Tripod is an apparatus that should be considered important especially by beginners in photography. Most of them take too much importance on the great camera body and lens whereas the tripod role is actually very important especially for photographers who like to shoot landscapes. There are so many kinds of tripod but the most common one is tripod made of aluminum alloy or the combination of aluminum alloy and plastic. Apart from that there are tripods made of carbon fiber. What are the differences between them? Here is the explanation.
Aluminum of the same size is heavier than carbon fiber because it is more solid. The solidity of aluminum is 2.7 gram per cubic centimeter. So with the same weight, carbon fiber-made tripod is steadier. Unfortunately, not all parts of the tripod can be replaced by carbon fiber. We can save the weight of the tripod’s legs’ tube only when the other parts are made of metal aluminum, magnesium alloy or plastic.
Tripod made of mostly thin plastic and aluminum is not recommended especially when the weight of the camera and the lens is quite heavy because it will shake easily and even get dented. Some high quality tripods use metal magnesium alloy that is very strong and not so heavy.
For a tripod of the same capacity, the total difference between aluminum and carbon fiber tripods is actually not so many. It is about half to one kilogram. But if you like to photograph landscapes where you need to go hiking carrying your own camera and lens, to have minus half to one kilogram will be much easier. It will definitely reduce the burden so you will not easily get tired during your journey.
The plus point of carbon fiber material is not only light in weight but also the fact that it is not a good tremble conductor compared to metal. For example, you may take a look at music instrument like metal bell which will vibrate and creates sound. Carbon fiber on the other hand does not create vibrations. So when there are some sources of trembles like water, wind and etc, mostly it will not affect the tripod’s head and also the camera. One of its strength which is rarely mentioned before is the fact that carbon fiber tripod is resistant to cold weather. The tripod’s legs do not get freeze like aluminum when you go out hunting images in freezing cold places.
With all the advantages we have by owning a tripod made of carbon fiber, that does not mean it is flawless. The price is two or three times more expensive than ones made of aluminum or other materials. For your information, not all tripods labeled carbon fiber has high standard and quality. You may find some of them look like the original ones but they actually are made from the blend of carbon fiber, magnesium and other materials. Manufacturers produce those kinds of tripods in order to make the price cheaper and affordable for buyers. Shortly, indeed, carbon fiber tripod has more benefits but with such price, is it really worth it?
Well, it depends on each individual. Do those benefits matter to you? For instance, if you shoot mostly indoors and do not often change and move places, then one made of aluminum is good enough or decent. But if you often shoot outdoors, the carbon fiber tripod will give much more benefits and advantages to you.