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Need Recommendations on Tripods


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 7, 2010
Well I want to start my venture into studio portrait photography and I have a client that has some portrait work for me to do in about two months but I have mostly been tripod-less with my 7D and and 5DMkII. So I am wondering if you guys know any great and reliable tripods, specifically from Manfrotto, that will cater to photography but also fluid enough for some DSLR video? Not interested in any of that carbon fiber material, sturdy and heavier metals are fine.

TL;DR Have you guys experienced any Manfrotto (or other) tripods that are amazing and fluid with video but can also function as a photographers tripod?


macrumors 6502a
Jun 6, 2011
Two completely different animals. I would use a separate pod for both.
What's your budget. For video the new Sachtler Ace seems to be pretty darn good, and not that expensive.


macrumors regular
Sep 11, 2008
You need to think about this as two seperate items, the legs and the head. The legs give you the stability and the head the manouverability of the camera. For video you would use a fliuid head - gives you smooth movements to pan and tilt (up and down). However, a fluid head does not give movements to tilt sideways, which can limit if you want to use portrait format - solution is to use a L-bracket. If you are using a fluid hear you also want a half-bowl for leveling - the better ones have this build in and you need legs to match. Most stills photographers use a ball head to give quick movement into any position and then lock down the camera. This is not good for video. You can buy two heads and switch these on the legs depending on what you are doing.

All the best
Andrew W.


macrumors regular
Oct 29, 2008
As others mentioned. Legs and Head has to be considered separately. But also together in certain respects.

I'm just wondering what's your budget?

I'm primarily a Video-Guy, and I have two preferred Manfrotto Tripod Legs. The 055X has great stability and reliability. There's two minor problems for me. Firstly, there isn't a hook to add extra weights. But I've overcome that with a minor modification. Secondly, I brought it to a mountain shoot, and a little bit of paint chipped off. Understandable, but not too pleased. Other than that, it's a really great Tripod leg. Definitely a charmer.

I often borrow the 190CX from school. Love it. It's light, stable and sturdy. Not only were there no dents after dropping it several times, there were barely any scratches. Best tripod ever. Keep in mind though, I'm mainly a filmmaker, I'm going to assume that a Photographer will have less stress over weight as you won't be moving around 5 locations in a day. But if you think weight is a concern, consider spending extra on Carbon Fibered Tripods (I believe there's a version of the 055 with Carbon Fiber too).

As for Videoheads. I can't say enough about the 701HDV which is just too awesome. Really smooth movements, the dials (and locking) has never failed me. And the handle itself is long enough that panning shots become immaculate. Oh, and it's great on the Glidetrack too - if you one day plan to go onto Video.

Since you're doing more Photo, less Video, look for the steadiest Tripod. Consider what lenses and other accessories you'll put onto the Tripod to determine the weight it has to support too. It's often something that's neglected, as odd as that sounds. (Oh, and the Manfrotto 501 is great too! Expensive and large, but great.)

Edit : For context, I shoot with the GH2, Nikon 7000, 60D and the A1S (Last is not DSLR) with an array of lenses and equipments. And I know some say cheap tripods are pointless. But I disagree. Keep them and mount lighting et other equipments on them. Especially for a Photographer who shoots portrait where the subject doesn't move much.
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