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Thread started 07 Jan 2014 (Tuesday) 14:29
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"Transverse" Center Columns

 
jt354
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Jan 07, 2014 14:29 |  #1

I'm in the market for a new general-purpose tripod to be used mostly for landscape and wedding photography and perhaps the occasional DSLR video. I've noticed a few brands (Manfrotto, Giottos, etc.) offering "transverse" center columns, which can be used to extend the camera horizontally as well as vertically (ostensibly for macro and superwide shots where the tripod legs may get in the way). Has anyone used such a beast? Any comparisons with the functionality and durability of a regular tripod? I've been very happy with my Slik 700DX, but it is heavy and doesn't pack well. I also have a Manfrotto 190XDB that is too light and "wobbly" for my needs.


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Mike ­ K
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Jan 07, 2014 15:10 |  #2

Yes, I do a lot of low angle (close to the ground) shooting with TSE lenses. I use a Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 (4 section carbon fiber) with RRS BH40 head and RRS L brackets. With the center column in lateral position, one can lengthen one tripod leg (or increase its angle slightly) on the leg furthest away from the tripod head. This will lower the camera so it can be as close to the ground as desired and the ballhead parallel to the ground. Thus with the camera L bracket the camera can be mounted in either portrait or landscape orientation. If you don't use an L bracket, you will cannot get the camera touching the ground in landscape orientation as the ballhead gets in the way (or the camera is upside down). The rig is quite stable due to the wide spread legs and low vertical position.

The TSE lens is manual focus lens and good visibility of the LCD is mandatory. So I also use an external monitor to compose and fine adjust both tilt angle and focus. While this article was written discussing the use of the external monitor for this application, you can get the idea of the set up from the first two images.
http://www.fredmiranda​.com/smallhd/ (external link)

I also owned a Gitzo explorer and actually prefer the vertically rotating center column, but found the lack of preset angle stops on the legs to be a real pain. One other approach I have seen is a clamp which clamps to a tripod leg near the ground and has two rotating ball joints for camera positioning. However this is a lot of extra hardware to haul around.
Mike K


Canon 6D, 1DmkII, IR modified 5DII with lots of Canon L, TSE and Zeiss ZE lenses

  
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jtmiv
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Jan 07, 2014 15:22 |  #3

Dear jt354,

Check out the video comparison on youtube between the Manfrotto 055XPROB and the Benro A2970F.

http://www.youtube.com​/watch?v=OiqD7v9mKPY (external link)

Regards,

Tim Murphy :D


EOS Elan, EOS7NE, EOS 40D, EOS1DMK2, Canon 15-85 IS EF-S, Canon 28-80 USM, Canon 28-105f3.5/4.5 USM, Canon 70-210f3.5/4.5 USM, Canon 70-300f4.5/5.6 IS USM, Tamron 19-35f3.5/4.5, Tokina 80-400 ATX 11, Sigma 150-500 OS HSM, Promaster 7500DX, Benro A3580F

  
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Snydremark
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Jan 07, 2014 17:21 |  #4

After going through a couple of different versions of the Manfrotto 055 series (aluminum and carbon fiber), I've finally just ordered one of these (external link) after some recommendations around here.

The Manfrotto/Gitzos are fine tripods, in and of themselves, but their support in the US is utterly abysmal. I've had leg parts fall off or break for both of them, after only 2 years or less of use each, and have been unable to raise customer support on the phone long enough to get it taken care of. Plus, I'm really not a huge fan of the extension mechanism on these.

The Benro takes a cue from the higher end Gitzos and uses a clamp that doesn't require you to extend the center column all the way out in order to transition to the horizontal; plus, it allows for a full, vertical swing without having to remove the center column and replace it upside-down.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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sawsedge
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Jan 08, 2014 08:57 |  #5

Here is how I handled that: https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1324360

The advantage is I avoid unbalanced loads. For closeups I have no problem getting the tripod and camera into a good position. I can think of one time where a tilt-able centerpost would help; aiming over the top of a wall/fence/rail. There are sure to be more but that's all that comes to mind. Staying close to the center of gravity is best for stability.


- John

  
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jt354
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Jan 10, 2014 06:39 |  #6

Sawsedge, I did the same thing with my Manfrotto 190XDB. The downside is that it reduces the maximum height of the tripod. Also, for macro and landscape I think there may be an advantage to the tilting column in that it allows composition to be adjusted without moving the entire tripod and helps keep the legs from interfering with the subject (especially since low-angle shots generally require spread tripod legs).


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Gear: Canon 60D / Canon G12 / Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 / Canon 35mm f/2 IS / Canon 85mm f/1.8 / Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 / Speedlite 430 EXII / Slik 700DX legs / Cullmann MB6 head

  
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Lowner
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Jan 10, 2014 06:42 |  #7

jt354 wrote in post #16593410 (external link)
Sawsedge, I did the same thing with my Manfrotto 190XDB. The downside is that it reduces the maximum height of the tripod. Also, for macro and landscape I think there may be an advantage to the tilting column in that it allows composition to be adjusted without moving the entire tripod and helps keep the legs from interfering with the subject (especially since low-angle shots generally require spread tripod legs).

The solution to the adjustment of a composition is called a ballhead. Anyone trying to shoot with a tripod without some kind of adjustable head is on a hiding to nothing.


Richard

http://rcb4344.zenfoli​o.com (external link)

  
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sawsedge
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Jan 10, 2014 08:58 |  #8

In general I think a tripod's height should be comfortable without using the centerpost. If you raise it all the time to avoid stooping, the legs are to short.


- John

  
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jt354
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Jan 10, 2014 09:19 |  #9

Lowner wrote in post #16593417 (external link)
The solution to the adjustment of a composition is called a ballhead. Anyone trying to shoot with a tripod without some kind of adjustable head is on a hiding to nothing.

Obviously. I was speaking more of front-back and height adjustment without having to adjust the leg length or tripod position.


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Gear: Canon 60D / Canon G12 / Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 / Canon 35mm f/2 IS / Canon 85mm f/1.8 / Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 / Speedlite 430 EXII / Slik 700DX legs / Cullmann MB6 head

  
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jt354
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Jan 10, 2014 09:22 |  #10

sawsedge wrote in post #16593718 (external link)
In general I think a tripod's height should be comfortable without using the centerpost. If you raise it all the time to avoid stooping, the legs are to short.

Agreed. Which is why I hate my Manfrotto 190XDB. The thing tops out at around 4' without the column extended. However, I do find it much easier to make minor adjustments using the center column than trying to extend all three legs 4", for example.


Zenfolio (external link)
flickr (external link)
Gear: Canon 60D / Canon G12 / Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 / Canon 35mm f/2 IS / Canon 85mm f/1.8 / Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 / Speedlite 430 EXII / Slik 700DX legs / Cullmann MB6 head

  
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peter_n
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Jan 11, 2014 07:40 |  #11

Benro make good quality tripods with articulating center columns in both aluminum and carbon fiber with both 3 and 4 leg section versions. I use an A2970T which is an aluminum 3 leg section tripod with twist locks. Some models also come with flip locks, they have an F at the end of the model number. These are well built, sturdy tripods that are not expensive.


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jt354
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Jan 11, 2014 07:44 |  #12

Thanks for the advice Peter, I think I may end up going with the Benro tripod over Manfrotto.


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Gear: Canon 60D / Canon G12 / Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 / Canon 35mm f/2 IS / Canon 85mm f/1.8 / Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 / Speedlite 430 EXII / Slik 700DX legs / Cullmann MB6 head

  
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peter_n
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Jan 11, 2014 08:04 |  #13

Benro USA doesn't sell their best models for some unaccountable reason. You will need to source from mainland China; the seller that Eric linked to up in post #4 (D. Chan) is a known, reputable dealer on this board.


~Peter

  
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jt354
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Jan 11, 2014 08:11 |  #14

^ Well dang, that may take even longer to ship than UPS ;)


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Gear: Canon 60D / Canon G12 / Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 / Canon 35mm f/2 IS / Canon 85mm f/1.8 / Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 / Speedlite 430 EXII / Slik 700DX legs / Cullmann MB6 head

  
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peter_n
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Jan 12, 2014 09:53 |  #15

^ You're probably not going to credit this, but I got next day delivery from dc-stuffs in Guangdong (Canton) Province on my travel Benro. It was picked up at 4:30am Guangdong time on a Thursday and DHL delivered it to my front door on the Friday at 6:30pm. I couldn't believe it.

Obviously this was an absolute exception, but air delivery from China can be very fast. The only issue I've had is delivery through Los Angeles; US customs there takes 7-10 days to clear packages.


~Peter

  
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"Transverse" Center Columns
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