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
- The user manual: http://www.feisol.net/manuals/FEISOL_Manual_CT-3342_CT-3442.pdf
- The maintenance manual: http://www.feisol.net/manuals/FEISOL_Manual_Care_And_Maintenance_For_Tripods.pdf