Tripods. 3 sectioned or 4 ?

3 Sections or 4 ?


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Quinty

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Dec 27, 2005
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#1
With all the threads about tripods, I thought I should also ask something on this topic.

It used to be said that 3 sections make a sturdier tripod as the last section ain't too thin like that of a 4 section.

A 3 sectioned carbon-fibre tripod weighs a lil' more than a 4 sectioned.
It also is a little longer when totally closed.

With the advancements in technology now,
would you still believe the old saying and go for a 3 sectioned ?
Or would you go for a 4 sectioned ?

Please add a post why you choose either option.
 

XiaoWei

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Mar 14, 2008
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#2
With all the threads about tripods, I thought I should also ask something on this topic.

It used to be said that 3 sections make a sturdier tripod as the last section ain't too thin like that of a 4 section.

A 3 sectioned carbon-fibre tripod weighs a lil' more than a 4 sectioned.
It also is a little longer when totally closed.

With the advancements in technology now,
would you still believe the old saying and go for a 3 sectioned ?
Or would you go for a 4 sectioned ?

Please add a post why you choose either option.

I chose 3 section over 4 section because 3 section tripod are more stable. 4 section legs will tend be to thinner at the end of the 4th section and thus is alot more unstable than its 3 section counterpart.

But the advantage of a 4 section tripod is its short height when you fold it up, thus able you to carry it inside a backpack or store it somewhere else where space is limited ;)
 

zzyzx

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Aug 25, 2007
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#3
get a 4 section if compact/size is important. otherwise, you got no other reason not to get 3 section.
 

Headshotzx

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Dec 14, 2007
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#4
For traveling or photowalks, a 4sectioned carbonfibre tripod would be great after a few hours.
 

L-plate

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Mar 16, 2008
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#6
The more sections there is, the thinner then bottom most section would be, thus providing lesser stability. More so if there's wind...
 

phoakm

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Dec 15, 2003
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#7
Shared some recent experience with a 4 sections tripod. The 4 sections do provide an advantage in terms of weight and portability. I can keep the whole tripod in the my luggage bag without the tripod head. Does not encounter any issue in stability and handling....fyi, I fixed a 5D with 16-35 f2.8 on top. :)
 

Kit

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#8
These issues with stability is relative to the individual tripod model. I'm using a 4 section Gitzo 3540LS, together with a Manfrotto 405 gearhead(heavy head by itself) and heaviest set up I have is a 1Ds MKII or D3 with 70-200 f2.8. Its as stable as you can get. As far as speed is concern, I really like the G lock system. Gitzo's previous locking system is a pain though.
 

ExplorerZ

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#11
got a 3section myself, but wish it was 4... like wwhat Kit has pointed out, it pretty much relative to your load and also the tripod/tripodhead itself. a $20 3section tripod ain't even close to a good $100+ 4sectin tripod. And a 20kg load on a 3section might feel not as stable as a 2kg load on a 4section equiv.
 

Leong23

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Oct 18, 2007
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#12
I using a 4-section tripod. The reason is my style of shooting don't require to me fully extend the tripod in most cases. Find it more easily to carry around as i'm always on the move and able to hand carry onboard airplane (w/o ball head).

Regarding the thin leg on the last section, ya... look very scary.
 

Quinty

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Dec 27, 2005
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#13
I wanna ask those who're using Gitzo tripods.
I'm keen on the 2-series 4 sectioned pieces but the legs really has much difference in thickness to the 3 sectioned ones.
Looking to be using with a 80-200mm f/2.8 lens.
And for most of the time when you deploy the use of a tripod,
would you extend the centre column ?
 

Kit

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#14
I wanna ask those who're using Gitzo tripods.
I'm keen on the 2-series 4 sectioned pieces but the legs really has much difference in thickness to the 3 sectioned ones.
Looking to be using with a 80-200mm f/2.8 lens.
And for most of the time when you deploy the use of a tripod,
would you extend the centre column ?
I've always advised against getting a tripod with a centre column to begin with. Extending the centre column heightens the centre of gravity of the whole setup, compromising on its stability. Its best you choose a tripod that's capable of reaching your chest level at least.
 

Quinty

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Dec 27, 2005
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#15
Hope I'm not a pain by asking once more..
I'm keen on Gitzo tripods.
I'm 1.73 metres tall.
What model would you (Gitzo owners) recommend ?
I'm looking towards G2530EX or GT2931EX.
Not really sure if I'd prefer a 4 sectioned though.
Also to ask..
Is the centre column being off-centred a hassle/con or a pro ?
 

Kit

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#16
The centre column being off centred means that you can tilt it at an angle. This gives you better flexibility. That said; if you were to tilt the column, you have to make sure that adequate support is provided as the weight is concentrated on one side of the tripod. In this instance, I usually align the direction where the camera is pointing to one of the tripod legs.
 

yanyewkay

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Sep 22, 2004
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#17
each section is a weak point, more sections means more weak points. 3 sections for me
 

keast

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Nov 2, 2007
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#18
lower end 4 sections looks and feel flexy to me. my benro a158 legs flexs when i apply a little force from the top when up to 4th section is used. however when opened to 3rd section no flexing at all. this is largely due to the very skinny section. the 4th tube like half the diameter of the 1st tube

it does has its good point. only one point : bloody compact. get 4 section if this is your main concern, eg is you are gonna stuff it in or strap on your bag as hand carry when flying.


no idea about higher end 4th section thou. higher end stuff are usually light as they seem to be made of stronger materials that are light, but u'll never know if they actually used the same stronger material yet reduced the diameter just to make it light. probably looks good on paper but barely stronger but lighter than low end versions


if compactness was never an issue, screw the 4 section and get the 3 section. at least im sure they can tahan better than 4th section if i were to overload it with no choice :think:

point to note, 4 section version is usually more expensive too

Extending the centre column heightens the centre of gravity of the whole setup, compromising on its stability. Its best you choose a tripod that's capable of reaching your chest level at least.
and make sure the tripod can extend tall enough for you lol
 

sORe-EyEz

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Jun 28, 2005
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#19
i went with the 4-section option as a smaller compacted length is more important. there is no stability issues with my brand/model as my gears ain't on the heavy side...
 

May 26, 2004
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#20
Voted for 3 sections.
I decided to buy a 3 sections tripod. (Manfrotto 190PROCX3)

Cos I checked the specification the diff between 3 and 4 sections as below.
4 section length is 50cm, weight is 1.34kg
3 section length is 58cmm weight is 1.29kg.

I don't know whether you all notice that or not. :dunno:

So I choice the weight, since 3 section is light compare to 4 section.
And 4 section the leg is very thin is felt like easy to broke.

Just my points of view.;)
 

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