Lightweight tripod for tall photographers
Part of my transition to mirrorless involved lightening my load in all ways possible. Now that I don't have a heavy DSLR to lug around it was time to 'downgrade' my tripod as well. Without the weight of a DSLR I am able to use a less beefy tripod, the big problem in this area is my height. You see I am 6'4" tall and most tripods are simply not tall enough, even in the beefy category it is hard to find tripods that are tall enough. The Oben CT-2491 that I reviewed previously was a good lightweight and tall option, but I also wanted something that was easier to travel with. So I began my search for the perfect 'travel' tripod (meaning it collapses to a small dimension), that was tall enough for a giant like myself.
I spent many hours googling, reading forums, reviews, looking at specs, etc. After many, many dead ends I finally came across a recommendation for a particular Feisol tripod that was specifically designed to be a tall travel tripod, bingo! The Feisol CT-3441T was the holy grail I had be searching for. I have recommended Feisol tripods in the past due to their high quality and relatively low cost. I have been putting the Feisol through it's paces for a couple months now shooting nearly every day in the mountains of Colorado and the desert of Arizona and Zion National Park in Utah.
My first impressions were that the quality of the tripod is fantastic, the leg locks work smooth as butter, in some ways better than my Gitzo, the legs slide out easier, making the process of extending the legs nearly effortless. I also like the design of the base that holds the legs together, it is designed in a minimalist fashion to save weight. It is strong and solid, but it is not over-engineered as most are. Also the locks to change the leg angle are the best design I have ever used. Most tripods are designed to pinch your fingers at every chance they get. I'm happy to say that the Feisol hasn't pinched me once. You simply push down on the spring loaded lever and position the angel of your leg, no more donating blood to the tripod gods!
I immediately removed the center column and replaced it with the Feisol CC-2807 Short Center Column. This provides 2 advantages; less weight and the ability to get very low at 8" (20 cm). This allows me to create compositions with a wide angle lens that would not be possible otherwise. Yet the extended height without the center column is still 4.72' (1.44 m). With the ballhead and the height of the camera, the viewfinder is nearly at eye level for me.
After more research I decided to pair these legs with a Really Right Stuff BH-30 ballhead which is extremely lightweight .6lbs (283g) yet exceptionally sturdy. The whole setup only weighs 3.05lbs (1.38 kgs) The ballhead is elegantly designed to have the tension as part of the ballhead release lever, want a little tension for fine adjustments? Just release the lever a little bit, to fully loosen it, open it up all the way, it's simple and works. It also has a rotating base to easily do panoramas. I don't need to say much about the quality of Really Right Stuff, it's well known that they are the best of the best.
The only issue I've had so far with the tripod is one of the rubber feet falling off while using the tripod as a supplemental walking stick in the narrows of Zion, I can't really fault them for this. What is great is their customer service, I contacted Feisol about this issue and they sent me new feet no questions asked, they did suggest that if I have no intent of using spikes that I should epoxy the feet on. I will be doing this as I personally have not found spikes to be useful.
All in all I thoroughly enjoy using this tripod and ballhead, it's the perfect compliment of height, weight, and portability for my new Fuji mirrorless system. If you're not particularly tall you may consider the Feisol CT-3441S instead.
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