Take Care of Your Tripod Unless It Is a Tank

About two years and half ago I happily replaced my Manfrotto 055XPROB aluminium tripod with a Feisol Tournament CT3442 carbon fiber tripod. The Feisol tripod is lighter, taller and more stable than the Manfrotto. However all these characteristics does not come for free, indeed it is more expensive and it requires a bit more care and maintenance.

A few months ago it started to be difficult to clamp the legs of the Feisol and I had to apply much more force than usual to lock them. Then sometimes the legs got dislodged, started to rotate and locked in inappropriate positions. Clearly there was something wrong with my beloved tripod. Completely unscrewing the twist-lock I started to understand what happened. Dust, dirty and sand compromised the functioning of the locking system, wearing out the compression and the C-rings. The compression rings lock the leg when they are tightened through the twist-lock while the C-rings prevent the legs to rotate. Please note that the final (thinnest) legs are normally rotating.

A visit to the Feisol Store on the web showed me that it is possible to send the tripod for a cleaning and restoring service, but I decided to service the tripod by myself to avoid too many shippings. I contacted the customer service and they confirmed they could send to me both the compression and C-rings. In the meanwhile I remembered the last winter experience in Norway where at -20°C the twist-locks were very stiff to operate, only coming back to a temperate climate I realized that problem was caused by the frozen grease lubricating the twist-lock threads. So I ordered on eBay a silicone based grease suited for low temperatures till -50°C. I’m not sure whether I want to try it or not at those temperatures.

Following the instructions  found on the Feisol website “Manual Care And Maintenance For Tripods” it was very easy to fix the problem. I dismounted the tripod, I cleaned every part with a soft wet sponge and the leg interiors with a soft brush. I remounted everything and I applied the grease just on the threads. Now the tripod is working again and I can lock and unlock the legs with just one quarter turn. Honestly I had been quite rough with this tripod, coming from the Manfrotto 055XPROB that is a real tank, I didn’t care enough about its cleaning and I left too much sand and dirty enter the very precise and delicate locking mechanisms. Now it’s time to keep it clearer.

A couple of useful links

Orange Sunset

It seemed to be a good afternoon for a sunset shot at Grado Pineta, tide was expected very low and the sun was brilliant in the sky when I left home. I still had to try the K-1 with the big stopper and I planned to shot the low tide water with very long times to obtain a very strong silk effect. So I packed the backpack with all the filters: littler stopper, GNDs and polarizer in addition to the big stopper. I arrived at the beach more than one hour before the sunset to explore the shoreline. I expected to find a few boats in the middle between the beach and the sea but I found only some boats run ashore in the mud and a few small red buoys tied together. The tide was extremely low and I had the first signs that something was different than usual when crossing the 3 km bridge connecting Grado to mainland, I could see a large number of herons, white and gray, eating in the lagoon.

When I met my friend Andrea, it was almost the sunset time and I wasn’t able to find a good location for a wide-angle shot. Too much mud was revealed by the low tide in the foreground and the background wasn’t interesting at all. Fortunately I brought a telephoto zoom with me and going to an elevated point I was able to frame the last blade of sun and a white heron with a whole reflection on the water. I made dozens of shots but only a few of them have the whole reflection because the heron was continuously moving in its search for food.