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Thread: Tripods / heads which one to buy

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    Tripods / heads which one to buy

    Tripods / heads which one to buy

    I am buying a Nikon D800 I will have a AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II as the biggest lens for now and next year I will get a 400mm or 500mm lens, so I want it to be able to handle that.

    I have a budget of around $700 for both tripod and head, but the more I look the more it looks like I will have to spend. I want one that will go to about eye level and I am not to concerned about the weight of the tripod and head with in reason, what combo do you have and would you recommend ?

    I was looking at the Gitzo GH2780FQR SER.2 SAFARI BALL HEAD QR at around $360, Gitzo GH3780 Series 3 Mag Centre Ball Head $415 and the Gitzo GH5380SQR Series 5 Systematic Ball Head Quick Release at around $440

    As for the tripod I was looking at the Induro CT213 CARBON 8X Tripod, best price I have seen was around $440.

    Any other recommendations more than welcome.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Personally I'm not a fan of the Gotzo ballheads.
    No real user experience with them, other than playing with them on the showroom floor. They didn't really inspire much confidence in their ability.

    if you are willing to spend up to $440 for a Gitzo, then I think the price of RRS's top range, which is similar, will be within your budget, but I think they are a lot more stable, and hence better value for money.
    Also from what I've read, Acratech and Markins also both produce ballheads of similar quality to the RRS range, and for approximately similar money.
    I preferred the sleeker, lower design of the RRS to the Acratech and Markins.
    But in saying all this, there's probably nothing really wrong with the Gitzo heads in actual use .. they just didn't feel as rigid as I thought they should be.

    I'm not 100% sure of the quality of this Induro tripod range, but the simple fact that it's carbon fibre is not always an indicator that it's going to be as strong or rigid as it's supposed to be!

    A while back Andrew and I were at the photographic show in Melb, and we wondered about the place looking at various things and bits.
    I more interested in hardware gear.. accessories and suchlike.. tripods, heads, loupes.. etc, Andrew more so in lighting and printing.
    We cam across a stand offering tripods and heads, all tripods on display were carbon, but they also had a range of aluminium versions too.
    But upon seeing a rather large(tall) and very sturdy looking tripod, with very thick leg tubes, I stopped and had to have a look. Price about $400-600 from memory, and it kind of looked very good on initial impression, until that was I made an effort to twist it whilst it was opened out.
    It flexed like a handful of overcooked spaghetti! All I did was to have it open and set up as though it was in use, no head nor any camera affixed, but I grabbed it as solidly as I could, and just twisted it around it's own axis, and it flexed badly. The upper plate was simply too flexible, whether this was due to under tightened leg tube bolts, or just plain flexible material used.
    But, my Gitzo, or even my Manfortto 055, which are all much more solid(and I'm really not a Manfrotto fan!!) compared to this 'no name' tripod from China .. you can just feel the difference in very basic movements.
    Apart from this upper plate, the rest of the tripod felt OK.. leg tubes felt solid and grips felt tight and sturdy too.
    It was simply the weak upper plate that holds it all together that let it down.

    I personally think, if you are looking to get a tripod and are open to the suggestion of spending just a tad over $1K, consider the Benro 4570 carbon legs, large sturdy legs that should stand up quite well with your current and future needs.
    Alternatively look for a series 5xxx Gitzo carbon legs on ebay. They can be had for just under 1K .. but my only fear of this would be that they are copies and not the genuine item(being on ebay).
    Only reason I say this, is that if you see a Benro and compare it to an equivalent Gitzo, they look for all intents and purposes the same. A few minor differences here and there, that an owner would easily spot, but I can imagine it to be easy for any Chinese manufacturer to produce the same looking items to fool any prospective Gitzo owners.


    For ballheads, I think you can't beat the RRS BH-55. It's massively sturdy, and with the current exchange rate, well priced. But if you plan of getting into 400-500mm territory I think you may want to invest in a gimbal head.
    Most long lens folks seem to prefer that method of long lens on tripod support.
    I don't have one, and even tho I have a 300/2.8 and use TC's with it, I still prefer the ballhead. I found the gimbal head setup interesting and 'understandable' in the way it operates .... but I'm just used to the ballhead style of operation.
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    Hi,
    Thanks for your reply It is exactly what I am after, being from Tassie there is not much of a selection to look at, you have to buy site unseen which makes it so hard, so I rely heavily on reviews.

    This link looks like the one you are talking about there isn't a lot of info on the net about them that I can find.

    http://www.digitalrev.com/product/be...570f/MTE5NTA_A

    Regards Peter

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    For the Benro legs I was referring too, THIS was the one I was thinking of.
    Basically the same thing other than the leg locking system.
    Having come from Manfrottos from years gone by and their flip lock leg locking system, I much prefer Gitzo's twist lock leg system.
    It's quicker to operate and also has a sleeker design where there are no protruding levers along the length of the leg tubes.
    But at least with Benro you seem to have the option of either/or.

    Note that these 4xxx series tripods are quite large and chunky compared to say a Manfrotto 055.
    The thicker the leg tubes tho, the more rigid or sturdy they are.

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    Thank for that, Apparently after reading more Benro and Induro are both owned by the same company: the Mac Group.

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    Well the tripod is on its way I ended up buying the next model up to the one you said ArthurKing http://www.photo-shop-studio.com/eng...+C%2DSeries%27
    and the head I brought the Benro B4 http://www.photo-shop-studio.com/eng...KS%2DSeries%27 it has a 40kg load rate.
    Thanks for all your help.
    Cheers Peter

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    good one flyreels!

    I'm sure you'll get good value from it.

    Now, I'm not too sure about Benro's ballheads, but I suspect that they provide good value for money if nothing else.

    My only few experiences with them have been that they provide a lot more stability and rigidity that equivalently priced Manfrotto ballheads.
    I suspect that the 64mm ball diameter will be more than sufficient in terms of strength and stability too.
    One other concern tho with the Benro ballheads is that I read somewhere that they don't conform the the 'common' Arca Swiss format.
    I'm slightly confused as to the the exact design specs of the Arca Swiss plate system, but I did some reading up about it before I committed, as part of my needs were that I wanted specific plates and plate types.

    So if I ordered an "Arca Swiss" plate from manufacturer A, than I wanted to be sure that they all fitted as they're supposed too.
    I read that Benro's safety locking system is incompatible with many other manufacturers plate systems,and that for the systems to be compatible, you had to remove the safety locks from the Benro plates, or something to that effect.
    Anyhow, it sounded too convoluted to stuff around and I went with the RRS ballhead and purchased all my other plates from a chap named Hejnar to be sure everything fitted and worked.

    If you ever find that you have trouble fitting any other supposedly Arca Swiss plates onto the Benro, look for Heyjnar's plates/clamps and other accessories if you're after specific needs, or give me a holler.
    He's not the cheapest, and he sits at the reasonably priced end of the price spectrum(about 25-50% cheaper than equivalent RRS gear!!) but the quality of his stuff is up there with the best.

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    "One other concern tho with the Benro ballheads is that I read somewhere that they don't conform the the 'common' Arca Swiss format"

    Hi thanks for that, I made sure that the one I got was but who knows, I guess I will find out soon. As far as I know Benro in that series of ball heads were a complete knock off of the Arca Swiss format.
    Cheers Peter
    Last edited by flyreels; 20-07-2012 at 4:54pm.

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    I bought the Benro C3580T with B3 head. The tripod is pretty impressive and I have no issues with it. The ballhead isn't bad but its not on a par with the decent ones I've encountered. That said, I use a gimble more than a ballhead so I didn't mind the purchase.

    The Benro gimble works pretty well if you want something to go with the 70-200. They are far more balanced for using with long lenses.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyreels View Post
    ".....I made sure that the one I got was but who knows, I guess I will find out soon. As far as I know Benro in that series of ball heads were a complete knock off of the Arca Swiss format.
    Cheers Peter
    There was once a site that listed compatibility between plates and clamps and any subtle discrepancies too, I know it still exists, but I'm having trouble finding it ATM.
    The mere fact that someone has bothered is amazing to begin with, but I remember as I was umming and ahhing over this and that point, this particular website helped me to make up my mind.,
    The more compatible compatibility between the established players is what swayed me towards the RRS in the end, and eventually I then stumbled upon this Heyjnar fella who makes his compatible plates and clamps as well.

    Once last point! Dump the Benro quick release plate, I can almost guarantee that it'll be pretty bad compared to a proper plate.
    A proper plate for one will NOT have any rubber, cork or other soft material that allows the camera to vibrate just that little bit more.
    A higher quality plate will be all steel(usually high quality alloy of some type).
    If you are going to get into Macro a lot, and will end up using the tripod ballhead a fair bit, I highly recommend that you invest in an L-Plate.
    I was going to spring for an RRS plate, as it's apparently a very well designed piece, but that was until I'd found the Heyjnar version.
    Not as well designed overall as the RRS model, but it's party trick is that it's a part time L-plate that has the ability to separate itself at your command!

    An L plate and a ballhead are a match made in heaven!!

    Also (again for macro) a long 10"(Yanks still use these old timer measurements!! ) sliding rail is handy for macro macros.
    (not so much for the girly cropped closeups ).

    I was almost ready to purchase a macro focusing rail myself a while back, but on a few reports, the RRS(and hence the Heyjnar) screw types have an annoying slackness in the work screw that can impede on working it. So be weary of just about any macro focusing rail and research the topic thoroughly before laying out any hard earned.

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