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Author Topic: Manfrotto 055xprob VS 190xprob tripods and Canon Speedlite 580EX II? Lightroom?  (Read 10325 times)

scottsdaleriots

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Hi I'm new and I'm having trouble with deciding on which tripod I should buy, the 055xprob or the 190xprob? There are a few 190 variety of tripods from Manfrotto but I'm thinking of the 190xprob. Right now I'm thinking of buying the 055xprob in the near future. Only because I don't want to upgrade in the future and it holds more than the 190xprob does. I'm also looking to buy a flash, most likely the 580EX II as it's the most professional but I've also read that it has a few issues (I can't remember exactly, something with the hotshoe and something about the 430EX II being better than the 580EX II in some aspects.) I'm really hoping the 580EX III comes out soon - probably not in the foreseeable future :( If someone can point out the pros and cons and talk about their experience using these tripods/flashes it would help a lot. I've read heaps and heaps of reviews on amazon/adorama, etc.
 
I would like to do some portrait shots (and will buy a 'portrait' lens in the future) but I also want to go travelling (in the foreseeable future, most likely UK, Europe and USA) and buying a tripod would benefit me I think. I only have 1 camera (7D) and 2 lenses (my kit and walk around lens 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 IS lens and my 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens). I will buy a 2nd and FF camera in the future (maybe 5D mark III).

Also if someone could tell me more about Adobe Lightroom as I'm interested in buying it - many people have told me it's better than photoshop as it's non-destructive and has a good gallery thing and good at renaming files. But I want to know a lot more before I buy this product. I'm currently using PS CS5 extended. But I've heard PS and Lightroom go hand-in-hand and work really well together. Any helpful information would be appreciated :)

JR

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Hi Scott.  I am less familiar with the tripod you are considering but I can help you with LIghtroom.  But just on the tripod, I myself had tried the Manfrotto 755XB MDeVe Aluminum Video Tripod because i wanted to use it for video as well and found it a bit too heavy and not well build.  I instead decided to invest in a Gitzo carbon tripod (levelling) and I am quite happy with it.  I know it is not the same price though...

Now for Lightroom...I only started photography back again about a year ago (after a 15 year break!) so at first I kept it sim[ple and was using the software that comes with my Canon to manage my pictures.  I tried Lightroom last January as a trial and was quite impressed with it but was reluctant to buy it.  Finally this summer I decided to buy it and I dont regret it.  It is by far the best software I have sem to manage and develop your pictures.  The noise reduction feature is amazing.  You are also right that Lightroom does not make your picture fake.  But dont be mistaken, Lightroom is a very powerful software. 

I am just starting to get familiar with all the features after a couple of months of use.  If you only want to buy one software, dont hesitate, Lightroom is a must in my humble opinion. 

Now I got so excited that I also bought Photoshop CS5.  They are very different.  If you are familiar with Photoshop, Lightroom is kind of a version of Photoshop with the Camera Raw features with some added library features to manage your collections (you can make playlist, etc...).  But then Photoshop goes a lot deeper in turn of what you can do for adjustments and it does a few things that Lightroom cannot do.  I am no expert so others might better comment, but just this week-end I learned to make black and white with Photoshop and it gave much better result than with Lightroom.  You also have HDR capability which are nice...

In any case they are different, but complementary.  Get Lightroom with hesitation Scott and start with that.  Possibilities are endless.  Then when you want more try Photoshop...

Hope this helps.
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JR

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Scott sorry I read your post too quickly.  Just realized you already have Photoshop Extended.  SO YES Lightroom would be a great complement to it!  I also found the book from Scott Kelby on Lightroom 3 very useful.  (Lightroom 3 book for Digital photographers)...
1DX, 24mm f1.4L II, 35mm f1.4L, 50mm f1.2L, 85mm f1.2L II, 135mm f2L, 24-70mm f2.8L II, 70-200mm f2.8L IS II :  D800, D4, and a whole bunch of Nikon lenses

neuroanatomist

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Ok, lots of questions, all good ones!

Tripod. Yes, you need one. Few pieces of kit can do more to improve your photography. I usually recommend Manfrotto as a good compromise between value and quality.  From a weight support perspective, the 190 series will be fine for you.  That 11 pound rating will do fine for your 7D and 70-200/2.8, which is about as heavy a load you can get unless you add a supertele (300/2.8 and up) to your kit (in that case, just get a Gitzo 3-series now).  You also mention travel.  The 055 series is substantially heavier and has a much longer closed length - its hard to carry around all day, and a tripod left at home isn't useful. The 190 series can pack in carry-on luggage for travel, too.

So, which 190 series?  The xproB is a good tripod, but if budget permits I'd recommend the 190CXPRO3 or -4. It's lighter, so much easier to carry. Also, carbon fiber damps vibration better than aluminum, and is also better if you shoot in cold weather.  I have the 190CXPRO4, and it supports my gripped 7D or gripped 5DII, with 100-400mm or 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II just fine, plus it's light and compact when folded.

Another question - unasked - is the head. I'd recommend a ballhead for convenience and flexibility. The 498RC2 is a good choice, and I had the predecessor (488RC2) for quite a while. The only minor problem with the 488 was a very slight drop after tightening. You quickly learn to compensate (aim the lens a little higher that you want). I subsequently changed to the 468MGRC2, a hydrostatic head that's excellent (but much more expensive).  Get a second RC2 plate for the 70-200's tripod collar.

Flash. The 580 is more powerful (a little less that one stop more light), has weather sealing, and can control other flashes. For typical use, the power probably isn't necessary (but it helps if you use a modifier like a softbox).  I've never had a need to shoot with flash in the rain, and the 7D can directly control off-camera flashes. Not sure what problems you've heard about...there have been some anecdotal reports of problems when used with PocketWizard radio triggers. There is one area in which the 430 is better than the 580, and that's recycle time - since both are powered by 4 batteries, but the 430 holds less charge so it recycles faster.  I'd also recommend a small diffuser like the StoFen Omnibounce.

Software. The 'nondestructive' part is converting the RAW file. Both LR and CS5 use Adobe Camera RAW for converting RAW files to JPG or TIF.  CS5 is an editor - powerful tools for selectively modifying your images. LR has limited editing, and is mainly a library management program. So, there are really 3 functions - RAW conversion, photo editing, and library management. There's not one perfect app that does all of them, but IMO, Apple Aperture comes close. Personally, I'm a believer in using the best tool for the job at hand, so I use separate programs for each - DxO Optics Pro for RAW conversions (better lens and noise corrections than Adobe), CS5 for editing when needed, and Aperture for my libraries.

Hope that helps...
« Last Edit: October 16, 2011, 10:42:24 AM by neuroanatomist »
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Benighted

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As Neuroanatomist said, there are a lot of compromises in the different tripods, Manfrotto is to me also a great compromise between quality and price, I just cant afford a Gitzo currently.

I was in the same position as you in tripods just a couple of months ago, and what I learned trying them out was that the 190XPROB was to short for me, I had to hunch down if I wanted to photograph with the column all the way down, which wasn't good for my back. And with the column up, the mount wasn't stable enough. So I had to go the 055XPROB way, which is a good tripod but again as Neuro said, it is quite a bit longer and heavier than the 190, so it can sometimes be a pain to carry around on a hike (a hour or so carrying it in the hand is okay, but, a whole day, you just want to throw that thing to kingdom come), but with a well designed camera backpack with external fastening I can walk with it indefinitely. If you can afford, the carbon fiber versions are a lot lighter and better in some ways, so don't exclude them if you can afford it.

So, if you can try them out somewhere, test that you can stand comfortably with the 190, or measure out the height on the tripods without the central column extended + the head you will be using and test if that is enough for you. The load capacity is of lesser impact if you don't have a really really heavy rig.

Lightroom, as a PC user (and can't use Aperture) I can't live without it, you can do 95% of the stuff needed in it so you don't have to fire up Photoshop all that often, just try the 30 day trial on adobe's webpage, there are a lot of good tutorials on youtube if you don't want to by a book before deciding if it is your cup of tea/coffe/chocolate :)

RC

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Similar to JR (earlier post) I am just returning back to photography after a long absence so I am not an expert by any means but here is my two cents:

Lightroom  - my advice is to download the trial and watch several of the online tutorials at https://tv.adobe.com/show/learn-lightroom-3/.  Lightroom will sell itself!  I don't think I have ever been so impressed with a piece of software.   Right now I'm not so interested in major editing and artificial manipulation of my images but instead more of image management along with minor editing and LR will wow you on this.  (Maybe someday I'll add PS to my software tools, right now I need to master LR.)  Keep an eye on Amazon's prices, I picked my copy up for about half price.

Tripods - good advice already posted, my two cents is don't buy a one-size-fits-all tripod.  Get yourself a good quality sturdy tripod which will support the weight you need plus some.  Don't worry about the weight of the tripod.  Just make sure it will support your gear without flexing.  Then get yourself a "travel" tripod, also good quality, but lighter and more compact.  You also might consider mono-pod if it suits your shooting style.   I have my primary heavy duty tripod with a ball head, a smaller and lighter travel/backpacking tripod with a pan head, and a mono-pod with a ball head.  If you plan to do Macro photography, you might consider a unit with a multi-angle center column.  Do your research and visit a good shop.



scottsdaleriots

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Thanks for all your information suggestions. And @JR I totally forgot about the type of head. I'm thinking of getting a ball head oopsed to the others which I've forgotten - I heard that the one where it lets you pan isn't typically for cameras as it was mainly used for video cameras but the manufacturers made that a feature since we can also record videos using our cameras. And I'm looking to get the non-carbon fiber tripod first as it's more sturdier/heavier/stable - it won't fall down if you accidentally bump into it. I've also read that a couple od people have resorted to tying a sandbag to the middle just to hold it down in case there's a gust of wind which might knock it down. And I've read countless reviews/comments which concerns me about the Manfrotto tripod (190 and 055 lines) something about the rubber feet wearing out easily and/or breaking and not having spikes. I heard Gitzo tripods were really good and a lot of professionals use them. I haven't researched anything from them, but roughly how much do their good mid-range tripods cost? It's not in my budget but I'd like to know, I'm a little overwelmed by all the different and many brands and option heads there are. And there's also of the matter on whether I need to buy a wembley plate for my 70-200 lens for the tripod mount since it's so big and heavy. I can't really think of any shooting situation where you would need to mount a 70-200 lens on a tripod?

Does anyone have any experience with 3rd party flashes? I heard Nissin Di866 Flash is better than the 580II. I'm really scared that if I put a non-Canon brand product on my camera (lens, flash, even a wireless remote control shutter [I've forgotten what it's called, you use them for self-portraits, etc] thing) that it will stuff up my camera. I bought my camera from Japan so I dont have a warranty - I don't think the international warranty covers where I live.

Also does anyone know of any really, really good photography forums? Like they have discussions we have here but also have photoshop/lightroom tips and tutorials, etc.? On this forum I feel like we (or maybe it's just me ??? ) shoudl be talking about canon/photography rumors. Because I have a lot of quesitons and things that I want to learn but I feel like this forum might not be there right place for that. I don't know. I know I can google photography forums but I don't want to have to sit at the computer for like 15-20 minutes sorting through the hundreds in the results. Please excuse my lengthy posts, I just want to learn as much as possible. I really like an amateur amongst everyone here lol.

sb

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Scott, I have 3 580 EX II and none of them ever had any problems (and I do use them all the time). Main advantage over 430 is the power. I've bounced 580 off of ridiculously high ceilings, and never had power limitations. 430 would struggle if I made it do what I normally do.

And also like Neuro said, it can be used as a master in a multi flash setup. However, I hate the infra-red flash firing technology that Canon uses (because of required line of sight between flashes) so this feature is not that useful for me. Radio triggers all the way.

Lightroom is the absolute best piece of software for photographers. I use it for 99% of the things I do, and occasionally I'll go into PS (Lightroom links up directly, so you can launch it from within) for a complex cloning job or other heavy duty manipulation etc. Just buy it, you will never look back.

Can't comment much on tripods as I almost never use them, so even $60 Velbon is good enough for me  :-)

acoll123

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If you are working on an apple computer, you should check out Aperture for organizing your photo library. You can also link directly to Photoshop from within Aperture for more involved editing (I actually use photoshop elements). I use the editing tools in Aperture 95% of the time and am quite happy. Aperture also automatically accepts RAW files and uses non-destructive editing. I haven't used Lightroom but from what I have read and heard the latest versions of Lightroom and Aperture are comparable.
Get the Gitzo carbon fiber tripod if you can but I can't recommend the Gitzo heads - mine is very good quality but just not as functional as some others, I hope to upgrade sometime in the future.
I have a 430 flash and have used it off-camera with my 7D - works well enough for my limited needs (mainly only for indoor candids of family and friends - everything else I try to use available light).

unfocused

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I'm going to add a minority opinion on Lightroom.

I bought it about six months ago. I really wanted to like Lightroom. I tried it a few times and was greatly disappointed. I bought Scott Kelby's book on it and will probably get back to it one of these days, but here is my take:

I'm used to the Bridge interface for file management. I don't need or want an elaborate file management system, so I'd rather stick with what I know for something mindless like file management. I can double-click on an image in Bridge and it brings it into the Adobe Raw editor from Photoshop. Everything I've read indicates that there is no difference between the Photoshop Raw editor and Lightroom's Raw editor (the same adjustments are available in both).

I'm very used to the Photoshop Raw editor. It's what I know and use and I am comfortable doing my adjustments there. As part of my personal workflow, I usually open the file as a "smart object" in Photoshop, duplicate it one or more times and then go back into Raw to adjust specific areas of the image on these various layers. (later using a mask and the brush tool to overlay the layers).

One of the problems I found with Lightroom, was that when I double click to open a smart object in Raw, Photoshop defaults to its own Raw editor, so I end up working in the Photoshop Raw editor anyway. There may be some way to change that, but from my perspective, as long as I was going to be working in Photoshop Raw for half or more of my layers, why bother with a second interface?

I did not find any advantage to developing the image in Lightroom as opposed to Photoshop's Raw editor, so I guess for me, I haven't felt a strong need to change my workflow. I intend to make an effort at some point to go back and really give Lightroom another chance, but I've found I'd rather spend the time shooting and editing photos than learning a new program at this point.

On the other hand, for about the same money and at about the same time, I bought a "pro" version of OnOne Software's Photo Tools (Actually I think I got a free stripped-down version with Photoshop and then upgraded to the "pro" version). I use it almost daily. Yes, there are tons of cheesy effects that I would never use, but there are about a dozen really useful tools that I have come to absolutely rely on to save time and give me the look I'm after. For the money, I'd pick this over Lightroom any day (yes they are two different animals, but that's the point -- you already own a Raw editor with Photoshop, while the OnOne plug-ins give you something new.

Bottom line: If you own Photoshop already, Lightroom gives you a different interface and a different file management tool, but it doesn't give you a different Raw image editor.

I'm just one user, and I'm in the minority, but I just thought you ought to hear another opinion.
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unfocused

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Sorry for the double-posting here, but I also wanted to give you the advantage of learning from my experience with strobes.

I have two 580 EXII's and one 430 EX. All three can be fired from the 7D on-camera trigger (with or without the on-camera strobe affecting the shot) No advantage or disadvantage there.

The 580s are more powerful, but you need to consider whether or not you will need that power.

The 580s can take an auxiliary battery back which reduces their recycle time and extends battery length hugely. No similar option for the 430.

One thing I learned the hard way -- the 7D on camera flash is a great trigger for the strobes, with one major disadvantage. It has a tendency to overheat and shut down at the most inconvenient times. When it happens, the camera won't fire. You push the shutter button and nothing happens. You have no idea what's going on, just that you're screwed. 

Thanks to some great insights on this forum, I figured out what the problem was. I've since bought one of the cheap Chinese infrared trigger knockoffs (about $100). It cured the problem.

You may never need the auxiliary trigger, but I just wanted to mention it because if you get seriously into additional lighting and are relying on the 7D trigger, you can expect to run into this problem. If you get really serious, you'll probably want a radio trigger. So far I haven't needed one. Never had any problem with the infrared, even in bright daylight. Others may not be so lucky and if I were getting paid for the work, I'd buy a radio trigger.
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neuroanatomist

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Thanks for all your information suggestions. And @JRneuroanatomist  :-X I totally forgot about the type of head. I'm thinking of getting a ball head oopsed to the others which I've forgotten - I heard that the one where it lets you pan isn't typically for cameras as it was mainly used for video cameras but the manufacturers made that a feature since we can also record videos using our cameras.

Yes, a ballhead is the way to go for still photography (unless you're using a supertelephoto lens - 300/2.8 and up - in which case you want a gimbal head).  Better ballheads have a panning feature - for panoramas, not really suitable for panning when shooting video, where you really need a fluid head. 

And I'm looking to get the non-carbon fiber tripod first as it's more sturdier/heavier/stable - it won't fall down if you accidentally bump into it. I've also read that a couple od people have resorted to tying a sandbag to the middle just to hold it down in case there's a gust of wind which might knock it down. And I've read countless reviews/comments which concerns me about the Manfrotto tripod (190 and 055 lines) something about the rubber feet wearing out easily and/or breaking and not having spikes.

I wouldn't say non-carbon fiber is 'more sturdier/heavier/stable' - it's just heavier.  Compare the 055XPROB aluminum to the 055CXPRO3 carbon fiber - the CF version supports 15% more weight than the aluminum version, but it's 30% lighter.  For the 190 series, the load spec is the same, but the tripod is lighter.  In terms of stability, a 0.6-1.5 pound difference is not going to make any difference in whether a tripod blows over or gets knocked over - it's the 5-10 pounds of gear sitting on top that affects that.  In fact, carbon fiber transmits vibration less than aluminum, so in that sense the CF versions are more stable. 

Haven't had any problems with feet on my Manfrotto tripod or monopod.  Spiked feet are available from Manfrotto distributors (including B&H, Amazon.com, etc.). 

Honestly, the only meaningful disadvantage to a CF tripod is that they cost more. 

I heard Gitzo tripods were really good and a lot of professionals use them. I haven't researched anything from them, but roughly how much do their good mid-range tripods cost? It's not in my budget but I'd like to know, I'm a little overwelmed by all the different and many brands and option heads there are. And there's also of the matter on whether I need to buy a wembley plate for my 70-200 lens for the tripod mount since it's so big and heavy. I can't really think of any shooting situation where you would need to mount a 70-200 lens on a tripod?

Gitzo is the L-series of tripod legs.  Their ballheads, not so much.  That's why all the better tripods (including Manfrotto) are sold as legs separate from heads.  The 'best' combo would be a Gitzo 3-series and an Arca-Swiss, Really Right Stuff, Acratech, or Kirk ballhead.  That combo will set you back about $1K. 

I can think of lots of situations that call for mounting a 70-200mm on a tripod.  If you're using an Arca-Swiss system (all of the above heads I mentioned use the same plates, Wimbereley place are Arca-Swiss, too), then you'd want a compatible plate on your 70-200mm.  Any time a lens ships with the tripod foot included, that means it's heavy enough you'll want to mount it by the foot, not the camera body.  Wimberley plates are excellent, but Kirk, RRS, etc., are all great, too. 

If you want a mid-level system, pair Manfrotto legs with one of the heads mentioned above.  Manfrotto also makes an excellent head which I currently use, the 468MG - it's a hydrostatic head, which uses hydraulics to lock the ball in place, very tightly and with minimal effort.  I have a Wimberley C-12 clamp installed on my 486MG, a Wimberley  P-5 camera plate on my 5DII, and Wimberley lens plates on the tripod feet. 

If you'll use the tripod a lot and plan to shoot in portrait orientation, consider an L-bracket for the camera.  That's one area where the Arca-Swiss system is much better.  Manfrotto's L-bracket is not very good, whereas Kirk and Really Right Stuff make excellent L-brackets that are custom-fit to a specific camera body.  The downside is that they're relatively expensive, and that custom fit means if you get a new body, you need to get a new L-bracket, too.

Also does anyone know of any really, really good photography forums? Like they have discussions we have here but also have photoshop/lightroom tips and tutorials, etc.?

I recommend The Digital Picture Forums.  Excellent product reviews there, as well.
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niccyboy

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I own both tripod legs you mentioned.

The tripods were always the weakest link in my camera collection until recently.

I recently dropped my 5dmk2 with a 100m L macro because of how i had the 190 set up (was shooting flat lays of jewellery and the tripod wasn't balanced properly while i was reaching for a sandbag... Both my tripods had quite nice heads but horrible legs.

That day I went out and bought the 055, while they are still pretty average compared to the ones Neuro mentioned, they are MORE than enough for a prosumer, and suit me as I don't need tripods often.

I also bought a Geared tripod head... if you ever see one of these at the right price snap it up, it is fantastic.

With regards to Software... I love Lightroom... I spent the start of my career with Capture one... now I am a lightroom convert and love it.


scottsdaleriots

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^ I have never heard of a Geared tripod head. What's the name of the head you've got?

Thanks for everyone's input again - it was late at night when I posted my previous comment soI wasn't sure if I made much sense lol. @unfocused that's the first I've ever heard a negative (or something that wasn't positive) about Lightroom before. I've only ever heard good things. I don't have a mac yet, I'm hoping to save up a lot and get a one of those new 2012macbook pro's; but get a custom built one, specifcally the best specs I can get. I all most professional photographers use macs these days because the screens are much better and have higher resolution and sharper/brighter colours than PC's. But I also heard there's a brand that you can get - really expsensive, like $5000 or somethig - that is the PC equivalent. I've forgotten the brand name but it starts with 'A' or something, sounds similar to Asus (which it isn't....is it?).

I don't need a tripod immediately but I plan to go travelling next year and appreciate everyone's input. But am having trouble whether to go for the carbon fiber tripod or the non CF. And do I just bite the bullet and buy a Gitzo (or other really good tripod brands) and those tripod head brands which neuroanatomist mentioned. I don't have the budget for them now but in the next 2-6 months I'll buy a tripod and head. Then I'll have a budget, but not so sure if I want to spend $1000 on a tripod and head combination.

And with the recently rumoured 680EX speedlite I don't know if I should wait for that or buy the 580II. I like to use natural light so the 480II would probably suffice for now?