Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by dukeofism, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. dukeofism macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2009
    I am looking for a good tripod for my Digital Rebel XT. I want it to be as cheap as possible while still being sturdy enough so I won't have to worry. Any one have any good suggestions?
  2. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    "Cheap" and "sturdy" don't often go together in the tripod world. I would not skimp on a tripod; you'll regret it later.

    I used to have this one (note you can find it MUCH cheaper at other retailers); not bad for the money, but I found some faults with it (mainly related to the head). Good entry level tripod; sturdy for not too much money.
  3. Dmac77 macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2008
    I personally recommend getting a set of tripod legs and a tripod head separately. Try not to fall for the tripods that they have at bestbuy or other stores like bestbuy, I've found that they start to fall apart quickly.

    I use this Manfrotto ball head -

    and these Manfrotto legs -

    I like them, and they're not too terribly expensive. (With tax, they cost me about $250).

    I also prefer a ball head for still photography.

  4. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    Cheap, sturdy and light, pick one or two of these, you can't get all three. Without sturdy, there is no point, that puts you at $200+. I bought a manfrotto at ~250 and it is too heavy, I rarely carry it. I should have bought a lighter tripod, but I didn't have the money at the time. Buying what I could afford was false economy. I borrow a magfiber 055 whenever I want to carry a tripod now. It is much larger, sturdier and much lighter than mine. Cost about double though.
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    As others have said here and what you will find right here in this very forum is that cheap, sturdy, and light will never go hand in hand with a tripod. Go ahead and buy that $40 sunpak, you will quickly spend more money on a better one and it will still fall short. Over time you'll understand that your tripod is an investment. The key is to buy something that will last you close to forever baring breakage or loss.
  6. PeteB macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2008
    Bear in mind that you can make a light tripod pretty sturdy by hanging a bag or something between the legs (to weigh it down). Some tripods have hooks or loops for this purpose.

    Something to look out for as heavy tripods tend to get very heavy after being carried for more than a short distance...
  7. John.B macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2008
    Holocene Epoch
    I dunno, I'm currently on my third tripod in as many years. I bought the carbon fiber 190CXPRO4 which has four sections per leg and shrinks down to less than 20" (carry-on friendly size) but is otherwise similar to the CF 055.

    OTOH, I still find it too bulky for the type of terrain I find myself taking pictures, esp. when backpacking. Its a good tripod and is reasonably priced ($325 from B&H) for what it is, but the positive latches on the leg sections take up a lot of space in girth, in order to get a secure base to hold my dSLR.

    I'll probably look to a Gitzo GT-1541T ($575 from B&H) or something along similar lines next... (sigh)

    Jessica is right, almost invariably you will soon outgrow whatever you buy -- unless you start with something in the $1000 range.
  8. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    Best Buy, B&H, and Adorama sell a Manfrotto tripod with ball head (model 7322yb) for ~$100. It's pretty sturdy and light, and supports up to 2 kg, which should be more than enough for a Rebel and whatever lens you probably have. Of the three places mentioned, only Best Buy currently has them in stock.
  9. John.B macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2008
    Holocene Epoch
    Is that a current model? If not, it would explain why everyone is out of stock on it.

    Also, according to the Manfrotto website, this tripod/ballhead maxes out at 2kg/4.4 lbs. I think it might be designed more for the P&S crowd? I don't know if that will handle a Rebel and lens and flash. I know it would max out my 50D or 7D and one lens (sans flash).

    But, hey, why not? It looks just like my first throwaway tripod... ;)
  10. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    Trust me, you don't want a cheap tripod. I have one, and sometimes it gets pretty frustrating. Funny thing is, that even when I dont have the tripod mounted and add a tiny bit of pressure on the head, the legs kind of start bending (if that makes sense) so you are better of with spending around 250$ on a good tripod. But if you really don't want to, and can live with the bad sturdiness of a cheap tripod, I can really recommend one of the cheaper Velbons.
  11. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    Since the model appears on Manfrotto website, I would hazard to guess that the model is current. As for its availability, I suppose it would have something to do with Best Buy not being the first choice for those looking for a good tripod, and B&H and Adorama being fairly popular amongst more serious shooters willing to spend >30 bucks on one. Maybe it's just popular.

    As for the weight issue...
    EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM: 950 g
    Rebel XT with battery: 540 g
    580EX II speedlight with batteries: 475 g

    Total: 1965 g, aka less than 2 kg

    I suppose that, if the OP owns a 70-200mm f/2.8L, he'd be closer to 2.5 kg, but then I said that the suggested tripod should be enough for any lens he'd probably have, not enough for the heaviest camera/lens/flash combination imaginable. As a self-described "Poor College Student" shooting with an XT and asking about cheap gear, I'm pretty sure he's not going to have a kit with a ton of L glass.
  12. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    I bought my tripod legs and head a while ago, maybe 7 years ago or so. I have a Bogen (Manfrotto) 3001 (maybe 3021?) PRO legs and a pistol grip head. I think I paid $250 for the legs and $150 for the head, but i am sure they are away cheaper than that now. My set-up isn't the lightest, but CF was 2x what it costs today.

    I think the combo weighs like 10-15lbs... I have hiked 20 miles with this gear and two bodies:) After the first 8 miles, you just kinda forget about the weight :)
  13. John.B macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2008
    Holocene Epoch
    I'm OK with the distances, its the elevation gains that always get me. :eek:

    That said, if you want the picture then you have to be prepared to go where the picture is. :D
  14. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Velbon has been mentioned here and I have the DF 60. It's 9 years old now. It is OK, but slips just a bit under my xsi with a 28-300 lens on. The knobs drive me nuts, though and I would like a ball head.

  15. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007

    calumet also sells their house brand tripods the last time i checked.
  16. dukeofism thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2009
    Wow thanks for all the responses! It seems like many people were speculating on my lens. Right now I just have the kit lens 28-55 f/3.5-5. Right now I'm choosing between getting a tripod and the 50mm f/1.8. Decisions Decisions
  17. Dmac77 macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2008
    So if you're debating between the nifty fifty, and a tripod, I assume you're looking to spend ~$130. In that case, get the lens, because for that kind of money, you're going to get a crappy tripod that will not give you any room to grow.

  18. feuerschlange macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2008
    Bargain tripod

    I strongly advise you, to have a good read up on what Thom Hogan's and the Luminous Landscape sites have to offer about tripods and ball heads.

    I am not so much into tripod photography, but have an approach of getting the best for the smallest money, when venturing in something new.

    After checking out the possibilities, I ended up with these legs:

    Velbon Geo N630

    Here is an older review on the Luminous Landscape site of the model (it has now some slight improvements over the reviewed model)

    Here is another review, I just googled.

    The Velbon 630 is a carbon fibre tripod with several versions (I have the Geo N630, which has twist locks opposed to clamps, a removable aluminium center post and adjustable gum feet/ metal spikes).

    It costs half the price of a comparable Gitzo and 25 % less than a Bogen.

    I even use a Nikon D3 + 300 VR + TC20 on it, which is a pretty heavy combo.

    If you are on a budget and can't afford it, to buy an excellent set of legs and ball head, I advice, to get the best legs, you can afford (the Velbon is pretty good) and the cheapest, but stable ball head (don't buy the mini versions).

    You will be fighting with the ballhead (setting creep, not smooth, hurting fingers,…) but you get better photos with a stable combo and a lesser comfortable head first.

    I bought a Markins M10 head for my Velbon, which is just fine and makes a good light combo.

    The tripod goes for just over 200,- USD.
    Usually a good tripod and ball head goes near the 1000,- USD, if you buy the best. Don't look at the sub 100 USD range for the legs - you will regret the buy, if you step up later (Thom Hogans writeup on saving money on support systems is spot on - highly recommended read!).
  19. panoz7 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    I'll second that. Luminous Landscape is one of my favorite photography websites. The site's organized a little oddly, but once you start to dig through the content you'll find tons of great information.

    35 grams less than 2kg. It would be operating at 98% of it's capacity, and that capacity isn't such an exact number either. There's no set methodology for calculating it, it's just what a specific manufacturer says their tripod should be able to handle given their specific conditions. It's sort of like the battery life figures that apple uses... they're good for comparing tripods made by the same manufacturer, but beyond that I wouldn't put too much weight on them (no pun intended), or at least I wouldn't make comparisons down to the gram.

    If I'm shooting with a tripod the whole reason that I'm doing so is that I want the camera to be absolutely still. With a non-stable tripod that isn't going to happen, and the more weight you put on a tripod the less stable it's going to be, especially if you add in adverse weather conditions like wind. Because of that, if you're serious about getting a good tripod, I'd get one with a fair bit of excess capacity. Good tripods can last a long time, so this way you also have a buffer in case you ever upgrade to a heavier camera or lens. Also make sure not to skimp on whatever head you get. The capacity of the head is just as important as that of the tripod.

    To the OP: Would you consider buying used? You can probably get a decent Monfroto that's a few years old for around $100. They're built like tanks so there's no real downside to buying used.

    All that said, your camera and lens combination isn't very heavy. A cheaper (but not super cheap) tripod will probably be ok for now, but down the line you'll probably want to invest in something better, and you might as well skip the intermediate step and go straight there.
  20. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    I'd assumed he'd only have a Rebel XT and a kit lens (and he does), so to illustrate the point that the tripod would be enough to support what I'd assumed he owns, I overshot the weight on purpose: I showed that the XT, plus Canon's heaviest/most expensive standard zoom lens, plus Canon's heaviest/most expensive flash, would still weigh less than the manufacturer's stated maximum capacity. What he has now will be more than a kilogram (2.2 lbs, 50%, etc.) below its maximum, so I think it'd work well, for now, if he needs a tripod, now.

    As for future-proofing, seeing as how he's having to choose between buying a 50mm lens and a tripod for use with a 4-year-old entry-level (i.e. not expensive) camera, I don't see him tossing down several grand for a new, heavier camera, L lenses and a flash anytime soon. I do agree that it's better to invest in better equipment up front, but I think we all know that $100 is a drop in the bucket when it comes to camera gear, so if that's the price he has to pay to get a light and sturdy tripod from a reputable manufacturer that he can use with what he has, I think it'd be worth it.

Share This Page