This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Carbon Fiber Tripod and Ball Head for Fuji System?

Discussion in 'General X Camera Forum' started by bestefar, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. bestefar

    bestefar Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2014
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    San Francisco

    -Return to Top-

    Dear X shooters,
    I searched for posts on this topic, but didn't find much, so I apologize if I missed something. I have essentially moved to Fuji X from Nikon and I'm looking to update some ancillary equipment. I have an ancient (but probably still good) Bogen 3221 tripod and RRS 55 ball head. This combination weighs in at about eight pounds and, I believe is overkill for my Fuji System, not to mention my aging back. I've got the 18-55 and 55-200 zooms, as well as the 14mm, 23mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4, and Voigtlander 58mm 1.4. I mainly use the X T-2. So I'm looking for a carbon fiber tripod with the following criteria:

    1. Stability
    2. Light weight
    3. Relatively small when folded (for travel)
    4. Enough height for me, about 6 feet tall
    5. Less expensive than the high end RRS and Gitzos

    I've looked at the following brands and models, but none seem to check all the boxes:
    Sirui T-2205X (not really tall enough for me and, additionally, B&H website says it is now discontinued); Sirui N-2204X (half a pound heavier than the 2205, almost 4" longer when folded, criticzed online for two-piece center column that reduces stability when extended.); Feisol CT-3441T (best candidate so far, but even longer folded length than the 2204X- it's 18.9" folded - and it has a relatively small base diameter of 1.57 inches, which some find a problem)

    So I'm open to suggestions for other brands to look at, based on the above four requirements. I'd also like suggestions for a ball head. Some online comments suggest that not all ball heads are totally compatible with the Area Swiss format. I plan to use an L-bracket with the X T-2 most of the time.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Fujiphotog

    Fujiphotog Amateur photographer.

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Messages:
    1,678
    Likes Received:
    1,559
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada

    -Return to Top-

    I have travelled to both Antarctica and the Arctic with my Sirui N-1205 and either the Induro BHD 1 ball head or the Arca Swiss P0. Sirui tripods are well made and good value. I never raise the centre column of any tripod more than an inch or two because otherwise I might as well be shooting with a monopod. However, with the X-T2 you and I have a screen that pulls out horizontally, so you can use a lower tripod and carefully compose and expose your photos.
     
  3. lifesshort

    lifesshort Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2017
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    35

    -Return to Top-

    I don't have a specific suggestion for you as I am still using an aluminum tripod. I haven't bitten the bullet and purchased a carbon fiber, but it's on my wish list. If I may, I would like to point out a couple of things to keep in mind when selecting your new tripod. You probably already know these things. I'm just pointing out things that I learned the hard way. I certainly don't mean to insult your intelligence; I'm only trying to help.

    It seems that you put a lot of weight (no pun intended) on the height/length of the tripod both folded and set up for use. Keep in mind that the more sections the legs have, the more unstable the tripod will be. However, the more sections the legs have, the smaller the tripod will be when folded. There is a trade-off there. Which is more important -- folded length or working height?

    Also, the center column should not be used unless absolutely necessary, since the center column is very susceptible vibrations. When you say, "Enough height for me," is this with the center column extended or collapsed? Of course, a taller tripod with the center column collapsed means a long length when folded.
     
    BillC-PA likes this.
  4. intheviewfinder

    intheviewfinder Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    177
    Location:
    USA

    -Return to Top-

    I also am about 6-ft tall and I have one of the very early models of the CT-3401 (weighs less than 3-lb). I purchased it directly from Feisol. I've had it at least 10 years maybe longer. It easily has 100k miles on it. I remove the ball head and stuff it all in my roller luggage. I carry bodies, lenses, and such in a backpack. Yes it is a bit short. But I never found it to be a hindrance even when using my old Nikon gear. With the X-T1 I just flip out the LCD and I'm ready to roll. I chose it because it had only four sections, a removable center shaft (I don't use one - mono pod on a tripod - not good), and a hook underneath where I hang my gear bag for added stability.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  5. pszilard

    pszilard RemektekMedia.com

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Messages:
    2,670
    Likes Received:
    885
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia

    -Return to Top-

    I recommend Please login or register to view links. I have 14 tripods and the most used one is MeFoto, which is made by Benro company. My 2nd most used one is a large Benro for video. Both carbon fibre.
     
  6. bestefar

    bestefar Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2014
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    San Francisco

    -Return to Top-

    Thanks for the reply. Can you tell me what head you use with the CT-3401? Thanks
     
  7. Phil Duff

    Phil Duff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2014
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Texas

    -Return to Top-

    I've used my Sirui G-20KX ballhead with an XT-2 with battery grip and 100-400mm as well as a Nikon D500 with 200-500mm with a Sidekick gimbal mount - tighten the head down and it works fine. No issues with my Arca-swiss compatible plates including a Kirk L bracket on the XT-2 with grip.

    I'm also 6 ft tall and grew weary of leaning/hunching over to use the viewfinder. So bit the bullet and got an Induro Stealth GIT 304L. Collapsed length is 22 in. and it's more than tall enough that now I can stand up straight to look thru viewfinders. Has no center column - legs splay out for shooting nearly at ground level. A bit overkill for the Fuji's but I also use it with the D500/200-500mm. Because it's carbon fiber with no center column it's weight is not an issue for me.
     
  8. deepsee64

    deepsee64 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2016
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    -Return to Top-

    I've been shooting the FEISOL CT-3442 with Acratech GP-s Ballhead for a couple of years. Started with my Canon full frame and now use with my XT-2. Tripod weighs 2.5 lb and ballhead 0.9 lb, so fairly light. I did buy the center column but rarely use it. More likely to close down to the ground than up high. Legs will fold back over the ballhead, keeping the length under 19". The ballhead can be 'flipped upside down' and leveled, allowing for easier panos. Only problem I've had with the ballhead is when I rented the 100-400 and it had a bit of drift when locking it in.
     
  9. intheviewfinder

    intheviewfinder Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    177
    Location:
    USA

    -Return to Top-

    An older Really Right Stuff BH-40.

    Originally I bought a Feisol CB-50H which had numerous issues. I believe they've ironed out their problems. I was an early adopter and the price I paid was the ball head. The BH-40 does all I've asked it to do. I'm not sure what kind of images you create (do you need levels, protractor, etc?) but I'm sure there are many that would fit the bill.
     
  10. SithTracy

    SithTracy Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2014
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    153
    Location:
    S.E. Wisconsin, U.S.A.

    -Return to Top-

    Big fan of my MeFOTO Globetrotter. Has served me when for a couple of years now.
     
  11. bestefar

    bestefar Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2014
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    San Francisco

    -Return to Top-

    Thanks, I'm looking at the RRS BH-30, but maybe I'll check out the BH-40. I have the RRS BH-55, but it's so large it would negate the reason for small and light, although I'm sure it could probably support all my camera gear. It's a beautiful piece of kit.
     
  12. F2Bthere

    F2Bthere Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2014
    Messages:
    3,075
    Likes Received:
    1,698
    Location:
    Austin

    -Return to Top-

    The MePhoto Globetrotter in Carbon Fiber is not a bad basic tripod. The smaller versions and aluminum version of the Globetrotter didn't feel stable enough to me.

    For what you describe, the Three Legged Thing might be worth a look. I considered MePhoto, but greater height and strength in the same weight class won me over to the TLT. At the time, mail order was my only option for the TLT, since my local store only had MePhoto and Manfrotto.

    Three Legged Things are extremely well engineered and just work well. Mine is a couple generations back.

    I looked "at the at the time" latest version a year or so ago when my store started carrying them and they had figured out even more ways to improve them--better latches, better grippy materials, etc. They are like a more sophisticated design that is similar to the MeFoto: more expensive, stronger, better to use in practice (the details have been well thought through).

    You will find videos on YouTube where people balance themselves atop Three Legged Thing tripods (not recommended) :). And plenty of other reviews and such.

    They improve them with some rapidity, so I would go to their site first to understand what is current and then explore what interests you. Or buy the previous generation to save a few bucks.

    Please login or register to view links

    I wouldn't dump the 3221 too fast. I almost did when I got the TLT, but have found some uses in the studio. It is especially good for weird stuff (adding a boom and such).

    And if the TLT is outside your budget, the Carbon MePhoto Globetrotter is serviceable.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
    crashton likes this.
  13. sixtygp

    sixtygp Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    413
    Location:
    north america

    -Return to Top-

    I use the Benro TAD27C with a Demon DBB44 head. The tripod is a 3 section unit which I find far more stable and easier to use than a tripod with more sections (quick to set up). The head is a fantastic deal through Amazon. I use it for my X-T2 and it is really stable and fairly lightweight- I hump it around hiking, not an issue. Its big enough for stability, and the cost isn't out of this world. I spent a lot of time shopping and buying other tripods. I have a Aluminum MeFoto- its not that stable compared to this one.
     
  14. tijuana taxi

    tijuana taxi Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Messages:
    863
    Likes Received:
    600
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire, UK

    -Return to Top-

    My tripod/ball head of choice fits your criteria nicely, its made in Germany by a company called FLM and comes with a ten year guarantee

    The model I use is this one Please login or register to view links and the ball head Please login or register to view links with Arca clamp Please login or register to view links
    All well engineered, great combination of light, stable and not RRS expensive albeit not that cheap.

    Folds up to a compact size for carrying, height without using the central column is fine for me at 6ft tall.
    Twist locks really do need less than half a turn to engage/disengage and can be operated altogether with one hand

    I switched from Gitzo because at the time their Traveler models were just too short even fully extended.,
    FLM make some excellent products and it all feels, looks and most importantly works like the well made gear that it is

    Here is the link to their US and Canada distributor Please login or register to view links
    Well worth looking at and nice to have a quality alternative from all the far east Gitzo clones
    Just seen everything from B&H in one package
    Please login or register to view links
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  15. nick harvey

    nick harvey New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1

    -Return to Top-

    1. Stability
    2. Light weight
    3. Relatively small when folded (for travel)
    4. Enough height for me, about 6 feet tall
    5. Less expensive than the high end RRS and Gitzos

    Hi
    I would recommend the 3 legged thing Punks Billy with airhead neo - a bit of a mouthful of a name! Please login or register to view links I bought it about 3 months ago for travel, initially size and weight considerations and now use it most of the time instead of bigger ones at event jobs (with my heavier Nikons) as well as travelling with XT-2. It is stable and really well constructed - for example the twist rubber leg sections have a really good progressive lock and grip and allow one to release all sections at once making it much quicker to unlock legs than my large Manfrotto. The head is smallish, but seems to work well and there are also 2 spirit levels. It is £250 - which is very good value in my opinion. I previously bought a Manfrotto travel tripod which is shortly to go on ebay... a little cheaper, not up to the job. Problem was I could find nowhere to see them in the flesh and compare.
    I have no relationship with these guys - I am just a working photographer - but love a bit of good design and for me this is a good combination of lightweight, small and solid
    Nick.
     
  16. intheviewfinder

    intheviewfinder Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    177
    Location:
    USA

    -Return to Top-

    The reason I bought the '40' was the Nikon gear I had at the time. The body and the 24-120mm weighed a lot. Your X-T2 and the 55-200mm weighs a lot less. :D
     
  17. sccjim

    sccjim Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    12

    -Return to Top-

    With my Nikon gear, I first used a Manfrotto (Bogan) 3021 with the large ball head. Looking for something more portable I got a Manfrotto MK190XPRO4-BH 4 Section Aluminum with ball head weighing about 6 lbs. Image stabilization and faster lenses mean that I don't use a tripod as much as I used to. I recently walked around Savannah, GA at night shooting handheld with an X100F 1/30 sec @ f2 ISO 3200 and the results were amazing. There are sometimes though that I absolutely need a tripod so I now have a Manfrotto Befree Carbon Fiber. It weighs 3 lbs with the ball head and folds to 15.5 inches. It's quick to set up and very stable. I'm 6' and it would be nice if the tripod was a little taller, but then it wouldn't fold to 15" and fit in my shoulder bag. Overall, I'm very happy with it.
     
  18. mnhoj

    mnhoj Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2013
    Messages:
    709
    Likes Received:
    621
    Location:
    los angeles

    -Return to Top-

    Great quality with the 3 legged. I have the basic Travis aluminum. Love it.
    Build quality is excellent. Smooth operation. Not too heavy or bulky. You can remove the center column.
    Value priced.

    I used to carry a Feisol with a Markins head. At the time it was a great medium priced high quality setup.
     
  19. tijuana taxi

    tijuana taxi Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Messages:
    863
    Likes Received:
    600
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire, UK

    -Return to Top-

    I also have one of these for when I want to travel very light such as walking around cities carrying a small backpack
    Its fits either inside or in one of the side bottle pockets, very light, portable and fairly stable.

    Changed the ball head on mine, detest those bulky and clunky Manfrotto Q/R clamps/plates, besides all my kit is only Arca compatible.
    It is a bit short which can be awkward because my X-Pro2 doesn't have a titlting screen, have to use the remote app to my phone

    All about compromise and as you say, if it was taller it wouldn't be so handy to carry, does come in very useful at times
     
  20. sccjim

    sccjim Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    12

    -Return to Top-

    I also made the change. The Haoge Combo Boss Adapter ($25) converts the Manfrotto head to ARCA. I have an XE-3 with the grip that has an ARCA plate built in to the bottom of it. Very handy.
     
    fzdp likes this.

Share This Page

  1. fujix-forum.com uses cookies to help personalize content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice