Tripod legs 3 vs. 4 section?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by tom_milton|2, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. I'm buying a new tripod that has twist lock legs. Previously I've always had tripods with lever lock legs, like the Bogen 3221. I'm looking at two very similar tripods, one with 3 section legs and the other with 4 section legs.
    I really like that the tripod with 4 leg sections folds into a more compact length. What I'm not sure of is how much of a bother it will be dealing with the extra leg section as far as time required to set up and take down.
    There are a lot of tradeoffs with tripods. Is the extra leg section something to put weight on, or a non issue?
    Thanks!
     
  2. I really like that the tripod with 4 leg sections folds into a more compact length. What I'm not sure of is how much of a bother it will be dealing with the extra leg section as far as time required to set up and take down.​
    How do you use you tripod?
    I tend to carry mine around fully extended, so I'm not completely collapsing and extending it very often during a period of photography.
    I bought three-section legs, I would choose four next time. The savings in weight and collapsed size are attractive -- as is the ability to have a shorter tripod when I decide to leave one section locked in the out position at precisely my prefered height when the rest are fully extended.
     
  3. I have a couple of Gitzo tripods with 3 and 4 leg sections respectively. Both are about the same height (58"), which is too tall for comfort much of the time. With the 3 section tripod, I have to extend the middle section only part way, but extending the lower two sections of the 4 section tripod is just right. It takes longer to get the 3 section tripod even.
    If the tripod has non-rotating legs, the effort to tighten three more collars is minimal. With a Gitzo, the stiffness is about the same, due to tight tolerances and design. Since the 4-section tripod is less than 24" when collapsed, it fits easily into a suitcase for air travel (the 3 section is 27" long, and must be partly disassembled). For me, that's the deciding issue.
    All else being equal, a 4 section tripod is a little heavier.
     
  4. Tom, you got it right. This is all about tradeoffs. Three sections vs four....... Aluminum vs basalt vs carbon fiber........ Twist lock vs lever locks.......... Gitzo vs whatever.......
    I prefer three sections because it is less to open and the bottom section is stronger. That tripod has twist locks. I also have a four-section with levers and like that one, too. Really, this comes down to personal preference.
     
  5. Tom:
    I went with a 3-section because the legs are stronger than a 4-section of the same weight. I decided the few inches I'd save with the 4-section weren't worth it to me.
    Eric
     
  6. Some folks claim that 3-sections are more stable than 4-sections. Myself, I think a Gitzo GT-3541S is just as stable as a Gitzo GT-3531S.
    A 4-section will usually collapse to a shorter length, which can be an advantage for packing.
    A 4-section sometimes extends taller than a 3-section, but not always.
    A 3-section always has one less place to fuss with on each leg.
     
  7. I have a 4 section Slik and once you get used to it, it takes no extra time at all.
     
  8. Sorry, meant Velbon.
     
  9. i like 3 sections just cause it's a hassle dealing with an extra section.
     
  10. Another vote for "it's a non-issue". I have both a three-section and a four-section, both with lever locks, and when I'm out with one vs the other I don't even notice the three extra locks: I'm so engrossed in working the scene that the mechanics become background noise.
     
  11. Hello, well, I have a gitzo 1505 (four section) that has a couple of scribed lines around the bottom section (for a quick reference). I like to set the bottom legs to where I usually have them and lock them down. After that, set up is the same as for a 3-section, but with the bonus of compactness when you're done.
    Dan
     
  12. "With the 3 section tripod, I have to extend the middle section only part way, but extending the lower two sections of the 4 section tripod is just right. It takes longer to get the 3 section tripod even."
    That's what I meant but couldn't say effectively!
     
  13. sounds like i should just enjoy the compactness of the 4 section and not look back.
    thanks for the help!
     
  14. My experiences with a four-section tripod have been very positive. I had a need for an extra tall tripod for a particular type of recurring assignment and chose a Gitzo 3540XLS. With all sections extended its very tall -- I need a stepstool to work at that height. With just three sections extended, its comparable to my old Bogen 3021 -- a comfortable working height. My answer to critics of a four-section is: you don't have to extend all sections all of the time, but when you need the height, you can't get it if you don't have it!
     
  15. I prefer 3 section. I carry mine in a tripod bag, with a tripod strap, or in the tripod holder on a backpack. No problems.
    4 section are nice for airplane overheads, so if you fly alot, this might be the way to go.
     
  16. Not a non-issue for some. I spent weeks at my local dealer dithering over this. Went with the 4-section Gitzo for the reasons given above, shorter length for travel, seemed just as sturdy as the 3-section. The Gitzos are well-made tripods though, other brands may be different.
     
  17. FWIW, I prefer 3-section tripods. It is good to have some choices still.
     
  18. That's an impossible question. I have one of each. What's better, blue or green? It's more important that the one you get works as advertised.
    I ended up with 4 sections for backpacking, 3 when size wasn't an issue. Good luck man!
     

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