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July 4 Night Photos / TrailPix review

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July 4 Night Photos / TrailPix review

Postby NArmstrong » Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:58 pm

I got a TrailPix (http://www.trail-pix.com/) tripod a few months back after seeing something about it on HST. Finally got to take it on a backpacking trip and put it through its paces.

Me and another body that does night photos stayed up after everyone else had retired to their tents for the evening so that we could capture some Milky Way shots. We both have Nikon D3200s. He was shooting with a zipshot and I was using the TrailPix tripod in conjunction with 3 hiking poles. We were on a ledge above the Barrett Lakes in Palisade Basin, having gone over Knapsack Pass that day. There was a half moon which hung in the sky for a while. We thought it would dip behind the peaks earlier, but it ended up setting directly through the pass, providing light a lot longer than we anticipated.

We're both still learning how to do some night photography and were shooting with the kit lenses. The TrailPix had its pros and cons. Obvious pros: lightweight, easy to pack. Also the price is right. But on this trip, I realized a few things I didn't like about it. You're having to screw the screws into the tips of your hiking poles to make the tripod. This leaves marks/dents in the poles. Not a huge deal, but not preferred. And yet they still seemed to slip time to time. Also, if you're not careful you could easily lose those screws. One of my biggest complaints is, once you have the tripod set up, the portability becomes an issue. You can't easily collapse the tripod to quickly move to another vantage point. You can pick up the whole thing and move it with the legs deployed; it's light enough. But when it's dark and you're clamboring over rocks in the night, it's not ideal. I like to toss a collapsed tripod on my shoulder with camera still attached and have some mobility. You can't do that with the TrailPix. But if you're not moving too much, this shouldn't be an issue. Also, in comparison to my buddy's zipshot, it took to long to set up. My other complaint was with the ballhead that I ordered along with my Trailpix. It came along with a Giottos MH-1004. For whatever reason, I was constantly having issues with it. Half the time I couldn't get it to lock down, so the camera would be loose. Whether this was product error or user error, I don't know. I'll err on the side of caution and say user error since it was my first time using a swivel head like that.

So, I know it sounds like I had a lot wrong with the TrailPix. And I kind of did. But overall I liked it. I think that it did a fine job; it just has some ease of use issues in the field that I didn't like (but can be dealt with.) Maybe I just need more time with it. I'd be happy to answer any questions, because I had high hopes for what I see as a cool and innovative product for backpacking photographers.

So, on to some photos:

[rimg]ImageDSC_0469 by Selin2, on Flickr[/rimg]

[rimg]ImageDSC_0463 by Selin2, on Flickr[/rimg]

[rimg]ImageDSC_0468 by Selin2, on Flickr[/rimg]

OK...now don't move for 15-20 seconds...
[rimg]ImageDSC_0474 by Selin2, on Flickr[/rimg]

[rimg]ImageDSC_0477 by Selin2, on Flickr[/rimg]

[rimg]ImageDSC_0499 by Selin2, on Flickr[/rimg]

[rimg]ImageDSC_0447 by Selin2, on Flickr[/rimg]

Image

Daytime from the pass:

[rimg]ImageDSC_0524 by Selin2, on Flickr[/rimg]

I realize that these photos need some work. But I haven't done editing on them. And we're still learning different techniques to get a clean shot, reduce noise, etc. I'm looking through the threads when I can and learning new techniques.



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Re: July 4 Night Photos / TrailPix review

Postby themappist » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:09 pm

Nice pics. Looks like a great location to shoot from.
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Re: July 4 Night Photos / TrailPix review

Postby The Other Tom » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:01 pm

Is that a meteor in one of the pics? Pretty cool
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Re: July 4 Night Photos / TrailPix review

Postby fishmonger » Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:53 pm

looks like the system works pretty well.

I just got home from carrying a 3 pound Benro carbon tripod with ballhead for 300 miles. Also worked well, just a little more workout up the hills :D
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Re: July 4 Night Photos / TrailPix review

Postby fishmonger » Wed May 11, 2016 1:14 pm

I recently bought the Trailpix plate and then sourced a bigger Giottos MH-1304 ball head from another source (my DSLR is quite heavy). I am still waiting for that part to arrive, but mounting the plate on three hiking poles wasn't too difficult, and having flip lock poles is almost as easy to worth with as the Benro carbon tripod I usually carry. Weight savings are so significant, I can't see myself carrying a big tripod on longer hikes ever again. For solo hikes, I'll have to pack a few old tent pole segments as third leg, but that's fine. Still almost 3 pounds saved!

I'll add more detailed comments once I get around to actually taking some photos in the field with this setup.
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