Carbon Fiber Tripods Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suQMbemErVs

BONFOTO Carbon Fiber B671C Tripod

BONFOTO Carbon Fiber B671C Lightweight Portable Camera Travel Tripod

Maximum Height: 55"Folded Height: 15"Load capacity: 17.6 lbsPrice: $107.99(Updated model with better head)

MeFOTO Roadtrip Carbon Fiber Tripod

MeFOTO RoadTrip Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod

Max Height: 61.6"Folded Length: 15.4"Load capacity: 17.6 lbsPrice: $299 (with rebate)

Gitzo GT1545T Series 1 Carbon Fiber Tripod

Gitzo GT1545T Series 1 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod

Max Height: 64.4"Folded Length: 16.7"Load Capacity: 22 lbPrice: $959.88

Hands-on GLOBETROTTER AIR

Overall I am impressed with this small travel tripod that is a lightweight tripod at just 3.2 lbs and a packable tripod at a folded of 12.2"! AND it provides a few features that may be a gimmick but I will let you decide.https://youtu.be/C7zcg54CrXwFollow Steve on his Patagonia/Antarctica AdventureHANDS-ON MEFOTO GLOBETROTTER AIR - This new line of MEFOTO Tripods offers a very packable and lightweight tripod but at what cost? Is this the perfect travel tripod at 3.2 lbs and 12" packable AND it provides a monopod/selfie stick along with a bluetooth remote. Would you use or are they just gimmicks?Buy the MEFOTO GLOBETROTTER AIR

Save BIG on Lightroom, Tutorials, and a MeFOTO Tripod - TODAY ONLY

B&H photo has the Creative Cloud Photography Plan - this is the full version of Photoshop and Lightroom - available for just $88.95. This is a significant savings over the normal price and is good for TODAY ONLY.adobe-cc-photography-planMaybe you feel like you don't know where or how to get started with Lightroom? Well in honor of this special deal I am adding my training tutorials - over 6 hours of content that teaches you the very basics of getting Lightroom installed all the way to editing professional looking landscapes and portraits.Lightroom for Beginners Complete Series 01-09

Use the code todayonly for the largest discount I have ever offered!!!!

MeFOTO DayTripAnd finally, if your looking for a new tripod B&H has a great deal on a MeFOTO travel Tripod.  You can get the MeFOTO DayTrip (Purple Only) for half off at just $49.95. While keeping your photos stable its a small travel sized unit at 24" but folds down to only 9.4" making easy storage in your pack. 

Don't use a Tripod or Tripod Tips and Tricks

https://youtu.be/0wIlHixjTr8 Tripod Recommendations:Budget Tripod: Dolica ProlineMy Recommendation: MeFoto Road Trip CFTop of the line: Feisol Legs with Acratech GP Ballhead Mini Tripod: Pedco UltralightFlexible Mini Tripod: Joby GorillapodI want to take just a few minutes and talk about when you should and should NOT use a tripod - far too often I see beginners carrying around and using a tripod when they don’t need too. In my opinion the only time you must use a tripod is when you are shooting at shutter speeds slow enough that you might get blur from handshake and that typically happens when your shutter speed is less than your focal length. If shooting at 50mm your shutter speed should be at least 1/50 of a second. There are more variables in figuring out the best shutter speed to avoid shake and I talk about those in my shutter speed video.Shooting at those slower shutter speeds is when you DO want the camera on a sturdy tripod DOES it really hurt to use it at those other times? It can because I see beginners doing two things when they use a tripod - setting up at eye level and rooting. We are humans we like to be comfortable and so we often setup cameras at a comfortable eye level, for some compositions this is OK but being free of a tripod means you are free to quickly try a variety of heights - what does your composition look like from ground level, just above? How about as high as you can reach? Using a tripod encourages us to set up at ONE height and stick there - this brings up ROOTING. We plunk the tripod down, put the camera on it and don’t move, continually shooting from the same location - maybe you try a different depth of field, maybe you try moving the focus point but generally you are going to end up taking way too many photos from that point of view and being free from a tripod encourages movement. Small shifts left or right, up or down can make a large difference in your composition not to mention frees you to look in all directions. When we work with new photographers on our trips we like to remind them about the 360 rule - always take a moment to do a slow spin looking for other possible subjects or compositions that are sometimes behind you. Shooting with a tripod is friction against moving and that’s potentially holding you back from a better shot.When are tripods useful?

  1. Using a tripod to shoot a bracketed exposure can help reduce ghosting and increase image quality but if you have a camera with a decent burst rate, with some practice you can certainly shoot a fast burst of bracketed shots without serious alignment issues.
  2. When you are setting up a careful composition, I find a tripod makes it easier to really study your composition, leveling your horizon, scanning the frame for distractions. It's harder as a beginner to study a shot and bring it up to your eye making the adjustments you want though it is possible, just don’t get rooted in the same spot
  3. Working with really heavy lenses, it is nice to have some support there even if you remain above the shutter speed rule.

So there are certainly valid reasons for using a tripod but as beginners I want you to aware of the drawbacks and hope you will keep those in mind as you photograph.

Quick Tripod Tips -

  • Always turn of image stabilization when your camera is on a tripod - some stabilizations systems at some shutter speeds will actually cause blur and give you soft images as a result.
  • I like to position one of the tripod legs under my lens for increased stability.
  • Never ever walk away from my camera on a tripod unless you are 110% sure it is stable.
  • Position the tripod plate release under the lens, making it harder to accidentally grab. There are times in the dark I thought I was adjusting the ball head when really I was loosening the plate. Not fun!!

Do you have additional scenarios where tripods are useful - leave them in the comments below.These days because of all the travel I am doing I am happy carrying the MeFoto Carbon Fiber Road Trip - it offers a nice blend of portability and stability- You can see several other recommendations at different price points below. If you would like to plunk your tripod down next to me in some awesome locations- Click here to see where I am headed next year. Tripod Recommendations:Tripod Recommendations:Budget Tripod: Dolica ProlineMy Recommendation: MeFoto Road Trip CFTop of the line: Feisol Legs with Acratech GP Ballhead Mini Tripod: Pedco UltralightFlexible Mini Tripod: Joby Gorillapod

 

MeFOTO Air Collection

MeFOTO AirIf you remember Toby’s review of the MeFOTO Backpacker he was quite the fan of the lightweight travel tripod. This week MeFOTO has announced a new version of their popular line of travel tripods that are lighter, faster, and easier-to-use. The biggest new change, MeFOTO switched from the previous monopod alternative setup to a new capability of turning into a selfie stick.MeFOTO HyperLock Setup and breakdown times have been significantly reduced with a new HyperLock Design. HyperLock reduces weight, size, ease of use, and setup time with a new twist to lock foot setup to extend the legs. In total almost a 30% reduction in weight compared to the previous models MeFOTO Air is a great choice for a travel or hiking photographer. With the switch to HyperLock specs have changed a bit since last year. Out of the line on average their load capacity is 25% less but still plenty to hold anything you would need. A bit less rugged as well as they’ve also removed the spiked feet; in the case of the WalkAbout it has lost its weather and dust resistance. In terms of packed size the WalkAbout is 5 inches smaller while for the most part tripods receive a small size reduction, the best being the BackPacker at 2.2 inches. With the redesign the minimum and maximum heights have been nicely improved giving the tripods a bit more range for height or getting low to the ground. A better Intuitive design, with the change Mefoto has added icons on the legs for ease of use to those not familiar with the HyperLock design. Keeping the setup from the previous generation ball heads are arca-type compatible for the industry standard quick release plate.MeFOTO BluetoothOne feature missing from the tripods for this generation is the ability to be used as a monopod. In it’s place you now have the option to pull the central column out for use as a extending selfie stick. With the central column out you can connect a cell phone adapter plate to attach your phone (see video). MeFoto has even added a Bluetooth remote that stays with the tripod to fire the phone. As with Toby traveling with McKay Photography, having a selfie stick on hand during a trip to use is a nice touch without having to carry any extra gear.You can pre-order through the links below, the MeFOTO air line will start to ship November, 1st of this year. https://vimeo.com/182870823

untitled-1Pre-order your tripod or monopod in a variety of colors from B&H. The MeFOTO Air line will be available and start shipping November 1st, 2016.

MeFOTO WalkAbout Air Aluminum Monopod $65MeFOTO WalkAbout Air

Load Capacity: 22.1 lb Max Height: 59.1" Closed Length: 13.4"
Sections: 6 Weight: 0.9 lb Translucent Silicon Hand Grip
1/4"-20 Mounting Screw Adjustable Wrist Strap Anodized-Aluminum Finish

MeFOTO BackPacker Air MeFOTO BackPacker Air Travel Tripod $125

Load Capacity: 8.8 lb Max Height: 59.5" Min Height: 11.2"
Folded Length: 14.4" Leg Sections: 5 Weight: 1.98 lb
Carrying Case Included Built-In Selfie Stick Smartphone Adapter & Bluetooth Remote

MeFOTO RoadTrip Air MeFOTO RoadTrip Air Travel Tripod $175

Load Capacity: 13.2 lb Max Height: 61" Min Height: 11.4"
Folded Length: 15" Leg Sections: 5 Weight: 2.5 lb
Carrying Case Included Built-In Selfie Stick Smartphone Adapter & Bluetooth Remote

MeFOTO GlobeTrotter AirMeFOTO GlobeTrotter Air Travel Tripod $225

Load Capacity: 17.6 lb Max Height: 68.1" Min Height: 12"
Folded Length: 16.7" Leg Sections: 5 Weight: 3.2 lb
Carrying Case Included Built-In Selfie Stick Smartphone Adapter & Bluetooth Remote

 

Photographer's Gift Guide: Adventure/Travel Photographers

We have put together 12 lists of recommended holiday gifts for the photographer in your life. Today's list is gifts for the adventure or travel photographer. Check back each day for the next list.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc0CyfnDUM4Mindshift Gear FirstLight 20LJoby SLR Zoom:   I do suggest you buy the ball head too unless you have one you can borrow from a different tripod. Joby Ball Head Abisko Lite Trousers 

Feisol Tripod CT-3442 and CB-50 Head

https://youtu.be/O8jp7h36kSYWhat I appreciate about this Tripod-

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Stable with flexibility in setup
  • High quality
    • Leg locks are smooth and require only a slight rotation to lock
    • Foam padding integrated with legs
    • Large well made CF legs
  • Smooth rotation in ball head - very fluid

My one complaint is using other Arca-swiss style compatible plates - you must make sure you full press the safety catch to full engage the plate.Tripod Specs: 

  • Max Height: 54.33 inch (141cm)
  • Min Height: 77.10 inch (18cm)
  • Folded Length: 18.9 inch (48cm)
  • Weight: 2.49lb (1.13kg) without head
  • Max Load 22lb (10kg)

Learn more about the Feisol CT-3442Buy from B&HThe head used in the review

Steadsnap Universal Tripod Plate Adapter

Steadsnap Universal Tripod Plate AdapterYou may remember I’m the one that did a bit of DIY by taking an angle grinder to my camera gear. I did get a Black Rapid Sport (Amazon | B&H) strap to work well with my tripod’s quick release plate but if you don’t have the tools to grind metal the project could be a bit difficult. As I’m not the only one with this problem Steadsnap created an adapter that slips between the tripod quick release plate and your camera for a spot to hook your strap. The major improvement in this method is that you still can use a tripod without completely having to remove the shoulder strap from the camera.Steadsnap Adapter SetupThe plate is milled out of aluminum and features a steel tripod bolt so it’s not going anywhere and can take up to 44 pounds of gear. Unlike my setup it's universal so if you switched to a MeFoto tripod for example there is no additional work altering its quick release plate. Unfortunately as these are small batch orders the drawback is that the Steadsnap adapter costs $35. Compared to the BlackRapid FastenR-T1 that I used, which retails for $17.95, its the pricier option but an easy solution.As for use the adapter held up fine in review, I covered about 20 miles hiking while testing the plate and had no major issues. Since the mounting point is on the side versus the bottom smaller lenses work better with this setup as larger lenses such as the Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens tended to bump into my leg while walking. I do wish the attachment points were larger, being low profile there is a limit to how big the holes could be but I found that if you didn’t detach it exactly right the tip of the Black Rapid’s carabiner would catch. Since the attachment point to the camera is now on the side taller users get a bit of a bonus using a black rapid strap it gives a couple more inches of material to get low profile shots.Now as for safety you are adding an additional failure point to an expensive camera hanging on a thread. The steel tripod bolt the Steadsnap uses fit quite well and I never had any of the connection points loosen. If you're paranoid of having a camera fall off the connection, or just want a backup, an Op/Tech strap can still fit securely between the carabiner and the DSLR’s body mounts.So would I buy it? Yes & No. Since my current DIY setup works for half the price on a Dolica tripod my method works fine in my case. Now if I ever upgrade to a mefoto tripod having a low profile connector would work quite well and for $35 it isn't the most expensive adapter for sale at the moment. If your looking for a simple setup for your shoulder strap and like the option of not having to detach everything to use your tripod the Steadsnap adapter would be a good solution. https://vimeo.com/105384625Steadsnap Universal Tripod Plate Adapter, available now at B&H for $34.99

MeFoto vs Dolica Ultra Compact Travel Tripods Reviewed

They both weight about 2.5 lbs, fold down to 12.5" and have little ball heads. They also both have hooks under center column for hanging weight to increase stability. Neither tripod is extremely stable at it's very highest setting, something I am willing to sacrifice since the tripods fit in my camera bag so nicely.Tune in to tomorrow's MishMash Podcast for details on how you could win the Dolica Proline

Pros for the Dolica TX570B150SL Ultra Compact Tripod

  • Cheaper
  • Reversible center column - close to ground macro shots
  • Removable/replaceable head
  • Three legs spread settings- MeFoto has two settings
  • Taller - 57" versus 51" on the MeFoto

Pros for the MeFoto Travel Tripod Kit

  • Excellent head - not removable but very well made with smooth panning and locks down tight.
  • Comes in different colors?
  • Built to last- I have used mine for 18 months now and everything is working like the day I bought it. No wear and tear.

Original Full MeFoto ReviewNote - MeFoto also offers the RoadTrip model for $189 that has a removable center column, also converts into a monopod - Buy from AmazonI am happy with my MeFoto and feel the extra money was well spent for as much as I use it.  If just an occasional user you should consider the Dolica and save.  If you don't need a travel or compact tripod consider the excellent budget tripod. Watch my review of the Dolica Proline Tripod.Support this site and my reviews- Buy the MeFoto Travel Tripod from Amazon | Buy the Dolica Ultra Compact Tripod from Amazon   

GoPro Hero 3+ First Thoughts

A GoPro has been on my wish list forever and with the recent update to line I used that as an excuse to buy, along with the fact that I am currently reviewing the competitor model from Garmin, the VIRB.  I will have full reviews of both as well as a comparison of the two- quick thoughts. GoPro offers a huge ecosystem and sweet video quality. Virb offers really slick integration with a variety of ANT+ adapters letting you overlay info on the video, wouldn't we all like to see athlete's heart rates as the fly down the mountain side?  You also get a built in screen with the Virb - nice for quick composing of shots/footage.

Early thoughts about the new GoPro Hero3+

  • It is small, tiny really!
  • It doesn't come with a Micro SD Card? Not sure how I missed that, see list below for recommended Micro SDcards.
  • The user interface on the camera is not the best, thankfully the WiFi works well and in seconds I was connected to my GoPro, I renamed its wireless littlehero ;) and was controlling the camera with a nice live stream.
  • So many mount options and many of them are affordable.  See my list that I have ordered below.

20131004-IMG_676020131004-IMG_6761 

Early Thoughts on the Garmin VIRB

  • It is heavy and feels SOLID. Only waterproof to a meter, separate WP housing not included. I worry about the convex lens that sticks out - seems it screams for scratching.
  • The user interface is lovely and navigating it is dreamy
  • Mounts are hard to find and/or more expensive - to be fair it is a much newer product with smaller ecosystem
  • The integration with various Garmin GPS sensors and ANT+ devices is awesome and I have just barely scratched the surface - lots more thoughts soon.

 20131004-IMG_6763Recommended microSD Cards for the GoPro Hero3 or 3+ Black Edition

IMPORTANT- I have hard that when you use the SanDisk cards GoPro firmware limits the bitrate to avoid issues because of the super slow SanDisk Ultra cards.  Basically those cards suck(I haven't tested the Micro SD version of the Ultra cards but I have an SD version and it is the only card I have seen repeatedly fail during video) and as a result GoPro limits the speed for all SanDisk cards. It is difficult to wade through anecdotal evidence but I am forming a consensus that the Samsung 64GB SDXC card is going to give you some of the best results.  Now - all the cards listed above will work fine this really only becomes an issue when you want to use the higher bitrate ProTune mode.Mounts I have bought for the Go Pro

What else should I order?  Leave a comment below with your favorite GoPro Accessory.Buy The GoPro | Buy the Virb   

DIY - Black Rapid and Dolica Tripod Plate - Making them work together

One of my readers sent me his excellent solution that allows him to use his Black Rapid Fastener and Dolica quick release plate. Dolica AX620B100 and Black Rapid SportFor a Dolica quick release plate to use it with a black rapid sport requires a few modifications if you want to use both without having to switch. Technically this works on any similar designs with a 5mm or more available space under the quick release plate. I didn’t want to spend the money for a Manfrotto tripod for it to be compatible, and even that has issues with tolerances.Suggested fixes were Black Rapid’s recommended M-plate by Custom SLR is $70 and Really Right Stuff has an L plate for $60. For $17.95 you can replace the fastener with Black Rapid’s FR-T1 Manfrotto RC2 version and skip the adapter plate. Unfortunately while looking up the FR-T1 the same issue pops up with the neck of the screw blocking the inset of the quick release. Black Rapid sent me the specifications and compared to the Dolica fastener everything is relatively the same except for the inset.Black Rapid FR-T1So… Remove the offending material! Really, it’s made out of stainless steel, it’s going to hold either way. No guarantees but if you’re paranoid of the screw coming out or metal breaking you can use an op/tech H uni-loop as a backup to a top connection(more about using the uni-loop as backup). It is the perfect size to connect from behind the Black Rapid carabineer to one of the top points of the Canon Rebels.Black Rapid fastenerGet a grinder, dremel, etc. with a bit that can grind stainless steel. Take the lip down to the hole in your quick release so it can inset for the least amount of wiggle. You can use Sugru to rubberize it and fill in gaps as well so things don’t slide around. Connect it all up and secure the carabineer with gaffers tape (does not leave residue) to make sure the slide does not retract.
Thanks to Roy for sharing this excellent DIY.