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FORUMS General Gear Talk Tripods, Monopods & Other Camera Support 
Thread started 21 Oct 2015 (Wednesday) 10:22
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Justifying purchase

 
eddieb1
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Oct 21, 2015 10:22 |  #1

Here we go. Let's see how long this thread can go before it gets nasty. But I would really like an explanation. How can someone justify spending, let's say, $1000 on a tripod. Before someone makes the analogy about automobiles, cameras, etc., we are talking about three legs, about 6 pieces, lately made of carbon fiber. I don't understand what justifies the super high prices. I can see a few hundred dollars, without head, maybe, but $800-$1000? Come on. I don't get it.




  
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EnglishBob
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Oct 21, 2015 10:27 |  #2

I have friends that can't understand spending more than $150 on a camera, they certainly don't get $1k on a tripod. I think my tripod was around $450 with the head. It's 10 years old.

If I were buying it again I would probably end up nearer the $800 mark, mine is well built, sturdy but heavy, If I want to go light then I am going to end up spending a few hundred more.

All that said I am with you, find it hard to get my head around $1000 on a tripod.


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blindshooter
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Oct 21, 2015 10:35 |  #3

I really don't think it comes down to "justifying" material purchases, rather what you want relative to your disposable income. That perspective gives many purchases a more "justifiable" meaning.

For example, if you made a million dollars a year, would you not more likely have a $1000.00 RRS tripod when photography is important to you?


Why not at $100,000.00?

Why not at $50,000.00?

Who determines these levels? You, and only you.




  
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eddieb1
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Oct 21, 2015 10:43 as a reply to  @ blindshooter's post |  #4

Regardless of income. When you hit, let's say, $400 mark, what in the tripod makes it worth $1000. I'm not talking about buying something for the prestige, I'm talking about the value of the components. I use an Oben tripod with a Sirui head, and I'll bet it holds my camera just as well as any other combo priced 3 times as much.




  
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blindshooter
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Oct 21, 2015 11:03 as a reply to  @ eddieb1's post |  #5

I understand what you are saying that income shouldn't matter, but it does. You also say that it's not about prestige, but it is. Why else would you name the brands you chose and defend them?

I fully grasp what you're saying though as I've also wondered why so many things I like or want cost more than the average price for a given item.

I'm not sure how wide the practical improvement gap is from the $400 tripod to the $1000 one, but I believe to those who can afford it; it's there-whether it's material or perceived value, it's there. It could be only a 1% improvement, but it's there and to their comfort level.

I would wager you do not know the actual costs of the tripod and head you bought, relative to the price paid. Who knows? Their net profit per unit could even be higher than a RRS one that cost $1k. Why be happy with a $400 tripod when it cost $40 to make? Don't you ever feel ripped off finding out about those kind of things later? How do you justify the $400 spent on a $40 item?

I should clarify; I think a lot of us do justify our purchases, it's just that amount of justification appears to be directly proportional to the amount of income available.




  
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CheleA
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Oct 21, 2015 11:08 |  #6

Actually it's very easy to justify. One: you want bragging rights -- it's very difficult to brag about cheap stuff(cheap is a relative term). two: You have used the $400 tripod and see some benefit(s) to the more expensive gear and you think it's worthwhile. Things are somewhere between expensive and obscenely expensive depending on how much you use/enjoy it. A $6 meal is a total waste of money if you hated it and a $100 meal is an investment in yourself if you enjoyed it. I tend to be on the cheap side of things, and I can see how some people see things, I don't understand it at times, but I can accept it. People do this with just about everything, RVs, clothes, photographic gear, etc.




  
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John ­ from ­ PA
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Oct 21, 2015 11:19 |  #7

eddieb1 wrote in post #17754532 (external link)
When you hit, let's say, $400 mark, what in the tripod makes it worth $1000.

This is the issue with many things in life; large incremental cost at small incremental gain in "features." I enjoy wine and find great wine, typically from Spain, Portugal or Italy at prices from about $18 to $25 per bottle. But I find wine from those same countries, Spain's Vega Sicilia for instance, at well north of $300. I have actually tasted it and don't see the justification. Having said that this wine is aged for 10 years before even being bottled so the producers risk is high if at 10 years it is lousy.




  
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Phoenixkh
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Oct 21, 2015 13:22 |  #8

I didn't justify buying my RRS tripod and monopod.... I saved up and paid cash for them. Before that, I struggled with a Giottos tripod. I went through three heads with that one and wasn't even thrilled with the last one I got, though it was an improvement.

Using RRS gear is a pleasure. I don't know how else to explain it. I don't shoot with other people so I can't brag about it to them. But I can smile every time I set up for a shot. It really is that good.


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Jon
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Oct 21, 2015 20:47 |  #9

Part of what the extra dollars get you are improvements in secondary features. In a car, you may look at a BMW over a Chevy for road handling although both will get you from Point A to Point B through typical traffic; in a tripod you may see a better weight/rigidity in the RRS over a Sirui; you may have gone with Gitzo way back because they offered twist-lock legs that didn't require you to do each segment individually. Features will eventually trickle down to the lower-priced models, but you have to wait for that slow drip, drip, drip.


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johnf3f
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Oct 22, 2015 17:08 |  #10

To me it's very simple, if you can see the benefit and it's worth it to you then you buy it. If the higher price does not justify the improved performance to you then it's not worth it.
All my tripods are Gitzo - simply because they do what I want/need at the lowest price. I like RRS very much but in the UK they cost more than they are worth to me also I can get any Gitzo spares that I need very quickly over here in the UK.
For reference my most expensive tripod was my Gitzo GT3530LS which cost about $610 new in you money. I have tried other models from a few manufacturers and could find no advantages plus they were generally heavier (with no practical increase in performance), cost more or both! I include the latest model Gitzo systematics in this - I prefer the older ones are cheaper lighter and rigid enough - my 3530LS is more than up to holding my Canon 800mm.


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

  
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Foodguy
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Oct 22, 2015 17:32 |  #11

johnf3f wrote in post #17756333 (external link)
To me it's very simple, if you can see the benefit and it's worth it to you then you buy it. If the higher price does not justify the improved performance to you then it's not worth it.
.

Agreed.

IIRC, my Gitzo was $1k in the early 90's (I assume that adjusted for inflation it would be well over that now). There wasn't much else available that could hold my cameras so I bought it with no reservations. Fast forward and it has served me well over all these years and it still performs as well as the day I bought it.


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

  
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gonzogolf
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Oct 22, 2015 17:45 |  #12

Premium products Always carry a premium cost. There may subtle differences that high performance users appreciate and the average user might not. I still make do with an ancient aluminum manfrotto because I'm just not that much of an enthusiast.




  
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johnf3f
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Oct 22, 2015 18:18 |  #13

Foodguy wrote in post #17756359 (external link)
Agreed.

IIRC, my Gitzo was $1k in the early 90's (I assume that adjusted for inflation it would be well over that now). There wasn't much else available that could hold my cameras so I bought it with no reservations. Fast forward and it has served me well over all these years and it still performs as well as the day I bought it.

Ouch! I thought Britain was a ripoff! Well at least we get European tripods cheaper here = Gitzo 3530 LS, Gitzo 3320 BS, Gitzo 2531 and Gitzo 1550T (second hand) just over $1500 for the lot, they were bought between 2008 and 2015. This does not include the profit made from selling a couple of other carbon Gitzo's at $250/300 in your money.
I am glad that we get something cheaper here in the UK - everything else is significantly more expensive!:-(


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

  
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johnf3f
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Oct 22, 2015 18:21 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #14

If it does what you need/want then it is the best tripod going - it's only worth spending the extra if it doesn't. I bought Gitzo because they were the best for my needs, but we are all different.


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

  
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Foodguy
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Oct 22, 2015 18:55 |  #15

interesting as I haven't thought about the cost of this purchase in years. Just did an eBay 'sold' search. Seems this old tripod is still selling in the 4-500 range without some of the features of mine (geared center column, head etc.) and a few listed as B-I-N in the $1K range, so I'll consider it as having been a good deal ;-)a.


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

  
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Justifying purchase
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