Roundup: Six Massive Tripods For Heavy Responsibility Use
|From left to proper; ProMediaGear TR344, Actually Proper Stuff TVC-34, Sirui SR-3204, FLM CP34-L4 II, Leofoto LM-364C, Gitzo GT3543LS. (Professional tip: maintain the leg locks away from sand if potential.)|
There’s a saying about tripods; ‘Low cost, gentle, steady – you may choose solely two’. And maximizing one facet will reduce the others. This roundup covers tripods that emphasize stability over affordability, and make what concessions they’ll to portability. Additional, these tripods symbolize ‘as soon as in a lifetime’ purchases for many fanatics, and ‘by no means have to fret about it’ gear for professionals.
We’ve collected collectively six tripods supposed to be used with heavy cameras, lengthy lenses, and in tough circumstances. They’re all from well-known makers of high quality, sturdy tripods, which share related specs and symbolize every firm’s interpretations of the ‘systematic 3-series tripod.’ Nice, however what do these phrases imply?
A ‘systematic’ tripod has a big, open apex with a detachable high plate, the place completely different accent objects (video bowl, leveling base, middle column, and many others.) might be inserted to vary the perform of the tripod itself, with no need one other set of legs.
|Open Apex||Platform||Video Bowl||Half Ball||Degree Base|
Gitzo pioneered this modular strategy greater than 40 years in the past, and since these preliminary tripods and their inserts have been a part of a system, Gitzo referred to them as ‘systematic’ to distinguish them from their different, non-modular tripod choices. That time period has now turn into a typical to explain all tripods of this sort.
Subsequent, ‘3-series’ is one other Gitzo tripod time period referring to the completely different dimension ranges of their tripods, and it has been adopted by different producers to a point to point the tube diameter and normal dimension of their merchandise, as properly. Usually, it means the highest leg tube diameters of the tripod legs are between 33-36mm, though some exceed this.
Key specs in contrast
All six tripods are the ‘3-series systematic’ kind of medium dimension and modular apex, with four-section legs on the ‘common’ size, besides the ‘lengthy model’ FLM. Due to this fact, the specs are fairly shut amongst them, and the purple/ inexperienced variations within the desk beneath might be comparatively slight.
|PMG TR344||RRS |
|Leofoto LM-364C||FLM CP-34 L4 II|
|Size (folded)*||55 cm (21.6″)||54.5 cm (21.5″)||53 cm (20.8″)||53 cm (20.8″)||53 cm (20.8″)||60 cm (23.6″)|
|Weight*||1.94 kg (4.27 lbs)||2.1 kg (4.62 lbs)||1.82 kg (4.02 lbs)||1.93 kg (4.25 lbs)||1.92 kg (4.23 lbs)||1.95 kg |
|Max. Top*||146 cm (57.5″)||150 cm|
|148 cm (58.2″)||145 cm (57.1″)||173.5 cm|
|Min. Top*||9 cm|
|14.3 cm (5.6″)||9.4 cm|
|Load Restrict##||25kg |
|27.2 kg |
|39 kg |
|30 kg |
|33 kg |
|Leg Tube Diameters*||33, 29, 25.3, 21.8 mm||33, 29.5, 26, 22mm||34, 30, 26.2, 22.4 mm||36.7, 33, 28.5, 24.7 mm||36, 32.5, 28, 25mm||34, 30, 26, 22mm|
23°, 53°, 86°
|25°, 51°, 79°||24°, 50°, 84°||26°, 53°, 86°||23°, 56°, 87°||25°, 54°, 84°|
|Platform Diameter*||70 mm|
|78mm (3.1″)||69mm (2.7″)||70 mm|
|75mm (2.95″)||75mm (2.95″)|
* All sizes, weights and angles based mostly on in-house measurements.
## Producer offered quantity. Not a standardized measurement.
On this group of tripods, each represented producer gives these tripods with three or 4 part legs, and most supply ‘lengthy’ variations, for further peak. The FLM on this group is an extended model, as that’s the solely dimension usually stocked in North America (the Medium and Small are particular order). As well as, virtually all the manufacturers supply even bigger systematic tripods with thicker legs, and corresponding will increase in different dimensions, as properly.
Testing strategies – 4 seasons of use
These tripods weren’t merely unboxed or examined in a vacuum. They have been in contrast in opposition to one another over 4 seasons of pandemic-inspired images alongside the US Atlantic coast. Every tripod has been utilized in sand, snow, mud, rain, and salt water; arrange within the bog-like Atlantic salt marshes and the wind-swept Appalachian mountains. They’ve been loaded with gimbal heads, ball heads, geared and pano-heads, and as much as 4kg (8.8lb) lenses connected to cameras starting from APS-C to medium-format, taking pictures something from long-exposure landscapes to excessive telephoto birds-in-flight. The one take a look at they didn’t undergo was being rough-handled on the airport, due to pandemic journey restrictions.
As a result of dimension and worth of those comparatively area of interest tripods, and contemplating how lengthy they have been used within the area, these critiques will embody feedback on how simple they’re to keep up, and concerns on spare components and repair. This gear is designed for long-life and continuous use in lots of difficult environments, so cleansing, care and restore needs to be a routine a part of their use.
Gitzo has been the primary (and typically final) phrase in high-end and heavy-duty tripods for a lot of a long time, and their improvements and affect are clearly seen in each different tripod of this sort in the marketplace. The GT3543LS exemplifies Gitzo’s continuous refinement of this sort of tripod in match, end, type and performance. Whereas it could have the slimmest legs and narrowest stance on this group, each of which anecdotally ought to make it much less steady, it is available in an in depth second for vibration resistance.
Our take: The secure, however expensive, wager. Wonderful efficiency with worldwide help
The wide range of equipment out there to slot in its 70mm apex means that is really a broad system to purchase into. Just a few small points come up when it comes to the leg angle locks and the general dimensions, however this tripod has only a few flaws and performs admirably in each scenario and take a look at. Whereas any Gitzo is an costly proposition, they’re essentially the most accessible and extensively supported tripod of this sort worldwide, which makes it a secure wager as a stalwart companion for a few years.
Sirui made their title with a line of fantastic tripod heads and a dizzying array of smaller tripods, with the SR-series on the high of their line in most areas. Most of the highlights from their different merchandise are on full show within the SR-3204, with wonderful leg collars, well-machined aluminum and magnesium alloy components, and wonderful carbon fiber tubes, however then a number of the different frequent components, such because the press-in angle locks, don’t scale up as properly. The complete SR-series consists of an aluminum legged model, in addition to a 3-section carbon fiber tripod, which decrease the already reasonably priced worth of this dimension and kind of tripod.
Our take: Funds-friendly choose, with choice for even less-expensive aluminum legs.
Functionally the built-in video bowl is kind of welcome, as is the (hard-to-find) middle column accent, however there are some compatibility points that warrant trying to different producers for add-ons. The shortage of any directions or spare components for upkeep of this sort of help system is shocking, given the anticipated longevity. In comparison on this group, the Sirui SR-3204 is a bit heavy and never as vibration resistant as its friends, and lacks some refinement in its design and features, however nonetheless gives rather a lot for the low worth.
FLM CP34-L4 II
The CP34-L4 is the tallest tripod on this roundup, as a consequence of FLM prioritizing this ‘Massive’ dimension for the North American market, but it surely additionally exhibits simply what might be gained from any tripod by choosing a longer-legged model. In the meantime, FLM has constructed its popularity on the rock-solid stability of its numerous heads, and although these new tripods are made in China, the identical sturdy engineering and tight development is carried over. The tripod is properly completed and extremely sturdy for its dimension, with just a few missteps within the design, such because the lacking weight hook and naked steel leg locks, however these are offset by the built-in video bowl and comparatively reasonably priced worth.
Our take: The tall choice, with considerate options at an affordable worth
Vibration resistance for this long-legged model is kind of good, and the convenience of upkeep and availability of spare components carries over the FLM custom of help lengthy after buy. The top result’s an simply really useful various to the top-end tripods from some other producer, and properly definitely worth the particular order in some markets if one thing lower than the examined ‘massive’ tripod is required.
ProMediaGear has fastidiously engineered the TR344 to be as gentle and compact as potential (besting its rivals on this group), with considerate options like quite a lot of apex attachment factors, hidden (however all the time there) foot spikes, and a big bubble degree. The out there choices of a larger-legged model or a extra compact apex (the TRS344), and the even bigger 42mm-series, full the PMG tripod for the high-end of demanding customers. Exploiting the systematic, modular apex on the TR344 is a bit more durable as a consequence of a proprietary attachment methodology, however many apex inserts and choices can be found from PMG.
Our take: Lightest and most compact on this group, with wonderful construct and choices
Wonderful vibration management traits and a really exact match and end make the TR344 a pleasure to make use of within the area, and whereas using guide leg angle locks and all-metal leg collars could also be uncommon, however not an enormous purposeful situation until it will get actually chilly. Cleansing and upkeep are pretty simple and well-documented, whereas spare components can be found direct from PMG. Total, the ProMediaGear TR344 ‘Professional-Stix’ tripod is a high-performing help system that does not distract with points or shortcomings throughout lengthy days of taking pictures.
Actually Proper Stuff Versa TVC34
In the case of help gear, Actually Proper Stuff is sort of all the time thought of the ‘nec-plus-ultra’ when it comes to design, innovation, and excessive worth. In different phrases, nice stuff should you can afford it. The RRS ‘Versa’ TVC-34 tripod, nonetheless, isn’t way more costly than a couple of different 3-series systematic tripods on this group, however delivers practically bomb-proof stability together with eminent portability in a really refined bundle. Consideration to particulars just like the rounded leg angle locks and sealed leg collars pervade the RRS tripod line, whereas the 36.7mm high tube diameter of the TVC-34 is the most important of any ‘3-series’ tripod on this roundup.
Our take: most stability in an overbuilt however balanced bundle
The one points to be discovered are a reluctant leg extension (as a consequence of very tight tolerances), a easy aluminum platform, and lack of any extras within the field in comparison with the competitors. RRS features a information on sustaining their tripods and supplies spare components and repair from their Utah headquarters. By overbuilding and oversizing virtually every part about this tripod, whereas retaining a really transportable profile, RRS has merely gone past the competitors on this roundup, and exemplifies their ‘better of the perfect’ philosophy in help gear.
Leofoto Summit LM-364C
The LM ‘Summit’ collection of ‘systematic’ tripods from Leofoto extends to 12 completely different fashions, various in peak, variety of leg sections, and leg tube width. The LM-364C is their 4-section ‘3-series’ dimension with beneficiant 36mm high leg tubes, included extras like a padded bag and 75mm video bowl, and a big catalog of non-compulsory extras for that open apex. The comparatively low worth for this dimension and kind of tripod is the true attraction, and after a radical assessment and lengthy testing interval, there have been just a few minor points with the match of all of the components.
Our take: Excessive worth for a low worth, with only a few compromises
Stability of the system is the first perform of any tripod, and the Leofoto doesn’t disappoint in that regard. It’s simple to make use of and can help heavy masses in quite a lot of circumstances. The wide selection of choices within the ‘Summit’ and associated ‘Ranger’ collection, with related legs and supplies, imply there may be in all probability an excellent private match within the Leofoto tripod line for many wants. The one ongoing concern is the provision of components and help lengthy after the preliminary buy, however this can differ by geographic area.
|Our intrepid tripods, standing tall within the shoulder season. From left to proper; SIrui SR-3204, RRS TVC-34, FLM CP34-L4, PMG TR344. Leofoto LM-364C, Gitzo GT3543LS.|
These should not your regular, run-of-the-mill, three-legged help techniques by any stretch of the creativeness. They’re purposefully designed for optimum stability and adaptability, and will not be a sensible choice for everybody, or each scenario. The excellent news is that every of those producers has choices for smaller, lighter, and extra transportable tripods, simply as most of them supply even bigger legs, if desired.
In any case is alleged and accomplished, which is the perfect ‘3-series systematic’ tripod? That is determined by many personalised elements; like what gear you’ll help with it, the place you’ll take it, how tall you’re, and what your finances and priorities are. In case you’ve learn via these tripod critiques with curiosity, most certainly a number of of them will soar out at you as being the perfect compromise on your wants. And when you really want steady help for some massive or heavy images gear, that tripod would be the finest for you.
Honest due to Lensrentals.com for offering cameras and (massive) lenses used within the creation of those critiques