August 31, 2014, 12:49:28 AM

Author Topic: Tripod for someone who's never used one?  (Read 7189 times)

igbass

  • Power Shot G16
  • **
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« on: December 01, 2013, 10:26:38 AM »
So I've been shooting with a Canon 5D and a few basic lenses for a long time now, sort of recreationally, selling photos when I can, but never doing the whole professional thing. Never carried a flash, or a tripod, or anything else. Just upgraded to the Canon 5D Mark III (amazon has a good deal today, for $2699), and thought, with the money I saved, I should get a tripod.

Problem is I don't know where to start. I've heard Carbon Fibre is better than aluminum, at least as far as weight is concerned (big issue for me), so I think I'd like to go that route. But I see tripods from as little as $100 to as much as $500, or more, then the ball head, which is sometimes included and sometimes isn't, which can add hundreds more. In other words, I have no idea what to buy.

What I want to do is more low-light photography and, now that I have video capabilities, high-def video as well. Things like time lapse, etc. Do I "need" the best tripod? Or will a cheaper one do?

canon rumors FORUM

Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« on: December 01, 2013, 10:26:38 AM »

Zv

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1202
    • View Profile
    • Zee-bytes
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2013, 11:36:59 AM »
For time lapse and other specialized types of photography like that you'll likely need something solid. If you don't mind the weight you can get a pretty decent aluminium one for around $200, maybe less. I use a Manfrotto 055XPROB which gets the job done. Doesn't have a hook for the centre column though but it's heavy enough that you might not need to weigh it down. If you can afford a Carbon Fibre one go for a Gitzo tripod. They make tripods from all kinds of space age materials I've never heard of but are super light.

Whatever you get the ball head will be the most crucial element. You'll want to also make sure you have good clamps and plates. Thats what attaches the camera to the ballhead. Depends also on how much flexibility you want. You might want L plates to easily switch orientation.

For video you might want something else completely. I know nothing of video sorry. I think a 3 way panning type head might be better. (They suck for anything other than smooth panning though).

There is no magic "one tripod" solution really. You'll just have to figure out what you want the tripod to do for you and buy that particular attachment.

Don't buy a cheap one. You are trusting the tripod to hold very high value equipment, get something reliable.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 11:40:20 AM by Zv »
5D II | 17-40L | 24-105L | 70-200 f4L IS | 135L | SY 14mm f/2.8 | Sigma 50 f/1.4

EOS M | 22 f/2 | 11-22 IS

Eldar

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1403
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2013, 12:05:02 PM »
If you are going to use the tripod and are concerned with weight, there are no alternatives to carbon. I have spent lots of money on tripods and ball heads over the years, because I thought the Gitzos and Really Right Stuff were to expensive. But today my only regret is that I didm´t go for the real thing right away.

Save up for either Gitzo or RRS (no center column), with a leveling base and a good ball head. You´ll never regret it. It will cost you, but it is well worth it. Make sure you get an arcs swiss compatible head. RRS BH-40 and BH-55 are both great.
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

  • CR GEEK
  • ********
  • Posts: 13988
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2013, 12:33:22 PM »
A cheap tripod will frustrate you and be money wasted.  Consider legs and head separately.

For legs, top quality is Gitzo and Really Right Stuff. They're tops in cost, too.  Induro and Benro are Gitzo knock-offs, I've heard good things but no experience.   Manfrotto is a good compromise between quality and value, IMO. I was happy with my Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 for gear up to a gripped body with white zoom (70-200/2.8, 28-300, 100-400), it's light and easy to carry, strong enough for stability. The 055 series is beefier. 

For heads, get something Arca Swiss compatible. That's as close to a universal quick release system out there.  Gitzo heads aren't very good, and they and Manfrotto use proprietary plates (Manfrotto plates aren't even compatible across their lines).  Really Right Stuff, Kirk, Markins, Arca Swiss and Acratech are brands to look at for ballheads. For video heads, fluid heads are the way to go. I don't shoot video, but I've heard good things about Satchler.
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

scottkinfw

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 734
    • View Profile
    • kasden.smug.com
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013, 01:03:53 PM »
I agree with all of the above.  Don't waste time with cheap stuff.  A tripod needs to hold up over time, be transportable, and most important, keep the camera stable during the shoot.

There are different ways to extend the legs (latches, rings and the like).  Next you have 3 or 4 segments, with more segments usually less stable, but smaller when collapsed.  You need to consider how tall you are and how tall you need the tripod to be.  Really Right Stuff web site has a nice chart on its front page you can look at for this.  No center column greatly enhances stability, and decreases the weight of this element.

Some tripods have a hook to hang additional weight to stabilize the unit- helpful during windy conditions.  Some either come with, or have optional "accessories" that you may later purchase.  These may not be important now, but keep an eye toward the future- like the leveling plate as mentioned by Neuro-  it may not make sense to you now, but as you expand, the ability to use these items may become essential.

I totally agree that your head should be a separate purchase.  This is a personal decision as the tripod legs.  A lot of things go into this decision.  One very important thing is the plate- Arca Swiss is my vote.  Another thing is the layout of the tightening knobs.  Be sure that they work for you, and be sure the head will carry the camera/lens load.  Play around with it for a while to be sure you like it.  I have a collection that look pretty but I hate.

I have a Manfrotto 190CXPro3 and it is a great tripod.  I am going to get a RRS TVC-33 when I get my big white lens

So, be sure that the combo is easy to carry, easy to set up, and stable.

Cheers

Scott
sek Cameras: 5D III, 5D II, EOS M  Lenses:  24-70 2.8 II IS, 24-105 f4L, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 300 f4L IS, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8 Flashes: 580 EX II600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

Mt Spokane Photography

  • Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
  • ********
  • Posts: 8461
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2013, 01:15:01 PM »
It really depends on your usage, there is no single tripod that does it all, and those that try fall short on everything.
For video, you will want a tripod and head designed for video
 
For backpacking, you want light, and will sacrifice strength for weight
 
For lenses up to about 3-4 lbs, a middle of the road unit with ball head will work
For big whites, a heavy duty set of legs and a gimbal head work best
For Macro's, there are designs that allow a horizontal top bar, and legs that let you lower it to ground level.  There are special heads that allow the camera and lens to move toward or away from the subject on a rack and pinion, or even bellows.
For Panoramas, there are heads that can adjust to allow the camera to rotate around the nodal point of the lens.
 
Beginning to get the picture?
 
True pro video tripods and heads can cost well over $10K, so you are going to compromise severely for video.
 
So, do like the rest of us, get the best you can afford, and learn to work around any defencies.
 
Don't overlook Monopods, for light weight needs, they work well and cost less.  A cheap head works fine for one.
 

surapon

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2221
  • 80% BY HEART, 15% BY LENSES AND ONLY 5% BY CAMERA
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2013, 01:44:39 PM »
If you are going to use the tripod and are concerned with weight, there are no alternatives to carbon. I have spent lots of money on tripods and ball heads over the years, because I thought the Gitzos and Really Right Stuff were to expensive. But today my only regret is that I didm´t go for the real thing right away.

Save up for either Gitzo or RRS (no center column), with a leveling base and a good ball head. You´ll never regret it. It will cost you, but it is well worth it. Make sure you get an arcs swiss compatible head. RRS BH-40 and BH-55 are both great.


Yes Sir,  + 100 , to dear Mr. Eldar and Dear Mr. neuroanatomist.
Yes, Please get Best of the Best and you will be very happy, But Buy the Cheap one, and The Cheapo stick with you in the Closet, You will never use again.
Surapon
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 01:58:02 PM by surapon »

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2013, 01:44:39 PM »

igbass

  • Power Shot G16
  • **
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2013, 01:50:00 PM »
Much appreciated, all! Tripods are apparently way more complicated than I thought :) Thankfully all the lenses I use now are light weight (50mm f1.4, 24-105mm f4, sigma 12-24mm), and my next purchases (I think) will be the 70-200mm and the 16-35mm, so I won't be shooting with heavy gear any time soon.

Quick question: as far as plates are concerned, is it just Gitzo and Manfrotto that are proprietary? And does that mean if I get an Arca swiss plate I couldn't use it on a Gitzo or Manfrotto head? But I could get an Arca swiss plate and Arca swiss head and attach that do a Gitzo or Manfrotto set of legs?

Sorry for all the basic questions. Your help is appreciated.

dswtan

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 40
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2013, 02:08:39 PM »
A classic"right of passage" question! :-) This famous link doesn't seem to have been posted yet, and while getting dated, remains great for many of the general principles also mentioned in this thread: http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

Quick question: as far as plates are concerned, is it just Gitzo and Manfrotto that are proprietary? And does that mean if I get an Arca swiss plate I couldn't use it on a Gitzo or Manfrotto head? But I could get an Arca swiss plate and Arca swiss head and attach that do a Gitzo or Manfrotto set of legs?
Yes you can attach Arca-compatible heads to Gitzo/Manfrotto/RRS or whatever legs -- the connection between head and legs will either be a 1/4" or 3/8" thread, which are the industry standards -- sometimes both are options depending on the combination but do double-check for the combination you choose.
http://500px.com/dswtan  |  5D3, 7D, IR 5D2, IR M, G15

brad-man

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 694
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2013, 02:13:20 PM »
Much appreciated, all! Tripods are apparently way more complicated than I thought :) Thankfully all the lenses I use now are light weight (50mm f1.4, 24-105mm f4, sigma 12-24mm), and my next purchases (I think) will be the 70-200mm and the 16-35mm, so I won't be shooting with heavy gear any time soon.

Quick question: as far as plates are concerned, is it just Gitzo and Manfrotto that are proprietary? And does that mean if I get an Arca swiss plate I couldn't use it on a Gitzo or Manfrotto head? But I could get an Arca swiss plate and Arca swiss head and attach that do a Gitzo or Manfrotto set of legs?

Sorry for all the basic questions. Your help is appreciated.

As Neuro said, buy the legs and head separately. Buy a ball head that is already Arca-Swiss compatible. Gitzo and Manfrotto make excellent legs, but their heads are average and not worth the trouble of modifying. Any head will mount on any set of legs, so no compatibility issues there. I would suggest having a look at Sirui products. Both their heads and legs are well made and reasonably priced (particularly on ebay). You will want a camera plate that is custom made for your model of camera, but lens plates are universal and can be had at very reasonable prices (again, particularly on ebay).

dgatwood

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 677
  • 300D, 400D, 6D
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2013, 02:45:07 PM »
For video you might want something else completely. I know nothing of video sorry. I think a 3 way panning type head might be better. (They suck for anything other than smooth panning though).

For video, you want pretty much the opposite of what you want for stills.

For stills, you want a tripod to be lightweight, and you want to be able to quickly pan and tilt to an exact position and then lock it there.  You also probably want to be able to rotate it 90 degrees for portrait shooting.

For video, you want a tripod that is heavy enough and thick enough that it doesn't flex when you pan or tilt it, and you want a fair amount of drag while panning and tilting so the motion is smooth rather than jerky.  And if you tilt the thing 90 degrees for portrait shooting, we reserve the right to bludgeon you repeatedly with your Manfrotto.  :D

As for the third direction (pedestal, i.e. raising the thing up higher), it can be handy at times, particularly if you are working in close quarters, but it isn't strictly necessary so long as the tripod allows you to change the amount of leg spread.  Sadly, most don't.   ???

winglet

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2013, 03:00:24 PM »
Next to lenses, I think spending as high as your budget will allow on a good tripod is probably the best money you will put out. The cheap tripods just wear out so fast. Many years ago I got by with department store tripods, and they're certainly better than nothing. But I've had a Gitzo GT1450 Traveler (think there's a newer model now?) for a number of years years now that has travelled many, many times around the globe and never let me down. Weighs about two pounds I think?

When I went to look for a beefier tripod to use mostly in studio to support a tethered laptop and ball head at the same time, I considered Gitzo again but actually went to a Manfrotto (057 CF) which I now much prefer over the Gitzo for the Manfrotto's lever-locks versus the Gitzo's twisting locks. It weighs about seven pounds but supports up to 40 pounds and raises to 80 inches, which is nice for shooting horse racing over a fence! It's all a matter of preference. (Incidentally, Manfrotto and Gitzo are owned by the same conglomerate.)

For a ball head I definitely would recommend something Arca-Swiss compatible, it'll make your life easier in the long run. I have a couple of Acratech GV2 ball heads that have been rock stable for me as well. I've got some RRS stuff too, pano-gimbal and L plate etc but their stuff is pretty pricey. Like, crazy-pricey. Beautifully made though.
Canon 1DX, 5DII | 50 f/1.2 | 85 f/1.2II | 100 f/2.8 Macro | 135 f/2 | 16-35 f/2.8 | 24-70 f/2.8II | 70-200 f/2.8II | 200-400 f/4 1.4X | 8-15 f/4 Fisheye | 24 f/3.5TS | 4X 600EX-RT, ST-E3-RT | Fuji X100s

surapon

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2221
  • 80% BY HEART, 15% BY LENSES AND ONLY 5% BY CAMERA
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2013, 03:06:04 PM »
Much appreciated, all! Tripods are apparently way more complicated than I thought :) Thankfully all the lenses I use now are light weight (50mm f1.4, 24-105mm f4, sigma 12-24mm), and my next purchases (I think) will be the 70-200mm and the 16-35mm, so I won't be shooting with heavy gear any time soon.

Quick question: as far as plates are concerned, is it just Gitzo and Manfrotto that are proprietary? And does that mean if I get an Arca swiss plate I couldn't use it on a Gitzo or Manfrotto head? But I could get an Arca swiss plate and Arca swiss head and attach that do a Gitzo or Manfrotto set of legs?

Sorry for all the basic questions. Your help is appreciated.


Dear Mr. igbass
If you do not want to spend $ 1000 US Dollars or more for the super heavy duty for your Light weight Lens,  I highly Recommend  The GREAT AND CHEAP, Made in China Super Tripods/ Monopod = $ 143 US Dollars( CowboyStudio BK-586 Trans-Functional Travel Angle Carbon Fiber Tripod with Monopod for DSLR Camera Nikon Canon ) , which can use Arca Swiss Plate too, Yes, I have for 2 years, Just For Airplane Traveling, And This Super Tripod can carry up to 20 Pounds Weight of my Canon EF 600 MM Lens too ( 12 Pounds).

Yes, I am the Cheapo, who try to  buy and use the Best and the Cheapest One---Yes, I already have 10 Tripods From The Smallest one to The Biggest One. No, If Not good products, I never recommend to my Friends in CR.
Enjoy
Surapon

http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-BK-586-Trans-Functional-Monopod-Olympus/dp/B0082XM8F2/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_6

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2013, 03:06:04 PM »

Joynt Inspirations

  • Power Shot G16
  • **
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2013, 03:09:55 PM »
While it's a knock off, I have a friend who had this ordered and delivered to my house. It's a fantastic tripod though.

http://www.linkdelight.com/P0006568-FCS-285-Carbon-Fiber-Portable-Tripod-Monopod.html

wayno

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 228
    • View Profile
Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2013, 03:48:22 PM »
For time lapse and other specialized types of photography like that you'll likely need something solid. If you don't mind the weight you can get a pretty decent aluminium one for around $200, maybe less. I use a Manfrotto 055XPROB which gets the job done. Doesn't have a hook for the centre column though but it's heavy enough that you might not need to weigh it down. If you can afford a Carbon Fibre one go for a Gitzo tripod. They make tripods from all kinds of space age materials I've never heard of but are super light.

Whatever you get the ball head will be the most crucial element. You'll want to also make sure you have good clamps and plates. Thats what attaches the camera to the ballhead. Depends also on how much flexibility you want. You might want L plates to easily switch orientation.

For video you might want something else completely. I know nothing of video sorry. I think a 3 way panning type head might be better. (They suck for anything other than smooth panning though).

There is no magic "one tripod" solution really. You'll just have to figure out what you want the tripod to do for you and buy that particular attachment.

Don't buy a cheap one. You are trusting the tripod to hold very high value equipment, get something reliable.

+1 for the 055. But only because I'm tall. If not, get the 190xprob

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2013, 03:48:22 PM »