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Thread: Tripod purchase question: Stability of 3 vs 4 sections...

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    Senior Member DLS's Avatar
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    Tripod purchase question: Stability of 3 vs 4 sections...

    Hi all. Quick question regarding whether or not there is a significant difference in stability and vibration dampening between 3 and 4 section tripods - all other things being equal.

    I'm trying to decide between two Induro models: 8M AT213 or 8M AT214. The closed length on the B&H website says they're the same but this site says the 4 sec has a folder length that is nearly 2" shorter: http://www.vistek.ca/marketing/proce...?t=Alloy+8M+AT

    If the difference in stability is negligible I would go with the 4 sec to save a few inches in closed length...

    Thanks for the help

    Damian

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    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Damian -

    The 4-section tripod is likely to have a skinnier lower leg section, which will probably flex a bit under load. So if you're planning to put something heavy on it, you might want to give it a try in-store to be sure. Stability and vibration dampening can be enhanced by using the weight hook that is included with the tripod. Hanging a bag on it can make a world of difference (assuming you aren't overloading the tripod of course). Be careful when raising the centre column... vibration resistance drops dramatically when it is extended. I have a small 4-section carbon fibre tripod which I use for backpacking and I like it a lot. It does flex with load but it stays still, which is what you want of course. So unless you see some obvious mechanical compromises with the 4-section unit (cheaper leg locks or something like that), then I'd say go for it. The shorter length can help for traveling, if that is your main purpose. If the tripod doesn't come with a ballhead, then you might want to look at this one:
    http://reallyrightstuff.com/Items.as...head30&key=cat
    I'm a big fan of RRS and I have this particular ballhead on my traveler tripod. It ain't cheap... it will cost as much as your tripod (if not more). But it's very good.

    Hope that helps -

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    Senior Member DLS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Huyer View Post
    Damian -

    The 4-section tripod is likely to have a skinnier lower leg section, which will probably flex a bit under load. So if you're planning to put something heavy on it, you might want to give it a try in-store to be sure. Stability and vibration dampening can be enhanced by using the weight hook that is included with the tripod. Hanging a bag on it can make a world of difference (assuming you aren't overloading the tripod of course). -
    Thanks for the advice Jonathan. With my current set-up I will be nowhere near the load capacity - roughly 18% of max. I'm purchasing the legs and ballhead with the intent of keeping it as my kit grows.

    Thanks for the link to RRS's site. I'm currently most interested in the Induro BHD2 ballhead....read some good things about it - bummed it doesn't have a bullseye level on it so I might have to affix one myself somehow.

    PS. Enjoyed your Vancouver shot very much. We just got back from 3 weeks in the Sonoran Desert! Can't wait to go through my photos.

    Cheers,

    Damian

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    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLS View Post
    Hi all. Quick question regarding whether or not there is a significant difference in stability and vibration dampening between 3 and 4 section tripods - all other things being equal.

    I'm trying to decide between two Induro models: 8M AT213 or 8M AT214. The closed length on the B&H website says they're the same but this site says the 4 sec has a folder length that is nearly 2" shorter: http://www.vistek.ca/marketing/proce...?t=Alloy+8M+AT

    If the difference in stability is negligible I would go with the 4 sec to save a few inches in closed length...

    Thanks for the help

    Damian
    I ordered a 4 sect Induro tripod (Carbon though) a few weeks ago, and just got a call today that it is suppose arrive today. I have been wait for a good set for a while now. I was able to check out the alloy legs in the store, but have not been able to try out the CF ones... so I hope it turns out well and was worth the extra money. I went big and heavy with the CT414 (there is not a big difference in wieght between the Induro alloy and CF versions though).
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    Senior Member DLS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by conropl View Post
    I ordered a 4 sect Induro tripod (Carbon though) a few weeks ago, and just got a call today that it is suppose arrive today. I have been wait for a good set for a while now. I was able to check out the alloy legs in the store, but have not been able to try out the CF ones... so I hope it turns out well and was worth the extra money. I went big and heavy with the CT414 (there is not a big difference in wieght between the Induro alloy and CF versions though).
    Wow! Top notch Pat! You must be tall - the ct414 is a tall set. What did you think of the alloy legs in the store?

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    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLS View Post
    Wow! Top notch Pat! You must be tall - the ct414 is a tall set. What did you think of the alloy legs in the store?
    I thought the alloy version was stiff and pretty well built. I liked it. I looked at the 3 section version so it did seem a little long when colapsed.

    I think the alloy one should work great.

    I am only 6'. I went too small last time and did not want to make that mistake again - so I probably went over board, but I wanted a really high load rating more than the hieght (however, I like the hieght).

    I took mine out today... wow what a beast. With the four section legs I just need to extend three of them most of the time. The longer legs (4th section) comes in handy when you are on the side of a hill, or pointing up with a longer lens with a collar. It is nice to have a set of legs that stays put. With my last set, the legs kept sliding through the clamp. I wanted something stiff for long exposures and windy conditions. I did some long exposures today and it worked great. A new head is going to be the next

    So far I am pretty impressed.
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    Senior Member DLS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by conropl View Post
    I thought the alloy version was stiff and pretty well built. I liked it. I looked at the 3 section version so it did seem a little long when colapsed.

    I think the alloy one should work great.

    I am only 6'. I went too small last time and did not want to make that mistake again - so I probably went over board, but I wanted a really high load rating more than the hieght (however, I like the hieght).

    I took mine out today... wow what a beast. With the four section legs I just need to extend three of them most of the time. The longer legs (4th section) comes in handy when you are on the side of a hill, or pointing up with a longer lens with a collar. It is nice to have a set of legs that stays put. With my last set, the legs kept sliding through the clamp. I wanted something stiff for long exposures and windy conditions. I did some long exposures today and it worked great. A new head is going to be the next

    So far I am pretty impressed.
    Glad its working out for you! I'm really struggling with my ballhead purchase now....Induro BHD3 or used (B&H Demo) Benro B3....not sure which is better. Inquired as to warranty with the B3, waiting to hear back

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    Senior Member Rocco's Avatar
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    So far I've only ever had four section tripods. Just picked up a ProMaster ball head and carbon fiber package that was 40% off. Couldn't pass it up. Seems to be one of those rock solid offerings from one of the little guys. Paid about $325 total.

    As far as stability goes, in my experience, if you don't fully extend each section, it adds a bit more when needed. And of course, most have a hook on the center column that you can hang sand bags or a small camera bag from if things get dicey. But as stated above, the three section is inherently better in regards to stability. I've never found myself in want of more stability with my current set-up though. I think the load capacity is where you'll see the biggest difference between the two options.
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    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLS View Post
    Glad its working out for you! I'm really struggling with my ballhead purchase now....Induro BHD3 or used (B&H Demo) Benro B3....not sure which is better. Inquired as to warranty with the B3, waiting to hear back
    I was looking at the Induro head as well. I do not know what happened (or I am lossing my memory), but the last time I looked, the newer version (BHL3) cost less than the older and heavier BHD3. Now I see the BDL's have gone up in price. The BDL version actually has a much higher load rating so you may be able to drop down to the BDL2 rather than the BDH3. The BDH3 is really big and wieghs about 2.2 lbs (1 kg) and is rated at 55 lbs. The BDL2 wieghs 1.1lbs, and is rated at 66 lbs. I do not know anything about the Benro. Let me know what you come up with because I have to do something soon also.

    By the way, the tripod I looked at in the store was a AT313. I see you where looking at the 213 or 214. So in relation to what you are looking at, the best I can say is: I am really liking the Induro build so far. Even the center column is usable. I do not advocate extending the center column, but it seems to be a stiff set up, unlike the Vanguard that I have been using in which the center column was so shakey... it was not great all the way down, but extended it was horrible. With the Induro I actually raised the column yesterday... the first time I have done that in years. The column can be reversed for macro (a capability I wanted to make sure it had) and it has a hook for adding wieght. It also comes with spikes that can be screwed in the feet to help on ice (kind of comes in handy in the north) - otherwise the legs slide out and act like a spring. The carrying case seems a bit useless since you can not leave the head on the legs if you want to use the case, and the strap was not the greatest either (I am using the strap that was on my Vanguard).

    Good luck.
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    Senior Member DLS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocco View Post
    So far I've only ever had four section tripods. Just picked up a ProMaster ball head and carbon fiber package that was 40% off. Couldn't pass it up. Seems to be one of those rock solid offerings from one of the little guys. Paid about $325 total.

    As far as stability goes, in my experience, if you don't fully extend each section, it adds a bit more when needed. And of course, most have a hook on the center column that you can hang sand bags or a small camera bag from if things get dicey. But as stated above, the three section is inherently better in regards to stability. I've never found myself in want of more stability with my current set-up though. I think the load capacity is where you'll see the biggest difference between the two options.
    I agree Rocco. With my old cheapy, I found myself only extending the top section-leaving the most narrow sections collapsed most of the time!

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