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Lightweight, Sturdy, Inexpensive Tripod to Take Along on Hikes

Ed Vatza , Nov 28, 2006; 03:16 p.m.

I am looking for, well, a lightweight yet sturdy tripod to take along on hikes. I'd like it to either be able to fit in a backpack or to be attached to lumbar pack without having it stick out too much if at all. So I'd like it collapsible to something in the 12" to 18" range (at most). Heaviest combo on it would be a Canon Rebel XT with a 70-300mm USM IS lens. And I am 6'2" tall. Ideally, I'd like to spend somewhere around $100 +/-. Am I looking for something that does not exist? One tripod my local camera shop suggested is the Manfrotto 785B. Any comments? Suggestions?


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Ramana Murthy , Nov 28, 2006; 03:25 p.m.

I was looking for one, for my recent trip to India. Longest lens I carried with me was 100 mm Macro. After mountin my Eos 500N with 100 mm macro on 785B, I did not feel comfortable. The tripod has very thin legs. Finally I took the Bogen / Montrotto 3001 legset. - Ramana

Thorir Vidar , Nov 28, 2006; 03:58 p.m.

lightweight, sturdy, and inexpensive,... do these three words really occur in the same sentence?

i don't know really how much the gitzo 1220 costs, didn't find it at some of the usual online shops, but it's quite light, and quite stable.

best of luck...

Alex Lofquist , Nov 28, 2006; 04:08 p.m.

Well the 1228 is lightweight and sturdy. That's two out of three!

David W. Griffin , Nov 28, 2006; 04:26 p.m.

You can't get all three: You can get inexpensive and lightweight, or inexpensive and sturdy, or sturdy and lightweight. The first one I'd say something like the Bogen 3001. The second, maybe the 3221 or the modern equivalent. For the third I think the Gitzo 1228 carbon fiber mountaineer. The third one is a GREAT tripod, but it's probably over $500.

Leszek Scholz , Nov 28, 2006; 05:27 p.m.

"lightweight, sturdy, and inexpensive"...pick any two.

I do not know what qualifies as "lightweight" in your books - probably something around 4.5 pounds (or 2kg). I had good experience with SLIK Sherpa series - something like 200R or 250R model, is reasonably rigid, reasonably light (about 2kg with including the head), reasonably cheap (around $100-120). There are models in the Sherpa series with 3 or 4 leg segments - the 4-segment legs give you collapsed length of about 22". The quality is very good for the money, so you might try it.


Leszek Scholz , Nov 28, 2006; 05:32 p.m.

BTW, in the shop I compared the SLIK with BOGEN 3001 and I ended up with SLIK. I did bring the camera and the lenses to the shop and tried them on both tripods, giving light whacks to the camera and to the legs of the tripod to check vibration. I also checked the overall stiffness of the setup - and basically could tell no difference between these two.

KL IX , Nov 28, 2006; 06:00 p.m.

Feisol 3402N = $165 + shipping.

lightweight, inexpensive, sturdy enough

Dan Flanders , Nov 28, 2006; 06:29 p.m.

Lightweight, inexpensive, sturdy, are contradictory terms when describing a tripod, and though some manufacturers advertise their wares as such you are in for disappointment if you believe them. For years in Alaska outback I used a hiking staff with a screw in the head that would fit the tripod socket on the camera and that sufficed for the greater part of my efforts. A Leica table top tripod can be held against a tree, rock, or other firm surface to steady the camera. I believe you will find this more satisfactory than lugging around a device that is inadequate for the task at hand.

Ilkka , Nov 28, 2006; 09:09 p.m.

If you can compromise on the height, many otherwise flimsy tripods start to be better when you do not extend the thinnest leg sections (and centre column). This is especially important with the four section tripods that fold into much more convenient size.

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