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Old Saturday 27th February 2010, 20:35   #1
Kevin Purcell
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Feisol CT-3301 versus CT-3342 (Tournament)

Aside from small differences in height and weight what are the differences between the Feisol CT-3301 and the CT-3342 (Tournament).

Is it worth the extra money?

http://www.feisol.net/feisol-threese...ipod-p-25.html
http://www.feisol.net/feisol-center-...ckit-p-50.html

http://www.feisol.net/feisol-tournam...ipod-p-30.html
http://www.feisol.net/feisol-center-...ckit-p-53.html



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Old Sunday 28th February 2010, 13:47   #2
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Kevin,

You mention CT-3442 although the link is to CT-3342. The former would be 4 section.
Four sections enable either greater height or shorter folded length but if you don't need either of these, then they should be avoided - not because of the joints but because the bottom leg sections are thin and flexible.

Strange that the Tounament series are somewhat lighter than the standard series despite having a larger top plate. Mere speculation, but perhaps they use magnesium castings instead of aluminium.

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Old Sunday 28th February 2010, 16:01   #3
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That was a typo in the title and the text, John, but the links were right. Both are now fixed. Feisol names are just a bit too close that makes this just too easy to do

They should be both 3 section tripods so it's an straight comparison.

I think the head is CNCed on the Tournament but forged on the "lesser" model.

I'm not sure about any differences in the CF legs. They have the same dimensions but they may be different in construction. Again there is not a lot of concrete info to go on.
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Old Wednesday 10th March 2010, 16:12   #4
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Kevin,
I'm not sure if you found this in the FAQ on Feisol's website (http://www.feisol.net/faq.php):

8. Which FEISOL Tripod better fits my need: Standard Class or Tournament Class
Advantages of the Standard Class are: It is more economical It features Mid-sized Platform, therefore both the smaller CB-30C and the larger CB-50D Ballheads can be used with it Advantages of the Tournament Class are: A superior carbon compound is used, making it lighter and stronger It is reverse-foldable over the CB-50D Ballhead, making it superbly compact All metal parts are CNC-machined, making them stronger, lighter, and more exacting It is freshwater-resistant. Conclusion: While Standard Class Tripods are great all-around Tripods, the Tournament Class Tripods are just a little bit better in all dimensions, adding up to our best-selling and most enthusiastically received Tripods.

Not a lot of information and I'm not sure if any of it makes a lot of difference in performance. I just bought a CT-3301 a week ago and so far I'm happy with it. However, I haven't used it out in the field yet with my scope. It is tall enough though to use without a center column (I'm 6'-0" tall). Well constructed and light. I only wish it had non-rotating legs.

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Old Thursday 11th March 2010, 06:03   #5
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Thanks for the feedback, JohnJos.

I saw that and it seems a bit content free (i.e. buy the more expensive one!). Though it's clearly such an important question they add it to the FAQ twice.

Quote:
8. Which FEISOL Tripod better fits my need: Standard Class or Tournament Class

9. Which FEISOL Tripod better fits my need: Traveler Class or Tournament Class?
Which head (and scope) are you using on it?
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Old Thursday 11th March 2010, 11:03   #6
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I saw that and it seems a bit content free (i.e. buy the more expensive one!). Though it's clearly such an important question they add it to the FAQ twice.
True, not many actual technical facts to use in making your decision. The head of the CT-3301 looks to be cast rather than CNC machined. That and the 'superior' carbon tubes could make the Tournament class more durable and stabler in the long run. It wasn't worth the extra cost for me.

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Which head (and scope) are you using on it?
I have an older Vortex Skyline 80 scope with a Bogen 3126 head.
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Old Friday 12th March 2010, 16:05   #7
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True, not many actual technical facts to use in making your decision. The head of the CT-3301 looks to be cast rather than CNC machined. That and the 'superior' carbon tubes could make the Tournament class more durable and stabler in the long run. It wasn't worth the extra cost for me.
Agreed. Cast vs machines is just about the look (and perhaps the weight ... they probably CNC a cast item for finishing).

And is it worth it is the big question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnJos View Post
I have an older Vortex Skyline 80 scope with a Bogen 3126 head.
Interesting that's an 128LP in new numbers. You don't find it top heavy? I'm using a 128RC on a 190 which is fine but the tripod weight a fair bit more so I'm tempted to go to a 700RC2 with the Feisol.

Thanks again, John.
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Old Friday 12th March 2010, 16:52   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Purcell View Post
Agreed. Cast vs machines is just about the look (and perhaps the weight ... they probably CNC a cast item for finishing).

And is it worth it is the big question.
I think the CNC part is stronger. It's machined from a solid piece of forged metal rather than cast. The grain structure of the metal in a forged piece tends to increase its strength plus it is more ductile. A cast piece has a weaker grain structure and tends to be more brittle.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Purcell View Post
Interesting that's an 128LP in new numbers. You don't find it top heavy? I'm using a 128RC on a 190 which is fine but the tripod weight a fair bit more so I'm tempted to go to a 700RC2 with the Feisol.
I just got the CT3301 a week or so ago and haven't really used it in the field. I am going out today and tomorrow down to Cape May so I will let you know how well it works.

I sold my 190 to get the CT3301. The 190 was too short for me without extending the column. I'm 6' tall. I also felt it was unstable with the scope and an 700RC2 on it.

I bought the 700RC2 for it's lighter weight over the 128 but did not like it because it had too much vertical play when you loosened the panning knob. It did not have enough control in the panning knob to minimize the amount of vertical movement. I don't feel that amount of movement with the 3136. But yes, the 3126 is heavier (my 3126 weights 1.8 lbs vs. the 2.2 lbs spec'd for the 128RC). Maybe I had a defective 700RC2. I plan on looking at another one tomorrow at the CMBO Optics Sale since it has had very good reviews in general.

Also, since the CT3301 is taller (i.e. it has longer legs), you get a wider base and an overall more stable platform. I bought it without a center column for now and will see it it's tall enough this weekend.

BTW, I'm also looking at the Feisol fluid video head, the VH-40. A little pricey and about the same weight as my 3126 but it looks like a very nicely engineered head.

I'll get back to you on Sunday with my assessment of the CT3301.

Thanks,
John
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Old Saturday 13th March 2010, 06:25   #9
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Goog point about that cast versus forged/CNC.

I suspect cast or CNC something other than that plate will fail first. And given the low load of a head and scope I don't see it failing (even when falling over ... the expensive bit will probably fail first )

Looking forward to your field assessment.

Thanks for all the info.
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Old Saturday 13th March 2010, 12:57   #10
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I bought the 700RC2 for it's lighter weight over the 128 but did not like it because it had too much vertical play when you loosened the panning knob. It did not have enough control in the panning knob to minimize the amount of vertical movement. I don't feel that amount of movement with the 3136...Maybe I had a defective 700RC2. I plan on looking at another one tomorrow at the CMBO Optics Sale since it has had very good reviews in general.

I stopped at the CMBO Goshen Center yesterday on the way down to Cape May to look at scopes, bins and tripod heads. They had two 700RC heads set up on tripods near the window for test scopes. One had a Nikon EDG scope on it the other did not have a scope attached. The one without the scope had the same excessive vertical play as the one I had had bought and returned. Actually it exhibited more movement. The other one with the Nikon EDG was fine, no movement to speak of and still smooth panning movement. It would be perfect for the scope. But they also had a new 128RC2 (with a Kowa scope on it) and that was very very nice (both the head and the scope). I may grab one today at the sale .

It's raining and very windy (50 mph gusts) here in Cape May today . I will still try to use the scope, 3126 and CT3301 today (looking for the King Eider) and report back on setup.
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 07:21   #11
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It's raining and very windy (50 mph gusts) here in Cape May today . I will still try to use the scope, 3126 and CT3301 today (looking for the King Eider) and report back on setup.
That sounds like a good test of tripod robustness (and perhaps waterproofing of the user too).
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 17:49   #12
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I have a 3342 and 128rc head that I use with a Swarovski ATS65. It's a nice set up. I also use it with a ball head for photography. I went with the 3342 because of the weight and the ability to fold the legs back over the ballhead for more compact packing. If you are planning to buy a new tripod Feisol also has a new version of their tripods that have anti-rotation legs. Of course at an additional price. Not sure if they are planning on phasing out the old model or not. Maybe an opportinity for a close out on the old ones. Doesn't hurt to ask. Having been used to the lever locks on my Bogen I would probably spend the additional money for the new model if I was buying now.
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 19:37   #13
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THanks for the tips, stbear.

I'm not interested in the ballhead but a discount would go down well.

How much of an advantage are the anti-rotation legs? I've always used Manfrotto/Biogen tripods which have that feature. What's the downside of missing it?
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 19:51   #14
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Quote:
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That sounds like a good test of tripod robustness (and perhaps waterproofing of the user too).
Kevin,

The user got wet, but not too wet. I should have put on my waterproof pants. The wellies and raincoat worked fine but the bits in between got wet. No King Eider...way too windy off of Cape May east shore near the inlet where it had been seen earlier in the week.

But I did set up the scope (Vortex Skyline 80), the Manfrotto 128RC and the Feisol CT3301 out by Sunset Beach to look for seabirds (9 Common Loons and 1 Horned Grebe were present). Actaully, a very nice combination in my opinion. Very stable & strong even with the heavier head. Tall enough for me even without a center column; I actually had to shorten the legs a few inches to get the scope to eye-level (it's has an angled eyepiece). So, overall, the Feisol works very well.

But I do have a couple of small issues with it:

First, it does not have the anti-twist legs so set up is a bit more complicated that lever-lock (Manfrotto & others) or anti-twist leg (Gitzo G-lock & others) tripods. Not a deal-breaker, you just need to get used to it. You must unlock, extend/retract, relock each joint one-by-one. Easier with 3 leg segments vs. 4 due to fewer joints. Once locked tight the legs are very stable.

Second, the top of the tripod does not have anything to lock the tripod head in place. Manfrotto uses set-screws and their heads are designed to accept these screws so as to prevent the head from loosening from the tripod base. Gitzo uses their Power Disk with the Safe Lock material and two locking screws. I'm not sure what other manufacturers use. My Induro monopod has one set-screw plus a slip-resistant material. The Slik tripod I had did not have anything except friction of aluminum against aluminum like the Feisol. Anyway. I was not able to tighten the head on the tripod enough to prevent it from loosening while I was panning to the left. Kind of a hassle. I don't think the Feisol center column has any type of head locking feature either. Again, not a deal breaker since Locktite Blue can be used to secure the head. But an engineered approach by Feisol would be a better solution. I would assume this would be a concern if you were often switching heads.

Overall, the Feisol CT-3301 is definitely a keeper. And now Feisol will be offering their tripods with anti-twist legs (at a premium cost). http://reallybigcameras.com/Feisol/F...%20Tripods.htm
Maybe I ordered mine just a little too soon.

I hope this helps.
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 23:11   #15
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I think the CNC part is stronger. It's machined from a solid piece of forged metal rather than cast. The grain structure of the metal in a forged piece tends to increase its strength plus it is more ductile. A cast piece has a weaker grain structure and tends to be more brittle.
Maybe, but a tripod platform is not going to be subjected to large fatigue loads like an automobile wheel and the vast majority of aluminium wheels are machined die castings. I believe that Formula One engine blocks, which are extremely light load carrying structures, are still sand cast.
Magnesium alloy castings as used by Gitzo are the most effective means of reducing the weight of a tripod platform.

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Old Monday 15th March 2010, 00:41   #16
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Maybe, but a tripod platform is not going to be subjected to large fatigue loads like an automobile wheel and the vast majority of aluminium wheels are machined die castings. I believe that Formula One engine blocks, which are extremely light load carrying structures, are still sand cast.
Magnesium alloy castings as used by Gitzo are the most effective means of reducing the weight of a tripod platform.

John
All good points John. Here's a short comparison of the advantages/disadvantages of cast vs. forged parts.

http://www.esi-group.com/products/ca...ips/eTip16.pdf

I would think that the points of maximum stress in a tripod are the joints where the legs connect to the base. I would imagine those joints can feel pretty high tensile and torque loads at times and could be a potential point of failure. However, I have never heard of anyone having a tripod fail on them that I can recall. I'm sure it happens though. So, for the most part, cast vs. forged for the tripod base piece probably does not matter much at all and it would not be a factor I would consider in purchasing a new tripod. But buying a tripod that has a load rating that covers all of your potential uses of the tripod is important.
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Old Wednesday 17th March 2010, 18:26   #17
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Second, the top of the tripod does not have anything to lock the tripod head in place. Manfrotto uses set-screws and their heads are designed to accept these screws so as to prevent the head from loosening from the tripod base. Gitzo uses their Power Disk with the Safe Lock material and two locking screws. I'm not sure what other manufacturers use. My Induro monopod has one set-screw plus a slip-resistant material. The Slik tripod I had did not have anything except friction of aluminum against aluminum like the Feisol. Anyway. I was not able to tighten the head on the tripod enough to prevent it from loosening while I was panning to the left. Kind of a hassle. I don't think the Feisol center column has any type of head locking feature either. Again, not a deal breaker since Locktite Blue can be used to secure the head. But an engineered approach by Feisol would be a better solution. I would assume this would be a concern if you were often switching heads.
Does the center column addition (which I think you are not using?) have any set screws to lock the head in place? it's difficult to see on the images provided but it seems not to have any?

http://www.feisol.net/images/feisol_...01_kit_med.png
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Old Wednesday 17th March 2010, 20:49   #18
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Does the center column addition (which I think you are not using?) have any set screws to lock the head in place? it's difficult to see on the images provided but it seems not to have any?

http://www.feisol.net/images/feisol_...01_kit_med.png
I did not buy the center column for the CT-3301 so I really don't know. The images of the center column do not show setscrews and the text does not state that there are setscrews.

Neither the base platform nor the center column platform have any type of rubber surface like the Gitzo & Induro platforms.

I used Locktite Blue to attach the 128RC to the CT-3301.
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