3

I have to replace my old tripod with a new one. To better compare the different models in terms of quality, manufacturer, reliability, I selected two models from the same producer (Manfrotto):

MT055XPRO3:

  • good price/quality ratio (around 240$)
  • made in aluminium
  • a bit heavy (5.5 lb = 2.5 Kg)
  • 3 leg sections

MT055CXPRO4:

  • pricey (around 500$)
  • made in carbon fibre (should better compensate vibrations)
  • slightly lighter (4.6 lb = 2 Kg)
  • 4 leg sections (instead of 3 as in the model above).

Questions:

  1. What are the benefits of having one more leg section? Being I am 175 cm tall, I will never use the legs fully extended on a plane floor.

  2. Is carbon fibre really more stable than aluminium?

  3. Does 0.5 Kg make a big difference in terms of overall weight? I am not a professional photographer. My heaviest gear consists of a Nikon D610 and a Tokina 11-16, no extreme telezooms.

Can someone provide some comparisons or explanation about the previous technical aspects, keeping the scope on the previous models? It would help to better understand the real meaning of those features.

  • What are your requirement about weight ? Are you backpacking ? – Olivier Aug 21 '15 at 8:16
  • Usually no, the weight is an aspect to take into account, but I am not sure whether the price difference can justify just 0.5Kg less. On long trips/holidays I would pack my tripod in a big luggage. However I plan to use it on hiking trips of one/two days long. Usually I would carry only a lowepro backpack flipside 400 with me. – Francesco Aug 21 '15 at 8:19
  • I always like to point to dslrbodies.com/accessories/camera-accessories/tripod-101.html for anyone looking at a tripod or head. Not because I believe everyone needs to spend $$$$, but because the progession is something we all end up doing. – Dan Wolfgang Aug 21 '15 at 17:13
  • Nice article indeed! – Francesco Aug 24 '15 at 15:19
  • I am not sure about thoose models, but more sections means 2 thngs, you can have a smaller tripod when compacted, but also it takes more time to extend 4 sections instead of 3. – Rafael Aug 25 '15 at 8:31
3

What are the benefits of having one more leg section? Being I am 175 cm tall, I will never use the legs fully extended on a plane.

More sections reduces the length of the tripod while folded. This is most desirable for travelling. As a side-effect, there is a slight loss of rigidity since the extra tube is more narrow and maybe a more time to setup. Given this main reason, I have always chosen more sections since size is a primary concern for me, even more than weight,

Is carbon fibre really more stable than aluminium?

There is no such claim. Carbon fiber is more rigid per weight. So, if you are comparing tripods of different weights, you will have to go with the specifications on maximum capacity. Conveniently, both your choices are from the same manufacturer, so they are comparable as they are most likely to use the same testing methodology.

Does 0.5 Kg make a big difference in terms of overall weight? I am not a professional photographer. My heaviest gear consists of a Nikon D610 and a Tokina 11-16, no extreme telezooms.

0.5kg is 0.5kg more to carry. That's it. Weight adds up but you have to decide yourself. Add 0.5kg (about 2 cans of soft-drink) to your bag and see how it makes a difference after a day shooting.

  • You are half an inch tall (1.75 cm = 0.69 inches)? – JDługosz Sep 27 '15 at 0:02
  • @JDługosz that's a quote from the question which got fixed. I edited this answer to mirror this edit. – null Sep 27 '15 at 13:14
1

I haven't used Carbon Fiber tripods a lot but both look like good choices. The rotatable center is nice for positioning said camera is weird orientations. I've used mainly aluminum and I have had no issues carrying it around all day. However, if weight IS a problem consider the Carbon Fiber variant. I have NOT used ManFrotto Tripod but I've seen them in a store.

There is also a 3 section carbon fiber tripod MT055CXPRO3 as well.

  1. Extra leg sections means more points of failure, more moving parts and weaker legs (last one if it's extended). I have a 4 leg segment tripod and I've had no issues at all but it's worth noting. However in turn, having more legs can make the tripod can be shorter when it's folded up. If you're carrying it and size matters, consider this point.

    As for taking more time to open a tripod, that's true but it's not much longer given the tripods you listed. You'd have to flip them all out and then extend and flip (lock) each one back in. Your mileage will vary but keep that in mind.

  2. I'd say that Carbon Fiber is better is terms of being a dampener, or so others have said. However it IS lighter than it's Aluminum variant which is both good and bad. It's more portable BUT may be more likely to blow in the wind. In either case it's a good idea to add a weight underneath it or sand or related to keep it from moving.

  3. Depends on if you travel a lot and hike/walk with it. If you have it in the car and drive to a place, it's not a huge problem. You will, however feel it if you carry it a lot either way. This is more of a personal preference both weight and size so you will have to experiment.

One other note, if you do happen to use your tripod near salt water or related, consider the Carbon one as Aluminum may at some point oxide and start to rust. (Never heard of it happening but doesn't mean it can't.)

TL;DR both are good choices for tripods, especially if you have weird orientations for camera shots. If weight/size matters go Carbon Fiber. Aluminum should hold up and be fine if you want to save or don't care about either weight or size.

  • 1
    Just a point on aluminium rusting - aluminium oxidises naturally in the air and the oxide is a hard substance that protects the metal from further oxidisation, forming a protective coat. So you don't need to worry about rust from salt water when using an aluminium tripod. – NickM Sep 26 '15 at 8:10
  • However does that impede the tripod from folding up or opening up? – unsignedzero Sep 27 '15 at 15:32
  • No, the oxide coating would be on the aluminium before the tripod is even assembled. – NickM Sep 27 '15 at 16:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.