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Thread: Tripod for macro

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    Tripod for macro

    Hi all,

    I currently have a full sized tripod but with the vertical stick, I can't lower it enough to get the camera close enough to the floor for some of my macro subjects.

    Does anyone have any tripods they would recommend for close to the floor macro photography?

    Thanks!

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    What brand model of tripod.

    Some tripods have a centre column that is configurable to allow it to be removed.

    I know on some 190 model manfrottos, you can get a centre column that has a very short 50mm fixed upper shaft, and where the lower part of the shaft is comprised of a long tube section and the final lowest part is a end cap that screws onto the bottom of the centre shaft.
    What this then does, is you unscrew the lower end cap, remove the central shaft, and you have no centre column.
    Of course this then allows you to set the tripod up with the legs splayed along the ground.

    Gitzo have a removable centre column, but the assembly needs to come apart completely, you need a hex key to do this and then you remount the top plate without the column in place.
    System works, but looks a bit dodgy to me as there isn't much tube material on the upper plate for the tripod leg section to grip too!

    I've seen some of those multi purpose manfrotto/gitzo/benro tripods that have an offset column that you can orientate from veritical to horizontal, but they look flimsy(especially for a proper macro tripod)..

    I've just started getting more and more into macro shooting, and what was more than capable for most shooting situations, is completely useless for macro shooting.
    Of course my preferred macro shooting style is to use as much available light as possible, and not have to rely on external speedlights and suchlike(yet!)
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    What are you planning to shoot close to the floor.... Or do you mean the ground ?

    I shoot with Canon And Olympus Cameras



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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    What brand model of tripod.
    Doesn't matter what brand, Manfrotto sounds good. I have a Vanguard at the moment which I'm happy with other than the middle shaft not being able to tilt. Thanks a lot for taking the time to give me so much detail

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Anne View Post
    What are you planning to shoot close to the floor.... Or do you mean the ground ?
    Yeah, the ground sorry. I like to take photos of rubbish but can't get close enough

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    Member pghollis1's Avatar
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    There is a thread on tripods on Flikr at the moment. Maybe have a look at this:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikondi...7628683955599/

    I've just ordered a Manfrotto 190xprob. Haven't received it yet, but have done a bit of searching on the web and its seems to suit (I hope!).

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I'll also do a comparison of various levels of tripods soon.

    Only just ordered my new ballhead, so once that's in, I'll compare some medium end gear with some upper end gear to see if this more expensive stuff is really worth the effort.

    All I'll offer as advice, is not to use Manfrotto ballheads and quick release plates.
    If you already have some, dump it now and go with an arca swiss based Quick Release system.

    I just dumped a few hundred bucks worth of manfrotto quick release plates and clamps for a few more hundred bucks worth of arca swiss design replacements.
    In the end it was the move in trying to do more macro stuff that drove me to it.
    The manfrotto system is far less flexible in allowing you more freedom to position the camera(more easily) when you are on a tripod.

    The various types of accessories available for the arca swiss type plates and rails makes it so much easier to make a small adjustments of the position of the camera/lens.
    It simply allow you more freedom to move in fine amounts to achieve an ideal framing.
    Manfrotto do have a few accessories for the RC5 type plate system, but they're harder to find, as only Manfrotto manufacture this type that I know of, whereas a multitude of major companies and small time backyard operators all have some specialist accessory type that will achieve more flexibility.

    The high end quality plates from many of these arca swiss type manufacturers is much higher than Manfrotto plates too.
    I've heard that many of the Chinese no name companies use lower quality materials for the plates and rails, so I didn't risk that, and went for something more substantial in quality.


    More importantly, how much is the upper limit of the budget?

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    I have a Vanguard 263AT which has a tiltable centre column and you can also take out the column and turn it upside-down so your camera hangs from the bottom.
    The column can be tilted to any angle very easily, and the legs can be angled so that it sits almost flat on the ground too.
    It's relatively cheap at under $200 local, and I use mine with anything up to a 100-400L with a converter and a flash, and it holds even that much weight without too much trouble.
    The tripod itself weighs just on 2kg, so it's not too heavy either.
    It's perfect for macro and general shooting too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    More importantly, how much is the upper limit of the budget?
    I don't really have a limit, I'm happy to spend whatever is worth its value.

    Thanks everyone for the posts, looking into all your info!

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    Member pghollis1's Avatar
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    Arthurking, whats wrong with the Manfrotto ball heads (apart from perhaps being less flexible)? I've just ordered one. Now you have me worried!!

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    I'm very happy with a set of Manfrotto 055PROB legs coupled with a ReallyRightStuff Ballhead and L-Plate. I can lift the centre column up and swivel it into the horizontal position and then splay the tripod legs out until the tripod centre and ballhead are only inches above the ground. The L-plate also allows the camera to attach to the ballhead on the camera's side, thereby allowing landscape format images to be taken from a very low aspect.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pghollis1 View Post
    Arthurking, whats wrong with the Manfrotto ball heads (apart from perhaps being less flexible)? I've just ordered one. Now you have me worried!!
    When new they work OK, but wear out very quickly.

    For general use they're pretty much fine, but for macro on a tripod, this small wear factor makes them hard to use.
    Just as you think you have you're frame set, they drop or move a few millimeters from where you want them to sit, making composition a bit of a guessing game.
    You have to pre compose your subject with this in mind.

    I'm hoping to have my RRS ballhead in the next few days too.

    I have two manfrotto ballheads, the MG-RC5, and an older 488 RC2. The 488 is the worst offender, but the MG ballhead, whilst it's better, it's still a frustrating support base to use for macro.
    If your lens has a tripod collar the ballheads work just a bit more solidly, but with a lens such as the Nikon 105VR, which has a considerable weight for the ballhead to deal with, at high magnifications this small amount of drop is annoying.

    I've now altered the MG which had RC5 manfrotto plates to Arca Swiss has helped a little bit, in that I now use various rails and adapters to move the camera/lens to compose my subjects more finely, but the 488 will most likely end up serving as an allrounder support that I'll probably use for supporting non critical gear, such as lighting and stuff like that.

    Which ballhead have you ordered?

    if it's the 488 I recommend that you try to clean out any grease that manfrotto have coated the actual ball with.
    I did this and the head seemed to hold it's framing just a bit better, but still not as solidly as something like an RRS BH-55 does.

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    If you are using a horizontal or angled column, you have to make sure the head you use will have enough tilt in it to allow you to position the camera easily, otherwise you'll be fighting it all the way.
    An L bracket can be handy, but I have found that a Manfrotto RC head works well as it allows a huge range of adjustment in every direction.
    For normal work, i use an Acratech GP ballhead (a fantastic head), but when using the tiltable colulmn on my Vangaurd tripod, the Manfrotto RC head works best.
    Last edited by Bennymiata; 05-01-2012 at 4:17pm.

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