Bogen 3001 and Velbon El Carmagne 530 comparison

Update Mar 2005

The Velbon legs are great. I really like not getting frozen fingers carrying an aluminium tripod around in the cold. It's light. The leg locks are easy to use. Which brings us to the only little niggle. The leg locks loosen up over time. Not much, but every now and again you need to go round and tighten them up a bit again. An allen key ships with the tripod for this purpose anyway. (I've only needed to do this 2-3 times by the way, I don't carry it around with me)

Also, I should point out that the tripod has happily stood up to the rigours of life quite well. It's not in the least bit fragile. (Not that I really expected anything less, I mean, it's a tripod. It's _meant_ to be solid and reliable)

Original comments below

This is my short review and summary of the Bogen 3001 and Velbon El Carmagne tripods. The bogen is my old tripod, and was never even actually mine, it was on "loan" from a dear friend. The velbon is my new tripod, and my very own.

I dislike pan/tilt heads, so both of these tripods have a ball head on them. Because they don't have the same ball head on them, some of the weight difference is eaten up. For these photos, the Bogen had a Strobo FLM ball head (~$40) and the Velbon had an Acratech Ultimate Ballhead. (~$270)

The Bogen 3001 has a few different versions, mostly relating to colour and leg lock style. This gives them a range of prices from $95-110 or so. The Velbon costs $299, but includes a pan/tilt head. I don't like pan/tilt heads, so this was just the price to pay.

So, for the system, we've got about $150 for the Bogen, versus $580 for the Velbon. What do you get for this much money? Not much :) In theory this will be a tripod to last a lifetime, but you'd get equally good service from the Bogen.

For all other comparisons, column down height, folded length, etc, the two tripods are almost identical.

In use, there's not much to say. People always claim that the arca QR system is the best, but I'm not convinced yet. Anything that needs a screw to be turned is by definition not quick in my mind. It's tough though. The Velbon is nice to carry, it doesn't get cold like the Bogen does. It's not quite as quick to set up, as the carbon fibre tubes don't just slide out by themselves like on the Bogen. The Acratech ballhead probably deserves a review of it's own, but suffice to say that after using a ballhead that had either loose or tight, and no middle ground, and moving to one that has middle ground where you can set the camera by just moving it and letting go is a difficuly adjustment.
Folded length is basically identical
Footprint and spread is basically identical
Short height is identical
Tall height is identical
(Actually, it's slightly different, but the heads swallow it up)
Velbon has a longer center column
The Velbon can go lower, when you split the center column
Both of them can mount their center column upside down to get real close

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