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Author Topic: Which Tripod?  (Read 11222 times)
GMiller64
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« on: August 05, 2007, 06:19:29 PM »
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Hi,

I'm looking for advice as to which way to go. I need a new tripod and have settled on two paths. I like to do landscape/building and macro photography so I'm coming from that direction.

The first choice is a really expensive tripod that I can convert to shoot macro's close to the ground and would last me a lifetime. The other choice would be to buy two cheaper tripods one for close to the ground macro and one for everything else. This route might leave enough left over to buy a bigger bag as well but I would still have to replace these sooner or later.

Any advice as to which way you would go would be very helpfull.

George.
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srpirolt
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2007, 12:33:23 AM »
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Since no one answered this, I’ll go ahead and give you my recommendation...

Go for a good sturdy tripod right away, and skip the inexpensive models. ...as you said you will replace it anyway.  Plus, it will cost you a lot more money if your cheap tripod collapses or gets blown over by wind and breaks your camera and lens.

(I am assuming you are shooting with a 35mm digital body, or smaller)

I would get the Bogen/Manfrotto 3221 Legs and the 804RC2 Head ($284 at BHPhoto.com).  This will give you your best bang for the buck.  Since you mentioned Macro, I would also get the short center column ($30 at Bhphoto.com) to get close to the ground.

I have been using my 3221 legs for many years without any regrets.

Enjoy!

René
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pixelpro
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2007, 05:33:57 AM »
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Hi,

I'm looking for advice as to which way to go. I need a new tripod and have settled on two paths. I like to do landscape/building and macro photography so I'm coming from that direction.

The first choice is a really expensive tripod that I can convert to shoot macro's close to the ground and would last me a lifetime. The other choice would be to buy two cheaper tripods one for close to the ground macro and one for everything else. This route might leave enough left over to buy a bigger bag as well but I would still have to replace these sooner or later.

Any advice as to which way you would go would be very helpfull.

George.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=131665\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]



Buy the best quality and heaviest tripod you can handle. Make sure the tripod has at least 3 spirit levels and that is very adjustable. The worst thing of all is to go out, spend a day walking and working to find your images are not sharp. The shutter going off and a breeze makes the camera shudder imperceptibly unless your camera is on a very sturdy tripod.

When I shoot I do three things :  1. use a tripod  2. raise the mirror manually to prevent camera movement while shooting 3. use a shutter release cable.
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GMiller64
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2007, 08:46:18 PM »
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THanks for the advice guys. I was actually looking at a Manfrotto 3021 with an 808RC4 head. I just didn't want the brand to effect any advice. I'm still leaning that way it would be the last tripod I would ever need.. I really didn't think about the weight of the tripod and the dampening effects, I would have never thought of that.

George.
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srpirolt
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2007, 04:23:26 PM »
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Those are great choices.  I like the Bogen/Manfrotto equipment since it is well priced, well designed, and can stand up to a lot of abuse.

The 808RC4 is a bit beefier than the 804RC2, whereas the 3021 are a bit lighter than the 3221 legs.  I use the 3221 and 808RC4 combination for shooting large format.

If you are shooting a smaller format, like a 35mm digital body, and not large or medium format, you may consider the smaller 804RC2 head.  The 808RC4 has a much larger plate and it may be uncomfortable when you handhold the camera.  Depending on your camera the plate will probably protrude both on back and front of the camera.

…but either choice will serve you well …and you WILL be glad you didn’t go for the cheap tripod.
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GMiller64
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2007, 04:54:06 PM »
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Again great advice that I would have never thought of. I will be shooting with a DSLR so the 804 would be better. I'll have to look at the 804 and 3221 combo.

Thanks,
George
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2007, 11:37:45 PM »
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You could also try Feisol.  You can get them with and without center columns.  (Easy to swap if you want.)
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Gregory
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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2007, 12:40:18 PM »
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[snip]
« Last Edit: October 16, 2007, 09:35:22 PM by Gregory » Logged

Gregory's Blog: An Aussie in HK
Equipment: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, 17-40L, 24-105L, 70-300 DO
wollom
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2007, 09:39:11 PM »
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I'd certainly think of a tripod purchase as being a 'lifetime' decision.  Initally buy a sturdy 'heavy' tripod and a high quality head.
A good tripod that is easy to set up, quick and predictable to adjust will help the technical quality of your shots.  Pay a little more than seems reasonable; in a few years you'll have forgotten the cost.
There's a tendancy to think that one tripod can do it all but, in time, you'll look for a lighter, more compact  tripod for when you are traveling or out in the field on foot. To be good it won't be cheap.
A high quality head is worth every cent. Look for something that keeps the camera close to the tripod, not at the end of a long 'mechanism'.
Second hand tripods offer good value; there's not much to go wrong.
If you are uncertain about whether a tripod/head is steady enough, try mounting your camera on the setup, then attaching a laser pointer, pointing along the lens at a surface 4 or 5 meters away.  Fire the shutter using delay or a remote release.  You'll see the laser spot move.

Best

Wollom
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larsrc
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2007, 10:10:21 AM »
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Buy the best quality and heaviest tripod you can handle. Make sure the tripod has at least 3 spirit levels and that is very adjustable. The worst thing of all is to go out, spend a day walking and working to find your images are not sharp. The shutter going off and a breeze makes the camera shudder imperceptibly unless your camera is on a very sturdy tripod.

When I shoot I do three things :  1. use a tripod  2. raise the mirror manually to prevent camera movement while shooting 3. use a shutter release cable.
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Why would you want the tripod to have spirit levels?  Shouldn't that be in the head?

Also consider a remote control instead of release cable, fewer physical connections to mess up.

-Lars
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Misirlou
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2007, 05:24:11 PM »
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I have an old Bogen 3221 that I've used for years, with 35mm to even my lightest 4X5 cameras. It's always been very dependable and solid.

I also have a Manfrotto carbon tripod that I use for travelling. It's drastically lighter than the 3221. The carbon construction seems to damp out a lot of vibration so it's still as solid as can be, maybe even as steady with most cameras as the 3221 (a lot depends on head choice of course).

Manfrotto carbons aren't too expensive. If you only ever see yourself using lighter camera/lens combos, you might think about it.
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Thomas Krüger
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2007, 11:39:57 PM »
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After using for quite 20 years various models of the Manfrotto 055 up to the 755 MDeVe I've got a Gitzo GT2540LVL - still manufactured by Manfrotto - with a Markins Q3 ballhead. Add a Kirk L-bracket as a quick mount for your camera and a Kirk Long Rail Plate for panorama photography or macro and you have a lightweight combination for the backpack. Not cheap, but I'm really happy with this combination.

Gitzo GT2540LVL: http://tinylink.com/?pNPxRwHuGe
Markins Q3: http://www.markinsamerica.com/MA5/Q3.php
http://www.kirkphoto.com/lbracketso.html
http://www.kirkphoto.com/supports.html#focusrail
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Bill in WV
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2007, 12:30:32 AM »
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Some time ago, I read an essay relating to the cost of the tripod we eventually wind up with. Within the past year, I have replaced a "Chinese" Promaster tripod with which I had become quite fond, except it wasn't really tall enough and the Manfrotto 486RC2 head didn't have a separate pan lock. Used that for about 2 years, total cost, roughly $165.

The pan lock thing started to bug me so back to the store and while settling on a Manfrotto 488RC2 head I noticed the 3021 was taller and solid as a rock! Just had a much better feel than the Promaster, and besides, my wife needed a new tripod, she still had a Wal-Mart special. For once I didn't have to tell her she needed a better tripod, the Wal-Mart special was able to do that on its own. Leg slippage can be quite telling of the fact that your tripod is JUNK. The Promaster was tall enough for her and she has no idea what a pan lock is for anyway. I found the 488RC2 head to be less expensive than I thought it would be, so the 3021 went home with me too.

This was a quantum leap in quality and usability and only set me back about $230 maybe more, I don't have the numbers handy. So now I'm somewhere over $500 in tripods and feel like I'm on top of the world. I don't have to bend over to use it, and Hurricane Katrina couldn't move it. Time to throw in a leveling head from Manfrotto, now it's fun to shoot panoramics and I'm in hog-heaven. Ok, it's a little heavy but I seldom work very far from my car, seems things become less photogenic the farther I have to walk to get to them. Now the trick is to remember to never get too far from the car, stay out of the big mountains out west, and last but not least, don't ever pick up another photographer's carbon legged tripod.

I just made all those mistakes a few weeks ago as I attended a workshop in Bishop, CA. Now I'm not exactly a flatlander, I'm from the mountains of West Virginia, but Eastern California has real mountains. Bishop is in a valley only 1000 feet below the highest point in WV and we spent most of our time well above Bishop in the 7,000 foot range and above.

My own extra weight, more than I want to admit, and a regimen of drugs that keeps my heart rate down, combined with the alitude, all came together to enhance my senses and I noticed that my tripod kept getting heavier and heavier. At the Bristlecone National Forest, well over 9,000 feet, I spent more time leaning on my tripod to support me than using it as a photo support. That's when I noticed every other person in that workshop had a carbon tripod with a weight probably a third of mine. So now it looks like another $500+ is about to be spent. and probably a new head to go with it, so figure another $375.

I've been a long time getting to the point, but if I hadn't been so miserly before, I would have bought the right one first and while it would have been expensive, the total would have been less than half of what it will have cost me to get there now. Hopefully, ebay may ease the sting a bit when I sell my old tripod.

A good tripod will last longer than anything else in your kit and you will only have to cry once. The end cost will be a lot less if you make the leap initially. I sure wish I had. Incidentally, the one I have now really could last me a lot longer, it is totally up to the task at hand, just don't ever pick up a carbon and feel the real difference.

Bill in WV
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Bill Evans

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ChasP505
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2007, 01:51:57 PM »
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I've had the Manfrotto 055XB (formerly called the Bogen 3021BN) with the 322RC2 pistol grip ball head for barely 2 weeks now and I feel I made an excellent choice. I chose the "Classic" legs over the 055ProB model because I didn't feel I would ever use the horizontal center column feature. I also felt subjectively that the center column mechanism of the 055ProB felt "cheap" and plastic. The 055XB legs feel rock solid. The overall weight is a little hefty but I'm a very big guy so that's not an issue for me.

I intend to get some good use out of it soon as the weather changes here in New Mexico. I hope to get some good landscape and Holiday photos.
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Chas P.
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2007, 09:15:51 PM »
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Get the best darned tripod you can afford; you won't regret it.  I shoot landscape and macro - have a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod (mountain series).  I chose a shorter height (I hike - weight is critical) so I compromised on height; replaced the post with a 2" post so I can go to ground level with the legs.  Love it love it love it.  It's my second Gitzo - can speak highly enough of the durability and flexibility.  Why is it my second?  When I switched from film to digital, my equipment was too heavy for my itty bitty tripod . . . . .
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