A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > Travel > South America > Lightweight Travel Tripod

Lightweight Travel Tripod

Raquel Sabina , Jun 25, 2007; 08:42 p.m.

I would like suggestions on what to take on my trip. I have a heavy ( for travel anyway) CF Gitzo Mountaineer for use here and on road trips. Need a lightweight one for city use only. No hiking or such. I want it to support a Canon 30 D with a 70-300 and a telextender. Looking more for ease of use and lightweight . I know I cant expect the sturdiness of my Gitzo. HELP !!!


    1   |   2     Next    Last

Bruce Margolis , Jun 25, 2007; 09:29 p.m.

Obviously you like Gitzo so why not the GT1550T? Obviously there is a tradeoff, lightweight vs additional stability, but it should be enough to support the weight with that lens.


Francois Gauthier , Jun 25, 2007; 11:09 p.m.

You can have similar sturdiness and light weight too if your camera is much lower than eye level. If you don't want to go on your knees for that, i recommend a right angle finder.

Combine that with one of the smallest and lightest CF available. If not Gitzo, take a look at Velbon Sherpa pro CF 500 and 600 series

Jim Downs , Jun 26, 2007; 03:08 a.m.

I had a GT 1555T which I left standing in a crop field somewhere in Ecuador when I became distracted by some farm workers who wanted to be photographed. In trying to replace it, I've been told it is no longer in production. Is the 1550 an equivalent replacement? Hope this isn't to far off-topic!

Edward Ingold , Jun 26, 2007; 04:00 a.m.

I suggest you carry a tripod that meets your photographic needs. If it won't fit in your pocket, then learn to adapt. Obviously, there are some compromises. At one end, the tripod should be only as heavy as you are willing to carry. At the other end, you should not consider a travel tripod so light you would not use it at home.

A 300mm lens on a cropping DSLR with a telextender has an effective focal length of 600 mm to 900 mm. From experience, it will take no less than a series 5 Gitzo and a good ball head (Arca B1 or RRS BH-55)to hold the lens steady in even a light breeze. Mine weighs 18 pounds with a video head, and I'm not going to carry this far from the car.

A reasonable compromise is a series 3 carbon fiber. A GT-3540LS weighs less than 4 pounds, sans head, and folds to about 21 inches - a good length for carrying with a shoulder strap, in a suitcase or on a backpack. They are suprisingly easy to carry by one leg, since the legs are widely separated at the top. As a Systematic tripod ("S"), you can swap out the center section with a column, leveling head or plate. You can use a series 3 tripod with a long lens (>400mm equivalent) by applying steadying force directly over the mount with your free hand - Moose Peterson style (q.v.). Hanging weight from the hook will keep the tripod from blowing over, but does nothing to reduce vibrations.

You can use a Series 2 tripod if you limit the lens to 200mm or so (300mm equivalent) and out of the wind, or up to 300mm using the Moose Peterson method. I go everywhere with my G-1227 and B1. It works if I recognize and compensate for its deficiencies. Having used this tripod in many circumstances, I would not consider a 4-section Series 2 nor any lighter-duty tripod. You have the excellent CF Mountaineer - be happy!

Adam Kavalunas , Jun 26, 2007; 03:41 p.m.

Get a Feisol! They are super light and very sturdy carbon fiber pods. I just bought the CT-3401 and I love it. It weighs about 2.8 lbs and supports up to about 15 lbs. The price can't be beat at only 170 USD.


Gary Wong , Jun 27, 2007; 04:51 p.m.

For landscape photography I use my 3001BPRO. For traveling in cities like Boston and cities in Europe the Manfrotto 714SHB has been great. It fits inside my backpack. It is small (around 15.5 inches folded with the QR adapter added onto it). It is very sturdy and it is light. I don?t know the exact weight, but it can?t be more than two pounds. I can check if you wish. It has a small built-in ?ball-head? that is adjusted by the knob at the bottom of the center column. The 714SHB is actually out of production and the replacement model is a 715SHB. The 715SHB model has a built-in QR but it only holds up 2.2 lbs while the 714SHB can handle over 5lbs. Right now you can search eBay and see that someone is selling a 714SHB. Look at the specs listed with the auction and look at the ball-head in the photo. I have used it with a 30D and 28-135mm IS lens.

Douglas Stemke , Jun 27, 2007; 11:03 p.m.

My ultra lightweight tripod is the Velborn Ultra Maxi SF. I was going to China and was traveling extensively with my 6 month old daughter and all her things so I had to keep the photography stuff at an absolute minimum. This tripod is a travelers dream. It crunches down to about 1 foot (30 cm) weighsa less than 2 lbs (1 kg) and goes up and down in seconds with a simple turn of each leg. Each leg moves independantly.

I replaced the head, which was to small with a Giotto (MH-1002)and stroboframe quick release system which is light and flat. I travled with a light weight Pentax system, my largest lens an 80-200 f4.7 and got beautiful photos with it. I can't say I'd trust a much larger lens on the system, but I may give it a try if you are interested. The tripod, stem not extended, only gets a little more than about 3 feet high (1 meter) but it was good enough for my needs.

Craig Gillette , Jun 29, 2007; 10:30 p.m.

I have a Bogen 725B. The head is essentially a permanently installed 484rc2. Total weight is about 3.1 lbs. Collapsed length is just under 20 inches. Although rated at 7.7 lbs by Bogen, it's not classed by them as a dslr tripod. I think my D200 and 70-300 vr lens is ok on it but that's pushing it some. Fully extended with the lens at 300, it's a tad soft under breezy conditions. It won't go "flat." I got it for city walking and museums, night shooting etc., when a big, sturdy pod would be obtrusive, too heavy, or just in the way while carried, etc. For the price though, I'm really very happy with it's performance. I used it recently in Las Vegas for some longer night light shots with a shorter lens using lock-up and a remote and am very pleased with the results. Used without a remote shutter release with the longer lens in a breezy hilltop location, you could see the softer results - if you pixel peep.

I suppose I could go smaller/lighter and/or spend a lot more - and would probably need to spend a lot more to get substantially better results. The small head is a bit fiddly because of it's size and there is some sag but that can be anticipated/adjusted for. Not bad at all for a $120 class tripod. I think adding the extender and it will do better than handholding but you probably shouldn't expect miracles either.

Ray - , Jul 04, 2007; 02:50 a.m.

Adapt with it.

My first was a G1228 the older 2 series, pretty good. Then I wanted more portable so I got a Feisol 3402 I think 40cm folded, 1kg. At the time I wanted to get the Gitzo travelers.

My thoughts now. Its fine if you want a tripod that fits in a daypack - generally 40cm. However, there is hassle, you will waste time taking it out each time and putting it in and when its in the bag its diagonal its not good for your back. Its just a hassle to put the ballhead on and off each time and when you slip it .. the bottom of the ballhead gets scratches and if you have a traveler series or by another company, I know Feisol has one like that design too but once again thats another thing you need to do again.

IMO, get a tripod and use a shoulder strap or put on back of backpack with a tripod hook but that can be a nuisance as well if you are in city but pretty neat if you are hiking. For your travel I say backpack, at home it may be better holding it or a home-made strap all you need is insert one ring on top of tripod - hook the top and hook the bottom hook thats provided (centre column) and whoolah DIY strap.

Travel I say a 2 series Gitzo is nice. Or just use a IS/VR lens and forget it.

    1   |   2     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses