Test Results

Test Results

The stiffness of the CP30-S4 is excellent for its size and weight.  From the all-purpose rankings page, we can see that there is no tripod in this category that is both lighter and stiffer than the CP30-S4.  FLM has done a great job here balancing portability, stiffness and cost.

Yaw Stiffness723.6 +/- 2.1 Nm/rad
Yaw Damping0.145 +/- 0.014 Js/rad
Pitch Stiffness2726.1 +/- 6.4 Nm/rad
Pitch Damping0.396 +/- 0.04 Js/rad

The stiffness and damping data are the averages of 10 trials for each measurement.  The reported error is the standard error, except in the case of the damping data. I have set the error in the damping at 10% as the standard error metric does not appropriately capture the error in fitting to the data.  All of the reported specifications are measured, with the exception of the weight rating. The tripod is measured at full height, with the center column (if applicable) down.

One aspect of performance that I expected to be a little better is the damping.  FLM uses a proprietary blend of rubber and cork on the top plate for damping, which they claim has excellent damping properties.  I don’t see evidence of that here, with the damping figures coming in as very average.  I’ve seen much worse damping in tripods, but also much better.  I don’t know if the mediocre damping seen here is a result of the cork not being as good as advertised, or other aspects of the geometry.  Either way, I am not concerned.  For the typical uses that this tripod will receive with smaller, lighter camera gear, this won’t be an issue.  Damping is primarily important when using long telephoto lenses.

Recommended Gear Limit

The exact gear limit is highly dependent on the external conditions such as wind, and technique, such as the use of a cable release.  Under perfectly still conditions using perfect technique, sharp images can be obtained using any tripod. Developing a consistent and broadly applicable set of guidelines for what kind of gear a given tripod can reasonably support is still a work in progress on this site.

For the CP30-S4, you should feel comfortable using anything up to a 70-200mm in almost any conditions.  Longer telephoto zooms will be questionable, and super telephoto lenses will feel unstable.

Example Test Data

The following data is example raw data from the stiffness and damping measurements.  The relevant information with regards to the tripod performance is entirely contained within the stiffness and damping figures presented above.  The plots below are solely present so that the tested stiffness and damping figures are believed. Each plot and the corresponding Fourier frequency space plot correspond to one of the ten trials done on each axis to obtain the test results.  For a more in depth discussion on the meaning of these graphs, see the methodology section and the “understanding the test results” page.



Very clean data set, nice sharp resonance.


Again, very clean data.