Feisol tripod and ballhead review

Started Jun 29, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Feisol tripod and ballhead review
Jun 29, 2010

Hi all,

A while ago I posted looking for opinions on a replacement tripod after my Gitzo got stolen. Unfortunately I was on a strict budget as a result of the robbery, and couldn't go Gitzo again.

After a chat with the guy who runs Feisol UK, I was convinced to give Feisols a try. It helped when he answered one of my questions about problems with "I'm the wrong person to ask that of - I'm the sales guy. But if you don't like it, just send it back." Big points for honesty, and it sounded like a low risk adventure. And I needed something to go to Germany.

I went with the CT-3442 tripod and the CB-50DC ball head. The tripod is very light and that worried me initially, but stability at home was good, and it was easy to carry. The way the legs fold over to let you store the tripod in the bag with the head still attached is a nice touch, and keeps the pack volume smaller which is good for day-to-day carry as well as short trips where luggage is limited. It goes up and comes down quickly and seemed good enough to try in Germany.

The ball head is good. Not Markins good, but still very good. It stays solid once locked in place, and it's easy to adjust both the panning base and the ball portion. It doesn't have a built-in spirit level like the Markins does, but I'll just get another one of those that goes onto the hot-shoe. Not having one made panoramic shots non-trivial.

The plate it shipped with was a pretty nasty thumbscrew job, but it dose the job and was included in the price. I plan to get a Kirk L bracket at some point, but at almost the same price as the tripod, I'm going to have to hold off for now.

As it happens, I was very grateful for the tripod - the weather in Munich was shocking and as a result, I was looking at slow shutter speeds.

I then complicated matters by trying to take pictures off of a wooden bridge that people were walking over at the same time. I could feel the bridge shaking with each step, so I had very limited opportunities to get the shot between footfall. I'm pretty happy with the result:

Despite being on the bridge, I managed to get a couple of 5 shot bracketed exposures for my first play at HDR, and the alignment between images was good from what I can see...

Indoors it was as good as expected with no vibrations, but that's not really the best test of a tripod now, is it ?

Overall, I'm very happy. When I have some more money, I'll buy the centre shaft for it so that I can add some weight near the bottom for stability. I've got the hook at the moment, but that screws into the base and puts your weight too high up.

In summary, I feel that I've got a good tripod that will last at least 5 years with my shooting style. It's comfortable to carry, solid, and light so it's easy to take with when traveling by plane with the stricter and stricter weight limits. Despite breaking Thom Hogan's rules on tripods ( http://www.bythom.com/support.htm ) I'm still confident.

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