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Tripod made of carbon or aluminum - differences & recommendations

Stativ aus Carbon oder Aluminium – Unterschiede & Empfehlungen

Almost every photographer needs a tripod and as a rule they are a very durable one
product, it is all the more important to make the best possible choice directly. The decision
this starts with the material, because both carbon and aluminum have it
different advantages and disadvantages that you should know before you make your purchase decision.

The simple answer to the question about the right material could be that one
Beginners first try the cheaper aluminum version and an advanced photographer chooses it
should rather buy the more expensive carbon tripod. It's that obvious in my opinion
but not after, because neither of the two materials is better in any case and they are whole
just different.

In order to have the best possible comparison of these two variants, I have exactly that
Bought the same tripod in both aluminum and carbon, although I've had the former since
years for my photos and now want to know if there is a change of material and the associated
associated surcharge is really worth it.

The two test tripods are the following aluminum & carbon tripods:

Both versions already come with a ball head (which, of course, is Arcaa
Swiss-compatible) and are 44 cm when retracted and with a maximum,,
extended height of around 160 cm almost the same size. The aluminum version has one
maximum load capacity of 10 kg, while the carbon version can still withstand 8 kg.

Tripod weight of aluminum & carbon

In addition to stability, weight is of course one of the most important features, because a tripod is
useful only if you have it with you. So this is a very good reason to
make sure you're lugging around as little weight as possible, otherwise
would you think about leaving it at home often enough? This
However, each factor has a different value, as this mainly depends on the type of
photography depends.

A heavier tripod may not particularly bother a portrait photographer in the photo studio, but it does
a travel photographer undoubtedly benefits from having less weight on their shoulders when using the
is on the go all day and wants to have all his equipment with him at all times. Therefore hangs
it very much depends on how long it takes you to walk to the places you like
want to photograph. 
In Iceland a lightweight solution, for example, wasn't like that at all
important, as I thought at first, since large parts of the journey are often made by car anyway
Need to become. So again, it very much depends on how much you end up hiking
because in some cases more weight can actually be better. The reason for this is about
the stormy weather of the island or the strong current of many rivers. In both situations
more weight can also provide more stability.

Aluminum: 1.91kg
Carbon: 1.34kg

Aluminium und Carbon Stativ

Our advice:

If weight is important to you, then a carbon tripod is definitely a better choice.

Almost 600 grams may sound insignificant at first, but the difference when you weigh that
having to carry it on your shoulders all day is enormous. over a year ago
I swapped out my camera for a lighter, mirrorless one that saved me around 500g
and that alone was an unexpectedly big change for me. In big cities like New
York I was often up to 14 hours a day on my feet, always on my back
equipment with me.

The return trip to the accommodation to get the camera equipment in time for the
However, getting the sunset is usually not worth it just because of the travel time. To
A few days ago, this became noticeable to me as shoulder pain, which is why I started my
Leaving the tripod at home some days and often those are the days when I
would have needed it most. As I said at the beginning, your gear is just that
useful if you have them with you.
So if you do a lot of walking, then you should definitely choose a carbon tripod

Material properties of aluminum & carbon

When it comes to the material itself, there are 3 particularly important properties that you should look for in your
purchase decision should be taken into account.

1. Corrosion

Carbon is highly weather resistant and even resistant to corrosion when it is
e.g. used in salt water. Aluminum tripods are usually through a
extra layer of protection. However, scratches or other damage to the material may result
lead to corrosion if the aluminum is subsequently used in humid conditions.

2. Vibration reduction / vibration absorption

Any seller of carbon fiber tripods will tell you that the
Vibration absorption is significantly better than is the case with aluminium. For me personally
However, this is more of a nice side effect than a really relevant advantage. The reason for this is,
that there are some other and often better ways to stabilize your tripod:

  1. Use oneremote trigger, to avoid shocks by yourself once
    press the camera shutter button
  2. Focus and shoot using the camera display and not through the viewfinder, because the mirror must already be up when you start your exposure (this does not apply to mirrorless cameras, of course)
  3. Attach something heavy to the hook of yourtripod (Most modern tripods have such an attachment option, so you should also pay attention to this when buying) to further improve stability. Therefore, it is important to remember that vibration is not best reduced in every situation with more expensive equipment. This also applies to shots that you take in a river, because here too an aluminum tripod with significantly more weight can be an advantage, regardless of whether carbon has better vibration reduction or not.

3. Temperatures

What a lot of people don't know is that a damaged carbon fiber tripod can significantly damage it
behaves differently than one made of aluminum. The big difference between both materials
is that aluminum first bends and eventually breaks. Carbon, on the other hand, is not
stretchable and breaks immediately after a certain bend. It can therefore happen that
for example, minor impacts on the aluminum in the form of scratches or dents
make it noticeable, whereas carbon can survive this undamaged.

Nevertheless, carbon tends to be more susceptible to extremely cold temperatures. So if you
spend a whole night photographing the Northern Lights in extremely cold conditions, you should
make absolutely sure that you do not hit hard objects with the tripod
the material is much more susceptible to breakage under these circumstances. Such extremes
Situations probably don't apply to most tripod owners and yet it's mine
I think it is important to keep such a property at least in the back of your mind.
On the other hand, you prefer carbon in such cold weather because the material adheres to the
Doesn't feel as cold on hands as aluminum does. Because many of the tripods made exactly
already have rubberized legs for this reason, however, this factor should be your decision
don't affect it too much.

Our advice:

As you can see, there is no clear winner in this section when it comes to benefits
of the material properties. They are just different and behave differently in
different situations. I would probably give the carbon tripod a small advantage
admit, but ultimately it depends a lot on what type of photography you're into
you are interested in and what qualities are important to you.

Rollei Stativ

Pricing of aluminum & carbon tripods

The price range of the tripods available on the market is quite large, but not only from the
Material, but also the different sizes, the quality, the purpose
and of course the brand depends.

As a rule, carbon tripods are significantly more expensive because advanced photographers use them
as a target group, this type of tripod not only provides better material, but also an overall
require better processing. Even if the difference for the two tripods from Rollei
is not quite as big, the carbon version still feels a bit more valuable, which is not
ultimately it can also be due to the fact that it is a more up-to-date product from the company

Our advice:

You probably won't be buying a new tripod every year because am
the technical standard of tripods has not changed that much compared to electronic products.
In my experience, it is therefore all the more important to get a good and stable tripod
instead of investing that money in many cheaper alternatives that you can find in the
Usually quickly realize that it would be best to buy directly into a sensible variant
must. From this perspective, it is often even cheaper to go directly to the right tripod

However, if you are just at the beginning of your photography career and are not yet sure
whether you will stick with this hobby, you should probably start with the
start with the cheaper aluminum version and upgrade at a later date if necessary.

Final words Advantages of carbon & aluminum tripodsn

As you have seen, there are some differences between the two being compared
Materials. In order to provide you with a concrete decision-making aid, I would like to address myself
Your position based on the following circumstances or criteria for the respective tripod design

Carbon: If you travel a lot, hike or if you travel a lot in larger cities
this usually means that you will be walking a lot of the distances.
In this case, the weight is the most important factor, because only then can a tripod work
useful if you actually have it with you. So in this case I definitely would
recommend the carbon version, as this offers the best combination of weight and
Stability. This is recommended for those who also want to keep an eye on the priceC-5i Carbon,
which is offered including the ball head at a very reasonable price.

Advantages of carbon tripods:

  • High tech material – robust and ultra-light at the same time like ours  City Traveler travel tripods made of carbon
  • Stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum
  • Good and reliable bending and torsional rigidity
  • High breaking and tensile strength
  • Dimensional stability in extreme heat and cold
  • Low dead weight and therefore ideal as a  travel tripod 
  • at least the same stability as aluminum tripods

Carbon tripod test reports 2017:

Aluminum: If you have just discovered photography for yourself, if you generally
rarely rely on a tripod due to the nature of your photography or if you
mainly shoot in the studio or at home, then this material is definitely a very
good choice for you. Especially if you are looking for a very stable tripod at a reasonable price,
you should give preference to this material.

Advantages of aluminum tripods:

  • light, stable and robust
  • cheaper than carbon tripods and ideal for beginners
  • high strength
  • optimum damping of vibrations
  • top price/performance ratio

Ultimately, though, you can't go far wrong with either material as long as you use the
follow these additional tips when choosing a tripod.

Additional tips

No matter what brand or material you prefer, please make sure you choose
will not buy the cheapest tripod available on the market. I have on my travels
seen so many people with their outrageously expensive gear on a 20 tripodv
have attached. If your camera gets damaged just because you've lost a few bucks on your
If you have saved on a tripod, then in the end you have gained nothing at all.


Don't do that!

The same applies to the overall quality, since a tripod is definitely not the same as a tripod. I have a
I tried out a lot and also started with a very cheap variant, in which it
a real pain was adjusting the orientation of the camera. It has literally given me so many
Opportunities and images destroyed because I simply didn't have the opportunities. I often have it
completely left at home due to the weight.

There is an opportunity cost to everything you do in life. This means that when you experience what might be the most stunning sunset of your life in new York experience and you do not have the opportunity to capture it well photographically, then you will not get this chance again so quickly and easily. It would cost you an extremely large amount of money to fly to New York again and again just to possibly get that chance again. It is precisely for this single reason that I have now decided against saving a few euros when choosing my equipment if the trips to the places I would like to photograph cost me a multiple of that.


These gorilla pods or monkey pods initially seem to be a good interim solution, since they are very small and light and yet, according to the manufacturer, have a high carrying capacity. There are definitely situations in which they are a real alternative, but the situations in which you will curse this type of tripod clearly outnumber them. A good example of this is about Manarola in Italy, where there is a railing that you can attach this tripod to. The problem, however, is that all other tourists will constantly shake this railing, even if there is no apparent reason for it. I therefore had to take my photo with a high ISO by hand, because it was absolutely not possible for me with this tripod at sunset, even though I invested over 100 in this variant..

For example, I pay 70 every time I fill up the tank of my car and every timen
I cannot take the desired photo at a photo spot due to my equipment,
then I would have saved myself the time, the journey and the associated costs
be able. Therefore, I can only warmly recommend that you apply directly for one to you
choose a suitable tripod. I personally can give you one Rollei tripodC5i series In any case, I highly recommend it, as I have been using it myself for years due to the very good price-performance ratio
I am very happy to use it and Rollei does not even pay me for this statement. miner
In my opinion, both tripods are simply a very good choice, since you can already get one for little money
received very good quality. Of course there is always something better, the question everyone asks themselves
However, you have to ask yourself whether you really need this something.t.

author and translator

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