Tripod recommendation for Leica M

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snusmumriken

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I hate carrying gear, so I'm not really a fan of tripods. But more than once recently I wished I had one with me. My existing Benbo tripod drove me nuts on every occasional use through about 30 years of ownership, and thankfully is now broken. So it may be time for a re[lacement.

My requirements are:
- holds a Leica M securely despite its end-of-baseplate tripod bush;
- has a pan-and-tilt head rather than a ball-and-socket;
- extends to at least 5ft 6in (1.67m);
- weighs almost nothing, but has a suspension hook for a bag of rocks if needed.

Anyone got a recommendation?
 

cliveh

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How about this:-

 

Pieter12

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I hate carrying gear, so I'm not really a fan of tripods. But more than once recently I wished I had one with me. My existing Benbo tripod drove me nuts on every occasional use through about 30 years of ownership, and thankfully is now broken. So it may be time for a re[lacement.

My requirements are:
- holds a Leica M securely despite its end-of-baseplate tripod bush;
- has a pan-and-tilt head rather than a ball-and-socket;
- extends to at least 5ft 6in (1.67m);
- weighs almost nothing, but has a suspension hook for a bag of rocks if needed.

Anyone got a recommendation?
Buy the sturdiest CF tripod you can afford. Anything else is a waste. If weight and size are paramount, consider a monopod. A quick release plate like the one made by Acratech allows you to center the camera on the tripod head. https://www.acratech.net/leica-m-m6-custom-plate-by-acratech/
 

Anon Ymous

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How about this:-


This is a sturdy tripod, but certainly doesn't weigh next to nothing that the OP asks for. I've got this tripod with the mhxpro-3w head, which is a bit heavier than this. Very nicely built, sturdy, but a bit heavy.
 

madNbad

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I can recommend the Acratech plate. It centers the tripod socket and if you don't want to leave it on the camera, is easily stashed in your bag. As for a bag hook, Vangard makes a sling bag that attaches to the legs with velcro loops. It holds quite a bit and is sturdy. I use a Manfrotto aluminum 055 with the xpro 3 way head but I really don't carry it very far.

 
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snusmumriken

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That's a really useful resource, thanks.

$44 for a plate that shifts the tripod bush to the centre seems rather costly. I was hoping to have that function built into the tripod. Years ago my father had a Rowi tripod with an elongated head that properly supported cameras whether the bush was in the centre or at the end. He gave it to me, but I left it on a salt marsh. I did get it back a few tides later, but aluminium and saltwater are not good together. Anyway, it was a massive thing.
 

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Also of interest is the Vuepoint, a kickstarter and I don't know about the availability of either size. May not be as sturdy as a larger, heavier tripod, but it hardly weighs anything and is pretty inexpensive for CF. You'd need to change out the ballhead for something more to your liking. https://vuepointultralight.com
 

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I use Induro carbon fiber tripods and heads. https://www.indurogear.com/ They have a wide selection of heads and tripods. The carbon are lighter than the steel ones. Remember that tripod weight increase as a cube of the distance walked.
 

Pieter12

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That's a really useful resource, thanks.

$44 for a plate that shifts the tripod bush to the centre seems rather costly. I was hoping to have that function built into the tripod. Years ago my father had a Rowi tripod with an elongated head that properly supported cameras whether the bush was in the centre or at the end. He gave it to me, but I left it on a salt marsh. I did get it back a few tides later, but aluminium and saltwater are not good together. Anyway, it was a massive thing.

But it does more than just shift the tripod socket to the middle of the camera. It is a quick-release plate that doesn't weigh much and greatly speeds up and simplifies attaching the camera to the head. Once you start using the Arc Swiss system, it's hard to go back to screwing the tripod head to the camera. I have used the Manfrotto QR plates and they're nowhere as easy to use as the Arca Swiss system.
 

Sirius Glass

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Arc Swiss and Manfrotto parts are interchangeable with the Indurogear for a whole lot less.
 

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I use a Gitzo Mountaineer GT 1532 with a Manfrotto medium weight ball head and the RC2 quick release plate. It's a three section tripod so quick to deploy and suitable not only for a Leica M but a TLR or SLR if you don't use massive tele lenses. The whole thing is pretty light and rigid but the ease of use encourages it's actual use if you see what I mean, and it isn't unwieldy to carry between stops fully extended and with the camera on the head. If you are using a digital Leica the cameras tripod mount is already on the lens axis but if you are using a film M I recommend you get the Leica 14405 hand grip which centres the tripod socket.
 

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How much money do you want to spend? I have a Gitzo 3 series with an Arca P0 head. It is light, it is easy to use and will hold my large format camera in position so the Leica will be just fine too. Bit pricey at $2k.

I used to have a Manfrotto 190 with a Manfrotto 484 head, I think it was about $200-300 in total. That was great for smaller cameras too, but didn't go very tall.
 
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snusmumriken

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How much money do you want to spend?
Honestly, I don't know. That's probably the last consideration, although naturally I don't want to invest a mint in a tool I will use on only a few days each year. I am quite surprised how pricey tripods can be.

I use a Gitzo Mountaineer GT 1532 with a Manfrotto medium weight ball head and the RC2 quick release plate. It's a three section tripod so quick to deploy and suitable not only for a Leica M but a TLR or SLR if you don't use massive tele lenses. The whole thing is pretty light and rigid but the ease of use encourages it's actual use if you see what I mean, and it isn't unwieldy to carry between stops fully extended and with the camera on the head. If you are using a digital Leica the cameras tripod mount is already on the lens axis but if you are using a film M I recommend you get the Leica 14405 hand grip which centres the tripod socket.
Of the suggestions so far, this is the most appealing. Seems that buying an accessory to centre the tripod bush. is inescapable!

Also of interest is the Vuepoint, a kickstarter and I don't know about the availability of either size. May not be as sturdy as a larger, heavier tripod, but it hardly weighs anything and is pretty inexpensive for CF. You'd need to change out the ballhead for something more to your liking. https://vuepointultralight.com
I am also attracted by this ultra-lightweight concept. My concern would be whether the friction lock legs would cope with both the relatively heavy M6 and the rock slung underneath. It's also not properly available yet.
 

Sirius Glass

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Honestly, I don't know. That's probably the last consideration, although naturally I don't want to invest a mint in a tool I will use on only a few days each year. I am quite surprised how pricey tripods can be.


Of the suggestions so far, this is the most appealing. Seems that buying an accessory to centre the tripod bush. is inescapable!


I am also attracted by this ultra-lightweight concept. My concern would be whether the friction lock legs would cope with both the relatively heavy M6 and the rock slung underneath. It's also not properly available yet.

Want to get the most for the least amount of money and get quality equipment? See post #9.
 

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Leica 14405 hand grip

If the OP thinks the Scratch Arca-Swiss base is expensive at $44, a $100+ (at least) used Leica Hand Grip might not be for him.
I am quite surprised how pricey tripods can be.
Don't make the mistake of buying a cheap, flimsy tripod. You will regret it and the money will just be wasted. Leofoto has the most reasonably-priced quality CF tripods that I have seen. Probably because they steal established high-end manufacturer's intellectual property and although not as well-made, they come pretty close.
 

Sirius Glass

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If the OP thinks the Scratch Arca-Swiss base is expensive at $44, a $100+ (at least) used Leica Hand Grip might not be for him.

Don't make the mistake of buying a cheap, flimsy tripod. You will regret it and the money will just be wasted. Leofoto has the most reasonably-priced quality CF tripods that I have seen. Probably because they steal established high-end manufacturer's intellectual property and although not as well-made, they come pretty close.

A flimsy tripod will vibrate in the wind blurring the long exposures and then wait to tip over until after you put you most expensive lens on your best camera and mount it on the tripod and BANG!! IT WILL TIP OVER AND DESTROY YOUR PRIDE AND JOYS!
 
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snusmumriken

snusmumriken

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Don't make the mistake of buying a cheap, flimsy tripod. You will regret it and the money will just be wasted.
The trouble is that previously I bought a very solid, versatile and quite expensive tripod (Benbo) and regretted that.☹️ I don't buy much gear, so my mistakes tend to live with me for a long time. The versatility (rigid to totally helpless at the turn of a screw) and sheer heft of the Benbo were precisely what stopped me taking it anywhere.

I suppose I could just decide that shutter speeds of 1/15 and longer are not for me... Seems a pity never to use half the gearbox, though.
 

logan2z

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I use Induro carbon fiber tripods and heads. https://www.indurogear.com/ They have a wide selection of heads and tripods. The carbon are lighter than the steel ones. Remember that tripod weight increase as a cube of the distance walked.

That link goes to a French automotive repair website now.

Induro is owned by Benro:

 

Sirius Glass

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The trouble is that previously I bought a very solid, versatile and quite expensive tripod (Benbo) and regretted that.☹️ I don't buy much gear, so my mistakes tend to live with me for a long time. The versatility (rigid to totally helpless at the turn of a screw) and sheer heft of the Benbo were precisely what stopped me taking it anywhere.

I suppose I could just decide that shutter speeds of 1/15 and longer are not for me... Seems a pity never to use half the gearbox, though.

The OP does not want to overbuy or buy a tripod that is heavier than it needs to be.
 

Pieter12

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Carbon Fiber is your friend. A CF leg tripod typically weighs half of what an aluminum one does. I believe the Benbo is aluminum and probably weighed in at over 3 kg.
 

Sirius Glass

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Carbon Fiber is your friend. A CF leg tripod typically weighs half of what an aluminum one does. I believe the Benbo is aluminum and probably weighed in at over 3 kg.

Even aluminum tripods tend to be much heavier than one would think. A heavy tripod does not end up getting used as often.
 

MattKing

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In my case, I don't mind a reasonable amount of weight. What I find more impractical some times, is the size of my favorite tripod. So compact (when folded) and effective is more important than light and effective. It may be different for the OP.
 
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