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by OntPhoto on Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:45 am
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I have a Gitzo 3200 or 3500 series tripod for most of my work.  It's solid, light but bulky especially with those padded sleeves on the legs.  Looking at a lighter tripod for hiking purposes to be attached to a backpack.  Especially when you attach a tripod to the side of a bag like the Think Tank Glass Limo, you don't want the tripod to make the backpack feel lopsided, balance-wise when walking.  What is the lightest tripod, any brand, that you would recommend for a 500 lens for occasional use only? 


Last edited by OntPhoto on Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

by prairiewing on Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:06 am
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For many years now I've hiked with 300, 400 and 500 mm lenses on a 2500 series Gitzo with RRS 40 ballhead. It's mobile and lightweight and I almost never lock down those combinations for long exposures. I often keep the legs together and use it as a monopod. I'm not a tester so I don't have any data to support my actions but I do know the lightweight tripod I have in hand in the field gives me much more support than my heaviest tripod which may be 4 miles away back in my vehicle.
Pat Gerlach
 

by SantaFeJoe on Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:18 am
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A lot of variables must be considered. Are you going to be standing, kneeling, leaning on a tree? What shutter speeds, ISO, VR/IS? I feel that with good technique and using your body as an additional stabilizer, a series 2 Gitzo traveler would be perfect. At lower extensions, you could even get away with a series 1 considering some of the variables mentioned above.

http://www.gitzo.com/product/71837.1078806.0.0.0/GT2545T/_/Gitzo_tripod_Traveler%2C_series_2%2C_4_sections

Joe
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by Karl Egressy on Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:22 am
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Hi Wilson,
The modern lenses have (and some cameras) much better IS system than the old ones.
You no longer need a sturdy tripod and head.
If I were you I would choose one of the lightest carbon fiber tripods
on the market that still carries your long lenses as well.
When I know that I would have to walk no more than 500 m, I use Gitzo and Wimberley.
Other times like walking at Point Peele all day long, I go for the lightest I have.
I don't see any difference in sharpness of the images captured.
 

by OntPhoto on Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:47 pm
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Karl Egressy wrote:
Hi Wilson,
The modern lenses have (and some cameras) much better IS system than the old ones.
You no longer need a sturdy tripod and head.
If I were you I would choose one of the lightest carbon fiber tripods
on the market that still carries your long lenses as well.
When I know that I would have to walk no more than 500 m, I use Gitzo and Wimberley.
Other times like walking at Point Peele all day long, I go for the lightest I have.
I don't see any difference in sharpness of the images captured.


Thanks Pat, Joe and Karl.  Joe, mostly for standing and may include some longer exposures (1/5 sec, 1/40 sec, etc.).  I use a remote for that.  Hard to do with a monopod which is why I am considering a lightweight tripod (I already have a lightweight monopod).

Karl, you are right about the image stabilization on today's lenses.  Think the 500 f4 II has very good image stabilization.  I looked at the Benro...not too expensive compared to higher end stuff....I just want a lightweight tripod that isn't going to collapse with a 500 f4 II and camera attached.  A tripod I can stash on the side of a backpack and feel stable when walking.  Which Benro do you use and how's the quality so far? 
 

by SantaFeJoe on Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:38 pm
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Here's a link to a recent thread about the MeFoto tripod that may suit your needs. It is not the lightest, though.

viewtopic.php?f=57&t=268903

Towards the bottom of this page is a comparison chart you might find helpful:

https://havecamerawilltravel.com/photographer/mefoto-globetrotter-air-tripod-review

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by OntPhoto on Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:27 am
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SantaFeJoe wrote:
Here's a link to a recent thread about the MeFoto tripod that may suit your needs. It is not the lightest, though.

viewtopic.php?f=57&t=268903

Towards the bottom of this page is a comparison chart you might find helpful:

https://havecamerawilltravel.com/photographer/mefoto-globetrotter-air-tripod-review

Joe


Thanks Joe.  I must have missed that thread on the MeFoto.  What a great tripod for going compact and like the fact it has a built in ball head to go even more compact.  It seems to be made for lighter lenses (may use it for a 70-200 and even a Canon 400 5.6).  Don't think it was made to be used with a 500 f4 unless they have a model built for that purpose? 

PS.  Thanks for clueing me into the MeFoto.  Necessity is the mother of invention and I really think the concept around the MeFoto is really neat. 
 

by Mark Picard on Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:20 am
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Years ago I broke a leg completely off when my tripod jammed between two boulders. I was on a trip far from home, and was faced with a "no tripod" dilemma for the two week trip (on the second day). I was using a 80-200 and a prime 500mm at the time. The only tripod I could come up with was offered to me from some one that had a spare tripod and was willing to lend it to me for my trip. I broke a Gitzo 3 series, and the tripod offered was a skinny, (three quarters of an inch was the biggest leg, going all the way down to about a quarter inch last leg.) aluminum Gitzo that went up to about 4 feet fully extended. I had no choice but to use that inadequate little piece of s#!t! But, you know what? It actually worked well enough to get most of my images sharp and well composed! I knew what I was using and paid a lot of attention to good technique - we didn't have the luxury of image stabilization then (20 years ago) either. Pick a nice lightweight carbon fiber tripod with a good light head (BH-40?) that fits on your packpack to your liking and you should be fine.  
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by Karl Egressy on Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:52 pm
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OntPhoto wrote:
Karl Egressy wrote:
Hi Wilson,
The modern lenses have (and some cameras) much better IS system than the old ones.
You no longer need a sturdy tripod and head.
If I were you I would choose one of the lightest carbon fiber tripods
on the market that still carries your long lenses as well.
When I know that I would have to walk no more than 500 m, I use Gitzo and Wimberley.
Other times like walking at Point Peele all day long, I go for the lightest I have.
I don't see any difference in sharpness of the images captured.


Thanks Pat, Joe and Karl.  Joe, mostly for standing and may include some longer exposures (1/5 sec, 1/40 sec, etc.).  I use a remote for that.  Hard to do with a monopod which is why I am considering a lightweight tripod (I already have a lightweight monopod).

Karl, you are right about the image stabilization on today's lenses.  Think the 500 f4 II has very good image stabilization.  I looked at the Benro...not too expensive compared to higher end stuff....I just want a lightweight tripod that isn't going to collapse with a 500 f4 II and camera attached.  A tripod I can stash on the side of a backpack and feel stable when walking.  Which Benro do you use and how's the quality so far? 

I use Benro C2580 T but I think it is discontinued.
I put on a 4th Generation Gimbal head that is only 1.5lb and I use it for the 500 most of the time when I have to walk longer.
It weighs 1.45 kg or 3.04 lb on my scale.
 

by Wildflower-nut on Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:52 pm
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I've also used the 4th generations mongoose head with the full swing added. Works like to wimberly but significantly lighter. The standard side mount is workable but I like it better with the full swing and i'm willing to pay the weight penalty.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:36 pm
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Here's an older thread regarding the Wimberley and Mongoose 4th generation m-3.6:

viewtopic.php?f=57&t=205304

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by absu on Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:28 pm
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Karl Egressy wrote:
OntPhoto wrote:
Karl Egressy wrote:
Hi Wilson,
The modern lenses have (and some cameras) much better IS system than the old ones.
You no longer need a sturdy tripod and head.
If I were you I would choose one of the lightest carbon fiber tripods
on the market that still carries your long lenses as well.
When I know that I would have to walk no more than 500 m, I use Gitzo and Wimberley.
Other times like walking at Point Peele all day long, I go for the lightest I have.
I don't see any difference in sharpness of the images captured.


Thanks Pat, Joe and Karl.  Joe, mostly for standing and may include some longer exposures (1/5 sec, 1/40 sec, etc.).  I use a remote for that.  Hard to do with a monopod which is why I am considering a lightweight tripod (I already have a lightweight monopod).

Karl, you are right about the image stabilization on today's lenses.  Think the 500 f4 II has very good image stabilization.  I looked at the Benro...not too expensive compared to higher end stuff....I just want a lightweight tripod that isn't going to collapse with a 500 f4 II and camera attached.  A tripod I can stash on the side of a backpack and feel stable when walking.  Which Benro do you use and how's the quality so far? 

I use Benro C2580 T but I think it is discontinued.
I put on a 4th Generation Gimbal head that is only 1.5lb and I use it for the 500 most of the time when I have to walk longer.
It weighs 1.45 kg or 3.04 lb on my scale.


I have used benro c3770t and benro 4770tn. My impression is they are very good and can be used with lighter ball head and 500f4. Of course it will never match Gitzo5541which I am using now. 
Anirban Basu

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by OntPhoto on Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:30 pm
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Thanks to everyone for the feedback.  In my search I discovered that Benro and Induro are the same company or at least use the same legs in their tripods.  Since I am going for a lighter weight backpack, Think Tank Glass Limo, I wanted to explore the use of a lightweight tripod.  The tripod straps onto the side of the backpack, so the lighter the better.  I can always carry it by hand like I do now with the heavier Gitzo.  A pain if I am out exploring.  Only time I do carry it by hand is if I know what I am going to photograph and how far away it is.  

But I like to explore wooded areas hands free if possible, only carrying along a pair of binoculars.  Even the binocular I am thinking about hanging on a binocular harness in the front of the chest.  Sometimes where you park, you don't want people to see you setting up a big 500mm lens.  In some cases I may return to the same area in the same day and may not want to carry the 500 around.  Better no one sees what I am pulling out of the car when possible.  With the backpack I can set it up later in the woods. If I want to go exploring, pack everything up in the backpack so I can move freely.  The Glass Limo seems to be the way to go for this as it is sort of a minimalist bag for a big lens.  Just big enough to fit the lens and some other items.  I currently have a big honkin' bag that can fit the 500mm kens, the 70-200 and the 400 5.6L and a whole bunch of other accessories.  It doesn't feel comfortable.  I will see if the Glass Limo will feel comfortable like or similar to a real hiking backpack.


Last edited by OntPhoto on Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 

by Wildflower-nut on Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:32 pm
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I've been using the GT3542XLS for a long long time in its various editions. A little heavier than some you are talking about but much more capable in terms of weight capacity and height,
 

by billg71 on Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:56 pm
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One thing that really helps with the bulk of the Gitzo Systematics is the Markins TH-300 tripod hub(if it were in stock it would be even better)

I have one on my 3541XLS and my 5541LS and it really makes a difference in carrying and packing the tripods, especially on the 5541.

As far as lighter, I'd say a 3-section 2500 series would be the way to go. The 2532 is the current model but it'll set you back $850 and only save you .6 lb. over the 3542 Mountaineer or Systematic. I don't know that I'd want to go any lighter with a 500mm, though.

Hope this helps,
Bill
 

by OntPhoto on Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:45 pm
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For this second tripod I am going the less expensive route and have found Benro to be in the price range I like.  Induro is OK too.  Just slightly more expensive than the Benro but the tripods seem to be not as tall unless you go more expensive which also means heavier weight.  Staying away from very expensive Gitzo. I already have a quality Gitzo when I need it.  

Hard to find the right combo of price, height, weight and support.  I seem to be waffling between a few Benro models such as the Benro Adventure 2 Series Carbon Fiber Tripod (TAD28C) and (TAD27C).  They have a decent max height but this is only with the centre column fully extended.  A ball head will add some height too.  

Any use Benro (I know Karl does)?
 

by OntPhoto on Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:03 pm
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I found the ideal (not too expensive and light) lightweight tripod for use with a Canon 500 lens and which when strapped to the side of the Think Tank Glass Limo backpack does not add too noticeably to the weight and feel.  Picked up a Benro TMA28C carbon-fibre 4-section.  Folds down to about 20.9 inches.  It feels light to hold.  From what I have seen so far, it looks to hold a Canon 500 f4 II and 7D MK2 very well.  When you exert force on the gear, yes there is a bit of flex but nothing to concern me.  I care that it doesn't collapse or fall over.  

The Benro TMA28C is a 2 series tripod (in their Mach3 model with 9x Carbon-fibre) but not really made for a 500 lens.  But it looks to hold a 500 very well (it is not Gitzo 3-Series solid nor Benro TMA38C solid).  You can try and put force on the latter two tripods by pushing the camera and lens and there is pretty much no movement.  My key was lightness but still solid enough to hold steady a 500 lens.  At $420 CAD it is reasonably priced.  I have a Benro B3 ballhead on it.  Still needs getting used to (pretty much as reviewed on DPR in a ball-head comparison test - the 2 separate locking/friction knobs can be confusing as they do the same thing - so need getting used to). https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/battle-of-the-titans-top-ball-heads-tested/8

Before buying, I consulted with both Benro USA and Canada.  One, didn't recommend the TMA28C for a big prime lens like the 500mm.  Recommended I go one series up which is to be expected.  But it will hold a 500mm.  The person was worried if someone were to bump into it or if the tripod was held over the shoulder at too high a height.  I won't hold it too high (meaning the top of the tripod will be kept closer to my shoulder and I hang onto the lens strap when walking with the setup over the shoulder).  But both agreed that the tripod is strong enough to hold a 500 lens (I was looking for a lightweight tripod, not too expensive and that could be used to hold a 500).  It won't collapse with a 500 and camera on it. It is strong enough for that. 


PS.  Another option is the 3-series Benro TMA38C.  It is solid.  On the other-hand, the 2-series Benro FGP28C is not recommended even though the TMA28C is also a 2-series.  Although the FGP28C is similar in overall weight to the TMA28C, there is a lot more shake with a 500 lens on it when you put pressure on the camera and lens.  It may have to do with the design as you can extract the centre column on the FGP28C and position it on top of the tripod horizontally (to take macro photos or table top photos).  The design may mean the centre column is not as secure/tightened as on the TMA28C which has a centre column tightening collar lock (if that's what you call it).

I have a Gitzo 3 series 6x.  How does it compare to the Benro models I mentioned above?  I don't think you can compare it to the Gitzo's overall sturdiness.  At least not these two 2-series Benro tripods.  The Benro 3-series TMA38C gets better.  It feels very solid.  But far as feel is concerned, the first noticeable thing with all the Benro models I have mentioned here is the twist locking knobs.  The Gitzo feels a lot smoother and with a tighter tolerance feel.  The Benro twist knobs feel looser but once tightened, they work.  The Benro does require a bit more turning to tighten compared to a Gitzo.  I don't know how the Benro twist knob mechanism is put together.  I need to use the Benro a lot more in the field to see how it holds out over the longer haul.  The Gitzo on the other-hand, I have never had to maintain it at all and it still works fine close to a decade of use. 


Last edited by OntPhoto on Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
 

by KK Hui on Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:28 am
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Glad you found your ideal lightweight tripod, the Benro TMA28C, for 500/4!
Wonder what head you put onto it as a full Gimbal would add quiet a bit of weight.
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by OntPhoto on Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:14 am
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KK Hui wrote:
Glad you found your ideal lightweight tripod, the Benro TMA28C, for 500/4!
Wonder what head you put onto it as a full Gimbal would add quiet a bit of weight.

I should have changed the subject line to 'lightest for a 500 lens and not too expensive'.  If I didn't mind spending over a thousand, I'm sure I could have found something in a light-weight Gitzo.

Right now I don't have a gimbal on it but I plan on bringing along a Sidekick.  The Sidekick has served me more than adequately on the Gitzo tripod.  I still use the Gitzo regularly if I am not on a very long walk or hike. The Benro I can stash onto my other backpacks or hand carry without it feeling heavy or burdensome.
 

by Mike in O on Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:01 am
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A few thoughts...sidekicks are fine on a sturdy tripod but lose some of their effectiveness on a less than ideal pod. I would look into an acratech long lens head which is in between a ball head and a gimbal. Very light even with a leveler attached; its only drawback is that the lens will flop if you don't pay attention. It is very stable even with my old Minolta 600f4 (12.5 lbs). I use it almost exclusively if I am walking and don't want to carry my Whimberly.
 

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