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23/03/2009 – Traveling With A Compact, Light, Low Cost Tripod : The Flashpoint F-1128
Traveling with a tripod can be a serious pain in the shoulders, the back and in regard to packing planning. As much as I’d like to use a tripod, I rarely travel with a full-size tripod. The problems associated with traveling quick-and-light and hauling a tripod are usually too much of a hassle for me.
Over the past few years I have been searching for a viable full-size tripod for my needs. These requirements also including finding a tripod that was not only great for travel, which meant only exploring ‘carbon fiber’ tripods, as well as a financially accessible tripod. The cost factor eliminated virtually every lightweight carbon fiber tripod on the market…until I discovered the Flashpoint F-1128.
The Flashpoint series of carbon fiber tripods is made exclusively for Adorama, in New York, and cover a wide range of photographer needs. From the Flashpoint chose the F-1128 because the tripod collapses down to 20″ (51cm), and with the center post removed can fit easily inside many of my legal carry on bags, such as the GuraGear Kiboko backpack or Mountainsmith Correspondent roll-aboard. When traveling with a smaller backpack, such as the Mountainsmith Borealis AT or North Face Surge, the tripod easily attached to the exterior side of the bag, without significantly increasing the height of the bag.
Aside from the compact travel size of the Flashpoint F-1128 carbon fiber tripod, the weight of the tripod makes it effortless to carry. At only 2.64 pounds (1.2kgs) you don’t even feel the weight on your back, even after hours of carrying the tripod.
The third factor to making the Flashpoint F-1128 carbon fiber tripod my traveling tripod of choice is the cost…a mere US$152.95!
All three are excellent, in fact I really found the Giottos MT8250 to be excellent, but it is double the cost.
The Flashpoint F-1128 has its drawbacks, at maximum extension it is not as stable as I’d like. For this reason I try not to use it at maximum extension, although I have had excellent results with it at maximum extension with long exposures holding approximately 5lbs (2.25kgs) of camera equipment.
I know not all tripods are created equal, and while both traditional metal tripods and carbon fiber tripods each have their advantages and disadvantages, I started my search with a clear idea of what I wanted. I wanted the following from my tripod:
1) Completely legal for carry on
2) Reversible center column
3) Cost effective (so if the tripod was lost, damaged or needed to be left behind there would be a minimal financial impact related to loss)
These three requirements made for a hard search, but overall I am extremely happy with my choice in the Flashpoint F-1128. The tripod has proven its self to work with a moderate weight load at full extension, to work extremely well with a heavy weight load with the legs extended and the column at its lowest point, it packs well, breaks down quickly and its design makes it very easy to use with gloves on or in the rain.
Below are some photos of the Flashpoint carbon fiber F-1128 tripod on the road, attached to the exterior of my Mountainsmith Borealis AT; inside my Gura Gear Kiboko backpack (column removed from the legs); fully extended shooting architecture in Tampa, FL; an images from the industrial architecture shoot in Tampa, shot with a Canon 5D w/ BG-E4 grip and Canon 85f1.2.