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Thread started 14 Nov 2010 (Sunday) 20:49
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Can a cheaper Tripod be made to 'do the job?'

 
Ken ­ Nielsen
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Nov 14, 2010 20:49 |  #1

I have a moderately good Velbon video tripod which I am in the throws of trying to keep for 400mm and longer telephoto shooting. I plant the legs into the soft earth and chain a 30 lb bag of tire chains to the center, barely letting it touch the ground to dampen any possible movement.

Tell me, am I kidding myself? Can I make this mediocre tripod get steady shots as opposed to just breaking down and spending the fifteen hundred dollars and getting a good Gitzo tripod?

I went to the store and tried the Gitzo in the showroom and it definitely is solid - so I know that much is true. I did not buy because I wanted to go back to see if I could 'stiffen' up my existing tripod to get the same performance out of it.

Okay, Now I will hear your opinions,

TIA,

Ken




  
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maryhee
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Nov 14, 2010 21:11 |  #2

i'm wondering the same thing. i'm also wondering if you can do something (eg. spray a little wd40?!?) to make the head part smoother for panning.


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casaaviocar
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Nov 14, 2010 21:18 |  #3

Question is, do you want to trust $2400-$8400 worth of equipment to a jury rigged $200 tripod. Sure you can make it work. You can also get a decent used aluminum tripod set up for $500 or so. Manfrotto 3021/Manfrotto head. I have a Gitzo 1410/RSS BH-55 for less than a grand. The RSS head is a little bit of overkill maybe, nicest ball head by a long shot I've ever used.


Rule books are paper they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal -ekg-

  
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Ken ­ Nielsen
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Nov 14, 2010 21:35 |  #4

maryhee wrote in post #11284778 (external link)
i'm wondering the same thing. i'm also wondering if you can do something (eg. spray a little wd40?!?) to make the head part smoother for panning.

The delicate art of panning requires precise control. After I get everything tightened properly to dampen the movement, I use a hefty rubber band to pull the handle of the tripod along to follow predictably smooth objects, like a train going by. Look on You Tube for camera panning tips and tricks. I'm still not sure how the professionals do such a nice job. I think they spend lots of money and labor into getting those long beautiful panning shots with dynamic pullbacks.




  
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Ken ­ Nielsen
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Nov 14, 2010 21:40 |  #5

casaaviocar wrote in post #11284823 (external link)
Question is, do you want to trust $2400-$8400 worth of equipment to a jury rigged $200 tripod. Sure you can make it work. You can also get a decent used aluminum tripod set up for $500 or so. Manfrotto 3021/Manfrotto head. I have a Gitzo 1410/RSS BH-55 for less than a grand. The RSS head is a little bit of overkill maybe, nicest ball head by a long shot I've ever used.

My problem is, I've owned a Gitzo years ago, it was wonderful and I remember the ease with which it worked. The one I am thinking of going out and getting tomorrow morning is the Gitzo 3531, a Wimberley WH-200 (Ver II) head and Wimberley P-10 quick release plate.

That will set me back seriously, but I know I will dive into my outdoor bird shooting this winter, going after bald Eagles, with a new assurance of having equipment that shines and is up to the task, rather than putting up with 'twisty' equipment I know is not going to bring the same results.

Oh my, I'm talking myself into spending money...

You are right. There is a world of difference. It just costs an arm and a leg but is worth it.

Ken




  
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lannes
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Nov 14, 2010 23:27 |  #6

Have you considered some of the "heavy weight" ALU tripods like the Manfrotto 055xb, the Slik 700DX and the Vanguard Tracker 283AB 100


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Ken ­ Nielsen
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Nov 15, 2010 13:29 |  #7

I have considered nothing but Gitzo. They always get the top rating here and everywhere else. If I get anything I may as well settle it and get the one that has no excuses from anyone ever which should settle the matter forever.

Also "heavyweight" is what I have been playing with by tying bags of tire chains to my existing tripod. This might work, but look at the mess and extra work to this. Besides, what if I need my tire chains to get to my shooting location? Then I'm really in a fix. From what I can experience just by trying the Gitzo in the photo store, the Gitzo absorbs movement to make it like you have bags tied to it when you don't. Amazing functionality to be able to do that.




  
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mitch2k1
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Nov 15, 2010 15:20 |  #8

http://bythom.com/supp​ort.htm (external link)

You cannot go wrong with Gitzo, I have a 1348 with a RRS BH-55. A good solid base to work from.


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Lowner
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Nov 15, 2010 15:50 as a reply to  @ mitch2k1's post |  #9

Your Velbon and tyres and chain could well be better than the most expensive tripod ever made. Only you can really say. Does it feel solid? Have you noticed any problems?

The big problem with your arrangement is its lack of portability. Or do you have no trouble hiking up mountain passes with everything?

Nothing is perfect. I've read (and quoted it more than once) that the best tripod is a 10 ton granite rock to which has been bolted a ballhead. Anything else is a compromise. I use a Markins M10, considered a top end head. But if I leave the panning lock loose, the whole thing wobbles slightly.


Richard

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Ken ­ Nielsen
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Nov 15, 2010 18:20 |  #10

I don't go up mountain passes on foot with my gear. The Eagles nests I plan to watch this winter are all accessible by car and park and use the car as a blind, setting up the tripod a short distance away (I have a pop-up hunter's blind if I need it for sitting and waiting without disturbing the birds. I didn't go in to buy the Gitzo today as I planned, the big expense is giving me cold feet. Instead, I made one more stab at anchoring down the Velbon with a good 60 lbs of tire chains hanging from the center of the tripod and touching the ground just right to put a lot of down-pull on the tripod. It is very steady, but I'm thinking the tripod itself is the problem, 'cause when I focus by hand the image wiggles, when the wind blows ever so slightly, the image shakes slightly. Would this happen with the Gitzo too? I'm using a 560mm lens (400 + 1.4 TC). I'm thinking of getting the Gitzo because I have no comparison under my real world working environment unless I test the Gitzo with Wimberly head in the same conditions. If the Gitzo doesn't perform better then I have two weeks to return it for full refund. Just remembering how the Gitzo 'felt' in the camera store, makes me think it will perform better in the same conditions, especially if I tie two bags of tire chains to it.

$1500.00 will buy a lot of dinners through the winter, but one crisp shot of an Eagle will feed me for the rest of my life with satisfaction.

Photographers are artists, and as such should starve - Is that a good quote you can quote me on?

Tripod ramblings here...

:- )




  
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lannes
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Nov 15, 2010 20:45 |  #11

What model Velbon do you have ?


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klr.b
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Nov 15, 2010 22:47 |  #12

I'm also curious what tripod you're using if you're putting almost 70lbs. on it.


gordon
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Ken ­ Nielsen
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Nov 15, 2010 23:49 |  #13

klr.b wrote in post #11292030 (external link)
I'm also curious what tripod you're using if you're putting almost 70lbs. on it.

I have the Velbon DV 7000. It's held up really well and been through all my learning processes and cameras, both video and 7D. I've gotten a lot of use out of it but I am beginning to suspect that it's time to get the Gitzo/Wimberly to handle telephoto stuff. I do hope to graduate to a larger telephoto lens and the Gitzo would handle it better than the Velbon.




  
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plasticmotif
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Nov 15, 2010 23:55 |  #14

I'm extremely satisfied with my Feisol. I sold my Gitzo in favor of it. (They were similar. Very similar. I didn't think the extra 300 dollars was worth it.)

reallybigcameras.com


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casaaviocar
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Nov 16, 2010 04:10 |  #15

It's the little things that make the difference between a Gitzo and the knock-offs. Gitzo uses quality materials and the others usually use a lesser grade, slight differences here and there that may not show up for years. Glue in these joints vs bolted or clamped, magnesium vs cast aluminum, steel inserts in high stress areas vs native metal, stainless steel hardware vs steel, less dense carbon fiber vs more dense, lesser aluminum alloy vs better alloy. My background is an aircraft mechanic and pilot. I want quality, I crave quality, I recognize quality, I can't afford not to, my life or the lives of others literally depend on it.

I've owned a Manfrotto, Benro, Slik, and Gitzo. I've used Feisol, and Velbon. For sturdiness, and top notch construction, the Gitzo wins hands down. I was actually amazed when I stepped up and spent the money. Of course I went from a Manfrotto 3221 to a Gitzo 1410 (lighter weight Benro travel in between) and even though the Manfrotto is a good legset the Gitzo was several steps above. My Benro just doesn't have the damping the Manfrotto or Gitzo have, the slightest vibration is translated with the Benro, where the Gitzo and Manfrotto are absolutely solid and damp out almost immediately. Subtle differences and differences you may never notice. My biggest knock on the Manfrotto is having to bend over all of the time, it's just a bit short.

With you using the tripod as a car tripod you really have no need for CF, a good Aluminum Gitzo will save you about half in the price of the legset. The Gitzo 1410 (Adorama has a used one for $299 right now) is the next incarnation of the legset Art Morris uses for his BIF shots. You'll never go wrong with a Gitzo 410(1410) for a long lens with a Wimberley head for birds. It's a big heavy rig, but that's the point isn't it. I have a hard time putting a Mark II plus 500 f/4 ($8500) on much less.


Rule books are paper they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal -ekg-

  
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Can a cheaper Tripod be made to 'do the job?'
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