Is Graphite Worth It? at DVinfo.net

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Old May 27th, 2009, 12:56 PM   #1
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Is Graphite Worth It?

Is a Graphite Tripod worth the extra money?

How do they stand up to abuse?

I'm rough on tripods.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 09:50 AM   #2
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I can only speak from limited experience but since none of the DVINFO heavies have weighed in for you, I will. My vote is yes as long as you get a pro built one. My video tripod is a Bogen 540ART. I love it and even though it weighs in around the same weight as it's aluminum sibling, I feel it is way better at resisting the effects of outdoor elements and other things that might dent aluminum. My photo tripod is a Velbon El Carmagne 540 and it's a dream. Nice and light.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #3
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Tripod

I go through a Bogen Tripod about every 12 months. Most fail me by cracking at the top where the legs are joined together. The leg release pins and springs go flying everywhere. The top section of the tripods are just some kind of weaker pop metal.

Are the graphite models completely graphite, or just have graphite legs?

Can I drop my older Bogen heads into the Graphite legs?

I live on a isolated Island in Alaska, and I have never seen one before.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 12:55 PM   #4
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I recommend a different approach here. Start a thread with a subject stating (to the effect) that you go thru a tripod every year and need help finding a durable one. Include information about the Head you want to use and it's attachment mechanism (screw or bowl), the tripods you've been using that failed, the type of camera and accessories you are using and the type of shooting you do. Make the case you are on a remote island and need help from the community...ask for photos or whatever. This strikes me as exactly what this forum is good for.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 02:32 PM   #5
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David: my experience with Graphite Fibre tripods is limited to Broadcast-targeted Sachtlers ($10k+) and I'd suggest that if that's the level you're looking at (versus $1800 for a handicam styled camera) then YES, they are worth the money. This is why:

-lighter
-they don't dent and get cold like aluminum (I live in Canada - minus 40 winters are a reality here)
-different feel than aluminum around flexing that I can't really explain

My next high end tripod will certainly be a three stage carbon fibre with a mid level spreader.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #6
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Shaun, Thanks for the information.

Does the graphite weaken at all from cold temperatures?

My only experience with Graphite products is in the use of Fly Rods. Which get brittle and break in prolonged cold temperatures.

My other concern is that I live on the Coast, and saltwater is a real enemy. Bogen's small metal parts do not hold up well with saltwater corrosion.

Nether do Sony Camcorders I might add.

I'm looking for something in the $500-$700 range. Semi-Pro class/weight for Canon XH A1.
It's the smaller lighter parts used to build the tripods legs, and leg attachments that fail on me. I have never had a problem with a Bogen Head.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #7
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Hi David...................

A bit of light reading:

Carbon fiber reinforced polymer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Judging from your comments with regard to past tripod failures I'm hesitant in saying CF sticks would be a massive improvement, tho' am tempted to as the sheer cost of CF sticks as compared to alloy would seem to be an indicator of build quality.

My "cheap" Manfrotto sticks (520's, precurser to the 525's) have only a plastic receiver (the bit the head sits in and the legs attach to) and I can imagine that getting pretty brittle in prolonged cold weather. It certainly allows the tripod and attached head to wave about like a flag pole in even the slightest breeze.

My more expensive Manfrotto 528's have a massive alloy receiver which I cannot envisage ever disintegrating no matter what the provocation, tho' as they're barely liftable and have both alloy and steel legs, a bit unsuitable for your climatic conditions.

My CF FiberTec's (way, way out of your budget range) are built like a brick out house, are CF from top to bottom thus solving the corrosion problem and to all intents bomb proof, tho' CF CAN be shattered if it's limitations are exceeded (view some F1 car racing bingles, it does shatter!).

That said, your past problems would appear to have centred around the hinge pins and their attachment to the receiver.

I would have thought this, in the end, comes down to sheer build quality and that basically, costs.

Look at sticks from Sachtler, Vinten, Miller, O'Conner etc. You'll pay more than for a Bogen/ Manfrotto but.............

Yes, in "most" cases your Bogen head will work with other make sticks tho' there is always the possibility of some incompatability, slight tho' it may be.


CS
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Old May 28th, 2009, 05:06 PM   #8
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Thanks Chris,

I spent time in New Zealand in the mid 1970's. My Southeast Alaska and your Fiordland/Westland have similar environments, temperature, and rainfall. I enjoyed your Haast River/Jackson Bay area. So you know what I am up against.

It's a lot easier losing a $300 tripod over the side of a boat verses a $1200 Tripod. May be I should quit complaining and just buy more Bogen 503's.

I just wish that they came in camo.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 07:56 PM   #9
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Ah............

Yep, I can see where you're coming from on the environment front.

There is indeed something to be said for buy it cheap and replace it often, tho' you might need to buy in a case of 'em.


CS
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