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Basic question on tripods.


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77 replies to this topic

#1
Eagles1181

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So I was looking at tripods today on Amazon. I found them for $10, $100 and everywhere in between. When somebody buys a "high dollar" tripod, what features are they paying for?

Eagle

#2
Merco_61

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Sturdiness, low resonance, low weight, long life and ease of use.

My current primary tripod is a Gitzo Reporter 4-section I bought in the mid nineties. It is starting to develop some play in some fittings, but it has been in use most days for the last 20 years. My Vanguard is very light, but it needs a bag weighting it down to dampen vibrations in the crucial 1/8 to 2 seconds shutter speeds so it gets left at home when not out with lightweight camping gear. My Sachtler is as sturdy as the ash Berlebach it replaced in the studio, but it is too large folded, so it stays at home too unless I foresee a need for the triple-spiked feet or I need the resonance-dampening construction.

These three sets of tripod legs would cost about $3200 together to replace today but they have more than earned their cost.



#3
Eagles1181

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Sturdiness, low resonance, low weight, long life and ease of use.

My current primary tripod is a Gitzo Reporter 4-section I bought in the mid nineties. It is starting to develop some play in some fittings, but it has been in use most days for the last 20 years. My Vanguard is very light, but it needs a bag weighting it down to dampen vibrations in the crucial 1/8 to 2 seconds shutter speeds so it gets left at home when not out with lightweight camping gear. My Sachtler is as sturdy as the ash Berlebach it replaced in the studio, but it is too large folded, so it stays at home too unless I foresee a need for the triple-spiked feet or I need the resonance-dampening construction.

These three sets of tripod legs would cost about $3200 together to replace today but they have more than earned their cost.

 

WOW.  Thank you for such a complete answer.  Obviously weight and size folded are in the technical specs about the camera.  Ease of use, sturdiness and durability are not.  Any suggestions about how to compare one tripod against another is these areas?  Ease of use probably just come with experience, what about the sturdiness and durability?  Thanks again for your answer.

 

Eagle 



#4
Merco_61

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The sturdiness is often related to how much weight it is rated for. Durability is the factor that is hardest to judge, but some manufacturers have a better reputation than others. Ease of use factors can be how you lock the length and angle of the legs.



#5
Eagles1181

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Thanks

#6
Ron

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At the risk of raising a ruckus I'll add that you're also paying for the name. There is absolutely no reason for some tripods to cost as much as they do. Especially considering that most of these high dollar tripods come as legs only. You still have to buy a head to mount your camera on and heads can run as much as tripod legs. After all, you're not going to stick a cheapo no name head on your high dollar Gitzo legs, are you?

 

I would suggest that you look at good quality tripods from established makers and stay away from the real cheap stuff. But there's no reason for you to go out and purchase a tripod that costs more than the camera you're planning to sit on top of it. As your photography advances you may decide that you need the features of a more expensive tripod. At that point you should have a better idea of what your own preferences are and should be better able to make an informed decision about what to buy. 

 

Tripods are sort of like camera bags. I don't know any long time photographers who have just one.

 

--Ron



#7
whitelotus9

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Camera bag or camera backpack?  And I have several of both...busted!

 

Tripod wise, I recently purchased a Manfrotto MK294C3 carbon fiber leg tripod with a Manfrotto D3RC2 3-way head.  My local Nikon dealer had them on sale for their 60th anniversary.  B&H Photo sells them. 



#8
etphoto

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Its been so dang long since I bought a tripod but the feature I think you need to consider is the ability to change heads. I got the same tripod but because of different reasons I changed heads over the years. I think the higher dollar tripods give you that ability.
Also like to add with the higher ISO cameras coming out tripods are getting used less and less.

#9
Thumper

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Camera bag or camera backpack?  And I have several of both...busted!
 
Tripod wise, I recently purchased a Manfrotto MK294C3 carbon fiber leg tripod with a Manfrotto D3RC2 3-way head.  My local Nikon dealer had them on sale for their 60th anniversary.  B&H Photo sells them.


I just bought this tripod:
http://www.amazon.co...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

With this head:
http://www.amazon.co...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1


VERY pleased. Nice to have a proper tripod finally. My other one was okay, but it wasn't very stable. It would vibrate a little from the action of the camera, and I botched some shots during the last blood moon.

#10
Ron

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Nice tripod,Thumper. I'm not crazy about tilt/pan heads but my better half loves'em so ... well, each to his own.  :D

 

--Ron



#11
TBonz

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Nice Thumper!  I rarely use tripods and have never used them with the big glass.  I honestly couldn't tell you who made mine or what model it is.  I know the one I have used the most I have had since the early 80s.  It now has a home in our RV so that I have one ready if needed.  I do want to try some night shots with the big glass when we're out camping with clear skies, so we'll see how it handles weight :)!  It should be fine with the 10 lbs or so I plan to put on it...My wife bought me a new one a couple of years ago and I've only used it once.  I set it up to get that lightning shot I think I posted a couple of months ago.  Mostly it was an opportunity to try it out and to try out my TriggerTrap setup.



#12
Patrick9

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Nice Thumper!  I rarely use tripods and have never used them with the big glass.  I honestly couldn't tell you who made mine or what model it is.  I know the one I have used the most I have had since the early 80s.  It now has a home in our RV so that I have one ready if needed.  I do want to try some night shots with the big glass when we're out camping with clear skies, so we'll see how it handles weight :)!  It should be fine with the 10 lbs or so I plan to put on it...My wife bought me a new one a couple of years ago and I've only used it once.  I set it up to get that lightning shot I think I posted a couple of months ago.  Mostly it was an opportunity to try it out and to try out my TriggerTrap setup.

I seem to be going the other way. I'm using mine more and more. I do need to look int a new one since somehow I have lost a  leg locking bushing a couple of weeks ago, on the one I use the most. It is just a mid range one but has met my needs over the years. My other is on loan to a family member and weighs more so it was a stay at home tripod anyway.



#13
TBonz

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I seem to be going the other way. I'm using mine more and more. I do need to look int a new one since somehow I have lost a  leg locking bushing a couple of weeks ago, on the one I use the most. It is just a mid range one but has met my needs over the years. My other is on loan to a family member and weighs more so it was a stay at home tripod anyway.

 

But you are using film as opposed to the high ISO capable DSLRs.  The reason I don't use mine often is because I rarely shoot anything that requires a tripod.  I am hoping I get more opportunity to shoot with my tripod at some point down the road.  Now, on the otherhand, I LOVE my monopod and use it all the time.  If for some reason I'm not shooting with the 200-400 on it, I am likely to put my 70-200 on it for two reasons - I believe it helps steady my shooting and I'm so used to using it!



#14
Patrick9

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But you are using film as opposed to the high ISO capable DSLRs.  The reason I don't use mine often is because I rarely shoot anything that requires a tripod.  I am hoping I get more opportunity to shoot with my tripod at some point down the road.  Now, on the otherhand, I LOVE my monopod and use it all the time.  If for some reason I'm not shooting with the 200-400 on it, I am likely to put my 70-200 on it for two reasons - I believe it helps steady my shooting and I'm so used to using it!

I actually shoot more digital than film ,tho film is a very close second. I just find that I am not as steady as I use to be. I guess that is to be expected when you reach my age. I do still usually prefer to stay at the lower ISO ranges like 1600 and lower with my DSLR's . Old preferences and ideas sometimes die hard. I didn't really notice the movement till I got a higher MP camera tho that was only last year . My problem is a very small sway keeping my balance . Just enough to effect the shot and keep it from bring as sharp as it should be

+1 on the monopod. I like mine when I go walking



#15
TBonz

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I understand that!  I have definitely found I can't hand hold and have a sharp image at some of the speeds where I used to.  I have found the higher ISO helps me bump the speed up so its about evened out.  I think I'd probably be saying the same about ISO, but that low would be way too low an ISO for some of the fields we shoot at during night games.  That kind of helped me overcome my fears of going higher - had to go higher, get action movement due to a slow shutter, or not shoot!



#16
iNYONi

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I've been looking at the Manfrotto 055 4 Leg Section Carbon Fibre Tripod, and pairing it with the new design X-PRO 3-Way Head. Any thoughts on this combo?

71-7lpLDh1L._SL1500_.jpg

71udgKr9DbL._SL1500_.jpg


#17
Thumper

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I have that exact combo, and it is awesome.  It is solid!!   I have tried the horizontal column as well, and it is solid too.   



#18
iNYONi

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having looked at the price. I've decided to go for this combo now. It's alot cheaper, ok so it's a bit more weight but I can handle that, not sure I can justify the price for the carbon Fibre set. 

Manfrotto 055XPRO3 3-section Aluminium Tripod & Manfrotto XPRO 3-Way Head

#19
Ron

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Funny thing is... I can remember when we used to fill the center columns with lead to increase  the weight. Or, as I've done, hang bags of bb's or other stuff to the bottom of the center column for the same reason. Yes, I'm old. LOL 

 

--Ron



#20
Eagles1181

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Funny thing is... I can remember when we used to fill the center columns with lead to increase  the weight. Or, as I've done, hang bags of bb's or other stuff to the bottom of the center column for the same reason. Yes, I'm old. LOL 

 

--Ron

 

I am assuming that was to increase stability?

 

Eagle