Canon Digital Photography Forums tripod height vs your height
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 14th of December 2005 (Wed) #1 psychonaut Member   Join Date: Jan 2005 Posts: 93 tripod height vs your height cost, weight and availability issues aside - how tall should a tripod be ? lets define what we're talking about more precisely, we are talking about *maximum height of tripod to the BOTTOM of ballhead, and with the center column FULLY LOWERED* state what you feel is the optimum height ( as defined above ) in terms of your own height minus some number of inches. for example if you are 6 feet tall and you think a tripod ( for yourself ) should be 5'4" to the bottom of ballhead with the column fully lowered your answer should be "MINUS 8 INCHES" ... i can also handle metric and by *optimum height* i really dont mean optimum, instead i mean a height beyond which increasing it further is pointless. go ahead, dont be shy !
 14th of December 2005 (Wed) #2 Scottes Trigger Man - POTN Retired     Join Date: Nov 2003 Location: A Little North Of Boston, MA, USA Posts: 12,838 Re: tripod height vs your height I'm 6' tall. Top of head to eye is about 5". My 20D is about 3" from base to viewfinder. My ballhead is 5.5" from bottom of base to top of QR plate. So, 72" - 5" - 3" - 5.5" = 58.5" - But subtract another 1" or 1.5" so that I can aim down without going on my tippy-toes. So my optimum tripod height would be 57" with center column at min height. My 3021B-Pro lists Maximum Height w/o Column Extended 53.2" (135.1 cm) So I'm a little low. And now I have to wonder about my math because I generally find this tripod perfect for me.... __________________ You can take my 100-400 L away when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Scottes' Rum Pages - Rum Reviews And Info Finally, I have a Gallery! Follower of Fidget - Joined the cult of HAMSTTR©
 14th of December 2005 (Wed) #3 Scottes Trigger Man - POTN Retired     Join Date: Nov 2003 Location: A Little North Of Boston, MA, USA Posts: 12,838 Re: tripod height vs your height Hmmm... Floor to top of my brandy-new centering column is 56". To the top of my QR plate is 61". With the QR plate mounted to my 400's tripod foot, the distance to the 20D's viewfinder is closer to 3.75" - so almost 65" total. At a natural stance, my eye centers almost perfectly on the hotshoe, so a simple nod gets my eye to the right height. Perfect, though a smidgeon (that's .38365") too tall if I aim the lens down more than 10-degrees. Hmm, just realized that I am NOT 6' tool when my legs are spread in a comfortable stance. I'd say that my perfect tripod height for a 6' tall person would be 54", or a better measuerment would be 59" to the top of the QR plate on the head. This would allow a comfortable stance with a small amount of center column raise, or a simple stoop that's not too damaging for 5 hours of shooting. A single experiment is worth one thousand expert opinions.... Edit: Psychonaut, you amaze me in your pursuit of the perfect tripod. This should also get added to your "One Man's Pursuit..." thread. __________________ You can take my 100-400 L away when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Scottes' Rum Pages - Rum Reviews And Info Finally, I have a Gallery! Follower of Fidget - Joined the cult of HAMSTTR© Last edited by Scottes : 14th of December 2005 (Wed) at 19:25.
15th of December 2005 (Thu)   #4
psychonaut
Member

Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 93
Re: tripod height vs your height

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Scottes Hmmm... Floor to top of my brandy-new centering column is 56". To the top of my QR plate is 61". With the QR plate mounted to my 400's tripod foot, the distance to the 20D's viewfinder is closer to 3.75" - so almost 65" total. At a natural stance, my eye centers almost perfectly on the hotshoe, so a simple nod gets my eye to the right height. Perfect, though a smidgeon (that's .38365") too tall if I aim the lens down more than 10-degrees. Hmm, just realized that I am NOT 6' tool when my legs are spread in a comfortable stance. I'd say that my perfect tripod height for a 6' tall person would be 54", or a better measuerment would be 59" to the top of the QR plate on the head. This would allow a comfortable stance with a small amount of center column raise, or a simple stoop that's not too damaging for 5 hours of shooting. A single experiment is worth one thousand expert opinions.... Edit: Psychonaut, you amaze me in your pursuit of the perfect tripod. This should also get added to your "One Man's Pursuit..." thread.
lol, no need to add it anywhere.

but why do you want to subrtract the 1.5" for aiming down instead of adding 1.5 inches for aiming up ? its not like you HAVE to extend all the legs fully ?

*out to work, will be back in the evening*

15th of December 2005 (Thu)   #5
Scottes
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Re: tripod height vs your height

Quote:
 Originally Posted by psychonaut but why do you want to subrtract the 1.5" for aiming down instead of adding 1.5 inches for aiming up ? its not like you HAVE to extend all the legs fully ?
If you aim down the viewfinder rises. If the height of the viewfinder was perfectly at eye level you would either have to stand on tip-toes (unstable) or adjust a leg to lower the whole contraption. Conversely, aiming up drops the viewfinder, and it's pretty darn easy to either stoop more or raise the center column. I don't like to change leg length with gear mounted since something could go wrong and topple things. (Yes, unlikely, but they call them "accidents" not "onpurposes.") Also, changing one leg's length changes the angle of the QR plate *and* the center of balance. Changing all 3 legs' lengths is a major pain.

Granted, if you *knew* you were going to be aiming down then it's easy to simply not extend the legs. When shooting birds I never know when one might fly by or walk by.

In the end I guess that I want a tripod that is at the *perfect* height. I will spend most of my time at that height.
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 15th of December 2005 (Thu) #6 ewaters70 Member     Join Date: Apr 2005 Location: Burbank, CA Posts: 126 Re: tripod height vs your height this is a great thread. I am 6'6" and am always bending over to use my crappy tripod. Are there anyh tripods out there made for taller folks like myslef? Thanks Ed __________________ Canon 20D w/BG-E2 Grip | Canon EFS 18-55mm Kit Lens | Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 | Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM| Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 EX DG Macro | Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM | Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 II (FOR SALE)| Canon 420EX Speedlite | Canon RS-80N3 Remote Switch | Canon EP-EX15 Eyepiece Canon Pixma MP500 | Lightsphere II PJ | Canon 200EG Backback | Giottos MM-9160 Mono-Pod My flickr site My Space
 15th of December 2005 (Thu) #7 Scottes Trigger Man - POTN Retired     Join Date: Nov 2003 Location: A Little North Of Boston, MA, USA Posts: 12,838 Re: tripod height vs your height I believe Benbo makes a tall tripod. Or at least I remember someone who stated they used a Benbo because of their height. Another thing is to look for a sturdy tripod with a sturdy center column locking mechanism. Though my 3021Pro is great, I can easily imagine a more sturdy mechanism for the center column. Granted, extending the center column is not as sturdy as having it down. But if you get the right tripod it can still be sturdy, and it's probably better than killing your back. __________________ You can take my 100-400 L away when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Scottes' Rum Pages - Rum Reviews And Info Finally, I have a Gallery! Follower of Fidget - Joined the cult of HAMSTTR©
 15th of December 2005 (Thu) #8 Tomsk Member   Join Date: Dec 2003 Posts: 130 Re: tripod height vs your height Shouldn't the height of the subject would determine the height of the camera on the tripod?
15th of December 2005 (Thu)   #9
Scottes
Trigger Man - POTN Retired

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Re: tripod height vs your height

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Tomsk Shouldn't the height of the subject would determine the height of the camera on the tripod?
No. Why would you want to have a 4-inch-tall tripod to shoot shorebirds? Kinda limiting, don't you think? Let alone shooting skyscrapers - that would make for a heavy tripod!

All silliness aside, the tripod height should be based on the photographer's height while in their most common shooting position, while allowing the flexibility to go higher or lower as needed.

That said, my 3021Pro is almost perfect as I've explained, since I do almost all of my shooting from a standing position. The height of my most common subject (birds) can range from 3" to several thousand feet - and go from one extreme to the other in less than a second - so basing the tripod height on that doesn't make sense. The 3021Pro also gives me options. I can place the camera body a millimeter off the ground, or up to 7'4" in the air.

If photographing people it might make sense to place the center of the lens at the same height as the subject's eyes. But chances are that this will get you 1/2 their body and a lot of dead space above their head. You're going to angle the lens to get rid of that, so why not do it from a comfortable position? (Note that I do not shoot people, nor do I know anything about it, so I could be wrong here.)
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15th of December 2005 (Thu)   #10
psychonaut
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Re: tripod height vs your height

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Scottes Granted, if you *knew* you were going to be aiming down then it's easy to simply not extend the legs. When shooting birds I never know when one might fly by or walk by. In the end I guess that I want a tripod that is at the *perfect* height. I will spend most of my time at that height.
right ... but what if you didnt have any target application, what if you just had to get something which would work well for MOST purposes ?

the LOWEST point legs could be set to should probably be as low as possible, but the HIGHEST ... when shopping i have to set a limit at some point otherwise i would be wasting money since carbon fiber isnt free so taller legs are extra expense.

?

15th of December 2005 (Thu)   #11
psychonaut
Member

Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 93
Re: tripod height vs your height

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ewaters70 this is a great thread. I am 6'6" and am always bending over to use my crappy tripod. Are there anyh tripods out there made for taller folks like myslef? Thanks Ed
B&H sells for example :

Benbo 2 - extends to 2.5 meters, \$200

Gitzo G1349 kit - extends to 2.0 meters, \$730

but benbo has folded dimensions that arent practical, plus its heavy.

gitzo has a price tag that is not very practical.

you cant get something for nothing it seems =/

15th of December 2005 (Thu)   #12
psychonaut
Member

Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 93
Re: tripod height vs your height

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Scottes Another thing is to look for a sturdy tripod with a sturdy center column locking mechanism ... Granted, extending the center column is not as sturdy as having it down. But if you get the right tripod it can still be sturdy, and it's probably better than killing your back.
and that is the beef i have with Gitzo Explorer ... the way the column attaches to legs there just doesnt look as *industrial* as on the Gitzo Studex range.

 15th of December 2005 (Thu) #13 ScottE Goldmember   Join Date: Oct 2004 Location: Kelowna, Canada Posts: 3,179 Re: tripod height vs your height Have you used a Gitzo Explorer? There are detents in the locking mechanism so there is no movement in the pivoting action when it is locked. Using this tripod it is as steady as any similar sized tripod I have used. In my opinion the graphite does a better job of dampening vibration than alumimum so this tripod actually performs as well as some heavier tripods such as the Manfrotto 055 (3021 in USA).
15th of December 2005 (Thu)   #14
psychonaut
Member

Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 93
Re: tripod height vs your height

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ScottE Have you used a Gitzo Explorer? There are detents in the locking mechanism so there is no movement in the pivoting action when it is locked. Using this tripod it is as steady as any similar sized tripod I have used. In my opinion the graphite does a better job of dampening vibration than alumimum so this tripod actually performs as well as some heavier tripods such as the Manfrotto 055 (3021 in USA).
no i havent used it but that little hinge between the legs and the column looks flexible ... it has such a small cross section that unless its made out of titanium or something it cant be very stiff IMO ... but then i could be wrong.

i mean tripods, bicycles, baseball bats, tennis racquets etc are made out of tubes ( regardless of material ) for a reason. a flat sheet is just not a good shape for something that bears load.

granted, that piece is short so all is not so bad ... but i still dont like that solution.

and i think the fact that explorer actually costs LESS than gitzo's studex, and the fact that they only make two models with such a design tells me that it is NOT a win-win solution.

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