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A couple of questions about tripods.

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A couple of questions about tripods.

Question 1:

I'm in the process of seriously upgrading my kit from my lowly Canon 1000D, having just placed an order for a 5D3, and am about to buy a 16-35mm and 70-200mm from the Canon L series lenses.  Up till now, when doing landscapes/seascapes at the beach, I've used my clunky, flimsy, cheap tripod I got from Dick Smith (general electronics store in Australia) for $30.

Now, a couple of contradictory factors have me wondering what other folks do.

On one hand, now that my upgraded gear is going to be worth so much more, I'm certainly thinking it would be pretty unwise to be mounting it on this old tripod.  Score 1 for getting a new, better tripod.

On the other hand, at the moment because my existing tripod is soooo crappy, I have no hesitation in actually placing its feet in the shallow water when I'm getting a shot (example).  I hardly bother cleaning the legs of it afterwards.  If I invest in some fancy Manfrotto (or other) tripod, I'm not so sure I'll be so free and easy about letting the water and sand on it.  I dunno, maybe that's being too precious, but score 1 for keeping the crappy one.

So, my question is: what do other folks do? Do you put your expensive tripod in the water? Am I dreaming that the old crappy tripod will even hold a 5D3 & 16-35? (I always, even with the 1000D, have the strap around my neck while the camera is on the tripod)

Question 2:

This question is more about the difference between various tripods.  I've played around in camera shops a bit with some big name tripods.  One which was by no means the most expensive, had a ball and handle mechanism where you squeezed the handle and had 2 dimensions of free movement just from that, with a 3rd up/down control.  All the others seemed to be just more well-made versions of what I already have: separate controls for each direction of movement; I find this a bit of a hassle now and wonder why they don't all have the ball mechanism.

Can someone please explain the difference between the various mechanisms, perhaps with some pros/cons of each?



a good carbon fibre tripod is the way to go for your uses, this one will be fine for the uses you describe, I definately would not trust the expensive gear on a 10 buck cheapy

Bang for your buck Induro carbon tripod. Ball head that can handle the weight. No handles in the way. Decent plates like arca or wimberley.  In fact benro and Induro much the same (previous post is spot on). steady investment for years to come. If you want video you may want to consider aluminum tripods which are laterley more stiff for pan shots but are heavier. Then a fluid head for video.

#1. I went with a beefy aluminum Manfrotto (055PRO-B). It's rock solid and heavy, which is good if you don't want the entire thing to be top-heavy. Carbon-fiber is fantastic (and expensive) for portability and low weight, but I bet it can easily get top-heavy and unstable unless you spread the legs wide (haha). You raise a good point about putting it in water. I'd probably feel comfortable putting it in shallow water, as long as it doesn't submerge the first joint. I'd probably remove the spike feet I added and let the inside of the tubes dry out.

#2. I have a decent Manfrotto ball head (forget the model #), but my favorite is the 410 Junior Geared Head. I got it for a very specific purpose: astrophotography. I needed fine control over polar alignment for my star-tracking mechanism (Astrotrac, if you're curious), but at the same time, it had to be completely solid when not being adjusted. This might be the perfect head for landscapes, if you need fine yet solid control over your view. It has pan, forward tilt, and side tilt controls.

The main difference in the various heads is the weight tolerance. Ball heads are fantastic. Gripped ball heads even better, but only the most expensive ball heads have a high weight tolerance. When it says "holds 11.5 lbs" that means it will hold that weight steady, with no drift. You probably want to overshoot the actual weight of your camera gear by a few pounds, if possible. A cheaper standard pan/tilt head will probably hold more than a comparably priced ball head.

Condoms.....yep, that's what I said. If your worried about the feet of your tripod/monopod in a dirty, gritty, and/or wet environment (did you just snicker?) then do what the military does with their guns.

And if I wasn't feeling dirty enough already, let me suggest the smaller size. They will usually hold onto the legs better, but you might still need a tie wrap to keep them from slipping off.  But one size doesnt fit all, you might have to try on a few. Also make sure to not use the leg spikes;  You don't want your condom getting pricked.

Good grief, just grow up people.


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