Slik carbon tripods good for LF? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi all

Has anybody expirience with the Slik Carbons and 4x5 cameras? A salesman told me no problem with a LF camera he thinks, but salesman always have no problem to sell! For me it looks more stable then the Manfrotto 440 and I don`t like the legs extention locks of the Gitzos! So that`s the reason for have a look at Slik for me!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, April 18, 2001


Why don't you check out the Ries and Zone VI wooden tripods, they absorb vibration much better. Pat

-- pat krentz (, April 18, 2001.

Hi Pat

First I don`t believe thad woodens are better re. vibration and second I tried a Berlebach wood tripod it is much to heavy for me. For a half day hicking I would be dead with a wooden one on my shoulder!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, April 18, 2001.

I am currently using a Slik carbon fiber tripod for my medium format work, and I'm very happy with it, but I don't think it would be suitable for large format--it just isn't built for heavy work. I'm currently using a medium format ball head. When I tried a larger head, the tripod definitely seemed top-heavy. Also, the attachment of the mount, into which the head is screwed, is not the best--I'd be afraid the whole thing would come loose with a big camera attached. I recommend you take your camera and lens down to the showroom and put it on the tripod with the head of your choice and see how you like it.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, April 18, 2001.

Hi Armin, If your goal is to have a light, portable tripod for backpacking or other type of outing, the carbon's are great. Personally, I have not been a fan of Slik for past quality reasons, but run the item through a check list for quality solid extension locks and legs, adjustments and the ability to hold the weight of your particular LF camera stable. Bring your camera to the store and give it a whirl. You can also increase the stability of just about any tripod by affixing a hook to the bottom of the center post and hanging your backpack or aother weight source from it. Hope this helps, good luck. JC

-- James Christian (, April 18, 2001.

I didn't even know that Slik made carbon fiber tripods, but I recently bought their Pro 700DX Titanium model (7#). It is definitely excellent for 4x5 or 5x7, but wouldn't try it for 8x10.

-- Bill Mitchell (, April 18, 2001.

Hi Armin,

No, I haven't actually used one of the Slik carbon fiber tripods with a 4x5 camera. However, a little over a year ago, I was shooting at Death Valley with several other photographers. One night around the campfire, we all got out our carbon fiber tripods for a side by side comparison. That evening we had a Slik, a Velbon and a Gitzo 1227 (sorry, I don't remember the exact model numbers of the other two, but the Gitzo was mine so I know it was a 1227).

Of the three, the Gitzo was noticeably more rigid, the Velbon was pretty good, but the Slik was by far the least stable. It was also the shortest by quite a bit. Personally, unless you're using a REALLY light 4x5 and are nit very tall, I wouldn't recommend anything lighter than the Gitzo 1227 (except for maybe the new 1127 Gitzo - unless you're tall). I use the 1227 for backpacking with my Toho (less than 3 lbs.) and it's great for that application. Also, height is important to me (I'm 6'4"), and the Gitzo was the tallest of these ultralights.

The Bogen was not represented that night, but I did do a side by side comparison with the Gitzo 1227 at a local shop. Again the Gitzo was noticeably more rigid (and lighter). Personally, I thought the Bogen was both way too heavy for a carbon fiber tripod and not very rigid (and I'm not anti-Bogen - I used their metal tripods for nearly a decade before switching to carbon fiber Gitzos).

Many people (most who have never used one) dismiss the Gitzos due to the leg lock collars. However, I think this is probably one of their biggest advantages over the competition (in both carbon fiber and metal tripods). Personally, I think it is the "solidness" of these joints, much more so than the materials used, that is the limiting factor in tripod rigidity. The tripod will only be as sturdy as the weakest link (Good-Bye!), and in this case, the weakest links are the leg joints. A tripod with one piece legs would probably be the most rigid, but who'd want to carry it around? Of all the tripods I've used, the Gitzos have the most solid leg joints, by far (both carbon fiber and metal). I do recommend that no matter which carbon fiber tripod you get, unless there is some huge compelling reason to do otherwise, get the model with three leg sections instead of four. A four leg section model has 33% more leg joints to flex, to loosen and tighten, etc. Plus, in the four leg section models, the bottom leg section (where the tripod meets the ground) is often very small in diameter (especially on these ultralight models) and not as rigid as the larger diameter bottom sections on the three section models.

As far as the usability of the Gitzo leg lock collars - in actual practice, if you're turning them more than 1/4 - 1/2 turn. you're overdoing it and creating more work than necessary. Once you get used to using them, they are only slightly more work than using the easy to use, but much less rigid, flip locks on some other models. To me, this is a very minor inconvenience (in my case inconsequential - since I carry my tripod in my hand when hiking and start to set it up and finish folding it up while walking to and from my location) compared to the huge advantage of the more rigid leg joints of the Gitzos.

Finally, many people are put off by the price of the carbon fiber Gitzos, Before you rule them out based on price, check out Robert White at:

You'll be pleasantly surprised by his prices on the Gitzo carbon fiber models. Even after you factor in international express shipping and duty, you'll still save hundreds over US prices.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, April 18, 2001.

I've been lusting after a carbon-fiber Gitzo for a while now but have somehow managed to keep my wallet in my pocket and solider on with my Slik Pro 700DX. It's heavy -- just over 7lbs with a head -- but it's also inexpensive (I paid $169.95 for mine three years ago) and strong enough to have survived quite a bit of abuse in the field without any problems that a thorough cleaning didn't fully resolve.

The 700DX legset is actually not that heavy, weighing just 4lbs. 5oz. without the standard panhead. Installing a lighter panhead should be able to bring the weight down to 6lbs. and with one of the many ultra lightweight mini-balls on the market, even 5lbs. is well within reach for a total expenditure of less than $275 (which is about 1/4 of what a friend recently spent for his 5-1/2lb. Gitzo 1228 and Kirk ballhead combo).

I initially bought the 700DX with the intention to replace it as soon as I figured out which tripod I really needed. However, it continues to serve me well and the more time passes, the less motivated I am to replace it with something else.

-- Jeffrey Goggin (, April 18, 2001.

Armin, I've been using the Manfrotto 441 (3-section) tripod with an Ebony (which is quite light) and I can report that I've hand no problems with regards stability. Although I would be cautious with its use in strong wind conditions. If I am using it in such conditions I tend to hold onto one of the legs or the attached carry strap. For me this was a best buy from "Robert White". Good luck,

-- Trevor Crone (, April 19, 2001.

HI all

Thanks for your good tips, almost I`m sure I buy the Gitzo 1228. I did a testing against the Manfrotto 440 and 441. The 441 would be okay to but it is heavier and larger then Gitzos No. 1228.

-- Armin Seeholzer (, April 27, 2001.

Have also a look at the 1127 and 1227, especially if you are not fond of the Gitzo leg locks. They have 30% less to deal with than the 1228.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, April 27, 2001.

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