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Thread started 14 Aug 2010 (Saturday) 00:20
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An Architectural Shooters Tripod

 
Architective
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Aug 14, 2010 00:20 |  #1

I do mostly architectural shooting, and I feel like I'm finding the limits with my tripod, and I think it might be a reason to update it. I've got a Manfroot setup - 728B Legs, and a 3 axis head, not sure which type. I bought already set up with both.

So I'm looking for more versatility, , mostly for interiors. I am still shooting with a crop body (50D and a Tamron 10-24 lens), so I need go as far back into the corners as I can to capture the most area. I do not know what the feature is, but I'd like the option to rotate the center column to where I can shift it away from the center axis and swivel it around, say into a corner, and remote operate the camera. I think with this options you can put your shooting head on either end and be able to go low.

A few other considerations:

Head:
I now have a x/y/z kindof a head, and I am willing to keep an open mind to changing to either a ball head or pistol grip. I've found my head to limiting if the tripod was off level.

Level:
Spirit level - it would nice to have a level on the tripod somewhere, either in the head (preferred) or in the tripod legs.

Height:
I find myself more and more finding that extra height would help me shooting. Mine now extends up about 6' max, maybe a little less. I would like to clear that by a bit, where it's by 4 section legs or not. Compact, or not cumbersome at least, would be convenient. It's a tradeoff I'm willing to make. The higher the better, even if I have to carry two center columns.

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Everything Carbon fiber is awesome. Nothing wrong with aluminum. I'll consider both.

Legs:
I'd like lenses with more options, say 3. I wouldn't mind laying the legs nearly on the ground to go low with a shot.

Legs vs Legs with Heads-

Is it better to just buy them separately?

I don't mind paying for a quality tripod, which I consider to be $500 + / -. I'm getting paid to shoot buildings, so I want to have proper equipment I won't grow out of.

I've considered the Manfrotto 055XPRO legs, or a setup like this:
http://www.adorama.com​/BG055XPROBKC.html (external link)

I'm sure this is covered in the FAQ, but I had a really hard time finding it. I have pretty specific needs and there are a zillion combos out there, I don't know where to start.

Maybe these legs:

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Or the Flashpoint setup in this article:
IMAGE: http://www.adorama.com/Artworks2/flashpntArtcl1.jpg

Thanks!
matt



  
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bohdank
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Aug 14, 2010 11:41 |  #2

The 055XPROB (first image) is not very stable when the arm is extended to one side, horizontally, unless the legs are splayed out from their normal position which would lower the whole rig and also need more floor space unless the legs are not extended all the way. Again lowering the whole rig.

I would get a geared head like the 410 but it's also heavier than your typical ballhead, which would make the whole rig even less stable, imo.


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Aug 14, 2010 12:27 as a reply to  @ bohdank's post |  #3

Do you have a recommendation for more stable legs?




  
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bohdank
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Aug 14, 2010 12:32 |  #4

I'll let others answer since I don't use a tripod often enough to be able to recommend one, especially if you want the horizontal feature. My requirement was light weight, stable and compact.

I use a Feisol with no center column...about as far away as could be from your requirement. I did have a 055XPROB before which is why I posted.


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Aug 14, 2010 21:37 |  #5

If you're serious about architectural photography, you'll want a geared head. The two most common ones would be the Manfrotto 405 and 410. These will help you IMMENSELY getting the level/verticals right.


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Aug 14, 2010 23:31 |  #6

Keep in mind that accessories like this can be mounted on the top of a center column, so that no height capability is lost when utilizing the horizontal positioning capability.

http://www.manfrotto.u​s …uble_Head_Suppo​rt_-_Black (external link)


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Vascilli
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Aug 15, 2010 01:59 |  #7

I'd recommend a surveyors tripod with the appropriate thread reducer and a hefty geared head to match.


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Aug 15, 2010 05:34 |  #8

Vascilli wrote in post #10723841 (external link)
I'd recommend a surveyors tripod with the appropriate thread reducer and a hefty geared head to match.

Recently I was looking for a new tripod for my 4x5 and considered a surveyor's tripod, however the folks over at the Large Format Photography Forum were saying that although they can handle a big load, they really weren't stable enough for photography use.

I'll echo others in recommending a geared head, or at least a three way head. While a ball head is usually quicker, they can be more difficult for precise adjustments. I wouldn't recommend a pistol grip at all. Owning one for several years has shown two major issues when attempting precise adjustments: first is the action of releasing the grip can cause slight movements that throw your position off. Second, and this is really just for the vertical pistol grip, is that it puts the center of the camera load substantially further from the center of the ball effectively increasing the weight of the camera and putting more load on the ball whenever the head is tilted in any direction. Even with the tension cranked all the way up my head will still dip forward a bit from where I set it when using a larger lens.

I don't really have much advice regarding legs, except depending on the amount of precision you want in adjusting height, consider a geared column.


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The ­ Ran
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Aug 15, 2010 12:19 |  #9

I'll mention the Giottos MTL 9361B as an alternative to the 055XPROB. Max height is around 140cm with out the centre column extended (brings the viewfinder right to my eye level) and then you have another 30cm or so for the centre column bringing it to 170cm, plus you'll have another 5cm or so for a head. The centre column can swing out and rotate like the 055XPROB, however it's not limited to horizontal, it can go in any position from straight down to straight up.

With the centre column straight out horizontally it's pretty stable even with the legs fully extended and at their narrowest angle, as expected this a bit of wobble due to the legs flexing, however with the column above one of the legs there's no sign of tipping if I pull straight down on the head (to simulate a heavier camera. If I pull down with the column placed between two legs I can lift one leg off the ground, however at a guess I'd say I was putting over 10kg of load onto it. It will easily hold my 20D and 70-300mm with no problems, the 10-24mm should be a piece of cake.For getting down low you have no problems, I can literally get the ballhead touching the floor.

If you have any other questions I'd be happy to help, in my opinion this is a great tripod that doesn't seem to get mentioned as much as the Manfrotto alternatives.


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mikekelley
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Aug 15, 2010 12:57 |  #10

Geared heads are a bit pricey, they are nice to use but not necessary. I use one of the larger manfrotto carbon fiber tripods and a ball head with a gridded focusing screen for lining my shots up. I MIGHT be taking a smidge longer than when using a geared head, but I've never had issues with verticals in my shots. If I upgrade to a set of tilt-shift lenses i might go to a geared head to make my life easier but right now my ballhead gets the job done fine.


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Aug 15, 2010 20:43 as a reply to  @ mikekelley's post |  #11

Thanks for the advice guys. I think a geared head may suit me for the type of shooting that I would like to do. I neglected to mention that I also shoot with a 24mm TS-E, so fine adjustments, in addition to the grid on the live view, will come in quite handy.

How is the quality on Giottos products? They seem very reasonable, but I haven't found a place locally to put my hands on one and actually try it out to see.




  
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Aug 15, 2010 20:55 |  #12

mikekelley wrote in post #10725666 (external link)
Geared heads are a bit pricey, they are nice to use but not necessary. I use one of the larger manfrotto carbon fiber tripods and a ball head with a gridded focusing screen for lining my shots up. I MIGHT be taking a smidge longer than when using a geared head, but I've never had issues with verticals in my shots. If I upgrade to a set of tilt-shift lenses i might go to a geared head to make my life easier but right now my ballhead gets the job done fine.

For architecutural work, a ballhead just isn't gonna cut it. Truly. I own 2 beautiful ballheads (Marksins M10 and RRS BH-55) and they just pale in comparison the the (half the price) manfrotto 410 geared head, which goes for $250.

It's not just about verticals, it's about keeping horizontal plane even, and doing all this quickly without any mistakes. If you can get it *perfect* in camera, you won't have to spend time in post fixing all that/losing valuable space. This is especially true when you have a tilt shift lens.

Architective wrote in post #10727775 (external link)
Thanks for the advice guys. I think a geared head may suit me for the type of shooting that I would like to do. I neglected to mention that I also shoot with a 24mm TS-E, so fine adjustments, in addition to the grid on the live view, will come in quite handy.

How is the quality on Giottos products? They seem very reasonable, but I haven't found a place locally to put my hands on one and actually try it out to see.

shooting with a tilt-shift becomes SUCH a joy with a geared head. I'm usually a believer in buying right (expensive) the first time, but in this case...the manfrotto 410 works a treat. I'm sure the 405 would be nice, but it's also giant and twice the price.


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Aug 15, 2010 21:20 as a reply to  @ Cathpah's post |  #13

I'll echo the praise heaped on the Manfrotto 410 geared head. It's a pleasure to use for dialing in just the right tweak and holds the camera very steady on long exposures and multi-exposure HDR shots where any drift would cause grief. I've been using the 410 for a few months now and recently teamed it up with a Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 which is a 4 section, carbon fiber tripod that I really love because of all the height options you can get out of it from door knob height with one extension opened to towering shots with all 4 sections deployed. The horizontal switchable center column is not something I really need or use but it's there anyway for unusual shooting positioning if needed. Together, its about 7 pounds to carry around which is probably too much for hiking in the woods but for architectural shooting, which I do a fair bit of, it's perfectly manageable and a definite pro tool for the job. I also like having the second bubble level on the legs so that I can level that first and then freely pan without the head drifting out of true.

Cheers!


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René ­ Damkot
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Aug 17, 2010 20:06 |  #14

Guess I'm the odd one out then.

Photographer I work for has a 410 on a Gitzo 3530.
Love the tripod, hate the head.

I prefer my 1325/ M10.

It's more stable for sure (mainly because it uses an Arca QR instead of a manfrotto), it's lighter, easier to adjust and less restrictive in certain angles.

I can get my ballhead as level as the manfrotto, both using the built in bubble level. And if that's all the accuracy needed...

If I need more accuracy, I shoot tethered and use live view to position the camera.

YMMV.


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Aug 18, 2010 06:40 |  #15

For all our architecture and interiors, we have tripods with the geared manfrotto heads. Cannot praise them enough for this type of work. Especially as 70+% of all images are shot with a TS lens (17mm or 24mm). My partner was an avid ball head user until she tried it one day - never went back :)

I'd caveat the above saying you also really need to add an L bracket ... a bit frustrating without.

I recently bought the Gitzo GT2531EX explorer tripod as a trial - and it has proved very effective indeed. The horizontal column has been a boon in a number of tight places and for shooting up/down stairs and over balconies. I was concerned about stability but, thus far, no issues at all with a 5DII and the TS lenses. If you shoot with a 100-400 or bigger then it will not be suitable.

A small, digital spirit level has also more than earned it's place in the bag (and the Colorchecker Passport).


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