Twist vs. Flip (Tripod locks, not how to hurt your back)

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To me the twist locks seem cumbersome and slower than the flips. Other than the possibility of the flips getting snagged on something, what is the advantage of the twist locks? I notice that almost all of the "better" tripods have twist locks.
 
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There is rotational twist around the leg (collet or collar type), and twist like a wing nut clamp.

+ I like lever and wing nut type clamp. They are easier to work when my hands are cold and wearing gloves.

- I have had instances where I could not turn the collet on a Tilt-All. I turned it so tight that I could not loosen it. It was a real pain to unlock. After that I don't jam the collar TIGHT, I just make it tight enough to hold. If it slips, I just tighten it just a little more.

- Both the lever and wing nut type clamp may need periodic adjustment.
I've had them be unable to clamp tight enough to prevent the leg from slipping. If the leg slips, until you adjust the clamp, the leg will keep sliding. And if that happens out in the field, it is a real pain. But once adjusted, they are good for a LONG time, at least mine have been. So it is not like you have to constantly adjust them.
+ The collet type does not need adjusting. If the leg slips, just tighten the collet more.

- I have one lever type, where the clamp has cracked, making it useless, until I can replace the clamp.
Can a collet/collar crack, I don't know.

- Both lever and wing nut clamps stick out, making the legs more bulky, and prone to hang up and catch on stuff.
The bulk makes a difference for travel tripods, which take up valuable space in the luggage. The less bulky the better.

A tripod is clumsy to begin with, and setting up and leveling the tripod on unlevel ground can be time consuming. So I don't consider the clumbersome or speed of use of the leg locking mechanism to be an issue. I more prefer the ease of use.
 
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Had a Slik with clamps , busted my thumb real bad one cold snowy day ...went to twist and havent had any issue, except I do tend to overtighten at times.
 

Butlerkid

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Twist gal here.......flips can get finicky and start loosening up when you least want them to. Also, since you will undoubtedly want to use a tripod in water....even salt water! ...look for "closed" leg locks. They prevent stuff from getting into the leg locks and requiring cleaning all the time. You tend to get what you pay for. RRS is my choice. You might find some useful info HERE.........
 
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In the three tripods I've used over the decades, all with flips, none of them have ever come loose. The same is true for hiking sticks I've used. The only failure I've had was that of a twist on a high-end hiking stick, though I'm not suggesting that either type is more conducive to failure than the other type.
 
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I always go with flips. One thing about flips is that they don't work with all brackets (or L brackets). One time one of my flips wouldn't close enough to accommodate a Kirk bracket (although it worked fine for RRS). That's never an issue with twists.

Edit: I thought we were taking about the quick release plate. I always go with twists for the legs.

Glenn
 
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I have always used the twist knobs. They can be pretty fast. When the tripod is collapsed- you can grab all 3 or 4 knobs on a leg at the same time and loosen all of them. Pull the leg out and just twist each one.
Same thing when collapsing. Loosen all 3 knobs, collapse the leg and tighten all 3 together.
I like the twist knobs as they are easy to disassemble and clean. They don't mind saltwater and sand- and when they do 20min and a bathtub makes them as good as new.
My gitzo's are 15 years old and still going strong.
I suspect it really comes down to what you are used to.
gary
 
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My tripods are all twist until I get a Peak Design recently and I love the flip. Much more easier to operate.
 
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I started with the flip type and have since added two twist types. I only use the flip style around home or on the boat. Any time I'm traveling or carrying a long way I go with the twists. The tripod is just easier to handle, doesn't get tangled on things etc. The twist type is more complicated to maintain/clean.
 

kilofoxtrott

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Own a Cullmann for over 40 years now.
The flip locks are not the problem on this tripod...
The center column travels down when a camera is attached.

I'm interested in a Novoflex Tripod M now.

Kind regards
Klaus
 
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I've owned a Manfrotto with flip locks and Gitzo with rotational twist lock. I much prefer the rotational twist.
  • There is nothing to hang on anything
  • It is flush to the leg so collapses well
  • I can take them apart to clean/repair
  • I can operate them with/out gloves
  • I can operate them in any weather
I have had my Gitzo tripod for 15? years now. Never had a single issue with it. It is a carbon fiber tripod. Very sturdy and light weight and easy to operate in all weather conditions.
 
I started out years ago with a tripod that had flips, and found that they were sometimes hard for me to ensure that they were snapped shut properly, or that I had trouble getting the thing to open. I've been using Gitzos since then, with the twist legs and am MUCH happier with them -- no problems ever, and just more manageable for me.
 
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I have always used the twist knobs. They can be pretty fast. When the tripod is collapsed- you can grab all 3 or 4 knobs on a leg at the same time and loosen all of them. Pull the leg out and just twist each one.
Same thing when collapsing. Loosen all 3 knobs, collapse the leg and tighten all 3 together.
I like the twist knobs as they are easy to disassemble and clean. They don't mind saltwater and sand- and when they do 20min and a bathtub makes them as good as new.

gary

Same for me. I like being able to quickly and easily loosen or tighten all three knobs on my Gitzo in one move. Very quick and efficient.

Disassembly and cleaning are also easy now that I've figured out the mechanism. I do this routinely with lots of saltwater and sand exposure.
 
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Eden, NY
To me the twist locks seem cumbersome and slower than the flips. Other than the possibility of the flips getting snagged on something, what is the advantage of the twist locks? I notice that almost all of the "better" tripods have twist locks.
Twist locks tighten evenly around the leg. Flip locks don't do this and are more prone to slippage in my experience. My CF Gitzo's are 25+ years old and still going strong (and replacement parts still available!!) so my opinion is chose a reliable brand and accept whatever choice they made for leg locks...(tho I do believe the twists are the better choice and agree with all of Walters comments.).
 

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