Used Tripods

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Ken
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#1
I don't use a tripod much. I've got a MeFoto Backpacker that I probably paid $100 for, used, and thought that was extravagant. But is is a nice little tripod that does what I ask it to. I could probably get by with just that forever.

But I have been coveting a full-sized carbon fiber tripod and I prefer to buy used if I can. I'm always a generation or more behind on most technology.

I've never used a carbon fiber tripod. Closest I've been is at the big box store. Ones they sell there look like toys. Is there a price point where that stops and real equipment begins?

I guess my biggest question, though, is how fast does this technology change? I ask because every time I look at a promising set of used CF sticks, that particular model is out of production. A mid-priced model that was on the market 2 or 3 years ago is no longer being made. That worries me.

I'd like to think, and the tripod makers would certainly like us to think that the technology keeps getting better, fast. That every new model is better than the one it replaced.

I suspect, though, that Benro or Sirui or whoever, buys their merchandise in 10,000 unit lots from some anonymous Chinese supplier, and when they're gone, they're gone. Next batch may or may not come from the same place. A particular model doesn't make it long enough to get into the second-hand market.

I lied up there. I do have another tripod. A '90s vintage Manfrotto 3001. It weighs a ton and I never use it. But I think they still make it.

Any thoughts?
 
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#2
A quality tripod given reasonable care should last a very long time, new models are basically just revenue earners.
I've had a Feisol CF that cost me around £450 new and it was excellent, I can't imagine anything more sturdy but I sold it on when I sold my heavy gear. I now have a Benro CF that cost me £90 used and that too is a very sturdy tripod that will probably see me out (if it doesn't I've got my metal Benbo that cost me £50 and moves to any angle you can imagine!).
Get a sturdy unit with large diameter legs (including the bottom section) and you won't go wrong IMO. :)
 
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Chris
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#3
If the one you have does what you want don't get sucked in buy the marketing hype , just keep what you have.
I have an alloy Manfrotto 190 with a junior 410 geared head, I looked at changing to a CF tripod with the existing head to save weight, I would have spent thick end of £200 to save very little weight ( the head is so heavy) so I just kept the 190 and bought a travel tripod for £50 which does the job when needed-if it ain't broke don't fix it!
 
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Lee
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#4
I've had a Redsnapper for the best part of ten years. It's been up mountains, in the sea, thrown over walls, etc etc but I've been wanting something lighter lately. I settled on a 3 Legged Thing Travis as it looked a reasonable tripod for around £100 or so. I wasn't spending £3-400 plus just to save a few hundred grams.....
 
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Rob
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#5
Let’s be honest Tripod design hasn’t changed that much in decades! New lighter material have come along but most of it is marketing departments trying to say older models are now rubbish and you really need this new one. They are just trying to sell you stuff which you probably don’t need. If you get a well made tripod it will last you years if taken care of. You won’t need to upgrade it just because they release a new model with slightly lighter & stronger materials or a new leg lock mechanism.

Theoretically tripod manufacturers have the hardest job of all camera accessories as there isn’t much need to constantly upgrade as newer models come out. I’d recommend getting the best you can buy as buying very cheaply made tripods is usually a circle of continuous replacement once you find they arent as stable as you think. Tripods should last many years too so think long term too. You could easily be looking at 10-20 years life if maintained and looked after well.

You can find used bargains too. A well looked after tripod that hasn’t been treated badly will last a long time so it’s worth looking at older models too.
 
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Nightmare
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#6
You can find used bargains too. A well looked after tripod that hasn’t been treated badly will last a long time so it’s worth looking at older models too.
Caution must be exercised here. Anything with integral rubber and / or plastic parts will be subject to perishing over time, say 10-15 years... That will include all twist lock tripods. If you can't get spares, don't pay for one any significant money. I am writing this from experience.

All good metal designs will fare better. Unless of course the've been subjected to salt water, and are made out of Magnesium!. Just like Manfrotto does.

Then of course all the chicom brands may and very likely do have some design faults. Without access to parts you will be stuck very quickly. Just like I was with CHICOM ROLLEI.
 
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drsilver
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Ken
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#7
Well, I just plunked down 150 US dollars on a used Benro Travel Angel kit (legs, head and accessories.) Supposed to be here next week. I'll send updates.
 
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Redsnappa
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#8
Let’s be honest Tripod design hasn’t changed that much in decades! New lighter material have come along but most of it is marketing departments trying to say older models are now rubbish and you really need this new one.
So so true, there is nothing technological about tripods, they are at best examples of basic mechanical engineering. You only have to view eBay used listings to see budget tripods that have lasted 20-25 years.
 
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drsilver
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Ken
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#9
So so true, there is nothing technological about tripods, they are at best examples of basic mechanical engineering. You only have to view eBay used listings to see budget tripods that have lasted 20-25 years.
I'm not sure I agree with that entirely. Sure, tripod's been around for most of human history. And the last big change in structure was when we made it collapse and fold, tilt and pan.

But the last 30 years have seen tremendous advances in materials technology. And that's only trickled down to the consumer level in the last 10-15 years. Modern tripods are lighter, stronger and cheaper. And that's just the metal ones.

Polymer-based legs are brand new. A 10-year-old set of CF sticks is ancient. They're still fussing with the goop. You want stiff but not brittle. Strong but light. And always, always, always, cheaper to manufacture. And that's pretty easy to take too far without the customer noticing until it's too late.

I doubt every new model is necessarily better than the one it replaced, but I bet most of them are different. New one solved some problem with the old one, but maybe created some new ones of its own. That strikes me as where we are with this technology.
 
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Nightmare
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#10
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Jason
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#11
When I was looking in the mid 90s - a lot of metal legged tripods then had already gone too far in the weight-saving - to the extent that some of the tubular legs had such thin walls it was deformable by light finger pressure alone.

If you're saying they're even lighter now, they must be made from actual foil.

Carbon fibre isn't new, it tends not to "go off" other than crushing and then it splinters. A decent manufacturer will generally put out a decent product - hell, I just bought a 15 year old carbon/magnesium tripod - it's 880g lighter than the aluminium one it has relegated and still 150g lighter than the current incarnation (because the current one doesn't have magnesium). Other than s couple of dings in the leg clips, it's pristine and will probably see me out (the aluminium one will probably still be present at the heat death of the universe)
 
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Redsnappa
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#12
Tripods are less prone to shake\vibration if they are heavy
Tripods hold cameras in a more stable position if they are heavy
Tripods resist wind movement best if they are heavy
Tripod are more stable on loose ground if they are heavy

If more weight was not an important issue why do all "good" tripod have a hook to hang a heavy object from.
Unfortunately the laws of physics cannot be broken not even by using technology.
 
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