down or horizontal ( if the option is available). If nothing else that would let people know that a manufacturer's maximum height figure that relies on extending the centre column should be taken with a pinch of salt!

I really haven't seen many good tripod and head tests and DPReview could really set the standard here.

16 upvotes
Scott Everett
By Scott Everett (Nov 3, 2012)

Good and useful feedback, we're still working out what level of detail makes sense for accessories like this.

8 upvotes
xtoph
By xtoph (Nov 3, 2012)

Photo pete makes excellent suggestions, in line with the overallgist of many commenters: that this "review" adds little if anything to the info on the spec sheet, other than a relatively context-less opinion from the reviewer that its a good quality product. It is hard to see how this differs from an advertisement or catalogue blurb.
I can understand wanting to keep tripod reviews manageable, but what's the point if the entire review adds no extra information?
I suggest you offer the writer a chance to re-write this, incorporating at least some of the suggestions in the feedback.

0 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Nov 5, 2012)

Good one, Pete!

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 2, 2012)

The specs claim independent leg spread, but the minimum height is only 19.5" (49.7 cm) not very low to the ground. I guess because it only has two leg positions. Doesn't seem ideal for macro shooters.

Also noticed that quoted price is low, as B&H has it for $319 for each of the ballhead or 3-way head kits. There is a $50 mail in through December (Maybe he meant $250 for just the legs, which is correct).

If I were buying, I probably just get the legset and add a decent ballhead with an Arca Swiss QR.

Nice looking tripod. Have always liked the speed of the their leg locks vs twists. But I think the load capacity may be a bit low vs the weight of the legs.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dom
By Dom (Nov 2, 2012)

Its the centre column height plus the height of the head that will make up most of the minimum height.

1 upvote
wfektar
By wfektar (Nov 2, 2012)

Welcome to see more reviews, and not just of cameras and lenses.

That said: here's a request. Can you go with measured weights and dimensions, rather than what the mfr claims?

For tripods, how about a stability measure. One possibility is to attach a laser pointer to the hot shoe, point it at a target, and find the spread as the tripod or nearby surface is struck with a known force.

Also for tripods, how about a carrying capacity measure? I have no idea how to do this, but as long as it is reasonable and consistent it should be fine. There are too many meaningless numbers bandied around as it is.

1 upvote
Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (Nov 2, 2012)

One of the problems is that the load capacity is dependent on the type of head being used, which would make it quite difficult to attain a standardized measure. If you look at the two identical models of 294 CF tripods, the one with the Ball Head QR has an 11 lb. load capacity while the model with the 3-Way head has an 8.8 lb. load capacity.

As for the other suggestions, those are things we can certainly look into, and thanks for the ideas!

1 upvote
Dom
By Dom (Nov 2, 2012)

Mike- you can overcome variations in head for example by just settling on a single high end head to use. Follow the scientific method, use controls and vary one thing at a time. Repeat your tests and calculate the variation in your results (SE)- this will tell you how well you're doing. Drop into your nearest university and ask any PhD student to help you design the tests and what stats to use.

3 upvotes
Juergen
By Juergen (Nov 3, 2012)

Mike, load capacity is what the manufacturer CLAIMS - it may or may not have to do anything with real life use.
Not only a tripod has to be seen as a three-piece set (legs, head, cam), but besides weight focal length plays an important role as well as mirror slap. And how the cam is attached to the head, via the body or via a lens collar. And there's even more ...
All plastic parts WILL break one day - not important if you get the tripod out thrice a year and use it for three years only, but when you use it regularly and over many years ...
Low weight is good for transport of the gear - but for shooting higher weight is better.
And of course vibration/dampening has to be measured by the use of a laser pointer visible in test photos.
So it's nice to see a tripod test - but it has to be much more thorough to be really useful.
(personally I only use wooden tripods, for serious non-nonsense gear see http://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=produkte&kategorie=1&sprache=english)

0 upvotes
bodos
By bodos (Nov 2, 2012)

it all sounded good until I read it's height is 5'5".

thank you, good bye!

3 upvotes
Juergen
By Juergen (Nov 3, 2012)

It depends on - mostly on your own height, or to be precise on the height of your eyes. Which includes things like the height of the (tripod) head, the camera used etc. pp.
When you have to bend over to look through the viewfinder, the tripod is too low.

0 upvotes
StanRogers
By StanRogers (Nov 8, 2012)

If you don't have to bend over, crouch, kneel, sit or get prone in the mud (or use a step stool or ladder), you're probably not taking the best picture you can. (5'6"/170cm is eye-level or higher for most people, once the tripod head is taken into account, BTW.) There are few things more boring (in most cases) than an eye-level shot.

0 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Nov 2, 2012)

3 way heads are slow and cumbersome. Great for larger, clunkier formats and static subjects (especially architecture), but for dSLRs, I much prefer a ballhead. The Compact Ball Head leaves much to be desired, but for lighter dSLRs and lenses it should be fine. Plus better ballheads tend to add quite a bit of weight, easily gobbling up the 1/2 lb savings by going carbon fiber in the first place.

3 upvotes
Juergen
By Juergen (Nov 3, 2012)

It depends on - that's why there are different head types available.

Comment edited 6 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
David Hurt
By David Hurt (Nov 2, 2012)

I have older Bogen(Manfrotto tripods) & they work great - about $179.00 invested in the whole thing - legs & a head. No way I would pay $250.00 for tripod legs!!

0 upvotes
Dianoda
By Dianoda (Nov 2, 2012)

With carbon fiber you pay a premium for lower overall weight and better vibration dissipation. Both of those factors make CF worth it in my book, because:
A. photo gear can get pretty heavy
B. better vibration dissipation allows me to use a shorter self-timer when I'm doing tripod work

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 2, 2012)

$250 is not a lot of money for a CF tripod. And as much as I loved my Manfrotto 3021, I would never go back to an aluminium tripod. I use a Benro Travel Angel w/ a Sirui K-30 head and it's rated at more than double the load capacity at close to half the weight of the 3021. These days there is almost no reason to use an aluminium tripod, except price I guess.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Catallaxy
By Catallaxy (Nov 2, 2012)

Where is the test to determine how many pixels of blur we have at a given shutter speed with this rig?

The statement "... I didn't have a problem with stability" is just an opinion with no facts, photos etc. to back it up.

Poor review. Where is my downthumb icon? I need to use it for this Review.

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 2, 2012)

@Catallaxy Sounds like you're looking for a lab test not a review.

The reviewer used the tripod in the field with typical DSLR gear and was honest about what he liked and didn't like. Personally couldn't have asked for more, especially for the price I pay to visit DPR.

3 upvotes
Micromegas777
By Micromegas777 (Nov 3, 2012)

So far I haven't found a stable full-size tripod that weighs less than one kilo (incl the head), but the Gitzo 00531 (and its successors) with the Arca Swiss P0.
For Micro Four Thirds, this solution absolutely suffices.
If I need more comfort, I put the Manfrotto 468 on top - smooth & stable camera control, I hardly need to touch the knobs

0 upvotes
jadgl968
By jadgl968 (Nov 3, 2012)

I think for this to have been a proper review, you should always push a product like this to its usability point. I use the normal aluminum 294 tripod with a Mamiya medium format tlr camera and that is just about as heavy as the ball head will legitimately support. If it was able to handle what you tested it with so well, then just up the ante a bit until it doesn't hold its own well enough.

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Total comments: 48