The Great Gear Search

Tripod Testin'

When someone invents a camera that does not require a tripod, wake me up from the grave.

In the meantime, Darwin and I have been doing tripod testing.  I have had my share of gear-related struggles, including wrestling with frozen, metal tripod legs pre-dawn in the dead of winter.  Not much fun.  Also, carrying something that begins to feel like a small ladder on your back up a mountainside takes a bit of the joy out of photography for me.  So, I was excited to do some testing of the latest and greatest to see if anyone had made the perfect tripod (for me).  This would be something that is light yet stable, tall yet compact and simple yet effective.  (I’m easy to please.)

And perform well in water!

Tripod Testin' in the Wet

Although we came close with some of the new Gitzo carbon fiber models, the winter thing is still a big worry.  I have to be able to lengthen and open the tripod legs wearing my three layers of winter mittens.  This means those little pinch-pull levers won’t cut it!

Back to the drawing board….

(And as it turns out, these ‘testing images’ will have to serve for my August shoot for my personal assignment!  If I were to grade myself so far, I don’t think I would be getting a very high mark thus far.)


~ by Samantha on September 8, 2009.

5 Responses to “The Great Gear Search”

  1. Hi Sam,

    I would like to know if you and or Darwin have any workshops planned for the future. I have never attended any before. Do you think they are worth while?

    randy (:

  2. Hi Sam.

    Just out of curiosity I weighted my tripod,ball head and quick release. They tipped the scales at 5 1/2 pounds-YIKES. Now I know why I feel like I am being supported by two pieces of cooked spaghetti after doing a 11 km hike with an elevation gain of 600 meters. This is not uncommon for my wife Sharon and I to do every Saturday with our hiking group. I have devised a system where as I can attach my tripod to the back of my backpack and be able to remove it again in a matter of seconds. However, I am still in the habit of carrying my pod under my arm for a good part of the day. There are times when I have brought along my monopod or used my backpack for camera support but as far as I am concerned nothing has replaced the tripod yet. If anyone invents a feather that looks and functions like a tripod I’ll be one of the first in line to purchase one. Thanks for listening and happy shooting.


  3. Hi Sam.

    Have you ever looked at Feisol tripods?( I got mine from Richard Berry when I was on one of his workshops. It’s been working pretty good for me so far in various conditions (including -27 at Mt. Assiniboine last month). It’s the only “real” tripod I have ever had so I don’t know how much better they can be.

    You have some great photos.


    • Hi Jay,

      I haven’t heard of Feisol tripods before. I looked them up, and I understand that they are a direct-order item. I see that they look for distributors on their website; perhaps Richard Berry orders a few tripods and them sells them on his workshops? You can also order directly from the Feisol website. I don’t know if there is a pricing difference from doing so. In any case, glad you are happy with your tripod and hopefully being able to ‘cut out the middleman’ as Feisol puts it keeps the costs down!

  4. Sam,

    While I hate to be a gear whore, I’m pretty happy with a Feisol I bought this summer, their 3342. Simultaneously tall (I’m 197cm) and light (about 1 kg for the legs). Excellent build quality for the price. I hauled it around Peru and the Sierra Nevada with an Acratech head, frequently at or above 4000m. I’ve managed to use bogen, hakuba, and gitzo legs so far and I’m happiest with these. Good luck in your search!

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