3
\$\begingroup\$

I want to buy a tripod and a gimbal head to shoot birds in flight. I want to buy the TMA37AL Mach3 Serie 3 aluminium Benro tripod or the TMA38CL Mach3 Serie 3 carbon fibre Benro tripod. And for gimbal head I consider buying the Benro GH2.

My quenstion is, is the carbon or any carbon fibre tripod heavy and steady enough to carry the magnesium gimbal head in windy conditions and such? Or is it a better option to go with the aluminium tripod? The price on the two are very close.

Gimbal head: Benro Gimbal GH2 magnesium

Tripod Aluminium: Benro Stativ TMA37AL Mach3 Serie 3 aluminium

Tripod Carbon Fibre: Benro Stativ TMA38CL Mach3 Serie 3 kolfiber

Ben

\$\endgroup\$

3 Answers 3

2
\$\begingroup\$

is the carbon or any carbon fibre tripod heavy and steady enough to carry the magnesium gimbal head in windy conditions and such? Or is it a better option to go with the aluminium tripod?

The relative weight difference between two otherwise nearly identical tripods is immaterial while you're shooting. With the weight of a gimbal, camera, presumably somewhat heavy lens, and especially the weight of your arms, the tripod weight difference will not be a factor.

Even when you're not shooting, the slight difference in weight won't really matter. If you're concerned, you should either add weight to the center column hook (many people like to use their camera bag, but in windy conditions, the bag and swing and hit the tripod legs). You can use bungee cords, ropes, bungee nets with rocks, and other methods to weigh down the tripod. I've seen people use tent stakes and bungee cords to "add weight" (downward tension), but because the cords are staked down, it doesn't come with the added downsides of free-hanging weight.

Specifically, those two tripods are both very capable, and will be plenty strong to hold a gimbal and long lens. I don't know if the aluminum TMA37AL comes with a short-center column replacement, but the TMA38CL does, and I'd certainly recommend using it. There's just no point using an extensible center column with a gimbal — the center column is single biggest contributor of vibration and instability on tripods.

Just in case you wanted more info, FStoppers favorably reviewed the TMA38CL, even compared to a 2-series Really Right Stuff tripod that was more than twice the Benro's price.

\$\endgroup\$
1
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, tripod weight is much more significant when one is used with no user contact for longer exposures. With birding the Tvs are short enough it's as much or more about help supporting the weight of the camera/lens rig as it is about reducing motion blur caused by camera movement. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 11, 2021 at 6:56
2
\$\begingroup\$

Both are rated for the same load (16kg). The carbon one isn't that much lighter. After that it depends on your camera or lens but a DSLR, a usable lens and a gimbal head should be under 6kg together.

Now, I wonder what kind of bird in flight you shoot with a gimbal head, especially if you worry about the wind. Framing a bird in flight requires to be very quick...

\$\endgroup\$
4
  • \$\begingroup\$ Lot's of birders, including some of the biggest names in the game, use gimbal heads. When shooting with very narrow angles of view upwards of 600mm on FF cameras, camera stabilization is a prime concern. Having help supporting heavy Super Telephoto lenses is also paramount when observing one's quarry for long time periods before actually shooting when something interesting finally happens. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 11, 2021 at 6:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm new to birding, but yes it is the main set up. Check Jan Wegener he is very good. \$\endgroup\$
    – user67876
    Mar 11, 2021 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ He is not shooting birds in flight with it... And TIL that I've been using my head the wrong way (on the right) all along... \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Mar 11, 2021 at 20:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ youtube.com/watch?v=ne-vkwitp9k \$\endgroup\$
    – user67876
    Mar 12, 2021 at 9:30
-1
\$\begingroup\$

I am biased toward carbon fiber over aluminum.

  1. Carbon fiber is relatively non-conductive versus aluminum 1 should you get caught in a lightning storm. It happens.
  2. More commonly, it is easier to handle in cold temperatures without gloves because it doesn’t conduct heat well either. This makes a tripod much more pleasant to use.

Generally, any major brand tripod or head will work well at its advertised capacity.

1 carbon fiber conductivity of approximately 110 S/m versus approximately 35,000,000 S/m of pure aluminum.

\$\endgroup\$
9
  • \$\begingroup\$ Carbon fibre IS conductive. That is actually the test to see if that is glass fibre with carbon print or if it is really carbon fibre. If you built quad copters with carbon chassis, you can actually short your electronics if you do not add insulation. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2021 at 11:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KaiMattern I have modified the answer to clarify that carbon fiber is relatively nonconducting versus aluminum. There are galvanic series considerations that may effect electronics. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2021 at 16:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KaiMattern This (dissertation)[orca.cf.ac.uk/91269/1/2016AbidRPhD.pdf ]describes the anti strophic character of carbon fiber electrical conduction. More parallel to the layers than between layers. Table 2-1 shows significant electrical resistance (low conductance) for woven carbon fiber cloths. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2021 at 16:34
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Since you are likely taller than the tripod, you are the thing that attract lightnings (it's static electricity at the beginning, your resistance doesn't count much), And once the lightning starts it could be useful to have something than conducts electricity much better than you in the vicinity. You would still be killed by the ground currents between your feet but at least your corpse would remain identifiable... \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Mar 11, 2021 at 20:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think some of you are assuming the tripod is on the ground all of the time. When trekking in/out of many scenic spots a tripod is worn over the shoulders sticking up from a backpack like a radio antenna (or a lightning rod...). Timewise, that's often longer than when the camera is on the tripod being used to take pictures. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 13, 2021 at 7:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.