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Moving on to Tripods (attention Scott Merryfield)

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Scott,



    Which Tripod were you offering up?



    I'm trying to say this without insulting your very

    generous offer....



    Everything I have read over the past two days

    suggest not to go too cheap on a Tripod.



    One with a ball is recommended.



    Found this one on Amazon. It is a travel

    tripod with ball. Mainly designed for travel but

    I am hoping that I can get away with making it

    a tripod I can use permanently without blowing

    a lot of cash in the process.



    http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-7302YB-M-Y-Tripod-Ball/dp/B001TK3EJE/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1280847132&sr=1-1



    Since I don't know one tripod from the other

    I am not even sure how good this one is, if I

    could spending less or even just a little more.
     
  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I can't recommend anything other than Gitzo / Manfrotto legs and Really Right Stuff or Bogen heads. I saved up and bought premium stuff first. It's heavy but will never fail.
    http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-055XPROB-Tripod-Legs-Black/dp/B000UMX7FI/ref=dp_ob_title_ce

    If you wanted to go Carbon Fiber i'd check these out, but 3x the price...
    http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-190CXPRO3-3-Section-Carbon-without/dp/B0015MFTE4/ref=sr_1_16?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1280848129&sr=1-16

    I use the BH-55 LR Ball head and absolutely love it. I will never use a non RRS head or plate.
    http://reallyrightstuff.com/ballheads/02.html

    Again, this stuff cost about the same as your camera did, but the reason it is so expensive is because it's worth it.

    This might be a good alternative at 1/4 the price, dunno:
    http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-496RC2-Release-Replaces-486RC2/dp/B002WN212I/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1280848036&sr=1-4

    Edit: just looked at your link, that's not a bad set but if you are thinking of going that route I would go for the 55x legs and the 496 head rather than the combo pack you listed but that may just come down to personal preference.
     
  3. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    I've been meaning to get this Giottos ballhead (for my Feisol carbon fiber legs) myself:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/490016-REG/Giottos_MH3300_550C_MH_3300_Pro_Series_II.html

    Seems like a very good ballhead for those of us on a modest budget -- you'd probably need to spend at least 2x as much for something better. Just pair it w/ your choice of quick-release plate system (or go w/ one of Giottos' own options).

    I'd pass on the Bogen ballheads as none of them are designed to handle all that much of a load. Also, I heard that they tend to creep after a while.

    _Man_
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

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    Ron,

    I will need to pull the tripod out tonight to take a look at the ballhead to see how it compares to the one in your link, but that was the main dislike I had for the unit I was offering you as a freebie. I think I paid about $90 for the tripod several years ago. I do not know if I will be able to find a model number, but I can take a photo of it and post it here. As I said earlier, it is not a great tripod (which is why I no longer use it), but it is much better than the junk that gets included in those big box store camera kits. It would work as a starting point, but you would eventually want something better.

    The tripods that Sam recommends above are excellent units, but are quite expensive. I would love to add a Really Right Stuff ballhead to my setup eventually. For now, though, I went a less expensive route, getting Flashpoint F-1228 carbon fiber legs along with a Giottos MH-1301 ballhead. Flashpoint is the "house brand" tripod sold by Adorama.com, and provides a lot of "bang for the buck", IMO. The combined setup cost me around $300 a few years ago. The carbon fiber legs are light weight, yet provide a very stable base, and the twist leg locks allow for very quick setup and take down. This setup works well for basic landscape and wildlife shooting, which is my primary focus. For more advanced applications, though, this tripod does not have the flexibility needed for specialized positioning.

    Here are the Flashpoint legs:
    http://www.adorama.com/FPTPF1228.html

    Here is the Giottos ballhead:
    http://www.adorama.com/GTMH1301656.html

    Adorama also sells Flashpoint branded ballheads that look similar for a little less money, and are probably actually made by either Giottos or Gitzo for Adorama.
     
  5. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    This is a good read (from Sam's prefered choice of ballhead+QR maker):

    http://reallyrightstuff.com/tripods/index.html

    There's also a link to Thom Hogan's article on tripods as well -- in fact, IIRC, many folks first heard about RRS several years ago from Thom Hogan.

    Also, since Ron has chosen to go w/ Nikon, might want to get familiar w/ Thom Hogan's site (http://bythom.com/index.htm). Although I've never bought/used one of his manuals for a Nikon camera or speedlight, many seem to swear by his manuals.

    Another good site to check out is Luminous Landscape:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/

    _Man_
     
  6. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Right on. /img/vbsmilies/htf/thumbsup.gif
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

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    Ron,

    The tripod does in fact have a model number printed right on it -- a Manfrotto 725B Digi. It appears that the tripod in your link is the exact replacement model for mine.

    Here are links to the item:

    http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-725B-Tripod-Integrated-Carrying/dp/B000FFSDCC

    http://www.manfrotto.com/Jahia/site/manfrotto/pid/13131
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Scott,

    Dude, this is a pretty damn good tripod.

    You are not using it anymore?

    Gotta give you something for it.

    I'll be in touch with you soon.
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

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    Ron,

    The tripod has been sitting in my closet unused for years. Honestly, I would consider it an entry level tripod. Looking at it today, I do remember the things that frustrated me using it -- mostly related to the ballhead. Trust me -- if you end up using a tripod a lot as part of your photography, you will want to upgrade to something better.

    If you are interested, I would be happy to send it to you. The only thing I ask in return is that when you are done using it, pass it along to another beginning photographer.
     
  10. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Well-Known Member

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    I guess I haven't been shooting long enough to figure out the benefits of a really expensive tripod. My first one I bought as an impulse purchase at a Best Buy in San Francisco when I brought my DSLR there for the first time. I wanted to go up and take some night shots from Twin Peaks and I can't say I was disappointed at all with the performance of it, even if it has a simple pan-tilt head. That now is my primary travel tripod. I later bought a larger, heavier tripod on closeout--again with a pan-tilt head--that I carry in the back of my car at all times. I haven't been disappointed with that one either. Only thing i wish it had was maybe a hook for hanging some weight for extra stability on a really windy evening. In any case, both tripods together cost me less than $150 and I've used them a lot. I'd have to say I've gotten good value out of them. Maybe a year or two from now I'll figure out why I need a ball head, but for now I'm satisfied with what I've got.
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Scott,

    Forgive me for a potentially stupid
    question as you know how new I am
    to all this....

    Say I took your Tripod. And my God,
    that is such a gracious offer.

    If I invested in a new ballhead would
    it make your slightly troublesome tripod
    something really good?

    I am just wondering if I am better off
    taking your Tripod and investing in a
    new ballhead (if that could be done) or
    wait a few months, save some money,
    and spend $300 on one the combo listed
    in your post #4 above.

    I realized today I will need a tripod at
    some point. If I am figuring this correctly,
    when I go to those high "F" settings the
    shutter takes forever to complete. There
    is no way I can take pictures with that kind
    of delay without shaking the camera.

    ...am I right on what I am figuring here?
     
  12. Scott Merryfield

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    Unfortunately, Ron, the Manfrotto tripod I have does not have a removable ballhead. I cannot see any way to remove it for replacement with a better head. The head has a single adjustment lever that loosens the ball, as opposed to better heads that will have separate knobs to adjust movement, tension and rotation.

    The tripod does provide a solid base for support, but the ballhead can get frustrating if you are trying to make position adjustments quickly. I took it to Yellowstone National Park several years ago, and was frustrated trying to use it to photograph wildlife, which requires a ballhead where you can make quick adjustments. For more stationary subjects where you have time to make adjustments, such as landscapes and portraits, it's not as bad, but still not optimal.

    The Giottos ballhead I mentioned above provided the functions I needed, and the Flashpoint carbon fiber legs are really an exceptional value, IMO.

    The Manfrotto will work for someone starting out, and is much better than the $20 junk tripods you see at Best Buy or Wal-Mart, which do not even provide a solid base of support for a dSLR. , However, if you do decide that you really like photography and want to progress, you will want something better eventually.
     
  13. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Are you sure you can't just twist it off it's base by going reverse of -righty tighty, leftly loosey-? There won't be a lever or anything to remove a head, they just screw on to a thicker style bolt.
     
  14. Scott Merryfield

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    I am positive it will not just twist off -- I tried. My current tripod / ballhead combo screws on in the manner you describe, so I am very familiar with what you are getting at. In the Manfrotto's case, though, the head sits on a cylinder that appears to be part of the tripod base.

    If you look at the description of the unit on Amazon, it does state "It includes a built-in aluminum ball head with a single ratchet locking lever". The Manfrotto website's technical specs also state it is a built-in head.

    http://www.manfrotto.com/Jahia/site/manfrotto/pid/13131

    http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-725B-Tripod-Integrated-Carrying/dp/B000FFSDCC
     
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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  16. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Not familiar with those legs but looks like a good deal. I use RRS ballheads so can't comment on that one.
     
  17. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Sam,
     
    Are RRS Ballheads close in price to the Giottos and any
    reason why I should consider going for those instead?
     
    Also, while I have you here, could you link to that very
    expensive camera strap you mentioned in a previous thread?
    You seem to like it so much that I may consider it.
     
     
  18. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    No, they are about 3x the price.
    http://reallyrightstuff.com/ballheads/02.html
     
    But totally worth it if used often.
     
    The R strap truly is excellent:
    http://www.blackrapid.com/product/camera-strap/rs-5/
     
  19. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Well-Known Member

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    That strap looks nice. The main problem I'd have with it is that it connects to the tripod socket. If I had a heavy lens with its own tripod connector then maybe it's not an issue, but if I don't, then I constantly have to remove the strap connector in order to mount the camera on a tripod.
     
  20. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I have mine on my D300 with an L bracket permanently attached to it. It's not a big deal, it screws into the bottom very securely and quickly.
     

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