Tripod Recommendations

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TommyD, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. TommyD macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Stirlingshire, Scotland.
    #1
    As a relatively newcomer to photography, i bought a cheap Velbon tripod, not realising i was going to enjoy getting out and taking so many pictures.

    My question for you kind folks is, what tripod do you use and what tripod do you recommend.

    I have a couple of friends who use Manfrottos, which although heavy, i do rather like. (Weight probably isn't too much of an issue.)

    My budget is something like £100 - £150, preferably around the £100 mark though. (Including head, recommendations taken there too)

    I did look at the Giotto's range too, which looked like decent value for money, anyone use these?

    Thanks,

    Tommy
     
  2. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    #2
    I got a used Manfrotto 190 and 322RC2 head for about $200 total through eBay. Both in terrific shape, and absolutely outstanding equipment. That being said, a tripod is one of the least-used pieces of the entire kit, quite honestly. I only use it when I need to isolate the camera from vibration, when I need to remove myself from the vicinity (hummingbirds close-up), or if I need the exact positioning for multiple shots playing with exposure, white balance, etc. In other words, for specific needs, and always planned for. A tripod's not a "walk-around" kinda thing. I may spring for a monopod, though, to give me a stable platform "on-the-go."
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    I use a Gitzo 1548, which is no longer a current model and would be well outside your price range anyway. I walk around a lot with my tripod, so CF was high on my list last time I went shopping. Look for anything that will hold 22lbs/10Kg or better if you want real stability.
     
  4. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    Manfrotto makes a range of tripods, same are light, some not. Buy the biggest one you are willing to cary and pay for. One thing to think about is if you will be doing any outdoor macro work. I like to do this and find that many times I will reverse the center column and work with the camera upside down to shot (say) a flower that is 6" off the ground. The lega on mine adjust to three different angles. This is good for uneven ground, like say on a slope or hill.

    You can always make a light tripod heavy and more stable by hanging a weight from the center, A shopping bag filed with rocks or sand or a water jug but you can't make a heavy tripod light.
     
  6. jimothyGator macrumors regular

    jimothyGator

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #6
    My setup

    My current setup is a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead, and a Manfrotto/Bogen aluminum tripod (I forget the model). The ballhead is excellent, and much better than the cheap Manfrotto head I replaced. But, it alone costs more than your budget.

    RRS makes two smaller ballhead, the BH-40 and BH-25. To be honest, for my current and anticipated lenses, I could have used the BH-40, which is just over half the weight of it's big brother.

    I'm no expert, but I think the RRS can't be beat, and other reviewers, those with far more experience, seem to agree. I've also got their L-plate for my Canon 40D, and while it's also expensive, it's great, and makes switching from landscape to portrait simple (a wired remote switch, however, becomes less convenient to use).


    There are much nice tripods than my Manfrotto, and some day I intend to upgrade to a carbon fiber, likely a Gitzo. It's a bit heavy, though heft has it's benefits when it comes to tripods. Aside from weight, a disadvantage of aluminum is it gets cold, really cold, in winter. I usually go for the Michael Jackson look, with one glove on, to hold and setup the tripod. Two gloves makes operating the camera just about impossible; it's hard enough with one glove.

    Anyway, if you can, take the advice in that link (bythom.com), and go for a tripod and head you're confident you'll stick with. As a variation on that, I'd advice you splurge on the head before the tripod if you can't buy both a great head and tripod at the same time. Get yourself a good aluminum tripod, if you can't get carbon fiber now, because there will be times when heft is more important than portability, so even after you go CF, you might still use your aluminum tripod from time to time.

    Photography is a great hobby. Too bad it's so darn expensive.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #7
    The thin neoprene paddling gloves work for me for working a camera, and if you use overmittens for when you're not manipulating things you can keep your hands reasonably warm.
     
  8. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #8
    Gardening / dishwashing (I guess?) type gloves (thin with grip) work great for keeping your hands a little warm and still giving you full dexterity. I've used them when shooting skiing/snowboarding. I normally don't wear gloves for snowboarding but it was in British Columbia and absolutely freezing.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    I have some thin wool gloves I cut the tips of the thumb and frst two fingers off. I'll wear just these if it is mild out. If it is colder I have some gortex mittens that go over the gloves.

    The other way to go with aluminum tripods is to wrap the legs with pipe insulation bought at the plumbing suply store. Comes in different thickneses and the stuff is cheap too. It allows you to hand cary the tripod in freezing weather and also doubles as a shoulder pad

    I have a 15 pound tripod but I also have a Silk tripod that is only 18 oz. it is not sturdy at all but any tripod is so much beter than the one you left in the car at the trailhead.
     
  10. TommyD thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Stirlingshire, Scotland.
    #10
    Thanks for the advice guys, especially the stuff about ball heads, i will probably go the Manfrotto route, with a pan and tilt type head. Now to work out which ones.
     
  11. jimothyGator macrumors regular

    jimothyGator

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #11
    Tilt and Pan head

    Tommy,

    Tilt-and-pan heads are for video cameras, not still cameras. Yes, a good ball head can be expensive, but I think you'll find a tilt-and-pan head frustrating. My first tripod, years ago, came with such a head, and even when I got my cheap Manfrotto head, it was an improvement in terms of workability (though it lead to many pinched fingers, and I'd get frustrated when the ball locked up).

    If you're getting the tilt-and-pan head because it comes with the tripod, that's one thing (but upgrade when you're ready). But if you're buying it separately, I really encourage you to look for a head intended for still video, even if you start with a low end head.

    P.S. I just looked at your photos on flickr. Those are great; you deserve a good support system for your camera. Treat yourself! Heck, treat us, by using a tripod/head combo that makes shooting even more of a joy, so we get to see more of your work.
     
  12. Hmac macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    #12
    I've been using a Gitzo Explorer with Kirk ball head for several years. It's taken terrible abuse and still works perfectly. The thing I like best is the increased flexibility I get from the arm - excellent for macro stuff.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. TommyD thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Stirlingshire, Scotland.
    #13
    Still not done anything on the tripod front, but have been considering a Giotto. Anyone any experience of the Giottos MTL9351B Tripod?
     

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