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Thread: Tripod on a budget

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    Tripod on a budget

    I'm lucky enough to have a birthday coming up and have about $200 I can spend ($220 at a stretch). I really need to get a half decent tripod as my $30 special just does not cut it with a DSLR.

    I primarily am doing landscapes (including night landscapes) and panoramas and want to get into macro photography in due course. I guess this rules out a ball head. My gear isn't overly heavy - but I would like to leave a little bit of room to breathe so that the tripod is still usable with a heavier (than my 70-300) lens and potentially a speedlight on the camera. Weight isn't a particular issue but I would like one that folds up to be fairly compact so that I can strap it into the tripod carrier on my Lowepro Flipside 300 to make life easier when walking to a location.

    There's lots of requirements there and a very limited budget doesn't really help the cause. I have managed to identify the following as potential options:
    • Velbon Sherpa 600r
    • Velbon Ultra Luxi L (PHD-41Q Panhead)
    • Slik pro 500DX
    • Slick pro 700DX
    • Manfrotto 190XDB (804RC2 Head) - almost certainly outside my pricerange but Teds have it on special for $249.95


    I'm interested to hear opinions from anybody who has one of (or has had one of) the above models.

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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    I'll through my vote in for the Slik, top gear, have had an old one for more years than I care to recall, just replaced it with the Pro 500DX.
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    Ausphotography Veteran yummymummy's Avatar
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    I have the manfrotto 190XDB, it's a great tripod, unless it's very windy, have lost a lens this way
    Happy to take all constructive Critique, please don't rework or edit my photos. Thanks!

    Canon 6D, 2 Canon 50D's gripped, Canon 1000D, Canon 70-200 F2.8 ( non IS),Canon 70-200 2.8, Canon 24-70 2.8, Sigma 85 1.4, Canon 50mm F1.8.. yongnuo speedlights and triggers, and manfrotto tripods.


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    I had a Sherpa 600 for a long time before i upgraded to my Manfrotto stuff.

    It is plenty solid without being too heavy, but not really compact. It is a bit bulky when folded down.

    Great quality for the money though.
    Hi Im Darren

    www.darrengrayphotography.com

    SONY A850 (FF)] + GRIP | SONY A350 (APS-C) + GRIP | SONY NEX-5 +16 2.8 + 18-55 E-MOUNT LENSES | CZ 85 1.4 | 50 1.4 | 28-75 2.8 | 70-200 2.8 | 2 x 42AMs | 24" imac | LR | CS4 | + loads of other junk


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    +1 for the sliks. I have abused a 300dx for nearly 3 years and it is still going strong. I was considering putting a ball head on it, but gave the head a clean and regrease first, and replaced the bent 'paddles' with bolts and wing nuts. It is now smooth again and won't be replaced for several years.

    Terry
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    Ausphotography Regular leanneqld's Avatar
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    I just bought one a few weeks ago. I was juggling the buy button between the velbon sherpa and the slik.......I spent 2 full days researching...in the end I found a great deal on the velbon sherpa from a place called videpro.....it cost me $143 all up ( no delivery charge) and was here in a couple of days. ( I was also swayed by the number of people here who have this tripod and recommended it...I love it)
    http://www.videopro.com.au/p-972-vel...herpa600r.aspx

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    Member alba100's Avatar
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    I primarily am doing landscapes (including night landscapes) and panoramas and want to get into macro photography in due course. I guess this rules out a ball head.


    I'll be looking at buying a tripod in the near future - why does the above rule out a ball head ??
    Regards

    Dan

    You can view my public photographs at
    http://picasaweb.google.com/113653806455338918548

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    I have spent the last week researching tripods with the same budget in mine. I was really after a tripod that is light (i do a fair bit of hiking) compact (able to attach easily to my camera bag) and strong.

    After looking at almost every brand and many, many reviews I came across the Benro.

    A decent short review..... http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...h+B-1+Ballhead

    The best price to pick one up in Aus..... http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...ht_9134wt_1139

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    The 700dx is a tank, it will be hard to find something as sturdy in that price range. The pan head is ok, but I found it annoying to use, wasn't a fan of design and size of the QR plate either.

    I don't see why you can't use a ball head for panos or macros?

    Just noticed that you mention you want it to fit in your flipside 300. Possibly might want to test it out in store first, pretty sure the 700dx is the heaviest and longest of the lot.
    I use it on the rover aw and it fits ok...not as secure as I would like. Its also very easy to hit the back of your head because the 700dx is so damn big!
    To be honest I find myself carrying my tripod by hand most of the time, otherwise I just hang one leg off the backpacks shoulder strap (right near your hip) and its just so much more convenient there (although the strap might get worn out eventually I guess).
    Last edited by Thomp; 04-08-2010 at 7:42pm.
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    The way I understand it is that a ball head allows movement in 3 directions by loosening one grub screw. This is not so good for panorama shoots - you loosen it off to pan it around and you are a very high risk of tipping it forwards/backwards or tilting side to side - these movements can make panos more difficult to stitch (though I do the majority of mine hand held currently and it's not so bad). A 3-way or pan head means you can adjust only the pan and leave the forward/backward and side to side tilt locked off and not run a risk of changing it.

    The same basically goes for Macro - finite, individual adjustments - though would be more beneficial when coupled with a center post that could be made horizontal. Don't get me wrong I'm sure a ball head would work just fine, this is just what I've come up from what I've been reading.

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    Thats a fair point, I think a few of the mid range ball heads have a separate pan knob though. I know the manfrotto 498 has the pan function.

    I heard the same regarding the fine adjustments, haven't actually tried any macros with the tripod yet so I can't say what the difference is. But it makes sense. The adjustable post on the manfrottos is pretty sweet, didnt see myself doing macros so I didnt factor that in when I made my decision. I kind of want it now! I'm not sure but I think it might be just the prob versions that have that design.

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    I'm with Regnis. Another vote here for Benro. Truth be told it came down to either Benro or Slik.

    For me, I look for the best value I can which generally means second-hand off eBay even if it means waiting some time for the right item to come along at the right price. Looking back now I could have quite happily bought from Hong Kong or even eBay-USA as, comparatively, the retail prices still work out cheaper even with shipping when compared to the Aussie price.

    What I ended up with was a second-hand Benro a-358 n6, which is a solid, aluminium 4-section tripod that stands nearly 1.6m, or 1.75m with extension. When coupled with tripod head, battery grip and the camera body this gives a huge range of height to work with.

    Being 4-section it doesn't pack up very small, standing 70cms with ball/grip head attached.

    This is the similar model now with magnesium added to make it a bit lighter.
    http://cgi.ebay.com.sg/New-Benro-A-3...item2303fd8c1e

    I've found mine to be a good solid tripod for the money I paid. And personally I think spending money on a better tripod head is where you will get most satisfaction in the long run. But again check eBay, especially USA as there are huge savings to be made on top-brand heads there.

    From your list Tom the closest to that that I was considering was the Manfrotto, but with the 055 model instead for a bit more height without needing to extend the centre column (for stability).
    Last edited by Paul G; 05-08-2010 at 12:06am.
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    After all these suggestions I set out to check some of these models out in store. I thought weight wouldn't be an issue but boy was I in for a shock - adding these onto the back of the flipside 300 makes a HUGE difference in how it sits on the back. i was also lucky enough to have my budget extended to $300. I was able to get a Manfrotto 190XPROB + 804RC2 3-way head within this budget (on special at Ted's) and am very, very happy with it. Thanks to all for the veedback!

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