Best Travel Tripod 2011: What to get for Europe Part 3

This has probably been one of the harder posts for me to write. Mostly because I feel so conflicted about the money side of gear choices that I have been wrestling with while on my search for the right tripod for Jenn and I's trip to Europe. Gear for me has always been a hard struggle, because like most new photographers, price has always been an issue and I have often choose the cheaper option only to get burned later when my gear starts to fall apart . Its gotten to the point where I'd much rather spend the money and purchase things I'll have forever then go through the pain of replacing it a year later. Even with this attitude its still hard to justify certain purchases. It often becomes a big mental battle trying to figure out what the right thing is to do. After my last post, I had left Samy's camera after returning my first choice, the Gitzo GT1531, leaving me without a tripod. Because a tripod is such an important part of my photography at this point I have had to start looking for a plan B. This brings me to a company called "Really Right Stuff".

For those who aren't familiar with this company, they are regarded by many photographers as the best tripod company in the industry. I have heard their name many times before and haven't heard one negative thing about them......

......well except their prices!.....

When your the best I guess that means there is always a catch. Many photographers talk about Really Right Stuff as the holy grail of tripod equipment and that if you really want the best, you go with them. So maybe its worth it if it will last me.....I guess I'm willing to take the risk to find out!

Really Right Stuff is like most tripod companies with a lot of big differences. The first is that all of their stuff is made in the USA. In fact made not to far from me in San Luis Obispo, CA. Also all of their tripod parts are machine milled rather then metal cast so the quality and tolerances of their products is incredible high. Also they pride themselves in making the best carbon fiber legs in the industry and have scientific tests that suggest their strength to weight ratios beat all others. Also their vibration reduction properties of their tripods are better then anything on the market.  This is probably the most important thing to hear since vibration is one of the biggest concerns with HDR image capture. Their tripods are very quick to setup with the use of quick release leg locks which I always prefer over the leg clips. Also something that is really unique to RRS is the use of customized L bracket camera mounts for use on their ball heads. This allows the user to very quickly switch the camera into a vertical position without having to adjust the ball head or move the tripod. That is a huge advantage for speed! So with all that being said....I'm hooked!....Wait how much is it?  I'll let you guys head on over to the site to check it out for yourself.  Ouch.....

TVC-24L

Anyways, after calling and talking at length over what to pick, I decided to order the TVC-24L Tripod with BH-40 LR Ballhead. This is actually a new model at RRS. Its the same size as the TVC23 folded up, but it has an extra leg section that brings it up to 66.75 inches tall when fully extended. This is fantastic since I'm 6'1" tall so this model will work much better for my height.

Only problem is....Its not out yet......AND......it may not be out before we head to Europe!

Uggg.....Ok this tripod search is getting annoying. Even after finding the perfect tripod I might not even be able to get it. So in the mean time I have been looking for a plan C just in case I can't get this one. I have to get my hands on something before we leave.


Pros:

  1. Best carbon fiber legs in the industry
  2. Best vibration reduction
  3. Highest quality machine-milled parts
  4. Best ball heads in the industry with use of L bracket camera mounts
  5. Largest leg support weight- 40lbs (others I looked at only 17lbs)
  6. Really light weight- under 5 pounds including the Ball Head!!
  7. Rubber twist legs locks
  8. Ratcheting angle leg stops
  9. 5 Year Warranty
  10. Made in the USA

Cons:

  1. High Price
  2. Doesn't Include center column (Extra)
  3. L bracket not included (extra)
  4. Bag or carrying case not included (extra)

RRS Is not for everyone. I'm not even sure if its even for me totally. Spending that much on a tripod has been really hard for me but I'm hopeful I'm making the right choice. I only want to do this once and all the other tripods I have looked at haven't lived up to my expectations. Hopefully this will be the last tripod I'll ever need.

Wish me luck!