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Author Topic: A couple of questions about tripods.  (Read 3249 times)

mcintoshi

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A couple of questions about tripods.
« on: March 26, 2012, 10:18:59 PM »
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?

cheers,
Ian
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 10:33:00 PM by mcintoshi »

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A couple of questions about tripods.
« on: March 26, 2012, 10:18:59 PM »

wickidwombat

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 10:23:09 PM »
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Benro-C-2691TB1-Carbon-Fiber-Travel-Angel-Tripod-B-1-/330538387722?pt=AU_TripodsMonopods&hash=item4cf59f890a

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
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iMagic

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 10:46:38 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 10:52:32 PM by iMagic »

JerryKnight

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 12:10:23 AM »
#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.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 12:17:19 AM by JerryKnight »

CanineCandidsByL

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 12:10:29 AM »
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.

Cali_PH

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 01:19:34 AM »
Yeah, definitely don't want to trust your nice expensive rig to a $30 tripod. 

I also sometimes shoot at the ocean, and was worried about corrosion and other issues.  I've had a page bookmarked about tripod maintenance.  It says it's for Gitzo's specifically, but there's some good general information there too:

http://www.naturescapes.net/082004/gd0804.htm

I had also stumbled across this post about tripods and salt water, but honestly haven't read through the whole thing.  There may be some helpful tips in it though.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1001807

Gitzo makes a tripod specifically designed for ocean use (Gitzo Ocean Traveler), but I'm not sure it's worth the expense if you take steps to protect/maintain your tripod regularly.  Maybe if you're always shooting in the ocean, and find you can't avoid corrosion and problems otherwise?  I've never talked to anyone that had one of these though:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/631155-REG/Gitzo_GK1581OT_GK1581OT_4_Section_Carbon_Fiber.html

torger

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 01:35:41 AM »
I use one of the more stable Gitzo carbon tripod. If you want sharp long exposures or 100% sharp images in windy conditions you need to spend. In calm conditions and normal length exposures (shoot in live view to avoid mirror slap) a simpler tripod will do fine.

I put my tripod in the water and use it in rough conditions, the gear is made to be used. It is more a mental thing, if one has so expensive gear that it would be a financial disaster if something breaks (and there's no insurance) one will be too careful and miss shots. Then it is better to use cheaper gear or get a good insurance so one dares to take some risk. The gear itself handles rough conditions.

I use a 3-way geared head. Slow to work with (unusable to track things) but much easier to precisely compose a landscape shot. Since I shoot landscape I use that 90% of the time. I have a ball head too which I use if I need to track something, but I don't like it for landscape photography. If I would have only one head for all-around use that would be a ball head though.

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 01:35:41 AM »

Hillsilly

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 03:08:12 AM »
... then do what the military does with their guns.

You mean "rifles".  ;)

I've got a cheapy carbon fibre tripod (triopo).  Apart from the occassional part falling off, it works well and I don't have any concerns using it in water or mud.  I just give a quick rinse in clean water when it looks dirty.  As mentioned above - they're designed to be used.

I'm also a ball head user.  I find it a good option for general use. 
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D.Sim

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 06:59:14 AM »
get a good one, definitely... While yes, "dirtying" your tripod legs in mud/sand/saltwater isn't great, they are built for that, and as long as you clean them and dry them before you retract them you're fine...

However, I do "cheat" a bit...  A local mall where I am puts out these plastic baggies for umbrellas when it rains, so you don't get the mall all wet.... I keep them whenever I get them, and I just slip them over the tripod legs when needed.

not as lubricated as a condom =P

But you'd still need a zip tie or rubber band to hold it down though


That said - a cleaning of the tripod regularly and a wipe down with a cloth after every use will go a long way to keeping it working

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2012, 04:57:39 PM »
The subject of tripods brings lots of opinions. Mine is that you want a good sturdy set of legs, and a really good head.  Even then, hand a camera bag or weight on the under hook to stabilize the tripod.  If it has no underhook, keep looking.
 
I have some really heavy duty tripods, since I had to hold a 600mm lens with huge Wimberly head.  They also work even better for smaller lenses like the 70-200mm f/2.8.  The Head is still my weak point, getting a head that has no movement in it is not trivial.  I did not think my Manfroto ball head was flexing until I bought a expensive one which was a huge improvement. I se a Kirk Head because its a good one, and because I bought it for half price from a craigslist seller.  RRS, Markins, and several others are great.  Manfroto has some good ones as well, but their cheap ones are not all that wonderful.

wickidwombat

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2012, 07:22:56 PM »
another tip i keep a small paint brush about 1inch across in my tripod bag so i can clean it down and brush any sand out
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D.Sim

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2012, 06:12:58 AM »
another tip i keep a small paint brush about 1inch across in my tripod bag so i can clean it down and brush any sand out
That is actually a pretty good idea... will drop by the art store for a brush later.... thanks for the tip mate

DHL1313

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2012, 11:42:51 PM »
When I was shooting a Rebel XTi my friend asked me...."Why are you putting $2k worth of camera stuff on a $15 tripod?"

I went out and spent some good money on a great tripod.


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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2012, 11:42:51 PM »

Cali_PH

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2012, 10:42:25 PM »
When I was shooting a Rebel XTi my friend asked me...."Why are you putting $2k worth of camera stuff on a $15 tripod?"

I went out and spent some good money on a great tripod.

Exactly.  And many people put much more $$$ than that on flimsy tripods.

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Re: A couple of questions about tripods.
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2012, 10:42:25 PM »