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Thread: Oben 3551 tripod

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    Super Moderator NEF.D90's Avatar
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    Oben 3551 tripod

    I'm coming to the realization that, I am not nearly wealthy enough to spend $1000+ on a top of the line tripod right now.
    So in my searching for a budget carbon fiber tripod I found this oben.
    There are 3 things I'd like to have in a tripod.
    1. Lightweight
    2. Versatile
    3. Strong enough to hold my current and near future gear.

    I think this tripod might fit the build.
    Would any one care to take a look at it and give me their thoughts?

    Check out what I found on B&H Photo Video http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/864568-REG
    If your going to dream, Dream Big!

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    Administrator Aloicious's Avatar
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    meh...honestly I'm not too impressed with it, I understand the need to compromise on a few things in order to get a more affordable support system. but honestly I think that one has too many compromises IMO. Here's some problems I have with that specific setup:

    1) center column, I don't like them, they're a major source of potential instability, you're essentially mounting all your gear on a stick that's extended above the tripod legs, even when it's not raised it's still a mechanical joint that has the potential to introduce movement. I'd recommend trying to avoid getting something with a center column at all.

    2) 5 section legs, the more leg sections, the more joints that are involved and the more points where movement can be introduced, a 3 section tripod has 9 joints, but a 5 section has 15 joints, remember each joint is built with some amount of tolerance in it, so with each leg section comes a significant increase in potential movement.

    3) 5 leg sections, combined with a center column, combined with a max height of 5.2 feet....the max height of 5 feet isn't really bad by itself, but when you combine that spec with the center column AND leg sections, it means that you'll be frequently extending all the leg sections AND the center column in regular use. and the more leg sections you have, the smaller the diameter tubing each section is, and the tubing loses rigidity and stability the smaller it gets, and with 5 sections, by the time they are all extended, they're very small. which means in order to reach the full 5 feet height, you've basically got your gear mounted on an extended stick over narrow toothpick legs. definitely not ideal.

    4)13.2lb weight capacity. while this isn't terrible, there is certainly worse ones out there, but you typically want to aim for a tripod setup with the capacity of at LEAST 2-3 times the weight of your heaviest setup which includes lens, body, converters, flash, bracketry, etc. even resting your hand on the lens contributes to the weight, so when you add it up, I'm betting you'll get pretty close to the 13.2lbs this setup is rated at. Plus there is no real guidelines for weight capacity claims in the industry either, is 13.2 the max weight before the joints fail? is it the breaking point? is it the point to where movement is guaranteed to be introduced? no one knows, some companies will be fairly conservative with their ratings, these tend to be the higher end tripods where the tripod may hold significantly more, but they want to have some headroom built into their published specs, other companies want to put the highest number they can so that the marketing looks good even if the number isn't very realistic in real life, that tends to be the lower end tripods. This one probably falls somewhere in the middle, but its hard to say for certain.

    5) minimum height of 9" isn't very good at all, the center column is a big problem here, because it will be an obstruction to getting really low perspectives...personally I use a tripod at it's minimum height much more than it's max height, so this spec is important to me, and I want to be able to get as low as possible.

    I think we could come up with something much better than that one within a price you could handle, but let me ask you a couple questions first.

    1) what price range are we looking at exactly? and how flexible are you with your budget? (i.e. if you say $500 max, but we find something ideal for $550, is that going to be a guaranteed no, or would it still be feasible? obviously we won't overshoot if at all possible but there are times where a few extra will make the difference between an excellent setup, and a mediocre one)

    2) what functions of the tripod are of the most value to you? i.e. the price for a stable tripod goes up exponentially when you start talking about it being lightweight. would you be able to sacrifice some of the lightweight factor to retain high stability and low price? or is the tripod being light weight an extremely important factor for you? you mentioned versatility, if you could define what that means to you. what about collapsed size, does a few extra inches in length when fully collapsed matter too much to you or do you need it to fold down to the tiniest package possible for some specific reason (i.e. frequent airline travel or something)

    3) is used gear okay in your book? or do you prefer new gear only?
    -Justin

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    Super Moderator NEF.D90's Avatar
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    Hmmm. Well if I had to set a budget I would like to stay around 300-350, but a little more would be okay as long as I could plan for it. Weight really isn't a huge thing for me at this point, my biggest concern is for shows/events (walking around with it all day) but I could get a monopod for that.
    In order from most important to least: sturdy, user friendly(easy to adjust up and down and not cumbersome to work around) not over say 500 unless it's a super good deal.
    Used is fine as long as it appears in good condition.
    I would really like it to have a ball head already on it (weather it be a kit or used)

    The thing I'm having trouble with is it's hard to find a tripod in a lower price range that doesn't have a center colmn. It seems like that's the thing they all boast about, and I don't really like them (center colmn) either.
    Do you recommend carbon fiber or do you think with my limited budget I'll get a better unit with aluminum?

    I've never been able to play with or use a nice high end tripod, so I'm relying on your experience to guide me in the best direction (that worked very well for me when you told me to get the D90 over the D3200 ).
    If your going to dream, Dream Big!

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    Administrator Aloicious's Avatar
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    you're not going to find quality Carbon fiber under $300 with a head at all, you'll probably want to stick with aluminum. let me look around and see what I can piece together.

    what shows/events do you need it for? I never use a tripod for shows or events personally, too much to carry around.
    -Justin

    Bodies - D800E
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    My PhotographyWild Blog

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    Administrator Aloicious's Avatar
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    hmm...well, I've been looking around, it'll be HARD to get everything for under $300, well, that is to say, you can get okay stuff that will work for under 300, but nothing I'd personally spend my money on...

    here's what I'd do. I'd get these legs: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gitzo-GT3330...item339b3d9223

    I know its kindof expensive at basically $400...but they're awesome, I used to have those exact model legs and they were incredible. they will hold ANYTHING you put on them, really the ONLY reason you'd EVER need to upgrade them is to get something lighter, because they are aluminum, so they'll be a little heavier than a carbon fiber set of equivalent specs. they're conservatively rated at like 40 lbs capacity or something like that so they'll hold whatever you want (I used a D800, 600F4, teleconverter, flash equipment on mind and it didn't even break a sweat). it'll go high enough and plenty low for you, its not massively tall but you shouldn't need that I never found these legs to be limiting in height and I'm 6' tall. and it's Gitzo which is like one of the best brands out there you can get...it's also something you'll be able to take apart to clean or repair/replace parts on without a problem. that's one nice thing about high end tripods is that they're made to last forever, and the little parts that might need repair are made to be able to be repaired, with a cheaper tripod if something breaks, well you'll be looking for a new tripod...these legs should last you decades without a problem, and it's compatible with all the 'series 3' accessories from gitzo that their CF tripods use if you ever wanted to upgrade something on it.

    now, why should you jump on those ebay legs? because Gitzo doesn't make this model anymore and they're getting hard to come by. they've focused on making carbon fiber stuff so they've discontinued a lot of their aluminum legs which is a shame because these things are awesome and don't cost near as much as the CF ones.

    if you'd rather have something smaller or lighter, I'd look at a Feisol CT-3442 which is about the same price new, but the gitzo is a bit better overall IMO (I've owned both), its just a little larger and heavier, that feisol is made to be ultra light. the feisol isn't going to be able to be dismantled and cleaned/repaired, etc but its a decent set of legs for the price
    http://www.amazon.com/Feisol-Tournam...0602011&sr=8-1

    as for heads, that is something you can skimp on a little now (only a little bit, don't get a super cheapo one, just don't worry about top of the line right now) to keep your costs down, and upgrade in the future if you should feel the need to. I'd spend the most on legs first, they're whats important off the bat.

    personally I'd go with something like this:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/SUNWAYFOTO-D...item2c9404273e

    That's a good ballhead, it'll hold 40lbs so it won't be a weakpoint in your setup, and while sunwayfoto is considered a budget brand, I've got several things from them and always been impressed with their quality, they are known for NOT using plastic parts and building things well. that ballhead should give you plenty of good use.

    you will also need a plate for the camera body though to mount it on the ballhead. its Arca/Swiss compatible so any brand that makes those will work, but I'd look at something like this which is made to fit onto your D600:
    http://www.amazon.com/SUNWAYFOTO-PN-...0601772&sr=8-2

    okay, so I know that's about $500 total, but I promise a little extra now, will be worth it rather than wasting $300 on something that you'll want to replace soon anyways.
    -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

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    Likes NEF.D90 liked this post

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    Super Moderator NEF.D90's Avatar
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    I love a long read. Okay I'm going to get on the hunt looking into all these parts. Thank you for the pointers, I'll get back soon with me questions.
    If your going to dream, Dream Big!

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    http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item...634176&alt=web
    Sunwayfoto L bracket foot the D600 $55+$4.95 shipping.

    What do you think of L brackets?
    If your going to dream, Dream Big!

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    Administrator Aloicious's Avatar
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    I like L brackets and they're what I use. I was just trying to keep everything as budget friendly as I could.

    L brackets are nice because you can put the body in portrait or landscape orientation without dropping the camera into the ballhead's notch.
    -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.
    Likes NEF.D90 liked this post

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    Super Moderator NEF.D90's Avatar
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    I understand keeping it budget. I just came across this and thought I'd ask about it.
    I really appreciate you taking the time to research all the links abs information about this stuff.
    Sunwayfoto looks like a really nice company with high quality parts. Why is it that they aren't more popular?
    If your going to dream, Dream Big!

  10. #10
    Administrator Aloicious's Avatar
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    Yeah no worries, if you can fit an L plate into the budget, they're worth it IMO.

    sunwayfoto is a korean brand, while they make decent parts, they aren't really considered to be top tier, they tend to make modified copies of other manufacturer's things, so they're not creating too much unique parts. I don't have any problems using their stuff, but others might...its kindof the same thing with like Sigma lenses. some people don't like to use anything from third party companies and will refuse to use anything from sigma, doesn't mean their items aren't good, or useful.
    -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.
    Likes NEF.D90 liked this post

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