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Photography by Grant Glendinning
Capturing Scotland’s landscape in stunning detail.

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Feisol Elite 3372 Mark 2 Tripod

Feisol Elite CT-3372 tripod legs close-up       © www.photoscotland.netFeisol Elite 3372 Mark II Tripod, Feisol PB-70 panning base, Feisol LB-7572 leveling base, and a Manfrotto 410 geared head.     © www.photoscotland.net

I have been using this tripod since 2017 and must say it is the best tripod I have used compared to my previous three-legged friends.

My Manfrotto 190XPRO3 Tripod had to be replaced because of corrosion around the leg locks and one of the leg adjusters was so badly worn the leg could only be partially splayed. Even though I tried my best to look after this tripod by cleaning it after every outing and stripping it down for a thorough clean when used in sand and saltwater, it wasn’t enough to prevent the ultimate demise of this tripod.

I really did not want to purchase another 190XPRO3 or indeed, any Manfrotto tripod! After having owned three of them, they have more or less all ended up in the same condition as the 190xpro3. I, therefore, decided I needed a more robust tripod and one that was impervious to sand and saltwater but also sturdy and not too heavy. I also did not want a tripod with a center column as I find them to be pretty much useless as I never used them and they only add more weight and prevent you from getting really low angle shots.

After many comparisons with various tripod manufacturers and reviews, I found the ideal tripod for me was the Feisol Elite 3372 Mark 2 carbon fiber. This is a chunky tripod but remarkably lightweight; at 1.7kg, it extends to 1.49m and can be purchased with an additional short or long center column if required.

I find it to be extremely high quality and a pleasure to use, it is so simple now to get the height and angle adjusted easily using the twist leg locks and leg angle clips, and of course, it is steady as a rock. I have since acquired the Feisol leveling base LB-7572 and panning base PB-70 (I exchanged the PB-90 for the PB-70 as I could not get full elevation tilt with my  Manfrotto junior geared head and now leveling and making panoramic images is easier than ever.

I also love the foam around the three legs which makes it very comfortable to carry, especially in freezing conditions.

The only inconsequential negative so far is that I lost one of the rubber feet while the tripod was among rocks and water. The feet are easy to replace, and Feisol also sells screw-in metal feet and others if required. More information and specifications for the tripod are below, taken from Feisol’s website

Features of the CT-3372 Rapid include
– Constructed of top-quality carbon fiber and high grade, CNC-milled 6061 T6 solid block aluminum.
– FEISOL’s new Rapid anti-leg-rotation technology.
– A load capacity of 30 kg (66 lb).
– Remarkably lightweight construction, just 1.75 kg (3.86 lb).
– Maximum height of 149 cm (58.88 in), more with the optional center column.
– Maximum leg tube diameter of 37 mm (1.46 in).
– Base diameter of 90 mm (3.5 in).
– Our CNC-milled low angle ball head mount is multi-layered to withstand the most punishing conditions.
– An attractive tripod bag is included.

Rapid Technology
Tripods and Monopods featuring this symbol are equipped with FEISOL’s Rapid System which prevents leg sections from rotating while the Tripod / Monopod is being set up. Benefits of this innovative technology include:

► Ultra-Fast and Effortless Setup and Breakdown
► One-Handed Adjustments can be made
► No more Strain in Tightening and Loosening Knobs
► Highly Recommended for Settings requiring frequent Adjustments or Moves

180° Flip-Legs
Tripods featuring this symbol can be reverse-folded over installed FEISOL ball heads, making the setup extremely compact for transport and storage without having to remove the ball head. Benefits include:

► Fits in Carry-on or Backpack
► Problems with Airline Carry-on Regulations are eliminated
► Takes up Minimal Storage-Space between Photo Sessions
► Ideal for Travel and Hiking

Water Resistant
Tripods and Monopods featuring this symbol are suited for use in saltwater environments. FEISOL Tripods and Monopods are crafted of superb Carbon and anodized Aluminum, earning them a solid reputation for superior performance in punishing saltwater. Benefits include:

► Exceptional Longevity
► Extreme Resistance to Corrosion
► Perfect Companion for Water-Resistant Cameras
► Also Suitable for Snow and Ice
► Requisite for Bird, Nature, and Surf Photography

Base Diameter9.00 cm / 3.50 in
Folded Length0.63 m / 24.80 in
Maximum Extended Height2.03 m / 79.92 in
Maximum Height1.49 m / 58.88 in
Maximum Load Capacity30.00 kg / 66.00 lb
Minimum Height10.50 cm / 4.13 in
Weight1.75 kg / 3.86 lb
Weight Including Center Column2.14 kg / 4.71 lb




Sunwayfoto DYH-66i & Manfrotto 338 levelling bases


Manfrotto 338 levelling base mounted below a Manfrotto 410 geared head and Manfrotto 300n panoramic headSunwayfoto DYH-66i levelling base and Manfrotto 338 levelling base.Sunwayfoto DYH-66i levelling base mounted below a Manfrotto 410 geared head and Manfrotto 300n panoramic head
Attached to the Manfrotto 410 geared head and 300n rotation unit above left is the Manfrotto 338 levelling base. Far right image is the Sunwayfoto DYH-66i levelling base.

Having the Manfrotto 300n panoramic head on my Manfrotto 190XPRO3 (new series) tripod is great for when I want to do panoramic images, but adjusting all the tripod legs to get precise leveling using the bubble level on top of the center column, can be a bit of a pain and sometimes quite time-consuming. The solution to this leveling niggle was to purchase a leveling base that could get the tripod perfectly in level quickly.

After searching on the internet and reading various reviews, I decided to get the Manfrotto 338, which has a safety payload of 15kg, well above the weight of the heaviest gear I would be using. It also weighs 600g and has 3 adjustment thumb knobs that can be moved 5° in any direction, with additional locking screws once leveled.

When it arrived I thought the build quality was great, but the thumb screws were not just a little stiff; they were very stiff! No way to adjust them as the screws are glued; this is to keep them at a particular tension. I returned this one and ordered a replacement 338 leveling base and found that the leveling knobs on the replacement were a bit easier to turn than the first unit. I decided to keep it and hoped that the adjustment knobs would slacken a little over time.

Leveling was easy only if you have the tripod legs fairly level to begin with as there are only 5° adjustments in any direction. I had been using the 338 base for a few weeks doing several panoramic images until one day one of the adjustment knobs would not turn; it was completely locked and would not budge. I had no other choice but to send it back for a refund as I did not want to risk buying another Manfrotto 338 and then having the same thing happen again.

I scoured the internet again looking for a suitable leveling base and came across the Sunwayfoto DYH-90i. This base seemed to be better than the Manfrotto as it allowed 16° movements in any direction and could take an even greater load than the Manfrotto; it was also slightly lighter in weight. Sunwayfoto also have a smaller and lighter version of the DYH-90i called the DYH-66i.

The DYH-66i max load capacity is 10kg and weighs 250g, which is less than half the weight of the Manfrotto 338. I decided to get the DYH-66i as the max weight load it can take is well above the heaviest equipment I might have on it, i.e. Manfrotto 300n (609g) Manfrotto 410 (1220g) Canon 5dsr (840g) and Canon 400mm f5.6 L (1250g) which totals 3,919g, well below the 10kg max load capacity. It made sense, therefore, to buy the 66i version with the weight-saving reduction and the reduced cost too.

Upon receiving the Sunwayfoto DYH-66i I was very impressed with the packaging it came in, not to mention the superb build quality. I recorded an unboxing video with my LG G3 with the help of an assistant, below.

As you can see in the unboxing video, the Sunwayfoto DYH-66i comes with some accessories, including an allen key for securing it against my Manfrotto 300n via the three allen key adjustment screws on the DYH-66i. There is also a 1/4″ to 3/8″ converter screw and cleaning cloth included.

The build quality is exceptional, and feels sturdy in the hand; it is machined from lightweight aircraft aluminum with a scratch-resistant anodised surface. In use, the DHY-66i movement is smooth as butter and makes leveling quick and easy using the offset bubble level, and once locked with the locking lever it will be held securely in place until the lever is unlocked. Below is a quick demonstration video I made showing how quick and easy it is to level the base.

Unlike the Manfrotto 338 leveling base, the Sunwayfoto 66i can be unlocked and swivelled (not independently) around to a convenient viewing angle for leveling with the offset bubble level, no matter which position my tripod is at, then it is just a matter of rotating the 300n or 410 geared head, which can be rotated independently of other attached equipment, if needed.

Another great thing about having this base paired with my excellent Manfrotto 410 geared head, is that it can add to it an extra 16° tilt, for shooting at a higher angle than what the 410 would normally allow.

The Sunwayfoto DYH-66i is an excellent leveling base I’m glad I purchased.

Canon 16-35mm f4.0 IS L

Canon 16-35mm f4.0 IS L and Canon-17-40mm f4.0 L. © Photoscotland.net 2011. Do not use without permission

Having used the excellent Canon 17-40mm f4.0 L lens for most of my landscape photography since 2006, I have now upgraded to the rather superb Canon 16-35mm f4.0 IS L lens. Until this lens came along I had no intention of considering another wide-angle lens from Canon, with the exception of the TS-E 17mm f4.0 L and Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II, two lenses that I have dreamt of owning. The 16-35mm f4.0 IS L lens, however, got my attention when it was announced recently, and was proclaimed as Canon’s finest ultra wide-angle zoom lens to date, with superior optics to the 17-40mm f4.0 L and indeed the 16-35mm f2.8 L II.

The first thing I noticed about 16-35mm f4.0 IS L compared with my 17-40mm f4.0 L when I received it is the increase in length compared with the 17-40mm f4.0, as shown on my side-by-side comparison image above, it’s little heavier than the 17-40mm, too. The build quality feels the same as the 17-40mm, is quite solid, and is resistant to dust and water. I love the lens hood on this lens as it is much slimmer than the 17-40mm making it easier to store. The lens hood also has a little push tab that locks the hood in place and removing the hood requires pushing the tab. The 4-stop image stabilization is a nice feature to have especially in places where a tripod might be prohibitive or in situations where you do not have time to set up a tripod and just have to grab and go.

Shortly after receiving the lens I promptly set off down to the West Coast as the weather forecast was looking good for a nice Sunset. The Sunset was not spectacular as I had wished for but I didn’t care anyway as I was eager to take some photos to see how the lens compared with my 17-40mm f4.0 L and to examine the RAW files at 100% when I got back home. The image below is the one from the coast, 118-second exposure at f16, ISO 100, 20mm. Even before doing a comparison with my 17-40mm lens, I knew this lens was optically superior when viewing my coastal image.

I preferred the warm white balance that I had set in the camera for this shot.

Click on the image for a larger preview

To try and find out the optical quality of this lens compared with my 17-40mm f4.0 L lens, I decided to take a series of test shots (full res files available below) at various apertures and focal lengths and then compare them side by side. The settings for each lens were: 16mm, 17mm, 35mm, 40mm, f4.0, f8.0, and f16. shot with mirror lockup and tripod mounted. Please note, there is slight CA (chromatic aberration) exhibiting from the far left of the 16-35mm f4.0 IS L images and none from the 17-40mm f4.0, even though the lens aberration correction is enabled in the camera, I think this is because Canon has not released the 16-35mm f4.0 IS L lens data for DPP yet. All these images have been processed in Canon’s DPP with the same settings for each image. These samples are only to show the sharpness across the frame and are not useful for comparing vignetting or CA, due to the varying light.

Click on the links below and “save as”. These images are for personal inspection only and are not to be used on other websites or publications without my permission.

16/17mm f4.0 comparison 35/40mm f4.0 16/17mm f8.0 35/40mm f8.0 16/17mm f16 35/40mm f16

As you can see with the full-resolution sample images, the 16-35mm shows much better detail right across the frame to the edges with better contrast too, although at f16 and at 16/17mm, the difference is much less pronounced.

I’m very happy with this lens so far and think it’s a worthy upgrade to my 17-40mm f4.0 L lens, but at twice the price of the 17-40mm, (£1,199.00 UK prices) it’s not twice as good! Shop around or wait till the price falls. Amazon has it in stock for £682

Update: I have 100% crops of the above samples which you can roll over below with your mouse to check the extreme corners of the 16-35 and 17-40

Canon 16-35 f4.0 16mm @f4. mouse over for 17-40mm @ f4
Move your mouse over me

Canon 16-35 f4.0 16mm @f8. mouse over for 17-40mm @ f8
Move your mouse over me

Canon 16-35 f4.0 16mm @f16. mouse over for 17-40mm @ f16
Move your mouse over me