Best tripod in the $30-$90 range?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by crazydreaming, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. crazydreaming macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #1
    I badly need a tripod, but not ready to spend $300 plus on a tripod yet. Just need something to get me started that will get the job done. I shoot with a D200, so need something that will be stable with the weight. My other wish is something that can reasonably be carried on a backpack, hiking, skiing, etc. It doesn't have to be superlight, but weight is important.
    Recommendations?
     
  2. Preclaro_tipo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2003
    Location:
    West Lafayette, IN
    #2
    Wal-Mart

    I am no tripod expert but for my needs I wanted it to be as cheap as possible. So, I bought one at Wal-Mart, I think it was 30 bucks?? (25??). Really dirt cheap, I remember thinking at the time.

    I am very impressed with what it was, it has two levels, the round one for leveling the tripod itself and the bar type one for leveling the camera mount part.

    it has a hook at the bottom of the center pole thing, so you can hang your bag/backpack/weight to keep it steady. it has and extra mount (they are quick release) so you can switch cameras quickly. It seems well-made, sturdy, the "head" part where the camera mounts rotates smoothly.

    I don't know what else to say, other than, 30 bucks, it definitely gives $30 in value to me.

    I am not sure what else one would need in a tripod? (i am a bit curious)
     
  3. SpAtZ macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Location:
    NY
    #3
    I use the Slik Sprint Pro SL with my 300d. It is 19inches long and if find it easy to carry around and very durable. It legs extend very well and has macro features. Pretty light at 1.9 pounds. Carbon Fiber might be lighter, but will be much more expensive. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...s&Q=&sku=278545&is=REG&addedTroughType=search

    Don't go for a 30 dollar tripod, most of them will never support your camera's weight, especially if it has a plastic head.
     
  4. Silentwave macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    #4
    You spent $1700 on a camera, who knows what on lenses, and you're willing to trust this to a cheapo tripod that is likely to collapse on you?

    You don't have to go out and spend $600 + like me, but for something STABLE and secure you would be better off spending $150-200 for a good giottos or bogen/manfrotto tripod.
     
  5. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #5
    Thanks for the advice so far. I understand what is being said that if I have spent so much on a camera, it's stupid to cheap out on a tripod. My original thinking though was to simply get something that will get me by for now, then, when I have the extra money, go for a nice $300 plus tripod that will pretty much do everything but still be reasonably light enough to carry on my pack for when I go back out to Utah this winter.


    Yes the nice carbon fiber, lava rock tripods are really really nice, but isn't there something that is a heavier and cheaper that still does the job? If not, I guess I'll just suck it up now.
    Let's move the budget up to $100+ how does this change things?
     
  6. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #6
    ah ha, anymore input on this tripod? My thinking is this might serve as my lightweight travelling tripod, 1.9lbs isn't bad, and then down the road go for a beefier manfrotto etc.
     
  7. ipacmm macrumors 65816

    ipacmm

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    Cincinnati, OH
  8. Josh macrumors 68000

    Josh

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #8
    I got my Quantaray 2001 UT for $12.99 and it has worked really well, I'm very happy with it.

    It folds up very compactly, is very light, and can extend tall enough to bring the camera to my eye level (I'm 5'11).

    Here's more from Quantaray.

    (Just to note: I'm quite rough with my tripod, and even under foolish stress, which I doubt most put on theirs, it has never collapsed or been anything other 100% stable and strong. A $100-600 tripod is nice, but not necessary. It will not change the quality of your photos :))
     
  9. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #9
    OMG you people give in too much to marketing hype. "cheap tripod that can't support the weight of your camera and will collapse" LOL Funniest thing I've heard this morning. I have some tripods, as well as big expensive lenses and a big flash, and never ever has my cheap tropods not been able to "support the weight". That is just FUD.
     
  10. Zeke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2002
    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    #10
    Check out this outfit on ebay. They sell their stuff for much cheaper than you can buy it at their store. I have one of their tripods. It's real sturdy and has a pistol grip ballhead. I'm quite satisfied with it (kinda heavy, but that's good when you don't want your equip getting knocked over). I had a cheapy tripod from walmart before and it's nothing compared to this.

    http://stores.ebay.com/amvona-com_tripods-monopods_W0QQcolZ2QQdirZQ2d1QQfsubZ4QQftidZ2QQtZkm
     
  11. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #11
    Read this article

    http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

    Think again about buying a cheap tripod. Silentwave said exactly what I was thinking when I read the initial post: why on earth would one plunk down $1700 for a good camera body, plus additional money for lenses and then risk damage to this valuable and expensive equipment by trusting a $30 tripod?
    Don't do it. You might better put a few hundred dollars into a good solid tripod that you'll be able to use for years with your cameras rather than repeatedly buying cheap tripods that don't stabilize the camera and may topple over unexpectedly. In the end you'll save money by purchasing a decent tripod now.
     
  12. Josh macrumors 68000

    Josh

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #12
    Price isn't everything. No article in the world is going to change my experience with my $12 tripod, which has not bent, flexed, slipped, toppled, or had any other problem mentioned in the article. This is real life experience with a real life camera and real tripod that has worked very well.

    Price is not quality all the time. Sure, there are myriads of 'pods better than mine, but I certainly would be no happier had I bought a $400 one.

    I have leaned my weight on mine without it budging, and have owned it for quite a long time. It has been on long trips through rough places and has been with me for every shoot I've done.

    If I had a 400mm lens then yes, I'd get something different. But for < 200mm, an expensive tripod is not the only solution; If you have the money and want an expensive tripod, by all means get it - nothing wrong with that at all. However, no one should think that doing so is a must.
     
  13. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
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    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #13
    Josh, what kind of equipment are you using?

    Sure, I wouldn't mind a flimsy lightweight $30 tripod if I were just sticking a small and lightweight P&S on it, but when it comes to anything heavier, then I want to be sure I have something solid and stable. I don't have a 400mm lens but some of my lenses are fairly heavy anyway and the camera body (D200, same as the OP) is not tiny and lightweight. I want something substantial and well-balanced when I'm entrusting my expensive gear to it. Only takes a second for things to go wrong....
     
  14. Josh macrumors 68000

    Josh

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #14
    Clix,

    I'm using a D70 with various lenses. Depending on lens combos, the weight difference between the D70 and D200 (830g vs 680g) is insiginificant.

    Again, I'd like to point out that I weigh substantially much more than my camera (lol) and have leaned with my weight on the tripod without it flexing/bending/re-adjusting. If it can take that, the weight of my camera isn't going to affect it at all.

    (note: I'm not saying the cheaper one is better. I'm saying if you don't have the money, don't feel like there are no options.)
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #15
    You have a D200. But what lens? The lens matters a lot more then which body. If you ar shoting with a 400 f/2.8 lens then you are not going to be happy with a $30 tripod.

    If you do get a light weight tripod one way to make it sturdier and less prone to tip over is to weight it with balast. Slig a water jug so it is suspended between the legs or put sand or lead shoot bags on the legs. I'd hate to see $2000 worth of camera geat hit the ground because you saved $100 on a tripod. 10 or 15 pounds of balast can prevent that.

    Actually you are right, Any tripod is so much better then no tripod and you can use the IR remote so as not to cause camera shake. but $30 is unrelistically loow. Good filters cost more. About 4X that should get you a resonable tripod.

    I'm a big fan of Bogen. I think they are the best bang for the buck. Don't worry aboutthe cost your D200 will become obsolite in five years. That $1300 body will have a short life but a $200 tripod will out live you or I and could still be in service 100 years later.
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #16
    Any tripod is strong enough to hold a camera off the ground.. Even a big lens is less then 20 pounds and would not bend the legs of even the smallest tripod. The reason you want a larger tripod is for its __rigidity__. You don't want the thing to move. You want it prevent camera shake due to the mirror and shutter movng and not to "creep" after you lock down the head. After this you want the thing to last and but
     
  17. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #17
    I raise you one Ken Rockwell article.
    http://kenrockwell.com/tech/tripods.htm

    I only use a tripod for night or low light shots, or sometimes for macro or product shots. In regards to heavy lenses and tripod heads. I have some cheap tripods, one big one smallish, neither of them buckle under any weight I've put on them. Reason why?
    The biggest lenses have tripod mounts that balance them so well that the tripod doesn't have to do much to keep a steady shot. And I have HEAVY lenses that don't have tripod mounts including my 24-70mm f2.8. That said, on my cheapest tripod with the heaviest lens on it, after you set it it does tend to tip down a bit, but I'm not sure any tripod head would be better. So you just compensate and aim it a little high, and let it tip down into the correct scene. There are no lenses that I am aware of that weigh more than that one that don't have tripod mounts.

    Oh and rockwell says when he uses his long lenses like his 400mm f2.8 he prefers a monopod.
     
  18. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #18
    Alright, I think I'm convinced. I'll probably be best off getting a nice setup now. I don't think it's necessary to spend $1,000 though according to the one article. I'd say $400 max is pplllllenty.

    Now I'm researching bogen (manfrotto) setups... :confused:
     
  19. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    #19
    My cheap tripod won't even come close to supporting the weight of my XT with anything other than the 50mm f/1.8 attached to it.

    Of course, it has a battery grip, but what am I going to do? Take the battery grip off so I can put it on the tripod?

    My advice is to hold off until you can spend a little more and get a nice tripod. You can throw away you $100 now, only to buy a nice tripod later, or just wait and spend money once. I just can't see how my Bogen/Manfrotto rig is going to fold on me - it'll last a lifetime.

    EDIT: sorry, you beat me to the punch crazydreaming.
     
  20. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    #20
    For the head, do you think you would like a ball head, or "traditional" three-way setup better? You should be able to get a whole lotta tripod/head for $250.
     
  21. munckee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    #21
    I was in the same boat about a month ago. I needed a tripod for my 300D, but I refused to believe the nonsense about having to spend $500+ to get a tripod. After some reasearch, I was pretty sold on a Slik 400DX or a 700DX. Upon inspection, the 700 weighed a ton and was overkill for me. The store didn't have a 400DX but did have a 340 which I ended up purchasing. Had I not needed it quickly, I would probably have held off to at least take a look at the 400, but the 340 has done me well so far for $100.
     
  22. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #22
    I don't see how that is possible, I can support a 30D+ another 900g or so sticking off the end on my cheap $20 tripod. It doesn't bend, crack, tip over, or even make any creaking. The only thing I can think of is that you got one of those little bitty tripods with the miniature ball heads.
     
  23. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #23
    I don't know, trying to decide that. It's tough because where I'm at doesn't have any good photography shops nearby, so I can't really go out and play with any. In Salt Lake City where I go to school, they have an awesome photography shop (Pictureline), with just about anything.
     
  24. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #24
  25. form macrumors regular

    form

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    in a country
    #25
    I use the tripod from an old telescope that I got back when I was a little kid. Works fine, stable, hasn't ever let me down. Yes, I'm a cheap ba$tard. I won't even pay for lens cleaning solution or an air blower.

    Eventually I'll have to buy something that's a little...taller.
     

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