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Thread started 01 Sep 2012 (Saturday) 08:47
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Help with selecting a tripod

 
alazgr8
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Sep 01, 2012 08:47 |  #1

I want to buy a tripod and I have been researching tripods/heads. I have done searches including here on POTN, and know that many POTN members own Manfrotto's. I would like to get the opinion of the POTN members on this subject before I buy.

I really like the Manfrotto model 190-XPROB because it is so adjustable. It allows the user to move the center column from vertical to horizontal, it has 4 adjustable leg angles, plus it's weight capacity is 11 lbs. I have handled this tripod at Samy's, and right now, this is the tripod I think I will buy based on name brand, quality, features and price, but I have no real ideas on what head features are important.

I plan on using the tripod for photographing items in a soft box, as well as some outdoor macro photography. I will also be using the tripod for family portraits. I don't really plan on using it a lot, so professional studio quality isn't necessary, nor do I plan on carrying it very far, so tripod weight/portability isn't an issue. After doing some research I have set a budget of up to $300 including head, but would prefer to spend closer to $200 based on expected usage, however if someone were to present an option with superior quality for just a little more money I have no problem spending more. I just don't want to spend a lot of money on something that's going to sit in a closet most of the time.

For gear, I have a 40d, but no heavy (think Sigma 50-500, or Canon 400) lenses, and don't see any heavy lenses in my future. I would appreciate any advice you care to offer on tripod legs or heads. I would not be opposed to buying used, and have been looking in the POTN sell section as well as on CL.

Regards,

Rick

Manfrotto 190XPROB Tripod Legs (Black) with 804RC2 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …OB_Tripod_Legs_​Black.html (external link)


Rick S.
My Gear = Canon 50d ~ EF 100 f/2.8L IS USM Macro ~ EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM ~ EF-S 17-55 IS USM f/2.8 IS ~ EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM ~ EF 28-135 IS f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

  
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mnphotos
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Sep 01, 2012 09:12 |  #2

For what you want to spend and your intended usage of the tripod I would consider this one which includes the ball head. Check the reviews of it on B&H.

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …0_Alta_Pro_263A​B_100.html (external link)

http://www.vanguardwor​ld.com …s/detail-1-4-225-622.html (external link)

I have that tripod and it's a great tripod. It's not light though so it's not one I'd want to carry too far.

Ed


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rick_reno
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Sep 01, 2012 09:39 |  #3

i'd recommend reading thru this article, it could save you some time and money

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




  
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icopus
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Sep 01, 2012 10:13 |  #4

mnphotos wrote in post #14934566 (external link)
... I would consider this one which includes the ball head...

I just missed the half-off sale this past Christmas on this tripod at Fry's. So I waited. Sure enough, it went on sale again a couple of months ago. After sale price and rebate, it was $100! I would imagine it will go on sale again for a similar price at Fry's. They tend to repeat what they put on sale.

For the price, this tripod is very versatile and steady. I'm quite impressed, but then I like warm Dr Pepper. :wink:
More reviews (and mine) at Amazon. (external link)


It's my life and I'll get pissed if I want to.
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hyogen
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Sep 01, 2012 10:15 |  #5

how's the sunpak carbon fiber pistol grip one they sell at Costco? It's $100


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MCAsan
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Sep 01, 2012 10:29 |  #6

A 190 is very short. I am 5' 8" and it is too short for me. My old 055 was close to the right height. I got rid of it because it was heavy metal and had a center column which I never used.

Feisol makes good carbon tripods that are available without the center column. Remember that an extended center column means you have a 3 legged monopod (tripod was too short).




  
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DavidR
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Sep 01, 2012 11:11 |  #7

I plan on using the tripod for photographing items in a soft box, as well as some outdoor macro photography. I will also be using the tripod for family portraits. I don't really plan on using it a lot, so professional studio quality isn't necessary, nor do I plan on carrying it very far, so tripod weight/portability isn't an issue. After doing some research I have set a budget of up to $300 including head, but would prefer to spend closer to $200 based on expected usage, however if someone were to present an option with superior quality for just a little more money I have no problem spending more. I just don't want to spend a lot of money on something that's going to sit in a closet most of the time.

For macro work and money this tripod/head would be hard to beat.

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …PROB_Pro_Tripod​_Legs.html (external link)

The gear head is just as fast to use as a 3-way head and really helps with macro.


Sony a9II

  
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alazgr8
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Sep 01, 2012 12:38 |  #8

I was at Samy's Camera's the other day looking at tripods & heads. Samy's has a wide range of tripods and heads roughly priced from $59 - $590. It would be easy to plop down plastic, or green and spend well over a grand on a tripod/head, and if I was a pro like most of you guys, I can see how it would be worth it. Price (especialy cheap price) is not my first consideration.

By listening to your recommendations based on your experience I'm trying to balance quality, then price, giving lesser weight to how much I will use it. I am looking in the sell section, in the hopes that someone is moving up, and selling quality gear.

So, what features or characteristics besides stability are most essential in a head? Maybe I'm wrong here, but after reading an article Rick Reno suggested, if you don't have a good foundation (legs) the camera body, lens, and head quality will all suffer.

Regards,

Rick

@MNphotos, thanks for the recommendation on the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100, I am now considering it.
@ Rick Reno, good read, thanks for sharing. What I took away was to get something good, rather than good enough.
@ MCAsan, thanks for the warning on the height.
@ Icopus, good recommendation, thanks for sharing.
@ DavidR, Thanks for the 550 recommendation.


Rick S.
My Gear = Canon 50d ~ EF 100 f/2.8L IS USM Macro ~ EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM ~ EF-S 17-55 IS USM f/2.8 IS ~ EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM ~ EF 28-135 IS f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

  
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Wilt
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Sep 01, 2012 13:17 |  #9

alazgr8 wrote in post #14934505 (external link)
I plan on using the tripod for photographing items in a soft box, as well as some outdoor macro photography. I will also be using the tripod for family portraits.

MCAsan wrote in post #14934785 (external link)
A 190 is very short. I am 5' 8" and it is too short for me. My old 055 was close to the right height. .

My strongest recommendation is to base tripod height on the subject being photographed, and do NOT merely set the camera at a convenient (for you) height.

Standing tall and using a tall tripod might work OK when you are shooting street scenes, but it is not making for optimal composition. If your family member is seated, SOME shots might be great looking downward at them, but usually one which is level with their head or chest will be better. Once you have positioned the camera at whatever level, you can leave it alone and shoot with the camera on the tripod via remote, without even necessarily using the viewfinder.


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MCAsan
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Sep 01, 2012 17:33 |  #10

Any tripod worth owning can be shorten for a specific composition. When the shoot allows you to stand erect, and not bend your neck or back, you want a tripod height that allows you to do that. Don't sell yourself short buy purchasing a tripod that is too short.




  
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DavidR
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Sep 01, 2012 18:21 as a reply to  @ MCAsan's post |  #11

^^
My tripod, a Benro C358, fully extended on level ground puts the viewfinder much higher than my eye (I'm 6-0). This has never been a problem as I just don't extend the last section all the way. In fact there has been many times I wished it it would go higher.


Sony a9II

  
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nodal
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Sep 01, 2012 22:26 |  #12

MCAsan wrote in post #14935922 (external link)
Any tripod worth owning can be shorten for a specific composition. When the shoot allows you to stand erect, and not bend your neck or back, you want a tripod height that allows you to do that. Don't sell yourself short buy purchasing a tripod that is too short.

Yes! I have a 190xprob and I hate it for it's lack of height. Things got too unstable when I tried using the multiposition centerpost (I shoot handheld macro). I saved many, many pennies and sprung for the RRS TVC-24L and haven't looked back. I use the acratech GP ballhead for it's "light weight" gimbal functionality (it's no Whimberly), and the basic panoramic capabilites.


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MCAsan
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Sep 02, 2012 08:44 |  #13

I understand. The wife and I both hated the heavy cold 055 metal tripods. So I bit the bullet and got us both Gitzo 3531S legs under RRS 55 ballhead with QR clamp. We put RRS L plates on all the bodies. The cost is indeed significant, especially when purchasing for two photographers at once.

I do believe Feisol and a few other companies do make good carbon tripods models that are column less. If you have to extend a column for a routine shoot, the tripod is too short.




  
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irishman
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Sep 02, 2012 13:31 |  #14

The one piece of equipment that IMO people routinely either over or underpay for is a tripod. While you don't want a sub-$100 discount tripod, I think its overkill for the average guy to spend more than $300 for a good pair of legs and ball head. I own the carbon fiber Manfrotto 190 and can't imagine ever needing a "better" (more expensive) set of legs. It's very lightweight so I don't look for excuses not to carry it in the field, even on long hikes, its very stable, the CF eats up micro-vibrations, the center column adjusts to horizontal for macro and interesting landscape compositions, it has a built in level and I don't care if its not the tallest tripod out there--I seldom take photographs at eye level anyway. The tripod and head can be had for less than $300.


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dodgyexposure
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Sep 02, 2012 19:02 |  #15

There are many, many tripod options out there, at different quality and price points. To save yourself a lot of decision angst, if you tried and liked the 190 legs, go with them. I have the 055 carbon legs (055 because I am taller), and i think the Manfrotto legs are fine.

For a head, I have a ballhead because it is compact and quick to adjust. For very fine work (studio macro, e.g.), a geared head may be better, but is less useful outside the studio. I use my ballhead for macro work with no problems.

There are quite a few decent quality ballheads that could support your gear for around $100, such as Photoclam, Benro and similar - an easy way to quickly compare the available options is the B&H website.

Oh, and the more you read online reviews of tripods and heads, the more you will spend . . . :)


Cheers, Damien

  
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