The tripod search

As I mainly shoot landscapes, a tripod is as essencial as the lens and filters, so I thought I should share a little my experience with the tripods I use.

For the past year I’ve been searching to find a tripod to become my main tripod. I’ve looked at many tripods as I want one that’s sturdy, lightweight, good quality and don’t cost you an arm or a foot in purchase since I’m on a budget. And yes, many of my heros use Gitzo. Moose Peterson uses Gitzo, Joe Cornish uses Gitzo, and the list goes on and on, but for me to buy a Gitzo carbonfiber tripod, would really break my bank.

Last summer I purchased a Giottos MTL-9251b with a MH-5001 3 way head, and shortly after I bought it, took it with me on a 2 week long roadtrip in the southern part of Norway. First impression was good and I can’t say I was disapointed with the quality of the Giottos. It’s a sturdy tripod with a good build quailty. Along with the Giottos MH-5001 3 way head, I felt I had moved up the ladder from my old Manfrotto tripod.
My plusses for the Giottos MTL-9251b was build quailty, height, built in bubblelevel, and reversable center colum. Minus was lever locks on the legs, weight
The Giottos MH-5001 is a sturdy and fluid head to use, with locks for each axis and bubblelevel for the heads base.

Giottos with MH-5001 3-way head
As the year progressed I found that I felt the Giottos got a bit big for me when collapsed and tied to my Lowepro Flipside 400 AW. I then began searching around for other tripods that were either lighter or smaller. I then purchased a Vanguard Alta + 233 as this tripod was lighter and smaller compared to my Giottos MTL-9251b. The Alta + 233 soon proved to light and unsturdy with the typical blustery weather of my beloved Jæren. So I ended up bringing both tripods and choosing the tripod depending on the windforce.
My plusses for the Vanguard Alta + 233 was lightweight, reversable center colum and retractable spikes in the feets. Minus was the lack of a built in bubblelevel in the tripod base and height.
Vanguard Alta + 233 with Vanguard PH-22 3-way head

Well many of you may think; what’s wrong with that. You have a car, so where’s the problem. The problem is that I’m not interested in bringing all my gear every time I’m going shooting, and with gear and dog along for most of the time, I want a setup that’s easier to bring along.  

Back to the Vanguard Alta + 233. It didn’t take long before I experinced my first mechanical failuar with this tripod. The locks for the legs broke around the end of January. I sent it back for repairs but the same lock broke only months later. When that happened I didn’t bother fixing it as I saw that this was the weakpoint of the Vanguard.
Regarding the Vanguard PH-22 3-way head. Since I have used the Giottos MH-5001, I found the PH-22 to flimsy, and with the lack of seperate lock for the panorama-movment, very unuseable for my style of working.
I was then back to using the Giottos MTL-9251b, but to reduce weight, I changed the head from the Giottos MH-5001 to Redged RNB-1 ballhead. The RNB-1 proved to be what I was looking for in a head. It holds my gear firmly in place and locked to position with the freedom to operate the panorama-movment seperately. Also the head redused the weight of the Giottos MTL-9251b. But still my initial irritations with the tripodlegs was not resolved. Again I was searching for a some legs to do the job.
Redged RNB-1 Ballhead

I then looked at the legs from Redged. First the Travler-series, but since that serie lacks bubblelevel built into the tripod base, I turned to the Steady-series. This was what I was looking for. It had all the plusses of the Giottos, but with twisting leglocks at a lower price to the Giottos, and also inclued a tripod bag, not just a pouch like the Vanguard and Manfrotto. Also it got lower weight to load-capacity than the Giottos as well. So with both those plusses I chose Redged RTA-428. 
Since I don’t have used the Redged that much in field I haven’t found that many minus and pluss compared to the other two tripods, but my first impression is really good.

Redged Steady-series RTA-428
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