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Thread: Tripod - Carbon Fibre vs Aluminium

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    Member Sammy7's Avatar
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    Tripod - Carbon Fibre vs Aluminium

    Hi All, first real post, so thanks for the advise in advance.

    I'm looking at purchasing the Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Carbon Fibre along with the 498RC2.

    I've chosen the 055 over the 190 for the little extra height and stability and the CF over Aluminium for the weight and material quality. I've read differing views on stability though, has anyone had experience with both CF and Aluminium, which would you suggest and why?

    Open to comment on either piece of equipment.

    I do a lot of walking with my camera gear in a backpack.

    Cheers.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    The big advantage pf CF or Al is weight. If you do a lot of walking the extra cost for CF is well worth it. I don't know the specific tripod you are talking about (I use Gitzo), but as long as the tripod is a good one it should serve you well.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recommend the Manfrottos's at all, and if it were my money doing the talking, I'd rather it was spent on a Benro for starters.

    A Benro CF 3section C-357 is a very good buy at about mid $400's form a local Sydney retailer. Benro's are a Gitzo knockoff in many respects, except that the leg releases are better designed on the Benro(easier to use).
    I also prefer the ease of using the Gitzo style quick release leg tube twist grips(which is what Benro) over Manfrotto's lever or twist lock system.
    If you can afford the extra cost of a CF Gitzo, then this will be ideal.. but seriously I'd take the extra saving of the Benro CF legs and invest that saving in a super high quality ballhead.

    As Steve said, the weight of the CF tripod compared to an Aluminimum version is where the major advantage is. While it may only be a kilo or so, the difference feels more significant when in actual use.
    The weight saving advantage when walking is where you may notice the major difference(if you had two side by side to compare). The lack of momnetum in the lighter CF tripod is where you will notice the difference. Also if you strap it to the backpack for a long hike as well, that 1kg saved can make a difference as well.

    CF is supposed to be more rigid as well, but in normal every day use you may not see any real benefit of that.
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    Hell yeah, CF all the way.
    When I was a spring chicken , I walked up the mount of Olives in the Middle East for the sunrise with a workmates Al Manfrotto tripod to attach my Pentax film camera too (well before the days of photography interests). Sure it was a good sized one with a heavier head, and the road gradient was unbelivable and all the tourist busses passed me, going only marginally faster, I vowed I would never ever, ever, hike/walk any distance with an Al tripod again.
    What's a few extra dollars for something that is lighter and can reduce the weight if walking/hiking. Just add up the coffees and choc bars etc and bang there's the dosh, and you'll never look back!

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    Member dannat's Avatar
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    I like CF for the non tin-ee-ness. CF is good, give bento a go, the manfrot are expensive, the US has some price Adv too, bhphoto & adorama are good

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    Thanks for the help. Arthur - the 357 might be a little out of my price range.

    Anyone with any experience with the C-257 CF or C269 CF and B-1 Ballhead?

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    Photo & video in Victoria have carbon manfrotto for $199 at the moment. check them out. A month ago they were $499.
    Nikon D90, Nikkor 50mm, Nikon 18 - 105mm

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    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    I would go for a CF. It's been proven that CF dampens better/better ability to negate resonance more quickly. I won't recommend Benros as i have one. LoL. If you want budget go for the Sirui instead. Much better build quality at a better price, i wish i had been better informed when i purchased mine.

    Tripods will last you for almost the life of your photography, if you can.. go for the best. Gitzo or a Manfrotto will not disappoint. Add on a Good ballhead as well.

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    Thanks Keefy, any specific peice of equipment to suggest? As I mentioned, I'm looking at the Manfrotto 055 and 498 RC2.

    I've been in store and tested both pieces of equipment, both seem great. Would you suggest a better quality ballhead?

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    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    Well it really does boil down to what you need and can afford (unless cost it not an option ... which i think it is for most of us!). What kind of gear do you use (weight)? Tripod for landscape? Birding? Need you consider the flexibility of your tripod? Some of the tripod headstock can be tilted. I cannot recommend you an item without knowing what you use it for and your core requirements.

    Rule of thumb when it comes to tripods.

    Stability Portability Cost.
    Pick any 2.


    The 055CX was part of my buy list when i bought a tripod. The only issue is i need a light tripod (bad back) so i went with a similar priced but not so great brand.

    055CX comes with 4 sections or 3 sections. 4 sections makes it smaller (obviously), but also makes it's more susceptible to vibrations. Do consider that as well.

    As for ballheads, i've always been very inclined to RRS and Markins. Had great expereince with them.. but at a cost. RRS is still afforable(ish), but markins is expensive as hell. The 498 RC2 is great as well. If you read around a little it's always said, great legs.. not so great head and vice versa. (get that filthy thought out of your head! LoL)

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