The first part of the review was the unboxing of the Feisol CT-3472 Tripod. In this section, I’d like to offer more practical information.
To begin, I currently have the Manfrotto 055XPROB Aluminum Tripod Legs and the Manfrotto 808RC4 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head. The 055XPROB Tripod Legs weigh 5.3 lbs and I paid $190.99 for them. The Manfrotto 808RC4 Head weighs 3 lbs and I paid $142.99 for that.
Thus, I was lugging around 8 pounds of stuff not included the camera! Eight pounds may not sound like much, but when you add a 5.6 lb lens, and then the camera, you’re talking about quite a heavy load other than for short distances.
Needless to say, with the new Canon 300 f2.8, I was in need of a new tripod, one that was less in weight, and studier to be able to support this lens.
Once you start looking for a tripod that weighs less and also supports heavy lenses, you almost have no choice but to start looking at carbon fiber. There are lots of good carbon fiber tripods out there, but most are very expensive. One of the photography forums I read is Photography-On-The-Net. There are lots of folks there that review all kinds of equipment and I remember reading one about this brand called Feisol. Since they were cheaper than some of the other brands, yet received very good reviews, I decided to go with them.
I sent an email to the owner (Kerry Thalmann) of ReallyBigCameras and asked what his opinion was on what tripod I should get based on my camera and lenses. I had pretty much decided on the CT-3341T Tall Traveler Class Tripod, but Kerry suggested that this may not be the best tripod for me, especially with heavy lenses. While it would be good for a person of my height, it would not be the best in terms of large lenses. He suggested a few of the larger tripods, but some of those weighed almost as much as the Manfrotto. Granted, they were carbon fiber, but I also really wanted to have something that was light in weight, was built for a person my height, and was sturdy enough for large lenses.
By process of elimination, I decided on the Feisol CT-3472. This is a 4 section tripod, with 37mm legs (that’s huge), can support 26.5 lbs, yet weighs only 3.92 lbs. At $570.00 bucks it’s not cheap, but you’d be hard pressed to find another tripod with the exact same features for less. For those not into photography, $570.00 for a tripod sounds crazy expensive, and believe me, I feel the pain after purchasing this thing, but I’m trusting the expert photographers out there who say you should always get the best tripod you can, especially if you have big, expensive, lenses you will be supporting.
So there you have my decision making process.
Since I really haven’t had a chance to use this tripod (I just received it this afternoon), I can only give some initial impressions.
The first thing that stood out for me where the tripod legs. They look huge compared to the tripod I was using. Since Leecy (my significant other) wasn’t home when I initially received the tripod, I couldn’t take a picture of how big these legs are when putting my (or in this case, her) hand around them. I’ll do that for a Part 3 review tomorrow. I just say though it’s really strange for me. There’s this huge looking tripod with gigantic legs, yet the thing is so dang light. That was what initially stood out for me.
The next thing that stood out for me is how large the base plate is on this tripod. When comparing it to the Manfrotto, it’s almost like comparing a table-top tripod to a “regular” tripod, at least to me.
The third thing that really stands out for me, are the twist legs vs. the flip lever legs of the Manfrotto. I’m not used to that so that may take me awhile to adjust to. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just different. Oh, one thing that really stood out, that’s actually kind of cool, is when you have the Feisol legs extended, then twist them to make them smaller. In the one leg (where it says Feisol in the picture above), when you adjust the leg to make them smaller and push them up into the tripod, you hear this “whoosh” sound as the air (I’m guessing) is being pushed out of the legs. When I push the legs up in the Manfrotto, they just zip right up (which is not really a good thing if you haven’t fully tightened the leg locks).
That’s about as far as I’ve gotten tonight. I plan on waking up early tomorrow and really using this tripod with my new lens, so I’ll provide further updates with pictures tomorrow.
If you have any questions, or specific pictures you would like me to take regarding this tripod, let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate.