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Question: Help me choose my next tripod!
Bogen / Manfrotto 055MF3 Magfiber @ $299 - 6 (14%)
Bogen / Manfrotto 055MF4 Magfiber @ $324 - 6 (14%)
Bogen / Manfrotto 3021Pro @ $149 - 6 (14%)
Gitzo G-1220 Reporter @ $264 - 1 (2.3%)
Gitzo G-1227 Mountaineer Reporter Mk2 @ $464 - 5 (11.6%)
Gitzo G-1228 Mountaineer Reporter Mk2 @ $481 - 16 (37.2%)
Gitzo G-1297 Reporter Basalt Tripod Legs @ $324 - 3 (7%)
Total Voters: 2

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Author Topic: Help me choose my next tripod!  (Read 6114 times)
boku
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« on: April 19, 2005, 07:18:45 PM »
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I have a similar rig...

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20D plus a 70-200/4 IS, a 300/4 IS, and any of these lenses plus a 1.4x.

I have a 1228 - handy for long treks, but I have found the 13xx series to be preferable for incredible stability. It just a little difference that counts.

FWIW - the leg collet system that Gitzo uses is a pain, but the overall quality is worth it. Come to think of it, I have yet to use a tripod with leg locks that are handy regardless of brand or design.

Save money on a tripod for another lens? Bad logic. Sooner or later you will buy a riteous tripod to deliver the goods of your fine L teleglass. Why buy a stopgap pod only to replace it after you come to grips with the huge contribution a tripod gives to image quality. Time to pony up.
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Bob Kulon

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MikeCable
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2005, 01:36:47 PM »
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Hi:
I don't mean to be the voice of Walmart, but I use a heavy-weight studio tripod, and a carbon-fiber traveling tripod, made by Amvona (Amvona.com, or *gasp* ebay).  I perch my precious 20D on them, and don't worry for a minute, and they're a whole lot less $$ than a Gitzo.  If I felt I were giving up performance, reliability, or features I'd go for the high-priced spread, but these are beefy and flexible.  They do exactly what I want a tripod to do.  I don't worry about them, and I save some real dollars to put in my wallet for lighting and glass.

Am I giving something up, risking something, being short-sighted somehow?
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2005, 03:19:32 PM »
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The 1348 will give you even more height. Either will work as described.
The 1348 fully extends to almost 66" at the base plate with no center column, taller including the ballhead.

I'm 5' 11".  The tripod/ballhead/EOS 1D2 combination at full extension puts the viewfinder uncomfortably above my eye level.

Paul
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tamerlin
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2005, 01:11:12 PM »
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I recently got a Gitzo Explorder aluminum tripod (IIRC that's the 1228?), and
I'm very happy with it. It's quite light, and I found that the angleable offset
column came in very handy for lower angles for shooting flowers and such.
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Julian Love
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2005, 03:01:52 PM »
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I've had a Velbon 530 for the last couple of years with a Linhof head, and find it is excellent. Build quality is excellent, legs can be adjusted independently. The leg releases are smoother than my old aluminium gitzo, and collect less gunk (sand, dust etc). I detach the bottom half of the centre column to save weight and find that it is only 5 ccm below eye level without the column extended using a Canon 1Ds (I am 5'8''). And it is so light - only 1.2kg. I have played with a Gitzo 1227 in the shop and this is every bit as well built. The only irritating thing is that the screw thread is 1/4" rather than 3/8" so you need to use a step up thread. Otherwise highly reccommended.

The only gripe I have is that it is too long when collapsed for backpacking with a smallish pack - its fine for long treks with my 90L pack, but too tall to strap onto my 50L for shorter trips. So I am considering getting a 640, which is the same height without the centre column extended, but 10cm shorter when collapsed. I can get one for £170 here in the UK, which is half the price of the comparable Gitzo 1228.

Julian
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Stealthfixr
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2005, 08:51:50 PM »
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Any money saved could go towards another lens, or a nice ballhead.  So, it's not exactly "money is no object", but choose the best tripod for the money that will work with a 20D plus a 70-200/2.8 IS, a 100-400 IS, a 300/4 IS, and any of these lenses plus a 1.4x.  

The list is not all inclusive, just the choices I am considering at this time.  I have not ruled out AL tripods, but like the CF ones for the shock absorption and light weight.  The tripod will be used everywhere--look for general field usability.

Which would you choose?  Thank you all for your time and advice!
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2005, 02:56:42 PM »
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The feisols are also nice.  I haven't tried my friends 1D w/100-400IS on it.
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Robert Spoecker
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2005, 07:26:23 PM »
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leg locks that are handy
Velbon Carmagne 540 (and various other models) have bomb proof lever locks and also all around superb engineering.

You need to consider how portable your tripod needs to be.  One of my tripods is an ultra robust, big, bomb proof Velbon CF that I never use because most of my shooting is not straight out of my car and I just got tired of hauling that thing around.
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mikebinok
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2005, 11:08:31 PM »
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Only one of the tripods listed that I have used is the G1228.  The leg locks made a loud "bang" when you set them.  Not a good thing if you want to have wildlife in your shots.  Also, rather than having stepped tabs to let the legs rest at certain angles, you could lock the legs separately in any angle.  This sounds flexible, but I didn't like it!  Also, the angleable pole that supports your ballhead is offcenter, and I didn't feel comfortable with it for most shooting (though I love it for static macro shots).

That's not a stab at Gitzo, all the tripods I own (3) are Gitzo!

The Bogen 3021 seems universally considered high bang-for-buck, but I haven't used it myself.

I agree with the posters who say that "Tripods are forever".  Don't stint on your tripod and ballhead, they will have an effect on every photograph you take.  I predict if you get a Gitzo 1325 you'll always be delighted with it.  Only $40 more than the G1228 you listed (at B&H).  Wonderful piece of equipment, the 1325 will hold everything up to and including a 600mm lens if you get one someday.  I love mine.
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nobody
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2005, 04:14:12 PM »
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I just upgraded from a Manfrotto 3001N (entry model) to a Gitzo 2227.

I love that I no longer have to bend over to look into the viewfinder (I'm 6'2").  I love the tripod legs that slide easily into the gear loops on my backpack without the little knobs catching.  I've come to like having all 3 legs tilting freely, placing the feet and then locking them into place instead of pre-angling them all.  These 3 things make using the tripod much more convenient and enjoyable.  That means I use it more (though I only got the new one a few weeks ago, so maybe it's a honeymoon period).

I wish that the leg angle clips didn't make a loud bang when I locked them into place (I'm considering some sort of foam tape to muffle it).  I also wish the overall length was shorter (carried transverse under a pack it sticks out quite a bit on both ends).

Neither tripod had any trouble with a 100-400 zoom (even with a cheap Promaster ball head).

For me, the height boost was really wonderful.  I looked at the 1228, but it just wasn't tall enough.

I checked the 3021, but it was too heavy.  No sense buying a tripod if it will be too heavy to take with me.
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YosemiteSam
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2005, 02:36:43 AM »
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Praise:

1.) I recently found that tilt on the head of my old Velbon would no longer support the weight of my medium format Noblex. I discovered that the distributor for Velbon in USA is ToCAD America. I called them (973-428-9800) and they said they could fix the problem by replacing the collet for only $9.95, including return shipping. They returned it in maybe 10 days and now it holds perfectly. I can't say enough good things about a company that is there to take care of their customers with a product some 20 years old. Guess what brand I'd buy next time (if there ever was a "next time")!

2.) I'm also in love with the large format Bogen head (not to mention the wooden tripod I bought from Zone VI before it was swallowed by Calumet: 22# total) and assume the quality would be similar on the smaller units.
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boku
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2005, 01:23:53 PM »
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Lucky for me this topic came along as I am also researching tripod options to put under my Contax 645. I am 6 feet tall.

I am trying to choose between the Gitzo 1325, 1348, and 1548. I plan to mount a RRS B-55 ballhead atop the bare legs with no center column.

Wondering if any of you have experience with this rig. I have not been able to locate any but the 1325 locally to try them out for size; and looking at the specs doesn't give a complete picture of whether these tripods so configured will be tall enough for me.

Any ideas appreciated.
I have the 1325g/RRS B-55 rig.

I am 5'9" and I'd say that there is about an extra foot of extension beyond where I consider comfortable viewing level.

I use the leveling base, so that adds about 1" to the oveall height.

The 1348 will give you even more height. Either will work as described.
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Bob Kulon

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Play it Straight and Play it True, my Brother.
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2005, 06:11:25 PM »
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I have the Gitzo 2227 CF Explorer with a Giottos MH-1000 Ballhead and a Manfrotto 3419 Micro Positioning Plate for stitched panorama and macro shots. This setup is very handy and flexible in the field for macro shots at weird angles (like black widow spiders in their webs), stitched panoramas (the 3419 plate makes aligning the nodal point properly fairly easy) and anything else that requires the camera to be steady in an odd position.

If you need a really tall tripod, look into the Manfrotto 475B. With the legs fully extended, it will reach over 6 feet tall with a head without even extending the center column. With the center column extended, you'll definitely need a small stepladder or the like to see through the viewfinder.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2005, 01:24:29 PM »
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Quote
Quote
Quote
The 1348 will give you even more height. Either will work as described.
The 1348 fully extends to almost 66" at the base plate with no center column, taller including the ballhead.

I'm 5' 11".  The tripod/ballhead/EOS 1D2 combination at full extension puts the viewfinder uncomfortably above my eye level.

Paul
Any rigidity problems with all four leg sections extended? I have heard some complaints about this with the 1348.

Don't mean to sound like a twerp--I just don't have local access to one of these to try it out.

Thanks a lot.
I've had no problems with flex with all 4 sections fully extended (my heaviest combination is a EOS 1D2 with 70-200 L IS and 1.4X extender).  However, the only time I use the 1348 fully extended is when I need to shoot up/overhead.

Paul
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Hank
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2005, 07:30:06 PM »
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No problems with flex whatsoever, and I've had mine since the first year of release.  I use it for LF, MF, and long lenses on 35mm.  The major advantage of four sections is travel.  Three sections aren't short enough to go into a suitcase, yet with four sections it fits fine.  

I'm 6'4" and never need to extend mine fully unless I'm on a steap hillside.  For a long time I shortened the bottom section to adjust for my height, due to concerns about flex.  Now I don't bother- I simply extend all the sections fully and make my adjustments with the uppermost collars.
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2005, 10:16:40 PM »
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Here's another vote for Velbon. I have an 830 carbon fiber model which is rock solid even with a 500 f:4 lens on it. It goes to well over 6.5 feet without any center column extension. The extra height is actually very useful when photographing on slopes. I actually cut the center column short with a hacksaw, which permits the tripod to go right down to ground level with the legs spread out. It's several hundred $'s cheaper than the Gitzo equivalent, and the leg collar locks are much smoother to use.
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bobtowery
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« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2005, 02:32:53 PM »
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For a tripod purchase to be a good one for a decade or lifetime - you have to try them out to see what really works for you.

When I got started I bought a Gitzo, because on all the threads I read that's what got the most nods.

Try as I might, I never, ever, liked the leg locks.  How many times did I pinch my fingers?

A dog knocked over my (rock solid) gitzo, and the cast assembly where the legs came together just cracked in half.  While Gitzo was replacing it, I borrowed a manfrotto from a friend, and in one day I was in love (er, with the tripod that is).

I now have a carbon fiber manfrotto that is a joy to use.  For me that is.  Get with some buddies and try out their gear.  Might save you from having to sell your first choice on ebay!

Bob.
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didger
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2005, 08:25:06 AM »
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I'd go for one of the Velbon Carmagne CF tripods rather than any of what's on your list.  I have 2 Velbon Carmagne tripods and they're fabulous and far less money than comparable Gitzo.  For some reason Velbon doesn't bother to market these tripods seriously in the USA, so you don't hear much about them, but they're absolutely top quality and very ergonomics good too.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2005, 07:45:43 PM »
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Save money on a tripod for another lens? Bad logic. Sooner or later you will buy a riteous tripod to deliver the goods of your fine L teleglass. Why buy a stopgap pod only to replace it after you come to grips with the huge contribution a tripod gives to image quality. Time to pony up.
Ditto, ditto, ditto.

Of all the camera gear you own today, a good tripod and head (along with top grade lenses) are likely to be the only equipment you will still be using 10 years from now, or longer.

Definitely not the area in which to cheap out.

Best,

Paul

ps: Gitzo 1348 for me,  but I  hear good things about Feisol and Manfrotto as well.
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mikeseb
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« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2005, 12:04:49 PM »
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Lucky for me this topic came along as I am also researching tripod options to put under my Contax 645. I am 6 feet tall.

I am trying to choose between the Gitzo 1325, 1348, and 1548. I plan to mount a RRS B-55 ballhead atop the bare legs with no center column.

Wondering if any of you have experience with this rig. I have not been able to locate any but the 1325 locally to try them out for size; and looking at the specs doesn't give a complete picture of whether these tripods so configured will be tall enough for me.

Any ideas appreciated.
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michael sebastian
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