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Best tripod for A7 Series under 1.3kg (2.8lb) and over 130cm height


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I have done a study of travel tripods in search of a suitable yet lighter one than the Promaster X525 at 1.25kg that I currently use.

I want to hear from anyone who knows of a lightweight tripod thats not a tabletop low height model, or over 1.3kg (2.8lb), there are tens of good travel tripods between 1.3kg and 2kg as you will see from the dpreview link below, all too heavy in my book.

I had posted this at the end of a long thread over at dpreview, http://www.dpreview..../thread/3594695
I have updated and thought it best to the A7 community to start a new thread here.

Background:
I am religious about weight and compact size, why I never bought a DSLR in the past and waited a painful two years when I had the money to buy my first full frame dslr, for the A7r to come out.
My Lowepro Protactic 450AW backpack is about 8.5kg fully packed with A7r, 24-70, 16/35, F20m, F60m, lotsa batteries and other lightweight accessories. Although I usually put my batteries and tripod in my suitcase, I want to get the whole kit closer to 7kg or at least under 8 so I can go cabin baggage with the lot when flying.

 

Tripods:
I can’t find a better tripod than the Promaster X525 that I currently use, believe me I want to find one lighter with minimal compromise but I cant, if anyone else can beat its specs for the A7r with a strong focus on lower weight without losing reasonable height please reply.

 

Let me summarize features of the top contenders that I found in order of importance to me……all weights include the head.

Must have features in bold, Nice to haves in italic underlined

Promaster X525 View Here
Weight: 1.25kg (2.7lb)
Height: 160cm
Folded Length 40cm (with Head)
Weight Hook: Yes
Spirit levels: Yes 2
Monopod: Yes
Cost US$170
Cons: plate too big, can’t tilt A7r screen when attached, not a big deal but an annoyance.

 

Promaster also have a carbon version, X525c that has identical features to the X525 at $300 it is 960g, thats 290g less for 80% more in cost, the X525 is on par with the T-024x below but $60 more and 20cm more on height.

Manifroto befree Carbon View Here (not looking at the alloy one as its 1.4kg)
Weight: 1.1kg (2.4lb)
Height: 144cm
Folded Length 40cm (with Head)
Clip legs (I recon this is much better and faster than the screw in types but have not used yet)
Weight Hook: No
Spirit levels: No
Monopod: No
Cost US$350
Cons: Price and items missing above, height is low, not much gain in weight loss 150g.

Sirui T-024x View Here (successor of the T-025x, its updated with an adjustable centre column which I hear was a big stability weakness of the T-025x but unfortunately it adds 120g of weight making it 920g)
Weight: 920g (2lb)
Height: 139cm
Folded Length 40cm (with Head)
Weight Hook: Yes
Spirit levels: No
Monopod: No
Cost US$269
Cons: low height
You could add the E or KX series ball head which have spirit levels but they add 80g for the E and 150g in weight for the KX, but I believe the T-024 comes with the C-10 head so you would have to buy two heads in total making it expensive.

Sirui T-025x View Here
Weight: 800g (1.76lb) (various websites from Sirui's to Adorama to BH photo give different weights for this tripod, showing the tripod as 700g with the head listed separately at 200g etc, but I think these are errrors and with head its 800G.
Height: 139cm
Folded Length 34cm (30 without head)
Weight Hook: Yes
Spirit levels: No
Monopod: No
Cost US$239
Cons: low height, stability issue described here http://www.dpreview..../thread/3235300

You can remove the fixed central column to resolve the stability issue but height goes to 95cm

Mark Galer reviews tye T025x briefly and other tripods here http://www.markgaler...he-tiny-tripods

My Conclusion:
1) The Befree is too expensive for just 150g less than the x525 and looses a lot of its nice to have features,
2) The Sirui T-024x is 330g less than the x525, its tempting but not enough weight loss to justify buying a new one
3) I would love the T-025x at 800g but the stability issue is stopping me currently

4) I struggle to justify the 80% more ($130) for the X525c compared to the X525, however at just 160g over the Sirui T025x and not loosing on height that looks like my best choice for my next tripod.

 

Currently I am tied between,

i) Sirui T025x (Unstable, 20cm less, 160g less and 6 cm less packed down) and

ii) Promaster X525c ($130 more, 20cm more and more stable)

 

But I am very strict on weight, so for anyone reading this I would recommend the X525 at $170 as the stand out winner here, after all I will keep that and buy a lighter model so I will have both, therefore maybe the lure of the 800g Sirui will take me before year end as my second tripod:)

 

 


Cheers, Steve
Lawlors Landscapes
www.lawlor.me

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http://www.3leggedthing.com/punks/evolution-3-punks-rick-airhed-mohawk.html

 

Indicates it's 1105g (but listed as out of stock anyway...)

 

Is the intention to get everything in a cabin bag? I try to carry-on everything (valuable) except my tripod as it takes so much space especially with the video head. Interestingly, BA have recently changed their policy and only guarantee cabin space for a bag significantly smaller than the maximum cabin bag size.

 

Have fun with the search!

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Be careful in going too light. The A7r shutter requires a pretty steady tripod and head. Whenever possible I lug around the heavy one that I used with the large format camera; it's an hassle but the images are well worthy.

 

If I want to go ultralight I use instead a Velbon Ultra Rexi L with a Sirui head:

 

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/velbon-ultra-rexi-l-tripod-review-16157

 

Including the head and a shoulder strap, but with the bottom part of the central column unscrewed, it comes just shy of 1.600g.

 

I have to be careful, though, with the shutter times if I'm using anything longer than 85mm. It is feasible, but I have either to use 1/x focal length (like using the lens handheld) or long shutter speeds (from 1/2s and below).

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Thanks for the replies,

Snowfun, the 3legged Evo3 model you mention is just over 1.3kg with the head and at 150cm height it is a contender to the criteria that I have listed.

Addictedtolight, the Velbon looks interesting but it's 1.3kg without head so at least 1.5kg with one.

Timde, The TQC14 is 1.5kg with the head and over $1,000?

http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/TQC-14-Tripod-with-BH-30-LR-Ballhead

 

 

 

Steve,

Lawlors Landscapes

www.lawlor.me

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Another worth looking is the Feisol CT 3442 tripod

1.13kg,

1.41m max height,

18 cm min height,

folded 48cm (18.9 inch)

Optional centre column

 

Lots of positive reviews on it, I've had mine for a couple of years and they are well made.

You can always hang your bag off the centre hook (with or without centre column) to add some mass as necessary.

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Just to compare apples to apples, the Feisol is 1.41m to the top of the centre plate, no column, with the tripod legs splayed out in their first lock position of 75 degrees. In the same splayed configuration, with centre column fitted and extended is 1.75m.

It uses twist lock legs with anti rotation, no monopod option.

 

Sorry just looked online and realised your Promaster looks like it comes with a packaged ball head. Therefore the Feisol wouldn't meet your criteria.

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Thanks for the replies,

Snowfun, the 3legged Evo3 model you mention is just over 1.3kg with the head and at 150cm height it is a contender to the criteria that I have listed.

Addictedtolight, the Velbon looks interesting but it's 1.3kg without head so at least 1.5kg with one.

Timde, The TQC14 is 1.5kg with the head and over $1,000?

http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/TQC-14-Tripod-with-BH-30-LR-Ballhead

 

 

 

Steve,

Lawlors Landscapes

www.lawlor.me

You can select a range of heads, there are a few ultra light versions. Under 1.3 should be possible.

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My Lowepro Protactic 450AW backpack is about 8.5kg fully packed with A7r, 24-70, 16/35, F20m, F60m, lotsa batteries and other lightweight accessories. Although I usually put my batteries and tripod in my suitcase, I want to get the whole kit closer to 7kg or at least under 8 so I can go cabin baggage with the lot when flying.

 

...

 

But I am very strict on weight, so for anyone reading this I would recommend the X525 at $170 as the stand out winner here, after all I will keep that and buy a lighter model so I will have both, therefore maybe the lure of the 800g Sirui will take me before year end as my second tripod:)

 

 

 

If you are  carrying 8.5 kg of stuff then you are not "strict on weight", thats BS. I carry at _most_ an a7m2, basis 25, loxia 50 and sony 70-200 G - that is around 2.5 kg - and not too different from your list. I add a 2kg tripod (soon to be a 1.3kg tripod). So I'm still 4 kg under your pack weight ... even if I add a f60m and Lee filters I'm still well under.

 

My suggestion, look at the other 4kg of equipment ... and buy a smaller bag!!! Lower Flipside for instance.

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Hey Timde,

You are right, with the lightweight ball head the TQC14 comes in under 1.3kg, however $900 is right up there, not that cost was one of my criteria but don't you think the Promaster X525C at $300 and 950g blows that out of the water? Unless I am missing something, is the TQC more stable or something?

 

Thanks for your comments re weight, indeed my Loweoro Flipside 450 weighs 2kg without anything in it, and I have every little fixture in there, but I do break down to a smaller bag and padding set that's inside the 450 which must be around 4-5kg with tripod. But given my long hikes I need such a bag and all the bits and pices inside (from a spare tripod plate, to battery chargers, emergency food, suncream, mozzie repellent etc)

 

Mark Galer has a great video on the 7kg bag, he talks about a bag that's 500g I think, without anything in it as a good starting point, so maybe will pick up a new bag someday http://www.markgaler.com/the-7kg-bag

 

 

Steve,

Lawlors Landscapes

www.lawlor.me

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks Amfibius but with the head the 1555T is over 1.4kg and the price? What the hell, over $1,500 without the head? Is it made of kryptonite or something? The promaster X525 is $180, I wonder what the difference is, stability? Or is there a difference?

 

 

Steve,

Lawlors Landscapes

www.lawlor.me

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Hi Steve, incidentally I am in Melbourne also. Camberwell. 

 

If you google reviews for Gitzo, you will see that it damps movement better than any other tripod. With some lightweight tripods, shutter clicks resonate through the legs and can affect your photos at certain shutter speeds, ESPECIALLY the slow shutter speeds which make you want to crack out a tripod in the first place. Also, the GT1555T folds up to be the most compact, yet unfolds to be the tallest tripod in its class, while offering above average weight support. As you point out, the downside is the price. 

 

If you buy a Gitzo, you have to pair it with a decent ballhead. I would suggest you pair it with the RRS BH-25 ballhead: http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/BH-25-Ballhead

 

This ballhead weighs just over 200g and conservatively supports 4kg. You will end up with a tripod/head combination just over 1.2kg which is capable of mounting 600mm lenses, if that was your wish. And all this for a folded length of 42cm. 

 

Are you invested in the Arca-Swiss system? I use an RRS camera plate with a Kirk Safety Strap. Hardly anyone talks about the Kirk strap, but IMO it is an underrated gem. Very nicely padded, and it comes with a plate to attach to your camera via the Arca-Swiss tripod plate. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Today I got a TQC14 with BH-25PF (and a Pano thing to go with). It cost a lot of money, however the quality and design are fairly impressive, I would say similar to the construction quality of a Leica M lens - very nice. 

 

Compared to a cheaper (1/3 rd price) Cullmann Magnasit 525, which has a similar usage envelope ; 800g lighter (2.1kg v1.3kg), when packed around 25% shorter and narrower, really quite small in comparison, and probably most interesting, despite being shorter/smaller in every dimension, significantly more stable.

 

Its all rather well thought out, so probably money well spent, but still rather expensive (as too are the Gitzo tripods). The cheaper tripods mentioned in this topic just don't compare when it comes to design and quality - if all that matters is Grams and Dollars, well, then, thats OK, however its pretty clear that the much more expensive tripods are in a completely different league.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've got the Sirui T-025X and I'm pretty happy with it. I didn't read about the stability issues, but I guess it could be because of the centre column. I threw away the centre column and attached the ball head directly to the top plate and that works pretty good. I've been using it with all kinds of lenses up to the FE 70-200/4 and don't have stability issues with it. However, it is not nearly as solid as my huge Gitzo tripod, but that thing is too heavy to carry on the backpack.

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I really like my Mefoto RoadTrip, at 1.4kg for the carbon version.  Comes with a decent ball head, a generic quick-lock plate, and folds very small (with reverse folding legs). Mefoto makes smaller / lighter models (the Backpacker is 1.18 kg) but this one is a no-compromise tripod for a mirrorless camera.  http://www.mefoto.com/products/roadtrip.aspx

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I travel with my gear quite a bit and definitely agree that taking a rock solid tripod is worth the extra weight for the added stability. When I am traveling with only carry-on luggage I think that my Oben CT-3461 Carbon Fiber Tripod With BE-117T Ball Head is a pretty stable support and weighs about 2 lbs. I sent back the Oben 2461 which was lighter with thinner legs, as it was simply not heavy and stable enough to insure stability. The Oben ct3461 does the job although I would not trust it in a strong wind. I think the Oben brand is a bit under the radar, but a solid relatively inexpensive tripod. Any tripod that is lighter than my Oben seems to have little spindly legs. And why risk your camera and photos on a rickety support.

When I do not need to pack my tripod in carry-on luggage I much prefer my Gitzo Series 2 Carbon 6X Leveling Tripod. With a good shoulder strap it never weighs me down.

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For ball heads and camera plates, Really Right Stuff is the very best.  Bar none.

For legs, carbon fiber leg sets from Really Right Stuff and Gitzo are the best.  You can't fully appreciate how stable they are from looking at photos or comparing specs.  You have to actually use them.  Once you do, you won't be happy with anything else.  These are expensive but long-lived pieces of equipment, that you can use for years, as you change from camera body to body.

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