September 30, 2014, 04:43:37 PM

Author Topic: The best tripod ...  (Read 7686 times)

Keem

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2014, 11:22:55 AM »
For tripods stability, portability (size&weight), cost and capacity are the main factors to consider and generally you should find you own balance.

I use Sirui T-2005x or T-005x (for APS-C cameras/small lenses) for travel; and Manfrotto 055XB for general use.

For the  tripod heads, I have used both ball head and geared types. Ball heads allow faster positioning but if you are into high-precision positioning (like in the case of macro-photography) you should consider geared heads like:

- Manfrotto: 410 or 405 (I personally use 410 and very happy with it.
- Manfrotto: XPRO-3 (not a real geared head but friction controlled)

I find the quick release of Manfrotto more practical (spesifically faster) than the Arca-Swiss types. Just my 2 cents.

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2014, 11:22:55 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2014, 11:35:08 AM »
I find the quick release of Manfrotto more practical (spesifically faster) than the Arca-Swiss types. Just my 2 cents.

There are lever-release Arca-Swiss clamps that are just as fast.  IMO, the issues with Manfrotto plates/clamps are:

  • The RC2 system has play when 'locked down'.  There's a secondary locking pin, so the clamp is plenty secure, but the plate can move within the clamp which makes precise positioning a challenge.
  • The RC0/RC4 systems lock with no play, but the plates are big - they stick out beyond the edges of a camera body, which isn't good ergonomically.
  • The Manfrotto L-bracket offerings, to be blunt, suck.  Since their clamps are proprietary and require Manfrotto plates, you cannot use the good L-brackets from other vendors (Kirk, RRS, etc.).
  • In addition to L-brackets, there are many other AS-compatible mount options – lens plates and replacement feet, macro rails, etc., none of which work with Manfrotto clamps.

Their geared heads are very nice, though.  Ball heads less so, with the exception of the 468MG (ideally with a Wimberley, RRS or Kirk clamp mounted on it).
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Jamesy

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2014, 12:19:13 PM »
I find the quick release of Manfrotto more practical (spesifically faster) than the Arca-Swiss types. Just my 2 cents.

There are lever-release Arca-Swiss clamps that are just as fast.  IMO, the issues with Manfrotto plates/clamps are:

  • The RC2 system has play when 'locked down'.  There's a secondary locking pin, so the clamp is plenty secure, but the plate can move within the clamp which makes precise positioning a challenge.
  • The RC0/RC4 systems lock with no play, but the plates are big - they stick out beyond the edges of a camera body, which isn't good ergonomically.
  • The Manfrotto L-bracket offerings, to be blunt, suck.  Since their clamps are proprietary and require Manfrotto plates, you cannot use the good L-brackets from other vendors (Kirk, RRS, etc.).
  • In addition to L-brackets, there are many other AS-compatible mount options – lens plates and replacement feet, macro rails, etc., none of which work with Manfrotto clamps.

Their geared heads are very nice, though.  Ball heads less so, with the exception of the 468MG (ideally with a Wimberley, RRS or Kirk clamp mounted on it).

I have a RRS lever clamp on a Markins M-10 ballhead sitting on a Gitzo (3-leg) 2531EX carbon fiber tripod - absolutely rock solid. I used a RRS L-bracket on my 40D and more recently the non-L Kirk plate on my 5D3 - both work great with the RRS lever clamp.

I also have a Benro Travel Angel with an AS compatible screw type clamp and it works fantastic on both the RRS and Kirk clamps. I would never go back to other clamp systems.

mackguyver

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2014, 12:31:33 PM »
Their geared heads are very nice, though.  Ball heads less so, with the exception of the 468MG (ideally with a Wimberley, RRS or Kirk clamp mounted on it).
If I had to do it over again, I would have kept the 468MG and put a RRS lever release clamp on it.  The RRS BH-55 ballhead is nice, but in many ways I regret selling it as the Manfrotto holds just as well if not better and doesn't have the unwelcome quirks like the dual slots in (for me) a really poor spot.  The RRS head isn't as smooth as the Manfrotto, either.  I guess I was expecting more given the price, but it's really not any better than the Manfrotto and I feel that the RRS head is quite overpriced for what you get.  You pay an awful lot for the pretty CNC machining.  On the other hand, I don't miss getting the hook-shaped-handle snagged on everything about 20x during each shoot.

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #34 on: April 28, 2014, 05:17:12 PM »
Unless you want to buy twice or thrice, I would suggest you buy a Gitzo or RRS (Really Right Stuff) tripod and a RRS ball head.  If you need a gimbal type head for the big lenses, I use one for my 600mm II, I recommend the Wimberley WH-200.  I would not trust putting nearly $20k in gear (600m II + 1Dx) on a tripod made in China.

Best of luck in your search!

--Jason S.

Hi everyone,

I'm looking to take my photography hobby to the next level, so to speak  :D, so I'm thinking of buying me a tripod and a tripod head. I've done some research online, but I think I'm more confused now, than when I started thinking about tripods and heads.  ;D (I guess, that happens a lot). From my understanding, Manfrotto and Induro seem to be the best tripod brands, so I'm looking to get the above mentioned gear from either of these two. I'm more inclined, however, towards Induro products.

In so many words, what do you guys make of this?
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Support: Gitzo GT4542LS/G2258, RRS BH-55, Wimberley WH-200

Keem

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2014, 05:39:28 PM »
I find the quick release of Manfrotto more practical (spesifically faster) than the Arca-Swiss types. Just my 2 cents.

There are lever-release Arca-Swiss clamps that are just as fast.  IMO, the issues with Manfrotto plates/clamps are:

  • The RC2 system has play when 'locked down'.  There's a secondary locking pin, so the clamp is plenty secure, but the plate can move within the clamp which makes precise positioning a challenge.
  • The RC0/RC4 systems lock with no play, but the plates are big - they stick out beyond the edges of a camera body, which isn't good ergonomically.
  • The Manfrotto L-bracket offerings, to be blunt, suck.  Since their clamps are proprietary and require Manfrotto plates, you cannot use the good L-brackets from other vendors (Kirk, RRS, etc.).
  • In addition to L-brackets, there are many other AS-compatible mount options – lens plates and replacement feet, macro rails, etc., none of which work with Manfrotto clamps.

Their geared heads are very nice, though.  Ball heads less so, with the exception of the 468MG (ideally with a Wimberley, RRS or Kirk clamp mounted on it).


Actually you are right with the issues about Manfrotto RC2 and RC4 types. RC2 has another issue; which is; if the part is used extensively it is partly weared-out and the plate play/move even in locked position significantly. To be fair, on the other hand, for lighter systems (ex: 40D + 15-85) RC2 is good enough. But with a full frame camera+grip+70-200f2,8 the system is not that stable. You should also avoid 3rd party manufacturers (even Calumet) to get cheaper plates.

For RC4 I generally put on a macro rail and having larger footprint is actually advantageous. You can also use 2 pins to lock the macro rail into the RC4.

brad-man

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2014, 06:21:45 PM »
Their geared heads are very nice, though.  Ball heads less so, with the exception of the 468MG (ideally with a Wimberley, RRS or Kirk clamp mounted on it).
If I had to do it over again, I would have kept the 468MG and put a RRS lever release clamp on it.  The RRS BH-55 ballhead is nice, but in many ways I regret selling it as the Manfrotto holds just as well if not better and doesn't have the unwelcome quirks like the dual slots in (for me) a really poor spot.  The RRS head isn't as smooth as the Manfrotto, either.  I guess I was expecting more given the price, but it's really not any better than the Manfrotto and I feel that the RRS head is quite overpriced for what you get.  You pay an awful lot for the pretty CNC machining.  On the other hand, I don't miss getting the hook-shaped-handle snagged on everything about 20x during each shoot.

I couldn't agree more about the RRS heads. I would suggest you give a Markins Q10 or Q20 a test drive. They are rock solid and buttery smooth. The only downside is a relatively weak panning lock. It only bothers me for macro shooting, which is why I have a RRS BH-40 on my macro rig.

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2014, 06:21:45 PM »

sanj

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #37 on: April 29, 2014, 01:07:01 AM »
I am going through a similar exercise. Having researched and read many reviews on line, my thoughts were heading towards a mid range Gitzo. However, on visiting one of London's camera shops to see them for real, I realised that I would not be comfortable carring the Gitzo for a day's travelling by tube, bus and on foot. As much as stability is important, a tripod left at home will be no use at all.

The advice I'm giving is that having done some research online, go to a shop and try out the options. I'm glad that I didnt take the plunge after only online research.

My further research is on the Manfrotto 055 and 190 tripods. I will next take my camera and heaviest lens to weigh up my options (kind of literally). I think that after that, the brick and mortar store will deserve my business.

However, the tripod is only the first question. There are a myriad of tripod heads available, and the weight should be allowed for when choosing the tripod. i have found some informative reviews at Cameralabs (e.g. http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Manfrotto_190CXPRO3_tripod/ ). I will find out how informative when I buy.

I'm just hoping that I don't change my mind again after making the investment. I may well decide that the extra weight would be worth carrying!

Good luck in your decision making, I will follow this thread with interest.

As much as portability is important, a tripod which is not stable is useless. With high available ISO, image stabilization and lighter cameras, we are able to take many shots today which were not possible a decade ago. Now we need tripods for longer exposures and then stability is very important.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 05:36:03 AM by sanj »

Eldar

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #38 on: April 29, 2014, 04:46:34 AM »
Tripods are a bit like lenses. Wide angle, normal, tele and super tele. Tripods are small, medium, large and X-large.

As I have stated a number of times on CR, I have wasted a lot of money on my journey to what I have today. It would have been a lot cheaper to go for the right stuff to begin with.

Today I have 4 tripods and 5 heads ( not counting monopods and heads for that). That is not one too many, because I use them all.

For very light travel I have the Gitzo GK1580TQR5, with a RRS BH-20 head. Very small, very compact and when I weight it down, it can support up to 70-200 f2.8L on a 5DIII body. No wind though and it looks like it could break any minute.

On the other end of the scale I have a RRS TVC-34L, where I alternate a BH-55 ballhead and a PG-02 LLR side kick.

And in between I have two others.

If I had to choose just one, it would have been the TVC-34L/BH-55 combo, because it can do everything, at the cost of size and weight.

The only advice I can give is go to a store and hold them in your hands, mount your camera and lens on it, think critcally through your use and go for the most stable you will be willing to carry and the best quality you can afford. Tripods purchases are not easy to do as a theoretical exercise on the web.
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Jamesy

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #39 on: April 29, 2014, 06:36:59 AM »
Tripods are a bit like lenses. Wide angle, normal, tele and super tele. Tripods are small, medium, large and X-large.

As I have stated a number of times on CR, I have wasted a lot of money on my journey to what I have today. It would have been a lot cheaper to go for the right stuff to begin with.

Today I have 4 tripods and 5 heads ( not counting monopods and heads for that). That is not one too many, because I use them all.

For very light travel I have the Gitzo GK1580TQR5, with a RRS BH-20 head. Very small, very compact and when I weight it down, it can support up to 70-200 f2.8L on a 5DIII body. No wind though and it looks like it could break any minute.

On the other end of the scale I have a RRS TVC-34L, where I alternate a BH-55 ballhead and a PG-02 LLR side kick.

And in between I have two others.

If I had to choose just one, it would have been the TVC-34L/BH-55 combo, because it can do everything, at the cost of size and weight.

The only advice I can give is go to a store and hold them in your hands, mount your camera and lens on it, think critcally through your use and go for the most stable you will be willing to carry and the best quality you can afford. Tripods purchases are not easy to do as a theoretical exercise on the web.

I agree with Eldar, there is nothing that replaces going to the store and trying them out. When I bought my Gitzo 2531EX I did a ton of research and ultimately bought what I thought would be my one and only tripod because I bought it 'right'. I opted for greater stability and sacrificed size meaning I bought a three legged tripod rather than the short 4 legged one and I went for the 2 series rather than the 1 series I was initially looking at. There are also 3 and 5 series (I am using Gitzo nomenclature only as an example ) which may be what you need depending on your needs.

When I was going to Paris and London a few years ago I bought a Benro Travel Angel carbon and again I went to the store and tested them out. The super short version with 5 sections did not appear stable (5D3 + 70-200) so I went with the slightly longer four section version (C1680TB0) and have been very happy. I now own two tripods and for my needs I will keep both.

There are camps that will urge you to replace the center column with a plate for greater stability and while I agree with that notion, you sacrifice height and adjust-ability.

As has been said by others in this thread, there are always trade-offs and buying my first expensive tripod setup over five years ago was more difficult than choosing a camera system ;)

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2014, 07:17:22 AM »
I've been through quite a few in my time and it really depends on your requirements. My main requirement is a stable base for fairly heavy landscape gear on uneven surfaces and often in wind. Not long ago I moved to a Redsnapper which was light but had slightly too much flex for my liking. There was also a small aluminium part that broke but was replaced for free. As a general purpose, light carbon tripod it can't be beaten for the price, but it's not quite the one for me. Their heads are pretty sweet too.

More recently, I aimed to purchase a tripod to end all purchases. Keen to avoid the overpriced main brands I settled on the chunkiest Induro carbon and their second-largest head (I can't imagine a need for their largest one, even the second is MASSIVE). I couldn't be happier. It has minor flex when extended but this is the case with all carbon-fibre rigs - hanging the camera bag off the centre post sorts it. I noticed a flex point was often in the length of the post between the ball and the QR base so I specifically chose the Induro for its fat, short post. This has made a MAJOR difference in the sharpness of my images. It's heavier and larger than the Redsnapper but is now my go-to tripod. The only minor annoyance is that I had to order the short centre-post seperately. I would highly recommend Induro to anyone.

Incidentally, my favourite ever tripod was called a Uni-Loc. I believe it was a British version of the Benbo tripods. This was hands-down the sturdiest tripod I've ever owned but had the weight to go with it. Legs were totally independent and lockable in any position. A real pig to figure out sometimes but solid as a rock and great in the water.


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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2014, 07:54:49 AM »
For tripods stability, portability (size&weight), cost and capacity are the main factors to consider and generally you should find you own balance.

I use Sirui T-2005x or T-005x (for APS-C cameras/small lenses) for travel; and Manfrotto 055XB for general use.

For the  tripod heads, I have used both ball head and geared types. Ball heads allow faster positioning but if you are into high-precision positioning (like in the case of macro-photography) you should consider geared heads like:

- Manfrotto: 410 or 405 (I personally use 410 and very happy with it.
- Manfrotto: XPRO-3 (not a real geared head but friction controlled)

I find the quick release of Manfrotto more practical (spesifically faster) than the Arca-Swiss types. Just my 2 cents.

Do you know Berlebach, a german manufacturer of wooden tripods (which is a great and traditional material for tripods since it dampens vibrations very well):

http://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=produkte&kategorie=1&sprache=english

I have the precursor of this one: http://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=details&id=265&sprache=english since years and I am very satisfied.

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #42 on: April 29, 2014, 11:47:03 AM »
For tripods stability, portability (size&weight), cost and capacity are the main factors to consider and generally you should find you own balance.

I use Sirui T-2005x or T-005x (for APS-C cameras/small lenses) for travel; and Manfrotto 055XB for general use.

For the  tripod heads, I have used both ball head and geared types. Ball heads allow faster positioning but if you are into high-precision positioning (like in the case of macro-photography) you should consider geared heads like:

- Manfrotto: 410 or 405 (I personally use 410 and very happy with it.
- Manfrotto: XPRO-3 (not a real geared head but friction controlled)

I find the quick release of Manfrotto more practical (spesifically faster) than the Arca-Swiss types. Just my 2 cents.

Do you know Berlebach, a german manufacturer of wooden tripods (which is a great and traditional material for tripods since it dampens vibrations very well):

http://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=produkte&kategorie=1&sprache=english

I have the precursor of this one: http://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=details&id=265&sprache=english since years and I am very satisfied.

they look interesting indeed! :) thanks for sharing!
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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #42 on: April 29, 2014, 11:47:03 AM »

e17paul

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2014, 08:33:18 AM »
I find the quick release of Manfrotto more practical (spesifically faster) than the Arca-Swiss types. Just my 2 cents.

There are lever-release Arca-Swiss clamps that are just as fast.  IMO, the issues with Manfrotto plates/clamps are:

  • The RC2 system has play when 'locked down'.  There's a secondary locking pin, so the clamp is plenty secure, but the plate can move within the clamp which makes precise positioning a challenge.
  • The RC0/RC4 systems lock with no play, but the plates are big - they stick out beyond the edges of a camera body, which isn't good ergonomically.
  • The Manfrotto L-bracket offerings, to be blunt, suck.  Since their clamps are proprietary and require Manfrotto plates, you cannot use the good L-brackets from other vendors (Kirk, RRS, etc.).
  • In addition to L-brackets, there are many other AS-compatible mount options – lens plates and replacement feet, macro rails, etc., none of which work with Manfrotto clamps.

Their geared heads are very nice, though.  Ball heads less so, with the exception of the 468MG (ideally with a Wimberley, RRS or Kirk clamp mounted on it).

I'm very glad to have read that. This isn't my post, but Thank You to all who are contributing with practical advice. Its still difficult to choose the right balance. Thank You also to the original poster for starting this increadibly useful thread.

In recent days I had been considering the Manfotto 190 and ball head, but now I'm thinking again. Are the 057 ball heads better?

Alternatively, I might think about the Manfrotto 190CX, but with Gitzo head. I'm not up for carrying the Gitzo legs I had first been investigating on line.

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neuroanatomist

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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2014, 09:05:42 AM »
In recent days I had been considering the Manfotto 190 and ball head, but now I'm thinking again. Are the 057 ball heads better?

Alternatively, I might think about the Manfrotto 190CX, but with Gitzo head. I'm not up for carrying the Gitzo legs I had first been investigating on line.

While Manfrotto's legs are good and Gitzo's legs are excellent, I would really advise avoiding ballheads from Manfrotto and Gitzo.  Both of them (they're the same company, incidentally) use proprietary quick release clamp/plate systems that aren't compatible with the useful array of accessories available for the Arca Swiss system (notably L-brackets).  Some Manfrotto/Gitzo heads can be converted with a replacement clamp, but the cost of those heads plus a good AS clamp gets you close to or into the range of a better ballhead that's already AS compatible.  For 'moderate' duty (up to 70-200/2.8 or 100-400 sized lenses), look at the RRS BH-40, Kirk BH-3, Markins Q3, or Acratech GV2.
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Re: The best tripod ...
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2014, 09:05:42 AM »