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Moving on to Tripods (attention Scott Merryfield)


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#1 of 105 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 03 2010 - 02:53 AM


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.co...80847132&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.


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#2 of 105 Sam Posten

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Posted August 03 2010 - 03:08 AM

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.co...=dp_ob_title_ce


If you wanted to go Carbon Fiber i'd check these out, but 3x the price...

http://www.amazon.co...0848129&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://reallyrightst...llheads/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.co...80848036&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.


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#3 of 105 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted August 03 2010 - 04:18 AM

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


http://www.bhphotovi..._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_


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#4 of 105 Scott Merryfield

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Posted August 03 2010 - 04:32 AM

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.c...TMH1301656.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 of 105 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted August 03 2010 - 04:54 AM

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


http://reallyrightst...pods/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_


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#6 of 105 Sam Posten

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Posted August 03 2010 - 05:35 AM

Right on.  /img/vbsmilies/htf/thumbsup.gif


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#7 of 105 Scott Merryfield

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Posted August 03 2010 - 09:16 AM

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.co...g/dp/B000FFSDCC


http://www.manfrotto...rotto/pid/13131



#8 of 105 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 03 2010 - 09:27 AM

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.


Ronald J Epstein
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#9 of 105 Scott Merryfield

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Posted August 03 2010 - 09:54 AM

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 of 105 Michael_K_Sr

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Posted August 03 2010 - 01:56 PM

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 of 105 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 08 2010 - 11:32 AM

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?


Ronald J Epstein
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#12 of 105 Scott Merryfield

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Posted August 08 2010 - 02:04 PM

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 of 105 Sam Posten

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Posted August 09 2010 - 09:34 AM

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.


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#14 of 105 Scott Merryfield

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Posted August 09 2010 - 11:07 AM



Originally Posted by Sam Posten 

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.


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...rotto/pid/13131


http://www.amazon.co...g/dp/B000FFSDCC



#15 of 105 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 30 2010 - 05:15 AM

 

Here are the Flashpoint legs:

http://www.adorama.com/FPTPF1228.html

 

Here is the Giottos ballhead:

http://www.adorama.c...TMH1301656.html

 

 

I am still inching towards the above recommendation by Scott Merryfield,

that is, unless anyone has a better recommendation for the same price or

a little bit more.


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#16 of 105 Sam Posten

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Posted August 30 2010 - 05:49 AM

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


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#17 of 105 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 30 2010 - 05:52 AM

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.

 


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#18 of 105 Sam Posten

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Posted August 30 2010 - 06:34 AM

No, they are about 3x the price.

http://reallyrightst...llheads/02.html

 

But totally worth it if used often.

 

The R strap truly is excellent:

http://www.blackrapi...era-strap/rs-5/


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#19 of 105 Michael_K_Sr

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Posted August 30 2010 - 08:45 AM

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 of 105 Sam Posten

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Posted August 30 2010 - 03:42 PM

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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