How'd I do? Tried to modify the original in Lightroom like the previous post.
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slik is an outright terrible brand. i would not spend money on their tripods. avoid promaster as well. total ripoffs.
manfrotto is by far the best in terms of cost for performance. they produce high quality products for reasonable prices. i would also not get a ball head if the intention is to shoot landscapes. i would recommend a geared 3 way pan head. i own the manfrotto 410 geared head and it is a great performer and built to last a very long time. B&H has them listed at 225.00. one of the absolute best purchases i have ever made in photography!
there is a tremendous variety of tripod legs to mount the head to and it depends greatly upon what your needs are as to which set of legs is best suited for you. the variables you want to consider when purchasing a set of legs are min height, max height, center column extension, locking mechanisms, and whether the legs move independent of the center column. i currently own an older manfrotto that does not have independently moving legs and i really wish they weren't attached to the center column as it restricts my ability to squeeze the tripod into creative positions. i also like tripods that are capable of a very low minimum height yet still allow for a reasonable max height. independently moving legs will allow for this as opposed to legs that are attached to the center column. a set of legs can run anywhere from $150 to over $500.
a tripod and head is not something you want to cheap out on as a bad tripod will totally defeat the purpose of getting a tripod in the first place. buy manfrotto and it will last for decades. buy cheap and you will find that it will not function as it should and you will be shopping for another tripod soon.
if you have deep pockets....go gitzo.
A quick twiddle of the sliders in Lightroom (I couldn't resist):
While I personally don't mind carrying the 28-300L around for a day at an amusement park (and have done so, in fact), that's a Canon-centric viewpoint (not misplaced here, just saying) and Roger doesn't seem to have that mindset.
While the IQ is not as good as the Canon L-series lens, Nikon's 28-300mm FX-format lens is cheaper than both Canon's and Nikon's 17-55mm f/2.8 IS/VC offerings, and it's about the same weight and (retracted) size as those 17-55/2.8 lenses. True, it's about $400 more than the APS-C superzooms, but a FF camera is more costly, so that's not unreasonable at all, IMO, and doesn't make the 'one lens solution' club very exclusive for (Nikon) FF shooters.
FF 5D3 is the camera. ... I am trying for tight shots of their face or at most them interacting with an object or another kid.
Have to say...I read that, and I immediately think 135mm f/2L. It's just about the perfect lens for tight portraits on FF.
You might have the issue with people stepping in front, but even awareness of your presence won't prevent that.
Nikon's 28-300 costs around $1k, while its 18-200 is $850 (new prices), so the gap in price is closing. I predict that the performance gulf between these two lenses will also be nullified whenever the next 28-300 comes out, considering how much of both Canon and Nikon's attention is going to developing new full frame lenses. I wouldn't be surprised if Canon developed a similar non-L lens considering the popularity of Nikon's 28-300.
18-200mm is equivalent to 29-320mm on FF, and both Nikon and Canon offer 28-300mm full frame lenses. My 28-300L does very well as a 'one lens solution'.Neuro, problem is that the 28-300 is $3k. The 18-200 and 270 can be had for $500-$600. Big difference for a dad wanting to take decent pictures on vacation. Also, I don't think I'd want to carry the L-series glass around my neck all day at Disney World. I think on technicallity Roger is incorrect, but on intent he is spot on.