What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?

Started Jul 31, 2012 | Discussions
Anders W
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What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
Jul 31, 2012

My trusty old Velbon tripod broke down during vacation after more than thirty years of faithful service. So now I need to find something to replace it. My knowledge about the development on the tripod market is next to nil so I hope for some good suggestions here to ease my search.

My requirements are that it should be as small (when folded) and light as possible but at the same time sturdy enough to manage my E-M5 with 100-300 and above all robust enough to handle some wear and tear without falling to pieces.

What would be your recommendation?

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tedolf
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Benro.....
In reply to Anders W, Jul 31, 2012

Anders W wrote:

My trusty old Velbon tripod broke down during vacation after more than thirty years of faithful service. So now I need to find something to replace it. My knowledge about the development on the tripod market is next to nil so I hope for some good suggestions here to ease my search.

My requirements are that it should be as small (when folded) and light as possible but at the same time sturdy enough to manage my E-M5 with 100-300 and above all robust enough to handle some wear and tear without falling to pieces.

What would be your recommendation?

travel tripod.

I think they make Goittos tripods.

Legs fold all the way over for travel, spider is Magnesium instead of Aluminum and comes with workable head, weighs 2.5 lbs .

Twist lock, non-rotating legs.

The only thing I don't like about it is that it has five section legs.

Do not get anything with lever actuated leg locks. I have broken a tripod and a monopod with these things. If you get a carry strap under the lever, then lock it down you will break the lever. They can not be repaired. Whole tripod is toasted.

Manfroto makes a nice carbon tripod with a center column that does all sorts of things. Good if you like to do macro but $$.

Tedolph

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Bob Tullis
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to Anders W, Jul 31, 2012

There's a lot of options - I ended up with the Gitzo GT1542T, with a BH-25 head with a cork base. Shaved a few inches and ounces off the Manfrotto 190cxPro3, another nice tripod that's less expensive than the Gitzo, but the Gitzo seems to get out more often than the other ever did (on those days when not sure that a tripod is necessary).

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cleverinstigator
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to Bob Tullis, Jul 31, 2012

Gitzo GT1542T has a $600 price tag. Do you have any affordable suggestions?
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Bob Tullis
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to cleverinstigator, Jul 31, 2012

cleverinstigator wrote:

Gitzo GT1542T has a $600 price tag. Do you have any affordable suggestions?

The other one I mentioned. There was a tripod topic in the last week or three that had a lot on more affordable models (Benro, Benbo, and such).

The BEST might be the stainless steel Travel Angel - but talk about expensive!

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tedolf
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Damn......
In reply to Bob Tullis, Jul 31, 2012

Bob Tullis wrote:

There's a lot of options - I ended up with the Gitzo GT1542T, with a BH-25 head with a cork base. Shaved a few inches and ounces off the Manfrotto 190cxPro3, another nice tripod that's less expensive than the Gitzo, but the Gitzo seems to get out more often than the other ever did (on those days when not sure that a tripod is necessary).

that is a nice looking set up.

Almost like a beautiful woman.

Tedolph

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mfj197
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to Anders W, Jul 31, 2012

I've just settled on the Sirui T-1205X carbon fibre tripod. 34cm when folded, legs only weigh 800g. I tried the Sirui T-025 (the one with the fixed centre column) but it wasn't rigid enough because of that column, and would flex in the wind (and probably with your 100-300). The T-1205X has no such issues - a proper centre column (reversible, plus short column supplied as well), forged aluminium chassis rather than cast, large section CF legs that fold up around the centre column, twist grips. Weight with the head sometimes bundled (Sirui G-10) is about 1.1kg, but I kept the C-10 head from the earlier tripod so all up weight just under a kilo.

If you'd prefer 4 section legs rather than 5 there's the T-1204X which weighs the same but doesn't fold as small.

I did a quick review of the T-025 and the T-1205X here:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1023&message=42005031

Michael

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s_grins
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Re:Do not miss it!
In reply to Anders W, Jul 31, 2012
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ginsbu
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to Anders W, Jul 31, 2012

Roughly how tall do you need it to go (with the column down)? (Keeping in mind that the head with raise the camera a few more inches.) That might help narrow things down.

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dezignman
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Sirui T-1005X 5-Section Aluminum Tripod...
In reply to Anders W, Jul 31, 2012

That's what I have my eye on for a portable. It's only 2.2 lbs. and folds to less than 16"

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3DrJ
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to Anders W, Jul 31, 2012

Anders W wrote:

My trusty old Velbon tripod broke down during vacation after more than thirty years of faithful service. So now I need to find something to replace it. My knowledge about the development on the tripod market is next to nil so I hope for some good suggestions here to ease my search.

My requirements are that it should be as small (when folded) and light as possible but at the same time sturdy enough to manage my E-M5 with 100-300 and above all robust enough to handle some wear and tear without falling to pieces.

What would be your recommendation?

Lots of options. But here's an option you might not have otherwise considered. Last year on a road trip, discovered I left my trusty Bogen monopod at home. We stopped at a Best Buy of all places, as it was the only option in the small town.

Long story short, found this monopod:

I didn't expect much from made in China cheap item, but turns out to be very well-contructed. Carbon fiber, with very secure and robust locks that work as smoothly as 'pods costing 10 times the $30 I paid.

I know you asked about tripods , and this isn't 3-legged. However at the time they had tripods of the same type, but I can't remember the designation for those.

With any luck you might find the tripod version. This monopod was labeled "DYNEX" DX-SW040.

Now I wish I'd gotten the tripod. The monopod is spiffy for sure. Goes to show we can't always tell by its brand name nor country of origin how good a product is.

I should add: weight: 495.1 g, height: min: 470 mm, max: 1.75 m.

JRA

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Richt2000
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Snap, Bob!
In reply to Bob Tullis, Jul 31, 2012

That is the exact set set up I have - the RRS BH-25 is such a great little head.

I use this for hiking and travelling light for my ep3 and even my Canon 5d2. It even holds solid with this an a 79-300 L with tripod collar!

The best small tripod money can buy (well, apart from those even more expensive Oceanic ones)

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Bob Tullis
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Re: Snap, Bob!
In reply to Richt2000, Jul 31, 2012

Richt2000 wrote:

That is the exact set set up I have - the RRS BH-25 is such a great little head.

I use this for hiking and travelling light for my ep3 and even my Canon 5d2. It even holds solid with this an a 79-300 L with tripod collar!

Now THAT's a testimonial.

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Chas2
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to 3DrJ, Jul 31, 2012

When I was at Best Buy some months ago, they were selling all manner of Rocketfish and Dynex aluminum and CF tripods mostly for under $100. I suppose I should have looked more closely

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Steen Bay
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to Anders W, Jul 31, 2012

Anders W wrote:

My trusty old Velbon tripod broke down during vacation after more than thirty years of faithful service. So now I need to find something to replace it. My knowledge about the development on the tripod market is next to nil so I hope for some good suggestions here to ease my search.

My requirements are that it should be as small (when folded) and light as possible but at the same time sturdy enough to manage my E-M5 with 100-300 and above all robust enough to handle some wear and tear without falling to pieces.

What would be your recommendation?

Maybe something like Sirui N-1004. Tripod and monopod in one. Height 156/44 cm. Seems like good value. Also available in a (quite a bit) more expensive carbon version (N-1204).

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Anders W
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to Anders W, Jul 31, 2012

Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. Here are some comments/questions to some of you individually.

Tedolf: Yeah, I see others recommending Benro too, especially perhaps in the lightweight category. And yes, I am aware of the potential issues with the lever actuated leg locks. My old Velbon had such locks and they never gave me any trouble. It was the center column that gave up. But the levers were made of metal rather than plastic as I understand is common these days.

Bob: The Gitzo GT1542T looks like a very tempting alternative ... as long as one doesn't look at the price tag which is perhaps a bit above what I had in mind. After all, I am hardly a heavy tripod user although I wouldn't accept being without one.

Michael: The Sirui looks like a very interesting alternative from my point of view. Like you I appreciate the conventional (free, reversible) center column, not just for stability but also flexibility. And the other specifications look very convincing as well. Sirui is a brand I have never heard of before and they don't seem to be represented here in Sweden. But I see that I can find them on ebay.co.uk (delivery from Poland) so that shouldn't be a problem. One question about the head: I am used to working with a three-way head and it seems Sirui only offers ball-heads. Now I am willing to rethink what kind of head I'd like to have. But I need you (or someone else) explain the pros and cons of a three-way head compared to a modern and pretty advanced ball head like for example the G-10. I see no less than four screws on that head. What do each of them do? I guess I should mention here that I haven't yet tried my hand at panorama stitching and haven't shot any video either. But this might change and I think I might appreciate the opportunity to pan with the head fixed in all but one dimension.

3DrJ: Thanks for the tip. Like you, I am open to the idea that no-name brands may sometimes provide very good products at very reasonable prices. I found Dynex as a company without problem. Here's the link:

http://www.dynexproducts.com/

Regrettably, the tripods they offer do not look quite as convincing as the monopod you found. While browsing, I found another tripod maker I haven't heard of before: Weifeng. They seem to offer some interesting stuff, including a carbon fiber tripod for very little money. Regrettably, it seems like a bit of overkill in terms of size/weight in view of my preferences.

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Anders W
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to Steen Bay, Jul 31, 2012

Steen Bay wrote:

Anders W wrote:

My trusty old Velbon tripod broke down during vacation after more than thirty years of faithful service. So now I need to find something to replace it. My knowledge about the development on the tripod market is next to nil so I hope for some good suggestions here to ease my search.

My requirements are that it should be as small (when folded) and light as possible but at the same time sturdy enough to manage my E-M5 with 100-300 and above all robust enough to handle some wear and tear without falling to pieces.

What would be your recommendation?

Maybe something like Sirui N-1004. Tripod and monopod in one. Height 156/44 cm. Seems like good value. Also available in a (quite a bit) more expensive carbon version (N-1204).

Thanks Steen. Yes, you are right that those are interesting alternatives too. Seems like Sirui makes quite a few things that are worth a look.

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James Pilcher
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Gitzo GT1542T
In reply to Anders W, Jul 31, 2012

Gitzo GT1542t.

I have a Gitzo G1158 (a precursor to the 1540 series, I think) and love it. I have a RRS BH-30 head on it. The entire setup oozes quality and is sturdy for a m4/3 setup, including my Zuiko 75-300mm. I sure wish the Zuiko had a tripod collar, though. But that's not the tripod's fault!

Edit: I see that Bob beat me to it. That's what I get for not reading the entire thread first. The Gitzo+RRS combo really is a great piece of kit.

Jim Pilcher
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3DrJ
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Re: What's the best light but sturdy tripod for MFT?
In reply to Chas2, Jul 31, 2012

Chas2 wrote:

When I was at Best Buy some months ago, they were selling all manner of Rocketfish and Dynex aluminum and CF tripods mostly for under $100. I suppose I should have looked more closely

I sure wouldn't have thought much of it either, except for having no where else to go at the time. Haven't looked around at all, but might be sold somewhere, though pretty good chance it would be under a different brand name.

Looks like there are listings on Google. Might be worth investigating.

JRA

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nikclick
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Re: Snap, Bob!
In reply to Bob Tullis, Jul 31, 2012

Bob Tullis wrote:

Richt2000 wrote:

That is the exact set set up I have - the RRS BH-25 is such a great little head.

I use this for hiking and travelling light for my ep3 and even my Canon 5d2. It even holds solid with this an a 79-300 L with tripod collar!

Now THAT's a testimonial.

Triple snap!

That is the EXACT same set up I have. Used the quick release head for a while, but went to the screw head as it is smaller and lighter and doesn't leave an annoying plate on the camera.

We all must have read the same reviews on these things

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