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Author Topic: Tripod for someone who's never used one?  (Read 7715 times)

Eli

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2013, 04:16:34 PM »
http://www.3leggedthing.com/tripods/travel-tripods/brianevo2black.html

3LTs are pretty good, I like them much more than the Manfrottos that I've had.
You can also get them as a kit, with the ballhead (which is of great quality), and a release plate that's compatible with black rapids, they also come with a nice carry bag, not just a cheapy one, and some tools.
They're also detachable monopods for you to use for video.

I've had one for over a year now, used with my 5d mkiii and haven't had any problems with it, I like it a lot actually! Especially for the price, and the 3LTs are superb quality and reliable, and they look awesome, :P
If it's your first tripod I suggest looking at getting one of them, you won't have to look at all the million types of ballheads, release plates, what's compatible with what, or spend a heap on a really expensive one.

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2013, 04:16:34 PM »

RC

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2013, 06:12:55 PM »
I learned the hard way by buying a mediocre tripod/head combo and became very frustrated with it.  Luckily I was able to sell it on Craig's List and recoup some of my loss.  Definitely buy the very best tripod / head you can afford--even if it takes a while to save up.

After seeking advice here on CR, I went with the following:

- Gitzo GT-2531, Series 2 Tripod
- Really Right Stuff BH-40 w/LR (Lever release) plate
- Arca Swiss plates for my bodies and 70-200 II ring

My tripod-head combo is a mid-size making it sturdy enough for a xD body with a 70-200 II, and light enough for backpacking and travel.

Without a doubt, make sure your head is Arca Swiss compatible.  I leave AS plates on my bodies permanently and use the RRS AS mini clamp (link below) on my Black Rapid strap to quickly connect/disconnect my bodies.

http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=B2-FAB-F&type=0&eq=&desc=B2-FAB-F-38mm-clamp-with-flat-back&key=it





MrFotoFool

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2013, 07:53:03 PM »
I agree 100 percent with Winglet about lever locks over twist locks.  If you do not know what this means, most Gitzos (and a few other brand models) use twist locks to release the leg sections for opening or closing.  This means you twist a circular collar several times to open and again to lock.  This is a major pain IMO and I do not understand how anyone puts up with them.  A lot of pros and advanced photographers use Gitzo, so maybe I am just wierd about it, but it twist locks would drive me nuts.  Definitely try before you buy.

Most Manfrotto (and a lot of other brand models) use a flip lock.  Flip a lever once to open and again to close.  So much faster and easier.

I switched from a Manfrotto aluminum to the same class of Manfrotto carbon fiber a couple years ago and it was one of the best photo purchases ever.  Go carbon fiber if you can afford it.  I use a Manfrotto ball head also - with their proprietary plates - and it is no issue for me.  Unless you plan on sharing tripods with a group of people, why do you need a "universal" mounting plate???  (However, Arca Swiss is the industry standard so I am sure they are quite good and perhaps better than my Manfrotto head).

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2013, 08:05:00 PM »
I agree 100 percent with Winglet about lever locks over twist locks.  If you do not know what this means, most Gitzos (and a few other brand models) use twist locks to release the leg sections for opening or closing.  This means you twist a circular collar several times to open and again to lock.  This is a major pain IMO and I do not understand how anyone puts up with them.  A lot of pros and advanced photographers use Gitzo, so maybe I am just wierd about it, but it twist locks would drive me nuts.  Definitely try before you buy.

Most Manfrotto (and a lot of other brand models) use a flip lock.  Flip a lever once to open and again to close.  So much faster and easier.

I switched from a Manfrotto aluminum to the same class of Manfrotto carbon fiber a couple years ago and it was one of the best photo purchases ever.  Go carbon fiber if you can afford it.  I use a Manfrotto ball head also - with their proprietary plates - and it is no issue for me.  Unless you plan on sharing tripods with a group of people, why do you need a "universal" mounting plate???  (However, Arca Swiss is the industry standard so I am sure they are quite good and perhaps better than my Manfrotto head).

I much prefer the Redged Twist lock to the Manfroto lever locks.  They only require about 1/3-1/2 turn, you can twist them all with one hand at the same time to loosen, and tighten them finger tight and they will hold the weight.  they are not a big name brand, but you get a lot for the price.
 
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I've dumped my Manfroto lever lock stuff long ago.
 
 

scottkinfw

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2013, 08:59:39 PM »
The plate goes with the head.

Scott

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.
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igbass

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2013, 09:36:44 PM »
Assuming I have the money for either a nice ball head OR a nice set of carbon fiber tripod legs, but not both, am I correct in wanting to pay more for the ball head and settling for a cheaper pair of aluminum legs? I mean I know it'll be heavier and I'll have to lug it around, but once the legs are where they are, it's really the ball head that does the bulk of the work. Right?

The real problem is I have to buy tomorrow and I don't have time to go into town, test different setups, and sort of have to go on faith. (I'll be ordering on the internet, shipping to a different state, where I'm headed for 3 weeks of tromping through the snow for a perfect photo.)

This will teach me to put everything off until the last minute.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2013, 10:22:39 PM »
I agree 100 percent with Winglet about lever locks over twist locks.  If you do not know what this means, most Gitzos (and a few other brand models) use twist locks to release the leg sections for opening or closing.  This means you twist a circular collar several times to open and again to lock.  This is a major pain IMO and I do not understand how anyone puts up with them.  A lot of pros and advanced photographers use Gitzo, so maybe I am just wierd about it, but it twist locks would drive me nuts.  Definitely try before you buy.

Most Manfrotto (and a lot of other brand models) use a flip lock.  Flip a lever once to open and again to close.  So much faster and easier.

Couldn't disagree more, except agree with try before buy.  Had Manfrotto flip locks, have RRS twist locks. The twist locks are much faster.  "Twist several times," have you used good (Gitzo, RRS) twist locks?  It takes 1/4 to 1/3 turn to loosen/tighten.  Twist the whole stack when opening a leg, and I don't even have to let go of the leg when closing it.  The flip locks are hard on your fingers, harder when it's cold, and harder to operate with gloves.

There's another problem with Manfrotto legs and most others with lever locks - maintenance.  If you use your tripod at the beach, in a river, etc., the legs will get water/salt/sand/silt in them.  The twist locks on good tripods can be easily disassembled without tools, in the field if necessary.  Lever locks need tools (minimally nut drivers and/or hex keys, some Manfrotto locks have a center pin that must be driven out with a hammer and awl).

I use a Manfrotto ball head also - with their proprietary plates - and it is no issue for me.  Unless you plan on sharing tripods with a group of people, why do you need a "universal" mounting plate???  (However, Arca Swiss is the industry standard so I am sure they are quite good and perhaps better than my Manfrotto head).

I had a couple of Manfrotto ballheads. The 'standard' ones (498RC2, etc) have a bit of both 'settle' and 'drift'.  Settle is when the head droops a bit immediately after you lock it down.  The 488/498 can settle by up to ~5°, depending on load.  It makes precise positioning a challenge.  Drift is when the head droops over time, and the 488/498 do that a bit, as well.  I had the Manfrotto 468MG hydrostatic head for a while - that's a much better head.  It still settled, but much less - only 1-2° at most, and no drift.  By comparison, my small RRS head (BH-30) has <0.5° of settle with a moderate unbalanced load (70-200/2.8 with 2x or extended 28-300L, for example) and no drift, and my full size RRS BH-55 simply doesn't move after locking it down, even with a 1D X + 600 II.

As for plates, there are issues with both some plates themselves, and with compatibility.  I find with the common RC2 there is that there is some play in the clamp/plate junction.  It has a secondary locking pin, so there's no risk of it coming out, but 'locked down' isn't - the plate can be shifted in the clamp when it's locked.  That further complicates precise positioning, and is likely a source of vibration.  Manfrotto does have better plates/clamps - both the hexagonal RC0 and the large, rectangular RC4 clamp much more firmly. But both of those designs are larger than the bottom of even a large dSLR and thus they stick out, and putting them on a tripod collar is even worse. The Arca Swiss-type clamp locks onto the plates like a vice.  Also, none of the Manfrotto plates have dedicated anti-rotation features (other than friction, meaning you've got to really crank the plates tight, and sometimes they still twist under the camera).  Most AS-type body and lens plates have engineered anti-twist.

Why a 'universal' mounting plate?  For a lot more reasons than 'sharing with friends'...  Say you get into macro photography and want a macro rail - you can use the built-in Arca dovetail that almost all of them have directly with your AS-type clamp...or screw in another Manfrotto plate (and Manfrotto's rail is kludgy, plus you'd have to screw in a plate anyway).  Say you want to do proper panoramic shots (not just pan your ballhead, but actually rotate around the nodal point to avoid parallax) - Manfrotto's pano heads are decent...and they use the RC0 hexagonal plates.  If you're using RC2 or RC4, they don't fit.  Same story for other accessories (flash brackets, etc.), where the good ones directly mount to an AS clamp.

Probably the biggest reason to choose Arca Swiss type heads over Manfrotto is to use an L-bracket.  If you shoot in portrait orientation, having the load balanced over the head is much more stable than using the drop-notch.  Manfrotto's relatively recent attempt at designing an L-bracket was pretty much a failure, the functional ones are all AS-type.

Personally, I got fed up with the RC2 plates and lack of L-bracket first, swapped a Wimberley C-12 clamp onto my 468MGRC2, and replaced the 234RC on my monopod with a 234 + Wimberley C-12.  I subsequently went all RRS, and couldn't be happier.
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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2013, 10:22:39 PM »

JPAZ

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2013, 12:12:07 AM »

I much prefer the Redged Twist lock to the Manfroto lever locks.  They only require about 1/3-1/2 turn, you can twist them all with one hand at the same time to loosen, and tighten them finger tight and they will hold the weight.  they are not a big name brand, but you get a lot for the price.
 
I've dumped my Manfroto lever lock stuff long ago.

+1 on Redged legs.  I really like my CF legs and their twist locks.  I put an Induro head on that with Arca type clamp and I am good to go.  I've supported my 5diii with the 300 f/2.8 and a 2xiii without any issue.
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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2013, 12:48:27 AM »
Totally agree with Neuro on the drift and settle issue with the 498RC2 ballhead. This caused me manor headaches when lining up the Reikan Focal target. You have to take the settle into account then you're always worried about how much it's moved and if you need to realign.  :(

I expected better from Manfrotto ballheads. Guess I shoulda listened to more CR advice! Will be replacing the ballhead soon.
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kkelis

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2013, 06:12:53 AM »
Hello everyone
I thought i should join the conversation here instead of starting a new thread. I am currently looking for a ball head to match my 190CXPRO3. 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.

  I did read some negative reviews for the MH054-Q2, where the plate gets loose over time and now after reading some disappointing comments about drift on manfrotto heads, it got me thinking about it.

I plan to use the tripod for timelapse video so the camera has to stay still for hours, definitely i would want any drift!

My heaviest set up would be 5Dii+70-200 is II + 2x TC


neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2013, 07:03:34 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.
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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2013, 09:35:11 AM »
Last question for y'all. This is the ball head I'm thinking of getting, and attaching it to some yet chosen set of carbon fiber legs: http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=BH-40-LR-II&type=3&eq=&desc=BH-40-LR-II%3a-Mid-sized-ballhead-w%2f-AS-II&key=it. That's the BH-40 LR II: Mid-sized ballhead w/ AS II.

Now the thing I still don't quite understand, gear wise, is the whole panorama/nodal slide thing. It appears like nodal slides are separate attachments, but the BH-40 PCLR, which is about $150 more than the BH-40 LR specifically notes it's for panorama. Does that mean that only the BH-40 PCLR accepts the nodal slide, or that it's got something built into the head that means I don't need a nodal slide?

Eldar

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2013, 10:08:02 AM »
Last question for y'all. This is the ball head I'm thinking of getting, and attaching it to some yet chosen set of carbon fiber legs: http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=BH-40-LR-II&type=3&eq=&desc=BH-40-LR-II%3a-Mid-sized-ballhead-w%2f-AS-II&key=it. That's the BH-40 LR II: Mid-sized ballhead w/ AS II.

Now the thing I still don't quite understand, gear wise, is the whole panorama/nodal slide thing. It appears like nodal slides are separate attachments, but the BH-40 PCLR, which is about $150 more than the BH-40 LR specifically notes it's for panorama. Does that mean that only the BH-40 PCLR accepts the nodal slide, or that it's got something built into the head that means I don't need a nodal slide?
With the PCLR, you can have a fully leveled panorama, since it has a panorama function integrated in the clamp. This is easily adjusted with the ball head itself. I have that on my BH-55, which is very convenient.
The alternative is either to have a leveling base on your tripod, to pretty much do the same thing, or make sure that you have the tripod totally leveled, which is a bit tricky sometimes.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 10:14:16 AM by Eldar »
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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2013, 10:08:02 AM »

MrFotoFool

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2013, 10:41:50 AM »
Or just leave enough overlap on top and bottom that you can crop out the top and bottom parts where there one shot is slightly higher or lower than the next.  I do this with a regular ballhead (a much maligned on this thread Manfrotto ballhead) and it works fine.  Attached photo is five verticals stitched together.

Of course if you plan to do A LOT of panoramas then a dedicated head makes sense, but if you only do it occasionally as I do, then any head should work.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2013, 11:01:00 AM »
Last question for y'all. This is the ball head I'm thinking of getting, and attaching it to some yet chosen set of carbon fiber legs: http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=BH-40-LR-II&type=3&eq=&desc=BH-40-LR-II%3a-Mid-sized-ballhead-w%2f-AS-II&key=it. That's the BH-40 LR II: Mid-sized ballhead w/ AS II.

Now the thing I still don't quite understand, gear wise, is the whole panorama/nodal slide thing. It appears like nodal slides are separate attachments, but the BH-40 PCLR, which is about $150 more than the BH-40 LR specifically notes it's for panorama. Does that mean that only the BH-40 PCLR accepts the nodal slide, or that it's got something built into the head that means I don't need a nodal slide?

The two 'tricks' for a proper single-row pano are having the camera rotate on a level platform, and having the camera rotate around the lens' entrance pupil to avoid parallax.  Normally, you achieve those separately.

As Eldar stated, the PCLR has a rotating pano clamp on top of the ballhead, allowing you to shoot level pano shots.  I have a leveling base on my tripod, which accomplishes the same thing in a different way.  As MrFotoFool points out, you can also frame more loosely and crop a level final image from the tilted pano you'll get if the camera isn't level through the rotation.

But having a level platform around which the camera rotates doesn't address parallax - that's where the nodal slide comes in. Parallax is the phenomenon that results when looking at the same object from different viewing angles, such as when you hold your finger in front of your face and alternate viewing through each eye, the relative position of your finger appears to shift.  To avoid that error, you need to rotate around the lens' entrance pupil (often erroneously referred to as the nodal point) when you pan.  For that, you'd need a 'nodal slide', so you can slide the camera back in the clamp to find the right position - more on that from RRS on this linked page (I use the MPR-CL II). The nodal slides will work in any AS clamp, such as the AS II clamp.   Alternatively, with a collared lens the lens plate is usually long enough to function as a nodal slide.
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Re: Tripod for someone who's never used one?
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2013, 11:01:00 AM »