September 30, 2014, 06:02:10 PM

Author Topic: Is this support setup good?  (Read 3122 times)

nightsky87

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Is this support setup good?
« on: March 06, 2013, 02:34:00 AM »
I'm currently looking into a complete tripod system that should completely replace the current one. For starters, here is the list of gear I'm working with:

- Canon 5D3 w/ BG-E11 grip
- Canon 50 f/1.4
- Tamron 24-70 VC USD
- Tamron 70-300 VC USD

In terms of sheer weight, the heaviest combination would be that with the 24-70 weighing in at 1.34kg (measured lol). Center of gravity does get worse with the 70-300 though.

Right now I'm using a Manfrotto MKC3-H02 tripod and the ball head definitely can't handle the weight. I've noticed that the rivets holding the legs are starting to bend as well so it might really be time for an upgrade. The thing is, I would rather not go through intermediate upgrades and just go with a good support system that I can use for a very long time even if I invest in more lenses. On this note, the next thing I'm thinking of saving up for is the 70-200 2.8L IS II.

After searching on the web, I've listed what I *think* might be good:
- Gitzo GT2541 Mountaineer Legs (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/567541-REG/Gitzo_GT2541_GT2541_Mountaineer_6X_Carbon.html)
- Arca-Swiss Z1 Head (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/469920-REG/Arca_Swiss_801102_Monoball_Z1_sp_with.html)
- Kirk QRC-3 Arca-type QR base (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/555493-REG/Kirk_QRC_3_0_QRC_3_Quick_Release_Clamp.html)
- Kirk QR Plate for 5D3 with grip (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/880629-REG/Kirk_PZ_149_Arca_Type_QR_Plate.html)

Are these parts any good? Would you recommend other components? Note that I since I don't have a good local source for these (they mostly sell Benro here :o), I would prefer getting them from one retailer as just one order. Thanks in advance for the responses!

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Is this support setup good?
« on: March 06, 2013, 02:34:00 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2013, 06:31:58 AM »
Definitely a good setup, altough I'd consider a tripod without a center column.  IMO, for the best legs choose Really Right Stuff or Gitzo, for the best heads choose Really Right Stuff, Arca-Swiss, Markins, Acratech, or Kirk.  Best clamps/plates are Really Right Stuff, Kirk, or Wimberley.

You might want to look at the Really Right Stuff TVC-23, -24, or -24L (depending on the height you need) and the BH-40 ballhead.
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nightsky87

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2013, 09:26:18 AM »
Definitely a good setup, altough I'd consider a tripod without a center column.  IMO, for the best legs choose Really Right Stuff or Gitzo, for the best heads choose Really Right Stuff, Arca-Swiss, Markins, Acratech, or Kirk.  Best clamps/plates are Really Right Stuff, Kirk, or Wimberley.

Sounds great! IIRC, I think you can remove the center column on the Gitzo Mountaineer for a lighter/more stable support. Is that any different from a tripod sold without one to begin with?

You might want to look at the Really Right Stuff TVC-23, -24, or -24L (depending on the height you need) and the BH-40 ballhead.

I'll check those out as well. Thanks! Are there any retailers that sell RRS or do you really buy it from them directly?

neuroanatomist

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 10:21:23 AM »
I think you can remove the center column on the Gitzo Mountaineer for a lighter/more stable support. Is that any different from a tripod sold without one to begin with?

Are there any retailers that sell RRS or do you really buy it from them directly?

Depends on the design of the platform, but generally yes - if you remove the center column, the head should attach directly to the platform and that would be the same as a tripod without a center column.  That'll be true for Gitzo and RRS.

RRS only sells direct, unfortunately.  They've got a 30-day no questions asked return policy, but their gear is really top-notch and I've never needed to send anything back. 

I've got their TQC-14 travel tripod (and the TVC-33), and the leg section diameters of the travel set are similar to the Gitzo 25xx series.  The RRS legs are rated to 25 lbs, but that's very conservative...I've personally swung my 180 lb self from them.

If you really do shoot the night sky a lot, you may want to consider a taller set of legs.  Without the center column, the GT2541 is only a little over 4 feet high, and that will mean a lot of bending over.  The RRS TVC-24L is over a foot taller than the GT2541 without column, and still several inches taller compared to the Gitzo with the colum installed and extended.
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nightsky87

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 11:39:20 AM »
I think you can remove the center column on the Gitzo Mountaineer for a lighter/more stable support. Is that any different from a tripod sold without one to begin with?

Are there any retailers that sell RRS or do you really buy it from them directly?

Depends on the design of the platform, but generally yes - if you remove the center column, the head should attach directly to the platform and that would be the same as a tripod without a center column.  That'll be true for Gitzo and RRS.

That gives some peace of mind.  ;) I think the option of having that center column when needed would be good anyway.

RRS only sells direct, unfortunately.  They've got a 30-day no questions asked return policy, but their gear is really top-notch and I've never needed to send anything back.

That's quite unfortunate. :( I was planning on shipping everything from the US to the country (somewhere in SE Asia). Multiple shipments from different points would be more expensive. And in that case, I usually won't be able to make use of the return policies.

I've got their TQC-14 travel tripod (and the TVC-33), and the leg section diameters of the travel set are similar to the Gitzo 25xx series.  The RRS legs are rated to 25 lbs, but that's very conservative...I've personally swung my 180 lb self from them.

I've tried checking the RRS lineup and they seem to be more expensive than the Gitzo counterparts. Are the differences really that big? Would the Gitzo actual load capacities also be beyond the 26.4 lb rating?

If you really do shoot the night sky a lot, you may want to consider a taller set of legs.  Without the center column, the GT2541 is only a little over 4 feet high, and that will mean a lot of bending over.  The RRS TVC-24L is over a foot taller than the GT2541 without column, and still several inches taller compared to the Gitzo with the colum installed and extended.

With my not-so-good tripod at the moment I have gotten into the habit of lugging around a USB cable for the camera to connect it to my phone. :D I even use tether control through WiFi to my tablet at times. So I suppose bending over wouldn't be much of an issue. Or am I missing something else about the importance of tripod height?  :o

RMC33

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 11:42:32 AM »
As neuro has said.... RSS gear is amazing.

I can second it. I love the gear. It works, is easy to use and is very very very durable. Their lens feet are amazing too.

I use a center column in my versa 33 for some work, If I don't need it I can swap it out in less then 30 seconds.

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 11:45:23 AM »
Gitzo: Material - "carbon fiber 6X"

The engineer in me wishes they'd be more forthcoming with the materials used. Which fiber? Which resin system?

I think I read somewhere that the tubes are 3mm thick. 6 layers, so they're what, .020" thick fibers? Or do they have an exceptionally low fiber volume?

I guess at the end of the day it doesn't matter provided it exceeds the spec loads, but I always get a little... incredulous at the blanket use of the term "carbon fiber."
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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 11:45:23 AM »

wle

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 01:40:26 PM »
Recommend you consider an L Bracket over the quick release plate for the camera unless you know you will very very seldom shoot with your camera rotated to vertical/portrait orientation.

Zen

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 04:09:35 PM »
What Neuro said +1. I too have the RRS gear and it's fantastic. I went through 3-4 different set-ups before RRS, and now wish I had gone with the good stuff from the beginning.

RRS gear is top notch.

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nightsky87

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 08:07:10 PM »
Okay... All this positive input on RRS gear has really got me thinking twice about my setup. Given what I already said in the first post, would the TQC-14 be good? It seems to have roughly the same specs as the Gitzo GT2541 but as neuro said, they have conservative ratings.

Also, about the head, which clamp would you recommend for the BH-40? I noticed that the AS type clamps seem to have clearance issues with the vertical notch. I would mostly use this setup in a landscape orientation so I think L-plates aren't necessary yet. I don't think I like the idea of having that much protruding from my camera when I don't mount it on the tripod. :P

EDIT: On another note, would a head like the BH-55 be too large for the TQC-14?
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 09:22:14 PM by nightsky87 »

wle

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 09:33:42 PM »
A  B2-40-LR clamp on BH 40 head works really well for me. Times I wish for the B2 AS II clamp because of the bubble level but that is not an issue now with the grid and level in VF or LV on the 5D3. I've never used a screw-nob clamp so cannot comment on which type I've come the closest to dropping the camera for a myriad of reasons that come to mind for each type of clamp. I cannot remember a time coming close to dropping the camera with the quick release clamp I have, either by catching the lever on something while in transit or forgetting to close the lever when mounting or switching orientation of camera on the tripod.

I cannot remember any clearance problems when using the vertical notches on the head but I only use the notches when needing to look further down or further up. I sent the camera plate back in exchange for an L Bracket immediately after the first time using a notch to shift the camera to vertical/portrait orientation. But I find myself shifting camera orientation a lot. And camera doesn't feel right now, on or off the tripod, without the bracket.

nightsky87

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2013, 08:40:41 AM »
Just an extra thought though... Are any of these systems (Gitzo/RRS) designed to handle tropical weather? Or at least, has anybody tested them under those conditions? I live in a tropical country and there are some design issues that have to be addressed for those. Things like rubber parts hardening and cracking from the heat and humidity, metal joints that degrade from the excess moisture, etc.

If none of them are, then I suppose the investment would have to go to a cheaper set (the one on the original post) to at least partially compensate for the faster degradation. Note that I do not do photography for a living and so these are basically expenses.

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Re: Is this support setup good?
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2013, 08:40:41 AM »