GEAR: Feisol 3401n carbon tripod

Tutorials and ReviewsTutorials and Reviews ModeratorRegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 138
edited May 15, 2013 in Book and Gear Reviews
Feisol Carbon Fiber 3402n Tripod

Review by arjunrc.

Introduction: I recently purchased a feisol 3402N 4 section CF tripod. There are very few detailed feisol reviews though the general reaction from people have mostly been very positive. I found a review of the 3401 feisol, the larger
sibling to the 3402n. I however, wanted a tripod that could fold smaller and was stable and bought the feisol 3402n. I also bought the Feisol CB-50H ball head with pan control.

Purchase Details: I bought it directly from the website - shipped from taiwan. Very fast service - I had my stuff in a week, via USPS. However, when I read that they scan the tracking label and email it to you - I received no such thing. In fact, when I emailed them inbetween asking for status, I did not hear back. So, my experience differs from what I read. Do note however, that the shipment was received in perfect condition and fast. Total: $454 including the tripod, CB-50H Ballhead, QP144750 QR Plate, Center Column, and Shipping.

They have a US distributor, Threshold Concepts if you want to speak with people before buying. Buying the same package from them will cost you $474 (their item cost is more, but the tripod includes the center column and shipping is free).

The Carrying Bag: The Feisol ase is large enough to fit the folded tripod with ball head mounted as well as my Bogen 676B monopod. It carries well on my body.

The Tripod: Max load 7kg (15.4lbs) The tripod build is very solid and very comfy to grip. Its extremely light, yet stable. The all black brushed CF look makes you feel like you are a pro! The folded tripod packs into a compact 1.5 feet or so, very easy to pack into carry on luggage (one of my needs). Here is my well tested and scientific Lagavulin length check of the tripod:

The build of the tripod feels very solid despite its light weight (yay for CF). Here is a look from the top. A regular 3/8" thread mount.

Here is the tripod fully extended. It's very fast to setup once you get to know the trick of the half-twist and bottom-up approach (more on this later). The fully extended tripod + ball head + center column raised stands at about 5'5" (or so). If you are taller than this and don't like bending to take photos, get the 3301n and not the 3402n.

Here is a look at the tripod at its lowest with the CB-50H ball head mounted. The center column has a nice sturdy metal hoop to add extra weight.

Now here is the trick for a super fast setup. It takes a few minutes to master how to set up this tripod. I initially spent many minutes twisting and locking in vain till I figured out the right way.

When you are opening or folding the tripod, start from the _lowest_ twist lock and work your way up. All you need to do is half-twist the lock anti-clockwise and leave it. Do the same for the middle lock and then the upper. Then just let the leg 'fall out' - the CF makes a wonderful swooshing noise as it rolls down. Once the leg is fully out, to lock it it place, work from top to bottom on the locks. So thumb rule - when releasing (open or fold), work from bottom to top. When locking (in folded or open position) work from top to bottom. Once you get this, it is really very fast to set this up (enjoy the cool CF swoosh sound).

Here is a closer look at the leg attachments. As you see, it is built rather solid and the metal clips holding the legs allow for independant leg movement and lock. In addition, note the metal screws on the side. They control the ease with which you want the legs to move. Feisol provides tools to loosen the friction if you think the initial leg movement is too tight for you. It was perfect for me.

And here is a fully expanded tripod with the same. The tripod is remarkably stable at full height and its center column fully extended. This is a 20D with 70-200 f/4L.

The center column is reverse mountable. You can unscrew the hook and put your tripod head below for a more daring pose such as:

The center column also has a twist lock for further expansion down (I guess for increased stability ?)

A closer look at the metal hook for added weight.

Conclusion: For all those who want the stability, light weight and cool look of a CF tripod, seriously consider the Feisol. At $165 for the legs, its 1/4th the price of many others. I haven't used other more expensive CFs but this one looks like a great peice of well made equipment.


  • apmatureapmature Beginner grinner texasRegistered Users Posts: 3 Beginner grinner
    edited May 15, 2013
    Nice review!!!!

    I'm in the market for a solid cp tripod, that won't kill me financially ...

    Would you recommend this set up for a 500mm lens and 5d mkii ?

  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum ukRegistered Users Posts: 1,621 Major grins
    edited May 15, 2013
    apmature wrote: »

    Would you recommend this set up for a 500mm lens and 5d mkii ?
    I'd suggest looking for a tripod without a centre column (or at least one that's easily removeable) so you can mount whatever head you use directly on top of the tripod legs.

    Am unfamiliar with this tripod, so don't know if it's possible to buy a stub centre or flat plate (as per gitzo / rrs).

    Having a flat plate would also allow you to use the lowest leg setting properly - unlike as shown here with centre col fully extended upwards and legs at lowest setting.

    I'd also suggest getting / making an adaptor bracket if you have any intention of actually using a cam attached to the lower end of the centre column ... so's you can use it right way up :)

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Illinois cornfieldSuper Moderators Posts: 22,879 moderator
    edited May 15, 2013
    apmature wrote: »
    Nice review!!!!

    I'm in the market for a solid cp tripod, that won't kill me financially ...

    Would you recommend this set up for a 500mm lens and 5d mkii ?


    Please note that this is a very old review. You might be better served asking your question in the Accessories forum.

    (BTW, current pricing at B&H for the FEISOL CT-3402 Classic Rapid Tripod Legs, which does not include the center column, is just north of $270USD.

    Adorama is similarly priced.
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
Sign In or Register to comment.