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Thread: (Another) Tripod question

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    davidedric's Avatar
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    (Another) Tripod question

    Hi,

    I want to try and get more serious about landscapes. Partly for travel, but also because I am less than five miles from the Peak District National Park, and I'm ashamed to say I hardly get out there.

    I'm sure one thing that means is that I need a tripod. I've read the enormously helpful thread of a month or two back: New Tripod - HELP!! which has given me some good steers.

    Just to summarise. There is no point at all in buying a poor tripod. At the same time, I am not a professional. so don't need that level of kit. Within reason budget is not a huge issue, so 200 - 300 is possible. I have a Canon 600D, and I can't see ever upgrading to a full frame camera, so my total kit weight is not great (my current heaviest lens is a 70-300mm Tamron). This is one time when being vertically challenged may be an advantage: my eye line is around 1.5m, so I don't need a very high tripod.

    Weight is important to me, both for travel and for carrying around the hills. I'm thinking of a Benron Travel Angel 2 carbon fibre tripod kit, with the B0 head. The model numbers seemed to have changed since that thread, but I expect that I can work out an appropriate model.

    From what I have said, does that seem like a sound choice? Other suggestions more than welcome.

    I imagine that the next piece of kit I should get is an ND filter, or two.

    On a related question. I also enjoy bird watching, but don't currently have a spotting scope. I'm not sure that I would ever buy one, but if I did does anyone know if these photo tripods also attach to spotting scopes?

    Thanks for any help,

    Dave

  2. #2
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    Dave,

    I went through this a couple of years ago, and my conclusion was similar: I wanted something decent but do not need a professional-level tripod. I found that there are LOTS of very nice carbon fiber tripods in the $200-300 range that are quite competitive with each other. However, they offer a bewildering array of different features, and what works best for me or someone else might not work best for you. For example, I wanted a reversing center column in order to have the camera at ground level (although upside down) for some of my macro work. For some people, that is not a particularly useful feature. I wanted a fairly tall tripod because I am tall, but I wanted a fairly small folded length. Etc., etc.

    So what I recommend, even though it is a pain in the neck, is several steps:
    -- collect a list of models from reputable brands that are competitive in price.
    --make a list of all of the features all of them have. The easiest is to put this in a spreadsheet, with tripods as rows and features as columns.
    --with that list, decide what features matter to you.
    --then see from the spreadsheet which comes closest to what you want.

    As for what attaches to what: most tripod legs have screws of one of two sizes, or an adapter with both. You screw the head onto that. The head will have some kind of mounting plate. There are lots of them, but one standard is arca-swiss. arca mounts come on both very expensive heads and also quite a number of modestly priced ones, e.g., Induro.

  3. #3
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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    I agree with David about making a pro/con list to decide what is important to you. I've had some inexpensive tripods and have discarded them all. I do recommend the 3 extension leg models as they are stronger than the 4 extension legs although the 4 extension leg models collapse a little shorter. Pros and cons.

    I now have two, a Manfrotto 3021B Pro and a Giottos 9271B. Both are aluminum 3 extension leg tripods but they are not that much heavier than the carbon fiber ones at two to three times the cost.

    I can carry either one with a camera for awhile in Yellowstone NP at +/- 7,000 feet/2,133.6 meters ASL and I'm almost 70 now. The Manfrotto is a bit short for me at 6' 2"/188cm and that's why I decided on getting the Giottos. I use a Kirk ballhead on the Manfrotto for landscape and architecture. I have to stoop slightly when looking through the viewfinder of my Pentax K20D which gets tiring after awhile. I use a knock off of the Kirk King Cobra on the Giottos and the viewfinder of my Canon 1D Mk II N is right at eye level. It makes life a lot easier for shooting wildlife and birds (and racing sports cars!).

    Just my .

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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    You mention that you are a bird watcher, which suggests that you may want a long lens in the future. Keep in mind that you need a tripod/head combo that rated for 30 pounds or so, this should be kept in mind. In visiting the local camera, I have noted that spotting scopes are often supported by fairly stout tripods, but I do not know if you can mount a camera or not. It would be worth checking out.

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    allenlennon's Avatar
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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    Quote Originally Posted by davidedric View Post
    This is one time when being vertically challenged may be an advantage: my eye line is around 1.5m, so I don't need a very high tripod.
    i have the opposite problem, im way to tall for my tripod at its highest, me being 2.1m/6ft9 1/2" and my tripod goes as high as 4ft 9 1/2", a whole 2 foot smaller, which is 1.5 m high. It gets worse when i need the tripod to be lower, im either bending or kneeling for it.
    Last edited by allenlennon; 2nd December 2012 at 11:51 PM. Reason: typo

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    I've got a couple Benro carbon fibre tripods and am quite pleased with their value and performance. I know what you mean regarding the recent renaming convention. One is the C069M8 Travel Angel, which has the B00 ball head and weighs under 1kg / about 2lbs. I got it because of it's small size and weight and it tends to travel around strapped to my camera backpack pretty well any time I am out. It is a bit light duty, but that is why I have a second one, a C1691T, with the B0 ball head. It is a lot more rigid but weighs around 1.4kg / just over 3lbs. The weights given for both include the ball heads. Both have standard Arca-Swiss quick release plates.

    If I were to buy tripods again, and these two models were available, I would buy them again. I'm 152cm / 5'10" tall and could probably use tripods that are a bit taller, but not if it means substantially more weight. Unlike aluminum, carbon fibre does not mind the salt water.

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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    I am brand new to the forum so please excuse my novice reply. On the other hand, I've been a cave photographer for 43 years and have used all sorts of tripods. Since everything has to go on my back into caves, needless to say I want them to be lightweight and stable. In my early days when size and extremely lightweight equipment was a necessity, I used very small Slik tripods. As my camera got heavier (I now use a Nikon D700 with 24 - 70 mm f 2.8 lens), lightweight tripods could no longer hold the weight. For commercial work where weight is of less concern, I use a 3 section Manfrotto (3001BPro) with a Manfrotto pan/tilt head (3047). In addition, I use a Manfrotto 303SPH head for spherical panoramic photography (the full 360-180 pan) and have a swivel center column for easier leveling of the SPH head. All these things are steady as a rock, but also heavy as a rock as well.

    I recently purchased several other things to compensate for the weight factor. Can't make the camera and lenses much lighter, but I did buy a new carbon fiber tripod about a month ago at a ridiculously low price when it was on give away sale at Hunts Photo and Video (headquartered in Melrose, Massachusetts, but comparable in pricing to the big store out of New York like B&H or Adorama). It's the Promaster C426W and it cost a mere $79 on sale! I was astonished at the exceptionally low price, but decided that it was worth it, even if it is not as rock solid and dependable as the much more expensive Manfrotto/Bogen/etc tripods. My gear is going to get beat up in caves no matter how good it is, so a less expensive version was worth it. It has four leg sections so is short to fit into my pack. It comes to a very good height without raising the center column and that column can be reversed inside the legs for close-up shooting. Alas, their is no tilt adjustable center column like in the Manfrotto I use, so I can't level it as easily.

    The other weight factor accessory I bought was a Really Right Stuff L bracket for the D700. One of the big problems with such a long and heavy lens on a heavy camera is the sagging that occurs in the tripod legs, but more specifically the forward droop of the camera lens in the Manfrotto pan/tilt head. In order to keep it from tilting downward, I have to reverse the camera on the head so that front-heavy weight of the long lens TIGHTENS the 1/4-20 screw that attaches it to the tripod head, not loosens it the other way. By now using the L bracket, the camera is ALWAYS centered over the very top and center of the tripod by simply switching the camera from landscape to portrait position using the quick release bracket attached instead of the pan/tilt head. BTW, the attachment clamp is NOT a RRS clamp but rather a much less expensive but just as good alternative brand which I can't recall the name of. It has quick release clamp, but also a thumb tightening mechanism for tight fit. As such, I have eliminated several pounds of weight from what I must now carry into deep caves on rope and have not lost much of the quality of the precision adjustments available with heavier weight gear.

    If you need more info, you can contact me directly at pjcaver "at" gwi.net. Hope that helps in some small way.

    pjcaver

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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    my little experience is bring along with all my gear to the tripod shop, set it up with different tripod and you will know which tripod can support the gear you have.
    It is until I put up my 7D, 70-200, L Flash bracket, and 580 flash can i tell which tripod can support it nicely. Reviews also suggested you give it a small tap and see how long it takes to come still for a clear photo.
    then is the next step to talk about brand and price, alum.or carbon.....
    It is especially true in using this way to choose my Manfrotto ball head.....
    the same way, I learned to bring all my gear to the shop when buying camera bag. I pick a bag which can take all my gear and WITH EXTRA room left. we all know that it is so easy to add up stuff,.... reflector.... blower,,,,,batteries.....
    try it out,
    have fun.

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    Tringa's Avatar
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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    Have a look at Redsnapper - http://www.redsnapperuk.com/index.html.

    I use their RS 324 tripod. It is not the lightest of tripods, but not heavy (though what is light, or not, is subjective), and is very sturdy. From what I have read on other photographic forums they are a very helpful company.

    As far as I know all photographic tripods will attach to spotting scopes (mine certainly fits) - they use the same size threads.

    Dave

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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    A few months ago, I did research on a travel tripod. The results of my research and my selection are in "Discussion Categories" here at CIC. Go to Discussion Categories, Tripods and select the post titles "Travel Tripod Search Results".

    I hope this helps.

    Dr Bob

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    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    Many thanks everyone for the help. I guess one clear message is try it out. Unfortunately I only have one decent camera shop within a reasonable distance, and they stock only Manfrotto and Gitzo. The Gitzo products seem quite a lot more expensive, and whilst I want a decent tripod I don't think I need to go that far. So I plan to take my kit down there and try out, and take it from there.

    His prices seem about 10% higher than Amazon, which I think is a fair deal for having at least demos of all the kit he advertises.

    Next stop is then the head. I seem to gather that ball heads are favoured over pan and tilt for landscape work, do I have that right? Has anyone tried the Manfrotto "grip" ball heads like the 324RC2 which look as if they might be easier to manipulate?

    (Though if ever I did get a spotting scope, a pan and tilt head would be essential!)

    The other think I learned (thanks Dr Bob) is to tag my threads, once I work out how to do it!

    Thanks again, and for any tips on heads.

    Dave

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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    Quote Originally Posted by davidedric View Post
    Next stop is then the head. I seem to gather that ball heads are favoured over pan and tilt for landscape work, do I have that right? Has anyone tried the Manfrotto "grip" ball heads like the 324RC2 which look as if they might be easier to manipulate?
    Dave
    Hi Dave, I tried a Manfrotto grip head out at a shop so I don't have a lot of experience but... it may not be an issue for you but as a woman with small hands I found the grip even at the loosest setting to be a bit stiff. For landscape work, it would probably be fine, but if you do other types of work requiring more movement of the head I can see where your hand could tire. If I'd had that head when trying to shoot elk a few months back, my hand would have cramped up early with moving constantly to keep the bull in frame.

    As far as ball vs pan/tilt for landscape, you'll likely get varied opinions. My 2 landscape class instructors had opposite opinions.

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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    Hi Dave,

    I came at the spotting scope/camera tripod issue from the opposite direction. My wife, and avid birder, has a nice Manfrotto tripod (3012BN) for her spotting scope, and I wondered if I could adapt it for my camera. The good new is that it is simple. She had a 3130 head for her scope, and I bought a 496RC2 head for my camera. They are easily interchangeable and both work very well.

    Tim

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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tringa View Post
    Have a look at Redsnapper - http://www.redsnapperuk.com/index.html.

    I use their RS 324 tripod. It is not the lightest of tripods, but not heavy (though what is light, or not, is subjective), and is very sturdy. From what I have read on other photographic forums they are a very helpful company.

    As far as I know all photographic tripods will attach to spotting scopes (mine certainly fits) - they use the same size threads.

    Dave


    Redsnapper tripods are top notch

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    davidedric's Avatar
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    The outcome: (Another) Tripod question

    An update. After all the advice I took my gear down the camera shop this morning, and I am now the proud owner of a Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 3 section carbon pod, and a 324RC2 head. They were great in the shop and in my dining room - now to get them out in the field.

    Incidentally for anyone in the North West of England I bought them from Bob Rigby in Bollington. They have a good range with demo models available, and seem to know their stuff.

    Thanks again,

    Dave

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    Re: The outcome: (Another) Tripod question

    I suggest that you make one change in your setup. Manfrotto distributes what they have named an "architectural" plate. Manfrotto seems to enjoy changing their model numbers at about the same frequency as I change my socks... So here is a link to the B&H ad for the plate I am referring to.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ist_Quick.html

    This plate incorporates a lip at the front which prevents the camera from twisting around on the tripod screw due to the torque from the weight of your lens when the camera is in the portrait position. That twisting is one of the fequent complaints of photographers who shoot with the standard Manfrotto 3157NR plate for their RC2 system.

    This plate is not needed when you are using a telephoto lens with a tripod ring, since the camera is rotated from the ring. Rotating a camera that is mounted on the standard 3157NR plate will result in twisting. When I used the Manfrotto RC2 quick release system, I had the stock plate attached to the tripod ring and the lipped plate attached to my camera body. That combination worked great.

  17. #17

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    Re: The outcome: (Another) Tripod question

    Where I came a gutzer in buying a tripod for my son, and myself while I stayed with him, was to spend a bit over US$100 on a well known make ...I have used one of their products for the past fourty years ....
    The problem came less from the tripod itself but the ballhead it came with ... I subsequently ordered another based on the recomendations I read here back in August last year and my son tells me it is much better and good for his cameras, FZ30 and G3 with kit lens. With my bird brain I cannot tell you what the second purchase was.
    One thing I have learnt over the years is that centre column tripods are usually not that wonderful with the column extended but OK when used as a tripod only ... why I like my swivel and twist LCDs .... saves a lot of back bending. I always use the delay release when using a tripod too. Probably not suitable for action shots and when there are strong winds. But I rarely use a tripod on location and normally only at home indoors.

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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    I'll leave the specifics to others and will confine myself to an overall observation. Over the years I've proven time and again the truth of a simple philosophy that definately applies to photography equipment and specifically to tripods.

    "You'll never regret buying good gear and you'll never forget buying bad."

  19. #19
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    Thanks very much for the feedback. Ere long I shall be posting an image - if it ever stops raining here!

    I suggest that you make one change in your setup. Manfrotto distributes what they have named an "architectural" plate.
    Thanks for the tip, Richard. I don't have a very heavy set up, so I hope it may not be needed, but I'll do some experimentation before I get out for real, and I now know what to do if I do get some slip.

    Dave

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    Re: (Another) Tripod question

    Another accessory which helps is a strap for the tripod. They range anywhere from Ten U.S. dollars to Eighty U.S. Dollars. However this isn't brain surgery and any sturdy strap will do. In fact a length of one-inch nylon web material with loops at either end works fine.

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