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Wilderness Photography The Wilderness Photography forum is for the discussion of photography (videography) gear, experience, and technique as it directly relates to wilderness photography. PBF members may also post self-owned photos that have been uploaded to the PB Gallery or as post attachments. Offsite links and offsite photos are prohibited. Please see ("sticky") instructional post located at top of threads.


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  #41  
Old 04-30-2010, 07:26 PM
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tarmanmf tarmanmf is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 32
I use the Sunpak Mini-Spider Tripod. Found it to be versatile and stable.
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  #42  
Old 05-02-2010, 11:30 AM
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hatidua hatidua is offline
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Backpack: Gregory and Deuter
Shelter: Bibler
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Colorado
Posts: 29
The carbon fiber SLIK 613 is the smallest tripod I've found that actually steadies the camera enough to consider using. Sometimes a flimsy tripod is worse than no tripod at all.

Forget using center-columns on just about any tripod, they are a recipe for disaster if image-sharpness is desired.

If height is not an issue, the Leica tabletop tripod is decent enough but you are limited to a height of about 4" off of the surface.
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  #43  
Old 06-15-2010, 02:37 PM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Sleeping Gear: REI ThermoPod +0 mummy, MH 3D +40 mummy
Shelter: SD Superflash, GoLite Hut 1
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: California
Posts: 436
For many years, I used no tripod because I refused to deal with the extra weight. I just carried a couple of fast lenses which I always shot at medium aperature so I could keep the shutter speed up, and hand held everything.

For big lenses I have a shoulder stock. It was made by Rowi, who no longer makes them. One of the best pieces of equipment I ever bought. I personally am more proficient at using this than I am using a large tripod with a big ball head, and at 1.25lbs I can actually carry it into the wilderness!

For SLR landscapes and for the view camera, I use a carbon fiber version of the Gitzo weekender. That tripod is usually considered too small to be useful by most pros or serious amateurs - even for SLR use. Tripod without head weighs 1.5-2 pounds, and it only rises about 3 feet without the center column. The center column is useless without customizing the tripod. The thing is, if you are willing to deal with a 3ft tall tripod, this thing is rock solid for exposures of several seconds, despite what others may say or think.

I had the tripod customized. A carbon fiber boss was made and permanently mounted to one of the legs, allowing me to install a 10 oz. stabilizing arm. The problem was that the view camera (a bellows camera) focuses along a 14" rail, and if the rail is attached to the tripod head at its center, the ends of the rail will vibrate and a sharp photo is impossible. The stabilizing arm runs from the middle of one tripod leg to one end of the view camera rail. This allows the rail to attach to the tripod head at the other end so that both ends are supported. To my surprise, I can raise the previously useless center column and get an extra 10 inches of height, add the stabilizing arm, and the whole tripod/arm assembly is amazingly rigid. I can and do get the razor sharp images one expects from a view camera even with the center column raised. Total weight for the tripod, boss, stabilizing arm, ball head, and quick release is 3.4lbs. (Sounds heavy if you aren't into photography, but actually an excellent total weight.)

I don't know how many people on this forum are into large format or fine art SLR work that requires a full tripod, so maybe that's some technical detail not everyone needs. But I think it's worth noting that sometimes you live with a design defect or compromise that can actually be solved by some clever design work and a good machinist or carbon fiber man. The end result can be well worth the money and trouble, and it can make packing with camera gear a lot more practical.
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  #44  
Old 06-23-2010, 09:00 PM
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traildadd traildadd is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 33
I really enjoy doing long exposure water shots. After researching a bit I just got a Velbon Ultra Max i F. It weighs 2.2 pounds. Very stable and easy to set up. Not a lightweight by any means but tall and steady.
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  #45  
Old 07-19-2010, 06:00 PM
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traildadd traildadd is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
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I just got back from 5 days in Yosemite. I really loved having my Velbon Ultra Max i F. All it needs is a bubble level. Maybe I can make something. Over 1000 exposures, cut down to 100 good ones. It was easy to set up and use.
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  #46  
Old 12-19-2010, 10:01 AM
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3Pinner 3Pinner is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Virginny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traildadd
I just got back from 5 days in Yosemite. I really loved having my Velbon Ultra Max i F. All it needs is a bubble level. Maybe I can make something. Over 1000 exposures, cut down to 100 good ones. It was easy to set up and use.

I made the switch to this model as well, but removed the pan head and attached a lightweight ball head.
I looked at a bunch of tripods for some time, and this one has one feature I find critical to a field tripod - the legs can be unlocked and set at different angles. Its one of the reasons why I hauled the Cullman around for so long. You can set its legs to any angle, but the Velbon seems to be adequate so far.
Nice and stable too for my setup. - DSLR and mid range zooms.
It is light enough though that I don't leave it unattended.
And in a true stretch of UL Backpacking conventions - it makes a nice stand for my camp lantern.
2.1 lbs to hold a candle lantern........................that's not too insane is it??
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  #47  
Old 12-05-2011, 09:55 PM
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Howdy Howdy is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1
I used to lug around a tripod, but as I get older I'm finding myself taking longer trips and more backpacking trips that involve flying someplace. About 25 years ago I picked up something like a tabletop tripod. It looks like a thick black plastic C-clamp with a swivel head on top. On the bottom there's a slotted knob that hold a couple short steel rods that screw into the thing, (to make it the "tripod"). I rarely use the legs. The clamp is just big enough to use on a 2x4, and is padded so I can use the window on a car or sun visor when driving - I gave up 35mm for DV.

When I take it to the woods any stick or tree branch works as a base. Clamping to a branch over a steam makes pretty good video shots.

I've never seen another one like it, but I could probably make a crude one with a C-clamp. I've learned to take it out of my cam bag when going through the airport line, the TSA think its a handgun under Xray; about the size of a grip.
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  #48  
Old 03-22-2012, 11:01 PM
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Rambo Rambo is offline
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Backpack: Osprey Argon 85
Sleeping Gear: Western Mountaineering
Shelter: Hilleberg Soulo
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 23
I have been usually going without a tripod due to size and weight issues, but I just recently found the Trek Tech T-Pod which may change that. Designed to supports 9 lbs, it weighs 12oz, and extends to 13", breaks down into two pieces 7.5 inches long, comes with a ball head, is very well made, and has a lifetime warranty. Read some bad reviews so I wasn't sure what to expect. The picture is my camera with a 2.3lbs lens for a total weight of just over 4 lbs on the T-pod. Won't be carrying that lens on the trail but the T-pod holds it with no problem. Just normal pressure to lock the ball head. With the magnetic QR design on the ball head it is very fast to set up and it takes up way less space than anything else I have.
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  #49  
Old 06-28-2012, 12:43 AM
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EricX EricX is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 12
Currently hauling (heh) a Manfrotto 190XPROB and 486RC2 combo. Comes in at about 4.9 lbs, so it's not lightweight, but not completely killer either. It only goes up to around ~120cm without the center column, and ~140cm with, though I don't like losing the stability. I plan on replacing it with a nice carbon fiber from Feisol and bringing the total package down to 3 lbs once the funds clear up. Darn backpacking gear has been cutting into my photography budget

Main issue I'm having is with carrying the tripod. Naturally strapping it vertically to the outside is the most straightforward, but putting it at the very back puts the pack off balanced. Likewise with having it at either side. An interesting idea that is the best so far is having it horizontal at the top, held down by the top cover. It's better than hanging it at the bottom where it'll knock around and be even more off balance. I may end up simply storing it in my backpack since I tend not to need it while actively hiking. When I'll hike to sunset/sunrise locations I'll simply store it where it's top heavy and deal for an hour, or sling it over my shoulder.
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  #50  
Old 06-30-2012, 12:13 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
Practical Backpacking­™ Forums Moderator
Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Sleeping Gear: REI ThermoPod +0 mummy, MH 3D +40 mummy
Shelter: SD Superflash, GoLite Hut 1
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: California
Posts: 436
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricX
Main issue I'm having is with carrying the tripod.
For an aluminum tripod, that's not a bad set-up and weight. I use a Benbo standard head and the same quick release as you, so our head capabilities are very similar. The only real weakness in your system is the weight and size of the tripod. The Feisol will definitely help.

Once your tripod weight is around 3lb. total, I think you will find it's very carryable by lashing it to one side of the backpack. The back of the pack is definitely a terrible place to add that much weight. But if you lash it to the side of the pack, you can deliberatelty pack to counterbalance the weight (tripod outside on one side of the pack, bear can and camera gear inside but on the other side of the pack.) I usually put the tripod feet in a ski wand pocket and use the compression straps to hold it to the pack body, and I find this is a very manageable set up - as long as the pack is packed to counterbalance it.

One of the things which affects load stability is the length of the tripod. Shorter defintiely packs better, so a 4 section tripod would be probably be preferable to a 3 section one.

By the way, watch the used market like a hawk. I recently scored a used full height Hakuba CF for less than 1/2 retail, which allowed me to sell off the old aluminum Bogen. Not exactly the brand I wanted, but it saved me 2 full pounds, and hundreds of dollars!

One final note: when you get the CF tripod, put 3/4" or 1" closed cell foam pipe insulation on the legs. CF legs are notoriously prone to damage from blows to the side of the legs, denting or crimping them - such as when slithering past granite and tottering to one side, so rock hits the outside tripod leg. The pipe insulation is very cheap, very light, and very effective protection. I also wrap a fleece sweater (which doubles as my dark cloth) around the outside of the legs for even more protection.
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