Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Gadget Bag: Carbon-Fiber Tripods
They’re lightweight, rock-solid tools that are guaranteed to make an immediate improvement in your images
Finally, check what materials were used for the other parts of the tripod. The spider, or hub where the legs attach, can be aluminum or hybrid synthetic. More expensive models use magnesium or other lightweight metals. Confirm that adjustment knobs and handle arms are durable and well made. And look for the little extras. Many carbon-fiber tripods come with a case, and some models feature a spirit-type bubble level that many find indispensable.
The Flashpoint F-1328 Carbon Fiber Tripod combines high-tech features, excellent performance specifications and an affordable price tag. Four leg sections collapse to 21.6 inches for easy carry, but extend to a maximum height of 63 inches. Pack weight is less than four pounds and total capacity tops out at a healthy 24.2 pounds. Like all Flashpoint tripods, the legs of the F-1328 have rubber double-grip twist locks. The center column comes apart and can be used as a low column for ground-level use. There’s a bubble level built in to assure straight horizons, and the leg tips feature rubber pads with retractable ground spikes. Nice touch: The included wrench can be used to adjust leg friction to meet your preferences.
Using Carbon 6X carbon-fiber material for its leg construction, the Gitzo GT1541 Mountaineer is said to be stronger, yet lighter than its predecessor. Carbon “6X” is made using a complex, 3D process weaving six layers of carbon fiber into smooth, solid tubes. At a scant 2.5 pounds, the GT1541 Mountaineer stretches to a maximum height of 62.6 inches and supports up to 17.6 pounds. The Anti-Rotation Leg system makes it possible to extend legs quickly. The unique Ground-Level Set feature gets you closer to the ground by removing the center column and attaching the mounting plate directly to the spider—without tools.
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