Tripod help

timmy_650

EOS RP
Dec 20, 2012
277
15
I am in the market for a new tripod. I have an for like 5 year Dolica 65" and it has plenty of love. So I just got a new hiking partner my 2 month daughter about 65% of my hikes will be just the two of us. The rest of the time my wife will be there. I am looking for a lighter tripod, so I am looking at carbon fiber. I am happy with the height of my tripod with is about 55" b/c I don't use the center column. But is wouldn't mind going a bit taller b/c I am 6'2". I am willing to spend about $500 on a tripod and I don't care it it is new or used.

So I can't decide if I want to get a used gitzo tripod off ebay. Or a new tripod from a brand like induro or Feisol ect. I know the gitzo will be a solid tripod but older tech and I worry I am paying a premium for the name. I am temped but the Induro and Feisol but I am reading a lot of good things about them and they are cheaper and it will be new.

I know I should buy once and buy right. But I can't decide what that is.
 
There are a ridiculous amount of choices right now and you will get a lot of different advice answers. As you already know, carbon fiber is the way to go. I bought a Manfrotto 055CXpro4 a few years ago and love it. It replaced a similar sized aluminum Manfrotto and the difference was felt immediately.

Lots of brands are good, I think it's a matter of trying them out to see what feels best. If you have a major dealer near you this is ideal, but if not you will just have to go by online reviews.

One key feature that people argue about is whether the legs have twist locks or flip locks. Mine has flip locks and I personally would never buy twist locks, just too difficult to use repeatedly. However on another similar thread it seems most people preferred the twist locks that I dislike (and that Gitzo uses extensively).
 

amorse

EOS 7D MK II
Jan 26, 2017
487
486
www.flickr.com
MrFotoFool said:
I bought a Manfrotto 055CXpro4 a few years ago and love it. It replaced a similar sized aluminum Manfrotto and the difference was felt immediately.

Lots of brands are good, I think it's a matter of trying them out to see what feels best. If you have a major dealer near you this is ideal, but if not you will just have to go by online reviews.

One key feature that people argue about is whether the legs have twist locks or flip locks. Mine has flip locks and I personally would never buy twist locks, just too difficult to use repeatedly. However on another similar thread it seems most people preferred the twist locks that I dislike (and that Gitzo uses extensively).
I have the same tripod with the XPRO ball head and I love it. I really dislike twist locks so flip locks were important to me as well. I have only two (very minor) complaints:
[list type=decimal]
[*]the flip locks are almost too good - if you're not paying attention while unlocking it can be very pinchey (yes I made the word up, but good lord does it hurt when those latches catch you right)
[*]the level on the top of the tripod frequently catches on my XPRO ball head's rotation/ball locks. This can be a nuisance when you're trying to work quickly, but may not be an issue with another head
[/list]

In all seriousness, it's a great tripod considering the price.
 

slclick

PINHOLE
Dec 17, 2013
3,193
715
Personally I found I need twists since I work in snow and ice frequently and flips were always a pain but twists allow for opening and closing multiple segments at a time for smooth operation with any kind of glove or not. I appreciate good flips but for what I do Feisol exceeds my expectations at 40-60% of a Gitzo or RRS.
 
timmy_650 said:
..... I know I should buy once and buy right .....
I don't agree with that any more because newer features can be very beneficial. Who would have thought new features for tripods would be invented ;D

I still have an old Gitzo but I was never overwhelmed with it and more recent triops do a better job for me. My original Gitzo has twist locks but these were not reliable and I had to replace the inner shims and other parts several times. I even had to use gaffer tape in emergency use to stop legs telescoping back in. Also, the centre column on mine is off-set and that can be tricky when turning a panoramic.

I have two of the recent Manfrotto 055's, one carbon fibre and one aluminium. Both work great and the carbon fibre one is a joy weight wise. Both are flip rather than twist and I prefer that. Each leg has resistance points as you split them apart and that makes it very easy to have all three legs exactly placed and therefore level the tripod. Both can have the centre column switched from vertical to horizontal. Both have a screw thread at the top which is useful to screw on some accessories instead of having to use a clamp. There is no thread under the centre column to attach a hook to hold a heavy bag for extra stabilisation weight but you can hook anything to a spigot on the screw thread located near the top.

I use a Manfrotto Junior Geared Head as a default for photography and various pan and tilt heads for video. I use Op/Tech tripod straps on all three tripods.

I bought new on Calumet offers but if I were buying again I'd probably buy from Amazon on their warehouse deals. Who cares if the packaging is bashed or the odd scratch on the tripod - most tripods are going to get scratched pretty soon anyway unless you baby them.

Pete
 

JPAZ

If only I knew what I was doing.....
Sep 8, 2012
926
37
Everyone is prone to say "I have an ..... and it is great."

All of us will render our opinion with what worked for us.Basically, decide flip or twists (I find twists quicker and easier while wearing gloves but cheaper twists are not reliable). Definitely do CF. The rest is personal preference. It is easy to find out the heights and weights of all the products. After using some less expensive brands over the years, I finally splurged and am very happy with RRS. I agree that Feisol gets excellent reviews and is somewhat cheaper. Gitzo is another well-revered brand. If you are lucky enough to get to a store that features many models, it makes it easier to decide.

Good luck.
 

slclick

PINHOLE
Dec 17, 2013
3,193
715
JPAZ said:
Everyone is prone to say "I have an ..... and it is great."

All of us will render our opinion with what worked for us.Basically, decide flip or twists (I find twists quicker and easier while wearing gloves but cheaper twists are not reliable). Definitely do CF. The rest is personal preference. It is easy to find out the heights and weights of all the products. After using some less expensive brands over the years, I finally splurged and am very happy with RRS. I agree that Feisol gets excellent reviews and is somewhat cheaper. Gitzo is another well-revered brand. If you are lucky enough to get to a store that features many models, it makes it easier to decide.

Good luck.
I did not buy once and buy right so I went through the typical live and learn tripod upgrade cycle so my experience with my current 'GREAT' tripod took quite the while and having own a couple POS pods and a couple middling ones teaches you a lot when the real deal comes along. Amazon Prime with no hassle returns is a great way to find the right one if you don't happen to live near a superstore like B&H.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,183
1,746
Canada
timmy_650 said:
But is wouldn't mind going a bit taller b/c I am 6'2".
BTW, I am 187cm tall.... I find that most tripods are not tall enough. I STRONGLY recommend that you look for a tall one, particularly if you are going to use it to shoot upwards....
 
Completely agree on getting right size. I am as tall as the original poster (6'2") and when I bought my carbon fiber I bought a slighter smaller model to save money and weight. I took it home and set it up and decided within a couple days it would just not be tall enough. I drove back to the store (almost two hours from my city) and returned it and paid the difference for my current one.
 

timmy_650

EOS RP
Dec 20, 2012
277
15
MrFotoFool said:
Completely agree on getting right size. I am as tall as the original poster (6'2") and when I bought my carbon fiber I bought a slighter smaller model to save money and weight. I took it home and set it up and decided within a couple days it would just not be tall enough. I drove back to the store (almost two hours from my city) and returned it and paid the difference for my current one.
I have to drive to Las Vegas or Salt lake city to look at good tripods. That is one of my big worried hitting the sweet zone of tall enough but not too big and bulky where you don't want to carry it. I am kinda hoping BH photo will have a great sale on a tripod I like and it will make my decision easier.
I am really leaning towards a Feisol but a good deal will always make me switch.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,227
416
Don Haines said:
timmy_650 said:
But is wouldn't mind going a bit taller b/c I am 6'2".
BTW, I am 187cm tall.... I find that most tripods are not tall enough. I STRONGLY recommend that you look for a tall one, particularly if you are going to use it to shoot upwards....
That is where flip screens have a huge advantage - the need for a tripod to be 'the right height' has been largely (but not always) mitigated.
 
Aug 22, 2010
1,621
317
48
Uk
www.GMCPhotographics.co.uk
Personally I use a tripod that doesn't have a centre column...so I won't be tempted to ever use it. Then i need a tripod where the top plate is just below chin height so when I use a camera / bracket / ball head the camera view finder comes to eye level. Then I need carbon fibre lightness and ease of mobility. For me that's a Gitzo GT3542LS.
It's far from perfect and you'll need regular spare parts if you regularly go any where near salt water...but it fulfils my requirements. I get really stable images from it using telephoto lenses with long exposures in high winds.
 

slclick

PINHOLE
Dec 17, 2013
3,193
715
GMCPhotographics said:
Personally I use a tripod that doesn't have a centre column...so I won't be tempted to ever use it. Then i need a tripod where the top plate is just below chin height so when I use a camera / bracket / ball head the camera view finder comes to eye level. Then I need carbon fibre lightness and ease of mobility. For me that's a Gitzo GT3542LS.
It's far from perfect and you'll need regular spare parts if you regularly go any where near salt water...but it fulfils my requirements. I get really stable images from it using telephoto lenses with long exposures in high winds.
Same, No center, no thought of using it, no stability issues. Get the right height pod (with ballhead and camera mounted on top that suits your height)
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,552
771
My first step is to make a list of which tripods will work for me, I'm 6"2 and like to raise my camera to eye level without raising a center column. That narrows the selection down to about 5% of the tripods out there.

Then, hopefully armed with a list of 4 -6 units, I check Craigslist, Amazon, B&H, Adorama, and perhaps greentoe to see what prices are realistic, and then make a decision as to used or new. I find that legs with about 62 in with center column down will work, because the head and QR adds to the height.

While Carbon Fiber is popular, don't dismiss Aluminum. You may be able to get a better unit for the same price as a lesser CF model.
 

slclick

PINHOLE
Dec 17, 2013
3,193
715
The taller you are the more likelihood you need a four section pod which most folks would like to avoid but that's life buddy.