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Author Topic: Tripod: Suggestions  (Read 1951 times)

abcde12345

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Tripod: Suggestions
« on: February 25, 2014, 01:07:50 AM »
Hello guys. I am now using a 6D, and have realized the importance of a good tripod and tripod head. I've always been under the impression that a cheap tripod does the job, but long exposure and stuff like that has shown me otherwise, in fact a light tripod can't even handle the 6D! So my question is, what is a good tripod brand and model, same goes for the head? What would be the reasonable price? What is a model a beginner to intermediate photographer should look into for a long-serving tripod? Recommend some of the better ones if you might! I've heard a lot about Gitzmo and Manfrotto, so anyone?

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Tripod: Suggestions
« on: February 25, 2014, 01:07:50 AM »

johnf3f

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 04:07:23 PM »
It would be helpful to know what your budget is, what lenses you plan to use and the type of photography you want to do.
However I will have a go anyway! From personal experience I would say buy a top quality tripod rater than get a cheap one that you end up replacing and spending more in the long run. I have been fancying a 6D myself for it's light weight and excellent image quality and feel that it would be a great landscape camera. On that basis I would suggest you have a look at the Gitzo GT2531. I have had mine a few years and cannot fault it for lenses up to 300mm. If you like ball heads then the Sirui K30X should be more than up to the job, I have the K40X model and whilst it is great it is just overkill - you just don't need it for "normal" lenses. The K30X is almost certainly a bit more than you will need but there is no harm in that.
If you let us know more about your personal preferences/budget then we can probably give you better recommendations.
Hope this helps.

abcde12345

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 08:17:53 PM »
Here goes: I wouldn't know what's a good tripod even if it's poking in my face. I would most likely be using it for landscape, though after a few events I realized it will be good to use it for telephoto too. Will be getting myself a Tamron 70-200mm VC later this year, so I might see it on the tripod a few times perhaps? What's a tripod head for? It's hard to understand the difference without actually experiencing it, mere reading doesn't give me a good understanding. I saw that there's tripod heads and tripod plates for sale, but I don't get the difference. Personal preference definitely for landscape purposes, as I see that as a more deliberate positioning for photography. Budget wise, what would one expect for a good tripod? Perhaps around 100-200$? Thank you and I really appreciate that help, knowing that it's quite a vague question as I really don't know what I don't know at this point. Real life experience will be much more helpful at this point, but I don't get access to it due to lack of dedicated camera shops around.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 09:02:53 PM »
Some random thoughts:

Three main things people want in a tripod - stable, light, and inexpensive.  If you choose well, you can get two of them, if you choose poorly, you get only one; you can't get all three.

Consider buying legs and head separately. 

Carbon fiber costs more, is lighter and damps vibration better.  Also better in the cold. 

Look for heads with clamps that are compatible with the Arca-Swill system (closest to a universal system there is).  That's especially true for landscapes, L-bracket, pano gear, etc.  The plates are what you attach to your camera and collared lenses, they go in the clamp on the ballhead.

Spend more now or spend more later… http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

The best legs are Really Right Stuff and Gitzo.  The best heads are Really Right Stuff, Kirk, Markins, Acratech and Arca-Swiss.  Avoid heads from Gitzo. 

Manfrotto legs are a good compromise between quality and value.  Their heads, less so because of their proprietary clamps. 

$100-200 for a tripod and head is cheap - if it's sturdy it will be heavy.

I've heard good things about Sirui and Feisol.  Also, the Oben tripods/heads from B&H jsut got some good reviews at the-digital-picture.com.

Good luck!
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Skatol

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 11:24:56 PM »
From someone who has purchased many cheap tripods my suggestion is to spend as much as your budget allows on a sturdy one.  I am now using an Oben AT-3420 for my light weight travel tripod with a Vanguard BBH-300 ball head.  The head is overkill for this tripod but I also use it on my Gitzo 5532LS when the Wimberly is not attached.  Over all the tripod is decent.  You will sacrifice some stability with the lower weight. 
Add 5-10 pounds to the max load capacity when determining your needs.  Manufacturers always seem to over state this. 
After checking, the AT3420 has been replaced with the AT3461 and comes with the BA-117T ball head.  Sells for $300 at B&H.  This head is not Arca-Swiss compatible.
As stated before you really should look for Arca-Swiss compatible heads.  Your options increase with mounting plates and brackets and you won't be tied to a specific brand later on.  You can reuse the plates. 
Be wary of the pistol grip heads.  These don't seem to lock in place and hold position well. 
Couple of things to note:
1. Number of leg sections, fewer typically means sturdier but less compact.
2. Leg locks, twist or lever.  Some of the cheaper twist locks will give you problems if you untwist them to far.  They never go back together and work the same.  They are also more prone to failure when exposed to sand and dirt. 
Hope this helps.
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abcde12345

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 03:29:28 AM »
Hi guys, I've tried reading articles on tripod head and stuff, and I guess I should specify my needs with more clarity (yes that's a punch line). I intend to use it purely for photography purposes and not video. I will be using it mostly for long exposure shots, which might also mean a certain amount of wind available at the location itself. Just to clarify things, am I getting you guys right? I will need to purchase the following stuff:
A tripod leg
A tripod head (a prior mention by other user seems to indicate there are other options. What else can I use in replacement of a tripod head? Quick google seems to indicate... nothing. I don't get all the gizmo talk)
Mounting Plate

neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2014, 07:18:04 AM »
Since you don't list hiking with it among the needs, a sturdy aluminum tripod with a high load capacity is a budget-effective option.  Get one that supports much more weight than you need, make sure it has a weight hook under the platform, and hang a sandbag from that. 

Yes, you need tripod legs, a head, and a mounting plate (although you can screw the camera directly to a head without a quick release clamp, but that's cumbersome).

You need a head, yes...but there are different types.  Fluid heads for video, pan-tilt heads (cheaper versions of fluid heads often found on cheap tripods - avoid them), geared heads for precision work, gimbal heads for supertelephoto lenses...and ballheads, which are generally the best choice for still photography.
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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2014, 07:18:04 AM »

johnf3f

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2014, 04:23:51 PM »
Re. my previous post I didn't realise that you were completely new to tripods and heads, don't worry - we all have to start somewhere!
Basically the tripod is the 3 legged bit that supports everything, the head is the part that allows you to position the cameras as you want it and then locks it in position.
As in most things in life you get what you pay for. My initial suggestion of a Gitzo GT3531 is a top level tripod that you will probably never want to sell on - but it is expensive! The Sirui tripod head I suggested offers good quality and performance at a sensible price.
Looking at your previous post I assume you are living in the US so I cannot help directly as I live in the UK. However if you know any local photographers have a look at what they use and see what you think of the various designs and materials used. As Neuro said a quick release system is VERY handy and the Arca type, he suggests, is the most universal (and best IMO) so look for that. Alternatively visit your nearest (Reputable) camera shop, leave your Credit Card at home, and have a good look at what they have. With tripods the advantages of the more expensive models will be fairly obvious - better vibration damping, lighter, more rigid etc.  For landscape photography a decent "Ball Head" is normally the choice. They are very adaptable and convenient, but look for one that is more than good enough for your needs as it will serve you better in the long run.
You have bought a good camera with an excellent sensor so don't skimp on the support (tripod & head) as it will be a false economy, you don't need to spend silly money but it would be a mistake to go cheap.
When you have had a look around at what is available let us know which models you fancy and I am sure there will be many here who can help you make the right decision.

brad-man

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 07:08:57 PM »
You've gotten some good advice here. My contribution would be to advise that you get a tripod that is tall enough (with ballhead attached) to bring your camera's eyepiece to eye level without raising the center column. Even on the finest tripods, using the center column should be avoided as it introduces unwanted movement. A well made and reasonably priced set of legs that will do this is the Sirui M3204X. I would also suggest you have a look at a Markins Q3 ballhead. They are simple to use, buttery smooth, small, lightweight and are solid as a rock.




http://www.amazon.com/M-3204X-Carbon-Section-Tripod-Height/dp/B004QC4TG4/ref=sr_1_1?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1393458421&sr=1-1&keywords=Sirui+M3204X

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Markins-Q-3-Emille-Ball-Head-Black-Q3-Ballhead-NEW-/180648692673?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a0f804bc1

ScubaX

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2014, 05:24:19 AM »
Hello everyone, this is my first post on CR and since this subject is currently close to my heart, I thought I should share some info.

My choice in a tripod and ball head was easy, I read a book, thought the suggestions sounded good - read some reviews and made the purchase. It was not a complete mistake, but with hindsight - and using this forum, I could have made a better choices. The only truly bad part of my decision was going with the wrong QR plate. I had no idea what Arca-Swiss even was, let alone the Q2 (aka R2) system from Manfrotto I settled on. Don't get me wrong, it works quite well and I was pretty satisfied with the Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs and Manfrotto MH054M0-Q2 054 Magnesium Ball Head with Q2 Quick Release. That is until this last week when I started shopping for L-bracket and panoramic heads - there are very limited choices to fit the Q2/R2 Manfrotto system. Lucky me, I found an adapter to convert the Manfrotto to ARCA-Swiss and my RRS(Really Right Stuff) L-Bracket arrives tomorrow err- today as its 2am.

My hunt now starts over, even though my Manfrotto works, it may not do too well with a big heavy bulky pano setup. So I've kind off settled on the RRS pano stuff, and probably their BH and legs too. If I had listened to some more knowledgeable people on sites like this, I could probably have better spent my initial money and not even needed an adapter to switch to Arca-Swiss.

My advise is to listen to the others in this post - and go Arca-Swiss for that QR (quick release) plate.

In my current search I've read a blog post on RRS site under their tripods on deciding on a tripod. Of course they want you to buy their stuff, but the knowledge they have on the subject is a very good read.
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abcde12345

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2014, 11:01:10 AM »
Since you don't list hiking with it among the needs, a sturdy aluminum tripod with a high load capacity is a budget-effective option.  Get one that supports much more weight than you need, make sure it has a weight hook under the platform, and hang a sandbag from that. 

Yes, you need tripod legs, a head, and a mounting plate (although you can screw the camera directly to a head without a quick release clamp, but that's cumbersome).

You need a head, yes...but there are different types.  Fluid heads for video, pan-tilt heads (cheaper versions of fluid heads often found on cheap tripods - avoid them), geared heads for precision work, gimbal heads for supertelephoto lenses...and ballheads, which are generally the best choice for still photography.

What's a quick release clamp? I don't really get the idea. So what's the difference between clamping it to head or to a head attached to a plate?

Sounds like ballheads' for me. I prefer still photography and no, I don't hike.

abcde12345

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2014, 11:02:49 AM »
Re. my previous post I didn't realise that you were completely new to tripods and heads, don't worry - we all have to start somewhere!
Basically the tripod is the 3 legged bit that supports everything, the head is the part that allows you to position the cameras as you want it and then locks it in position.
As in most things in life you get what you pay for. My initial suggestion of a Gitzo GT3531 is a top level tripod that you will probably never want to sell on - but it is expensive! The Sirui tripod head I suggested offers good quality and performance at a sensible price.
Looking at your previous post I assume you are living in the US so I cannot help directly as I live in the UK. However if you know any local photographers have a look at what they use and see what you think of the various designs and materials used. As Neuro said a quick release system is VERY handy and the Arca type, he suggests, is the most universal (and best IMO) so look for that. Alternatively visit your nearest (Reputable) camera shop, leave your Credit Card at home, and have a good look at what they have. With tripods the advantages of the more expensive models will be fairly obvious - better vibration damping, lighter, more rigid etc.  For landscape photography a decent "Ball Head" is normally the choice. They are very adaptable and convenient, but look for one that is more than good enough for your needs as it will serve you better in the long run.
You have bought a good camera with an excellent sensor so don't skimp on the support (tripod & head) as it will be a false economy, you don't need to spend silly money but it would be a mistake to go cheap.
When you have had a look around at what is available let us know which models you fancy and I am sure there will be many here who can help you make the right decision.

What is a quick release system for? And yes, I'm new around tripods, so it's really bugging me. =/ So a ball head allows you to pan your camera to desired angles and positions, is that right?

abcde12345

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 11:05:22 AM »
You've gotten some good advice here. My contribution would be to advise that you get a tripod that is tall enough (with ballhead attached) to bring your camera's eyepiece to eye level without raising the center column. Even on the finest tripods, using the center column should be avoided as it introduces unwanted movement. A well made and reasonably priced set of legs that will do this is the Sirui M3204X. I would also suggest you have a look at a Markins Q3 ballhead. They are simple to use, buttery smooth, small, lightweight and are solid as a rock.




http://www.amazon.com/M-3204X-Carbon-Section-Tripod-Height/dp/B004QC4TG4/ref=sr_1_1?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1393458421&sr=1-1&keywords=Sirui+M3204X

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Markins-Q-3-Emille-Ball-Head-Black-Q3-Ballhead-NEW-/180648692673?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a0f804bc1

I almost got a heart attack there, just like how I almost got one when I tried looking up for 300mm F2.8's price.  ::)

So that means that I want a tall tripod, even though this usually translates to heavier tripods, right? You are also saying that a direct support from the three legs rather than having an extra section is better, right?

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 11:05:22 AM »

abcde12345

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2014, 11:07:05 AM »
Hello everyone, this is my first post on CR and since this subject is currently close to my heart, I thought I should share some info.

My choice in a tripod and ball head was easy, I read a book, thought the suggestions sounded good - read some reviews and made the purchase. It was not a complete mistake, but with hindsight - and using this forum, I could have made a better choices. The only truly bad part of my decision was going with the wrong QR plate. I had no idea what Arca-Swiss even was, let alone the Q2 (aka R2) system from Manfrotto I settled on. Don't get me wrong, it works quite well and I was pretty satisfied with the Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs and Manfrotto MH054M0-Q2 054 Magnesium Ball Head with Q2 Quick Release. That is until this last week when I started shopping for L-bracket and panoramic heads - there are very limited choices to fit the Q2/R2 Manfrotto system. Lucky me, I found an adapter to convert the Manfrotto to ARCA-Swiss and my RRS(Really Right Stuff) L-Bracket arrives tomorrow err- today as its 2am.

My hunt now starts over, even though my Manfrotto works, it may not do too well with a big heavy bulky pano setup. So I've kind off settled on the RRS pano stuff, and probably their BH and legs too. If I had listened to some more knowledgeable people on sites like this, I could probably have better spent my initial money and not even needed an adapter to switch to Arca-Swiss.

My advise is to listen to the others in this post - and go Arca-Swiss for that QR (quick release) plate.

In my current search I've read a blog post on RRS site under their tripods on deciding on a tripod. Of course they want you to buy their stuff, but the knowledge they have on the subject is a very good read.

You mentioned Arca-Swiss plates, now what is a plate for? Why would you need a plate if you can attach your camera right to your ballhead? What's the meaning of Quick-Release too?

neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 11:10:55 AM »
You mentioned Arca-Swiss plates, now what is a plate for? Why would you need a plate if you can attach your camera right to your ballhead? What's the meaning of Quick-Release too?

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Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 11:10:55 AM »