October 21, 2014, 05:04:04 PM

Author Topic: Tripod Help  (Read 822 times)

PhotoConceptsDT

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Tripod Help
« on: May 13, 2014, 01:52:27 PM »
Hello All

I'm just looking for a bit of advice on my next purchase. I have about $700 CAD to spend on my new tripod. There are so many options available,  I hope you can help me narrow down my choices.

I would like to use the tripod for some landscapes and some experiments with portraits. I'm sure a ball head fits the bill. Weight is not too much of an issue. I would like a tripod that hits the high 5 foot mark without the column extended. The head should be able to hold a few pounds more than my 70D, 70-200, and 1.4 extender.

I also use a black rapid strap. So some compatible plates would be awesome but not necessary.

Any ideas that you may have are appreciated.
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Tripod Help
« on: May 13, 2014, 01:52:27 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2014, 03:23:01 PM »
it is a jungle out there, and $700 is not really enough to get a top end setup, so you will have to compromise.  I agree on the height, and its tough to find good legs that sit that high for less than about $400-500.
 
Don't be afraid to buy used either.
 
I'd place priority on a high end head with arca swiss plates,
RRS, Kirk, etc.  You can often find good strong Bogen / Manfroto aluminum legs that are built like a battleship for $50 and less on Craigslist.  Just pass on a Manfrotto or Bogen head, or resell it if it comes with the legs.  The QR plates for the heads are non standard, and can release if not carefully secured,  dropping a camera off the tripod.  You have to be uber careful, one slip, and you have a head that may have cost you $1000 in camera / lens damage.
 
I bought two sets of $400 Carbon Fiber legs from Benro.  They met all my requirements  for height, strength, and functionality, but when I went to buy a part, I found that parts are and were never available for these, so if something breaks, I could have expensive scrap.  I also bought two Benro heads.  They were the worst junk I've ever owned, and are just sitting here, because I don't want someone else to get stuck with them.  I then found a used Kirk ball head, its wonderful, no comparison. 
 
Buy a good head, good used Aluminum Bogen / Manfrotto heavy Aluminum legs, and then save for good legs.  Those 25-30 year old Bogen legs are often as good as when new.
 

neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2014, 03:24:56 PM »
Budget permitting, legs from Gitzo or Really Right Stuff are best.  A ballhead from Really Right Stuff (BH-40), Kirk (BH-3), Markins (Q10), Acratech (GV2), or Arca Swiss (P0 or Z1) are the way to go. 

You may want to consider stretching your budget a little to get the best now, as advised here: http://www.bythom.com/support.htm.

Regardless of which you choose, definitely get a head with an Arca Swiss-type clamp, and get a body plate (RRS/Kirk) and lens plate(s) for lenses with collars (RRS/Kirk/Wimberley).  That rules out heads from Gitzo and Manfrotto (although some of those can be converted by buying a clamp, you're then in the ballpark cost of the better heads listed above, all of which use the AS system). 

For your BR strap, get a Kirk 1" clamp (or a RRS B2-FAB-F), attach it to the FastenR with a little Loctite Blue 242, and you're good to go.  You can attach the strap to camera body, lens plate, or remove it for tripod use.
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johnf3f

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2014, 06:05:54 PM »
Have a look at the Sirui range. A friend of mine has one of their smaller models and it is a fine piece of kit, not quite up to Gitzo but significantly cheaper and widely available in Canada.
This model is probably a bit more than you need but would be handy if you ever went to really big lenses:
http://www.siruicanada.com/tripods/r3203.htm

Top that with a Sirui K40X ball head and there is not much that it won't hold securely - well mine will!
Had a quick look at Canadian prices and they should run you about 650 Canadian Dollars, give or take.

PhotoConceptsDT

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2014, 07:55:20 PM »
Great info!

I'm guessing the following legs wouldn't be a bad choice:

http://www.photoprice.ca/product/01094/Manfrotto-055XPROB-Aluminum-Pro-Tripod-Black-price.html

I also like the Arcatech GV2 head:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/599678-REG/Acratech_1152_GV2_Ballhead_Gimbal_Head.html

However, I'm not exactly clear on which plates to get.

Comments, thoughts?
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2014, 11:55:16 PM »
Yes, Manfrotto legs are good, and the GV2 is excellent. For a bit more, the Acratech GP doubles as a proper panning base for panoramics.

The plate(s) you need depend on your body and lenses.  You might consider an L-bracket (RRS or Kirk) for the body.  Their websites will tell you which plate/L-bracket for which body.
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privatebydesign

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2014, 12:10:21 AM »
I'd save a touch more and never look back.

The Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 ($309) is a great tripod I own. I also recommend as Neuro suggests, the Acratech GP ($399) over the GV, I use the GP reversed 90% of the time, it makes setup effortless.

Plates, I went for RSS but there are some other innovative brands out there, truth is we all have brand allegiance, but you can't go wrong with any of the better known makes.

But do take your time and get it right, if that means saving a hundred or so more dollars then that is the best advice any of could give you.
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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2014, 12:10:21 AM »

johnf3f

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2014, 06:10:17 PM »
Having has the Manfrotto 55 I would again recommend you have a look again at the Sirui I suggested - it is a far more capable piece of kit.
There is nothing wrong with the Manfrotto 55 series it's just that I outgrew mine very quickly and don't want to see you making my mistakes. A good Carbon fiber tripod will be far more rigid (especially the ones without center columns) and allow for future expansion of you kit.
I forgot to mention, in my previous post, that you should also have a look at the Feisol range. A friend of mine has one of these :
http://www.feisolcanada.com/?products=ct-3342-rapid-trournamemt-tripod
I rate it very highly (even though my tripods are Gitzos) and it is lovely and light if you need to walk very far for the perfect shot!

AcutancePhotography

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2014, 09:55:42 AM »
A lot of people like Carbon Fibre tripods and there are some clear advantages to CF tripods.  But that does not mean that non-CF tripods are necessarly bad.  It all depends on what is important to you and most advantagous to your type of photography.  It's great to get advice on the Internets Tubes, but ultimately it comes down to what is important to you and what works for your type of photography.

You need to buy the tripod you need, not necessarly the trendy brand name/material.  If an AL tripod does what you need it to do, save the money and get a high quality AL tripod.  If, however, you find out that even the higher quality AL tripods still don't give you what you need, then consider CF tripods.

CF tripods are expensive.  Some of them are very expensive.  Are *you* getting the value *you* want out of the more expensive CF tripod?  Well only you can answer that question. 

Honestly, I would go into one of your local Photo shops and try out the different types of tripods.  You may find that a high quality AL tripod does everything you need and you can save some money. Just assuming that if you buy the most expensive CF brand tripod will give you the "best" tripod may not turn out to be true.

For the amount of money you will be spending on any quality tripod, it is well worth researching and trying the different manufacturer's tripods.

Good luck with this.  A tripod purchase is not something you want to do casually.

Besides only noobs use Carbon Fibre tripods.  The cool kids are looking for Carbotanium* tripods.  LoL

*Carbon and Platinum coated Titanium fibres.   Yikes!  :o
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privatebydesign

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2014, 10:18:53 AM »
For me, and I am a cheapskate, the entire point of Carbon Fibre tripods is taking it, ie, the weight, they are remarkably lighter than their Aluminium cousins. A tripod you dn't take with you is worth nothing.

I have five tripods I have accumulated over the years, they all do different jobs but the one I take most often is the single carbon fiber one, the 055CXPRO3.

For me it has nothing to do with trends, it is 100% functionality.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2014, 10:28:33 AM »
the entire point of Carbon Fibre tripods is taking it, ie, the weight, they are remarkably lighter than their Aluminium cousins.

CF damps vibration more effectively than aluminum (and wood is even better for that).  Also, CF doesn't transmit heat as efficiently, meaning it's more comfortable to handle in cold temperatures. 
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privatebydesign

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2014, 07:44:10 PM »
the entire point of Carbon Fibre tripods is taking it, ie, the weight, they are remarkably lighter than their Aluminium cousins.

CF damps vibration more effectively than aluminum (and wood is even better for that).  Also, CF doesn't transmit heat as efficiently, meaning it's more comfortable to handle in cold temperatures.

I do realise there are other benefits, but I did put "For me" at the beginning of my comment, because for me it is far and away the most important aspect of CF over Al.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2014, 01:37:58 AM »
the entire point of Carbon Fibre tripods is taking it, ie, the weight, they are remarkably lighter than their Aluminium cousins.

CF damps vibration more effectively than aluminum (and wood is even better for that).  Also, CF doesn't transmit heat as efficiently, meaning it's more comfortable to handle in cold temperatures.

I do realise there are other benefits, but I did put "For me" at the beginning of my comment, because for me it is far and away the most important aspect of CF over Al.

I love my CF legs, but if I were trying to get a good setup for $700, I'd save $ by getting used High quality aluminum legs and splurge on a good head and plates.  There is really nothing wrong with aluminum.
 
I have some aluminum legs that never leave my studio, they are old Bogen / Manfrotto legs with geared column.  I am 100 % against raising that column, but I do not need to in my studio.  I also have a Manfrotto pistol grip head that is literally bolted to my light table.  I've converted the Manfrotto RC2 QR plate to Arca Swiss by bolting a Kirk clamp to it, but I still accidentally trip that lever lock occasionally, even though it has a safety of sorts.  I do like the pistol grip though.  I had to go thru three of them before finding one that was a good one.
 
I just returned with another 1000 images shot tonight with the Benro legs and Kirk ball head.  I used it for video as well as still.  I'm not really a video type, I have a nice lower end Manfrotto fluid head, but it just sits in storage.  A really good video head and legs like a Connor would set me back a ton of money.

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Re: Tripod Help
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2014, 01:37:58 AM »