A worthy Peak Design challenger around $200

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psartman
psartman Regular Member • Posts: 366
A worthy Peak Design challenger around $200
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I received this Marsace XT-15 yesterday https://www.amazon.com/Marsace-Featherweight-Professional-Portable-Photography/dp/B08SQ6SPGN  (mine was sold as PVCLUB brand for $200, it's as low as $189 on eBay.) I already own a Peak Design carbon fiber, I ordered this one out of curiosity intending to return it after I checked it out. I think I'm going to keep this and sell the PD. The Marsace is noticeably lighter, but seems equally or slightly more stable. I did an informal test with my Sony A series and 24-105 lens on full height with column up. I flicked the lens then do a 1/4 second exposure. I could see no real difference in the vibration dampening of the two.

I think the Marsace has two stability advantages over the PD: The center column, while similar in being scalloped to accommodated the legs for a compact profile, is substantially wider on the Marsace. Also, the legs are tubular rather than trapezoidal and have noticeably less flex on the thinner segments.

Some may not like that the leg locking mechanism is with a simple friction twist, rather than levers or screwed compression fittings. I think the Marsace design may be just as sturdy IF properly tightened, but can be disconcerting because you don't have visual confirmation like you do with the PD levers. This design takes a little more internal space in the legs, so while the Marsace is the same folded length, it is a few inches shorter than the PD at full extension. The Marsace legs are quicker to deploy and retract than the PD

The ball head has panning (unlike the PD.) The Arca QR lock is with a knob, while the PD is click-in with a tightening lever The ball action is not as smooth as the PD, but locks securely with a lever. I'm not crazy about the PD's concentric dial locks for the QR and ball lock, I find they bind up at times.

It's generally well finished with good build quality, but not up to the premium standards of the PD. The PD is one good-looking tripod, but that's not my top criterion in selecting gear. A few other small details that lead me to favor the Marsace: The case (while an obvious PD copy) actually fits, not requiring the wrestling match that the PD does. The wider center column has more internal space, which will store the DIY extension I plan to add for occasional use as a light stand.

I was happy to back the Peak Design Kickstarter and I applaud them for forwarding the art of tripod design for the first time in maybe forever. That said, their influence has spawned this (and perhaps other) products with some better features and usability. If PD had a V2.0 in the works I'd take a look at it, but for 1/3 the price this Marsace XT-15 seems too good to pass up. I'll report back after some field usage.

 psartman's gear list:psartman's gear list
Sony a7R II Sony a7R IV Sony FE 28mm F2 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Tamron 70-180mm F2.8 Di III VXD +2 more
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