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forums choice of Favorite tripods and Heads


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#1 Captzeos

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:49 PM

Hey Everyone I am in the market for a Carbon Fiber Tripod and would like the Forums view of their favorite. That said I am also wondering what preference head most people like as well. Thanks Gary

#2 zapfrog

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:29 PM

Coming from the video world I had experience with cheap, middle of the road and expensive. Nothing and I mean NOTHING compared to my Vinten tripods I had for my pro video cameras. Sure they were 2k a piece but the build quality and smoothness were next to none. That being said I'm patiently waiting on my Actratech GV2 and Gitzo Mounaineer leg combo to arrive. Sure the Acratech heads are more expensive but everything I've read puts them head and shoulders above the rest, plus they are made in the USA and carry one of the best warranties.

#3 tlsmith1000

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 11:33 AM

A ball head seems to be the most practical and quickest to set up. If you are doing mostly video you would probably want a fluid head to dampen the jitters. Most articles that you read will tell you to spend around $1200 or more on a tripod/head combo since you'll never be satisfied with it until you get to that quality range. In my tax bracket, that would mean about a two year wait till I get the cash so I've opted for buying a tripod that I can use now. I don't have the carbon fiber model, but my Manfrotto 055X PROB for $155 with the 488RC2 ball head (no longer in production, but around $120) is quick to set up works as expected and is more than stable enough for portraits. For less than $300 I have a tripod/head combo that works and I can save my cash for more lenses. Plus, if I spent over $1000 for a tripod, I'd be less willing to throw it in the trunk of the car or drag it through the woods.
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#4 Herman

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 12:05 PM

Hey Everyone
I am in the market for a Carbon Fiber Tripod and would like the Forums view of their favorite. That said I am also wondering what preference head most people like as well.

Thanks
Gary


Gary, what lenses will you be using it with? For heavier lenses, I definitely recommend Gitzo with either a Wimerley Gimbal head or RRS B-55 ballhead.

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#5 Sgt Soldier Blue

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 03:36 PM

I have a Gitzo 3530 for use with larger lenses. (Kirk BH1 bullhead) A Gitzo 1541 that is much more compact and lighter when I need to carry a tripod on a long hike. (Kirk BH3 bullhead) I'm very happy with both tripods. I'm also happy with the Kirk ball heads. When I was doing all the research before I bought, I decided on the Kirk's because of the price. No problems with them.

#6 fotofill

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 05:38 PM

I know CF pods are lighter. And if you are carrying it on your shoulder on the Oregon Trail, being light is good. But, a tripod is supposed to be steady. I don't mind moving through the woods with an aluminum tripod. When it's set, it will be steady. I used to hang my camera bag on my pods for steadiness. If you have ever bumped a pod and moved it, you can identify with this.
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#7 Arlon

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 05:47 PM

I have several tripods/heads but seldom use any of them. When I do use one it depends on what I'm doing with it as to which one I pick up.. Last night it was an Induro C414 with a Manfrotto 405 head, nice setup but the whole rig weighs too much for hiking.
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#8 Black Pearl

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 05:55 PM

My tripod lives in the boot of the car and it's there if and when I need it, thats not to say I always bother when I should but I could. I've been through dozens of them - well I work in a photography shop so what do you expect - and have settled on a Manfrotto 055 Carbon with a Manfrotto ball & Socket head. They aren't cheap but they are by no means madly expensive, just good enough. I've had far more head than legs as these I feel need the most attention. I've tried all sorts of styles but keep coming back to a simple B&S one because it does what its supposed to - quickly alter the position of the camera then hold it solid.
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#9 Guest_photogbuff_1970_*

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:47 PM

Gary, I bought a 190XB standard tripod with RC2 ball-head and find it to be too light for some of the useage that I put it towards - I find it is unsteady when I put the 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII on it. In an year or two I'm going to upgrade up to a Gitzo GT5532LS carbon fibre tripod. The reason being that I shoot wildlife photography and I need something large, solid and steady for my long lens that I plan to acquire in the next year. All depends. You want stability and solidness especially if you are doing landscape photography as is stated in your interests. I would stay away from secondary manufacturers and stick with the big 2 (either Manfrotto or Gitzo). I'm not too familiar with any of the other brands to give an objective viewpoint.

Edited by photogbuff_1970, 03 March 2013 - 04:48 PM.


#10 ericbowles

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 11:42 AM

Thom Hogan has a great article about tripods and ballheads.  I agree with his suggestion that you are better off buying higher quality at first in order to save money in the long run.

http://www.dslrbodie...tripod-101.html

 

I think when it comes to priorities, a ballhead has little room for compromise or alternatives.  I've used a Really Right Stuff BH-55 for 10 years - and never second guessed it.  I like the lever style quick release - it's faster and allows top loading.  There are good alternatives like the BH-40, the Markins Q20 and Q10, heads from Arca Swiss and others.  You'll spend $325 to $425 for a quality head.

 

You'll need camera and possibly lens plates to mount your gear on the ballhead.  Try to limit the brands you use to insure compatibility. I really like using an L-bracket for my primary camera.  They are a little pricey, but really make it easy to change between horizontal and vertical orientation. 

 

When it comes to tripods you need to make a decision on your budget.  You can go cheap or go first class.  Going cheap means skipping carbon fiber in favor of metal alloy.  It also may mean a slightly lower quality tripod with the idea you will upgrade later.  The Manfrotto 055XPRO3 is a good choice.  I would not spend the money to upgrade to carbon fiber on this type tripod.  It's a 75% price premium to save just 1.1 pounds - and you still have an economy tripod.

 

Even in more expensive tripods, you can often save money by buying used or buying aluminum rather than CF.

 

If you can spend  little more, there are some nice tripods from Feisol and Induro.  I look for twist type leg locks, a 3 or 4 section tripod, and something with a weight capacity of 25 pounds or more.  The weak area in a tripod is the smallest leg section.  

 

The Gitzo 3542LS has been the standard for years - along with the predecessor 3541LS and 3540LS.  These are good tripods but some find them a bit overpriced.  I have a 3540LS but would not buy Gitzo again.  They have had some quality issues compared to alternatives.  Many of the components are cast alloy rather than the sturdier milled components of alternatives.  Cast hubs and leg sections are prone to fracture.  Replacement parts are expensive.  Still, the 3542LS gives you a good idea of the right kind of specs and leg locks for a quality tripod.

 

The top of the line in my book is the Really Right Stuff tripod lineup.  They are very well designed and worth the small premium over Gitzo.   

 


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#11 Gary Worrall

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 07:24 PM

Hi There

Eric has given you a perfect detailed post, pretty much everything you would want to ever know,

What we need to establish is what is going to be put on it,

For example, there is a big difference in requirements between these 2 set-ups

 

1. D80 and 18-55mm

2. D810 or D4s and 600mm


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#12 Arlon

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 08:12 PM

Didn't notice the original post was 5 years ago... 


Edited by Arlon, 19 July 2015 - 08:14 PM.

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#13 Gary Worrall

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 08:51 PM

Didn't notice the original post was 5 years ago... 

 

:lol: These old eyes should look a whole closer at the post


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#14 Ron W

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 07:50 AM

LOL, a timely post. I've done the same thing in the past. Still a good topic. It's Really Right Stuff for me, both the tripod and head, the head is a BH55 I believe, don't remember the model number of the tripod, but it supports the Nikkor 600 lens without straining.


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#15 james23p

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 12:05 PM

No worries Gary I've done that too! :P

Me its Markins ball heads and a Manfrotto 055XV but I would love a Gitzo carbon fiber series tripod.

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#16 Arlon

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 02:27 PM

I often stack mine, ball head on gear head. With the geared head I get precision if I need it like when I use a star tracker then I stick the ball on that when I need the flexibility. Brand doesn't much matter. 

large.jpg


D50, D90, D100 IR, D700, D800E and a bunch of old manual lenses..
D70 IR (stolen), D200 (stolen)




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