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Thread: Tripod - light enough to pack

  1. #1
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Tripod - light enough to pack

    Any suggestions for a fairly lightweight tripod for use in the woods? I don't require anything particularly fancy, my camera setup isn't that heavy (Canon 80D with 28-135 or 100-300). I used to have one from the 70's but I think it got purged in the past 2 years from the basement. I understand it won't be bombproof if it's light, but my needs are pretty basic right now.
    Last edited by David Metsky; 06-19-2018 at 03:47 PM.
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    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Have you ruled out a monopod, as an attractive compromise for such uses? A multi-stage collapsible unit will fit in any pack and give you much of the benefit of a tripod. Better than those flexible "GorillaPods" because it gives you the option of various heights - over five feet on the one I use, which folds up into a little baton that fits the smallest pack.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Can you attach a weight to "light"? I bought a MeFoto tripod last fall for my GoPro and regular camera and I'm pretty happy with it. Pretty good amount of features for the price and it feels like it is good quality. It weighs about 2.5 lbs though. I did quite a bit of research on it before I bought it and it seemed like quite a bit of money had to be spent to get a meaningfully light tripod...or of course get something that was of fairly low quality.

    I believe this is the model I have: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...QAvD_BwE&smp=y

    EDIT: I noticed in link I shared that weight listed is 3.6 lbs. I think that includes the fairly substantial carrying case. The tripod alone is 2.58 lbs on my scale.
    Last edited by DayTrip; 06-20-2018 at 07:46 AM.
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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Check out this thread: http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthrea...Camera-Tripods

    Interestingly I could not find it by searching for "tripod" while it really should come up at the top of search results. The only reason I found it because I remembered about Pakpod mentioned in that thread.

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    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    I have a Leki hiking pole with a cap that unscrews to reveal a screw that I'm sure is compatible with most cameras. Rarely use it for my camera but it telescopes like most hiking poles.

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    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Since I plan on using it for time lapse and long exposures, a monopod won't do.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Do you need a full-height tripod, or would you be content to set your camera on a rock if you could get it level?

    Your basic aluminum full-size tripod for still photos, with 90 degree flip feature for portrait mode, quick-release mount plate, and built-in level, will cost about twenty bucks and weigh about three pounds. It'll be nearly useless for video (too shaky, and won't pan or tilt smoothly enough), and tend to shake if you touch it or in high wind, but it'll get the job done for landscapes (use a timer or a remote shutter switch, and weight it down with bagged rocks in high wind). It'll fold up to about two feet long, which will fit on the outside of a summer backpack, albeit a bit awkwardly. Takes a few seconds to set up. Most can also be set up in an upside-down mode for flower close-ups, and changing modes only takes a few seconds. However, if you take a lot of photos while you hike along the trail, those seconds add up. My tripod mostly gathers dust unless I know I'll have a golden sunset opportunity.

    Full-size means at least 60 inches. If I were shopping for a hiking tripod I'd take a serious look at a 50" or 40" tripod. (These are marketed for cell phones, but most include a photo screw head). They're cheaper, lighter, and best of all, pack smaller. Check listings carefully to make sure they're rated for your camera's weight (including lens) plus a healthy margin.

    For wildlife photos with a great big lens you'll need a tall, extra-sturdy tripod, but for landscapes, a smaller tripod should work.

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    Senior Member bignslow's Avatar
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    Back when I lugged my camera around, I wanted to come up with a solution that used my trekking poles, which I was carrying anyways. I never pulled the trigger on building something, but it looks like someone else did:
    https://backpackinglight.com/univers...tripod-review/

    It is worth noting, that for any home-brew solution, the tripod mount interface is simply a 1/4-20 screw, which makes it really easy to make your own custom mounts (I once put a 1/4-20 on a car I was demo-derbying by just drilling a hole in the roof, but this was for a GoPro, not an SLR).
    Warning: BigNSlow may not actually be all that slow

  9. #9
    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    I've been using this one for years for hiking. compact and light weight. I've used it with several cameras including my Nikon D7200. It seems to stay steady enough in low wind conditions.

    https://www.amazon.com/Sunpak-Platin...+4200xl+tripod



  10. #10
    Senior Member ExploreTheEast's Avatar
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    I've been using this one for about 5 or 6 years now.
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...bon_Fiber.html

    It's juuust now getting to the point that I think I'm going to have to replace it soon (rubber parts wearing off, legs sometime jam open), but it was pretty good while it lasted. I'm not sure if I'll pick up a new one or just start carrying around my everyday tripod, since it's still only 4 pounds or so.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member alexmtn's Avatar
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    Just to be clear on the JOBY Gorilla Pod's weight advantage: my small one does a great job with point-and-shoot-size cameras, and it tips my scale at 1.7 ounces. It's less than a foot tall, but I've found that in most circumstances where I've needed height, there's a nearby tree, rock, rail, or ledge that can be enlisted to solve the problem. As you likely know, the legs can be twisted to grab things like branches, and the grippy rubber they're coated with makes the grip that much more effective. I've found this accessory to be a great thing to have along on outdoor trips where weight is at a premium.

    The Gorilla Pod also comes in a bigger sizes (probably a few ounces heavier) that are suitable for full-size cameras.

    See here for more info.

    Alex

  12. #12
    Senior Member Remix's Avatar
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    Take a look at the MeFoto line--assuming that you do not want to invest in carbon fiber Manfrotto's. Some pack down pretty small, but can take optional spikes on their feet and have provisions to hang a rock or sand bag for stabilization for telephoto shots or shots in the wind. I took one to the Mojave desert for video use, and had no problems. The only issue was the time to took to level the tripod. Also, like hiking poles, the fewer the sections. the stronger the tripod.

    I may through mine up on ebay when I get back from kayaking in Maine the week after next.
    Last edited by Remix; 06-28-2018 at 12:50 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Another way to reduce weight is the camera and lenses. I also have an 80D and some pretty heavy lenses but in addition, I have an SL2 with a selection of STM lenses. (Note: while the SL2 has fewer features than the 80D, it has the same sensor.)
    80D body: 23 oz
    SL2 body: 14 oz

    3 lenses:
    STM: 29 oz (10-250mm)
    Consumer USM: 56 oz (10-300mm)
    L USM: even heavier...

    Totals:
    80D+consumer lenses = 79 oz (4lb 14oz)
    SL2 + STM lenses = 43 oz (2lb 11oz)

    I often carry the SL2 with just the 18-135mm STM for a total of 31oz and no lens changing.

    Note: The refurbished SL2 is on sale right now at Cannon. https://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/c...al-slr-cameras

    Doug

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    Dave, What did you buy or decide on?
    I don't believe in lists to enjoy the outdoors. My dog never did ..... Just enjoy the ride.

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    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinmac View Post
    Dave, What did you buy or decide on?
    I found a smaller tripod in a gear drawer that I'm going to use for now. I want to see how much I end up using it before settling on a new one.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

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