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Leica SL and proper tripod for 90-280 SL lens?
Old 05-17-2017   #1
bherman is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Shrewsbury, MA
Posts: 154
Leica SL and proper tripod for 90-280 SL lens?


I currently have a Leica SL and both the 24-90 and the 90-280 SL lenses. My current tripod setup is an older Manfrotto 055XProB Aluminum tripod and a Calumet 7000 Series 7145 ballhead.
I have been looking for a 'better' travel tripod - one which will better support the heaviest configuration, which is the SL body and 90-280 lens, which together tip the scale at just shy of 6 pounds.

They say that your tripod/head should be rated at approx. 2x the weight of your heaviest camera/lens combo. I was able to find a great deal on a Manfrotto 190GO! Carbon Fiber tripod, which is rated at 15.4 pounds, and weighs 2.9 pounds without the head. The Calument head, (ballhead) which I believe was made for Calument by Manfrotto, is rated at over 20 pounds.

When I mount the SL with the 90-280 on the tripod, I use the 90-280's tripod collar as the connection point. I took some photos, and they look fine, but the entire setup still doesn't seem that stable.It really doesn't matter to me if the tripod weighs 2.9 or 3.9 pounds. I just don't want a $15,000 camera/lens on a tripod or head which could potentially compromise it's stability.

Should I bite the bullet and go with a Gitzo with an Arca Swiss or RRS ballhead or is my current setup perfectly fine?


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Old 05-17-2017   #2
somewhat colored
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Godfrey is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 7,918
I don't know the particular legs and head that you're using so I cannot comment on them.

I have two sets of tripod legs that I use with the SL + SL90-280 lens:
  • Manfrotto CX190Pro3
  • Feisol CT3442 Tournament with center column
..and two heads:
  • Arca-Swiss Monoball P0 (with standard Arca-Swiss QR plate clamp)
  • Acratech GP ball head (with screw-type Arca-Swiss QR plate clamp)
Normally the Monoball head is on the Manfrotto legs, all up weight 3.2 lbs, and the GP head is on the Feisol legs, all up weight in the carry bag 4.1 lbs.

The Manfrotto legs are rated for about 12-13 lbs and are convenient to use for table top and light field duty when I don't need much elevation (max height with extension is 56 inches). The Feisol legs are rated for 26 lbs and, with column fully extended, give me up to 74 inches of elevation (I need a step stool to see through the viewfinder); they're a bit slower in use.

Both tripods are very steady alone with the SL/SL90-280 fitted, with no assisting weights added, but both have hooks to add my camera bag or weights for additional stability in windy situations. I recommend either head and either of these sets of legs for this camera and lens. Beyond that, I strongly recommend sticking with the Arca-Swiss traditional type quick release clamps and plates: they're the lightest and the strongest QR pieces in my experience. A-S type clamps and plates are available from Arca-Swiss, Really Right Stuff, Acratech, and Kirk Photo amongst others.

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