User Tag List

Thanks useful information Thanks useful information:  1
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Which tripod to buy for RRS BH55 and Wimbley Sidekick?

  1. #1
    Member kenlip's Avatar
    Join Date
    02 Aug 2011
    Location
    sydney
    Posts
    15
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Which tripod to buy for RRS BH55 and Wimbley Sidekick?

    I am looking to buy some decent, stable support for a D800 + 200-400 F/4 lens + 1.4x or 1.7x converter.

    One of the uses, although not exclusively, will be for bird photography.

    So far, my thoughts are to get the RRS BH55 head and a Wimbley Sidekick.

    I need a tripod to attach them to.

    A lot of mention is made about Gitzo. As I try to research the Gitzos I am getting increasingly confused. They use names for series of tripods such as 'Mountaineer', 'Explorer' and 'Safari' with no explanation on their website as to what the differences are between the various series. To complicate matters even more, they have series 0, 1, 2, etc. Then they combine them with, for example, Series 2 Mountaineers, Series 3 Mountaineers, Systematic Series 2 and Systematic Series 3, etc. What does it all mean?

    If the recommendation is to go with Gitzo, specifically which model should I be selecting?

    Any other options that might be better than the Gitzo?

    Any comments about the BH55 or Sidekick?

    BTW, I am very short, so I don't need a very tall tripod.

    Thanks
    Ken:

  2. #2
    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    07 Dec 2009
    Location
    Eastside
    Posts
    1,639
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The BH-55 is robust and a quality product like most RRS stuff. they also sell a line of their own branded tripods to suit, they are Gitzo, re-branded RRS price inflated (further).

    The Sidekick is a good performer, but not as versatile as a full Gimbal head, like the Wimberley WH-200II. I use the WH-200II for my 400/2.8VR and D4/D800 (somewhat heavier than your D800+200-400) with and without all 3 TC's and it is excellent, it balances very well and is very fluid.
    I shoot it on a Gitzo knock-off from Benro (who I believe make the tripods for Gitzo) and it is stable, well built and about 1/4 the price of a Gitzo.
    Look here: http://www.gitzo.com/photo-tripods

    You can see what they make and all the specs including the materials they are made of. I suggest a carbon fibre model for both rigidity, portability and durability. Gitzo is fantastic, but not cheap. That said, you won't be allergic to spending $$ if you already have a D800/200-400/4VR. The best rule for supports is buy quality gear, and buy once. Many people cringe when opening their wallets for expensive tripods/supports, so they buy inferior cheap crap, only to find they end up buying cheap crap of a different brand before finally biting the bullet and getting the good stuff in the end.
    Last edited by Wayne; 05-01-2013 at 5:46am.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    11 Oct 2010
    Location
    Bendigo
    Posts
    384
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Gitzo model numbers:
    G = gitzo
    The second letter (T, H, M) refers to tripod, monopod, head.
    The first number is the series number (1-5) this refers to the tubing size used on the legs.
    The second number is the material used, 5 is carbon fibre, 9 is basalt, 3 is aluminium.
    The third number refers to how many leg sections 3,4,5.
    The 4th number refers to the revision level, 2 is the latest revision. (1 has some issues with the base working loose, make sure you get the revision 2 to avoid buying extra parts).
    The letter(s) at the end EX = explorer, L = long, G = geared, LVL = levelling base, S = systematic, V = video.

    Systematic has no centre column for maximum stability, but the column is available as an add on.
    Mountaineer has a centre column.
    Explorer has a column and does some wierd angles.
    Ocean are an upgraded systematics using anti corrosion materials, (these start from about $2200 U$D).

    I believe the systematic range is the one to go for with your 400mm lens.

    Until recently I used a Manfrotto 055CXPRO. The manfrotto was good but I hated the centre column, it took way to long to configure the tripod to put the camera close to the ground. I replaced this with a Gitzo GT3532s, this is a much better tripod than the manfrotto (twice the price though), it is extremely rigid, and the build quality and attention to detail is excellent.

    I got mine from BH photo in the US, much better pricing than local suppliers.

    The only other ones I considered were the RRS tripods, which seem very similar to the gitzos. They are a bit bigger and more expensive but didn't really offer any advantage for my purposes (landscapes).

    This tripod number 7 for me, would have saved heaps if I'd bought this one first
    Last edited by hakka; 05-01-2013 at 5:56am.

  4. #4
    Member
    Threadstarter
    kenlip's Avatar
    Join Date
    02 Aug 2011
    Location
    sydney
    Posts
    15
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post

    The Sidekick is a good performer, but not as versatile as a full Gimbal head, like the Wimberley WH-200II.
    I realise the full gimbal head would be better than a Sidekick, but I am tending to thing the trade-off might be worth it for the ease of packing and transporting.


    The best rule for supports is buy quality gear, and buy once. Many people cringe when opening their wallets for expensive tripods/supports, so they buy inferior cheap crap, only to find they end up buying cheap crap of a different brand before finally biting the bullet and getting the good stuff in the end.
    I agree. That is why I am seeking opinions. I don't have unlimited funds but I am happy to spend a bit more for quality. I want make these purchases once only.


    Thanks for the feedback
    Ken

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by hakka View Post
    Gitzo model numbers: ........
    Hakka,
    Thanks for this info. If only Gitzo put it as clearly on their website.

    I think the GT3532S will be the one I'll go for.

    Ken

  5. #5
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    8,185
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My personal belief is that whilst the Gitzo's are good, they're not as great as everyone seems to think they are .. they're good .. that's it.

    For the money you are required to pay, I think a Benro is better value for money version.
    Their carbon legs are as good as the Gitzo legs.

    So for less money, you can get yourself a set of heavier duty Benro legs($600 for their top of the range legs), as opposed to a mid range(and hence much less sturdy) set of 3xxx series Gitzo legs.

    Knowing what I now know, I'd never get a set of Gitzos again for the (limited)mount of money I have to spend.

    In actual use, the Benro has a very slight advantage in set up.
    A seriously limiting design fault with the Gitzo legs, are the silly tabs that free the legs to alter the angle of each leg tube.
    Benro's answer is less painful in most situations.

    My Gitzo is now 4 years old, and I have on the odd occasion dipped it into salt water. Not much, possibly 10-20 times in 4 years(I'm less sea, and more land orientated person!)
    Each time the tripod has been cleaned pretty thoroughly, and in a few instances completely stripped to be cleaned to as new condition.
    The 'stainless steel' extension tube bolt/hook, had begun to corrode early on in the tripod life. It's not a rusting issue, and it doesn't look like it's going to fall to bits anytime soon, but to see spots of rust on such an apparent high quality item, is not good!

    That's not to say it's been a disappointment in terms of actual use. Overall the design(except for the leg tabs) is very good, ease of leg extension is about as good as it gets(but not the best).
    It's just that having been exposed to the cheaper alternatives, that most 'experts' dismiss simply because of the name of the company that manufactures them, has revealed a product that can be as good as the stuff that costs 3x as much!

    RRS also have their own tripod legs now, and apparently they're of a very high quality too. If the budget stretches to their price levels, I'd be inclined to go with their stuff now.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


  6. #6
    Member
    Threadstarter
    kenlip's Avatar
    Join Date
    02 Aug 2011
    Location
    sydney
    Posts
    15
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the useful information.

    I opted for a Gitzo GT3532S, Better Right Stuff BH-55 and a Wimberley Sidekick.

    I am very happy with these purchases.

    Now, I need to practice shooting birds!

    Ken

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •