In that location comes a fourth dimension in every photographer’s life when they need to buy a tripod. Sadly, many people screw this up and buy the cheapest ane they can find, only to accept it pause within a year or ii, having done more harm than adept to their photography. About 20 years ago, I made this mistake past buying one of those cheap SLIK tripods.
Afterward that comes another time in a lensman’south life when they decide to buy a “proper” tripod that will last them for the residuum of their life, and it’southward during this second search that many people meet the made-in-the-USA tripods from Actually Correct Stuff. In this guide, I will share over a decade’due south feel using a wide range of Really Right Stuff tripods. All your questions volition exist answered if you’re because buying one.
Table of Contents
- Really Right Stuff Tripod Nomenclature
- Actually Correct Stuff Tripod Specifications Table
- RRS Out of Stock – Alternatives?
- The 5 Factors In Choosing An RRS Tripod
- Mk1 Vs. Mk2 Tripods
- TVC Vs TFC Tripods
- Size Variations
- How Tall Should Your Tripod be?
- Number of Leg Sections
- Choosing The Right Tripod Series
- ane-Serial Tripods
- Arise-fourteen Tripods
- 2-Series Tripods
- iii-Serial Tripods
- four-Series Tripods
- Tabletop Tripods
- ane-Serial Tripods
- Actually Right Stuff Tripod Accessories
- Interchangeable Feet
- Eye Column
- Tripod Numberless
- Tripod Shoulder Strap
- Tripod Tool
- Leveling Heads
- Video Bowl
I accept been using RRS tripods for over a decade at present, and in that time I have used all manner of different sizes and capacities. As my work and photographic interests take inverse, so accept my photographic camera back up requirements, just the constant throughout that change has ever been an RRS tripod under my camera. Their logical and wide range of different tripods has always offered up the perfect solution.
RRS are known for their beautiful designs and faultless machining. Everything that comes out of the manufactory looks similar a work of art, as much as that is possible with a tripod at least. Only RRS products don’t just have a pretty confront, they offer functioning to dorsum that upwardly. Some people will baulk at the price of these tripods, but I tin can tell you that once you utilize one, you empathize immediately that they are expensive for a reason.
I accept tried many tripods over the years, and while some of them might get the task done from a stability indicate of view, I have never found another brand that makes a tripod that only gets everything so correct. Every joint is buttery shine, every leg lock is silky smooth and every piece of machining is e’er perfectly formed and anodized. Information technology’s the old supercar analogy: A Porsche and a Ford are both cars that can bulldoze you lot to the supermarket, but i of them is simply going to feel better and do it in more style.
In brusque, I believe, as do many others, that they are the best tripods on the market place. But you volition pay for the privilege of owning and using one.
A Guide Is Needed
As with anything expensive that has so many options, the decision over which RRS tripod to choose tin be an agonizing 1. Over the years I accept owned RRS one-series, 2-series and 3-series tripods, carbon ones, aluminium ones, ones with middle columns and ones without, ones with removable apexes and ones with fixed apexes, Mk1 and Mk2 versions, fifty-fifty ones classed as “Short” versions and ones classed as “Long” versions. With those tripods I have paired them with just well-nigh every RRS tripod caput they have always made, from the BH-25 up to the BH-55 and various versions of their gimbals.
Some, like my partner Kait, might call this “a problem”. But I’m just going to call it
research, and now you lot can all benefit from a decade of in-field testing.
All of my RRS tripods were purchased at full toll just like a regular client. I
a contributor to Really Right Stuff’s seasonal magazine, Light and Shadow, and in the past, I accept been a pre-production product tester, but I’m under no obligation to gush nice things about all of their products. In fact, they don’t even know I’grand writing this guide. My priority here is to help yous make the best decision.
Really Correct Stuff Tripod Nomenclature
RRS has a simple alphanumerical organization to construct the production names for their wide range of tripods. Once you see information technology explained below, you’ll be able to understand the spec sheets and details in this guide much ameliorate.
Example tripod proper noun (seen in the photo in a higher place):
Really Right Stuff TFC-14
- Start letter –
- 2d letter –
for Versa series tripod with interchangeable apex,
for tripods with a fixed noon or
for tripods with a built-in quick-cavalcade. (Noon versions explained in greater detail afterward)
- 3rd letter –
for carbon fibre or
- Hyphen – Just because
- Commencement number – Indicates tripod series –
four. This has some correlation with capacity, just also every bit a way to differentiate top leg diameter, and a mode to describe accessories. eg. A iii-Serial leveling base is obviously designed to exist used on 3-Serial tripods.
- Second number – The number of leg sections –
1, 2, three, 4
- Concluding letter (optional) –
for Basis or
for Inverted. These deviation will become obvious equally we discuss the tripods and you see the specifications in the tabular array below.
- Ascend-14 Series –
indicates a model that includes a built-in brawl caput.
indicates a model that just has a ball head platform.
- Example 1: TVC-23
This is a 2-serial Carbon tripod with a Versa noon and iii leg sections.
- Example 2: TVC-32G
This is a 3-series carbon tripod with a Versa apex and two leg sections. It is a Ground pod, designed for low-level usage.
- Example 3: TFC-24L
This is a 2-series carbon tripod with a fixed apex and 4 leg sections. The L designation means it’s the Long variation, so all of the leg sections are slightly longer than the regular version of the TFC-24, thus making information technology taller when extended to maximum acme.
- Instance 4 – TFA-32G
This is a iii-series aluminium tripod with a fixed apex and 2 leg sections. Information technology’s also a Ground pod, designed for low-level usage.
- Instance 5 – Arise-xiv Fifty BH
This is a 1-serial tripod with 4 leg sections. Information technology’s part of the Arise series, in the long variation, and information technology also has a congenital-in brawl head.
Really Correct Stuff Tripod Specifications
Now that yous understand the tripod’s naming scheme, this tabular array compares the essential specifications of maximum and minimum top, folded length and diameter, and capacity and toll. You lot’ll notice a few correlations between the tripod designs and the resulting specifications as yous written report the specs.
For case, fixed apex versions of a tripod are slightly lighter, and their folded bore is smaller. More leg sections subtract the folded length of a tripod to make it more packable, simply it also slightly reduces the maximum chapters and increases the toll. Long and Short variations of tripods have different folded lengths and somewhat different maximum capacities.
Note on pricing: I used to include the current cost in the 2nd column of this table, but prices fluctuated so much in recent years that I have given up constantly tweaking them. Please click the link to check the current pricing.
|Model||Price||Leg Sections||Max Height||Min Height||Folded Length||Folded Diameter||Weight||Chapters|
|Ascend-14 BH||Check Price||4||61.3″ (156cm)||5.i″ (13cm)||18.63″ (47cm)||3.4″ (8.6cm)||three.19lbs (1450g)||30lbs (13.61kg)|
|Ascend-14 PF||Check Price||4||58.ii″ (148cm)||3.vii″ (9cm)||17.ane″ (43cm)||3.iv″ (8.6cm)||3lbs (1360g)||30lbs (thirteen.61kg)|
|Arise-14L BH||Check Price||4||68.ix″ (175 cm)||five.1″ (13 cm)||21.ane″ (54 cm)||three.4″ (8.6cm)||iii.38 lb (1534 g)||30lbs (13.61kg)|
|Ascend-14L PF||Check Price||4||66.half-dozen″ (169 cm)||three.7″ (nine cm)||19.vi″ (50 cm)||three.4″ (8.6cm)||3.19lbs (1450g)||30lbs (13.61kg)|
|TFC-14 Mk2||Check Price||4||47.1″ (120cm)||two.7″ (6.8cm)||17.8″ (45cm)||iii.4″ (8.7cm)||two.46lbs (1116g)||50lbs (22.7kg)|
|TQC-14 Mk2||Check Cost||4||58.i″ (148cm)||3.4″ (9cm)||18.3″ (46cm)||3.ix″ (10cm)||2.78lb (1261g)||50lb (22.7kg)|
|TVC-23 MK2||Cheque Toll||3||52.four″ (133cm)||4.1″ (10.4cm)||23.nine″ (61cm)||4.7″ (11.9cm)||3.42lbs (1551g)||80lbs (36.3kg)|
|TFC-23 MK2||Check Price||3||51.4″ (131cm)||4.0″ (10cm)||23.8″ (60cm)||iii.7″ (9.4cm)||3.22lbs (1461g)||80lbs (36.3kg)|
|TVC-24 MK2||Cheque Price||iv||49.five″ (126cm)||iii.6″ (9.3cm)||nineteen.4″ (49cm)||4.vii″ (12cm)||3.43lbs (1556g)||85lbs (38.6kg)|
|TFC-24 MK2||Check Price||four||49.4″ (125cm)||3.5″ (9.0cm)||xix.3″ (49cm)||3.8″ (ix.7cm)||3.4lbs (1542g)||85lbs (38.6kg)|
|TVC-24L MK2||Check Price||4||66.4″ (169cm)||4.1″ (10cm)||23.three″ (59cm)||4.7″ (12 cm)||3.84lbs (1741g)||70lbs (32kg)|
|TFC-24L MK2||Check Toll||four||66.3″ (168cm)||3.9″ (10cm)||23.2″ (59 cm)||iii.8″ (10cm)||3.69lbs (1674g)||70lbs (32kg)|
|TVC-33S MK2||Check Price||3||50.4″ (128cm)||4.i″ (10cm)||22.eight″ (58cm)||5.7″ (14cm)||3.83lbs (1737g)||90lbs (41kg)|
|TFC-33S MK2||Cheque Price||three||fifty.4″ (128cm)||4.0″ (10cm)||22.5″ (57 cm)||4.i″ (10cm)||3.45lbs (1565g)||90lbs (41kg)|
|TVC-33 MK2||Bank check Price||3||58.ii″ (148cm)||4.4″ (11cm)||25.4″ (64cm)||five.seven″ (14cm)||four.ten lbs (1860g)||85lbs (39kg)|
|TFC-33 MK2||Cheque Cost||iii||58.two″ (148cm)||4.3″ (11cm)||25.four″ (64cm )||4.1″ (10cm)||3.72lbs (1687g)||85lbs (39kg)|
|TVC-34 MK2||Check Cost||4||58.ii″ (148cm)||3.7″ (9cm)||20.9″ (53cm)||5.7″ (14cm)||4.25lbs (1928g)||85lbs (39kg)|
|TFC-34 MK2||Check Price||4||58.two″ (148cm)||3.vii″ (9cm)||twenty.9″ (53cm)||iv.1″ (10cm)||3.85lbs (1746g)||85lbs (39kg)|
|TVC-34L MK2||Cheque Price||4||68.iv″ (174cm)||iv.0″ (10cm)||23.9″ (61cm)||5.vii″ (14cm)||4.55lbs (2063g)||80lbs (36kg)|
|TFC-34L MK2||Check Price||four||68.4″ (174cm)||4.0″ (10cm)||23.9″ (61cm)||4.1″ (10cm)||four.56lbs (2068g)||80lbs (36kg)|
|TVC-43 MK2||Bank check Price||3||63.6″ (161cm)||vii.6″ (19cm)||27.half dozen″ (70cm)||6.9″ (17cm)||five.99lbs (2716g)||100lbs (45kg)|
|TVC-44 MK2||Check Toll||iv||75.3″ (191cm)||7.2″ (18cm)||26.0″ (66cm)||6.9″ (17cm)||half dozen.36lbs (2.89kg)||90lbs (41kg)|
|TVC-45 MK2||Check Price||5||85.4″ (217cm)||half-dozen.8″ (17cm)||25.0″ (63cm)||half dozen.9″ (18cm)||half-dozen.88lbs (3.12kg)||80lbs (36kg)|
|TVC-32G MK2||Check Toll||2||14.0″ (36cm)||two.9″ (7cm)||x.2″ (26cm)||5.vi″ (14cm)||3.15lbs (1.43kg)||200lbs (91kg)|
|TVC-42G MK2||Check Price||ii||sixteen.4″ (42cm)||4.three″ (11cm)||eleven.8″ (30cm)||6.seven″ (17cm)||v.18lbs (2.35kg)||250lbs (113kg)|
|TFA-32G||Cheque Price||2||17.seven″ (450mm)||1.62″ (41mm)||12.iv″ (315mm)||2.ix″ (73mm)||2.17lbs (985g)||50lbs (23kg)|
|TFA-01 Basic||Check Toll||1||5.viii″ (xiv.7cm)||1.5″ (37mm)||v.8″ (14.7cm)||1.3″ (34mm)||four.7oz (132g)||50 lbs (22.7kg)|
|TFA-01 Ultra||Bank check Price||1||4.7″ (119mm)||i.v″ (37mm)||5.9″ (150mm)||i.3″ (34mm)||iv.8oz (135g)||15 lbs (6.8kg)|
RRS Out of Stock – What Are The Alternatives?
Over the terminal few years, information technology has get tough to go an RRS tripod as they are almost perpetually out of stock. These are the currently in-stock RRS tripods at B&H. If you find one in stock, don’t consider it besides long! If yous miss it, you could look many months (or more) for it to become available over again.
Sadly, I have to say that if you lot need a tripod ASAP for an upcoming trip and you tin can’t find the RRS 1 you want in stock right at present, yous should probably look elsewhere. If that happens, I recommend looking to another made-in-the-United states tripod company, ProMediaGear.
In search of a heavy-duty 4-series tripod and unable to get the RRS one I wanted, I recently had to make this determination myself. I tin now say that PMG’s tripods are as expert as RRS tripods, and in that location are no supply issues. While I would have liked to add to my RRS tripod collection, I take been mightily impressed with the ProMediaGear TR424L tripod, just every bit I have been in the past with their tripod heads.
The Five Factors In Choosing an RRS Tripod
If you have studied the tripod specifications and the RRS tripod naming scheme y’all might have picked up on five different factors that define the features, and therefore the suitable purpose of RRS tripods. Some of these brand a large difference and some of them make a smaller divergence, only they are all worth discussing. They are as follows:
- Mk1 or Mk2 tripod
- TVC or TFC version of tripod
- Tripod series: 1, 2, iii or 4
- Height variation: S, Fifty or G
- Number of leg sections
In the next part of this guide, I will hash out each of these factors in plough, and compare the variations where appropriate.
Mk1 Vs. Mk2 RRS Tripods
In 2019 RRS updated all carbon tripods to Mk2 versions and now you will only find the Mk2 variants for sale online. However, I’chiliad going to briefly discuss the differences between the two versions because there are quite a large number of the Mk1 tripods for sale on the second-hand market, and there are probably Mk1 owners who are wondering if they should upgrade to Mk2 versions. If yous plan to purchase something new yous tin can skip over this part if yous’re in a hurry, although personally, I would also appreciate knowing how these tripods take recently been improved.
The chief comeback on the Mk2 version is the leg locks. In fact, a slightly different await to the new leg locks is the only visual clue that a tripod is office of the new Mk2 lineup. In the words of RRS themselves:
The new sealed twist-lock minimizes the number of contaminants, such as sand and dust, that gets caught inside the twist locks. In add-on to improving the feel and operation of the twist locks, the seals extend their life. This new characteristic is also important in sub-freezing environments, preventing moisture from entering the assembly and freezing, which inhibits the user from either extending or collapsing the legs.
Marker 2 tripods use a 360-degree collet and wiper shield that can be easily removed from the twist locks for cleaning. If you exercise need to make clean out the twist-locks in the field, the procedure simply got a lot easier. Gone are the days of difficult to remove and reinstall split gibs, maintenance is now a breeze!
We designed a discrete air vent to port air out only nether our pull-tabs towards the middle of the tripod. These air vents prevent pressure gradients from edifice up, assuasive smoother leg extraction and plummet. The inward-facing vents also ensure airflow is directed towards the center of the tripod and abroad from mounted lens elements. Positioned at the elevation and inside of each leg, the air vents are also less likely to permit water or other droppings enter the leg assembly.
And that’s really all in that location is to the update. Although these are welcome improvements, I would say that at that place is no demand for anyone to upgrade their Mk1 tripod to an Mk2 tripod just to get these new leg locks. I would as well say that if y’all observe a adept deal on a second-hand Mk1 tripod, go right ahead and buy with confidence! It’southward yet a great tripod. I have owned both types of tripods and really don’t notice a huge departure, aside from a slight improvement in the smoothness of the leg lock motion on the Mk2, and legs that slide in and out with a little less effort due to the vented clevis.
TFC Vs TVC Tripods – How To Cull
Every two-Series and 3-Series tripod, with 2 exceptions, comes in two variations:
TVC. The two exceptions are the Footing Pods. The TVC-32G doesn’t have a TFC version, and the TFA-32G doesn’t have a TVC version. As they are both 3-Serial Basis Pods, admitting, with slightly different designs, they are themselves considered to be the TV/TF pair that you would choose from.
four-Series tripods are merely available as TVC versions. 1-Series tripods are available in either a
version. Since that is unique to the i-Series, I volition discuss that item deviation in the section below that specifically discusses the 1-Series tripods.
To understand the difference between these two versions (TVC/TFC) you need to know that in the Really Right Stuff tripod language, the apex of a tripod is the part of the tripod where all three legs meet at the meridian. Some might call this the peak plate, but RRS refer to information technology as the apex.
A TFC tripod has a stock-still apex. All legs are joined to a machined aluminium section that has a stud on it for attaching your tripod caput. On TFC tripods, the stud is reversible and removable. That means you can take either a i/4″20 stud or a 3/eight″16 stud on the elevation of the tripod. You can also remove information technology entirely to leave a 1/4″20 threaded hole which can be used with the BC-18 Microball or the BPC-16 Panning Microball.
All TFC tripods also have a paw strap that hangs down beneath the apex. This tin exist used to apply downward pressure while shooting, to increase tripod stability in windy atmospheric condition.
A T5C tripod has what RRS telephone call a Versa apex. I like to recollect of it as being short for
Versatile, although I don’t know if that was RRS’ original intention. With Versa tripods, a hex central tin loosen the height plate of the tripod and remove it, leaving you the ability to switch in different Versa accessories.
2-Series Versa Accessories
- Leveling caput
- Quick Column
three-Series Versa Accessories
- Leveling Head
- Quick Column
- Video Bowl
four-Series Versa Accessories
- Leveling Head
- Video Bowl
Which one is right for yous?
To adjust the Versa accessories, the apex of a TVC tripod is wider and therefore heavier than the noon of an equivalent TFC tripod. As you can see in the comparison photos, this has a considerable result on the folded bore of the tripod. Consulting the table of specifications, y’all’ll also notice that it affects the tripod weight, with TFC tripods being lighter than their TVC counterparts.
If you are sure that you practise non need to use any of the Versa accessories, at that place is really no bespeak in buying the TVC version of the tripod. You might equally well go for the TFC version and save a little weight and infinite. As far every bit I’m concerned, the decision doesn’t have to be any harder than that.
I affair that is worth knowing, and might ease your buyer’due south feet, is that RRS will sell you the parts to convert i blazon of tripod to the other if y’all realize you either bought the wrong type or happen to own a TVC tripod from the days when TFC tripods did not yet exist (TFC was only introduced in about 2019). The legs are all the same, so the conversion kits simply consist of a new apex and the required bushings and screws to attach your existing legs. There is also a conversion kit to change a 1-Series TFC-xiv into a TQC-14 with a Quick Column.
The following video is from the RRS Youtube aqueduct. If y’all experience like my photo comparisons between TFC and TVC weren’t quite enough for you lot to get this straight, the video will certainly clear things up.
As nosotros know from the nomenclature section, some of the RRS tripods take size variations labelled L, S or G for Long, Short or Ground.
Permit’due south kickoff with Footing Pods. These are extremely short, designed for specialized situations where you lot want your photographic camera to exist just a few inches off the ground. Y’all would not purchase a ground pod such as the TVC-32G equally your only tripod, simply they are a useful improver to your kit if you often find yourself depression to the ground for wildlife photography or macro piece of work. The TVC-32G and TFA-32G are about suitable for stills photography piece of work, while the 4-Series TVC-42G is more suited to depression-level cinematography where a 100mm video bowl is needed to level a fluid cinema caput.
Annotation that for low-level photography in sandy and muddy places, the TFA-32G is a clear choice. Information technology is designed to be like shooting fish in a barrel to dismantle and clean under running water by simply using aluminium friction locks on the legs. The TFC-32G on the other hand uses the regular greased, rotating leg locks that should be kept away (as much equally possible) from sand, mud and grit.
Lamentable News Note – May 2020:
RRS have confirmed that they are discontinuing the TFA-32G considering cloth costs have made it too hard to keep the necessary margins on this production. This is a HUGE shame, but B&H Photograph does notwithstanding accept some stock of the tripod at the time I’m calculation this note. If you lot think yous might desire this tripod at present, or in the future, you’d better buy one now before they are gone forever. Cheque HERE to meet if they however take some in stock.
I’m very surprised by this because it has only been two months since they updated the design of this tripod, and my understanding then was that the update was done to streamline product and keep the costs down. I gauge it wasn’t enough 🙁
Additional note: Some people have asked me where I got this information from. I tin can tell you that it was published in a post on the RRS Facebook page, directly past RRS themselves. I’m aware that they do still testify stock of this tripod, but who knows how long that will concluding?
L and S versions of the tripods are fairly self-explanatory. They are simply smaller and larger versions of a particular series’ base model, delivering either a taller or shorter maximum extended height. For case, the TVC-33S is in every way the same every bit the TVC-33, apart from the fact that each leg is a fiddling shorter. The result is that the folded length is slightly shorter, as is the maximum height. But things similar the size of the noon and thickness of the leg sections are identical.
The same goes for the TVC-24 and the TVC-24L. Identical in all ways, autonomously from the length of their leg sections. With the TVC-24L model having a larger maximum height, at the expense of a slightly longer collapsed length.
How Alpine Should Your Tripod Be?
So at present you know that
versions of tripods are specialist pieces of kit that might be purchased as a 2d tripod for some situations. But when looking to buy your main tripod, once yous have determined the capacity y’all need, you also need to decide between the regular version, the
version and the
When I first made this choice ten years ago, I got it incorrect. My first RRS tripod was the TVC-33S. I idea I needed the capacity of a 3-Serial tripod, only I wanted to save a little weight so I went with the Short Due south version to exercise that. After a while, I regretted that determination considering my photographic camera was always too low, and constantly bending down in the field was frustrating. For reference, I’thousand 5ft 9, then I’m not that tall, but I all the same found the 33S to exist too short and I ended up selling it.
The central matter is that at maximum extension, yous need your camera to be at eye level at the absolute minimum. Only what many people don’t consider is the huge effect that working on a slope will have on the superlative of your tripod.
To demonstrate this, take a wait at the photo higher up. Looking closely you volition see that the forepart downhill leg has ane more than entire leg section extended than the rear 2 legs to get it level. Working on even a moderate gradient will lose you a huge amount of your tripod’s maximum height, and the result is that if you bought a tripod whose maximum acme theoretically puts your camera at eye level, much of the fourth dimension in the field you will find that it’due south still too depression if you’re on uneven footing.
If you work mainly in a studio or buildings for architectural photography, this probably isn’t a problem for you lot. Working on flat ground yous tin can safely purchase a tripod that simply puts the photographic camera at eye level when all legs are extended. Just if y’all are a landscape or wildlife photographer often working on uneven ground, I’d urge you to consider buying a tripod that will, according to the max top dimensions, put your camera at least 6-8 inches above your centre level. That way when you are in the field and accept to extend a downhill leg equally I did in the above photograph, yous’ll nevertheless be able to get that camera dorsum to your heart level.
The result of this is that personally, I prefer the Fifty models of the tripods for nature and wildlife photography, even though I am average in height for a man.
Number of Leg Sections
RRS tripods have either 1 (tabletop tripods only), 2, three, iv or 5 leg sections. Increasing the number of leg sections allows you to shorten the collapsed length of the tripod whilst still maintaining a roughly similar maximum superlative. However, it does come up at the expense of some stability considering the more leg sections you lot have, the smaller the diameter of the lowest leg department will be.
Take the TVC-23 and TVC-24 every bit an instance. The latter has 4 leg sections so its collapsed length is shorter (49cm vs 61cm) which makes information technology a little easier to travel with. Nonetheless, it’due south as well a little shorter in its maximum height, and in that location’southward more chance that potent winds or heavy loads could cause some instability due to the thinner lower leg.
Choosing a tripod is about balancing a whole bunch of different compromises, which is why there are so many variations in the RRS lineup. It’southward a flake of a headache to make a selection, but I promise that the right option for you is in there one time you figure out your own priorities.
Inverted Tripod Type For SOAR
As part of Really Correct Stuff’s SOAR lineup (Sport Optics and Rifles), they as well introduced their outset inverted tripod, called the TVC-22i. This is a 2-series tripod with 2 leg sections constructed in an inverted manner. What this ways is that the lower leg section is actually thicker than the upper leg section. With a regular tripod, the everyman leg department is the thinnest.
The master benefits of this tripod are for contest rifle sports, which is why you lot won’t even find this tripod listed on the RRS photography website. It only has a single leg lock on each leg, and the inverted design ways the locks are upwardly at the summit when closed, which makes it fast and easy to grab when you need to deploy the legs at speed during rifle competitions. The other do good is that when the legs are extended, the single-leg lock is in the eye of the legs, pregnant there is never a leg lock down low in the mud. The simpler design, with fewer leg locks and fewer leg pieces, also means it’s one of the cheapest RRS carbon tripods. That said, it has pregnant disadvantages for photographers. It doesn’t plummet very much at all, so it would exist a huge pain to conduct effectually. Also if y’all are trying to get a low angle, the huge legs would frequently exist in the shot when using wide-angle lenses.
In brusque, this is a specialist item, and at that place’s a skilful reason why it’southward not even listed on the photo site. Leave this one to the rifles.
Choosing The Right Tripod Series
Now that we take examined the difference between the TFC and TVC tripod, the differences between the Mk1 and Mk2 tripods and the diverse size differences, it’s fourth dimension to talk about the different tripod series: 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The difference between the tripod series is the bore of the uppermost leg section. These differences in diameter create differing capacities, although the capacity is too affected past the acme of the tripod so not all tripods from a atypical series have the same capacity, although they practice all have the aforementioned bore of the top leg.
1-Series tripods are the smallest and lightest tripods with the lowest capacities, up to 50lbs, while 4-Series tripods are the largest and heaviest with the highest capacity. 100lbs in the example of the TVC-45.
Every bit I mentioned, the series doesn’t entirely ascertain the capacity. It’s also affected by the maximum height. Make certain y’all wait at the specifications table to get the consummate moving picture equally there is some capacity crossover between the different serial.
RRS 1-Series Tripods
The ane-Serial tripods are the best compact tripods on the market. They are small and light, yet they are easily able to hold a 50lb load which is more than any camera setup I’ve ever seen. Despite being the smallest in the lineup, I wouldn’t hesitate to use an RRS one-Series tripod for professional landscape and travel photography with wide-angle lenses and medium zooms such as 24-70mm. Occasional use with a longer lens is acceptable if it isn’t too windy. I regularly got nifty images using a Catechism 100-400 on mine, equally long equally I used best practices such as cable release and mirror lockup on at-home conditions days.
If I’m hiking, or travelling a lot, this is the tripod that I choose nearly often, specifically the TFC-14 version. I used to use the TQC-xiv version with the center column, but I found that the instability introduced past extending the column meant that I often didn’t use it. If you lot don’t remember you lot volition use it, you might as well get the TFC-fourteen version which has the added virtue of a removable three/viii′ 16 stud. One time the stud is removed, you tin employ the BC-eighteen Microball, or the BPC-16 equally shown in the photo above. In my listen, this combination creates the all-time weight to capacity ratio of any tripod on the market place correct now.
I will add that I probably would not own a 1-Serial tripod equally my only tripod because they are a little shorter than the higher series tripods. I’one thousand lucky enough to take multiple tripods so this isn’t too much of an issue for me. If I was just buying i tripod and I did a lot of hiking and travelling, I would opt for the 2-Series instead. You lot go a piffling more meridian for not much more weight, especially if you lot opt for the lighter TFC versions.
The Ascend-xiv Series
The Ascend-14 Series of tripods is the latest design from Really Right Stuff. Although the folded bore of the Ascend tripods is the same as the TFC-14 tripod, the Ascend-14 manages to fit a quick cavalcade in between the folded legs by using a clever scalloped design. This lever-locked column tin be inverted for ground-level shooting, or shortened to save some weight. The Arise-14 tripod is available in 4 different versions:
- Ascend-xiv BH
- Ascend-14 PL
- Ascend-14L BH
- Ascend-14L PL
The BH versions of the Ascend-14 come with a congenital-in head. With its inverted design, this head is very similar to the RRS BPC-16 head. The PL versions of the tripod have a regular platform on them with a 3/viii sixteen″ stud. The platform on the PL versions has the same diameter as the platforms on the other 1-series tripods, so it is sized to perfectly friction match the RRS BH-thirty ball head.
The Arise-14L versions are a trivial scrap taller than the non-L versions. With the 50 versions maintaining the aforementioned 4-section design, their folded length is a fiddling longer. The regular version has a folded length of 17.one″ (43cm) with no head, while the L version has a folded length of 19.6″ (50 cm). One time the tripods are fully extended with their quick columns raised, the regular version tops out at a maximum meridian of 58.2″ (148cm) for the no-caput PL version. The 50 version has a maximum version of 66.half-dozen″ (169 cm) without the caput.
The Quick Cavalcade on all Ascend tripods adds 10.1″ (26cm) to the height of the tripod. All of the Max Height measurements in the tripod information tabular array
the column height, so if you want to know how tall the Rising tripods can go without raising the Quick Cavalcade, you’ll have to deduct 10.1″ from the specified max pinnacle. What nosotros can see from that, is that the Fifty version of the Ascend-14, with its Quick Cavalcade lowered, is simply 2 inches shorter than the regular Rising-14 with its column raised. If yous tend to shy away from using tripod centre columns, the 50 version of the Ascend-fourteen might be the one for you lot. This is the one I chose for myself.
What If You Desire The Platform and the Built-In Head? (Cheapest Fashion)
As we established, y’all can choose to buy the tripod either with a flat platform on pinnacle, or the built-in head. Simply what if you want both? You can purchase either the apartment platform or the built-in caput separately from RRS. Due to their design, they come with the centre column attached.
This is adept and bad news. The good news is that it makes swapping them over, the chore of mere seconds. Y’all tin can keep a ball head on the flat platform, say a BH-30 or BH-40, and they swap that whole thing in to replace the built-in head when you don’t demand to travel every bit light. The downside is that including the centre column makes this optional purchase a rather large one. The cavalcade with the apartment platform is $230, while the column with the built-in head is a whopping $590!
If yous want both, the cheapest way to do it is to buy the tripod with the built-in caput. Then purchase the spare centre column with the flat platform (Part # Ascend-14-PFQC) as an boosted buy. For some reason, this works out as $55 cheaper than doing things the other way around. Don’t say I never help yous guys!
Ascend-14 Vs TFC-fourteen / TVC-fourteen
The Arise-14 tripods are priced much higher than the other ane-Series tripods such equally the TFC-fourteen. If y’all do non need the fancy quick column in the Arise series, y’all tin save a lot of money by opting for the TFC-xiv instead. It should besides exist noted that the load rating of the TFC-14 is 50lbs, while all the Ascend-14 tripods have a load rating of merely 30lbs. The TFC-fourteen has the same folded diameter as the Arise-fourteen, and it likewise weighs about half a pound less when comparing to the Ascend-14 PF that doesn’t have the built-in head. So, aye, the Ascend-14 has a fancy column with a lever release. Merely does that justify the huge price departure? I can nonetheless see many people opting for the TFC-14.
Compared to the Superlative Design Travel Tripod
I’m not going to do a huge corporeality of cross-brand comparisons in this guide, just I know from previous articles that mention the RRS 1-Series tripods, many people seem to exist curious about how information technology compares to the Peak Design Travel Tripod. I approximate this isn’t much of a surprise given the huge amount of printing that the Peak Design tripod received while it was on its way to raising over $12 one thousand thousand on Kickstarter. Both the PD tripod and the i-Series RRS tripods are considered to be loftier-end carbon travel tripods that actually prioritize small size, and both can be equipped with a similar style of the inverted ball head.
I was lucky enough to take a pre-product Peak Design Travel Tripod with me for a 3000-mile road trip to the Arctic Ocean the yr before it launched for public sale. This gave me plenty of time to evaluate it and compare it to my RRS tripods. I’ll keep this brief: The 1-Series RRS tripods, TFC-14 and TQC-fourteen are more stable than the Peak Blueprint Travel Tripod. This is primarily because the lowest leg section on the PD tripod is incredibly thin and easily flexes in even moderate wind. In terms of size and packability, it’due south pretty much a draw. The RRS tripods are slightly lighter, but the Height Pattern tripod is slightly shorter and slightly thinner in packed diameter. In practice, the size difference when fastened to the side of your pocketbook is negligible.
Overall I would consider the RRS ane-Series tripods to be superior to the Peak Design Travel Tripod, but when comparing the prices y’all would certainly hope this to be the example. The carbon version of the PD tripod is $599.95 where the RRS TFC-fourteen is $835.
If money is less of an object to you lot, the RRS ane-Series
the better tripod, but the Peak Design tripod is probably the 2nd-best carbon travel tripod on the market, and it’southward an awful lot cheaper. Don’t even call back about comparing the PD Travel Tripod to any of the ii-Series or 3-Series RRS tripods, though. They simply aren’t in the aforementioned league in terms of stability. If yous want to know more, you might also like to read my in-depth review of the Acme Design Travel Tripod.
RRS 2-Series Tripods
The ii-Series tripods are the true all-rounders of the RRS tripod lineup. They have the capacity to be used with merely about any lens and camera yous tin can think of, and there is a total range of size options to suit unlike requirements for travel or photographer height.
I know RRS recommend the 3-Serial tripods for super-telephoto lenses, but I take been using a two-Serial tripod with their PG-02 gimbal for my wild fauna work for many years, and I appreciate the perfect combination of travel-friendly weight and huge 85lb chapters. If I only did wild animals work then I probably would have opted for the iii-Serial, but my work is fairly varied and I wanted a tripod that could cope with both long lens wildlife piece of work, and big multi-day landscape photography hikes.
As I said, the 2-Series is the perfect all-rounder. A tripod you can buy, and be certain that it’ll ever work for you, no matter how your photography changes. My preferred tripod out of the two-Serial lineup, in fact out of the entire RRS lineup is the TFC-24L. If I could only own i tripod, that would be the one. You become the huge maximum height, but a compact package by the TFC-style noon.
2-Series tripods are designed to pair perfectly with the BH-40 ball caput, although again there are no hard and fast rules here. I use mine with the larger BH-55 because I adopt the larger locking knobs for cold conditions work when wearing gloves. You could just every bit easily pair it with the smaller BH-30 besides if you lot wanted to salve a little weight.
RRS three-Series Tripods
The three-Serial tripods offer the kind of stability that is recommended for long-term usage of super-telephoto lenses, and the damping that is necessary for critical sharpness with high megapixel medium format cameras. If I had something like a Fujifilm GFX-100, I’d be using a 3-Serial tripod.
The college the resolution of your photographic camera, the easier it is for micro-vibrations to show upwardly in your images as a lack of sharpness. While many people fixate on tripod weight capacity, they frequently forget to factor in the resolution of their cameras. Equally nosotros once more seem to exist entering into a megapixel war with the Canon and Sony high megapixel mirrorless cameras, this will become something which people need to pay attention to.
RRS 4-Serial Tripods
For some reason, RRS has discontinued 4-series tripods. Though I’m certain they sold fewer of these than 1, 2 or 3-series tripod, the move still surprises me because these were highly regarded. If you desire a tripod with a higher capacity than the 3-Serial RRS tripods and options for a 100mm video caput, look at the first-class ProMediaGear 4-Series tripods. PMG tripods are every bit as practiced every bit RRS tripods, and I at present own their TR424L tripod myself when I was unable to learn an RRS 4-Series.
I have rarely seen 4-Series tripods used past still photographers unless it is in a studio or equally an additional tripod kept in their automobile’s trunk. These big, heavy tripods do not lend themselves to travel or even hand-carrying very far. However, the optional 100mm video bowl does hateful that they are excellent choices for cinematography, where a video basin is a necessity. Though big and heavy for a photography tripod, these would be relatively lightweight for a video tripod.
RRS Tabletop Tripods
In that location are 2 dissimilar RRS tabletop tripods: The TFA-01 Ultra ($120) and the TFA-01 Basic ($80). They look extremely similar, but the TFA-01Ultra has a ratcheting leg end just like a total-sized tripod. This allows you to lock the legs at three singled-out positions and, at these positions, the legs are locked stone solid.
On the other hand, the cheaper TFA-01 Basic doesn’t take the leg position ratchet and instead relies on the stiffness of the leg neckband to concur the tripod legs at varying angles. Of course, when the legs are fully splayed, they are locked solid, only in all other positions, you are only relying on friction to agree the legs at other angles. For signal and shoot cameras and very small mirrorless cameras, it’due south not a problem. But with larger mirrorless cameras, heavier lenses or DSLRs, you definitely need the TFA-01 Ultra if you desire to take varied leg angles. Personally, I would simply recommend spending the extra money and getting the Ultra version correct off the bat, whatsoever camera you plan on using it with. It’s a beautifully made tripod and then y’all know yous have a future-proof setup.
These kinds of tripods are specially useful when visiting “no tripod” tourist areas. Go on this in your pocket and you’ll ever take a stable platform that you can remainder on a wall.
These days I would definitely pair it with the BC-18 Microball. The photos of the Basic version in the gallery were shot many years ago before the Microball was available. Dorsum so I used the BH-25, but the BC-18 is smaller, lighter, cheaper and in my experience actually holds more than weight.
RRS Tripod Accessories
Really Right Stuff makes a range of accessories for their tripods which I volition now discuss and demonstrate. If you are going to cough upwards the money for the very best tripods on the market, yous’ll nigh likely desire to equip it with at to the lowest degree one of the bespoke accessories from this department. Every bit with anything from RRS, these are top-in-grade accessories.
In this section we will have a shut look at the accompaniment feet options, leveling heads, quick-release carrying strap system, tripod bags, centre columns and video bowls and even a special multi-tool that you tin can add to your Really Right Stuff tripod.
Interchangeable Tripod Feet
Two different types of accessory tripod feet are available: Spikes and Rock Claws. Reading the customer questions on B&H Photo for these products, it’south clear that one aspect, in detail, is confusing people. They are sold as
individual items, and so make sure to add together three of them to your cart if yous decide to purchase them and desire a consummate set. At $32 each ($96/prepare), this isn’t an insignificant purchase only they are extremely well fabricated.
Personally, I chose to get with the spikes because they are more suitable for the landscapes I tend to shoot in, which are sandy, snowy or to some extent, muddy. The Rock Claws are definitely a more specialized accessory. As the name suggests, they provide a fiddling more grip on rock simply in my experience, I have found that the standard safe feet really provide a very practiced grip on rock anyway.
Optional centre columns are available for 2-Series and 3-Series tripods. To use one, yous demand to have a TQC tripod with the removable Apex plate.
A center column has two purposes: Firstly information technology allows you to add boosted maximum height to a tripod while keeping the folded length smaller than only buying the taller version of the tripod. Secondly, it allows y’all to rapidly modify the elevation of your camera without needing to alter all three legs.
In general, I would non recommend buying one of these columns to utilize information technology all the time. The aluminium heart column adds weight to your nice carbon tripod, and instability, particularly in windy weather. Buy the tripod size that you need for your height, and only consider the optional cavalcade for certain uses such as indoor production and portrait photography where the speed of acme adjustment is useful, and the negatives of a heart column have picayune affect.
The exceptions to this rule are the TQC-14 and the Ascend-14 that already comes with the heart column. If you are choosing to buy either of those tripods, y’all are already deciding to sacrifice stability in exchange for size and weight. The whole point of them is to be small, which is why the cavalcade comes with it in the first place.
RRS Tripod Bags
Actually Right Stuff makes tripod bags in five different sizes to conform their entire range of tripods and monopods: Compact, small, medium, big, actress-large. Prices range from $50 to $95, which is right on par with other like products from brands such equally Manfrotto. NOTE: All of my RRS tripod numberless seen in these photos were purchased many years agone and have the old RRS logo on them. All newly purchase bags will accept the new RRS logo on them which looks even nicer.
|Tripod Pocketbook Size||Recommended Tripods/Monopods||Length||Internal Dimension||Weight|
|Compact||TQC-14, TFC-14, TFA-32G, MC-14, MC-25(no caput)||21″(53.5cm)||iv.three×xix″(xi.0x47cm)||13.2oz (375g)|
|Pocket-size||TVC-24, TFC-24, MC-34, MC45, MC-25(with head)||26.5″(67cm)||4.iii×25″(11×63.5cm)||xvi.4oz (465g)|
|Medium||TVC-23, TFC-23, TFC-24L, TVC-24L||31.5″(80cm)||4.7×28″(12x72cm)||20.5oz (580g)|
|Large||All 3-series tripods||35″(89cm)||4.7×31.5″(12x80cm)||23.3oz (660g)|
|Extra Large||All four-series tripods||38.5″(98cm)||vii.viii×35″(20x89cm)||32.1oz (910g)|
The bags wait great and provide more than adequate protection for your expensive investment. I typically use mine to protect my tripod when it’due south loose in the torso of my car, and when I’m packing it into a duffle purse for air travel. The superlative chapeau of the bag is reinforced to be harder than the rest of the bag and provide added protection for your tripod head. The rest of the bag is made of padded ballistic nylon, then it’s tough, just too flexible.
Within the lid, the medium, large and extra-large versions of the bag have a mesh pocket that is designed to agree the accompaniment feet or any tripod tools that yous might want to have to paw. Over many years of utilize, I accept plant that this mesh pocket will eventually get damaged by the clamp on peak of your ball caput. I similar the idea of having a pocket there in the hat, merely I wish that they would update information technology to be fabricated from regular ballistic nylon instead of mesh.
On the outside of the bag, you volition discover some other zippered pocket with a flat contour and a slot for a business organisation card or some other grade of identification. This zippered pocket doesn’t have a lot of room, but it can agree the accessory foot spikes and a few hex (Allen) wrenches or the very useful RRS MTX multi-tool.
RRS Tripod Strap Arrangement (QD)
For a while, RRS has been integrating a quick-release standard into their camera and lens plates called the QD (Quick Detach) system. This system is borrowed from the firearms industry where it turns out people like quickly detaching guns from straps just as much equally photographers like detaching straps from cameras. Who knew?! The system is catching on in the photo globe.
Kirk Photograph has now started adding the QD sockets onto their camera plates besides, and BlackRapid has even come up out with a QD version of their popular sling strap. I’m sure others will follow suit because it’due south a system that works very well and offers excellent forcefulness that tin can easily handle heavy cameras, or in this case, tripods.
Actually Correct Stuff doesn’t make their own straps, but they are reselling the straps fabricated by firearms manufacturer, Magpul. Y’all can too find this brand via Amazon and their own online shop. There is naught special about the versions which RRS sell, they are identical to versions sold direct past Magpul.
To use these quick-release straps with an RRS tripod, yous have to purchase an RRS Strap Set which consists of a collar that goes around one of the tripod legs, and a small-scale loving cup that screws to the apex of the tripod. Both the collar and cup characteristic a QD-compatible connection. With both parts installed you lot can employ any strap that has QD connectors on both ends to create a 2-betoken tripod harness.
The collar size is different depending on which series of tripods you are using. There are also differences in the design of the cup, depending on whether you have an Mk I or Mk 2 tripod. Cups and collars are usually sold together as a pair. Make certain you lot society the correct one for your tripod series (1, ii, three, four) and Mark (1 or two). The ones in the photos are on my TFC-24L Mk2. So, of course, I ordered my strap set for a Serial-2 Mk2 tripod.
Using the same QD strap with your camera
What’southward great about the Magpul straps is that they can be converted from ii-point to single point zipper. This means you can purchase one strap to use for your tripod, and use that aforementioned strap as a single point attachment on your camera. If I’m carrying my tripod over my shoulder with the strap, my camera is always in a handbag and therefore doesn’t need the strap at the same time. Note that the BlackRapid Sport-Ten QD is great for cameras, simply because it’s only a unmarried point sling, you tin’t use information technology with the RRS tripod strap organization.
If you have a spare camera strap lying around that y’all already dear, you can likewise buy a pair of QD swivel adapters from B&H or Amazon and simply put them on your existing strap to convert it for apply with the RRS tripod strap fix. I’d bet any photographer has at least i spare strap lying effectually, then this might exist a practiced choice for those that cleaned out their bank account ownership their dream tripod 🙂
If y’all then want to employ that strap with a photographic camera just find that your camera plate doesn’t have a QD socket on it, you tin can use the RRS B2-FABN Mirco Clamp. This tiny clench has a QD socket on it and volition clench to any Acra-Swiss compatible camera bracket that you probably already own. Pretty cool, huh?
RRS MTX Multitool
I accept a couple of these great MTX tripod multi-tools. One is always in my camera bag or tripod bag, and another lives in my travel pocketbook as a backup for when I’thou abroad from home. They are good value at $fifty and save you from carrying around a big stack of hex keys for various tripods, L brackets and ball heads.
A leveling caput is a tripod accompaniment that allows you lot to quickly level the elevation platform of the tripod without having to brand tiny adjustments to each leg. Simply get the legs roughly in the right place, then loosen the leveling head and use the born bubble level to create a perfectly level platform. This is necessary when shooting stitched panoramic images so that your horizon remains level, and it’s also necessary for video shooting and then that panning motions maintain a level horizon and don’t migrate upward or downward.
RRS makes leveling heads for two-Series, 3-Series and 4-Series tripods. The three and 4-Series leveling heads are essentially identical, but ane is a picayune large than the other. With these heads, you demand a TVC tripod and the head replaces the tripod noon, with a control handle underneath to lock and loosen the motion.
The ii-Serial leveling head is a little dissimilar. You lot tin apply a TVC ii-Serial tripod and remove the apex to fit the leveling head. Alternatively, the base of the leveling head as well has a 3/8″ 16 female person thread, then the whole thing can be screwed onto the top of whatever tripod. This head, the TA-2u, is called the Universal Leveling Head for that reason. You tin can definitely apply it on a two-Series TVC tripod, only you could as well use information technology on any other TVC or TFC Really Right Stuff tripod, or even any other brand of a tripod. To loosen the leveling machinery, this head has a rotating locking neckband.
3-Series and four-Series tripods have the pick to add a video basin to the tripod. For the three-Serial information technology’s a 75mm basin and for the 4-Series information technology’south a 100mm basin. If you use a fluid video head with a built-in leveling platform, this volition be of import.
Available only from RRS directly, there is also a 4-Series to three-Serial Apex Adapter. This allows you to use the 3-Series 75mm basin on the 4-Series tripod. If you want the stability of a four-Series tripod, but your fluid caput only has a 75mm bowl then this is the accompaniment you volition want to track down.
Note that the 3-Series and 4-Series Leveling Heads come with a video bowl, then if you lot are already planning to buy a leveling head, you won’t demand to purchase the video basin.
Part ii: RRS Ball Heads and Gimbals
Of course, Really Correct Stuff are also known for their incredible range of brawl heads, gimbals and other camera leveling devices. In fact, they have been making these for far longer than they have tripods. While it’s not a prerequisite to pair an RRS tripod with an RRS caput, it is understandably the way that many people opt to complete their kit. Not simply out of make loyalty, merely also because the sizes of various heads are designed to perfectly friction match the apex diameters of the RRS tripods. To help yous with this role of the decision, I have created a separate Really Correct Stuff Tripod Head Guide. The photos below give yous just a modest sample of what you tin can detect in that second guide.