Best Tripod?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by phas3, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. phas3 macrumors 65816

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    Oct 5, 2008
    #1
    looking for a good cheap tripod that will last me long, i've got a nikon d80
     
  2. kidkaprie macrumors member

    kidkaprie

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    Mar 17, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #2
    most people will tell you that good, cheap & tripod do not belong in the same sentance. especially if you want one that will last.

    you will probally be look to spend at least $50-$75 on anything remotly decent. but im not too sure, since im no expert on tripods. just an fyi...
     
  3. phas3 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Oct 5, 2008
    #3
    also i would like oine that i can haul around on my motorcycle, something i can strap on and not get in the way
     
  4. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    Where am I???
    #4
    Agreed. I have a Manfrotto 728B, and while it's not a bad tripod, my next one will have two other key features: carbon fiber legs (for light weight) and a ball head (for ease of positioning).

    Don't skimp on a tripod. A crappy one is just about useless.
     
  5. steeveage macrumors member

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    Sep 23, 2004
    Location:
    Redwood City, CA
    #5
    I have:
    - Manfrotto 055XB
    - Kirk BH-3 ball head

    It's not a cheap setup (over $300 total) but it's built to last.
     
  6. RobLS macrumors member

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    Aug 30, 2008
    #6
    I was at a party a few weeks back and my cousin and I brought our cameras. He has a D40 and myself a D300. I didn't have a tripod with me though but he had his cheapo one that worked for his lil D40. Well i tried to use it, and every time I would press the shutter release it would vibrate the camera up and down.

    I think I need to invest in a nice tripod for myself and for the size of the camera. I would like something that could hold it still even at extreme angles. I do plan on getting a remote for the shutter release. But until then I need something solid but not in the thousands of dollars range.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
    Tripods have the legs and also three possible characteristics

    1. low price
    2. sturdy and ridgid
    3. light weight
    You can have only two of these characteristics in one tripod.
    OK it seems you have already picked "low price" Which of the other
    two can you give up?

    I'd I'd suggest is investing in a good one. They aren't cheap but will out last several camera systems and likely the photographer as well. Spend $200 and it will last an easy 50 years. Bogen/Manfrotto tripods are a very good value and you can trust the weight limits that Manfrotto publishes. When you select a head get the pan/tilt head. Ball heads are for wildlife and while a low cost (under $50) pan/tilt head can be good quality all of the ball heads that sell for less then low three figures are poor.
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #8
    Those work well but the self timer works well also to trip the shutter without shaking the camera.

    I have a Bogen 3200 series legs with #47 head. The setup is overkill for a Nikon. (I gought it for my medium format setup.) but it did not cost "thousands" it was I think less than $200.
     
  9. Nikonut macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    St Louis Mo
    #9
    I am extremely happy with Feisol,light weight very strong and stable.I always suggest to take time and do not under purchase with your tripod selection,it will last a long time.I have their monopod as well....awsum,I use it alot!

    hope this helps! http://feisol.net/

    Steve
    :)
     
  10. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

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    Jan 13, 2005
    #10
    I have a Manfrotto/Bogen 190XPRO legs/tilt head combo. It's cheap (for something of this quality) and very sturdy. The load capability is about 8-9 pounds.
     
  11. ajpl macrumors regular

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    Oct 9, 2008
    #11
    Not quite true. Hang your camera bag around/off light tripod and suddenly it's very heavy and a lot more stable.
    I noticed the other day that the benbo trekker has a hook specifically for that purpose.
    [​IMG]
    I drape bag around legs myself on my Benbo, which must be 20yrs old.
    Benbos are brilliant tripods anyway, much, much more versatile than conventional tripods. And more so than these pictures showw
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    Location:
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    #12
    That offset of the head from the center of gravity (on the Benbo in what it terms the "conventional" position) does not look particularly conducive to stability nor to vibration reduction.
     
  13. ajpl macrumors regular

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    Oct 9, 2008
    #13
    It's a very effective solution in fact and strictly speaking it's not offset, as it's not a normal tripod, so you place 'centre' where you want it.
    If I add 15kg of kit in a bag to tripod, it's going improve stability considerably.
    Anyway, the hook is only one way to hang bag. I've done it plenty of times on my hook free tripods.

    A Benbo is so much better than a conventional tripod and so different, you have to use one to really appreciate just how clever/versatile they are.
     
  14. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    Alaska
    #14
    A friend of mine bought a Promaster SystemPro 1N ($139.00 or so), and a Promaster SystemPro 3-way head ($49.00) for a total of $189.00. He really likes it. I have been using an old Velbon video camera tripod for years, but just lost the wing nut that tightens the head on the tripod :mad:

    I am thinking of the Promaster above. The best tripods can be quite expensive, and this one is not too bad, although a little heavy.
     
  15. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    May 30, 2007
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    Midwest USA
    #15
    I can't speak to the Benbo...I'm sure that construction plays a big role in stability and vibration, but I've been using a Gitzo Explorer 2220, which uses the same offset concept, for many years with no stability or vibration problems. It's not a very lightweight tripod but they do make a carbon fiber version.

    The Gitzo's aren't cheap, though. The 2220 is about $300 (without ball head).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #16
    You're not understanding my point - I was thinking in terms of physics. For maximum stability the center of gravity should fall on the line that runs vertically from the center of the junction of the three legs. With any offset from that line, whether it's part of the design or not, you'll have some amount of torque due to that offset (which is basically a "moment arm"). Any force on the head is not quite evenly distributed amongst the three legs, which means the stability is a bit less than optimal.

    It's quite possible that under most circumstances you don't see a significant difference. However under sub-optimal conditions, such as on a windy day, it might be a bigger deal. Also, tiny influences can add up - it's not like mirror slap has a huge impact either, but people who are after the absolute best shooting conditions buy cameras that have mirror lock-up because they don't want any compromises at all.
     
  17. keltorsori macrumors regular

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    Jul 24, 2002
    #17
    As a former pro, I can say that in my current life the 190XPRO is the best set of legs for the money. Good weight, sturdy, and the reversible center column make life great. I'd recommend my favorite head to go along with it, the Bogen 3265. Shot with Hasselblads on it for years, great head, makes fast setups super easy. All together you'd look to pay about $250 together for the two, but you'd be happy for a very, very long time
     
  18. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    Midwest USA
    #18

    You're assuming an equilateral tripod. The legs are all three independent in both length and angle, so the center of force can be adjusted so that each leg has exactly the same amount of weight. That might get more challenging the farther out the camera is (as below), but one could always hang a weight on the other end if stability were compromised. I've shot a lot of outside macro with this setup or some variation of angles and lengths. Never had a problem.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #19
    I guarantee you that, in the photo you posted, the three legs have nowhere near the same amount of force on each of them - nor is the center of gravity anywhere near the point where the three legs are connected together. One leg (the one that's more or less under the ballhead) is providing the vast majority of the force necessary to counter the torque that's due to the camera being cantilevered out so far, and the other two are mainly providing lateral stability. One of the side legs may be providing a small amount of counter force as well, depending on whether the center post is directly over that one leg or offset a bit.

    You could easily demonstrate this to yourself - at the risk of your equipment, of course - by rotating the rig so the center post is still basically horizontal, but equidistant from the two legs (moving the camera more towards us in that photo, in other words).
     
  20. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #20
    Oh, I agree completely. Excuse me for not spelling it out more clearly. That shot was taken 4 years ago and wasn't meant to demonstrate any basic principals of physics.

    But I can guarantee you that with various combinations of leg length, angles, and weight on the hook at the other end of the post, equal weight distribution per leg can be readily achieved, even in the post-fully-extended position. Of course, that assumes that exactly equal weight distribution is important relative to tripod photography, and I don't think it is. The picture above certainly wouldn't be optimal for studio work, but naturally that's not the purpose of the Explorer series tripods. For the type of photography for which someone would buy this tripod, or the Benbo mentioned above, the offset of the center post when vertical relative to tripod stability is irrelevant IMHO. Much, much more important would be the weight of the tripod, construction, materials and camera attachment security.
     
  21. Nikon Shooter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    #21
    in my experience...

    Sorry..There is no such thing as a good cheep tripod.

    sub $100 are generally garbage. A good tripod and head combination will hold the camera and lens rock steady during long exposures. A cheep tripod simply will not.

    Even when using a good tripod and head, it's how you use the equipment that also affects the overall quality of the image.

    Shoot with a remote cord or wireless trigger using the mirror up setting (if you have that option).

    Set iso to lowest setting, use f8-f16, shoot in RAW format, use a custom white balance setting, bracket your exposures, zoom all the way in, focus manually and zoom back to desired focal length.

    Hope this helps.

    NS
     
  22. ajpl macrumors regular

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    Oct 9, 2008
    #22
    I've done physics and understands vectors fine thank. Again I sugest you go and try it out. It is not a normal tripod so you can move centre about in a way you cannot with a conventional tripod. You are using conventional thinking it seems! :p
     
  23. ajpl macrumors regular

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    Oct 9, 2008
    #23
    The gitzo is an attempt to copy the benbo design, but it certainly is not the same. The benbo unilock concept is protected under patent I believe. Though Uni-lock tripods are [were] also made by one of the chaps behind the benbo design. Not that I can find anywhere to buy the unilocks!
     
  24. rouxeny macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #24
    I'd have to echo the thoughts that there is no such thing as a good, cheap, light tripod. You have to find some balance between the three. Too expensive, you won't buy it. Too heavy, you won't carry it. Too light, it's useless.

    I would highly recommend not getting something made of plastic, or with one of those ratcheting center columns that you sometimes see. Also, spend the money and get a ball head. Unless you plan on doing a lot of panning, and maybe even then, it will make your shots a lot easier to setup.

    As for the weight limits, I was talking about that with the owner of a local photo store and he said he'd give me a demonstration. He took a fairly inexpensive Silk, set it's legs to full extension, placed it on the ground, and then pretty much threw himself onto it. For a few moments, he was hanging onto the center column, entirely suspended off the ground. The tripod didn't seem to be bothered at all. He weighs probably about 140 lbs.
     
  25. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #25
    While it sounds impressive, I'm a bit curious regarding what, exactly, that was meant to demonstrate - at least that's relevant to photography. :D I'm generally not worried about a tripod collapsing under my equipment. What I do want is a tripod that dampens/prevents vibration, and a head that doesn't shift - really that's pretty much the main requirements. (Although I sense this could become a Monty Python "Spanish Inquisition" sketch pretty fast).
     

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