Traveling With A Compact, Light, Low Cost Tripod : The Flashpoint F-1128

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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!

Tripods by other manufacturers that are in the same category as the Flashpoint are the following:
Manfrotto 190CX3 @ US$220
Giottos MT8250 @ US$308.95
Gitzo GT0531 @ US$350

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.

Happy Flying!
a black backpack with pink straps

a bag with a camera and tripod inside

a camera on a tripod in front of a building

a close-up of a building


  1. I saw your post on and am glad you made this suggestion. This is definiately my cost effective then the other options out there. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    Philip Johnson

  2. Fish, where can I buy a roller system for a carry-on? I have a small Pelican case I want to make my carry-on but it does not have wheels. I’ve seen people that have a little foldable wheel thing that they put luggage on. Thanks.

  3. A rolling cart is considered an additional carry on and will either need to be checked, or you’ll need to sacrifice your personal item.

    A far better option is the Pelican 1514 case which has wheels.

    Happy Flying!


  4. Thanks for the review – I’ve been using the Manfrotto 190xprob but end up leaving it home most of the time because it’s too big and heavy! I was wondering what head you use on it to keep down on the weight/price and to hold up that 5D+grip+85mm?

  5. Aaron,

    I use a Gitzo G1277M Magnesium Center Ball Head. This ball head can hold a significant amount of weight.

    Happy Flying!


  6. I have a Really Right Stuff carbon Fiber tripod ( TV33) and the BH-40 Ballhead. Top of the line gear but heavy. I just got back from Bhutan and I’ll never lug that bad boy around, strapped to my GuraGear Kiboko again. So I decided I’d get something really, really light and voila, maybe this is it. Questions:
    1. Can I screw my BH-40 RRS Ballhead onto this baby?
    2. Will it support a D700 with a 70-200? Probably 5- 6 lbs.

    If so, we have a winner.


  7. Richard,

    The Flashpoint F-1128 can handle any ball head, I use a Gitzo ballhead on mine … and I have used my F-1128 with the Canon EOS 1D bodies and the Canon 70-200f2.8 with excellent results.

    Hope that answers your questions.

    Happy Flying!


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