Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2006/02/15

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Subject: [Leica] Portable tripods Suggestions - Bogen Manfrotto prefered
From: henningw at (Henning Wulff)
Date: Wed Feb 15 16:07:03 2006
References: <>

At 1:25 AM -0500 2/15/06, Scott McLoughlin wrote:
>Kind LUG folk,
>Yes, I understand that I'm comitting  great heresy asking about
>tripods for the traditionally handheld Leica M cameras, but I have
>a desire to shoot slower films, and I have slight tremors which
>prevents me from taking stable shots at slower shutter speeds.
>I currently have a heavy, tall and very stable Bogen/Manfrotto (B/M)
>475 and an Acratech ball head. I use the Arca/Swiss quick release
>system with a lovely RRS plate for my M6TTL (and other camera
>systems - Nikon D70 and Nikon FM3a).
>I'm now interested in a lighter weight and portable carbon fiber tripod
>legs that I would likely outfit with the small RRS ball head for use
>"in the field."
>I've searched B&H and the B/M web site and I do find I'm confused
>by all the options. I do like the B/M leg releases, and thus I'm not so
>interested in the  Gitzo light weight CF tripod legs, even though these
>may represent the current state of the art in portable tripod technology.
>I'd like to keep my tripod gear in the same "family" as it were.
>Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated.
>Pics @
>Leica M6TTL, Bessa R, Nikon FM3a, Nikon D70, Rollei AFM35
>(Jihad Sigint NSA FBI Patriot Act)

I've had a number of Manfrotto tripods as well as Gitzo, and in my 
opinion the Gitzos are worth every penny. They have proven themselves 
to be much more durable, and off more real stability for considerably 
less weight. I currently use two Gitzo CF tripods (as well as some 
aluminum  ones): a 1028 and a 1228. The 1028, which weighs about 
750gms, is completely sufficient for Leica M useage as long as there 
is no wind. It's about 138cm high when extended, which is a bit short 
but generally fine for travel.

If I got one tripod now for travel, etc. and money wasn't an issue, I 
would get a G1158T, which goes up to 149cm and folds down to about 
41cm, and weighs just under 1kg. It's good for any M with any lens. 
If I wanted to save some money, I would get the G1197 Basalt, which 
is considerably cheaper and weighs 1.2kg and doesn't fold to quite as 
compact a bundle. I would take this over either the MF3 or MF4 
Bogen/Manfrotto tripods any day, and the price is in the same range.

Note that carbon fiber or basalt tripods absorb vibrations a lot more 
than aluminum tripods, so if the load capacity is adequate (and it 
usually is) then you can often go down one size and get the same 

For medium/small tripods I've found Cullman ballheads to give the 
best performance/weight ration, and the two that I use on the carbon 
Gitzo's are extremely smooth. Something like the 904 Cullman (230gm) 
is completely adequate for the 1 series Gitzo tripods. You can add a 
small Bogen/Manfrotto quick release such as the 3299 system which is 
completely adequate. I use the 394 adapter and 3271 plates because 
they match other heads I use, but the 3271 plates are a bit large, so 
I used a Dremel tool to remove unnecessary parts and whittle it down 
to Leica M size.

    *            Henning J. Wulff
   /|\      Wulff Photography & Design
  |[ ]|

Replies: Reply from scott at (Scott McLoughlin) ([Leica] Portable tripods Suggestions - Bogen Manfrotto prefered)
In reply to: Message from scott at (Scott McLoughlin) ([Leica] Portable tripods Suggestions - Bogen Manfrotto prefered)