User Tag List

Thanks useful information Thanks useful information:  7
Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Tripods - recommendations, pros and cons?

  1. #1
    Member *~Min~*'s Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Feb 2008
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    130
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Tripods - recommendations, pros and cons?

    Hi everyone,

    Sorry if this is repetitive, but I'm finding it difficult to piece together the different information. I'm looking at purchasing my first tripod and want to get something of quality (if this means I'll need to save for a while then so be it). So I just wanted to know what brands people recommend? Or what you currently own and the pros and cons that you've come across?

    I have quite a broad interest in photography at the moment - landscape, portrait, macro. The guide to buying tripods was very helpful, I just need some personal experiences/preferences to send me in the right direction. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    - Min

  2. #2
    It's all about the Light!
    Tech Admin
    Kym's Avatar
    Join Date
    15 Jun 2008
    Location
    Modbury, Adelaide
    Posts
    9,639
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The best value sturdy is probably Benro.
    You get to pick at most 2 of the following 3 - Light, Low cost, Sturdy.
    Our site sponsor eGlobal stock them.

    Ideally goto a shop and try it before you buy.

    Manfrotto aren't to bad, and Gitzo are one of the best.

    Above all avoid flimsy cheap items as they wont do the main job of avoiding camera shake
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
    Digital & film, Bits of glass covering 10mm to 500mm, and other stuff



  3. #3
    Member
    Threadstarter
    *~Min~*'s Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Feb 2008
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    130
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks Kym. I guess I'll try to resist buying for now so I can purchase something decent. I'm thinking light and sturdy would be my qualities of choice so better start saving! The more I learn about photography the more I want to buy it seems.

  4. #4
    Ausphotography Regular jjphoto's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Apr 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    551
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It's a good idea to go to a few shops that stock a range of different tripods so you can see what's out there and maybe find something that suits your needs the best. There is no single tripod that will do everything so consider the possibility that you might have one light tripod for travel and possibly another much more sturdy tripod for times when weight is less of an issue. Most people overlook the importance of a rigid tripod when trying to get maximum sharpness or resolution from their equipment, although there's more to it than just using a good tripod. But a flimsy tripod is a waste of time and money.

    The Manfrotto 055 range is a good compromise although it's still a bit on the heavy side. As long as you're not planning to use it for hiking I would suggest something of that kind of size/rigidity as a general purpose tripod. I'm not convinced that CF, or similar, tripods are worth the extra cost but each to his/her own. I have a small Manfrotto 190, a couple of 055's and a very large (and very heavy) Gitzo aluminium tripod. Each has it's uses and they all see the light of day on a regular basis.

    I've not used brands other than Gitzo or Manfrotto so I can't comment on the quality of other brands. The Gitzo and Manfrottos are made to be abused and to last and are worth the money, IMHO.

    Tripod heads are all interchangeable so also consider the head seperately to the tripod. You can use different heads as needed too.
    Last edited by jjphoto; 15-03-2013 at 9:53pm.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    06 Jul 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    420
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I had a Manfrotto and found it very sturdy and steady, but a little too heavy and bulky for travelling.
    I replaced it with a light weight carbon fibre Feisol Traveller which collapses conveniently for packing and cost less than the Manfrotto even with postage from the US.
    I wouldn't swap it. It suits all my needs from landscape to macro and is much lighter to carry.
    Last edited by Avalon; 15-03-2013 at 9:55pm.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    19 Aug 2010
    Location
    NSW
    Posts
    628
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Althought my tripod experience is limited I can speak for the one I have to just give you an idea when sifting tthrough the many 100s of types like I did.
    I have an induro tripod (ct213), 3 sections, carbon fibre, can hold 12kg apparently. Its on the cheaper end for cf tripods, I dont think it is a well made as gitzo which is 2x the price.

    The legs seem quite good, everything is ok with the tripod, I also have put a giant ball head ontop of it and basically negated the weight saving of cf. Luckily I do not hike with this tripod much.

    Why did I go for this tripod? Although I did want an upgrade from my $100 aluminium tripod whichw as getting on in life, I cannot justify an $800 tripod, and I did read quite a few negative reviews about the cheaper tripods that are starting to use cf. I decided to go inbetween, the one i bought was $370~ from the usa.
    1DIII, 5DII, 15mm fish, 24mm ts-e, 35L,135L,200L,400L,mpe-65mm
    Film: eos 300, pentax 6x7

  7. #7
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    7,744
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The main point to take into consideration is what are you willing to travel with as a maximum tripod size.

    Some folks prefer the smallest lightest tripods, and even tho they are a highly respected brand(for example Gitzo), that same tripod may be completely useless for other photography purposes.

    I have a Manfrotto 458 neotech as my preferred landscape tripod simply because it's the easiest tripod to setup quickly. Pull each leg out and your set up. At a minimum the tripod takes 1/3rd of the time to setup compared to other tripods, but the reality is that it usually takes about 1/10th of the time to setup .. taking uneven ground into consideration. But the downside is that it's heavy compared to most other tripods(even other aluminium types) .. reason is that it uses hydraulics.

    So due to this, I have multiple tripods my main one being a Gitzo 3135 carbon tripod that is a lot more sturdy, but takes a minute or two longer to setup than the Neotech tripod.
    I also have a Manfrotto 055 which I basically use very rarely, but only as a light stand. It's not as stable as the carbon Gitzo, and takes longer to set up even compared to the Gitzo .. let alone the Neotech.

    But also not that there is no point spending a heap on a high quality head, if the legs are spindly as spaghetti, and vise-versa. Match the two items as closely as you can so that you're not wasting money on one of the items.

    If you want us to help you with recommendations, then you need to provide us with a minimum requirement and maximum financial outlay.

    That is, what's your longest/largest lens .. and how much are you willing to spend(and possibly update in the future).

    Note that magnification of the lens is an important consideration in determining some of your minimum requirements.

    So if you have a true macro lens, and it's set to 1:1 for true macro photography, then this lens will require a more rigid support than say a 300mm lens focused to infinity.... also shutter speeds have a major bearing on how good your tripod should really be.

    To start off with, I think approximately $600-800 would be a good price range for a single tripod that does most things well .. being made of carbon fibre for low weight and high rigidity.
    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


  8. #8
    Member dodgyexposure's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 Jul 2012
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    18
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    *removed - read the site rules 3-7*
    Last edited by ricktas; 05-04-2013 at 8:34am.

  9. #9
    Member
    Threadstarter
    *~Min~*'s Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Feb 2008
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    130
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thank you so much for all this advice! It has given me a lot to think about.

    arthurking83 - I very much believe in buying something of quality straight up (so I will put aside money until I can afford it). Your recommended price range would be something I would be willing to pay. As for the further considerations, I also would need something to take on a heavier lens, for when I can afford to expand my lens collection. This would need to account for possibly a true macro lens as mentioned. My main focus at the moment would be landscape though - I have the Canon EFS 15-85mm lens so that is sufficient for landscape photography at my level. I really do want a tripod that can last through changes in my collection and types of photography.

    Next chance I go to the city I will start testing some out and doing further research. Once again, thanks everyone for the replies! Massive help!

  10. #10
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    7,744
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Benro C3570(3 leg) or C3580(4 leg) tripod and Benro B-3 ballhead(if you like ballheads, that is).

    My preference for 99.9% of situations are for ballheads .. they're easier and quicker to manipulate than 3 way heads. But in some instances a 3 way head can be more useful.

    A selection of those items (to your preference) would cost you about $$580(max) .. or less.

    Lightweight with the use of carbon for the legs, and sturdy enough for almost all foreseeable situations.

    If you don't mind spending more money for even more sturdiness(I can't imagine many situations why you'd need this tho) .. if you could muster up the money for a C4570 and B-4 ballhead , they'd set you back about $680 or so.

    Check some local suppliers and on ebay for pricing. Those items would be major overkill for you right now, but it would take you years to out grow their ability.

    In some ways I agree with Thom Hogan's summary of spending the money once and for all, and not waste money on cheaper tripods/heads that you will outgrow quicker .. but at the same time those cheaper tripod/heads also have their uses anyhow.
    I use my cheaper tripod for holding up flashes or other stuff.

  11. #11
    Sir Rattus79 - The Proclaimant
    Join Date
    15 Jul 2010
    Location
    Forest Lake
    Posts
    1,948
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I tend to agree with the King on this one. (being the loyal servant that I am and all!)

    Spend the $$ once and do it properly. Good quality equipment will hold it's value, so even if you do move onto another hobby and decide to sell off your gear, it will still be worth a few bucks. Cheap Chinese stuff will not.

    The problem with this mentality is that photographic equipment can be rediculously expensive.

    My heavy pod is a Seagul - it's a Manfrotto knockoff imported by Photo Continental with a 3 way head. Although the pod is good and study, the head is starting to go and allows some lateral movement. I now have to pay more attention to what I'm doing to avoid that movement. So now I will need to go out and get another head or pod and spend all that $$ all over again (From memory I dropped $150 on it) where the quality Manfrotto would still be going hard.

    The problem with this mentality is that photographic equipment can be rediculously expensive.
    Greg Bartle,
    I have a Pentax and I'm not afraid to use it.
    Pentax K5
    Sigma 10-20 | Tamron 17-50 F:2.8 | Sigma 50 F:1.4 | Sigma 70-200 F:2.8 Plus a bunch of Ye Olde lenses


    Would you like to see more?
    http://flickr.com/photosbygreg

  12. #12
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    7,744
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus79 View Post
    ...... (From memory I dropped $150 on it) where the quality Manfrotto would still be going hard.

    .....
    Over the years I've expressed my 'non conformist' opinions on Manfortto gear. Not all, and I have 4 items from their product range, and my least liked(read: despised) product is the 488 series ballheads.

    A seemingly sturdy looking ballhead that is prone to wearing out parts of the aluminium casing, so that when you try to lock it down, it moves on you.

    I also have a 486 ballhead that took a bit of fixing to get it to work properly(again the reframing on lock down) ... so Manfrotto gear is not as hard going as many would lead you to believe!

    of course there are folks that have had much more luck than I have with Manfrotto, and it's most surely a condition of their usage or something like that.
    But in my opinion, the quality of materials used in Manfrotto gear is somewhat lacking.

  13. #13
    Fuji Fanatic
    Join Date
    20 Mar 2008
    Location
    Glenorchy
    Posts
    4,040
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Whatever you decide on, spend as much as you can afford - push the budget - quality does NOT come cheap.
    Odille

    “Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky”

    My Blog | Canon 1DsMkII | 60D | Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AF AT-X PRO | EF50mm f/1.8| Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM | Fujifilm X-T1 & X-M1 | Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XC 50-230mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4R LM OIS | tripods, flashes, filters etc ||

  14. #14
    Ausphotography Regular jjphoto's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Apr 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    551
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Over the years I've expressed my 'non conformist' opinions on Manfortto gear. Not all, and I have 4 items from their product range, and my least liked(read: despised) product is the 488 series ballheads.
    ...
    That doesn't sound very rational to me (words like 'despised'). I've had a hell of a lot more than 4 Manfrotto items over the years, and have had very little trouble with them. Although I don't 'despise' the 488's I've had one of these wear out too (the ball cracked), however, I use a couple of 488's regularly (ie for work) and find them to be an excellent light weight yet sturdy head.

    I have no reason to 'defend' Manfrotto but I don't see any reason to attack the stuff either. It's well made and not too expensive so I don't really see the issue. The Avenger gear is the lighting arm of Manfrotto and is fairly commonly used in the cine world and it's not cheap, crap gear as is being implied. If you want the 'best' (whatever that is) then you will find it elsewhere but you will also have to pay much more for it.
    Last edited by jjphoto; 22-03-2013 at 7:13am.

  15. #15
    Member Unbound's Avatar
    Join Date
    20 Mar 2013
    Location
    Wollongong
    Posts
    54
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Consider you local climate, too. I bought a Manfrotto MT293A3) a few months back - my first tripod. I weighs about 1.5 kg - but is no match for the nor' easter which is a fact of daily life on the east coast. I thought 'light weight' = easy to carry. Now I know it also means 'moves easily in the breeze' which defeats the purpose of putting a camera on it. ...

  16. #16
    Sir Rattus79 - The Proclaimant
    Join Date
    15 Jul 2010
    Location
    Forest Lake
    Posts
    1,948
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Unbound View Post
    Consider you local climate, too. I bought a Manfrotto MT293A3) a few months back - my first tripod. I weighs about 1.5 kg - but is no match for the nor' easter which is a fact of daily life on the east coast. I thought 'light weight' = easy to carry. Now I know it also means 'moves easily in the breeze' which defeats the purpose of putting a camera on it. ...
    What you want then is a sandbag. You hang one from the centre collum and fill it with rocks/sand/whatever's lying around that's heavy. This will help to stabilise your pod somewhat.

    Over the years I've expressed my 'non conformist' opinions on Manfortto gear.
    The manfrotto gear that I have, have both come to me via the junk shop (one of them even had a 501 video head on it for $1) both are not without their quirks. One I will not use for anything other then hiking as it's a cheap light-weight job, and the other is dedicated to panoramas now. The pano setup, has one bum leg (the lock pin is ceased) and the other can only just hold the wight of the DSLR with an 18-50 2.8 on it. Don't even think about portrait orientation!

    So, I also have a bit of a non-conforming attitude. If I was to buy another tomorrow, I'd look closely at the Gitzo and the Benro Ranges. I'd also look to get one of those joystick styled trigger heads. Any one have any thoughts about them? I've only ever played with them in a shop.

  17. #17
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    7,744
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jjphoto View Post
    That doesn't sound very rational to me .......

    I suppose despised is a relatively strong manner to describe my thoughts on this particular ballhead .. but I'll explain why too.

    A few years back I was looking to get a decent tripod setup, and I read this about that product and that about this product, and going by reading opinions based on supposed knowledgeable folk.

    One piece I came across was a derisive article about an early Benro ballhead. Can't remember which, as it was over 5 years ago now. One of the brands I was interested in was this (then completely unknown) Benro brand .. but being from China, I was skeptical.
    This chap stripped down his lightly used Benro head and had found that with his minimal use the aluminium material was soft to the point that any lockdown knob, was wearing small divets into the material, therefore making the ballhead hard to seciure accurately (ie. within a specific framing setup).

    I persevered with the 488 for a good few years myself but had similar issues, thinking it was more due to something I wasn't doing right.
    I replaced the 488 with the larger 468 head and while the 468 was better, it wasn't by much .. or as much as I expected it to be.

    So one day I stripped them both down, and found that all the larger 468 required to be a lot more usable was to clean the lubricant from the ball(lots of WD40), and it became almost 100% perfect in terms of accuracy during lockdown ... ie. not enough movement to warrant any more stress.

    The 488 on the other hand had a series of divets scored into the recess along the base that sets the panning lock.
    In many positions, I couldn't accurately lock down the panning feature, as it would move too far from where the framing is required. The work around for this was such that the ball needed to be rotated to a different position, with the hope that the panning lock was going to mate to a non scored section of the baseplate. Basically it was a lottery and sometimes require multiple attempts to get it down pat.

    I realise that many folks here have and use a 488 head successfully, but this was my experience with these two products. The 468 ballhead I'd recommend to anyone looking for a capable ballhead, with the caveat that they may need to clean it up a little. But the 488, as JJ has found is prone to failure in some way ... eventually!
    I don't think it's available as a new product anyhow .. being replaced with a 490ish model or something anyhow.

    I've never been one to base my purchases on resale value in any way, so I'd prefer a much cheaper Chinese knockoff product with the probability that it may fail at some point in time, rather than the idea that you pay for a name brand ... which eventually end up going the way of the Chinese knockoff anyhow!

    From memory the Benro would have cost me less than $50, whereas the 488 cost something like $150(can't really remember exactly, but they weren't all that cheap). That 488 was money I'd prefer to not have spent had I known what I now know .. and even though I knew the Benro would have eventually failed, I'd still have purchased that.

    I wasn't specifically attacking Manfrotto gear per se, only to be weary that just because it has the name Manfrotto, doesn't by default imply that it's of a high quality.

    The strange part comes from the fact that (so far) all Benro ballheads I've come across(owned by others) have been great .. so their stuff works well
    (but with the caveat that I have no long term durability experience with their products).

    AND .. (FWIW), another product that it recommended regularly is that of the RRS product range, and while 99.9% of the time their BH-55 ballhead impresses with it's quality, one annoyance about it, is that this ballhead(for all it's uber quality) is also one that reframes itself(drops) on lockdown, when tightened the 'obvious way'.
    The obvious way means that using the larger lockdown knob as you would with almost every other ballhead design.
    But the reason I don't despise this particular product, which cost a pretty penny .... or 400! .... is that there is a more accurate method to lock down the ballhead .. that isn't so obvious to the inexperienced.

    While the RRS ballhead is in a different price bracket, and therefore apparent quality level, it is by far the more superior product in every aspect of it's ability.

  18. #18
    Member sylviomichel's Avatar
    Join Date
    28 May 2010
    Location
    BONNELLS BAY
    Posts
    36
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I use a Gitzo GT3541LS and a RRS ball head.
    The tripod is very light and especially good when flying.

Posting Permissions

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