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Tripod Choice for Leica M9

See my notes on processing RAW files from the Fuji X10.

Scott S writes:

I have been reading your info on the Really Right Stuff 24L and 34L Tripods and I would value your opinion. I am using an M9 and plan on purchasing a larger setup in the future for long lens shooting (perhaps a Canon/Nikon FF/crop body and long heavy prime/zoom).

I am currently using a Gitzo G1257 CF tripod with a Markins base plate (to replace the centre column). I am finding 2 issues with this setup.

  1. Its not tall enough at 1360mm. I am 5'10 and always leaning over to use the viewfinder, and its even worse in portrait. Restrictive in creek beds etc.
  2. I feel that its not heavy enough to be sturdy. In reasonable wind and/or in soft grass it just sits lightly on top of the grass and not planted firmly. I love the light weight but I think it is to its disadvantage.

So I feel that a taller/heavier tripod is in order, either the 24L or 34L. I am wondering what you think based on what I have listed.

I am afraid that the 24L wont be much better (given only 200-300 grams heavier and 4 leg section), and might not be great for future lens setups. But also afraid that the 34L may be too heavy for a 2-4 hour hike.

Also, I am sure I will always own from now on a Leica M body as the weight for hiking is great. Just hoping that the next release has CMOS with Live View and no AA filter. I know you trek a lot with the M9 and wondering what you use.

DIGLLOYD: The Gitzo 12-series tripods are fine when some case is taken, but wind is indeed an issue, and they are totally inadequate for a larger and heavier setup (my experience is with the 1228). But it should be plenty for a Leica M9.

I often sacrifice height for a Gitzo 0531 tripod when cycling with the M9 and whenever I want to travel really light (I use the North Face recon daypack for the M9 and tripod). It is too short, but that’s the compromise.

I would go with the Really Right Stuff 24L as the best all-around model. It is sturdy enough for most things (and overkill for the Leica M9). The 34L is wonderful in use, but it exceeds even my high tolerance for weight when hiking, at least with my favorite tripod head, mainly because I carry it in my hand, and it just gets too uncomfortable.

The reality is that one should own the 34L for a long lens setup. It’s not a sturdiness issue; both can handle the weight. Rather it’s the total mass, the diameter of the legs, the base plate, etc. This becomes clear with use, right away.

Leica M9: the sensor is a CCD, and does not have an anti-aliasing filter.

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