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Thread: Tripods - what should I get?

  1. #1
    Photo Bizarro nimrodisease's Avatar
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    Tripods - what should I get?

    So, my tripod packed it in last week and I'm in the market for a new one. When I bought my last one, it was before I got more interested in photography and I wasn't very picky about what I wanted. I had an 'inca i531' if anyone knows what that is.

    This time around I'm looking for something hopefully a bit more precise and a bit more stable. However, having had a bit of a look around, I am absolutely stumped at the wide array of things to choose from. Does anyone have ANY suggestions of a good place to start looking?

    I'm looking in the price range of preferably under $300 - the cheaper the better.
    I do intend to travel with it and carry it on a backpack.
    My last tripod weighed 1.6kg, and the weight was not a big concern for me. I don't think I'd want to go too much heavier though.
    My name is John.
    www.jrfraser.com



  2. #2
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    Can’t make a recommendation as I’m not familiar with the current models available, but the questions I would ask myself would be along the lines of:

    How many leg sections: 3 or 4?
    Material: Carbon Fibre or Aluminium?
    Centre column or not?
    Maximum height with/without centre column extended?
    Minimum height for e.g. ground shooting, macro’s etc.
    Type of quick release: proprietary or universal such as Swiss Arca dovetail style.
    Length when collapsed.
    Do I require a rapid set up, i.e. quick, easy to operate, reliable leg locks.
    Do I want the legs to be independently set at different angles for uneven terrain?
    Colour: black stealth or shiny metal?
    3/8” or ΒΌ” stud for head?
    Weight limitations.
    Spare parts availability?
    Maximum focal length used: e.g. 200mm, 400mm, etc.
    Type of head to be used: ball head, pan and tilt head, video head, etc.
    Will it be subjected to rain, sand, mud etc? If so, it will require good leg seals.

    Good luck!

    Cheers

    Dennis

  3. #3
    Ausphotography Regular Allie's Avatar
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    I am not experienced enough to give you a recommendation but I also have an inca but I've never used it and currently have a Manfrotto monopod and a Velbon Sherpa 250R as it was the right price at the time (shop stock and highly discounted) and rated to carry the lenses I now own. But it is heavier than I would like to carry if I was to take it anywhere on a backpack - but then I'm not tall and I'm realising I'm getting older every minute and don't want to spend my time carrying too much extra stuff. I think the checklist Dennis has given you is similar to the criteria I was looking at but then got swayed by the price. Best wishes finding what you need.

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    Hi John Just received my Christmas present today, (I've got new gear) my first real tripod a Manfrotto 055XPROB.
    I'm not sure that it is the technically best tripod but I looked at it from the point that the price I got it for & with no freight add was quite reasonable. I would have liked the C/fibre model but was out of my price range but as I'm not going to be doing long hiking shoots it should be more than adequate for my situations. I also have a Manfrotto Mono with a tilt head which is the only head I have at the moment as I have not decided which head to get for the tripod

    At the moment I am mainly concentrating on birds (feathered type) & would like to try landscapes. I chose the 055 Man. mainly due to availability & price & the extra height allows me to use it with only having to extend the centre post a minimal amount & minimizing any extra movement and the removing & repositioning of the post makes it that much more versatile. So not sure if this helps but good luck at choosing and there are members who nhave tried other brands who will be able to give extra info on them. Sorry I haven't posted any shots yet just found out Flicker is free I thought it had a small cost attached so will have to get signed on and work out how to get some shots posted.

    Cheers,

    Milton

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    I've also got the Manfrotto 055 (AL). It's great and tall enough with a head to reach my eye level without requiring the centre column to be extended (I'm ~175cm), so I actually did a modification and sawed off most of the centre column.. tad lighter and now my fingers don't get pinched when I collapse it and I can finally lay it dead flat at like 5cm off the ground (centre column prohibited this)..I got the legs and 496 ball head for $270 (or there abouts) from B&H.

    My suggestion is to get the most expensive tripod you can afford. Don't skimp on it, consider future gear (e.g. my heaviest setup will be 4-5kg). The 'triangle' decision making concept is helpful - cheap, lightweight, sturdy. Choose two. If I were to buy again, I'd probably go carbon fibre... I recently got a Benro carbon fibre monopod and I love it... CF is nice and warm too.. $500 will get you very good CF legs + arca swiss head.. maybe even a built in monopod and you won't have to buy another tripod system for many many years.
    Cheers, Troy

    D800; AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G; AF-S 50mm 1.8G; SB-910; || 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM 'S'; APO Teleconverter 2x DG || Phantom 2; H32D Gimbal; 5.8Ghz FPV LCD GS

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