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Thread: Tripods, Monopods and Ballheads on a budget

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    Ausphotography Veteran Speedway's Avatar
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    Tripods, Monopods and Ballheads on a budget

    FYI. I was trolling Ebay on Sunday for tripods etc. and came across this site and decided to order on of their Monopods with Ballhead at under $30 delivered it was worth the risk. It arrived this morning and at first look the monopod is almost identical to the ones I bought over 2 years ago except for the std 1/4" screw thread top instead of the clamped on pan/tilt head, this has had a lot of heavy use with my 7D and 150-500 Sigma mounted. The ballhead provided differed slightly to the one pictured on the site in that the ball lock screw has a longer single arm instead of the wingnut (an improvement IMO). The simply constructed basic ballhead is well machined and locks the 7D/150-500 combination solidly. I have just returned from a short walk and am very happy with my purchase, the locks on the leg showed no sign of slipping and were simple to operate one handed, the ballhead was smooth and easy to lock. I don’t see the point on laying out a lot of dollars on what is basically a stick to help support a heavy camera/lens combination I am also looking at their trigger action ballhead for my tripod.
    Keith.
    Last edited by Speedway; 08-02-2012 at 11:12am.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    The problem is that you can't use the same set of performance requirements on tripods and tripod heads as you can with monopods.

    They serve two distinctly different purposes.

    I can understand that price will be a very important aspect of a monopod purchase, a monopod's two major requirements are that it's durable(that it won't break), and that it's light weight.
    With a monopod this is easier to balance with price factor than you can when choosing a tripod.

    With tripods it's very simple .. (generally speaking) the higher quality models and brands will cost significantly more than the cheaper models/brands simply because they (tend to) have better performance.
    (there is a caveat with this so it's not 100% true across all models and brands!... but in general it's the best way to express the idea)

    Where it gets hard in choosing a tripod and head is the compromise of price.

    The best tripod and head, that will be totally stable and rigid, is going to cost a pile of money that most people will not accept. So they then give themselves a budget to work with.

    Staying within this budget, they then should decide on the main usage of the support and also the shooting methods they're willing to employ to get the shot right.
    From there they then choose accordingly which support type is best for their purpose.

    A cheapo $30 tripod is all you ever need to do ultra wide angle landscape shots in the majority of situations, and yet most folks will simply not trust one of them to the task.
    But this cheapo $30 tripod is simply not going to cut it if you're trying to shoot the moon with a super telephoto lens(and expect super sharp images) .. unless you live in a vacuum!

    If you're willing to compromise a little and use various methods for shooting your subject(eg mirror lockup), this $30 tripod may still be quite useful, but these various methods of shooting the subject may end up causing you grief and despair with the length of time it takes to do a simple shoot, where with a more solid(read: expensive) tripod will allow you to do the same shoot in quicker time.

    If you don't have access to these features that allow you to use cheaper tripods effectively, then there is no way around it. If you want consistently clear shake free images you need to spend up big on a tripod and head for it.

    If I were to ever feel a need to purchase a tripod, it's primary requirement is to be super light weight, followed by an importance of strength.
    I'd end up using it as a walking stick(which I do with my tripod) if I have a long walk ahead of me.
    I extend one leg slightly, extend the centre column(which is why I have a slight preference towards tripod with columns) and grip the extended part of the column with camera and medium sized lens attached ... and walk. The camera/lens usually acts as a counterbalance for the length of the tripod leg, and this allows me to walk further than I otherwise would.
    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


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    For some reason the link I posted has disapeared.
    Here it is again

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    Member DavCal's Avatar
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    I use the Chinese-made Benro ball heads. I have them in various sizes to suit everything from DSLR to 4x5 linhof Technika and Toyoview monorail. I find them to be sturdy, well made, easy to use and affordable. I bought mine off Ebay. While one can pay 1000's for ballheads like you I don't see the need to pay more than what will get the job done. Benro also make what look to be fine tripods but my mine are Manfrotto and Slik because I simply removed the old pan/tilt heads to fit the Benro's.

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