View Full Version : Need help with tripod

05-02-2012, 2:45pm
I have a manfrotto 344B tripod which seems fairly sturdy but i dont like the head on it. I have a 7D and 100-400 lens and like to take bird pictures any sugestions would be welcome.

05-02-2012, 2:59pm
Benro B3 orB4 ...... can't remember which one is the larger model.
Very sturdy and well built, great value for money.

larger ballhead is obviously going to more solid and rigid... get the biggest one you can afford, or fit.

One of those will set you back just over $200 or so.

* sent from my S1080 using Firefox * :p

05-02-2012, 4:55pm
Acratech GP ballhead, solid as a rock, super light, doubles as a gimbal and as a pano levelling base.

Not cheap, but get what you pay for.

05-02-2012, 6:12pm
Thanks for the info guys :)

05-02-2012, 6:39pm
I mentioned a ballhead not a tripod, blame Ak, he mentioned ballheads first :D

Benro C258M8 great Gitzo knock off at about 1/3 or less the price.

05-02-2012, 7:58pm
+1 for the Acratech.

It'll take the weight of your set-up in a doddle, as I also have a 100-400, and I use it on my 60D, and even with a 2X converter on it, and a video light, it's about the only head I can manually focus with at full zoom without the camera shaking for 10 seconds after I take my hand away.

I've been through 4 or 5 different heads, but the Acratech GP is just amazing.
It is also the lightest weight head of all the REALLY good heads, so it's easy to cart around too.

05-02-2012, 9:08pm
Have a look in the Library.

There is more to getting the right tripod and head than someone saying "this works for me".

Matching the tripod to your height is the first step.

05-02-2012, 10:23pm
OK .. on subsequent reading, I'm now thinking that this 344B tripod has a fixed head or something? :confused013

Woking off Wayne's second reply, can we assume that you are now looking for a tripod and head?
The OP seems to be centred more towards a head than a tripod and head, as the implication is that the legs are OK, but the head seems inadequate.

If the head is fixed to the tripod legs, then the advice on getting just a ballhead is useless without adding tripod legs into the equation then, huh?(oops!)

Benro carbon fibre are good legs, although I'd go with the thicker legged 3 series ... that is either C-3580 or C3570 legs. The difference is the number of leg tubes they have, more leg tubes mean it's more compact, but less sturdy .. fewer leg tubes amount to better stability but a larger tripod which makes for less easy travelling.

For a Benro tripod and head weighting very little you're looking at approx $600-700.

What Kevin says about height can be important for some people(eg with bad back or other limitations) .. but I think one of the more important aspects of tripod height is more about how low it can be set too, rather than matching it to your own height.
Generally speaking photography from your own eye point of view is where it becomes 'more boring'(NOT boring .. just less interesting) compared to say from a lower or higher vantage point.
Many times, I've stood on the roof of my car with tripod setup trying to get an alternative perspective, and even more times, I've cursed in having opted for the tripod with a centre column that limits how low I can set it.

I know the Gitzos and I think the Benros can have their centre columns removed quite quickly and easily and used as a columnless type and yet still maintain a very sturdy footing and setup .. whereas all the other types I've seen that have this multiflexible design with off set columns and their multiple positioning ability are just not as solid by comparison.

I have two Manfrottos, and a Gitzo .. and my next tripod is almost certain to be a Benro C4570(being quite cheap) or an equally large Gitzo(very expensive) but with any centre column permanently removed.

06-02-2012, 9:08am
What Kevin says about height can be important for some people(eg with bad back or other limitations) .. but I think one of the more important aspects of tripod height is more about how low it can be set too, rather than matching it to your own height

Arthur, if the tripod is not high enough so that you can use it without stooping, and without it being extended as stability suffers, if you don't already have a crook back you are well on the way to getting one.

06-02-2012, 9:28am
Totally agree about the back conditions you describe Kevin.. with that I can't argue, as I sometimes get afflicted with all manner of back ailments myself(have done since about mid teens).

My point it tho, that there is a general consensus that in many photography situations that require the use of a tripod(eg landscpae) the point of view is important, and capturing the scene at eyepoint level is usually considered a 'boring perspective' .. unless something interesting is going on in the scene itself.

More often than not, my landscape scenes will be captured from a very low point of view if I can manage to do so. That is, no restrictions from clutter such as fencing rails etc....

If you do macro, there is a very high probability that you will be bent over to get close enough to the subject.

etc, etc ....

Also note with respect to tripod leg height too. If you are going to use your height as a critical point for deciding the right type, remember to subtract the height of the head and the eyepoint height of the camera too.

That is, if you are 180cm tall and the camera height to the vf is 10cm, and the height of the head is 20cm ... then a tripod leg height of 150cm with a centre column not extended should be sufficient.

NOTE: With a carbon fibre tripod, the use of a centre column in the raised position doesn't inhibit rigidity as much as it does on an aluminium tripod too.

06-02-2012, 2:36pm
I have just dismantled my tripod for the first time in 10 yrs and yes the head dose come off and with the 3 legs fully extended and the centre tube down the view finder is at my eye level so at this point in time i will just buy a ballhead and everything should be sweet. Thankyou so much everyone for all the detailed info cheers Darrin :D