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Thread: Tripod Wanted!

  1. #1

    Tripod Wanted!

    Adorama is having a sale. I am in the market for a new tripod.


    As you may know I hate having too much gear, so I would like to have only one tp—if that is possible.


    Naturally, I want it all: A tp that is light enough to travel, yet sturdy enough to hold a large, heavy telephoto lens. (That is the one I do not own yet, but plan to purchase for that photo safari or the trip to Alaska I have been planning most of my life.)


    Any recommendations: Manfrotto? Gitzo?


    Carbon fiber? Aluminum?


    What sort of head?


    I do a lot of landscape/animal photography, macros as well as food and occasional portraits.


    Best bang for the buck?


    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Will you be needing it to "steady" a slow shutterspeed shot, or needing it to be rock solid for shots lasting several seconds to multi-minute?

    Will you be using it mostly at eye level, or will you be needing to get low to the ground?

    Will the legs be submersed in water at all?

    Do you have a budget in mind?

  3. #3
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Hi Viana,

    I've never had a Gitzo or Manfrotto, but have been very pleased with the
    performance of the Ravelli APGL4 tripod I bought through Amazon:

    Ravelli APGL4

    They also offer a more expensive Professional model with ball head:

    Ravelli-Professional-Camera-Tripod

    The APGL4 is not lightweight, but it is a solid platform to shoot from. The "pistol grip" is
    a great feature, and the reviews were excellent (on both tripods).

    Mike

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Another question is how much weight will it need to support? You might also consider Really Right Stuff; these are high-end with excellent features and quality. I'm using an old Gitzo 1325 carbon fibre. It's fine for what I'm shooting now but will need to upgrade to a larger RRS model if I acquire a super telephoto. Here is a link to a series of articles that may help you reach a decision. Good luck.

    http://diglloyd.com/articles/Recommended/tripod.html

    - Paul -

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Quote Originally Posted by Viana View Post
    How about all of the above?

    Budget—well, I probably don't want it to cost more than a camera or a good lens. . . I know, I know.

    Bottom line, best performer for the best price. Doesn't everyone want that?
    Unfortunately, the variety that give ultra-stability for multi-minute shots are pretty heavy. If it's going to spend any time in salt water I'd suggest eliminating the aluminium variety from the mix.

    We had a thread about it a year or two ago that you may or may not find beneficial.

    Gitzo are pretty much regarded as the best quality, but Benro make some "exact copies" for a fraction of the price. In terms of heads, Really Right Stuff is pretty untouchable for quality (and price, unfortunately).

    If you want the "bees knees" for long lenses, the ultimate head (or head attachment) is a Wimberly Head.

    Hope this helps.

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    I should not be giving tripod advice - and I won't. Simply because I read the following article after I bought my first tripod and still bought two more after that. And now I'm kind of thinking about another one.

    Read the linked article carefully - or spend money over and over buying tripods. Like most of us do.

    I think his advice is worth considering.

    http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

    Glenn

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Quote Originally Posted by Viana View Post
    So, carbon?
    Pretty hard to go wrong with Carbon.

    Do tripods “advance” as much as cameras in a short period of time?
    I don't think so - I've had my Gitzo 1548 & BH55 Ballhead for many years and haven't found anything I'd rather replace it with yet.

    The “bees knees”???
    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-bees-knees.html

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    I recently bought a cheap tripod, just over $100aus - a glanz tr6823 and it was well worth the cash. The quality surprised me for the price I paid (I actually almost didn't buy it because it was too cheap). It is carbo fibre and so is light as well as having a ball head. I am sure that I will outgrow it at some point and it won't be with me for the next 20 years, but it met my budget and is pretty solid for the price I paid.

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    I have a giottos MTL 8360B with MH 1312 head its as steady as a rock and has traveled all over the world with me. Its never let me down and i dont feel the need to buy anything else, not the lightest tho but has a couple of eys that ive put a broad strap on and i sling it over my shoulder and have walked miles with it carried thus.

    mark

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    For a lightweight easy carry tripod, I have a Velbon Luxi L which folds up to around 15 ins which fits inside my backpack. But for serious use I always revert to my trusty Manfrotto although it is heavy and cumbersome. Definitely not a 'throw in the bag in case I might need it' type of tripod. In fact I have to strap it outside my backpack.

    I use the Velbon Luxi L with my 40D and 150-500 lens without problems, but I wouldn't totally trust it for long exposures in a strong wind.

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Wimberly Head, OK I’ll look into it.

    http://www.lensmaster.co.uk/ Ihave not tried one of these but they look good
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 16th November 2011 at 12:41 AM.

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    Harpo's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    I was in the same boat this past spring trying to get the right tripod for my Alaska trip. I initially thought of getting a lightweight travel tripod, and a heavier duty one for lugging around locally in the car. After doing alot of research online on different forums, there was alot of discussion on the POTN forum related to this. Long story short, because if you want a good one, its gonna cost you. So that eliminated getting two tripods. Ended up with a Feisol C3441 T carbon fiber tripod that has 4 sections in each of the 3 legs from Really Big Cameras online. This allows me to look in the viewfinder at eye level (Im 6') while standing up straight without having to bend down (I have back issues, so the less bending the better!) Except for food, I have similar photographic subjects as you do.

    This was perfect for the trip. it was lightweight, fits in the luggage, it also is small enough to fit in the saddlebag of my motorcycle (another requirement of mine). Also bought a Photo Clam ballhead from Feisol- it was identified on forums as a good one, but not as good as the big names like RRS, etc. It works with a 70-200 f2.8 L lens and my current 70-300mm L lens… I find it sturdy enough to not need a bigger and stronger tripod at this time.

    As others have shared above, there are other brands that are rated higher like Gitzo and Manfrotto. It came down to weight, pack down size, height, cost, durability recommendations from others and excellent customer service from Really Big Cameras… Basically the biggest bang for my buck that I could find at that time.

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    I could never find a single tripod or a single tripod head that fit all my needs. I ended up with a Giottos MT-8180 tripod with a Giottos ball head that has an Arca compatible quick release. It is an excellent tripod in all respects but, nearing eight pounds with the head, it is pretty heavy to tromp through the boonies carrying it.

    I modified a SLIK Pro 330DX by replacing the heavy pan tilyt head with a small Adorama Flashpoint F-1 Arca compatible head and replaced the long stock center column with an optional shorter column. These modifications reduced the weight to right at two pounds (a bit less than one kilo) but, I can support a 1.6x camera with my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens which is the heaviest package I plan to support with this lightweight tripod.

    Whatever your decision regarding tripod, I strongly suggest that you get a head that has an Arca compatible quick release. The Arca systems are a bit expensive but are great. Ball heads having the Manfortto RC-2 quick release system can be converted to Arca Compatibility by replacing he QR clamp.

  14. #14

    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    I really appreciate all of these replies and tips. I have my work cut out for me.


    I do keep questioning as to why, in most circumstances, I would want to lug about a tripod given today’s VR technology?

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Quote Originally Posted by Viana View Post
    I do keep questioning as to why, in most circumstances, I would want to lug about a tripod given today’s VR technology?
    It comes down in most cases to the minimum shutterspeed that you're using, and at what focal length; IS/VR starts to run out of steam when one starts getting slower than 1/10th or so (although often shooting multiple frames in continuous drive mode can help get a sharp frame).

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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Quote Originally Posted by Viana View Post
    I really appreciate all of these replies and tips. I have my work cut out for me.


    I do keep questioning as to why, in most circumstances, I would want to lug about a tripod given today’s VR technology?
    I'll tell you a short true story:

    Two years ago when I was shooting flowers every day for a couple of hours, I met a photographer that was busily snapping the same flowers as I was with her VR zoom lens. I was using a tripod and without a tripod she was collecting far more images than I was in a given time.

    She asked me why I bothered to use a tripod and I replied that I found that I got sharper images than when shooting hand held. Nothing else was said (I don't think she believed me).

    By accident at the same location, I met her again early this spring - she was using a tripod. My turn to ask a question: "how is the tripod working"?

    Her reply didn't surprise me - she said, "I find I get sharper images".

    By the way, I also use mirror lock-up to lessen vibrations from the shutter. There is an interesting article on shutter vibrations. It's a pdf which can be DL'd to save or you can read it.

    If you don't like technical "stuff" never mind the charts and graphs - just read the text - it's all there. This guy convinced me and he is right.

    http://markins.com/charlie/report4e6.pdf

    Glenn

  17. #17
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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Heres an homework assignment for you… http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2009...osing-a-tripod

  18. #18
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Viana, just carry it you'll use it!!

    mark

  19. #19

    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    Viana, just carry it you'll use it!!


    mark



    Do you promise, Mark?


    I really thought that I had given up lugging stuff about with the advent of digital. OK, OK, I know that there are times when one must, absolutely have a tripod, but, those times are far fewer than they used to be.


    I am most thankful for that.


    As for “technical stuff” my life is all about technical. That is what I am trying to mitigate.

  20. #20
    Harpo's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Wanted!

    Thats where Carbon Fiber tripods come in! Be prepared to lighten your purse! Youll be amazed at how light they are! When I was at the NYC Photo Expo last month, I was amazed at the lightness of the various CF tripods being offered. Some were lighter than one of my shoes!

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