Feisol tripod question

Started Apr 28, 2013 | Discussions
vwcrusher
Regular MemberPosts: 216
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Feisol tripod question
Apr 28, 2013

I plan on purchasing a Feisol tripod in the near future for bird photography, and in looking as a few of their offerings I am a bit confused with the differences. I am told that for the money they are a great value. For example the CT3442 with a CB40 head is the same price as the CT3441S with CB40D head (though from different suppliers).

Can someone who is familiar with these products shed some light on the differences and I suppose advise if I am headed in the wrong direction? I should note that I will be working primarily with a Nikon D7000 and a Sigma 150-500.

thanks in advance.

Nikon D7000
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mosswings
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,050Gear list
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Re: Feisol tripod question
In reply to vwcrusher, Apr 28, 2013

vwcrusher wrote:

I plan on purchasing a Feisol tripod in the near future for bird photography, and in looking as a few of their offerings I am a bit confused with the differences. I am told that for the money they are a great value. For example the CT3442 with a CB40 head is the same price as the CT3441S with CB40D head (though from different suppliers).

Can someone who is familiar with these products shed some light on the differences and I suppose advise if I am headed in the wrong direction? I should note that I will be working primarily with a Nikon D7000 and a Sigma 150-500.

thanks in advance.

VW, the CT3441S is a traveler-style tripod designed for maximum compactness. It has a 2" diameter baseplate and comes with a 2-section center column.  The CT3442 has the same leg diameter, but the center column is optional and the baseplate is 3" in diameter to handle the larger ballheads.  The CT3441S is limited to a ballhead housing of only about 50-52mm in diameter to allow the legs to fully close.  This means that the largest practical Feisol ballhead size for the CT3441S is the CB-30C.  The CB40 head you want to use has a base diameter of 60mm.

A 30mm ballhead diameter is too small for the large lens you want to mount.  I have it, and it's tough to use with larger pairings. You're right to look at the 40mm class heads.  What weight and size conscious photogs will usually do is mount a Markins Q3T, a PhotoClam 38NS or 34NS, a ProGold Series I or II, or a Sirui BSRG20X or BSRK20X.  Of these, the Sirui heads are the cheapest but of good quality, the Markins offers the largest ballhead diameter (38mm) for the smallest base diameter (50mm), and the PhotoClam/Pro Gold is of similar quality to the Markins but with a large base ring that limits the maximum ballhead diameter.

All this means that you should probably steer towards the CT-3442 with a CB40D head. You might want to consider going with the CB50D for a few dollars more.  The reason is not weight capacity per se, but the ability to set ballhead friction precisely so that you can position the equipment without loosening and tightening the ball constantly.  This is a direct function of the ballhead diameter.  Weight capacity of the head is of course only for a balanced load with the plate roughly horizontal, so make sure you use the 150-500's rotating tripod collar.

This leaves you with no center column and a 54" maximum height, which is a bit short for anyone taller than 5'4".  So you should factor in the optional center column if you're tall or will be shooting on inclines.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +1 more
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NancyP
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Re: Feisol tripod question
In reply to mosswings, Apr 29, 2013

Ball heads s*ck for action photography with a long lens. Consider a gimbal mount if you plan to shoot birds in flight. For a lighter lens, you may be able to get by with a lightweight such as the Jobu Jr.3.  Another possibility is the half-gimbal that fits onto a ballhead tipped 90 degrees to the side. The tilt is done by the gimbal assembly, the rotation is done by the ball head panning base. Half-gimbals require meaty ball heads to work right.

My kit: Feisol 3472 (no center column), Arca-Swiss Z1sp, Custom Brackets Basic Gimbal (the "half-gimbal" I was talking about above). The Feisol has a huge base, and the Arca-Swiss is a 90mm diameter ball base.  I am 5'5", so the tripod is too tall for me when fully extended. For most things, this combo is overkill, but for 400mm lens, my setup is very stable.

I recommend Feisol.

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vwcrusher
Regular MemberPosts: 216
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Re: Feisol tripod question
In reply to mosswings, May 4, 2013

Great advice, moss.

After asking Feisol the same question and requesting recommendations, they advised exactly the same as you.....thanks, and well done!

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