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Friday, April 1, 2005

Gadget Bag: Going Light With Firm Support

Ultralight, but steady tripods for hiking and travel

Compact Aluminum Tripods
The second strategy, using a shorter aluminum tripod, can work quite well, too. If you're on a backpacking trip into remote backcountry or flying from place to place, space can be as much at a premium as weight. A smaller tripod, then, can solve more than one problem for you.

Giottos (HP Marketing Corp.)
(800) 735-4373

Gitzo (Bogen Imaging)
(201) 818-9500

Hakuba (ToCAD America)
(800) 886-2236

Kirk Enterprises
(800) 626-5074

Manfrotto (Bogen Imaging)
(201) 818-9500

Novoflex (HP Marketing Corp.)
(800) 735-4373

Slik (THK Photo Products)
(800) 421-1141

Velbon (ToCAD America)
(800) 886-2236

Although the shorter maximum height might be an issue on occasion, it also can make it easier to set a camera close to the ground. For wide-angle shots with wildflowers carpeting the foreground of that canyon in which you're backpacking, a smaller tripod can be ideal.

The ultralight Manfrotto Compact Digi Tripod 718SHB weighs just 2 3/4 pounds, including a three-way head with quick-release. It supports a 5 1/2-pound camera up to 41 inches above the ground without raising the center column. List Price: $160.

The Velbon Ultra LUXiSF weighs 2.1 pounds with its included ballhead. It will hold up a 6-pound camera and reaches a maximum height of about 40 inches when you don't lift up the center column. A unique leg-locking system offers quick setups. List Price: $159.

The Slik Pro 330DX raises an 8.8-pound camera to 51 inches above the ground without elevating the center column. With its included three-way head, the tripod weighs just over 3 1/2 pounds. List Price: $149.



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