Best Tripod/Ballhead Combo<$175

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by SubaruNation555, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. SubaruNation555 macrumors 6502

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    #1
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #2
    I've never gotten more than about eighteen months out of any ballhead under $220. (I had a $190 Gitzo that lasted 18 months- that's the record for me.)

    I've also had very bad luck with Bogen QR plates torquing on lenses and bodies.

    The cheapest ballhead I like is the Acratech which comes in around $240 without the QR plates- as a bonus it's the easiest to clean ballhead out there. It's about $270 with the QR clamp and a plate is about $40.

    I've never lost a lens to a ballhead failing, but I think I've come too close for comfort three or four times. I like the left side knob so the trigger finger isn't messing with the tension.

    The Kirk BH-3 is a better deal at $255 with the QR clamp and a plate, and is very high quality if you don't need the ruggedness of a BH-1 (15lbs vs 50lbs.) If you shoot in the cold, the large knobs are great for adjustments with gloves on. If you see a 300/2.8 or 400/3.5 in your future, then the BH-3 is too small.

    There are some Asian knock-offs that may be about as good, but I'm with Thom Hogan on the whole "You're going to spend the money, you can do it all at once and get off cheaper, or you can do it year over year and spend more" thing.

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

    I think prices allow you to come down some from his price ranges, but only to about $600-700 total if you want really stable support without a lot of risk.
     
  3. osin macrumors 6502

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    I used to have it for a while, but it wasn't tall enough. So I exchanged it for 055XPROB legs plus the Manfrotto 488RC4 ballhead. That's the setup that many people have and are happy with, especially guys taller than 6'
    You didn't mention which kind of 70-200 lens you have (f/2.8 or f/4) - difference in weight and f/4 doesn't come with tripod collar I think...
     
  4. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

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    OP...I want to strongly second the recommendation of reading the Thom Hogan link provided. IMO, you will SAVE money by waiting until you can afford to "do it right". Cheap tripods are pretty worthless imo.

    In the meantime...look at Hakuba and Feisol for good value legs...and *I* prefer Markins heads, such as the M10 or M20.

    Good luck!
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #5
    I've heard good things on the Markins heads, but have never used one.
     
  6. SubaruNation555 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I realize you get what you pay for with tripods but I am sure there are well built, no-frills models out there. At this point in my life an expensive tripod isn't in the budget. Any suggestions for legs and a ballhead around $175 that are of a good quality?
     
  7. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

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    #7
    For that kind of money I'm sure that most of the Manfrotto/Bogen products will be fine.

    I use a Manfrotto 190ProB with a pan and tilt head and it's fine. Not amazing, but adequate.
     
  8. anonymous161 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    I have to agree with the above posters. A good tripod is one of the best investments you can make. My advice would be save up.

    I have a Markins Q3 on a Manfrotto 3021 tripod - I can't say enough good things about the Markins.
     
  9. jampat macrumors 6502a

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    I have a manfrotto 486 Ballhead on 190 legs. It works well for me but the damn thing is really heavy. I find myself leaving it home a lot of the time. I was in the same situation as you, needing a tripod and not having enough money for carbon. I should have bought a $30 tripod as an interim and saved up for a good one that's light. It would also have been really beneficial to have two locks on the ballhead (one for rotation, one for tilt. The 486 just has one screw that locks or unlocks everything.
     
  10. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

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    #10
    It sounds like you need a pan and tilt head rather than a ballhead.
     
  11. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    One last attempt...

    Sorry to sound like a jerk, but if you want good advice versus what you want to hear....

    a "good quality" tripod (legs, head, plates) for $175. does not exist...period.
    Especially for supporting a 70-200 lens!

    Please, please read the Thom Hogan article on tripods. Afterwards..hopefully you will see that by not buying the $175. tripod now...and saving up, say $350 for a good, *used* tripod... you will actually save money in the long run.

    If you buy the $175. tripod, I have a prediction....
    Within a year, you will find yourself responding to a post on a forum where someone is looking for a $200 tripod. You will strongly suggest they "save up and do it right"... explaining how that will **save** them money in the long run. BUT...they will ignore your advice and make the same mistake you're about to make...a mistake that I and countless others have made. It's quite entertaining actually ;) Welcome to the club :D
     
  12. jampat macrumors 6502a

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    The ballhead is helpful for tracking moving subjects without having to hold up the weight of the camera the whole time (ie airshows). The two separate locks would make my life easier in certain situations though.
     

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