Chinese tripods?

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#1
I'm looking for something like a Gitzo Systematic clone without the silly Gitzo prices :)

Anything good out there that will last > 1 year of constant use and some moisture or even water from time to time?....

I don't care if it is carbon or aluminium. It must not have any magnesium or any other reactive substances inside and obviously reliable leg locks, and BIG head attachment plate to fit Manfrotto 410.

I think no centre column is a good feature, unless I missed anything, or put it another way the columns are useless and a potential point of failure. Of course that should also help to get really low.


P.S. My apparently chinese-made Rollei has now several leg lock insert failures. Maybe the warranty will send me the bits, maybe they won't but their stuff is junk. I may as well pay chinese prices then. I certainly don't want any crappy Manfrotto tripods.
 
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#2
There are a number of "Chinese" brands out there that make nice tripods. Have a look at Sirui, Feisol, Benro, Induro and Leofoto. These brands are not cheap but they make quality products that are not far short of Gitzo.

Unfortunately I am on a low income so I have to shop very carefully + I am a bit of a tripod junkie! Given that I have to be a "penny pincher" my 4 tripods are all Gitzo (3 bought new and 1 used) because I couldn't afford the copies. Currently my most expensive tripod is a Gitzo GT4542LS (4 series Systematic) which was £375 (inc postage) about 3 years ago. It pays to shop around.
 
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#3
I'm looking for something like a Gitzo Systematic clone without the silly Gitzo prices :)

Anything good out there that will last > 1 year of constant use and some moisture or even water from time to time?....

I don't care if it is carbon or aluminium. It must not have any magnesium or any other reactive substances inside and obviously reliable leg locks, and BIG head attachment plate to fit Manfrotto 410.

I think no centre column is a good feature, unless I missed anything, or put it another way the columns are useless and a potential point of failure. Of course that should also help to get really low.


P.S. My apparently chinese-made Rollei has now several leg lock insert failures. Maybe the warranty will send me the bits, maybe they won't but their stuff is junk. I may as well pay chinese prices then. I certainly don't want any crappy Manfrotto tripods.
Seems a false economy to only aim for it to last more than a year. Why not spend more and it last 10 years?

I’m also not sure how manfrotto tripods are crap. I give mine regular use and it has seen the sea, sand, lakes, rivers, mountains, been on flights etc and never had an issue in 2 years regular use with it.

I’m sure there are plenty of brands out there but most probably selling the same as Rollei but under different brand names.

Also, maybe consider a used Gitzo?
You’ll save a fortune I’d imagine.
 
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#4
Unfortunately I am on a low income so I have to shop very carefully + I am a bit of a tripod junkie! Given that I have to be a "penny pincher" my 4 tripods are all Gitzo (3 bought new and 1 used) because I couldn't afford the copies.
Are you saying the copies are more expensive than the originals?
You can't really call yourself a penny pincher if you can afford the spend £375 on one tripod, and you also have 3 others.
Think you're trying to kid yourself...:p
 
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#5
I've had manfrotto, and they're far from crap.
I've had benro and it was superb, but heavy.
I've now got a sirui cf that I bought on here for a great price, and it's perfect, and light.
 
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#6
Seems a false economy to only aim for it to last more than a year. Why not spend more and it last 10 years?

I’m also not sure how manfrotto tripods are crap. I give mine regular use and it has seen the sea, sand, lakes, rivers, mountains, been on flights etc and never had an issue in 2 years regular use with it.

I’m sure there are plenty of brands out there but most probably selling the same as Rollei but under different brand names.

Also, maybe consider a used Gitzo?
You’ll save a fortune I’d imagine.
Three manfrotto tripods I had ended up in the bin after leg locks broke in 2 pieces in multiple places over and over again. Eventually the top bit all gave up. IT is a very crazy idea to use Mg in manufacture, or a great idea because once it turns to oxide they sell more.
Do you not see any white powder or paint peeling off? It's a sure sign of a fun event to come.

A year without any issues at all is the threshold to beat so far. 10 would be nice of course. I would hate to find out Gitzo has a major flaw after parting with nearly 1k. Or maybe it just will end up dead in accident, lost or stolen.
There is quite an old one for nearly 400 now. You'd wonder what is wrong with it and what it's been through. It feels like buying part worn tyres; you never pay more than 30% even if its 6mm. Maybe I'm wrong but I wouldn't pay more than 30 for obviously used Manfrotto.

my 4 tripods are all Gitzo (3 bought new and 1 used)
Just to clarify do you collect them or did 3 of them fail?

I've had manfrotto, and they're far from crap.
I've had benro and it was superb, but heavy.
I've now got a sirui cf that I bought on here for a great price, and it's perfect, and light.
If they never get wet, maybe... 3/3 is more than coincidence, won't try 4th.
The weight does concern me a little as I could end up with almost 4kg package with 410 head. Stability may be perfect, but likely won't be much fun trekking up a mountain. But then rollei clearly demonstrated twice it can't be left unsupervised outdoors and by now I would be better off with mid-range gitzo.

What is exactly inside the benro legs and do they fail? Manfrotto style clamps are probably a simpler and more reliable design but it really has to be made from stainless steel and not that rubbish.
 
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#8
I have Benro and things started falling off very quickly.

Nothing is like my 20 year old Manfrotto 55 - but I need to go to the gym to use that.
Do you know if they made them without Mg back then and can you still adjust leg angle? Old high grade steel-al design might be worth a try. More weight for RE job is a plus.

I feel like most of this tripod "innovation" is adding features we don't need, making them fragile and unreliable while while raising price through the roof. The very worst thing Rollei / Chicoms did with C6i is to make it convertible to monopod. This basically destroyed head attachement and column - complete failure within 12 hours, now replaced with Manfrotto column forced in.

I will say a nice word about Manfrotto 410 head. Had it 7 years with really major abuse and its still working fine after that spring replacement. I paid 110 new. That's what it should be like.
 
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#9
Three manfrotto tripods I had ended up in the bin after leg locks broke in 2 pieces in multiple places over and over again. Eventually the top bit all gave up. IT is a very crazy idea to use Mg in manufacture, or a great idea because once it turns to oxide they sell more.
Do you not see any white powder or paint peeling off? It's a sure sign of a fun event to come.

A year without any issues at all is the threshold to beat so far. 10 would be nice of course. I would hate to find out Gitzo has a major flaw after parting with nearly 1k. Or maybe it just will end up dead in accident, lost or stolen.
There is quite an old one for nearly 400 now. You'd wonder what is wrong with it and what it's been through. It feels like buying part worn tyres; you never pay more than 30% even if its 6mm. Maybe I'm wrong but I wouldn't pay more than 30 for obviously used Manfrotto.



Just to clarify do you collect them or did 3 of them fail?



If they never get wet, maybe... 3/3 is more than coincidence, won't try 4th.
The weight does concern me a little as I could end up with almost 4kg package with 410 head. Stability may be perfect, but likely won't be much fun trekking up a mountain. But then rollei clearly demonstrated twice it can't be left unsupervised outdoors and by now I would be better off with mid-range gitzo.

What is exactly inside the benro legs and do they fail? Manfrotto style clamps are probably a simpler and more reliable design but it really has to be made from stainless steel and not that rubbish.
Maybe I was lucky
I used my manfrotto and benro in the sea, rivers etc and never had issues.
I did clean them properly though if they did get wet.
 
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#10
Maybe I was lucky
I used my manfrotto and benro in the sea, rivers etc and never had issues.
I did clean them properly though if they did get wet.
I tried at first, but even a couple hours in the car was enough. Maybe I'm crazy but I don't want to take it apart every time I grab it with wet hand or take an exterior shot in a drizzle let alone partially submerge in the sea... Yes, rollei is that fussy, and it was supposed to hold moisture out from the locks.
 
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#11
FWIW
I have a Manfrotto 144 in black, it has screw clamps to lock the legs and is AFAIK 100% aluminium including the castings(?)

It weighs a lot and even more now with a levelling head and my Gimbal on it. In the something like 30 years that I have owned it it has had very modest usage but that did include Donna Nook in 2009. Out on the sandbank (that is now off limits but I was on an organised trip) it was blowing a hoolie and the sand got into every nook and cranny.

In the hotel that evening I washed it in the shower and also removed the centre column. I managed to get approx 98% of the sand out......................but it still made noises so worked on it some more once back home. NB other guys & gals in the group soaked gear in the baths they had in their rooms!

Suffice to say it is soldiering on and works as needed & expected.................when I can be a*sed to lug it around or it is needed it is ready to go but oh boy it is a burden to lug around :(

There is no sign of any corrosion so doubt there is Mg alloy anywhere in it......................unless of course the black anodising (coating?) is hiding something???

PS I looked and they sell for approx £70 on the bay, I think I paid about £100 when new all those years ago ;)
 
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#13
Which ones were the "good" ones: 055 / ART, 055C, 055B, 055PROB?
144 - is that bigger or smaller than 055?

Multi-angle independent leg adjustment is a must have feature for my work.
The 144 is not one that has multi angle independent legs ( there have been times when that would have been useful ~ especially getting down very low) I think the 055 has the multi angle legs based on some images I recall but as for size(s) comparison, sorry no idea!
 

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#14
I have feisol ct3442 and previously ct3342. But if I shoot in sand or sea I do take the time to clean it once I get back. They have been great for me.
If you seriously abuse your tripods not sure any of them will survive without any after care.
 
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#16
I've had a Redsnapper tripod and head for a good 8-9 years or so now. Been in the sea, sand, rivers, thrown over fences and walls, several years of urban exploring...... About £125 it cost me.

I've thought about another but it would have to be lighter - I think the Redsnapper is about 1.8kg all in. Trouble is, there is too much choice!!
 
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#19
Maybe one of these : https://www.berlebach.de/?sprache=english , no Mg or Al I think, brass and wood ;).
Looks very nice, but I would feel very bad about treating it roughly :)

Benbo Classic II.
It's a bit of learning curve to use, but it can do most anything from floor level to ~ 9ft... and they are rather inexpensive. If I were shooting RE it's the tripod I would bring.
Interesting option but not a chance with that long centre barge pole with the tiny tiny tiny head attachment plate.
 
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#22
Interesting option but not a chance with that long centre barge pole with the tiny tiny tiny head attachment plate.
I have a 405 geared head on mine and I use all of my cameras on it. I've even put a 400/2.8 + gripped FF body on it at full extension height before (while I stood on a ladder).
The platform end is just slightly smaller than the base of the 405. I also have an eye nut on the other end of the column for clipping weight/counterweight to.

I own other tripods that cost a whole lot more, but I use the Benbo for most things that are not wildlife with a gimbal head... unless size/weight is a consideration...
 
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#24
Yes. And the Benbo's ability to put two legs on a counter or wall, and the ability to boom the camera into different positions makes getting some shots a lot easier... once you learn to work with the thing.
You can do that with any multi-angle leg tripod? I did exactly that yesterday with the Rollei-corpse on a sofa edge.

Yes. And the Benbo's ability to put two legs on a counter or wall, and the ability to boom the camera into different positions makes getting some shots a lot easier... once you learn to work with the thing.
OK... I can't see a head locking screw, not the big one in the middle but the secondary one. It's just going to unscrew sooner or later or you have to force it on super hard. That's exactly what killed the small Rollei column on day 1 and I was left with camera dangle off my neck on the strap (lucky that!)
 
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#25
You can do that with any multi-angle leg tripod? I did exactly that yesterday with the Rollei-corpse on a sofa edge.
Sure, as long as the fixed leg/column angles suit your need. That's the thing with the Benbos... none of the angles/positions are fixed. It can be contorted to do just about anything (but weight bags come in handy). It's also what makes them harder to work with until you learn it's quirks.
OK... I can't see a head locking screw, not the big one in the middle but the secondary one. It's just going to unscrew sooner or later or you have to force it on super hard.
I've never found it to be a problem... I don't use the set screw on any of my tripods (it gouges the base of the head, which then gouges everything else). I suppose if it were a problem you could put some VC-3 on the threads.
I'm not trying to sell you on the thing. I'm just telling you what I've used for well over a decade, and I would use it in your situation. Plus, it just happens to meet your "not expensive" requirement. And FWIW, I also own/have owned $1k tripods as well... (Gitzo/RRS/etc).
BTW, there is nothing inherently wrong with using magnesium. Gitzo has used it in their tripods/heads since the beginning... it's used in making aircraft parts...
 
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#26
Sure, as long as the fixed leg/column angles suit your need. That's the thing with the Benbos... none of the angles/positions are fixed. It can be contorted to do just about anything (but weight bags come in handy). It's also what makes them harder to work with until you learn it's quirks.

I've never found it to be a problem... I don't use the set screw on any of my tripods (it gouges the base of the head, which then gouges everything else). I suppose if it were a problem you could put some VC-3 on the threads.
I'm not trying to sell you on the thing. I'm just telling you what I've used for over a decade, and I would use it in your situation. Plus, it just happens to meet your "not expensive" requirement.And FWIW, I also own/have owned $1k tripods as well... (Gitzo/RRS/etc).
BTW, there is nothing inherently wrong with using magnesium. Gitzo has used it in their tripods/heads since the beginning... it's used in making aircraft parts...
Though it doesn’t meet his Chinese requirement as it’s made in UK by Paterson (a name to conjure with!) :).
 
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#28
Though it doesn’t meet his Chinese requirement as it’s made in UK by Paterson (a name to conjure with!) :).
Well, certainly a blast from the past! Though only as I recall for darkroom stuff.

Maybe a bit like Slazenger and Dunlop......only brand names :(
Oh, so much if we are lucky design & development here but made in China !
 
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#29

Nod

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#30
Plenty of anti corrosion products around.
 
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#31
Well, certainly a blast from the past! Though only as I recall for darkroom stuff.

Maybe a bit like Slazenger and Dunlop......only brand names :(
Oh, so much if we are lucky design & development here but made in China !
No, I think they are genuine. I’m interested because I remember going to some photo equipment exhibition in ?1970s when Benbo tripods first appeared or so. I was told by the enthusiastic chap who demonstrated them to me — there wasn’t anyone else around. From their website at https://www.patersonphotographic.com/about-us/ :
“All of the darkroom plastics are manufactured in Paterson’s own factory in the UK.
In the late 80s it also took over the manufacture of Benbo Tripods and has continued to develop this range of tripods, beloved by both Landscape and Natural History Photographers.
Stability linked to versatility are the prime considerations when purchasing a tripod. For 35 years BENBO has offered photographers a unique combination of these factors whilst offering a UK based manufacturing and customer service experience.”
 
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#32
No, I think they are genuine. I’m interested because I remember going to some photo equipment exhibition in ?1970s when Benbo tripods first appeared or so. I was told by the enthusiastic chap who demonstrated them to me — there wasn’t anyone else around. From their website at https://www.patersonphotographic.com/about-us/ :
“All of the darkroom plastics are manufactured in Paterson’s own factory in the UK.
In the late 80s it also took over the manufacture of Benbo Tripods and has continued to develop this range of tripods, beloved by both Landscape and Natural History Photographers.
Stability linked to versatility are the prime considerations when purchasing a tripod. For 35 years BENBO has offered photographers a unique combination of these factors whilst offering a UK based manufacturing and customer service experience.”
Well, what can I say :). That is good to know.....and long may it continue!

PS wracks brains ~ Benbo and the "bent bolt" design ;)
 
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#33
Certainly possible - look at some most extravagant and expensive places around the holiday islands.

There was very little sea in my work last year and a half. A little bit of spray and only spray in Tenerife and one evening in Clevedon. That was it. Sadly. Life in the Midlands / Cotswolds is terrible from the perspective of a landscape photographer. I can barely find excuses to call myself one.

It appears a very light drizzle is enough to instantly destroy the twist leg locks of the brands I tried. That's quite a difference to sea submersion I might add. It should do both.

Sure, as long as the fixed leg/column angles suit your need. That's the thing with the Benbos... none of the angles/positions are fixed. It can be contorted to do just about anything (but weight bags come in handy). It's also what makes them harder to work with until you learn it's quirks.

I've never found it to be a problem... I don't use the set screw on any of my tripods (it gouges the base of the head, which then gouges everything else). I suppose if it were a problem you could put some VC-3 on the threads.
I'm not trying to sell you on the thing. I'm just telling you what I've used for over a decade, and I would use it in your situation. Plus, it just happens to meet your "not expensive" requirement.And FWIW, I also own/have owned $1k tripods as well... (Gitzo/RRS/etc).
BTW, there is nothing inherently wrong with using magnesium. Gitzo has used it in their tripods/heads since the beginning... it's used in making aircraft parts...
The thing is the angles are not absolutely fixed on normal tripods, only the hard stops are fixed. A properly tightened leg should (and does) allow angles in between with some care.

From my experience it is a better compromise to lock the heads with the screw. You don't have to over-do it. The unevenly-surfaced head plate won't allow rotation with screw in.

Mg is a very reactive metal particularly when subjected to moist and salty conditions. Obviously an aircraft would use composite material designs with Mg layers presumably well within the structure protected from the elements. That's perfectly fine. In Manfrotto case the only protective layer is the black spray paint and its not fail proof or impenetrable by water. A CF outer layer or zinc-plating would sound better. I have no idea what Gitzo did with their design I could only hope its substantially better. It's just such a minor weight different to Al for a simple hand tool and is hard to justify in my opinion outside of high tech sector. I would be actually more open to engineering grade plastics instead in some places.

Though it doesn’t meet his Chinese requirement as it’s made in UK by Paterson (a name to conjure with!) :).
Don't worry its not a requirement but rather a swipe at Rollei's "German" Chinese made gear.

And what's that thing with Benro and Benbo? It's rather confusing to say the least.
 
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#36
Lee above mentioned a Red Snapper - mine is still good having been in several rivers and also had the sea was over the bottom of the legs a couple of times.

Spray ENTIRE tripod with copious amount of silicone grease or coat with tar?
Take feet off & spray internals & clamps with either a silicone spray or something like waxoyl made for cars.
 
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#38
That's a big difference from the bent bolt design... the legs and center column can rotate 360* individually and can be placed literally almost anywhere in relation to each other.
I've had a brief experience with a Benbo in the past - there's nothing like it and nothing as good as it, but IIRC it was both heavy and expensive. It would be my choice for general photography if I didn't mind those 2 negative factors.
 
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#39
No, I think they are genuine. I’m interested because I remember going to some photo equipment exhibition in ?1970s when Benbo tripods first appeared or so.
I've had mine forever (20+), but I've heard different things about Benbo in the last 10yrs or so... like they are outsourcing parts manufacture to China, or even out of business now. But IDK if any of that is true... it looks to me like they've updated their website recently and I got replacement feet about 5yrs ago from them.
The other source would be Uni-Loc which is UK... basically, Benbo designers that went on their own.
 
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#40
I've had a brief experience with a Benbo in the past - there's nothing like it and nothing as good as it, but IIRC it was both heavy and expensive. It would be my choice for general photography if I didn't mind those 2 negative factors.
Heavy yes... mine (the biggest model) weighs ~ 8 lbs w/o a head on it. But not expensive... £200 or less.
I would say other tripods are as good/better, depending on your specific needs (there's a reason I own a couple RRS tripods). But nothing else is as flexible...literally ;)
 
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