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Tripod Question


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#1 Waterfowler

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 03:25 PM

Ok I need a new/used Tripod what do I look for in one I don't really use them much maybe a few nights shots here and there and some Hero shots (Groups shots with me in it) when out Hunting. So i don't really think there would be a need for me to spend a few hundred on it. But you guys on here know best more then I know about. Maybe one of you can point me in the right way with a link or a place to get it thanks.

Edited by Waterfowler, 01 May 2009 - 03:26 PM.

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#2 mule_patterson

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 03:49 PM

Ok I need a new/used Tripod what do I look for in one I don't really use them much maybe a few nights shots here and there and some Hero shots (Groups shots with me in it) when out Hunting. So i don't really think there would be a need for me to spend a few hundred on it. But you guys on here know best more then I know about. Maybe one of you can point me in the right way with a link or a place to get it thanks.


WFlowler-
I've used Bogen 3221 legs for years and just upgraded it with a Markins M20 ballhead and an RRS L-plate for my D300 and another plate for the 70-200 VR (that's where the real money went!). I can gimbel nicely with the tele sitting sidesaddle on one side - works very well. Short of getting a lighter tripod model that just costs more, I'm fine with this setup.

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#3 Dennis

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 05:39 PM

If you do a scan, a few months back (late 2008) there was a discussion with lots of technical details. But one thing to keep in mind is that a tripod is to keep the camera steady. Most tripods have a center post, this is not something you want to use a lot of. Mine is also the Bogen 3221. It's center post is large, about an inch diameter pipe (give or take). But I have seen even that post in windy conditions and a 200mm lens shake. My point is that I picked this bogen because with the legs fully extended, the ball head and the camera, the camera's view finder is where my eye is without extending the center post. This is good for several reasons, your not bending or stooping to get the image and the center post does not need to be extended. I think this is one critical part of the tripod, that it fits you without a whole lot of gyrations to see. I know your going to get a lot of details, but keep this point in mind when you get one, that it fits you.

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#4 Neil Rothschild

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 08:06 AM

The least you will get away with for a decent tripod is a few hundred. The most important attribute in picking a tripod is the least visible spec- the upper leg diameter. A 28mm leg is good for up to 200mm or so on DX, a 32mm leg is good for 300mm and beyond, although even fatter legs are better when going beyond 300mm. There is a large selection of 28mm legs on the market, much less so for 32mm and beyond, and even the least expensive material (aluminum alloy) is expensive at 32mm and up. Given your lenses and occasional need, I would suggest a minimum of 28mm legs, which will work well up to 200mm, maybe not so well at 300mm. Although you don't plan on using it often, your main use will be night shots, which are very slow speed and therefore the most difficult. You have an inherent conflict there :o I would suggest you look at the Manfrotto 055XDB at $136 (B&H), or even better the 055XB at $160. These are 29.? diameter legs. For an additional $24 the XB gives you ground level set via a removable center column. The XDB has a minimum height of 18" or so because the center column is not removable. You have to figure out if that feature is worthwhile to you. There are also PRO flavors of the 055 (search B&H for '055' or look at Manfrotto's site for a full list), which include an articulate center column arm for more money and more weight. Unless you are very interested in Macro and understand rthe compromises inherent in articulated arms you should probably stick with the XDB and DB models. Then you need to pick a head. Manfrotto has a number of leg/head packages. Any head less $300 or so has inherent compromises. They are either bulky and heavy, or have problems with framing creep, especially at long focal lengths. In general, for short money a decent pan tilt head performs better than a cheap ballhead, providing good framing but pan/tilt heads are rather bulky and cumbersome,with 3 separate controls and usually sticks sticking out from the head. For occasional use pan/tilts are fine, and for certain work such as architectural work they are often preferred because they are easier to lock into different axis, critical for establishing perspective on architectural shots. With these heads, within the Manfrotto line, you get what you pay for, and you can spend as much as you want. Just pick a price point. It is very typical to spend money on tripods and then end up in endless upgrade spirals. The major complaint with the Bogen 055 series is the weight, but an upgrade from that will run you a minimum of $300 just for legs, and easily $500 or more, for Carbon Fiber (CF). If you want to upgrade a basic Bogen head, you are likely looking at $300 for that, too. Other than that, Bogen/Manfrotto legs are well built, should last a lifetime of amateur use, and are about as good as you will find anywhere for anywhere near similar money, and have a long established reputation and are supported by Manfrotto with service and spare parts if needed. That's why theya re always the basic recommended legs and head in the $200-$400 range (legs and head).

#5 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 12:59 PM

The general rule for tripods is the heavier the better since weight provides inertia, particularly so it will not shake in the wind outdoors. That is why many movie makers still prefer heavy wooden tripods for their stability and lack of wind shake that shows up more in moving images. In fact for studio work many professionals prefer heavy duty studio stands. However, the golden rule for outdoor photographers is a tripod of the weight you are prepared to carry, particularly if you have to hike any distance with it. A light tripod you take with you is always preferable to a heavy one left at home because it is a pain to lug around. So go and try them all and remember if you can't get a vehicle close you will have to carry it. For most general photographers therefore a tripod has to be a compromise for both studio and outdoor use, but your main use largely governs your choice. Dave Whiteley
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#6 mule_patterson

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 08:03 PM

I will second Neil's recommendation on Bogen models with the suggestion of adding the retractable spike/rubber feet if it doesn't come with them. I added them to my older Bogen legs and it feels much better. I also do not extend the two-piece center post at all - actually took off the lower half of it to get lower when needed as well. All panning is done with the ballhead (see photos above) so no potential looseness will introduce shake, etc. from the tripod itself. Works great. Mule
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#7 james23p

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:33 PM

I use a Manfrotto(Bogen) 055XV this is the green one with leg wraps I find it to be solid and a good value topped with a Markins Q3 Emille. It handles my gear and it is tough and solid. It might not be as refined as the Gitzo or light but it is a solid no frills work horse. Jim

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