Kudos to Camera Land
I had been thinking of purchasing a tripod to use with my Canon 40D, but one that would be sturdy, and would not cost an arm and a leg. I had the option of buying a professional photo tripod from B&H since I usually buy cameras and lenses from them, but didn't want to spend from around $1,000 to $4,000 on a tripod. After all, I only use a tripod every now and then.
That's when I looked at the ProMaster tripods sold by Camera Land, and wrote an e-Mail telling Dough what kind of tripod i was looking for. The answer I received pointed to the ProMaster System Pro 1N, and a 3-way head for it. I was also offered a free carry bag. The total cost was $139.99 for the tripod, plus $49.99 for the head, and $9.85 for S&H via USPS Priority to Alaska. I received the package three days later.
I can't tell you exactly how sturdy the tripod and head are, since you would have to see it with your own eyes. It's a heavy tripod at over four pounds. The head is heavy, too.
This thing is real solid, and does not move around once you have set it. The legs open one-third outward, and lock at the first detent. To open them further out, unlock each leg by pressing a spring-loaded tab just below the head's base. You can move the legs to three different positions.
The center of the tripod, which holds the treaded tripod head, is a removable monopod. This monopod has three adjustable leg sections: just twist one section and pull on it to extend it, until you have extended the three sections all the way out. It's a handy feature if you don't want to carry a heavy tripod, although I don't use it that way.
Almost forgot: the tripod comes with a set of Allen wrenches for tightening or removing the legs and such. It also has a carry handle mounted on a nylon-web strap. One end of this web is attached to the tripod (near the head), and the other end has an adjustable loop you can place of the legs once they have been retracted. This allows you to cary the tripod with the web or belt balanced in the middle by the handle. However, the free carry bag, isn't just a thin and cheap bag, but made of the sort of nylon materials used for backpacks and gun bags, and is padded inside. The padding material is topped with a nylon-cloth liner. A very good and strong bag it is.
The only thing I didn't like about the tripod is that it's made in China, but what isn't these days?
Not a light weight
At a little over 4 lbs it wasn't designed for hauling through the wilds of Alaska - that being said, have you had a chance to walk it around a bit?
How well does it pack? Rough size, etc?
I've never been one that's too worried about weight for a daily excursion.
Thanks for the review!
1. Legs fully extended, and opened to the first detent, from the head's top to the ground = 55"
2. Same conditions as number one above, but with the monopod raised. From the head's top, to the ground = 66"
The monopod adds, when fully raised, approximately 13" (55" + 13" = 68"), or tripod plus head, plus monopod raised.
3. Legs opened to the second detent, with the monopod lowered, top of head to ground = 39"
4. Legs opened to the third detent, have to raise the monopod 4" so it won't touch the ground, top of heat to ground = 24"
-Legs collapsed and closed, head removed = 20-1/2"
-Head's heigh (approx.) = 5-1/2"
-Monopod, legs retracted, head removed = 18-1/2"
-Monopod fully extended, and leg sections locked (3-leg sections), head removed = 49-1/2"
The monopod can be used without the tripod's head (49-1/2" tall). Add 5-1/5" with the head attached.
Since I wanted a sturdy tripod, the weight does not bother me since I only travel short distances from my truck, or from my ATV. The carry bag (optional, but given to me free of charge) is approximately 33" long, which is much longer than the tripod with the head attached (26"). However, while I leave the head attached to the tripod, I still have to remove the three control levels used to pan and tilt the head, and also to level the camera at the axis (at the plate the camera mounts to). I can use two bubble levels to level the tripod, and also lift or lower the right corner of the camera horizontally.
The tripod itself has a soft carry handle (as explained in my other post), but the bag has a handle, plus an adjustable shoulder belt. I prefer to carry the tripod using it's handle, but in the carry bag when riding my ATV, since I don't want to lose parts of it on the trail. That's what happened to my very old Velbon tripod I had (I lost the wing-nut used to level the camera on the tripod).