Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

Started Nov 10, 2011 | Discussions
mike_in_nyc Forum Member • Posts: 70
Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

Was wondering what tripods people are using for their M43 rigs? I picked up a used Gitzo GT0541 from B&H and am testing it out. I love the light weight and quality of the Gitzo but it was expensive even used.

Thanks

Jman13 Senior Member • Posts: 1,424
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

I use an Induro cX 313 carbon fiber tripod. It's lightweight but very very sturdy. I use a photo clam PC 36 ball head with Arca Swiss plate system. Awesome, light and rock solid.
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Klarno
Klarno Veteran Member • Posts: 4,157
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

My main tripod is a Manfrotto 055XPROB. Nice but pretty heavy, I wouldn't want to take it on a long hike. For when I'm shooting landscapes, I bought another center column, and sawed it off so I can use the lowest leg setting without futzing around with the center column.

My lightweight tripod is a Manfrotto 725B, which has a built in ballhead.

I think the tripod head you use is a lot more important than the legs, though, since the head is where 90% of your interaction is. A Markins Q10 is still on my shopping list...

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mikewhalen5 Regular Member • Posts: 333
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

Slik 634: $249

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sean000 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,354
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

mike_in_nyc wrote:

Was wondering what tripods people are using for their M43 rigs? I picked up a used Gitzo GT0541 from B&H and am testing it out. I love the light weight and quality of the Gitzo but it was expensive even used.

Thanks

A good tripod is expensive, but it will last you so decades that you are better off getting one that is pleasure use and not much of a burden to carry. I have an older Gitzo carbon fiber tripod with a Markins M10 ballhead. It's overkill for m4/3, but I bought it to use with my DSLR and up to a 300mm f/4 with 1.4x TC.

I also have a smaller Gitzo Tatalux that I bought used for $75. It's a 4-section aluminum tripod that folds up to only 14 inches, but it's not nearly as tall or as stable as my full size Gitzo. And being aluminum it weighs as much as my larger carbon fiber pod. I prefer using my bigger Gitzo anyway, because it's tall enough to put the camera at a comfortable height without needing to raise the center column.

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Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 35,088
Manfrotto 190cxPro3

When I use it I wish it were slightly bigger. When I tote it I wish it were slightly smaller. Maybe slightly lighter. But it's my favorite tripod of all to date (had Gitzo's and Sliks, and I'm a little rough with them through 4 seasons). The ability to position the column horizontal has come to be useful more times than I thought it might. Y'know, not often, but when it's needed. . .

Lost leg end rubbers more than once - finally secured replacements with electrical tape.

Have the 4 section leg model too. It's a tad heavier, and just a bit shorter than the 3 section leg model. The 4 section one has a bit of larger girth when folded (additional leg levers). I feel I must hang the kit bag on it to assist with vibration dampening. So the Pro4 model is not recommended.

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Makinations
Makinations Veteran Member • Posts: 5,688
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

I use a Feisol CT-3401 with a ridiculous stack of ball head and leveling base on top. (Pictured here.... http://www.flickr.com/photos/smrlabs/6262222037 )

It is all a bit big but if I'm going to bother to lug a tripod I'm going to lug a good one.

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jhoff80 Forum Member • Posts: 93
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

Obviously it's not even in the same league as most of these being mentioned. That being said, I can't complain about my dirt-cheap Slik Sprint Pro II. Only $89.

And I hate to say it, but aren't most of the ones that you guys are using total overkill for m 4/3? I mean, just an example, but do you really need a tripod that can hold 22 pounds for m 4/3?

Obviously, there's no doubt about it, if you pay more, you get more. But you can also do pretty decently for cheap too.

JosephScha Veteran Member • Posts: 5,238
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User - Manfrotto 190XProB

The 190XProB is not carbon fiber, and it is a few inches shorter than the 055XProB.

Then again, I'm only about 5' 7" tall. I didn't know it before I bought this, but this is the first really good tripod I've owned.

Manfrotto tripods are just legs, you must buy a head. Many people like ball heads. I bought a three way head. It's a personality thing. I like it.

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453C Veteran Member • Posts: 7,087
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

Promaster SystemPRO T525P tripod, RRS BH-30 ballhead

There are more stable tripods, but the T525P seems ok for a lightweight m43 system. It's very compact, and makes a good home for the BH-30, which is a work of industrial art.
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johnc94 Forum Member • Posts: 51
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User - Manfrotto 190XProB

Velbon Ultra Luxi SF

richj20 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,904
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

mike_in_nyc wrote:
Was wondering what tripods people are using for their M43 rigs?

I'm using a Promaster 4100 I purchased more than 20 years ago as a travel tripod for about $30.

It came with a pan head which I replaced with a ball head. I've used several different heads over the years, the current one being a Manfrotto 484 RC2.

It weighs 38 oz. with head, and collapses to 19-1/2", fitting nicely into my backpack, if I want.

Recently on a trip to the Sequoia National Forest (California) it photographed in sand, shallow creeks, forest terrain, and will probably be used in snow in a couple of weeks!

Regards,

Richard

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Klarno
Klarno Veteran Member • Posts: 4,157
Not necessarily overkill...

jhoff80 wrote:

Obviously it's not even in the same league as most of these being mentioned. That being said, I can't complain about my dirt-cheap Slik Sprint Pro II. Only $89.

And I hate to say it, but aren't most of the ones that you guys are using total overkill for m 4/3? I mean, just an example, but do you really need a tripod that can hold 22 pounds for m 4/3?

Obviously, there's no doubt about it, if you pay more, you get more. But you can also do pretty decently for cheap too.

The stability of a tripod isn't necessarily directly related to the weight of the camera, especially with smaller camera/lens combinations. The stability of the tripod is more related to...the stability of the tripod. That is, if there's a mass on top of any tripod, it'll be susceptible to vibration caused by wind, by contact, or by energy transferred from something else into and through the ground, and depending on your materials, resonant, waveform vibration can stay in the tripod for a long time. Legs that are better at vibration damping, at the low end, are quite heavy. Toting a 7 lb tripod can really start to weigh you down. You can have legs that are lighter as well as being better at vibration dampening, but those come at a premium, being made out of complicated, often one-off weaves of carbon fiber composite.

That said, I would still definitely be more inclined to go higher end on the head before going higher end on the legs. Chances are you'll never notice vibration on your tripod legs once you have a halfway decent one, but you'll notice all of the shortcomings of your tripod head every day that you use it.

And for the record, your tripod looks fine. I like it. If you're happy with it, by all means, keep using it, and don't let anyone stop you.

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453C Veteran Member • Posts: 7,087
Re: Not necessarily overkill...

Klarno wrote:

That said, I would still definitely be more inclined to go higher end on the head before going higher end on the legs. Chances are you'll never notice vibration on your tripod legs once you have a halfway decent one, but you'll notice all of the shortcomings of your tripod head every day that you use it.

Completely agree here. If the legs are reasonably solid, you can get by, but a crappy head is extremely annoying. I happen to have a photo of me at the exact moment I made the decision to upgrade from my "free" Promaster ballhead:

Fighting to get the head & plate locked down without disturbing the shot framing was always annoying with the free head, but being swarmed with mosquitoes made the decision to upgrade very clear.

And for the record, your tripod looks fine. I like it. If you're happy with it, by all means, keep using it, and don't let anyone stop you.

Definitely.
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parejkoj Regular Member • Posts: 113
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

Though it's very different from an ordinary tripod, I really like the Gorillapod SLR + ballhead combination (about 400g total weight). Can be strapped to things for interesting viewpoints and stability, it's very easy to carry, and less than half the weight of everything mentioned so far, including the ballhead. I sometimes leave it attached to the camera while walking around, to use as a "rifle stock" to help stabilize telephoto shots, and it works pretty well for that. About $60.

It's main problem is that if you don't have something to wrap it around, or set it on, you can't get an eye level view. But the portability factor is excellent. No problems carrying this up and down mountains, or while biking.

schirmer Regular Member • Posts: 443
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

I use a National Geographic NGTT2 Tundra.
Made by Manfrotto, wights about 1kg and can carry another 1kg.
And was quite cheap ( 40€)

LTZ470
LTZ470 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,926
Re: Manfrotto 190cxPro3

Bob Tullis wrote:

When I use it I wish it were slightly bigger. When I tote it I wish it were slightly smaller. Maybe slightly lighter. But it's my favorite tripod of all to date (had Gitzo's and Sliks, and I'm a little rough with them through 4 seasons). The ability to position the column horizontal has come to be useful more times than I thought it might. Y'know, not often, but when it's needed. . .

+1...excellent for travel/hiking/fits in a carry-on with center column removed to lie alongside it...

Taken on worldwide trips to cruises to family outings to soccer games....it just works and right size...the 055 Manfrotto is the one I use around home or for birding as it is taller and when shooting up into trees it works better...

Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 35,088
I'd add to Klamo's summary. . .

. . . a test one can perform.

Set up the tripod, put a hand lightly on the spider/base, and with the other hand give a quick tap with fingertip of other hand. Note the vibration felt at the spider, and the relative duration.

Repeat, but this time with a bag or some weight suspended from the tripod.

A beter tripod will show less difference between the two tests. Note that a better tripod is not necessary - if one recognizes when the tripod needs assistance. Durability over time in the field is something else, though. The more one utilizes a tripod, the more stability and durability will matter.

Heads? I'm not the only one to spent three times as much as I spent on the last head, that finally is 100% reliable and very stable. Even though advice suggests not to skimp on these two accessories for serious pursuits - some of us still have to confirm that the expensive way.

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RaymondR
RaymondR Senior Member • Posts: 2,421
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User - Manfrotto 190XProB

another Manfrotto 190xrpob user for my main tripod for my Oly PEN but I have both a three way head and a ball head. what can I say, I love buying gear and the ballhead was purchased second hand for a song.

when carry weight is a concern, I use the tripod I got for my Canon G11 -- a Promaster Featherweight FW20T, though I am looking to get a small Manfrotto head to put on it so that I can have quick release compatability with all of my tripods and my monopod.
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Jman13 Senior Member • Posts: 1,424
Re: Tripod for Micro 4/3 User

Sorry...I was wrong...mine is the CX 213.

I got it for a steal...there was a huge sale at Midwest Photo when I was in one day and I got this tripod for $170 I think. It's about half the weight of my old Manfrotto aluminum tripod. I got the PhotoClam head after seeing some great recommendations. It's far better and more stable than my old Manfrotto 486 RC2 head, even though it's about half the weight. Smoother head with friction control too. It was slightly too small when I was using it with my 1Ds Mark II and heavy lenses. It was good enough to lock tight, but it was harder to get precision framing due to the size and the support needed when the ball wasn't locked.

It's perfect with m4/3, though, regardless of what lens I use. Getting this setup cut over half the weight off my tripod and it's actually a MORE stable setup, which is awesome. I used to dread bringing my tripod in the field, but now I don't mind it at all, especially with the much lighter kit due to switching to m4/3.

Jman13 wrote:

I use an Induro cX 313 carbon fiber tripod. It's lightweight but very very sturdy. I use a photo clam PC 36 ball head with Arca Swiss plate system. Awesome, light and rock solid.
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