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Advice On A Tripod Purchase?  
User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 548 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5247 times:

Hey all!

Christmas is coming... and I'm thinking to presents and all, it seems that it's time to add a tripod to my gear:
Canon 450D
Canon EF-S 15-85
Canon EF 70-200 f/4L USM
Canon TC 1.4x II

Now, I heard good things about Manfrottos.
But this doesn't make the question more clear to me:
my budget is quite limited around 100/150€ and I'd like a good compromise between:
- stability
- lightness of the structure in terms of weight
- height (I want it quite high... I'm tall and I would benefit of an higher tripod, I think... Then, for low situations I still have my gorillapod)
- dimensions

I've seen several options on Manfrotto's website that fit in my range, with body+head included.

My uses would be manifold, but a further question has come up in my mind: can the tripod be used for panning shots with good results?

So... Could you please suggest me something good in that range of price?

Thanks in advance,

Matteo

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4725 posts, RR: 50
Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 5228 times:

Matteo,

not a specific recommendation, but a more general one. The basic rule of tripods is the following:

Cheap, light, stable, pick two!

Hope that helps a bit!

Jurgen



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently onlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (3 years 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 5225 times:

I'd actually say the opposite, ie expensive and heavy. You get what you pay for, and even though my cheaper Manfrottos do a decent enough job, there are occasions I prefer the sturdier ones.
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 548 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (3 years 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5156 times:

Well, if it comes to money, at the shop I've tried both cheap and very expensive tripods.
The most unaffordable ones were with the best stability and construction quality: I saw also a carbon fiber built Manfrotto!
But unfortunately they're well above my head in terms of money.
On the other hand when dealing with cheapest ones it was like to hold something "impure" in your hands... and the stability were far off the best ones!

Any idea of a particular model to search for?


User currently offlineRonS From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 762 posts, RR: 22
Reply 4, posted (3 years 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5141 times:

Matteo - I'm probably in the market for a tripod upgrade at some point in the future, mostly because I need additional support for heavier lenses. I do believe that the heavier and more expensive tripods provide a sturdier foundation, and after all that is what it is all about (keeping the lens sturdy).

However, for now I just have the entry level Manfrotto, you can Google it Manfrotto 7302YB. It's considered a travel size tripod, and while it is the entry level, it is likely in your budget. I think it only goes for $100-139 with integrated Ball Head. It has been a life saver for traveling. I attach it to my Tamrac Velocity 9x Sling Bag and I can walk around all day with it. I also have had no problems sticking the bag with attached tripod under A319 seat or in the overhead compartment. International or domestic airlines.

I will say this, buy yourself a tripod color for the 70-200 f/4, that way you can use it with the 1.4x for extra support. You can find cheap ones of those on Ebay, so you don't have to pay the big money for the Canon tripod collar, the other ones are almost as good for under $10.

Mine is fairly good, but not great. It gets the job done though most of the time. Sometimes it would be nice to have a really heavy duty tripod with a dedicated panning head, and one day soon I will get one, mostly to support a 300MM + 2x to try for some moon shots, etc. But for aircraft with a 70-200 f/4, it is not as critical, though I will again suggest the tripod collar.



All opinions expressed by me are my own opinions & do not represent the opinions in any way of my employers.
User currently offlineDehowie From Australia, joined Feb 2004, 1071 posts, RR: 33
Reply 5, posted (3 years 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5121 times:

Pretty easy..
If you can afford one get a gitzo set of carbon legs..easily the best..I mean easily.
If you can't afford them go Manfrotto.
If you can't afford them don't bother you will seriously be wasting money as tripods are an area where money buys quality..no money = poor tripod= blurry photos= more money for the good tripod I should of bought in the first place..
Save yourself money in the long term by buying the best in the first place..



2EOS1DX,EF14.2.8LII,17TS,85/1.2,16-35L,24-70LII,24L,70-200F2.8LII,100-400,300/400/500/800L
User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 769 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (3 years 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5114 times:

Not an area to economise I'm afraid ... cheap tripods will ultimately let you down (sometimes literally!) and can give a false sense of security - you think your camera is stable, but in fact its not. I find with aviation photgraphy wind can often be a problem hence you need something more rigid than perhaps the studio photographer can get away with.

You will probably need to compromise somewhere in your criteria - solid light weight tripods = carbon fibre = expensive.

However, good tripods, esp, the older models can be had 2nd hand at reasonable prices. After numerous false starts, I've been using an old aluminium Manfrotto 055 for many years which has served me well (capable of supporting a Sidekick with a 500 f4). It is a little on the heavy side though. Should be available within your budget on ebay (don't be put off by the price of newer carbon fibre models).

The head is another matter. If you want to pan, you need to be very careful in your selection. Budget ball heads have a nasty habit of being a little sticky, resulting in a small (but ruinous) jerks when panning. You also need to watch the tension adjustment - on the cheaper models this can seem pretty much either full on or off and you really need to be able to adjust this to exactly the tension you need. Again, this is a purchase which can be made 2nd hand, though if at all possible, try before you buy ... but do keep in mind that a used version will probably need some attention in the form of lubrication.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently onlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (3 years 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5092 times:

For heads, try going for a very good video head.
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 548 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (3 years 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5088 times:

Thanks to all those taht have replied!  
Quoting RonS (Reply 4):
I also have had no problems sticking the bag with attached tripod under A319 seat or in the overhead compartment. International or domestic airlines.

So, it is all right!
I was going to ask something about tripods and security check when travelling... I thought they may consider it a kind of weapon! LOL (I have bad experiences in this sense... think that they were about to ask me to leave a packed 744 model scale 1:200. So, I'm still bit scared about that! )

Quoting RonS (Reply 4):
You can find cheap ones of those on Ebay, so you don't have to pay the big money for the Canon tripod collar, the other ones are almost as good for under $10.

Mmmh, interesting!
I never checked that on the internet... now I have further researches to do! LOL

Quoting ckw (Reply 6):
You will probably need to compromise somewhere in your criteria

Yeah, I know this...
but let's forget about money for a while:

Quoting ckw (Reply 6):
The head is another matter. If you want to pan, you need to be very careful in your selection

I'm going to use my tripod for every common use, I think.
From landscapes, to panoramic views and night shots (both aviation and of architecture).
Since I don't have the IS on my lens, I think a tripod could help me also at low shutter speeds... am I wrong? of course within certain limits...  

But what I'm really wondering is which head is the best for panning too.
Is the ball head suitable for this purpose too?
from what colin said, I think yes... Just I can't figure out if a ball head could leave the possibility to move left/right (X axis) once blocked in the position wanted, so good for a panning.

I've just tried yesterday a "poor" tripod of a friend of mine... something cheap, weak and unstable, but I wanted to give it a try, however. It had a kind of 3D head...
I think with a 3D head things are far easier than with a ball head (provided the suitability for pannings), am I wrong?


User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 769 posts, RR: 16
Reply 9, posted (3 years 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5067 times:

Matteo - sorry, but some how I picked up the idea you were looking specifically for a ball head. Actually, they're not the best option for panning as generally once unlocked they move in all directions - can be tricky to keep the horizon steady. A 3 way fluid damped pan head would be the better solution as it allows you to lock one axis while moving in another. But again the key to a good pan is a very smooth motion, so if possible try before you buy. I think the cheaper versions are great for setting the camera at a particular angle, but not really suited to shooting while changing the angle. In this respect, weight (of the camera lens and head) is your friend as the inertia helps damp any vibrations or jerkiness caused by swinging the camera.

The BEST solution for panning is probably some form of gimble head, but these are very expensive and probably overkill for your current system (also large and cumbersome).

I also meant to add, think about the future as well. If you are planning to purchase longer/heavier lenses at some future date, you might as well get a tripod that might be a bit overspec for your current kit

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently onlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 10, posted (3 years 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5058 times:

Quoting ckw (Reply 9):
The BEST solution for panning is probably some form of gimble head, but these are very expensive and probably overkill for your current system (also large and cumbersome).

It is the best IMO but for the money a good video head is extremely versatile. I use the Manfrotto 501HDV with a pan handle and quick release plate for mounting. It's fantastic!
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineWingsFan From India, joined Oct 2009, 133 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5055 times:

I do agree that for good tripod you probably will end up forking out hundreds of dollars .

I too was in a similar situation where I needed a tripod and I needed it cheap. I mostly use it for casual photography so I absolutely did not want to spend money.
I consider Manfrotto models but ended up buying Dolica GX600B200. For what I use it for , I think this is the best tripod you an get under $100. If you plan on mounting 300mm prime lens then forget it, but otherwise its worth a look.

Its definitely a giant leap compared to other aluminum and plastic tripods I have been using.



WingsFan

[Edited 2011-12-09 11:43:25]

User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 548 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (3 years 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 5042 times:

Thanks Colin, you hit the target!  
Quoting ckw (Reply 9):
they're not the best option for panning as generally once unlocked they move in all directions - can be tricky to keep the horizon steady

Right what I suspected... given this, I think I should go for a 3 way head!  
Quoting ckw (Reply 9):
I think the cheaper versions are great for setting the camera at a particular angle, but not really suited to shooting while changing the angle

I have experienced with some of them I had the chance to try at the shop.
In some cases the movement throughout all the axis was fluid and perfect, while other times it was "broken" and very far from being fluid: I had to move it putting some awful force on it. The latter I think it's not stuff that works for my purposes...  

For what Spence said... well, heads like that ones are well above my budget, if you think that I have to buy the body, too.

Quoting WingsFan (Reply 11):
If you plan on mounting 300mm prime lens then forget it, but otherwise its worth a look.

Well, I think I'm not going for any prime lens, since they don't meet my needs at the moment.
And, of course, the only upgrade I could do in short future (likely a couple of years) would be a new body, since the lens I have now satisfy me... and it's enough.  
So, think something like 1kg for, maybe, a 7D + 70-200 f/4 L USM non IS (750g) + tc 1.4x II... this would be my heaviest config...


User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6457 posts, RR: 38
Reply 13, posted (3 years 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5035 times:

Just wondering - how about a monopod in that case?


It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 548 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (3 years 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5019 times:

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 13):

Just wondering - how about a monopod in that case?

well... To be honest I haven't considered it just for the fact that it doesn't seem to provide so much stability... But maybe I'm wrong...

So, does anyone have any experience with monopods?


User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6457 posts, RR: 38
Reply 15, posted (3 years 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5018 times:

Quoting teopilot (Reply 14):
well... To be honest I haven't considered it just for the fact that it doesn't seem to provide so much stability... But maybe I'm wrong...

Hmm, I suppose I missed the following:

Quoting teopilot (Reply 8):
From landscapes, to panoramic views and night shots (both aviation and of architecture).

But then again, it'd come down to how dark it is when you're shooting.



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently onlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 16, posted (3 years 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 5007 times:

Re monopods, they're the only kind of support I use a ball head with. Pretty good way of taking weight off but maintaining stability and versatility.
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 548 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (3 years 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4880 times:

Finally went for a Manfrotto 290 series with a 3 ways head for about 150€.

Not the best in portability, but:
- it reaches my height = more comfort with its use and more chances of success with pictures, since I'll have the situation more under control.
- it is very still and strong
- the head is very fluid in movements along all the 3 axes...

So, that's it! LOL

Now, how can I attach it to a bag?


User currently offlinegeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (3 years 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4852 times:

[quote=Dehowie,reply=5]Save yourself money in the long term by buying the best in the first place..


Very good advice;

Matteo; I was in just about the same situation a few years back; wanted a great tripod, didn't want to "go broke" buying it. Here's what I did; I got on eBay, and I looked and looked and I looked; there are bargains to be had on eBay, but they don't "fall into your lap"........you have to work at it; mainly by just doggedly watching what ever it is you want, every day til you find it. I wanted a Gitzo; would LOVE to have a CF model, but couldn't afford it, so I watched all aluminum Gitzo's; finally found what I wanted............thing was 20 yrs old, but it spent those 20 yrs sitting in a closet ! The seller had very high quality photos of it; it looked like new. I made my bid, and got my tripod; it's not the heaviest model they made, but just below it; three section legs ( which I definitely advise, much steadier ) When it arrived, if the seller had said the thing was brand new and never used, I wouldn't have known otherwise ! It is absolutely MINT ! Most gorgeous silvery-grey ( hate to call it paint, it's so beautiful ) Gitzo makes superlative products; as Dehowie says, there is none better.
I forget exactly what I gave for it, but is was about 1/4 the cost of a new one like it. The thing is like having your camera on a rock !

Now I needed a top drawer ball head; there are a lot of them out there, but as far as I'm concerned, there is always a No. 1; My son had bought a new Arca-Swiss B-1 BH a few years before, and after working with it, I had to have one; it was even harder to find than the Gitzo; did a whole lot of looking, bid on a bunch, ( boy am I glad I missed all of those ! )
I finally found EXACTLY what I was looking for; a seller in the UK had the thing, said it was "like new", in the box, and it looked PERFECT ! But at the time, I had never bought anything from an overseas seller, and I didn't want to risk sending someone a bunch of bucks, and not get my item; so I emailed the seller.......asked if he would ship it C.O.D. ?
He said he would be happy to........we exchanged a few emails........long story short.......the man turned out to be one of the absolute finest people I have ever met in my life ! I won the bid on the B-1 for 180 "pounds" (if you know anything about English money; to say it was a bargain would be a huge "understatement"; it was NEW ! I don't think Tony ever took 6 photos with it; looked like it had never been opened. BTW........at the time, the B-1 sold at B&H in NYC for $498, and were on back-order most of the time; I had seen several of them sell used for more than new price !

Why is this head "so good" ? Several reasons; first, it's very light, but it has a "will support" weight of 40 pounds !
The locking mechanism is sooooooo velvety smooth, you barely touch it, and my huge Nikon F-5 film body, with a 80-200 / f 2.8 Nikkor zoom attached is SOLID as a rock; ( heavy camera, and a fairly long, fairly heavy lens.
Something else few people ever even think about; say you have about $ 3,500 worth of body & lens sitting on that big ball, and you don't lock it quite tight enough; with most ball heads, here's what CAN happen..........the whole works can fall sideways into the "cut-out", and can bang very hard into the tripod, ( which is very hard on expensive cameras & lenses ); but the B-1 has an "aspheric" ball...........the ball is just a few thousandths out of spherical, from top to bottom; so if it isn't quite tight, it only "falls" a few degrees, tightens up, ( due to the "slight out of roundness" of the ball, and the camera stops, WAY before it hits bottom ! It doesn't happen often, should never happen if you are very careful, but it only needs to happen 1 time, to really "spoil your whole day" !'

I am not trying to "boast" about my equipment here, I am merely trying to make a point; high-end, top flight equipment CAN be had, on "the cheap"...........if you are willing to study the market, and really work at searching out the bargains. It CAN be done; it isn't always easy, but it can be done;

When I got my Gitzo, it was so pretty and new looking, I wanted a good carry bag for it; in this case.......forget Gitzo; they cost a MINT, and say GITZO in huge letters; ( I don't want to advertise to thieves that I have a valuable tripod they can steal ); back to eBay........got a very nice bag from a fellow who imports them from China, it's very well made, well padded, fits perfect, ( and only cost me about $ 25, brand new ! ) I bought my D 300s new, but saved about $ 400 on it by getting it from a small camera dealer in Canada, so it has a Canadian warranty; ( which is OK with me ) Here's a funny story; I bought this fantastic new chest-mount pack for my D 300s ( from Amazon, which I love ); the thing is made so that you can mount a small ball head on top of it, and it's almost as good as being on a tripod; anyway, I decided to buy me a small, inexpensive ball head to put on it; The head LOOKS fine; ( but I'm "accustomed" to using my Arca B-1.......hey, once you use one, you'll be spoiled too ! Anyway, I put the head on, played around with it for an hour or so, took it back off............and stuck it out in my garage ! Now I have my B-1 on my chest pack when I want to shoot where tripods can't be used. At the end of the day, if all you want to do is save money, I can tell you the best way I know of..........forget all about photography, and take up tiddly-winks ! Because photography has never been, isn't now, and never will be "cheap" ! ( But as we all know, its FUN ! )

Charley

P.S. I almost forgot.......you mentioned having an interest in doing panoramas...........forget pan-tilt heads; either a ball head ( or a gimble type head a ) is the only way to go; the B-1 was actually MADE for "pano" work.



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
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