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FORUMS General Gear Talk Tripods, Monopods & Other Camera Support 
Thread started 24 Feb 2018 (Saturday) 10:48
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Any thoughts on PMG's TR424 67" v Leofoto LN 404C v RRS TVC 34L

 
EricJrSax
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Feb 24, 2018 10:48 |  #1

I shoot a lot of sports, looking for a tall tripod to shoot over protective fences that run along the outfield foul lines and homerun fences at some high school and college ball fields. This is where I do most of my shooting, and I've seen a few photogs using high chairs and tall tripods to accomplish this. There have been times where you'd find all the photogs shooting from a nearby hill because the protective fences were too high even for the tallest legs. Even then, after adjusting my 055XPROB legs for the slope, the tripod was too short. My two largest lenses are the Nikon 300 2.8 VRII and the 200-500 f/5.6, so not the sort of glass that would demand the largest of legs, but I've been told that the taller you go, the bigger you wanna go to keep the bottom leg segment from getting too narrow. True? Not true?

My original choice was the Benro TMA 48CXL, but was told to shy away from it mainly because it required the use of a center column to reach the heights I was looking for and wasn't as sturdy as it's younger brother, the TMA 38CL, which seemed strange. But this person had one and so I ready to doubt so quickly. Advised to save dimes and just go Gitzo or RRS and be done with buying tripods forever.

Started looking at Gitzo and RRS models and during the research, discovered the PMG and Leofoto offerings. Never heard of Leofoto, but their offering falls right into the Benro price range which is a good thing. And while the PMG TR424 67" is in the price range of the Gitzo and the RRS. So I'm praying someone with some time with the Leofoto will chime in and give their thoughts and experiences. It is my first choice since it's price is less painful than the other two, but I have no problem biting the bullet in order to do the PMG or the RRS tripods. Another quick question,... is it true that the APex of the Gitzo is cast aluminium instead of CNC? You get that idea when reading some reviews,... reason for common Gitzo complaints about warped Apexes and spirit levels that don't read leveling properly. There's a PMG video that really exploits this, but not really sure if it's really true or just marketing blabbering! Thanks for any and all feedback and advice!




  
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bpalermini
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Post edited 3 months ago by bpalermini.
     
Feb 24, 2018 11:03 |  #2

Just a thought . . .I wouldn't think that absolute stability is much if an issue for shooting sports. You will be using a fast shutter speed to stop the action so just having something that holds the camera reasonably steady should be enough. You might not even need a tripod, maybe you could use a Super Clamp with some sort of gimble mounted on it and attach to the fence or to the ladder you might be using to get yourself over the fence. I shoot baseball from a monopod where rigid stability is not an option and it works.

By the way, I have a RRS tripod and it is as great as everyone says it is. Mine isn't an extra tall one but I'm sure what they make is extremely stable.


Bob Palermini
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EricJrSax
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Feb 24, 2018 12:06 |  #3

bpalermini wrote in post #18571143 (external link)
Just a thought . . .I wouldn't think that absolute stability is much if an issue for shooting sports. You will be using a fast shutter speed to stop the action so just having something that holds the camera reasonably steady should be enough. You might not even need a tripod, maybe you could use a Super Clamp with some sort of gimble mounted on it and attach to the fence or to the ladder you might be using to get yourself over the fence. I shoot baseball from a monopod where rigid stability is not an option and it works.

By the way, I have a RRS tripod and it is as great as everyone says it is. Mine isn't an extra tall one but I'm sure what they make is extremely stable.

Wow,... those are some great ideas Mr. bpalermini. Never thought of clamping a head to the pole running horizontal at the top of the fence. Nice! Might cause a problem getting out of the way,... everybody scattering at the approach of a foul ball is not unusual. Think I'll do some research on how to rig that up. Thanks! Wasn't really talking about stability when it comes to vibration and shutter speeds, just sturdy as in not flimsy when it's fully extended over my head. I think it's pretty obvious I'm new to tall quality tripods,... I'm coming from a pretty old Manfrotto 055x set of aluminium legs, which I thought was the holy grail when my parents bought years ago.

Yeah,... all the RRS reviews I've read are very good. Wish I could find more reviews on the model I'm looking at tho,... the TVC 34L. Seems like the only common concern with RRS tripods is that the legs joints where they connect to the Apex gets really loose after a short while allowing the legs to flop about a bit. Have you had this experience with yours? If so, is it a problem or just an inconvenience that can easily be solved with just some tightening? I may have to revisit the whole monopod thing. Last time I tried it, I think I looked like I had polio or something. That too was years ago when I first started shooting. Thanks again Mr. b




  
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SailingAway
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Feb 24, 2018 13:12 |  #4

Just how tall a fence to you want to top? 67” doesn’t seem like much, with a head you’d barely or not quite top a 6’ fence.

I have an older version of this tripod:
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …K2B_Super_Pro_T​ripod.html (external link)

9’ with a head! It is a very sturdy aluminum tripod. Very. Pair it with a 3 or 4 step stepladder with a platform for the top step...

I don’t know how you deal with foul balls though. Any sturdy tripod takes time to deal with.


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EricJrSax
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Post edited 3 months ago by EricJrSax. (2 edits in all)
     
Feb 24, 2018 15:26 |  #5

SailingAway wrote in post #18571248 (external link)
Just how tall a fence to you want to top? 67” doesn’t seem like much, with a head you’d barely or not quite top a 6’ fence.

I have an older version of this tripod:
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …K2B_Super_Pro_T​ripod.html (external link)

9’ with a head! It is a very sturdy aluminum tripod. Very. Pair it with a 3 or 4 step stepladder with a platform for the top step...

I don’t know how you deal with foul balls though. Any sturdy tripod takes time to deal with.

Oh it varies depending on the school and/or field. Some schools, especially the high schools, have little beyond a backstop and a 4 to 5 ft. chain link fence designed to do no more than protect players sitting on the bench. These fences are no higher than the usual chain link fence you see in most backyards, and usually don't extend much further than 1st and 3rd base. These fields are a breeze, and I usually attack them with just the 70-200 f/2.8 on my D500. I'll let the sun tell me whether to set up on the 1st or 3rd base side. Sometimes if the school has a home run fence topped with yellow piping, I'll park out in center(ish) field with the 200-500 f/5.6. They won't let you lean up against the outfield home run fence, so that when I'll first pull out the Manfrotto and perch about 6 ft beyond the fence. It's the money high schools and the colleges that present a little more of a challenge. They usually have dugouts instead of benches with fences running the length of the 1st and 3rd base foul lines,... some short, some high. When they're high I usually look for high ground, and if I'm lucky, it won't be too far away. Most times this is where the 300 f/2.8 works best,... far enough away where changing focal lengths ain't that important to cover plays at each base, and I can cover the outfield with not too much cropping,... just depends. But this is also when I wished I had a larger tripod, especially because 7 times out of 10, the higher ground mean a hill or sloop. Which reminds me,... on a sloop, is it better to put one stick forward and two back, or two sticks forward and one back? I'm still experimenting with that,... or does it even make a difference? Anyway,... this season I want to bring a little more maturity to my shooting, and I was thinking the way to start was with a better and purpose driven tripod. As far as a step ladder, I already picked up a drywaller's chair from Home Depot. It looks a little like a baby life guard chair or a large kitchen stool. Saw a lot of shooters using those last season,... like 49 bucks for the folding one which is what I got. Kinda flimsy, but I'm gonna give it a try.

You think 67" won't be tall enough? Jeez,... then that makes the Leofoto LN-404C look even better. It's 71" at the apex! Right now, my 055 stands 52" at the apex when fully extended. I've replaced the center column with Manfrotto's 555B leveling center column with the 502AH fluid head on top of it. This brings the base that I mount the camera to up to 60.5", which is about a foot from where I was thinking I should probably be. Maybe I mis-calculated a little. Here's a quick pick of what use now so you guys can see what I'm working with. I figured if I'm getting 60.5 inches out of a tripod with a 52" apex, I should get 75.5 from as tripod with a 67" apex. No? Yes? Am I missing something? Thanks


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SailingAway
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Post edited 3 months ago by SailingAway.
     
Feb 24, 2018 16:09 |  #6

Your fields, your fences, your tripod head and lens collar, your tape measure!

Around here privacy fences are all 6’, that’s the maximum the county allows.

I think you need a bit more than 72” or 6’ if you’re dealing with a 6’ fence, to level the tripod on a slope. In my book, a 67” tripod isn’t very tall - it’s a normal size for someone 6’4”. Not taking into account sloping hillsides...

RRS has a nice chart on this page:
http://www.reallyright​stuff.com/tripod-guide (external link)
It also includes some good thoughts on why to go tall.

If this is your time to invest in a nice RRS or Gitzo for multiple purposes, and you want to go a little on the tall side, I won’t rain on your parade! A taller-than-your-eye-height tripod/head combo is more versatile for a number of reasons.

And that would probably cover most or all 4’ and 5’ fences and slopes. But if you do need to look over privacy fences & such, there are tripods for that, too.

In all honesty my big Manfrotto only comes out occasionally. I bought it to look over people standing at events, and to get sufficient height to be at a subject’s eye-line when they’re giving a stage presentation, usually on a 24 or 32” riser. More recently I use it for timelapse work, I like a high angle shot of people building, creating, or destroying something.

Day to day I use standard sticks... I don’t know how you could get by with just one set of sticks!


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jlt23
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Feb 25, 2018 22:00 |  #7

I have a RRS TVC 34L but I haven’t used it much. I just used it with my 600 to shoot the moon and I have no complaints. I didn’t need the use the entire height and mainly got the extra length just in case I need it. Any particular question do you have?


James

  
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bpalermini
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Feb 25, 2018 22:26 |  #8

EricJrSax wrote in post #18571195 (external link)
\
Seems like the only common concern with RRS tripods is that the legs joints where they connect to the Apex gets really loose after a short while allowing the legs to flop about a bit. Have you had this experience with yours? If so, is it a problem or just an inconvenience that can easily be solved with just some tightening?

Glad I could help you think about solutions to your problem.

I'm not sure I've ever tightened the legs on my RRS tripod and I've had it for 8 or more years. If I did, there are Allen head screws, two per leg that would be easy to tighten. I would not worry about the legs getting loose.


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EricJrSax
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Feb 26, 2018 04:54 |  #9

bpalermini wrote in post #18572317 (external link)
Glad I could help you think about solutions to your problem.

I'm not sure I've ever tightened the legs on my RRS tripod and I've had it for 8 or more years. If I did, there are Allen head screws, two per leg that would be easy to tighten. I would not worry about the legs getting loose.

Again, thanks Mr. bpalermini. You did help,... a lot. SailngAway, here's one of my shots from last season I posted in the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 G2 thread here, I believe back in August. I remember this game and this shot. It shows the typical fence challenge I tried to describe earlier. I got lucky at this particular field because they had a gap in the fencing where players, coaches and the field crew could enter onto the field. I sorta parked there just far enough back to be out of the way. But you can see the height of the fence around the other team's dugout. This is a common set up of the fields I shoot,... some are better, some are worse. Few fences are higher than this, more than a few are lower,... but still, this is typical.

Placing the order Wednesday. Right now, I'm leaning towards the Leofoto LN-404C. It's the tallest of the three, the least expensive of the three, and at around 7lbs, the heaviest of the three. I really want the RRS, which is doable money wise, but not sure it'll be tall enough. Well,... I got three days to make up my mind. More reading and more video reviews to watch I guess. Thanks again guys!

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tsamarin
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Mar 21, 2018 00:35 |  #10

what did you decide? I'm interested in the Leofoto and wondered if you now have experience with it.


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Mar 21, 2018 09:00 |  #11

I have the Leofoto traveler which is a copy of the RRS TFC-14 with slight surface design variations. It's a very well made tripod with CNC-machined, hard anodized billet aluminum hardware and high quality 10X layer carbon fiber from Toray Industrial in Japan. The product finish quality is excellent. I haven't had too much experience with it but so far it has worked very well. I assume the bigger tripods are of equivalent quality manufacture and will also be competitive in the market.


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Mar 21, 2018 12:57 as a reply to  @ peter_n's post |  #12

Thanks, Peter; that helps. I keep being drawn to the LS-284c: https://www.amazon.com …age_o00_s00?ie=​UTF8&psc=1 (external link). I bought a Zomei 818c for my rare hiking excursions but it just seems too flimsy for the long ND exposures I find myself doing. I appreciate your help!


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Mar 21, 2018 15:56 as a reply to  @ tsamarin's post |  #13

The Leofoto LS-284C is the tripod I bought. I didn't buy the version with the head as I use Acratech ballheads on my tripods. If you want to buy a decent quality head look at the Sirui K-20X with a base diameter of 54mm. Yes it's more expensive than the Leofoto ballhead but the Sirui KX line is a known and well regarded product on this forum.


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tsamarin
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Mar 21, 2018 19:02 as a reply to  @ peter_n's post |  #14

Thank you, Peter. Funny, I was considering the Acratech for this set-up; it looks so simple and elegant. Cool! Should have the tripod iin a couple of days!


30D/ 5D2/ EF 85mm f/1.8 / EF70-300mm/ EF 100-400L/ EF 24-105L/ EF 17-40L/ 430 EX/ 055X PROB/BH-55 & CPL1
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Any thoughts on PMG's TR424 67" v Leofoto LN 404C v RRS TVC 34L
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