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Author Topic: Tripod help  (Read 8386 times)
Antarctic Mat
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« on: July 19, 2007, 04:19:21 AM »
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Hello.

I want to buy a new tripod and head, I'm looking to get the best I can possibly find, needs to be able to cope with extremes of temperature, be as light as feasible as will be carried to remote locations, obviously sturdy and deal with a DSLR plus 70-200mm lens maximum so weight isn't really an issue.
I can't go out and test so any recommendations of the best available would be great, I'd rather pay more and buy once.
Thanks in advance.
Mat.
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matt4626
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2007, 10:34:24 AM »
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Gitzo & Kirk. I've used that combo from Death Valley to Yellowstone in the winter...no problems
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paulbk
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2007, 04:18:14 PM »
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GItzo (carbon fiber, choose model by weight capacity)
Really Right Stuff BH-55 Pro
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paul b. kramarchyk
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2007, 10:48:32 PM »
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I like feisol legs.  While I have and like Kirk for the ballhead you might consider the acratech ultimate ball head.  It should be very well suited for your purpose.
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francois
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2007, 02:16:47 AM »
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For really extreme conditions I would choose, as DarkPenguin said above, the AcraTech Ultimate BH. You'll sacrify comfort compared to RRS, Arca-Swiss, Kirk ball-heads but will win in reliability. It uses a very simple open design that can be cleaned or dried very easily.
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Francois
Antarctic Mat
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2007, 02:26:38 AM »
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Thanks very much for the replies guys, much appreciated! Will check them all out today.
Thanks again.
Mat.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2007, 02:30:10 PM »
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GItzo (carbon fiber, choose model by weight capacity)
Really Right Stuff BH-55 Pro
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=129073\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I was wondering the same thing (have a 20 year old Gitzo for a 4x5, want something light and new). I emailed Michael and he recommended exactly this!

But man, EXPENSIVE! The BH-55 looks awesome. But $400? Wow.
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Andrew Rodney
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bobtowery
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2007, 03:03:14 PM »
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Check out Manfrotto's carbon legs.  Some people (like me) prefer manfrotto lever locks to gitzo's twist locks. It's a personal preference thing.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2007, 06:54:10 PM »
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Check out Manfrotto's carbon legs.  Some people (like me) prefer manfrotto lever locks to gitzo's twist locks. It's a personal preference thing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=129215\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Are the Gitzo locks on this any different from the older units? I have legs that have to be 20 years old. You rotate them to lock em, don't like it. If so, you might be spot on about a different locking system. With the Gitzo I have, its either to loose and the legs don't hold firm or so tight you can't adjust them. I suspect the Manfrotto's are less expensive too?
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Andrew Rodney
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2007, 07:25:09 PM »
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Check out Manfrotto's carbon legs.  Some people (like me) prefer manfrotto lever locks to gitzo's twist locks. It's a personal preference thing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=129215\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


My belief also. I have tried twist locks many times and sold them all. I bought the MF 055 and the new hydraulic ball head. I use it for the Canon, Hassleblad and 4x5. Works flawlessly so far in situations all over the west and Europe.
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Thanks,
Kirk

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LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
trigeek
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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2007, 05:04:51 AM »
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I recently purchased the Gitzo 3530S. While the legs are twist lock, they do not rotate with respect to one another. 1/4 twist of the ring loosens them up for adjustment. I personally find this faster than the lever locks and less frustrating than the previous twists where the legs rotated.
Regards,
Jim
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PixelPeeper
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2007, 02:13:31 AM »
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I have the RRS BH-55 head and it's good, but I wouldn't shop from them again.  For the cost of the items they sell, they have horrible customer service.  If you end up not liking the BH-55 (or anything else you buy from them), they will give you a hard time.  

If I was to do it again, I'd purchase either the Kirk from my local store or the Arca-Swiss online.  For the amount of money that the stuff costs, you want to have the option of returning it if you don't like it.
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Amfoto1
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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2007, 08:05:29 PM »
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Hi,

There are a number of good tripods to choose among.

In general, get the best you can justify. Not only will it last a lifetime, possibly serving several different camera systems equally well, it will also be more enjoyable to use and less likely to get left in the hotel room or car trunk.

As others have said, you do have to consider the rig's maximum weight capability. Not just the tripod, but the head and anything else that's involved in supporting your camera equipment. Try to allow for any future system growth, but generally speaking the more weight a tripod can support, the heavier it is itself. So, you'll need to strike a bit of a compromise.

I'd recommend carbon fiber. It is not only lighter, it also dampens vibrations that might "ring" through metal. And, it's a little more pleasant to handle in cold weather. It does cost more, though.

The fewer sections a tripod leg has, the more stable the tripod will be. Of course, more sections allow it to collapse into a smaller package. These two factors are at odds with each other, so this is another trade-off to consider.

A center column can make for less stability, too. Particularly if it needs to be extended a lot. If the legs extend tall enough to work comfortably without any column, that's about the steadiest design. However, it's makes for a less compact tripod and some columns can be reversed to allow very low angle work. Still more  trade-offs to think about!

Yes, there are different type of leg locks. On several occasions I've caught my sleeve or pant cuff on the lever type and had a "near-death" experience, so I prefer the twist type.

Will you be using quick releases? If so, there are several types. The most common and universal is probably Arca-Swiss. Many other companies make compatible lens and body plates and other accessories to fit A-S, and it's been around for a long time now. Just watch out for unique, proprietary QR designs, for which accessories might not be available in a few years.

Personally, I'm using two tripods: one for studio, the other in the field.

My studio 'pod is an ancient, aluminum Bogen (now Manfrotto), big, heavy, but rock solid even after 25+ years use. It's on a dolly and casters for ease of use. It's got a gear driven center column that has extra bracing and is pretty stable. It also has a leveler under the head, with a bubble level. I can't believe I actually carried this tripod down into the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings... once... when I was younger.

In the field I use a Gitzo 1325 CF with a Kirk BH-1 ballhead. This 'pod has a three section leg, no center column, and a quick leveler with a sight bubble. The legs can be spread quite wide, to allow very low angle work even without a center column. For large telephotos, in particular, I use a Wimberley Sidekick gimbal head on this rig. By the way, a Sidekick also works very well to quickly orient a camera (with a short lens) vertically, eliminating any need for an L-bracket.

I also use two Bogen/Manfrotto monopods, each fitted with Bogen/Manfrotto ballheads.

I use Arca-Swiss QR plates on all my cameras and lenses. The Kirk and Wimberley both were designed to fit A-S. But all the Bogen/Manfrotto heads had to be modified to accept A-S.

Shop carefully and maybe you'll never need to buy another tripod!

Cheers!

Alan
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Amfoto1
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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2007, 08:39:04 PM »
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...but I wouldn't shop from them again.  For the cost of the items they sell, they have horrible customer service...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=130230\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Didn't RRS change ownership within the past two or three years? Was your less than ideal experience with them before, or since then?

Alan
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hassiman
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« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2007, 02:46:48 PM »
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Gitzo 6X carbon fiber all the way... don't listen to those that say the 4 section pods are not sturdy... with the new G-Lock leg locks the 4 sections are rock solid.

I especially love the 3540LS because it compacts to 21-1/2 inches for carry-on.  Supports heavy stuff... ( think to 40 pounds) and weighs nothing.  Legs open with one motion with one hand and lock tight.

A real pleasure to use....  Arca Swiss B1 is a great head...
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Rowat
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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2007, 05:02:06 AM »
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As all of these posters have suggested there is no one 'right' tripod. I use two primarily:

1 - Manfrotto 055 MF3 (carbon fiber, 3 sections, lever locks) with a RRS BH-40 ballhead.

This setup I use with most of my cameras - Mamiya RZ, Mamiya 7, Canon 1Ds MKII (70-200 biggest lens). It is great for travelling as it weighs next to nothing, and can take all of the above-mentioned equipment without a problem. The centre-column is a double-edged sword, but when you need the extra height you have it. The other neat feature with the 055 is that the centre column is removable so you can either put the tripod down *very* low to the ground, or else you can thread the column through at 90 degrees allowing you a swing arm off the tripod for shooting directly down. This can be particularly useful if you shoot food from an overhead perspective.

2 - Gitzo 3540 XLS (4 sections, TALL tripod, 6X carbon, twist locks) with Manfrotto 410 3-way geared head.

I use this setup with my 4x5 (Linhof Technikardan) and increasingly with my Mamiya RZs. The tripod is great because of the stability and height it allows you. I am 5'11" and can walk *under* the tripod (with several inches to spare) when all 4 legs are extended.  I rarely need the 4th leg, but if you are on a hill, or have an obstacle in front of you it is invaluable.  The head is great for very precise and fast positioning of my cameras when I am shooting interiors/exteriors/otherwise. I find it much faster, and more precise to use than a ballhead when all my lines need to be straight. My one quibble with the 410 (which is not the case with the 405) is that the camera does not rest directly over the centre of the tripod.

I would also recommend the Arca-Swiss type plates versus anything from Gitzo or Manfrotto. I use the RRS custom plates. They work superbly. I have also had great customer service from RRS, but I have never tried to return anything either.


Andrew.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2007, 08:41:06 PM »
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I recently added an Induro C413 tripod to my collection.  It has a couple of features my older Gitzo didn't have (though they may have them now).

I've been quite pleased, but not sure it's enough different to recommend over a Gitzo.  I don't even know how they compare in price, but in functionality they very similar.

I also have enjoyed the RRS BH-55 ballhead as well.
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Khun_K
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2007, 07:43:13 AM »
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I recently added an Induro C413 tripod to my collection.  It has a couple of features my older Gitzo didn't have (though they may have them now).

I've been quite pleased, but not sure it's enough different to recommend over a Gitzo.  I don't even know how they compare in price, but in functionality they very similar.

I also have enjoyed the RRS BH-55 ballhead as well.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=134686\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I just took delivery of the new 90 anniversary limited edition tripod (limited to 100 pcs) a week ago and like it a lot. It use the new AL13 legs and Basalt central column, with soulid 238 for brackets that is very freidnly when using in the winter, not tested yet but I supposed so. Gitzo says the new soulid 238 material is better vibration absortion.
The overall weight is still very good and although the new AL13 tube is not as light as carbon, but it will resist to scratch a lot better against sand and etc that in the case of carbon it eventually wears out the surface of the tube and cannot lock anymore.  I work a lot on beaches that the seasand and tiny grain of salt defect the tripot quickly. Too bad the locking system is still the last version, not the new G lock. However the new tube comes withe overmold soft rubber that is very pleasant to carry or rest the tripod on shoulder that is a nice feature during location work.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 07:45:56 AM by Khun_K » Logged
Caracalla
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2007, 09:30:19 AM »
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Hello.

I want to buy a new tripod and head, I'm looking to get the best I can possibly find, needs to be able to cope with extremes of temperature, be as light as feasible as will be carried to remote locations, obviously sturdy and deal with a DSLR plus 70-200mm lens maximum so weight isn't really an issue.
I can't go out and test so any recommendations of the best available would be great, I'd rather pay more and buy once.
Thanks in advance.
Mat.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=128970\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You can't go wrong with these two » [span style=\'font-size:12pt;line-height:100%\']Gitzo Tripod & RRS Head[/span]  

Cheers
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hassiman
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2007, 10:53:12 AM »
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This seems to be a 90th anniversary release of a 6X carbon series tripod with G-Locks but is otherwise no different in material build than the current 6X carbon line....
 

Quote
I just took delivery of the new 90 anniversary limited edition tripod (limited to 100 pcs) a week ago and like it a lot. It use the new AL13 legs and Basalt central column, with soulid 238 for brackets that is very freidnly when using in the winter, not tested yet but I supposed so. Gitzo says the new soulid 238 material is better vibration absortion.
The overall weight is still very good and although the new AL13 tube is not as light as carbon, but it will resist to scratch a lot better against sand and etc that in the case of carbon it eventually wears out the surface of the tube and cannot lock anymore.  I work a lot on beaches that the seasand and tiny grain of salt defect the tripot quickly. Too bad the locking system is still the last version, not the new G lock. However the new tube comes withe overmold soft rubber that is very pleasant to carry or rest the tripod on shoulder that is a nice feature during location work.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=134770\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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