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Tripod Suggestions

Posts: 1245

Re: Tripod Suggestions: you don't say what you plan

Post Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:57 pm

to use it for, except to occasionally (?) put up to a 300mm lens on it. The only time I use a tripod is when I'm doing landscape, portrait, or macro photos (a Gitzo CF1348 or metal 2220 and a RRS BH-55). When I mount a long lens I use a monopod with extending legs and a Really Right Stuff BH-25 head, which is much more flexible to move with whatever bird, etc, I'm photographing. Occasionally I put the CF tripod and BH-55 together with a Wimberly sidekick for a stationary photo session (ducks, bears, etc.) So, if you work that way, you really need two setups. My setup is probably strange because I rarely use the big ball head except when I'm dangling a big macro lens off it.
As for what you can do for a tripod and head for under $300, you'll need to buy something used. Try or for used stuff.

deluca wrote:Looking for a tripod and head under $300. I'm not sure if I should go with a ball head or a tilt head or something with levels on it. I just need a good recommendation on the best tripod under $300. I'll be using a D80 with something up to a 300mm zoom on it.

Mary in SW Florida

Posts: 924

Re: Tripod Suggestions

Post Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:22 pm

doady wrote:
prinothcat wrote:True, but comparing apples and apples, in this case Aluminum alloy tripods I bet those that are built with more material, hence heavier, are going to be more stable. Regardless of whether or not the hold that same load or not.

I have an idea, why don;t you go out and side by side all these tripods and report back to the class and then we will bow to your position of knowingness.

Again, all tripod legs and all heads have a weight capacity according the manufacturer. I am simply saying we should trust that, not my "knowingness" or their weight. Unless you are professionally involved in the field of tripod design and construction and can refute the info provided by the manufacturers themselves, you shouldn't be talking.

Yeah he should. There can often be a difference between what something is rated for, and how it performs within those ratings. To give you a f'rinstance, my 460MG head is rated to 3kg. I was doing some long exposure shots not long after I got it (using a camera / lens combination which was well within that limit), but when I went to look at the shots in PhotoShop they were as blurry as all getout. I figured out why... the head drifted down slightly (barely perceptibly unless you're doing 15 or 30 second exposures) under its (within design limits) load. You can usually get around this by cinching the knobs down so tightly that they're almost impossible to move again (the effect that this will have on the head's longevity remains to be seen), but I'm still not sure that I'd trust it for anything critical, particularly when it's flipped into portrait mode.

So you're right in that the specs say it'll hold 3kg, and it DOES hold (up to) 3kg... but prinothcat is ALSO right in saying that another important factor is how WELL it holds that 3kg, and that's something that's better discovered from users with first hand experience of the equipment rather than from the specs.

bbmphoto wrote:What I liked with the Manfrotto 190 series
- Flip Lever for quickly extending or folding up the legs.
- Cushion pads on legs. Great for cold weather and gripping (not on Carbon Fiber models)
- 3 extensions on the legs is faster and taller than 4 extensions, However for travel 4 legs is more compact that 3 extensions.
- Name and reliability.

There are really at least two sub-families of the 190 series; I think the ones that you're referring to (mostly) here are the 190MF members. (The XProB and XB are both 3 extensions designs.) I considered the MF's when I was looking for a new tripod recently.

As you alluded to, the other difference between the 3 and 4 extension 190MFs is in maximum height; the 4 extension model (190MF4) saves you 10cm of closed height over its 3 segment (190MF3) brother (46cm vs 56cm), but equally you lose 11cm in maximum height (131cm vs 142cm, and obviously that's not all necessarily usable depending on the shooting conditions). I really liked the weight of the MFs, but in the end I couldn't justify the cost for such a small weight gain over the 190XProB (1.6kg vs 1.8kg). In addition to which, the 190XProB gave me a better height range. (146cm maximum, or without extending the centre column, 122cm vs 114.5 (190MF3) or 113.5 (190MF4).) The closed height of the 190XProB is only 1cm more than the MF3.

doady wrote:This is the tripod I bought very recently: the 190XPROB. IMO,the real selling point of this tripod is the horizontal centre column, which, combined with the legs ability for low position, is great for macro. I wanted a lightweight and compact tripod as well, but I figure I can keep my current tripod as well when I need it, instead of spending an extra $150 or so dollars. The 190 isn't THAT heavy anyways, not like the 055.

Sounds like you went down a similar path to me. My original tripod was (and still is) an 055DB, one of the biggest, baddest (in a good way) tripods in the range, but it's a hulking 61cm closed and 2.2kg without a head. I use it if I'm indoors and want to utilise its great height range, or I'm outdoors and I know that I need extra stability, but it's really too big for an overseas trip. That's why I went for a lighter model and settled on the same one as you. (I've used the horizontal centre column a couple of times, but it wasn't a selling point for me; height and weight were, together with the leg clips which are faster than the screws on the 055.) The 055DB is paired with a hulking great 3 way head whose model number I can no longer recall, so I wanted a light head as well for the 190XProB and settled on the 460MG. It IS light and compact, I'll give it that. But those are about its only redeeming features, and if I had my time over I'd probably choose differently (in relation to the head; the tripod is great). I'm not sure what though.

Posts: 29
Location: Bangkok, Shanghai

Re: Tripod Suggestions

Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:49 am

Unlike digital cameras today, a good tripod does not really goes out of date, it is a tool that you need to spend many time with and operating it becomes a second nature. Get a good one, as an investment for good quality of image, and don't change it for the next 10 years or longer. it you have such determination in mind, the choice is not that many in the market, go get a good one, and a good ball head, and go shooting pictures.


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