help with finding a great tripod

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by munkees, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. munkees macrumors 65816

    munkees

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    #1
    I am looking to replace my POS tripod.

    I really am clueless on what makes a good tripod, so please feel free to educate me on what would be a good starting tripod ?

    what brands are good, what to brands and models to avoid.

    thanks
     
  2. pit29 macrumors 6502a

    pit29

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Location:
    The Golden State
    #2
  3. Designer Dale, Mar 25, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011

    Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #3
    Search the DP forum here for a thread titled Let's Talk Tripods.

    Thanks for posting the link, pit. You beat me on the keyboard.

    Dale
     
  4. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #4
    There isn't really such a thing as a good "starting" tripod, because the best starting tripod will likely be the best tripod money can buy for your needs (a.k.a the best "ending" tripod), as it is the one you'll eventually end up owning anyways. Buy once buy right.

    What camera body (or bodies) do you have, and what lenses do you own or expect to own in the future? Are you looking for a portable version? Or extra stability for very large lenses? Will you hike with it, or mainly operate it out of the car? There are many questions you need to answer.

    Ruahrc
     
  5. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    #5
    Here is a good tripod guide: http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

    A month ago I picked up a Gitzo GT-2531 from B&H Photo and Video and am very happy with it. I also considered Induro and Manfrotto tripods, but nothing came close to the Gitzo in terms of specs for the money. So far I have taken it on one trip to the Collegiate Peaks in Colorado. It has also proven to be very good for long exposures. I am using it with a Slik panhead that I plan to replace someday with a Really Right Stuff BH-40. The tripod is very solid compared to everything I've used before. I honestly don't think I will ever need anything else, as long as this one doesn't break.

    Phrasikleia was the starter of the Let's Talk Tripods thread, and she unfortunately ended up with a Gitzo GT-1932 (series 1) that broke after one year. Here is another thread that has follow-up information from her and others. She ended up getting a GT-2531 (series 2) as well to replace it.

    Gitzo just ended an $80 rebate program for a many of their tripods, including the GT-2531... if you are looking for the best deal on a new one, you may have to wait until they have another rebate program. I'm not sure how often they do these however.
     
  6. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #6
    I tell people to buy the heaviest tripod they can afford to carry. So, if you are an avid hiker into the backwoods, then you will need a lighter tripod. If you only shoot within 10 metres of your car, you can get a much heavier tripod. If you only shoot in a studio a studio stand maybe more what you are looking for. I use one in my studio, and it beats a tripod hands down.

    Also know that the tripod head (the bit that attaches to the top of legs and allows the camera to move and rotate does not have to be the same make as the legs. I have skookum (Local dialect for "big") Gitzo legs attached to Manfrotto head.

    Go to a pro camera store, and talk to them. Try out the various models. If you shoot outside, and you don't live in temperate climate think about soft rubber controls on the head. Trust me. It's why I opted for Manfrotto over the Gitzo, although I preferred the Gitzo legs.

    Good Luck.
     
  7. munkees thread starter macrumors 65816

    munkees

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    #7
    thanks for the great advice,

    my requirements is a tripod I can hike around, though most of the time I will be operating out of my car. Still I am planning on hiking mount St Helens this year amongst other hikes, so I do not want anything to heavy to haul 4750 vertical ft over 4 miles up (then reverse this down). jabot, I will look into the Gitzo GT-2531 for legs, as for the head, I will look at the 2 mentioned below

    Really Right Stuff BH-40

    Manfrotto

    thank you once again

    as for other information on my equipment, I currently am using a Canon 500D/T1i, with kit lens. My next purchase will be a 7D, I did want to venture into the 5D2 but I am going to stick with the EF-S lenses for most of my shooting. I am not a professional. My next lens purchase will be EF-s 10-22mm.
     
  8. Ish macrumors 68000

    Ish

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    I have to buy a new tripod too as the old one, which was ok for my old camera won't support the weight of the new one. It's almost exactly the same weight as the 7D. You didn't mention how much you want to spend, but I have two friends who both have the Manfrotto 190Cx Carbon Fibre Q90 with the 4-section legs for travel, which is the one I'm considering. They've been very happy with them. There is a 3-section leg model as well. The centre column has a quick lift and folds over sideways, great for macros etc. I don't know what head I'm going to get yet.
     
  9. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #9
    I'd pass on the Manfrotto head and instead look at Markins. I haven't physically handled one, but if their product photos are any indication the workmanship is first rate.
     
  10. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #10
    I use the Markins M10 and the quality is indeed excellent- easily as good as an RRS or arca Swiss, etc.
     
  11. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #11
    Think about what you want a tripod head to do. Traditionally, there were head with 3 controls (up/down - swing left/right - rotate left/right) - and quick release (one control for all movements). Of course there are hybrids in between.

    The formal is most useful for landscape type shots. For example, you could fine tuned the rotation so the horizon was level - by pointing the camera down until the horizon was near the top edge (really easy to eyeball how straight it is). Then you panned up/down to put the horizon on the exact level you wanted. And since the rotation control was locked down you knew the horizon was going to stay level. And then finally you can pan left<-->right knowing that the horizon is set.

    The quick release (pistol grip) allows you set it up faster. Good for sports, for instance. But I find them frustrating when trying to frame a subject precisely (when I've tried out other people's tripods).
     
  12. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #12
    I wouldn't recommend a pan type head for landscape photography either. Maybe it was because I only used cheap quality pan heads (the ones they put on junk tripods) but a good quality ballhead is far superior to that. Once the tension is set properly, you can simply grab the camera, adjust it on the ballhead to whatever arbitrary orientation you want, and when you let go it stays in place. No muss, no fuss, no messing with locking down 3 separate axis levers, etc. Just put the camera where you want it and it stays, period.

    A pan head is most useful in video applications because you can easily pan one axis independently and smoothly, with a ballhead the panning motion won't be quite as smooth.

    Ruahrc
     
  13. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #13
    The important thing is not which way the OP decides to go... but that whichever way they decide it's for a reason, not just because a picture on website looks good, or the clerk on the store wanted to clear out the last of the inventory. It's why I like this forum. Lots of people approach the same problems from different angles, and if one reads the thread you get to see all sides and then make up your own mind.

    In my case I started using the 3 way head with my 4x5. The ball-head type just doesn't work well with LF. Ever since then I've always preferred the 3-ways.

    Sometimes I think that photographers can be some of the most conservative people (at least as far as their profession goes) I know. I'm one of them, often! :)
     
  14. munkees thread starter macrumors 65816

    munkees

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    #14
    today I purchase a Manfrotto light weight tripod and head, it came in a kit, and was cheap $135. It is light enough for me to hump around hiking. I looked at other tripods and heads, but went saver and purchased my first quality lens, a canon EF-S 10-22mm.
     

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