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Thread started 11 Apr 2013 (Thursday) 22:25
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tripod and ballhead options

 
NorthwestRebel
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Apr 11, 2013 22:25 |  #1

so like many people when starting in photography i bought a cheapo tripod to be able to do long exposures and what not. Now that ive really understand that you cant buy much cheap things and expect great results i would like to buy a nice tripod and ballhead. but i dont know which brand to buy manfrotto, bogen?? and do i really need a ballhead? my budget would be around 150-200


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Apr 11, 2013 22:42 |  #2

If you don't get a ballhead, you won't be able to adjust the camera ;)
With your budget I'd look at some aluminum legs like Manfrotto or Giottos. You should be able to pick up a set of sturdy but basic legs for a bit over $100, then you can get a basic ballhead like the Adorama Flashpoint line for around $60 that should be solid and reliable, just lacking in features relative to the more expensive ballheads.


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Sirrith
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Apr 11, 2013 22:49 |  #3

Up your budget to whatever the Manfrotto 055xprob + 498RC2 head costs.

You said you've learned that you can't buy cheap things and expect great results; but you seem to still be trying to do that. $150-200 for a tripod and head is on the very low end of the scale already.


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NorthwestRebel
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Apr 12, 2013 04:02 |  #4

Sirrith wrote in post #15818275 (external link)
Up your budget to whatever the Manfrotto 055xprob + 498RC2 head costs.

You said you've learned that you can't buy cheap things and expect great results; but you seem to still be trying to do that. $150-200 for a tripod and head is on the very low end of the scale already.

I dont mind paying more, i just didnt know much a decent tripod/ball head would be.


I think im gonna save up and get a Benro A2970F and a Manfrotto 498rc2. i dont mind paying more and it seems like it would be a good combo.


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Sirrith
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Apr 12, 2013 04:07 |  #5

What are you planning to do with the tripod? Is it just for use around home and the backyard, or for hiking, or will you be driving? If you are planning on carrying it a lot, an aluminium tripod is not ideal as they weigh more.

Also, for around the same price as the 498rc2 by itself, you should get something Arca-Swiss compatible, don't get locked into the RC2 standard which is inferior. Take a look at Induro heads or Adorama's flashpoint heads.


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Apr 12, 2013 05:33 |  #6

Lots of research into makes like Benro, Induro etc. I am not that smitten by my Manfrotto 055. And when I spotted a superceded Gitzo GT2330 reduced from £225 to £109 I snapped it up. It is one of the "affordable" Gitzos but it is definitely sturdier and easier to use than my Manfrotto. Find out what the good stuff is and look out for the good stuff in clearance sales is my advice. I jumped on the Manfrotto a month to early. :(


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bratkinson
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Apr 12, 2013 06:32 |  #7

About 35 years ago, I bought what was then a 'cheapo' Velbon pan head tripod at Target. I used to mount a pair of 35mm cameras on it with a T bar assembly. I'm still using it today. By todays' standards, it's very sturdy, well built extruded aluminum. I added a Kirk quick release plate on it when I added an L bracket to my 60D and more recently, 5D3.

About a year ago, I figured I needed to upgrade my cheapo monopod, and bought another cheapo that does the job (a Polaroid, believe it or not). I went even cheaper on the ballhead, and quickly found it couldn't hold my 60D with 24-105 mounted on it. So I went overboard with a Kirk BH-3. The high quality ballhead made all the difference in the world. But at $275 or so, it wasn't cheap!

Bottom line, buying cheap today will cost more in the long run, when 'cheap' fails and your camera comes crashing down.


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Phoenixkh
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Apr 12, 2013 06:36 |  #8

If I had to do it all over again, I'd make sure whatever I used for a ball head used the Arca-style quick release plates. There are lots of ways to accomplish this.... buy less expensive gear but get the ball head without a clamp. Buy the clamp from RRS or Kirk.

I agree with Tom: the Manfrotto RC2 quick release system is inferior. I've been struggling with it for years now). The sag you get after you've tightened everything down is annoying.


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Phoenixkh
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Apr 12, 2013 06:39 |  #9

bratkinson,

I just ordered a bunch of stuff from Kirk to change my Manfrotto over to Arca-style quick release plates. I'm keeping my Manfrotto 468MG head and hope that doesn't turn out to be a mistake. Gary at Kirk couldn't have been more helpful. I'm looking forward to getting the package.


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sawsedge
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Apr 12, 2013 08:25 |  #10

This is still relevant, and worth reading: http://www.bythom.com/​support.htm (external link)

I pretty much did what he said don't do. My first Bogen 3221 tripod was a decent aluminum model, pretty sturdy overall, great for macro, and definitely a cut above cheap tripods, but I went through several heads before I finally settled on the Kirk BH-1 10 or so years ago. Now I have Gitzo legs (carbon fiber) as well. If Induro or Benro had been known when I did that, I might have saved a few pennies.

As far as heads go, I totally agree to go with an Arca-Swiss compatible model. There are quite a few good ones that loads of people love. Kirk, RRS, Arca-Swiss, Acratech, Markins, and more.

When I compared the Aluminum Bogen vs the Gitzo carbon fiber with a 300mm f/4 and a crop sensor body, it is night and day. The Bogen, when tapped, would wobble for a long time in the viewfinder. The Gitzo settles down immediately. I'm out-of-date on the latest models, but I'd certainly go for carbon fiber legs whatever the brand.


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Phoenixkh
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Apr 12, 2013 08:33 |  #11

I'm only on my second tripod after getting back into photography in 2010. At the time, I only had a G12 and bought a tripod that would handle a DSLR, knowing I would head in that direction eventually.

I got my second and current one so I could get better macro shots. I agree that carbon fiber would be better, from what I've read. I've never used a set of carbon fiber legs so I can't comment from personal experience.

It's tough to take advice on tripods when you first start out because the advice you get from those who have been around for a while is so expensive. Then you add up all you've spent trying to get your less expensive choices to work well.... and you could have just purchased a great carbon fiber set of legs and an appropriate ball head with the Arca-style quick release system.


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sawsedge
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Apr 12, 2013 13:02 |  #12

Something I remembered about the Gitzo (It is a 6x carbon fiber model 3530 for reference): When it was still new to me, I used the tripod in a strong wind with my 70-200 at 200mm. I could barely see any shaking in the viewfinder. The tripod was on solid ground, fully extended (3 leg sections) so the camera was at eye level. I was surprised. Carbon fiber is good stuff.

A friend has the equivalent RRS carbon fiber tripod, and it is quite well made too.

I noticed the latest Gitzo and RRS models are around $1000. That's pretty steep. I paid around $600 new for mine I think, and I felt that was pushing it. Once I had it, I forgot all about the cost because it just worked so well. If I ever need to replace my tripod for some reason, I'll look at Induro or Benro first.


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NorthwestRebel
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Apr 12, 2013 20:49 |  #13

Phoenixkh wrote in post #15819045 (external link)
If I had to do it all over again, I'd make sure whatever I used for a ball head used the Arca-style quick release plates. There are lots of ways to accomplish this.... buy less expensive gear but get the ball head without a clamp. Buy the clamp from RRS or Kirk.

I agree with Tom: the Manfrotto RC2 quick release system is inferior. I've been struggling with it for years now). The sag you get after you've tightened everything down is annoying.

if the sag gets that bad i will keep my options open for something else. Not really in a rush to buy this just want get an idea of a good set up that i wont have to replace for a long time

Sirrith wrote in post #15818844 (external link)
What are you planning to do with the tripod? Is it just for use around home and the backyard, or for hiking, or will you be driving? If you are planning on carrying it a lot, an aluminium tripod is not ideal as they weigh more.

Also, for around the same price as the 498rc2 by itself, you should get something Arca-Swiss compatible, don't get locked into the RC2 standard which is inferior. Take a look at Induro heads or Adorama's flashpoint heads.

i just want a sturdy tripod that can hold up against the elements. i have a park by my house that has a gorgeous view of mt hood and when i went out one time at night to do long exposures my cheap 20 dollar tripod couldnt even bear the winds coming from the gorge with my 20d and samyang 14mm. they all came out blurry :(

sawsedge wrote in post #15819313 (external link)
This is still relevant, and worth reading: http://www.bythom.com/​support.htm (external link)


As far as heads go, I totally agree to go with an Arca-Swiss compatible model. There are quite a few good ones that loads of people love. Kirk, RRS, Arca-Swiss, Acratech, Markins, and more.

would you mind telling me the difference between the two? im a noob when it comes to tripod equipment


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Sirrith
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Apr 13, 2013 00:19 |  #14

NorthwestRebel wrote in post #15821917 (external link)
i just want a sturdy tripod that can hold up against the elements. i have a park by my house that has a gorgeous view of mt hood and when i went out one time at night to do long exposures my cheap 20 dollar tripod couldnt even bear the winds coming from the gorge with my 20d and samyang 14mm. they all came out blurry :(

The Manfrotto 055xprob should be able to hold against winds just fine; its a heavy beast. Alternatively, a better purchase would be the Benro C2682 which will dampen vibrations better due to being CF instead of aluminium, and will weigh less as well as support more. It does cost a bit more though.

A tip for when it is windy is to hang your bag or something heavy-ish off the hook at the end of the centre column on your tripod, this adds mass to the tripod and lowers the centre of gravity, making it more stable.


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NorthwestRebel
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Apr 13, 2013 21:37 |  #15

Sirrith wrote in post #15822471 (external link)
The Manfrotto 055xprob should be able to hold against winds just fine; its a heavy beast. Alternatively, a better purchase would be the Benro C2682 which will dampen vibrations better due to being CF instead of aluminium, and will weigh less as well as support more. It does cost a bit more though.

A tip for when it is windy is to hang your bag or something heavy-ish off the hook at the end of the centre column on your tripod, this adds mass to the tripod and lowers the centre of gravity, making it more stable.

i was thinking of getting the Benro A2970F but i still dont know about which head to get cause there seem to be so many options lol. alot of people say to get a archa swiss plate but which one or brand would be a decent choice


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