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Thread: Tripod and Panning Head for landscapes

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    are you serious? Shelley's Avatar
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    Tripod and Panning Head for landscapes

    I am attending a weekend landscaping course soon and I have decided to upgrade my tripod. I am out to buy one specifically for landscapes - as I wish to get some when away this year and next year as well.

    I need a panning head to do some stitching of shots (going to be doing this on the course), it was recommended to carry weight of at least 4kg - the tripod needs to be sturdy. I will be climbing over rocks etc.

    I heard that calumet is a worth a look. Would appreciate some landscapers giving me some advice as to what to look for. I would spend maybe $300/400 on the tripod and then purchase a head. I might in the future put a different head on for a 500 lens, so it needs to carry some weight.

    What should I be looking at? I am really looking forward to getting some nice shots to put on the wall to please my other half of our favorite areas down Yallingup way, WA.

    Thanks in advance...
    Shelley
    (constructive criticism welcome)

    www.shelleypearsonphotography.com


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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser OzzieTraveller's Avatar
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    G'day Shelley

    I don't know that you 'have' to have a special head for landscapes [no pun intended] ~ I do lots of 'em with my ordinary ole Manfrotto. If I were doing commercial panos I maybe would chase up a pano head with nodal point centering under the lens, but for 'us average togs', I would expect that any regular tripod would be okay

    Mine has a std pan & tilt head which swings from side-to-side easily when loosened, thus I can do my 9-12shot panos with ease

    Hope this helps a bit
    Regards, Phil
    Of all the stuff in a busy photographers kitbag, the ability to see photographically is the most important
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    Quote Originally Posted by OzzieTraveller View Post
    G'day Shelley

    I don't know that you 'have' to have a special head for landscapes [no pun intended] ~ I do lots of 'em with my ordinary ole Manfrotto. If I were doing commercial panos I maybe would chase up a pano head with nodal point centering under the lens, but for 'us average togs', I would expect that any regular tripod would be okay

    Mine has a std pan & tilt head which swings from side-to-side easily when loosened, thus I can do my 9-12shot panos with ease

    Hope this helps a bit
    Regards, Phil
    Thanks Phil, I have no idea as I really don't have much in the way of support gear. With my birding I travel very light and move around a lot.

    I was basically quoting the requirements/suggestions of the course I was doing. I love landscapes and see so many stunning scapes when birding/travelling especially the light.
    Last edited by Shelley; 12-05-2012 at 9:19am.

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    Shelley,
    I agree with you that a tripod head that allows you to pan smoothly and more importantly "on a level Plane" is necessary if you want to get good panorama shots. If you are doing only single shot landscapes with a wide angle lens you can get good results with almost any tripod head.

    From what you have said I think you are looking for a specialized panorama head like the "Nodal Ninja 5" which can set you back about $400. The following link shows what I am referring to.
    http://www.ipanoramic.com.au/shop/nn...rter-pack.html

    If you are good with your hands or have a partner who is good with their hands you can make a "Panorama head" for just a couple of dollars. I made one that works and it cost me next to nothing. Attached are a couple of shots of my "Panorama Head" to show how easy they are to make.

    The following link gives a must see good explanation on how to setup and use a "Panorama Head" properly. I hope this is a help to you.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...LgReARxs#t=80s

    Front on
    DSC_0843.JPG

    From the side
    DSC_0844.JPG
    Cheers
    Darey

    Nikon user, Thick skinned and wanting to improve, genuine C & C welcomed.

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    Thanks Darey, appreciate you taking time to give all that information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelley View Post
    ..... I would spend maybe $300/400 on the tripod and then purchase a head. I might in the future put a different head on for a 500 lens, so it needs to carry some weight.

    What should I be looking at? I am really looking forward to getting some nice shots to put on the wall to please my other half of our favorite areas down Yallingup way, WA.

    Thanks in advance...
    Get it once and get it proper!!

    Carbon fibre Benro tripod ... 3 section (largish) tube construction. Larger is better, but only up to a point.

    I think the C3570 is the current model that best fits this description and is available quite reasonably priced.
    Of course the tucker tubed model, the C4570 is going to be better, and is about $100 more, but for your usage, may not be required.

    For a ballhead(if this is what you like to use) RRS BH-55

    It holds my 300/2.8 effortlessly and even with the two TC's mounted still provides a reasonably stable connection to the tripod.
    I'ts not yet 100% vibe free at lower shutter speeds, but at the moment I'm suspecting the smaller tripod legs I have may be the problem.
    (I have Gitzo 3510 with smaller leg tubes than the largest Benro tripod has, so one day I may get one of those 4570 series Benros to see if this helps).

    Having gone from an aluminium tripod to a CF tripod the weight difference is worth the extra expense. Makes it so much easier to walk with.

    Back onto the ballhead bits .. if you do go with an Arca Swiss type quick release system(which most of the high end heads will use), you can purchase some very neat sliding rails to allow you to capture panoramas more efficiently and effectively(using the nodal point system Phil mentioned).
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
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    Not everyone likes a ballhead only, and I am one of those as I don't feel comfortable using it in all the situations I tend to have a tripod for. I've recently moved to a 055 Photo-Movie with a Q5 manfrotto quick release as a way to get the flexibility I wanted. Im still testing out its features, but thus far I have found it a good solution for me as I like the panning features for panoramics and when I use HDSLR video (you can lock it to be only 2 axes in the movie mode with smooth panning and counterbalancing), while I also like the full ballhead features for some set shots and being able to secure the actual camera to the angles I want. I moved from the 804RC2 tilt head, which I found had issues with securing a heavier lens and body set. The head is quite sturdy though perhaps a little heavy. I have the head current only on my 190XB, though I will probably end up going to a Gitzo 2531/2541 leg set at some point to minimize the weight further for when I hike etc. In your case and for the support you are looking at Gitzo 3531 might be the sort of support you need if you are going to need serious heavy lens support. The only problem with the Gitzo's are the price, but they are going to last you an age. If weight is less of a problem then you can probably look at cheaper options. Heres a link to the head to have a look, there are quite a few videos out there having a look at it.
    http://www.manfrotto.com/055-magnesi...-quick-release
    Last edited by Xebadir; 13-05-2012 at 12:37pm.
    John
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    Thanks Arthur - given me something to research a little more, just had no idea what to look for. Thanks John - I did have a ball head - not overkeen on it.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xebadir View Post
    ..... In your case and for the support you are looking at Gitzo 3531 might be the sort of support you need if you are going to need serious heavy lens support. The only problem with the Gitzo's are the price, but they are going to last you an age. .....
    My bad on my last reply. My tripod is in fact a 3531(suffered a bout of dyslexia in my last reply! ) .. and don't believe everything you read about these uber products.

    I partly broke my tripod .. but it's still very much usable and serviceable and not terminal, but this idea that they last forever is a furphy!!

    I used to do some seascaping stuff and used to submerge the tripod to get a good vantage point, and the stainless steel hook provided at the base of the centre column is beginning to rust.
    Only surface rust at the moment, but once it gets in it stays in.

    I don't think they have any advantage in any way over the remarkably similar Benro's I've seen(hence my preference for a large thicker Benro next).

    John is right tho, the large-ish 3531 is probably about the minimum you'd want and they're pretty expensive as a Gitzo, and close to half that in a Benro.
    The similarities between a Benro tripod of the same material as a Gitzo, is pretty remarkable too!

    The only reason I would go with a Gitzo again over a Benro, is that the Gitzo can be had without a centre column, where a Benro can't be(that I know of).
    My other alternative is a Feisol carbon tripod without centre column.

    But these are all a way off, as I have enough tripods and heads to last me for a while .. other things to get first.


    If I could go back now and do it all again with the products currently available, it'd be(for less than $1K in total) Benro 4570 tripod and RRS BH-55 with the few plates and clamps(like an L bracket for the camera!!) that all make it nicer/easier to frame and compose your shot.

    tripod from Benro
    head from RRS
    accessory plates and clamps from HejnarPhoto


  10. #10
    Ausphotography Regular knumbnutz's Avatar
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    Hi Shelley,
    I have been to China a couple of times and each time I buy a tripod from one of the camera superstores in Shanghai.
    I bought the biggest in 2008 and still use it. Quality is same as Benro or Manfrotto and it cost $100AU.
    One thing I will say is get the biggest you can comfortably carry because you dont have to make it tall but it is good to have the extra reach when needed.
    For instance if you are in a creek you can stand on a rock while the extra reach allows the tripod to stay down in the water or as I have used mine to get over the tops of people as it extends to 2.2mtrs high.
    Things to check-
    1. height - fully extended but without the centre column up.
    2. Height - fully extended with the centre column up
    3. Height - fully closed down (carrying size)
    4. lowest working height
    5. Weight
    6. Carrying weight
    7. Sturdiness - check by fully extending the tripod then twisting the top plate where the head mounts to, to see how resistant it is to flexing and twisting
    8. Accessories - like a pull out arm that extends at a right angle to the tripod head - can be good in some situations. Clip locks or spin locks on the legs. Spikes or rubber feet. 4 or 3 leg sections
    9. Tripod head. Quick lock Ball head, pano head, gimble pano head, video cam type head (long adjusting rods). Large Quick release plates.
    10. Price.
    Above all, match the head and tripod up properly, because there its no good getting a decent tripod then sticking a crap head on it or vice versa. I bought some quick lock ball heads with large quick release plates and they work brilliantly going from sloppy to lock in just 1/4turn of the locking nut and they are easy to nip up while looking through the camera. I also have a pano ball head which is slightly more cumbersome to lock up requiring lots of turning of the locking screw but the pano head is really well dampened and makes panning smooth.

    Here is a pic of the tripod, which is is not huge against the smaller one in pack down size, but the smaller one had trouble trouble keeping my 50-500 locked up and only gets to 160cm fully extended (including centre pole).
    The bigger one locks all my lens combos up easily (like 120-300f2.8+2xTC and D700+grip = 4-5kg) plus it reaches 2.2mtrs (2.3mtrs at the eyepiece) and it only weighes 2.5kgs.


    I hope that helps.
    Cheers Neil
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    Carbon Fibre tripods are defintely the way to go.
    Not only do they weigh less than metal tripods, but they are also less prone to vibrations.
    I use a small Benro travel angel C/F tripod with an Acratech head, and it easily copes with my 60D, 100-400L lens and extender, yet the tridpod and head weigh less than 2kg, which makes it really easy to carry around.
    When I use this set-up on my heavy Vanguard aluminium tripod, the thing shakes a lot, espeically when focussing the lens, yet with the Benro, as soon as I take my hand off the lens, the tripod steadies almost immediately.
    The Benro is very reasonably prices for what you get and the build quality seems to be very good.
    The Acratech head is expensive at around $400, but it is very good for panoramas as it it is also a levelling head and is very light and very sturdy and will last a life time (it comes with a life-time warranty too).
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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    Thank you, I have read all the replies. I really appreciate the in-detail information everyone has generously given, so thank you again.

    I hate rushing out and buying something which I have no idea of what to get. I know way to much about cameras and lens equipment, but not this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darey View Post
    Shelley,
    I agree with you that a tripod head that allows you to pan smoothly and more importantly "on a level Plane" is necessary if you want to get good panorama shots. If you are doing only single shot landscapes with a wide angle lens you can get good results with almost any tripod head.

    From what you have said I think you are looking for a specialized panorama head like the "Nodal Ninja 5" which can set you back about $400. The following link shows what I am referring to.
    http://www.ipanoramic.com.au/shop/nn...rter-pack.html

    If you are good with your hands or have a partner who is good with their hands you can make a "Panorama head" for just a couple of dollars. I made one that works and it cost me next to nothing. Attached are a couple of shots of my "Panorama Head" to show how easy they are to make.

    The following link gives a must see good explanation on how to setup and use a "Panorama Head" properly. I hope this is a help to you.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...LgReARxs#t=80s

    Front on
    DSC_0843.JPG

    From the side
    DSC_0844.JPG
    Darey, I too would like to thank you for your links as now I understand the adjustments required in this type of set up for pano shots.

    David.
    Canon EOS 40D : Canon EF 24mm f2.8 : Tamron Di11 SP AF 17-50mm f2.8 XR LD : Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS USM : Canon 400mm f/5.6L USM : Sigma APO 120-400 DG OS HSM : Tamron - F AF 1.4x Teleconverter.

    Images - http://www.pbase.com/rangeviewobservatory

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    Member rookie's Avatar
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    Hi Darey if possible would you have the measurements for your pano bracket.Id like to make one myself.

    Front on
    DSC_0843.JPG

    From the side
    DSC_0844.JPG[/QUOTE]
    Wayne

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    Rookie,

    I hope the following information helps.

    PanoHead.jpg

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    Thanks mate thats perfect

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