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Thread: Tripods

  1. #1
    Super Moderator NEF.D90's Avatar
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    Tripods

    I really need to get serious about getting into a tripod/monopod.
    But the question is what should I look for in a good multi use tripod?
    Should I look into a manfrotto?
    I notice that when you buy a high dollar tripod you generally have the choice of what head you would like on it. How do I find out which had will work best for me. I need a well rounded tripod being that I do everything from cars to trees.
    Can some one please help me choose the right tripod for me?
    If your going to dream, Dream Big!

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    Administrator Aloicious's Avatar
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    when I look at tripods this is basically what specs are important to me:

    1) weight capacity - a higher weight limit the tripod can hold, the more stable it will be, I look for something that is spec'd for at least 2x the weight as the heaviest camera/lens/head/etc combo that I plan to put on it.
    2) tripod weight - lighter tripods are easier to carry around, easier to work with, etc.

    3) tripod min and max height - a tripod with legs that can splay out at different angles will allow you to get closer to the ground, and one that goes higher will be able to get, well, higher, both allowing better flexibility for image angle and usefulness.

    4) collapsed size - if the tripod collapses small its easier to travel and move around with, easier to carry around, etc.

    5) NO center column - I hate center columns, they are another piece that can cause instability, especially when extended, they limit the minimum height of the tripod since they stick out the bottom (we're talking min height of center column tripods is 15-20", minimum height of non-center column tripods is like 4", that's a significant difference when you want to get low to the ground).

    6) material - aluminum is cheap and sturdy, but HEAVY (for good aluminum tripods). carbon fiber is light and stury, but more expensive for good ones, carbon fiber also has some vibration dampening properties that aluminum doesn't.

    then there is price. you're going to pay a premium for quality tripods....

    you're also going to have to decide what is most important and what you can compromise on. super light weight tripods aren't going to have the weight holding capacity of others, etc...

    Manfrotto is a good middle quality brand (bogen is another brand that is made by manfrotto, they're basically the same thing.)...high end ones are like Gitzo, Really Right stuff, etc....Feisol makes a good middle quality tripod, I've got a review on one on the articles page.

    When you're talking tripods, there are actually different parts that you need to consider, there are the legs, which is the main part, then there is the head, which is what you mount the camera to, which mounts to the tripod, and there are different styles of heads with different functionality and usefulness...ball heads are good general use, geared heads are precise and solid, but large and heavy and slow, gimbal heads are VERY well balanced and made for very large and heavy lenses. etc...they're all kindof personal preference.

    what kind of budget are you looking to spend on one?
    -Justin

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    Super Moderator NEF.D90's Avatar
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    Thank you thats very informative. There is never a budget anymore I just find what I like and start stock piling money for it. I really like the looks of the Feisol you bought. I haven't finished reading your review on it yet. I was reading it last night but then I feel asleep.
    If your going to dream, Dream Big!

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    Administrator Aloicious's Avatar
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    thats the way to do it. get the one you need first, rather than a bunch and having to keep replacing it....if you're not worried about price, I wouldn't even look at manfrotto, they're good for what they are, but if you're saving up for something anyways, there are 2 brands that you will want to look at, either gitzo carbon fiber legs, or really right stuff legs. Both are excellent and will last you a lifetime, and depending on the model, should hold whatever you can throw at it. I'm partial to really right stuff (RRS) but I have had several gitzo setups too. in fact I have a set of gitzo legs for sale in the classifieds here.

    as far as a head goes, its a lot of personal preference. go try some different types out and see what works best for you. I have a gimbal head for heavy stuff, and a customized geared head for other stuff....as far as brands go, RRS makes excellent ball heads, Wimberley or Jobu make good gimbal heads, the manfrotto 410 (what I have) or 405 are great geared heads on a budget, or arca makes fantastic and super expensive geared heads....3-way and pan/tilt heads as well as others.
    -Justin

    Bodies - D800E
    Lenses - Sigma 18-35 f1.8 DC | Zeiss 15mm f2.8 ZF.2 | Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZF.2 | Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art | 105mm f2.5 AI-S | 70-200 f2.8G VRII | 200mm F4.0D Micro AF | 300mm f2.8 VRII

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    Super Moderator NEF.D90's Avatar
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    Ok I'm going to research with this new info and names. I'm thinking carbon fiber sounds like the best material. I mean if your going to spend 4-500 on something it had better be light, strong, and look kick ass haha.
    If your going to dream, Dream Big!

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    Administrator Aloicious's Avatar
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    yeah CF is the way to go nowadays. it's really only downside is that it's expensive.

    here's a good older article about tripods that is worth reading:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...t_tripod.shtml
    -Justin

    Bodies - D800E
    Lenses - Sigma 18-35 f1.8 DC | Zeiss 15mm f2.8 ZF.2 | Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZF.2 | Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art | 105mm f2.5 AI-S | 70-200 f2.8G VRII | 200mm F4.0D Micro AF | 300mm f2.8 VRII

    My PhotographyWild Blog

    C&C is always welcome on the images I post.

  7. #7
    Administrator Aloicious's Avatar
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    I should mention, that article is a few years old, he makes some complaints about Gitzo, mainly how the center plate attaches to the spider and only uses friction to keep it in place, which was true at the time he wrote it, however gitzo's newer models have locking center plates and other issues have been addressed. either brand is top of the line.
    -Justin

    Bodies - D800E
    Lenses - Sigma 18-35 f1.8 DC | Zeiss 15mm f2.8 ZF.2 | Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZF.2 | Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art | 105mm f2.5 AI-S | 70-200 f2.8G VRII | 200mm F4.0D Micro AF | 300mm f2.8 VRII

    My PhotographyWild Blog

    C&C is always welcome on the images I post.

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