Travel Tripod: CF or Aluminium

vala

Active Member
Im in the market for a tripod to take with me when I travel through China this summer and have come across the Benro Travel Angel range.
Im in 2 minds whether to go for the carbon fibre version over the aluminium and would be very greatful for some input from those in the know.

Spec wise the aluminium tripod weighs (according to Benro's website) 0.10KG although I believe this to be the legs on their own compared to a legs and head combination for the CF version. So lets say approximately 0.40KG more inc head.
This seems to be the only difference in terms of spec. The aluminium one is available complete with a lesser head whereas (so far) I have only found the CF version available legs only.

So now the only difference is the material itself (CF against Aluminium) and how that can affect the stability and performance of the tripod.
I have heard that the CF models are better at reducing vibration and dampen these better but wouldn't the rubber parts do a fair amount of this?
 

ncmoody

Novice Member
What matters is the flexibility of the legs and to be honest I have not found a good rigid lightweight tripod. I have both Ally and CF and both flex too much for me. I now use a CF monopod (which is still a bit bendy) to take the weight and rely on VR (IS) for stability. That is when travelling. Otherwise a very heavy tripod and some times an extra weight suspended under the head between the legs.
 

cedmondson

Well-known Member
I'm not sure we have enough info to help.
What kind of photography do you plan and what are your travel constraints?
In the absence of further info, I'd say take a good quality alloy tripod as it will handle rough treatment in transit - CF tubes can snap if they get knocked about too much. I've seen it happen and I take far more care of my CF tripod now than I used to.
I have to (mainly) disagree with the preceding post. Whilst he correctly states that no tripod is perfect, many good ones (both alloy & CF) will meet most people's needs. I assume the OP knows already that setting it up well, avoiding column extension, using available weighting and locking up the mirror will all improve IQ.
But either alloy or CF tripod used intelligently will provide a far more stable platform than a monopod / VR.
 

vala

Active Member
thank you for the replies so far 'ncmoody' and 'cedmondson'.

aside from the Benro travel angel I have come across another brand (Feisol) who make a similar product and both have a hook at the base of the centre column from which items can be attached to provide more weight and hopefully then more stability.
I was planning on using the tripod for landscapes and in particular when shooting these when wanting long exposures. Aside from this particular use (where a tripod is a must), I really just don't want to head off on my travels and not pack one and then come across a situation where one would be handy. This is of more importance as I'm travelling solo and I may want to capture an image with myself included.
Im really looking for something that can be packed away in a daysack and weighs as little as feasibly possible. Going from past experiences when I've travelled through a country before, I often get sidetracked and end up walking/sightseeing/exploring for large parts of the day so the lighter my bag the better. When I would be travelling a more substantial distance the daysack will be attached to my main rucksack so this is where a tripod, as compact as feasibly possible, would be beneficial.

Obviously if I could get away with the lesser expensive option that would be bonus however I do understands that tripods can be a more 'one time purchase' compared to other bits of kit. This is why I have been exploring the real benefits to CF tripods and trying to see whether they really are worth the extra money for simply a few hundred grams.
 

ncmoody

Novice Member
Have you considered a 'Gorilla pod' or a clamp such as eBay item 270600145375
 

Clownfish

Novice Member
On that same Amazon page have you considered the Giottos Vitruvian?
Its 1.5kg, full height, folds down to 40cm, converts to monopod, has bag & hook.
I can vouch for it and there are reviews out there. Yes it is not as solid as a serious tripod. It never would be though. It is a compromise.

Jacobs stock them so maybe you can see before you buy.
 

vala

Active Member
I was considering a gorillapod slr zoom however having read the reviews, although there's a lot of positive ones out there, I'm not to confident in it holding x amount of £'s worth of camera gear at various angles. Plus there may be occasions where I would need the camera to be a lot higher then just ground level (when maybe there is no where higher up to attach the gorillapod to).
Very interested though in adding the Giottos Vitruvian to the list of tripods to look at. Benro do a transformer version which allows one of the legs to be removed to enable it to be transformed into a monopod.

Thanks for the heads up and i'll be sure to see if I can make a trip over to a Jacobs store to see one of these in the flesh.
 
Last edited:

cedmondson

Well-known Member
This is all just personal opinion, but I might be tempted to go CF to save even a small amount of weight if I had to lug it a long way. YMMV of course.
I'm not convinced that anything classed as a compact or travel tripod will yield a big advantage in rigidity for CF compared to alloy though.
Nor would I get too hung up on the 'once in a lifetime' purchase philosophy - the problem is that different tripods suit different situations. Have you considered maybe having one just for travel & another for general use? Personally I'd buy an even smaller alloy tripod for your trip - Velbon used to make a great little 'Luxi F' which was highly thought of in this forum a couple of years ago - though its since been replaced with newer models which I'm unfamiliar with.....but I'd also have a big rigid (perhaps CF?) tripod for whenever you don't have to carry it too far. All highly subjective of course :rolleyes:

Also consider your choice of head as carefully as the legs.....though again there's nothing to stop you having more than one :devil:
 

vala

Active Member
having now started looking into the Giottos model mentioned above I too am leaning towards a CF model. For that particular brand and model the CF version is just £75 more.
Although they may not yield a big advantage in rigidity would you say there's any benefits in reducing vibrations, thus aiding image stabilisation? I would have thought the rubber feet would have taken care of most of these however this seems to be the only other benefit to having a CF tripod that I have read about.
I've had a quick look on google for that particular model and it may have been replaced by the Geo E440 which is in the current line up. This however is £155 (cheapest i've found so far) and does not include a head. Its closed height is 360mm compared with the 400mm with the Giottos and weight capacity is 2.5kg compared to 4kg. Once the head is added to the price it won't be that much more to go for a CF Giottos, or even save some money and pick up the ally version for £150 (head included).

I'm sure at some point in the future I may look into purchasing a heavier more stable tripod however for the time being I'll just stick to a compact one to serve the needs at the moment.
 

cedmondson

Well-known Member
Regarding rigidity & vibrations - rigidity is the holy grail of tripods. Rubber feet are likely to add to vibrations rather than damp them. Don't worry though :)
The important thing is to control / eliminate sources of vibration. Weight your tripod if you can. Shield it from high winds if at all possible and splay the legs wider if its windy. Use mirror lockup and either timer or a remote control to trigger the shutter ...etc etc.
I wasn't suggesting you rush out to buy multiple tripods now - just that it's one of those things where 2 or more could be a better solution than an 'all purpose' compromise.

2 things to reiterate:
#1 CF is more fragile than alloy. You might want to think about whether your packing / carrying plans might expose it to hard knocks.
#2 Choice of head is as important as the legs...and may be as expensive if you want something good. My main tripod is a Manfrotto 055CXPro4 and I use this head with it (and a QR system). If I had to compromise, I'd economize on the legs in preference to the head.
 

Clownfish

Novice Member
The Geo440 has been out for a while and is a different model. It is not full height and you would have to add a head to the cost/size/weight.

The benfefits of the CF Vitruvian are IMO negligible. If it was me I would rather put the money towards a 2nd tripod. One of those big heavy types.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Best Hi-Fi products of 2020, Plus Best of the Month for TV Shows & Movies
Top Bottom