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Thread: Another Tripod Question - advice on finding a sturdy tripod

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    batman44's Avatar
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    Another Tripod Question - advice on finding a sturdy tripod

    I'm sure this has been asked and answered but I can't seem to find it here.
    I am in need of a new and better tripod as I have some new gear and my "first tripod" doens't seem to be steady enough.
    I, now, have the Nikon D90 and recently bought the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 ED VR II. I love this lens, but this baby is heavy, my arms are whimpy!!!!! At the race track I get through 25 cars of qualifying and my arms are feeling the need to start working out-I can hand hold this lens only for so long. I need to upgrade to a new tripod, but know I will need to save some more money first as this lens wasn't cheap!
    Can anyone give me some direction where to start looking for a sturdy tripod - and if possible something that won't make me 2nd mortgage my house or have to sell a child! LOL I'd like to get something before summer is over. But what I'd like to do and what sometims happens are two different stories!

    Your help is GREATLY appreciated! =)
    Thanks in advanced everyone!!!!!!!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Kori

    Given what you're, primarily, wanting to use it for, first question is - Is it a tripod or a monopod you're after?

    I would have thought your sort of shooting was more suited to a monopod, but other who do action stuff will give better advice.

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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Well if space for the tripod legs is limited, a monopod might be more appropriate and easier/quicker to move. But if you are needing a stronger tripod for other work anyway, you can always close up the legs and you have a monopod - 2 for the price of 1.

    However, a good strong tripod won't be that cheap. But for a modest cost, I would recommend the Manfrotto 055X PROB. Very strong and stable although it is a bit on the heavy side.

    The next problem will be your choice of tripod head. For wildlife and other quick focus work, I like their 322RC2 ball head which has a single leaver handle and is very easy to adjust. For my work, I reversed the handle so I can quickly position the camera with my left hand while my right is always on the shutter button.

    Other people, I'm sure, will have alternative suggestions which will work equally well.

    I frequently use this combination with a Canon 40D plus 180 macro lens or 150-500 zoom with no problems; at least not until I also add an external flash unit. But even then it just means slight hand support to the ball joint when used at a downward angle.

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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Hi, Kori;

    Donald's suggestion is a good one. Another thought along the same lines is a harness that would take some of the strain off your hands and arms. There were quite a few discussed in this thread.

    This tutorial talks about choosing a tripod: the section on ball heads versus pan-tilt is quite useful.

    I use a Manfrotto, as do a number of people on CiC. Mine is a 055XPROB tripod with a 410 geared head, and it's very solid. A geared head probably wouldn't be something that would appeal to you for the track. The only slight complaint I have about mine is that the center column gets in the way if I want to drop the tripod very low, but I assume that's not much of an issue for you.

    I just noticed that Geoff hit "submit" before me: and he uses the same tripod with a different head.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Thanks - to all of you! I will check the Manfrotto out as well as the tutorial. I have LOTS of room for the tripod when I shoot at the race track, so space is not a problem.
    Besides the race track, I like to shoot wildlife and landscapes, and from time to time, senior portraits too. I really like the new lens for the wildlife also. We recently bought 40 acres just north of us as a "get away"; the wildlife is plenty, but only at a distance if I sit and wait...and wait...and wait!
    Thanks again!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Kori

    Your answer above clears up the query I had.

    I also use the 055XPROB and am very happy with it. I've got a ball head on it (can't remember which number and am not at home at the moment). It's not carbon fibre, so does weigh a bit more. But unless you're planning a serious amount of rough trekking, it is perfectly easy to manage. I think it fits in at top end of the middle range (if you see what I mean) of tripods.


    Have a look at post #84 on this thread to see how easy it is to carry around.

  7. #7

    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    Mine is a 055XPROB tripod with a 410 geared head, and it's very solid. A geared head probably wouldn't be something that would appeal to you for the track. The only slight complaint I have about mine is that the center column gets in the way if I want to drop the tripod very low, but I assume that's not much of an issue for you.
    Rick

    I have the 055XPROB (with an 840RC2 head) Did you realize that you can reverse the centre colum and hang the camera upside down? Not sure why anyone would need to get that low though!

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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Rick

    I have the 055XPROB (with an 840RC2 head) Did you realize that you can reverse the centre colum and hang the camera upside down? Not sure why anyone would need to get that low though!
    You know, I think I did read that before I bought the tripod, but I forgot about it. When I set up low, I often flip it to the side. I'll have to try reversing it.

    Thanks, Rob!

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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    The least expensive but, quite efficient and the most portable way to shoot sports in just about any venue (I have attempted with no success to remove the second "venue" from this posting) is with a monopod. If you are working with the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 ED VR II you can mount the tripod ring directly to the monopod and use it that way with no problem since you can adjust the horizon or switch from horizontal to vertical by just loosening the ring and twisting the lens. The Manfrotto 681B Monopod is a relatively inexpensive and heavy duty monopod which is used by many professional sports photographers ( http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-681B...7756379&sr=8-1 ).

    However, I prefer to use a Arca Compatible quick release system on my monopod and have chosen the Kirk MPA-1 swivel ( http://www.kirkphoto.com/Monopod-Heads.html ) as my monopod head. This is the Manfrotto 234 Swivel Head with a Kirk A/C clamp. I use this since all my lenses and cameras are equipped with A/C plates. Some photographers do not consider the Manfrotto 234 heavy duty enough but, I have not had any problems with it since I use it with the relatively light weight 70-200mm f/4L IS and 40D camera. However, I have occasionally used this with my 400mm f/5.6L lens on my 40D camera with no problems either.

    If you believe that you would need a more heavy duty rig, I suggest that you investigate the Really Right Stuff High Capacity Monopod Solution ( http://reallyrightstuff.com/tripods/04.html ).

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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Thanks everyone! I guess I can buy the tripod sooner than later. I really thought they would be much more pricey!!! I'm not saying they're cheap, but I thought they would be MUCH more!!!!
    I checked out the Manfrotto and really like it. I'm pretty excited as I can buy the tripod and quick release head! A friend is going to let me borrow her monopod for racing season, so I won't need to buy one yet. I can put that on my list for Santa to bring me for next racing season!
    Thanks again!!!!!

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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Quote Originally Posted by batman44 View Post
    I really thought they would be much more pricey!!! I'm not saying they're cheap, but I thought they would be MUCH more!!!!
    I've heard it said more than one that there are only 2 kinds of tripod ... "good" and "cheap"

    Seriously, the lighter / more convenient ones are "OK" for higher shutter speeds, but if you ever get into long exposures then they're just not going to be rigid enough - especially if there is any kind of breeze.

    A good tripod is for life ... and beyond.

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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    PS: You might find this thread interesting Kori ...

    Best Tripod and head for stability

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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Thanks for your help Colin! I haven't added anything into my cart to check out! It will probably take me a month to decide what I want to get - I will read that thread and I'm sure then I will be scratching my head in confusion! I agree - with "for life". It did take me about a month to buy the new lens - I mean to hit BUY NOW button! I have a battle with: should I, shouldn't I??? **sigh** LOL

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    Re: Another Tripod Question

    Quote Originally Posted by batman44 View Post
    I mean to hit BUY NOW button! I have a battle with: should I, shouldn't I??? **sigh** LOL
    Just do it - resistance is futile (or so my kids tell me!). Buy now, justify later ... works every time for me

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