October 01, 2014, 09:12:04 PM

Author Topic: Tripod for someone who's never used one?  (Read 7488 times)

igbass

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2013, 11:06:30 AM »
Excellent. Thanks for the info! Think I'm finally getting my head around it all. Cheers!

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2013, 11:06:30 AM »

kkelis

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2013, 11:20:50 AM »
I was looking at the manfrotto MH054-Q2 or the MH054-Q6, same head but the Q6 is Arca mount. Has anyone got experience with these 2 heads? They seem quite popular.

Neither, IMO.  I'd pass on the -Q2 (aka RC2) version for the reasons I listed above.  I'd absolutely pass on the Q6, because Manfrotto lies by calling it "Arca-Swiss compatible."  Well, it's not a total lie - the Q6 plate can be used in other manufacturers' clamps.  But Manfrotto managed to make their 'Arca-compatible' clamp proprietary - it cannot be used with other manufacturers' plates (see this link for details and pics). That means no RRS/Kirk L-brackets, no Wimberley/RRS/Kirk lens plates, no connecting your Blackrapid strap with a small Kirk/RRS clamp, etc., and you're stuck buying Manfrotto's Q6 plates for everything.

Budget permitting, I'd consider an RRS BH-40 LR.

Thanks neuro but this is out of my budget... :(

lilmsmaggie

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2013, 12:52:35 PM »
I've had a Manfrotto 055XPROB with 488RC4 head and added a 410 jr. primarily for a 4x5 setup but with a DSLR in mind for the past 3-4 years.  This setup served me well although; I should add that my view camera setup even with lenses mounted was lighter than my DSLR gear.  My Chamonix 45n-1 was built from Teak and carbon-fiber.

I now have a RRS TQC-14/BH-40 combo for travel and general purpose.

I'll mention this only in the context of those who have already advised on getting the best tripod you can afford. 

key: Arca-swiss compatibility   ;D
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #33 on: December 02, 2013, 01:27:59 PM »
I was looking at the manfrotto MH054-Q2 or the MH054-Q6, same head but the Q6 is Arca mount. Has anyone got experience with these 2 heads? They seem quite popular.

Neither, IMO.  I'd pass on the -Q2 (aka RC2) version for the reasons I listed above.  I'd absolutely pass on the Q6, because Manfrotto lies by calling it "Arca-Swiss compatible."  Well, it's not a total lie - the Q6 plate can be used in other manufacturers' clamps.  But Manfrotto managed to make their 'Arca-compatible' clamp proprietary - it cannot be used with other manufacturers' plates (see this link for details and pics). That means no RRS/Kirk L-brackets, no Wimberley/RRS/Kirk lens plates, no connecting your Blackrapid strap with a small Kirk/RRS clamp, etc., and you're stuck buying Manfrotto's Q6 plates for everything.

Budget permitting, I'd consider an RRS BH-40 LR.

Thanks neuro but this is out of my budget... :(

Since you seem attracted to the Manfrotto MH054, I suspect it can be converted for use with an AS clamp like the Wimberley C-12.  If you get the MH054 (note: platform only, no -Q#), the platform looks just like the basic 498, and Wimberley provides conversion instructions.  Might want to give Wimberley a call, they may have confirmed MH054 compatibility (their list is not recent).  The plain MH054 is $150-175 (Amazon/eBay), and the Wimberley clamp is $80, bringing you in at under the MH-054-Q6 cost.
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sagittariansrock

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2013, 06:24:05 PM »
I did a bit of research re Arca-Swiss conversion for the Manfrotto issues stated above (ballhead instability, plate allows movement, flip-locks are easy to use but get dirty fast). Sharing some insight from personal experience:
I went for the Arca-Swiss Z and very happy with it. Excellent control, with the one potential issue with lens plates due to the double decker system- you cannot utilize the safety stops. I recommend getting the Z without the QR, and using a Wimberley C-12 or something similar. My QR isn't detachable, so I'll stick it out. I really like their lever system, by the way, but I can see how that might not work for everyone.
Manfrotto CF tripods are way heavier than their Gitzo counterparts. The 190 series is too short without center column unless you're less than 5'2" tall (or are okay to bend). And raising the center column is better avoided. The 055 is too heavy even in carbon fiber. The 190L would have been the perfect balance, but they don't offer it in carbon fiber. Pros of Manfrotto: the 90 degree turning of center column is great for macro, and the system of legs locking at different angles is faster and better designed that Gitzo's. Also cheaper. In all other counts Gitzo wins. Didn't consider RRS for the cost.
3LT tripods are not very sturdy. I tried both the Adrian and the Dave, and they both felt flimsy, the leg hinges were way too stiff (and apparently become way too loose afterwards), and the ballhead allowed movement when forced (not too hard).
Among Gitzo, I found the GT1531 or GT1541 to be the right one for me (heaviest lens 70-200 2.8). The GT2xxx series is more sturdy but you lose a few inches of height. The explorer series is less stable and wasn't recommended, and apparently because the legs don't have preset lock positions it takes longer to set it up. I am on the lookout for a used GT1531/41 and using my 190Pro (alluminium) at the moment.
Hope this helps someone :)
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Zv

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2013, 01:50:57 AM »
I have a question about AS plates. So, according to RRS they recommend using their own QR plates or Wimberley ones with their BH clamps. I noticed a couple of folk mention they were using universal AS plates. Did you have any issues? Is it best to stick to their advice and get the RRS custom plates? I'm just wondering because down the line I might want to upgrade my 5D2 and a universal plate makes more sense.

Thanks in advance.
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Eldar

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2013, 02:24:14 AM »
I have a question about AS plates. So, according to RRS they recommend using their own QR plates or Wimberley ones with their BH clamps. I noticed a couple of folk mention they were using universal AS plates. Did you have any issues? Is it best to stick to their advice and get the RRS custom plates? I'm just wondering because down the line I might want to upgrade my 5D2 and a universal plate makes more sense.

Thanks in advance.
One thing about the universal plates is that they are flat. And those with only one screw may twist (unless extremely tight) and the camera or lens may be out of position. The RRS plates are made to fit the body, so they are totally stable.
I had several universal plates, but I have replaced all of them with RRS plates. For camera bodies I strongly recommend their L-plates. I have not tried the alternatives to RRS, so it might be that they are just as good.
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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2013, 02:24:14 AM »

Zv

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2013, 02:36:48 AM »
I have a question about AS plates. So, according to RRS they recommend using their own QR plates or Wimberley ones with their BH clamps. I noticed a couple of folk mention they were using universal AS plates. Did you have any issues? Is it best to stick to their advice and get the RRS custom plates? I'm just wondering because down the line I might want to upgrade my 5D2 and a universal plate makes more sense.

Thanks in advance.
One thing about the universal plates is that they are flat. And those with only one screw may twist (unless extremely tight) and the camera or lens may be out of position. The RRS plates are made to fit the body, so they are totally stable.
I had several universal plates, but I have replaced all of them with RRS plates. For camera bodies I strongly recommend their L-plates. I have not tried the alternatives to RRS, so it might be that they are just as good.

Cool. That's what I figured. The RRS plates are about the same price as the AS universal ones anyway. My crappy manfrotto ones twist and slip all over the place. Time to change.
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Eldar

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2013, 03:42:15 AM »
I have just received the RRS TVC-34L and the PG-02 gimbal head. I really didn´t need it, but Neuro and Elm58 talked me into it ;)

In the image you see the Gitzo GT3542LS with the Wimberley Gimbal II head, fully erected. The RRS has only 3 of 4 legs extended, so it can be significantly taller. I am 6 ft and can stand straight behind both as they stand.

From a stability perspective, I have to give an additional point to RRS. It feels more sturdy. But I have used the 600mm f4L IS II, with the 2xIII extender on a 7D body, equivalent to 1920mm, on this rig. And it works (the actual problem is finding the subject in the viewfinder).

The Gitzo has a handy quick head base release function integrated in the head. For the same function on the RRS you need tools. But by using an additional QR clamp, you get the same with RRS. I know Neuro is using this. It tilts the cost issue further in favor of the Gitzo though. But if you are using a leveling base, which i strongly recommend with a gimbal head, there is no difference.

The RRS is a bit longer when collapsed. But the head base diameter is smaller, so from a transport perspective I believe they can be viewed as equals.

They can both use the same leveling base. I use the RRS TA-3-LB-HK leveling base on both (on the RRS in the image).

As for the Gimbal heads, it is difficult to vote in favor of any of them. Functionally they are both great and I can live happily with both. The RRS looks more exclusive and it packs a bit more compact (not much). I actually thought the RRS would have been smaller.

The votes of the Norwegian jury?
From a functional perspective: Slightly in favor of the RRS tripod, for a bit more stability and the extra height. For the gimbal heads, it is a draw.
From a look and feel perspective: I have to give it to RRS for both tripod and head. Every aspect of their products radiates quality. But you are paying for it.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 03:54:16 AM by Eldar »
5DIII, 1DX, 8-15/4L, 16-35 f4L IS, 24-70/2.8L II, 70-200/2.8L IS II, 70-300/4-5.6L IS, 200-400/4L IS 1.4x, Zeiss 15/2.8, 17/4L TS-E, Zeiss 21/2.8, 24/3.5L TS-E II, Sigma 35/1.4 Art, Zeiss Otus 55/1.4, 85/1.2L II, 100/2.8L IS Macro, Zeiss 135/2, 600/4L IS II

neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2013, 08:11:33 AM »
I have a question about AS plates. So, according to RRS they recommend using their own QR plates or Wimberley ones with their BH clamps. I noticed a couple of folk mention they were using universal AS plates. Did you have any issues? Is it best to stick to their advice and get the RRS custom plates? I'm just wondering because down the line I might want to upgrade my 5D2 and a universal plate makes more sense.

FWIW, the Wimberley P-5 is a 'universal' camera plate that works fine in RRS clamps, and mine didn't twist.  Can come in handy for early adopters (if you buy a new model of camera before dedicated plates are available).  There's no good universal L-bracket.

Also, note that RRS' recommendation to use RRS/Wimberley plates applies only to their lever clamps, not their screw knob clamps.

I have just received the RRS TVC-34L and the PG-02 gimbal head. I really didn´t need it, but Neuro and Elm58 talked me into it ;)

I'm not going to apologize.  ;)

The RRS looks more exclusive and it packs a bit more compact (not much). I actually thought the RRS would have been smaller.

Yes, the PG-02 LLR was bigger than I expected, too.  When I got it, I also got the LensCoat PG Pouch for transport.  Protects the head very well...and the loaded pouch turns out to be the size of a 300/2.8!!  I found that a Lowepro Lens Exchange 200 AW makes a very effective case for the PG-02 LLR (pics in this linked thread), and it easily attaches to my Lowepro bags.

Besides a slightly smaller transport size (and a more convenient shape), the RRS gimbal has a couple other advantages.  If you have an L-bracket, you can lock the upright portion into the LLR clamp, and shoot with a standard (non-collared) lens. With the Wimberley II, you need to change heads.  Also, it's a pano-gimbal head - if you add an MPR-CL or -CL II rail, you have a complete multi-row pano head.
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Eldar

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2013, 09:51:22 AM »
Besides a slightly smaller transport size (and a more convenient shape), the RRS gimbal has a couple other advantages.  If you have an L-bracket, you can lock the upright portion into the LLR clamp, and shoot with a standard (non-collared) lens. With the Wimberley II, you need to change heads.  Also, it's a pano-gimbal head - if you add an MPR-CL or -CL II rail, you have a complete multi-row pano head.
These are good points.
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igbass

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2013, 11:00:44 AM »
Thought I'd post what I ended up getting, after considering all the fine advice:

RRS BH-40, with lever release and panning clamp, an RSS L plate, and for the tripod legs I decided to go with carbon fiber, but compromised on the price, since I got the expensive ball head, and went with Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 instead of Gitzo or RSS.

Even though my heaviest lens is only a 24-105mm, I thought I'd go with the BH-40 in case I get heavier lenses in the future and because I wanted the independent drag on the ball head. I went with the panning clamp so I didn't have to worry about leveling the legs first when shooting panoramas. The only thing I didn't get was the nodal slide, but I can always pick that up in the future.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2013, 11:04:51 AM »
Thought I'd post what I ended up getting, after considering all the fine advice:

RRS BH-40, with lever release and panning clamp, an RSS L plate, and for the tripod legs I decided to go with carbon fiber, but compromised on the price, since I got the expensive ball head, and went with Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 instead of Gitzo or RSS.

Even though my heaviest lens is only a 24-105mm, I thought I'd go with the BH-40 in case I get heavier lenses in the future and because I wanted the independent drag on the ball head. I went with the panning clamp so I didn't have to worry about leveling the legs first when shooting panoramas. The only thing I didn't get was the nodal slide, but I can always pick that up in the future.

Excellent choices!
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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2013, 11:04:51 AM »

Eldar

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2013, 11:06:41 AM »
Thought I'd post what I ended up getting, after considering all the fine advice:

RRS BH-40, with lever release and panning clamp, an RSS L plate, and for the tripod legs I decided to go with carbon fiber, but compromised on the price, since I got the expensive ball head, and went with Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 instead of Gitzo or RSS.

Even though my heaviest lens is only a 24-105mm, I thought I'd go with the BH-40 in case I get heavier lenses in the future and because I wanted the independent drag on the ball head. I went with the panning clamp so I didn't have to worry about leveling the legs first when shooting panoramas. The only thing I didn't get was the nodal slide, but I can always pick that up in the future.

Excellent choices!
Congratulations. You´ll be very happy with your choices!
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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2014, 08:10:31 PM »
Quote
Thought I'd post what I ended up getting, after considering all the fine advice:

RRS BH-40, with lever release and panning clamp, an RSS L plate, and for the tripod legs I decided to go with carbon fiber, but compromised on the price, since I got the expensive ball head, and went with Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 instead of Gitzo or RSS.

Even though my heaviest lens is only a 24-105mm, I thought I'd go with the BH-40 in case I get heavier lenses in the future and because I wanted the independent drag on the ball head. I went with the panning clamp so I didn't have to worry about leveling the legs first when shooting panoramas. The only thing I didn't get was the nodal slide, but I can always pick that up in the future.

Are you happy with your choices a few months out? Thinking about tripods myself and trying to learn from your research :-)
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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2014, 08:10:31 PM »