Hat-Trick of Awards for the Fibertec
- The Vidy Award 2003 for "Advancement in the Art and Science of Video Technology" awarded by Videography Magazine
- Editors Pick of the Show, for "Advancement in the Science, Art and Business of Television" awarded by Digital TV Magazine
- "In Recognition of Innovative Achievement in the Advancement of Video Technology" awarded by Government Video Magazine
What users of the Fibertec have said . . .
"As a vinten Fibertec owner I have to say that I just love the legs. The location of the latches means you never have to stoop down to release them. The mid level spreader makes for easy adjustment of the leg spread, again without having to bend or stoop. You can also use the tripod safely on stairs or uneven ground... try that with a floor spreader! They are light weight yet incredibly rigid. In terms of rigidity they are in my opinion better than the sachtler CF HD legs I was using at the weekend which are far more bulky.
- Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser
"Nothing short of awesome for HD shooters. The closest thing to having the camera bolted to a block of concrete you can buy (short of a large block of concrete). Lever leg locks are brilliant. I don't know how the Spread Loc spreader does it's thing, but in combination with the FiberTec sticks, the set up is bomb proof. I can detect not one parsec of rotational wind up even with my zoom racked out to 20X and maximum drag applied. Likewise backlash. With the head locks on, I've kneed legs, walked into pan handles, fiddled with the camera all without any of it appearing on the video. They really are one of the best camera supports manufactured, at any price.
- JR Dunedin, New Zealand
"I love how the system all clips together at the base of the legs, you can kick it together to lock it saving time and effort. The mid level spreader is excellent, the individually extendable legs give me great flexibility in my work.
- Sky News Cameraman, London
"This system is very robust and is capable of operating well in varying climates and terrain’s around the world. It offers great versatility giving the operator more freedom to be creative. Fibertec’s features along with its extra rigidity provide the reassurance required by cameramen to forget about their kit and concentrate on capturing that all-important image.
By re-evaluating the fundamentals of traditional tripod design, the Vinten Fibertec tripod provides the professional with an even more stable working platform, suitable for any application. Fibertec is exceptionally rigid; noticeably more stable when using high levels of drag or long lenses particularly in windy outdoor conditions.
The strength of the Vinten Fibertec comes from the unique channel leg sections of carbon/glass composite. To improve set-up and positioning time, lever action leg clamps are positioned adjacent to each other at the top of their respective stages. To further increase durability and reliability, all exposed edges are reinforced and molded joints have eliminated the need for adhesives.
The unique design of the Fibertec's lever-operated clamping system is a significant contributory factor in the overall performance of the tripod.
With long term reliability, ease of operation and minimal maintenance in mind, Vinten's designers have introduced a system that utilizes the entire length of the leg overlap. So the more the legs are nested, the bigger the clamping area, almost doubling the maximum carrying capacity of a traditional Vinten 100mm tripod to an impressive 99.2 lbs.
A molded joint construction improves strength, durability and reliability, eliminates the need for adhesives. Exposed section edges are reinforced with a composite material to improve additional durability. If the clamps require in-field adjustment, a single screw makes the operation simple.
Can be unlocked simultaneously for quick deployment. The overlapping clamp design increases the stability of the tripod further.
Provides a simple lever operation with clear visibility of lock status. Shuts flush to avoid cable snags, they also dislocate to prevent accidental damage.
Unique Channel Sections
Gives more resistance to the loads that frequently force tubular legs to bend - e.g. long lenses, distant objects and small movements - and provides extremely stable platform for pan and tilt movements with minimal spring back at the end of the movement and very low backlash when changing direction.
Utilizes the innovative Spread-Loc spreader to further increase the versatility and stability of Fibertec, providing additional support across a range of footprints and terrains and aiding quick deployment of tripod legs. Can also be used with a traditional Vinten floor spreader.
Integral Leg Tie Catch
Enables safe and convenient transport and storage.
Material: Carbon Fiber
Load Capacity: 99.2 lb / 45Kg
Bowl Diameter/Thread: 100mm 4" Half Bowl
Minimum Height: 16.6"
Maximum Height: 61.4"
Leg Stages/Sections: 2/3
Leg Lock Type: Lever Action Clamps
Center Brace/Mid-Level Spreader: No
Spiked/Retractable Feet: Yes
Folded/Transport Length: 28.0"
Weight with spreader: 4.68 Kg / 10.3lbs.
Weight without spreader: 7.3 lbs / 3.32 Kg
The New Fibertec tripod from Vinten is "the perfect partner" for all camera operators.
A genuine break-through in tripod innovation, Fibertec is three times more rigid than the nearest competitor's product. This rigidity is crucial for optimising the effectiveness of the drag system on any pan and tilt head, it also minimises spring-back at the end of a movement and reduces the risk of wind buffeting and camera shake. Excellent rigidity improves the quality and value of any camera work.
This revolutionary new tripod gets its strength from its unique "channel" leg sections of Carbon/Glass composite, enabling Fibertec to out-perform traditional twin tube design. This concept brings with it not only unrivalled rigidity, but is also lightweight, robust and rapid to set-up; these features satisfying the most critical demands of professional camera operators working in News, current affairs, documentaries, wildlife and many other applications.
The Spread-Loc mid-level spreader goes further to increase stability and flexibility in all-working environments i.e. small spaces, uneven ground, staircases etc and aids quick set-up, requiring just two tripod legs to be opened, as the third is driven automatically.
Fibertec's lever action clamps are positioned adjacent to each other (at the top of their respective Stages) optimising control of set-up and breakdown.
The flush design of the low effort clamps ensure more secure locking whilst minimising cable snags, accidental breakage's and most importantly, reducing set-up time.
The Vinten FiberTec System
(if you would rather read this with accompanying photographs, click here. [opens in a new window]
Written by Chris Soucy.
Photographs by Chris Soucy.
Thrown together by Chris Hurd.
The full system I purchased consisted of the following components:
- FiberTec Tripod, Model No. 3498–8
- Spread–Loc Spreader, Model No. 3781–8
- FiberTec Soft Case, Model No. 3532–3
- Vinten 75 mm Ball to 100 mm Bowl Adapter
The last item was to allow my 75 mm Vision 3 head to be used with the 100 mm bowl FiberTecs, and does not really need a mini review in its own right.
The only notable things about it are that its design is quite different from two other adapters I already owned, and it fits better with the FiberTec receiver. I strongly recommend it if you do purchase a Vinten tripod of any sort and require such an adapter.
The FiberTec looks like no other tripod I’ve ever seen. Out of the box it seems tiny, surely not capable of getting to that published maximum height of 61.5 inches/ 156 cm? Then you grab the tripod by the attached carry strap and lift - they aren’t lightweights, those 7.3 pounds/ 3.3 kilos are there all right. Pressing the yellow leg latch on the bottom of one of the first main leg sections allows the legs to be spread and a decent look to be had.
My immediate impression was of utter solidity. At the tripods lowest height setting, those nested 3-section legs offer a solid black girder appearance, with not a chink of light visible through them anywhere. When viewed standing back from the tripod, the "front on" leg appears to be massive widthways (as, indeed, it is), the other two legs, slightly more side on, offering a much slimmer profile.
Flicking the touch coded leg lock levers (the centre section lock is smooth, the lower has raised "bubbles") up to their horizontal position allows the legs to be extended and locked, with a satisfying "clunk" from the leg lock levers. Yep, it really does go to 61.5 inches!
In this configuration it’s possible to appreciate the genius of the leg design. The upper main leg section is an "H" pattern girder design, the width of the "H" measuring a massive 60 mm (over 2¼ inches). The "H" uprights measure approximately 25mm (1 inch) with the "bar" of the "H" being much closer to the inner face of the leg (the bottom of the "H" uprights).
The middle / first sliding section (yet another, rather more convoluted "H" section) nests in the square bottomed channel formed by the top of the "H" uprights and the "H" bar. The lower / second sliding section (more like an upside down Pi symbol cross section) is nested inside the first sliding section.
To casual inspection, the actual workings of the leg locking mechanism are a complete mystery. It took a good five to ten minutes of flicking levers and moving legs for the true genius of the design to hit home. Each side of the two sliding sections on each leg have projecting rails that engage in corresponding grooves in the outer section they are nested in. One of these rails is fixed and is an integral part of the whole carbon fibre moulding of that section. The other rail is not fixed! As the section leg lock lever is depressed and closed, the rail extends out of the moulding, jamming into its corresponding groove and pushing the entire length of that section hard up against the side wall of it’s nest. How the sideways expansion of this rail is actually achieved I still haven’t worked out.
At maximum extension (61.5"/ 156cm) the locking area for each section by my measure is about 2 inches (50mm), which may not sound like much but is more than adequate to ensure those legs can’t move due to wobbly locking areas. The sheer strength of these locking areas is best illustrated by reading the maintenance manual for the FiberTecs – the minimum weight that EACH LEG must bear before a leg lock slips is a massive 35 kilograms (77 lbs)! I should add that this figure is with the leg extended to its maximum height. This gives a theoretical total load on the tripod of 105 kilos (231 pounds) before a lock slips under normal operating conditions. By my math, an extra 105 kilos/ 231 pounds is added to the rating for every four inches (100mm) the tripod is lowered (assuming both sections on each leg are lowered the same amount).
Note: In order to get access to the Maintenance Manual, I believe you need to be a Vinten registered customer.
It does not take a lot of thought to realise the implications of this leg locking design. The more the sections are nested and the shorter the tripod sits, the more locking area is available. At the tripods minimum height, the entire leg length cross section is a solid rectangle of carbon fibre 2¼ inches wide by 1¼ inches thick (60mm x 30mm). The legs in this mode could, in all likelihood, support a Mack truck, though I think the tripod receiver and hinge pins may have a bit of trouble with that particular task.
On the subject of the receiver and hinge pins, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what the receiver is made from. It "tings" like metal but has the same slightly glossy finish of the carbon fibre making up the rest of tripod. As this system actually belongs to me, destruction testing to ascertain this materials composition is not about to happen. The hinges are tight, which may well ease with repeated use, with absolutely no play or give in any direction, as is to be expected.
Returning to the subject of the legs, when extended, a couple of things readily become apparent. The legs are flexible in two respects.
Grabbing a leg anywhere along its extended length and twisting about that length is quite easy, becoming progressively more difficult the closer to the receiver you get. Whether this has any effect on the tripods stability under practical conditions will have to be ascertained in the system-handling test a little further on.
The other area of flex is when the leg centres are pushed inwards towards the centre axis of the standing tripod. They don’t flex much, but they do flex. With no spreader attached the small amount of movement appears restricted to the leg that’s pushed, with the Spread–Loc attached this movement sets up a slight twisting movement in the other two legs. The effect of this will again be determined in the system-handling test.
Where this slab like leg geometry really shows its strength is in the "wind up" and "lateral displacement" tests. With the tripod set to its maximum height, grabbing the receiver with both hands and attempting to twist it to imitate the force applied by a heavily drag set head produces nothing whatsoever. I can detect absolutely no indication of movement. It’s not really that surprising when one considers the amount of carbon fibre box girder one is attempting to bend.
Placing both hands on the receiver and attempting to push the tripod sideways is equally unrewarded by visible movement.
A couple of extra little bells and whistles remain to be mentioned. Firmly screwed to the underside of the receiver are three metal plates, covering the three receiver extensions that house the hinge pin bearings. One of the plates is blank though drilled and tapped to take some kind of bolt. The second has been similarly drilled and tapped but is fitted with a seemingly flimsy but in practice exceedingly tough rubber tipped metal hook. This is to hang weights from should the tripod/ head/ camera system be a trifle light for the prevailing wind conditions and the systems total sail area.
The third of these plates, again drilled and tapped, has a subsidiary rounded edge rectangular plate firmly bolted to it. This plate extends beyond the receiver extension about half an inch (12.5mm).
There is a hole drilled in this projection and this is used to attach one end of the carrying strap using a "nut locked" carabineer. The other end of the strap is attached to a small metal eye fitted to the bottom of one of the main first leg sections. The strap itself is two-inch (50mm) wide webbing, adjustable for length and fitted with soft but durable cloth "sleeves" to prevent the metal carabineers from damaging the tripod surfaces. Fitted over the strap is a ten-inch (250mm) long, well-padded, er, pad which is free to slide to any location on the strap. In practice, with a head attached to the tripod, the unit is carried head down, spikes up, with the pad slid to the top of its range. The only issue with the strap is the "nut locked" carabineers. The nuts must be checked and tightened with a spanner (not pliers) on a regular basis as in practice they tend to loosen.
The last item on the tripod proper to mention is the feet. They follow the same "double spike" pattern as used on many Manfrotto sticks, but for reasons not readily apparent have only one spike, not two. That the pattern is identical means that any attachments designed for the Manfrotto "double spike" system will work with the FiberTecs, namely floor spreaders, dollies etc. I should mention here that if you buy the Vinten Spread–Loc spreader, it comes complete with a set of three oval, textured face, rubber "booties" that fit to the tripod feet using the familiar Manfrotto "thong" system, thus obviating the need for a floor spreader on wooden floors, for example.
That just about wraps it up for the tripod, on to the rest of the system...
Being familiar with only the mid level spreaders of my Manfrotto sticks (the removable, clip on unit for the 520’s and the heavier fixed unit on my 528 XBs), the Spread-Loc was, and still is, something of an enigma. This is probably because it is proving to be such a challenge to my understanding about how spreaders work and what they’re supposed to do.
My first impression having unpacked the Spread-Loc was that it was manufactured out of Depleted Uranium... it’s so darn heavy! At two pounds (just shy of a full kilo) it seems totally Over the Top for just a simple spreader. There’s no disputing it is beautifully crafted however, and seems to be primarily composed of various types of carbon fibre, though I wouldn’t want to take a bet there isn’t some Depleted Uranium in there somewhere.
Spread-Loc Mid Level Spreader, Model No. 3781–8
The attachment mechanism consists of two horizontally opposed Carbon Fibre or plastic (I think the latter, they’re not black), spring-loaded pins operated by grey buttons either side of the arm ends.
The pins engage in two matching close tolerance holes located in very strong inward facing projections in the bottom of the main top leg sections. It’s a tight fit and a bit of wiggling is necessary to get all the pins seated, but not a task you would be doing often in the normal course of events. The close tolerances ensure that, once fitted, the only things that can move are those that are designed to.
Now, to the Spread-Loc’s operation…
My existing spreader units both start off in the teepee position (as does the Spread-Loc) but, when the legs have been fully spread, both go into a slightly inverted position, the 520’s just sitting against it’s stops, the 528’s needing a push down, locking with a solid "thunk". It is at this point that the Spread-Loc threw me completely. It stops with the centre still some two inches (50 mm) short of being level with its attachment points on the legs, and it certainly is not designed to go inverted.
To "lock" (I use the term loosely, I’ll explain more of that in a moment) the Spread-Loc, you turn the large grey knob on the top of the spreader centre housing about fifteen degrees clockwise. It has open and closed padlocks indicating its setting engraved / painted on the knob, with three slight projections on the knob aligning with grey indicator lines on the black centre housing in the locked position. The lock engages with a most satisfying "click." Except that, in a "real" sense, it doesn’t! With the lock engaged, the centre of the spreader can be raised a good half an inch to an inch (12.5mm to 25 mm) allowing the tripod to partially close in the process. This behaviour produced much head scratching, chin rubbing and consternation until I finally decided it was faulty and contacted both my dealer here in New Zealand and Vinten support in the UK. In pretty short order yet another new Spread-Loc was sitting on my dining table alongside the original. Out came the ruler and the comparisons began.
Imagine my incredulity when the replacement had even more movement that the original. When sitting on the table, the top of the centre housing of the original measured 5¼ inches (132mm) from the table surface. When lifted till it hit the lock stop but with the end of each arm still in contact with the table, it measured 5¾ inches (145 mm). The replacement measured 4¾ (121mm) and 5¾ (146mm) respectively.
This provoked some serious conversations with both the aforementioned dealer and Vinten until I was, rather reluctantly, persuaded that this was the way they were supposed to be.
The implications of this are interesting. On the other systems I’m familiar with, locked means locked, no inwards movement, no outwards movement. If one leg takes a thump to its centre, that thump gets transferred directly to the other two via the spreader.
With the Spread-Loc, true, outwards movement is impossible, tethered as it is by the spreader. Inwards is a different story; a thump to one leg produces just a minor twisting motion on the other two legs due to the leg / spreader geometry. The actual shock is not.
How this all works in practice, we shall see in the system-handling test.
The other things requiring a mention are the arm extensions. Press the grey button on one side of the arm at the leg end and out goes the extension. A bit of a surprise at first but has not (yet) proved a problem is that the button does not require pushing to retract the extension, simply lift the centre of the spreader to close the tripod and push down on the lock knob and in they go (or just lift the leg and pull inwards if only requiring one retracted).
Full System Handling
With the system fully assembled and fitted out with a Vinten Vision 3 pan/tilt video head, I was ready to go.
The very going threw up a couple of things... the bags lop-sidedness and the sheer weight of this lot put together. Tripod, spreader, head, bag and booties add up to about 23¾ pounds (10.8 kilos), not a nice load to be carrying around. The bag itself weights in at a hefty 8½ pounds (3.8 kilos) and was quickly relegated to "you stay in the car."
The rest of the system is pretty manageable on its own, and quite easy to sling over one's shoulder; the camera acting as a counterbalance on the other. The only issue with the bare tripod and head being slung "head down" is to beware when walking in public where young children are around. That video head is pretty substantial and just at the right height to put the kybosh on a five-year-old in no uncertain fashion should there be a collision.
Dismounting the system when thus loaded is actually easier than I had envisaged. Get a grip on the fabric and metal of the head-end carabineer and just shrug the tripod off your shoulder. The tripod will describe a graceful arc around that gripped fitting and end up "feet down" ready to be lowered. It makes life a whole lot easier at this point if you shrug off the camera as well and place it somewhere soft on the ground, leaving both hands free for the set-up.
A momentary press on the yellow leg release lever on the bottom of one of the main sections allows the legs to be partially spread. It isn’t necessary to do it this way; the leg lock levers can be undone and the legs extended to the required length without them being spread.
However I’ve found that doing this first, then extending the legs whilst still bent over saves me the pain of bending again to unlock the locks I should have done first time round.
As an aside, there is one issue that springs to mind with this process that I think Vinten should give some thought to. This is the vexed question of what, exactly, to hold onto with one hand whilst you undo the various latches, extend the legs, spread them etc. Holding a leg is a non-starter, at least until the legs have been extended; as the leg lock levers are exactly where your hand would need to grip.
With the exception of the head pan arm, there’s nothing on the head to hold onto either. The pan bar is an option, but if raised to normal shooting height it’s sticking out at 90 degrees to the head and not much of a viable ergonomic handgrip. Worse, if the tilt lock is not engaged, lifting the unit by the pan bar ends up lifting just the pan bar, not the tripod. Some sort of rigid, horizontally oriented handle held to the top of the tripod by the head ball so that it was free to rotate a full 360 degrees around the head would be ideal.
This would give you the option to spin the tripod the 120 degrees necessary to get at that last leg lock or locks. With the often precarious grip offered by the unit as it stands, getting at that third leg lock whilst maintaining a grip on "whatever" really does require some contortions.
When the legs are at the chosen height, lock them off and spread them completely, double-checking by pressing down on the spreader centre section. Any movement there means a leg has snagged and the tripod is not at it’s most stable.
This set up routine may seem a bit long winded but once you’ve done it a couple of dozen times it just becomes second nature.
You may have noticed I said nothing about the Spread–Loc lock? Having performed the above routine a couple of hundred times now I have stopped using the lock except where I know I’ll be picking up the whole assembled kit and relocating it a small distance, as happens quite a lot when shooting wildlife. The lock ensures the tripod can’t inadvertently snag a leg during the move and close completely, not a lot of fun with a slightly pimped Canon XH A1 attached to the top. It’s not a manoeuvre I should be recommending but sometimes it just has to be done.
Now would be as good a time as any to talk about one of the FiberTecs’ safety systems. The leg lock levers are designed, in normal use, to flip from full down to nearly horizontal to release the leg. If you buy a set of FiberTecs you may, possibly, do what I did on my very first outing with them: grab an already horizontal leg lock lever and pull it upwards. Doing so produces an almost excruciating "crunch" from the mechanism, which sounds just like bones breaking. My heart sank. I thought I’d just managed to terminate my new sticks with less than three minutes use!
When the panic subsided, I remembered that this situation was covered in the manual... just grab the lever and push it back down to its closed position (more breaking bones) and it will re–set. Not something to make a habit of however as continued long term abuse will really break these latches.
Okay, so you’re all set up and ready to shoot. But wait, why is the tripod moving? Grass. It’s always grass. The spikes on the FiberTec are only ¼ inch (6 mm) long and even minimal grass cover can give you a poor footing. Your choices here are pretty limited -- either dig a divot (or three) with the heel of your shoe (not too popular on manicured lawns) or resort to a ground level spreader. The only other tactic I’ve found that sometimes does the job is setting the tripod up and physically draping yourself over the top to apply as much pressure as possible to those feet tips. Sometimes it will punch them through whatever it is to the soil below. It may sound like tripod abuse, and not something I would dare do with my 520’s, but the FiberTecs just shrug it off.
At this point I was going to put in a whole heap of figures based on head / receiver deflection whilst I put the entire system through what could best be described as torture. This was to be achieved using a laser pointer; a far off wall with measured graduations of some sort and an accurate set of scales to keep track of what level of torture was being applied. I may yet perform such tests some way down the track. The reason I have not done so here is that, in the absence of any realistic basis for comparison, the figures are meaningless.
The only other tripods I currently have access to are my aged 520’s and my new 528 XB’s. The 520’s would be such an unrealistic comparison model as to be laughable. The 528’s would, no doubt, put up a pretty good fight, but as they are primarily designed to hold jibs and are not something anyone would realistically lug around the traps for ‘run and gun" shooting, again, a pretty pointless exercise.
Hopefully I will get access to an appropriate set of Satchlers, Millers or O’Conners etc. (hey, maybe all three) when such comparisons will have some value.
Conclusion & Price
So, for the moment, you’re left with my subjective evaluation.
In use, the FiberTec is rock solid. I can detect no wind up of any kind no matter how badly the sticks are provoked. I have, on a couple of occasions, locked both pan and tilt locks on the head and inadvertently clouted the pan arm whilst the camera was running at full telephoto… barely a flicker of movement. I quite often put a hand on the receiver whilst filming (if the wind is gusty) and press down, hard, to steady the rig due to its high sail area and low weight. There is never anything in the resultant video to show I have done so. I have even managed to knee one of the legs dead centre whilst changing position and even that didn’t show in the footage.
My initial reservations with regard to the Spread – Loc spreader have been allayed. I still haven’t managed to figure out the engineering concepts behind their working, but work they do. Whether I’ll ever figure what gives with that lock mechanism I don’t know, but have long ceased worrying about it.
Want to press that "Push AF" button on the side of the camera? Fiddle with the focus ring? Focus Zoom Position Preset? Audio controls, ND filter? You can push, pull, fiddle, tweak and slide and it will not move the camera.
In short, they are utterly bomb proof. Put a decent head on the Fibertecs and you are in a completely different league. Ah, but the price? Worth every penny!
I will never have to buy another tripod. No matter what size zooms the next few generations of HD cameras come out with, no matter what resolutions the sensors have, no matter what size camera I want to stick on them, the FiberTecs will take it… with ease, and grace.
At the time of writing, the FiberTec system components are priced as below at B&H (prices in US Dollars).
FiberTec Tripod — $ 2099.95
Spread–Loc Spreader — $ 674.95
Soft Case — $ 401.95 (not included in this sale)
75mm – 100mm bowl adapter — $ 54.95 (not included in this sale)
Vinten have made a break-through in tripod innovation by designing a product that provides 58% more rigidity than other product on the market.
The tripod gets its strength from unique “channel” sections of a carbon/glass composite that enables these legs to out-perform the traditional twin tube design. This revolutionary new concept brings with it not only unrivalled rigidity, but also a number of clever yet practical user benefits.
The tripod is both lightweight and robust due to the composite carbon fibre leg material, this satisfying the most crucial demands of professional cameramen in both news, current affairs, documentaries and many other applications.
With exceptional rigidity, Fibertec is noticeably more stable when using high levels of drag or long lenses, providing three times less backlash than other products on the market. The Spread-Loc mid-level spreader goes further to increase stability and flexibility in all working environments i.e. small spaces, uneven ground, staircases etc and aids quick deployment requiring just two tripod legs to be opened, as the third is driven automatically.
Fibertec’s lever action clamps are positioned adjacent to each other (at the top of their respective Stages) optimising control of set-up and breakdown. The flush design of the low effort clamps ensure more secure locking, whilst minimising the risk of catching cables or breakages and most importantly reducing set-up time.
The system is much faster having two locks on each leg side by side. I think the new design is about 3 times faster to erect to full height than my current tripod, and of course de-mount is just as quick.
Note from the seller (me): after that, there's simply nothing more I can say or to be added to the foregoing. "Where's my cheque book" did I hear you say?
Too expensive you say, but so is a Buggati Veyron, if you want one, you have to pay for it.