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Thread: Carbon fiber tripods

  1. #1
    Member Timber Smith's Avatar
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    Default Carbon fiber tripods

    Always seeking to lighten the load if at all possible; have narrowed down my search to the following two brands. Anyone with experience with either Manfrotto or Gitzo carbon fiber tripods? Application is with a Leica Televid APO 82 spotter. Also any recommendations on the head? Criteria is light weight and stability. By the way the new Leica spotter is absolutely amazing!!! I have without exaggeration spent 1/2 of my adult life on the spotting hill and observation posts peering through all of the world class optics and they have constantly improved. I have to say this Leica is the best so far. I know for a fact, it isn't my aging eyesight that has gotten better. Anybody with experience or a direction for info on one of these CF tripods and head would be much appreciated. Thanks. TS


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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I have a Manfrotto (3021 I think) for my Zeiss 85 and love it. Old model and not sure what the new equivalant would be. But I am into photography and know a good bit on tripods. I have looked at the CF myself, but can't justify the cost for the minor weight savings. As a shock absorber, with less vibration than aluminum, it may pay off with high magnification on a spotting scope, but not sure. I do know that the weight savings over a metal tripod is not as significant as most people think. I suggest going to B&H Photo/Video website and look at the Bogen/Manfrotto tripods. The Gitzo are nice, but VERY pricey.

    For heads, can't say. I am in the market for a new one myself. I got my tripod with a long arm (video) head. It works OK, but I may upgrade to a more conventional 3 way head with smaller (shorter) arms.

    Check out some digizooming (also called digiscoping) sites. Most are for bird photographers and the focus is on using point and shoot digital cameras affixed to spotting scopes, basically using them like super telephoto lens. I have that set up for my Zeiss and it is pretty cool stuff. But tedious and that is why the tripods/heads are so important. Sites along these lines would give you some insights. One is Z birding. It is a Zeiss site but the info on tripods is universal of course. That is where I would start my search if I were you. These digizoomers really know their spotting scopes (and tripods).

    Be sure to get leg protectors and be sure the tripod has a hook you can hang a counterbalance on for increased stability. A camera bag or gear bag makes a nice counterbalance. Also, a cheap mesh bag you can fill with rocks works too. Many of the Bogen/Manfrotto tripods have spikes for the feet as an accessory. Makes for a much more secure tripod on soil/rocks/etc..
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  3. #3
    Member Timber Smith's Avatar
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    Default Thanks Dan

    Appreciate the guidance, lots of good info.


    "AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE."

    JOHN VIII - XXXII

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    I bought a carbon fiber Manfrotto 055. There are several versions of it, but they are all basically the carbon fiber versions of the 3021. I picked the Manfrotto because it was one of the first CF designs with flip type leg locks. Now there are several other choices for that, but not Gitzo as far as I know. That may mean nothing to you, but I was looking for fast set up & take down, and you have to be more deliberate with Gitzo's twist locks.

    I like the tripod. It is light, fast to use, well made and very solid. And I have to say that even though I do not ever pack it very far I really like the lighter weight. Depending on your purposes, it may or may not be worth it to you, but it was for me. If I was looking for something to pack distances I would have gone with one of the the smaller 190 series. You might be too tall for it to be comfortable though.

  5. #5
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Good info Jim, thanks.

    I have the 190 for my camera and it is too light for a large spotter. The 055 sounds nice though.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    I own a couple of Gitzo's. Not sure what the model numbers are but one is medium sized and I use it when backpacking and the other is a hog that I use with my 500 F4 and close to my vehicle.
    Both were purchased about 10 years ago or so and never had any problem with either of them.
    Tennessee

  7. #7
    Member Matt S's Avatar
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    Default

    Both brands are top notch, I prefer the Gitzo myself.
    Thanks, Matt


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  8. #8

    Default CF

    I am in the same boat. I am trying to find the perfect tripod setup for my Swarovski spotting scope and my Canon XH-A1 video camera. I plan on videoing my entire 100 day guide season this year, and need to use one tripod that will accommodate both the video camera and the scope, not at the same time, just want the ability to switch.

    I've been looking at the Manfrotto CF, yet unsure of the perfect setup.


    Any ideas?
    Marc Theiler

  9. #9
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I know something that would get some info on this...

    Go to www.photo.net and go to the "Nature Photography" forum. Also go to the site, Photography on the Net and enter the gear/accesories/etc.. forum and ask the question, "What tripod for wildlife photography" or similar. Reason I say, these folks are using big and expensive lenses for this. Well suiting to demands of a spotting scope for sure. Mention that you need it to also work well with heavy spotting scopes but pitch the question as a photography question. See the many responses you will get. Photographers are the ones to be asking about tripods. Both these forums are very active and I am sure some good insights would be found.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  10. #10

    Default Yeah good idea

    Yeah, I've done that before. Photography forums are great.

    The gear is so expensive, it's amazing paying $450 for a tripod, after spending 2,500 for a spotting scope, and 2,500 for a video camera.

    The accessories cost can be equally as expensive.
    Marc Theiler

  11. #11
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    No doubt about it, the tripods are pricey.

    Buy you would not put retreads on a Ferrari would you?

    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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