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FORUMS General Gear Talk Tripods, Monopods & Other Camera Support 
Thread started 26 Jun 2016 (Sunday) 10:26
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what are the criteria for a good tripod?

 
Tom ­ Reichner
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Tom Reichner. (3 edits in all)
     
Jul 01, 2016 08:37 |  #16

stevewf1 wrote in post #18055010 (external link)
It's very stable and steady, but a strong enough wind will knock anything over.


SailingAway wrote in post #18050406 (external link)
Accept that no matter how heavy the tripod, there is a gust of wind strong enough to blow your camera over. Knowing that, you can take appropriate steps in windy conditions to prevent that happening, like tying it off to a camera bag, staking it to the ground, sand-bagging, leaving it set low except when you have a hand on it, or never leaving the tripod when set up in significant wind.

I don't necessarily agree with the idea that a really strong wind can blow any tripod over. All you need to do is to set it on the 2nd or 3rd leg angle position, and I don't think any wind is going to be able to blow it over. I think the wind thing is only an issue when it is set at the steepest leg angle position, which should not be commonly used for most types of wildlife photography, anyway.

Most wildlife is photographed most effectively from a kneeling or prone position, with the camera fairly low to the ground. When doing this, it is best to have the legs extended all the way out, but to have them at a very shallow angle, which effectively doubles the overall footprint. When you set it up like this, which you should for 90% of all wildlife shooting, then it is impossible for wind to knock it over. It seems to me like the OP understands the value of shooting from a very low POV, as he wants a tripod that willl go down to almost ground level.

It's really only when you are standing up and shooting at that kind of crazy height that you need to worry about wind. But how often is a wildlife photographer going to shoot from a standing up position? Hardly ever, if he cares about pleasing backgrounds and appealing composition. Exceptions do exist, of course, as there are occasions that call for setting up lower and shooting from a lying down flat on the ground position, and there are also times when conditions call for one to shoot from a standing up position......although the latter are rare.

EDIT: here's a pic to show one of the angle at which tripods are set up at for about 90% of all effective wildlife photography. They have theirs set to the 2nd leg angle position - setting it at the 3rd leg angle position would create an even larger footprint, and be even more stable against the wind.


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Foodguy
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Jul 01, 2016 09:06 |  #17

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18055059 (external link)
I don't necessarily agree with the idea that a really strong wind can blow any tripod over. All you need to do is to set it on the 2nd or 3rd leg angle position, and I don't think any wind is going to be able to blow it over. I think the wind thing is only an issue when it is set at the steepest leg angle position, which should not be commonly used for most types of wildlife photography, anyway.

I suppose it can depend on the 'wind', and the particulars of the tripod and camera set-up? I was shooting an executive getting in and out of a helicopter once on a rooftop helipad. Hasselblad ELM with a 150 lens mounted on my Gitzo Studex set at about 5' off the ground. I left the camera position for a moment and when I turned back, the prop wash toppled the camera straight into the ground, lens first. :oops:

The force of the fall caused the lens to push through the body driving the entire mirror box out of the back by an inch or so. When I lifted the tripod back up I stood looking at something strange to my eyes; I wasn't sure what I was seeing for a moment.vmad

Glad I had additional bodies and lenses with me that day, and the tripod and camera never left my hand until the helicopter had left and we were packing up to go. Needless to say, it was a valuable lesson for me.

Yikes.


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

  
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Phoenixkh
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Jul 01, 2016 10:34 |  #18

stevewf1 wrote in post #18055010 (external link)
How much do you want to spend?

I have an RRS TVC-33 with the RRS BH-55 ball head. Only $1,380. And you'll have to spend $50+ for quick a quick release plate for each of your cameras. If you want to get the RRS tripod bag for all this, that's close to $100.

But this is a good tripod...

You can save maybe $40 if you get the screw lock ball head plate instead of the quick release plate.

It'll go pretty much flat to the ground. It has three leg sections and no center column. It's very stable and steady, but a strong enough wind will knock anything over.

All the metal parts are machined from solid aluminum, not stamped or forged.

It's a full size tripod, but it's light for its size. However, I wouldn't consider this a travel tripod.

Yeah, it's crazy money, but one of the criteria of a good tripod is also that it will simply work well and work well for a long, long time.

I'm not particularly advocating this particular tripod, but remember that another criteria for a good tripod is that it isn't going to be cheap.

I finally got tired of messing around with lesser products. I bought an RRS TVC 34L and a BH55 ball head. What a relief. It's such a pleasure to use. I forget what it cost I like it that much. I have to look it up if someone asks. I added a side gimbal setup after that. I don't have a heavy enough lens to need a full gimbal but for a few bucks, I can make it full gimbal should I need to.


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SailingAway
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Jul 01, 2016 12:48 |  #19

stevewf1 wrote in post #18055010 (external link)
How much do you want to spend?

I have an RRS TVC-33 with the RRS BH-55 ball head...
...Yeah, it's crazy money, but one of the criteria of a good tripod is also that it will simply work well and work well for a long, long time.

If you do invest in a keeper tripod, bear in mind that it should go for decades. Tripod technology doesn't move the way camera tech does. You'll have that tripod under 3 or 4 cameras, or more...


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fotopaul
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Jul 01, 2016 14:18 |  #20

I think most people with experience (with any type of gear) realise there really isn't a tripod that is ideal for every purpose.

Sure the main criteria for a tripod is stability, but apart from that there different criteria for different kinds of shooting.

For instances a tripod for hiking will be very different to a tripod for studio work etc.

So good criteria depends very much on what you shoot.


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Foodguy
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Jul 01, 2016 16:56 |  #21

^ Well said. Like a lot of things, it depends...:-)


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

  
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Savethemoment
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Jul 01, 2016 19:23 |  #22

Phoenixkh wrote in post #18055122 (external link)
I finally got tired of messing around with lesser products. I bought an RRS TVC 34L and a BH55 ball head. What a relief. It's such a pleasure to use. I forget what it cost I like it that much.

I bought exactly this same combination as my first tripod and I absolutely love it. It cost even more in Aussie dollars and with the shipping to Sydney, but it was worth it. I did once have a problem with the ball head freezing up, but found a page on the RRS website which explained what to do about that and it was an easy fix.

When I was shopping for tripods I read on POTN of that of three criteria: cheap, stable and light, you can choose only two! And I think that's true. Best of luck in your choice.


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stevewf1
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Jul 02, 2016 08:56 |  #23

Savethemoment wrote in post #18055478 (external link)
I bought exactly this same combination as my first tripod and I absolutely love it. It cost even more in Aussie dollars and with the shipping to Sydney, but it was worth it. I did once have a problem with the ball head freezing up, but found a page on the RRS website which explained what to do about that and it was an easy fix.

When I was shopping for tripods I read on POTN of that of three criteria: cheap, stable and light, you can choose only two! And I think that's true. Best of luck in your choice.

What happened with ball head freezing up and what was the fix?


Steve

  
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Savethemoment
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Jul 02, 2016 09:34 |  #24

stevewf1 wrote in post #18055870 (external link)
What happened with ball head freezing up and what was the fix?

http://blog.reallyrigh​tstuff.com …-a-frozen-bh-55-ballhead/ (external link)

It's described in this link. For no apparent reason one evening the ball simply would not budge, even when I completely loosened the large knob. The smaller knob which controls tension also wouldn't move at all. It was perplexing and a bit scary - I hadn't been doing anything unusual and there were no extreme temperatures or anything else which would explain it.

Eventually I looked online, followed the steps in this link and all was well, but it wasn't something I had expected at all.


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Jul 02, 2016 10:37 as a reply to  @ Savethemoment's post |  #25

That reminds me of the Arca-Swiss B1 "freeze". That has never happened with my Z1 (Arca-Swiss fixed it), and never happened with my Kirk BH-1.


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stevewf1
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Post edited over 3 years ago by stevewf1. (4 edits in all)
     
Jul 03, 2016 06:32 |  #26

Savethemoment wrote in post #18055893 (external link)
http://blog.reallyrigh​tstuff.com …-a-frozen-bh-55-ballhead/ (external link)

It's described in this link. For no apparent reason one evening the ball simply would not budge, even when I completely loosened the large knob. The smaller knob which controls tension also wouldn't move at all. It was perplexing and a bit scary - I hadn't been doing anything unusual and there were no extreme temperatures or anything else which would explain it.

Eventually I looked online, followed the steps in this link and all was well, but it wasn't something I had expected at all.

OK, thanks for that. I haven't had that problem yet, but it's nice to know how to fix it if I do.

So is this problem "user error" or what?

I haven't had this BH-55 for very long and I really haven't figured out that tension drag knob yet. I can't see that it does all that much, so right now, I'm not using it.


Steve

  
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Post edited over 3 years ago by fotopaul.
     
Jul 03, 2016 06:57 |  #27

stevewf1 wrote in post #18056614 (external link)
I haven't had this BH-55 for very long and I really haven't figured out that tension drag knob yet. I can't see that it does all that much, so right now, I'm not using it.

Losen the main knob and then adjust the tension knob so that you can move your camera and when you let go it stays in place. Depending on camera setup you will need different amount of tension to keep the setup still when you let go.

This is for easily change composition without having to using the main know to lock/unlock all the time. And of course so that once you loosen you gear won't be slipping of and cut hands off.. :-)

This is not unique for RRS bullheads, many others have this feature as well, many bullheads have a tension dial instead on the main knob.


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happy ­ hopping
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Jul 06, 2016 08:09 |  #28

So after reading input from various posters in this thread, I have a few quick questions:

1) what is arca swiss compatible.

2) if there were no wind, do you have to mount the camera (I use the mount on the 70-200) exactly level so it won't fall over? Or does the tripod has the means to hold the camera at reasonable level position. And if so, what exactly is holding the camera NOT to fall over?

as I have a cheap tripod, it has to mount exactly level, otherwise, it will knock over

===============

3)

https://photography-on-the.net …hread.php?t=147​450&page=1

I really like this feature (see photo of Manfrotto 055Pro by Olz, where the tripod nearly touch the ground)

Now, what is the difference between these 3 models of 055Pro?

BH photo has this at $250 less $50 mail in rebate = $200

a)

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …pro3_aluminum_t​ripod.html (external link)

But the main website of Manfrotto has this unit on sale, but their part no. is slightly different:

b) 055 kit - alu 3-section horiz. column tripod + 3 way head
MK055XPRO3-3W

c) 055 Alu 3 Sec Tripod with XPRO Ball Head + 200PL plate
MK055XPRO3-BHQ2

(both b) and c) are on sale w/ $100 off as well, so price wise, all 3 is approx. the same w/ b, c) slightly more

4) what do you really gain w/ the ball head for the above vs. w/o the ball head? In other words, how does the ball head helps?

I prefer a budget of less than $450 or so, and I don't know if the 055 Pro has quick release plate or not. Currently, I have a plate screwed to the bottom of my 70 to 200 lens, and I just click onto the tripod, so it's only 1 sec., and that works for me.




  
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Jul 06, 2016 09:42 as a reply to  @ happy hopping's post |  #29

What you gain with a ball head is speed to track and compose. A ball head can be locked down, or, with tension slightly slacked, can offer some resistance to movement such that you can reposition and shoot, without needing to touch the head controls. A ball head goes equally easily in all directions. Most people would regard a ball head as a general purpose head, but especially for speed of composition. I'm not familiar with this particular head.

The 3-way head in (b) above requires more touches, and, IMHO, isn't as suitable for wildlife. For architecture and still-life, you get very precise positioning of pan, tilt, and roll independently. Manfrotto seem to have added friction controls on all three axies (?), so perhaps not as cumbersome as my old 3-way that hasn't come off the shelf in many years, but it is more oriented towards precision, less towards speed.

The 055 is a heavy tripod if you're hiking it around, but seems a pretty steady platform for your backyard photography.

Note that you can paste those Manfrotto part numbers into BH's site and see the tripod/head packages there, where you can read some reviews of how people are using them. You'd need to click links there to get detail on the heads, including QR systems.


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Wilt
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Wilt. (6 edits in all)
     
Jul 06, 2016 12:48 |  #30

SailingAway wrote in post #18059375 (external link)
The 055 is a heavy tripod if you're hiking it around, but seems a pretty steady platform for your backyard photography.

'Heavy' is relative. In absolutes, all specs without ballhead...


  • My Bogen 3036 (large heavy tripod, which I use mostly for studio work with 4x5 monorail view camera, weighs about 9.5 lbs.
  • My Bogen 3021, which I had before my Gitzo, weighed about 5.75 lbs.
  • The Bogen 3001 was about 3.6 lbs.
  • The Manfrotto 055PRO3B weighgs about 5.5 lbs.
  • My current Gitzo 2530EX weighs about 3.4 lbs. (with optional spike feet)


Back in the 1990s the Bogen 3001 was the hiker's choice, whereas the 3021 was the tripod of choice when the sturdiest tripod yet lightest weight for hiking was not essential

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what are the criteria for a good tripod?
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