Tripod for DSLR: Carbon Fiber vs Aluminum Tripods

This is a great breakdown of what to look for in a tripod in terms of affordability, portability and stability and wildlife photographer Chris Weston does a great job of explaining why you might consider carbon fiber vs aluminum tripods.

Stability is an important factor when you are considering which tripod to get.  If you think about it, it’s one of the main reasons to upgrade from a cheap tripod that makes your life miserable to a solid, professional tripod that makes your life a dream.

If you know you are going to be using a lot of heavy gear in the future or if you will be shooting in really windy conditions where you’ll want to weight your tripod down, then carbon fiber allows you to get a more stability for the same or less weight when compared against aluminum.

Carbon Fiber vs Aluminum Tripods: Usability

The major benefit of carbon fiber is it’s strength to weight ratio. It’s stronger than steel but very light.

Aluminium is heavier than carbon fiber and if you are carrying your tripod around a lot or if you are constantly moving it a significant distance, it can wear you out.  What happens when something is painful?  We don’t do it.

If you aren’t going to move the tripod around very much, then it doesn’t really matter.  If you are going to carry it around a lot, it starts to matter and looking back, you may wish that you had paid the extra money for the more enjoyable tripod.

Carbon Fiber vs Aluminum Tripods: Cost

The tradeoff is cost. You’ll pay more for carbon fiber, but it’s worth it if you need either a large, super sturdy tripod or a small ultra lightweight set of legs.

Carbon Fiber Tripods

Check out the sturdy Manfrotto 055CXPRO.

Aluminum Tripods

Check out the Manfrotto 055XPROB.

So, that’s the case for carbon fiber vs aluminum tripods.

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