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Moving on to Tripods (attention Scott Merryfield)


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#21 of 105 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted August 31 2010 - 04:06 AM

Really Right Stuff makes some of the best ball heads and brackets on the market, Ron, but they are also very pricey. The Giottos head I am using is very functional at a more palatable price. Adorama also sells Flashpoint brand heads that look like they may be clones of the Giottos heads, but at a slightly lower price. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you from experience how well they actually work.   The Giottos head uses Swiss Arca compatible quick release plates, which are very easy to use, IMO. I really disliked the quick release system on my old Manfrotto ball head -- it was quite cumbersome. The Swiss Arca system is much easier to attach and remove from the ball head.   My only criticism of the Giottos is it weighs a little more than I would prefer, but that is a tradeoff based on the cost. For the amount of use it gets, I couldn't justify the higher cost of the RRS head to save a few ounces in my case.

#22 of 105 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 31 2010 - 04:08 AM

Scott,   So it seems your original recommendation above (post #15) is probably the best "bang for the buck."

 

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#23 of 105 OFFLINE   Jim_C

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Posted September 01 2010 - 10:48 AM

I don't think anyone has mentioned Markins, Kirk or Acratech yet.  All are very good to excellent ball heads but like RRS, they are not cheap.  They'll last forever, though.


 


http://www.markinsam...egory.php?req=1


 


http://www.kirkphoto...Ball-Heads.html


 


http://acratech.net/home.php?cat=1


 


RRS has already been mentioned.  Right now I'm trying to decide between a Markins and RRS ballhead to go on either Manfrotto or Gitzo CF legs.  This hobby is so damned expensive.
You want to upgrade again?!!

#24 of 105 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted September 01 2010 - 11:21 AM

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Epstein /forum/thread/302774/moving-on-to-tripods-attention-scott-merryfield#post_3724766 Scott,   So it seems your original recommendation above (post #15) is probably the best "bang for the buck."
Ron,   Hard to say something like that would be the "best bang for the buck" -- we're not talking about spending 7 figures on a Strad or Del Jesu (or 6 on some other Italian collector's item) vs 5 figures on a contemporary "new" violin from a top current maker afterall. /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif  You should think more in terms of getting the right tool for the right job.   I'm guessing that setup would be fine if you don't plan on using it w/ a big long (likely pro quality) lens or shoot in "difficult" situations or whatever else.  But if you're looking for something that will last you a very long time, be a pleasure to use in most instances and be very serviceable in most any circumstance you'd likely come across, then I suspect that setup will probably fall short.   Also, remember that the shooting process/experience itself counts for a lot IMHO, and better tools, if you can afford them, can make all that more enjoyable, etc. even if they don't necessarily yield better results (at least not w/out proper technique, a good eye, etc).   _Man_
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#25 of 105 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 01 2010 - 11:54 AM

Man has a point. I use a tripod for basic landscape and wildlife photography, so my needs are not very elaborate. The Flashpoint carbon fiber legs and Giottos head provide all the functionality I need, are easy to use, are well-constructed for my needs, and transport well (I do most of my tripod shooting when we travel). It will support any camera/lens load I will ever own as well, since those big white telephoto prime lenses are way out of my price range. /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif   If you need something for more specialized uses or plan on upgrading to some very heavy body/lens combos, then a more advanced ballhead and/or legs may be needed. For basic uses, though, the combo I recommended works very well at a reasonable price.

#26 of 105 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted September 01 2010 - 12:20 PM

Having said all that, if those inexpensive Flashpoint legs are good, I guess you can always swap the ballhead to something better/stronger later, if need be.  I'm just not sure how good those legs can be at that price point (and for carbon fiber no less).   RE: the camera/lens load, it might not actually require quite that much camera/lens weight to present a serious load that taxes the limits of these inexpensive tripod rigs for a given circumstance.  For instance, you're probably not always going to be shooting on perfectly flat ground and/or w/ the camera sitting pretty much straight in landscape mode on top -- that would be an easy load to handle.  All it probably takes is if you get one of those 70-200 f/2.8 telezooms (or similar) and set the camera up to be something other than landscape mode or something along those lines and you're probably gonna start taxing the limits of such a rig.  Of course, I'm just guessing based on the price of those legs and the specs available for that ballhead.   I don't know what better legs you can get for a little more, but it may be well worth it to go for the top Giottos ballhead (model 3300) for another $40-50 more instead:   http://www.bhphotovi..._Series_II.html   I mean if you're gonna spend any $ at all on quality filters to protect your lenses -- which I'm not a big fan of doing though I know it's needed sometimes -- then I'd think the few bucks extra for the better/stronger Giottos ballhead should be easily worth it too.   _Man_
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#27 of 105 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 01 2010 - 12:37 PM

Man,   For $20 more I'll go with the ballhead you recommend in the post above.   Don't want to spend a crapload of money on Tripod legs.  I am hoping the one I mentioned in post #15 will be good enough.  The most weight I will have on the camera for the moment is a 70-300mm lens and speedlight.

 

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#28 of 105 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted September 01 2010 - 01:01 PM

Ron, That price does not include the quick release mechanism, so it's not just $20 more. _Man_
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#29 of 105 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 01 2010 - 01:05 PM

Man,   Can you link to the mechanism I need so I know what I am looking at?  Thanks.

 

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#30 of 105 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted September 01 2010 - 01:47 PM

This is probably the one (w/ comparable QR system) you want for their top model ballhead:   http://www.bhphotovi..._Series_II.html   Hmmm... I took a look at the customer reviews for the other one at B&H, and they all like the head, but many don't like the QR system too much:   http://www.bhphotovi...II.html#reviews   So maybe it'd be good to consider a different, better QR system to go w/ either head instead.  Afterall, your tripod rig/setup will only be as good as its weakest link allows.   _Man_
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#31 of 105 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 01 2010 - 02:12 PM

Now I am more confused as to which one to go with.


 


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


 


That is the original one I was looking at.  Does it include


the quick release?

I just need a dependable ball head and quick release combo


that will last a good many years but will not break the bank.

 

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#32 of 105 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted September 01 2010 - 02:31 PM

That one includes their matching QR system.  On B&H's site, some customers complained that their QR plate isn't so good.  However, the system is supposed to be compatible w/ other Arca-Swiss type QR plates, so I guess you can always switch to a different brand plate instead, if this included one turns out to be poor.  In the long run, you may well find yourself adding more plates anyway (and probably keeping some semi-permanently attached to camera body, long lenses (w/ tripod collar), etc.).   _Man_
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#33 of 105 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 02 2010 - 04:00 AM

Ron,   IMO, the Flashpoint carbon fiber legs provide excellent support at their price point, and should be fine for the load you will be placing on them. My camera and lens are probably heavier than yours, and these legs provide a very stable platform for them.  They really outperform their price.   The quick release mechanism that Man links to above in post #30 is the same one on my Giottos ballhead. It works very well, providing a solid, stable connection while easy to mount / dismount.

#34 of 105 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 02 2010 - 04:05 AM

Scott,   Unless I am mistaken, Man refers to two different models in post #30.   Which one do you recommend?    Just need the ball head and quick release.  

 

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#35 of 105 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 02 2010 - 09:41 AM

Ron,   Both ball head models that Man linked to include the quick release system. The more expensive 3300 will support a heavier load -- 20kg. vs 10kg., according to Giottos website (which converts to 44 lbs. vs. 22 lbs.). Different resellers websites list the max loads as less for the 3300, so take that for what it's worth. However, the more expensive model is also twice the weight (2.2 lbs. vs. 1.1 lbs.).  I have the less expensive 1301 model and it works for the load I am putting on it.   If you do not mind the extra cost and weight, the more expensive 3300 would be a good choice. Otherwise, the 1301 should also work with your current body and lenses.

#36 of 105 OFFLINE   Michael_K_Sr

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Posted September 02 2010 - 06:51 PM

Ha...my camera almost took a bath in Lake Michigan after my tripod partially collapsed tonight. Will be headed out this weekend to find a solid body and head. I can feel a headache coming on...

#37 of 105 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 03 2010 - 04:47 AM

 
 /forum/thread/302774/moving-on-to-tripods-attention-scott-merryfield/30#post_3725748 Ha...my camera almost took a bath in Lake Michigan after my tripod partially collapsed tonight. Will be headed out this weekend to find a solid body and head. I can feel a headache coming on...
Gee, Michael, I guess you jinxed yourself with that first statement. /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif Now you know why people buy better tripods. /img/vbsmilies/htf/smiley_wink.gif

#38 of 105 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 03 2010 - 05:40 AM

Still wondering if I should spend 3x the money to buy  a tripod and ballhead that I may or may not use often.   Through recommendations I found this Tripod/Ballhead combination that is getting good reviews   http://www.bhphotovi...orToReadReviews

 

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#39 of 105 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted September 03 2010 - 08:35 AM

Ron,   You can always wait some before deciding unless you know of a specific upcoming need for it.   FWIW, I would *not* go w/ that last one you linked.  That would probably be going backwards from the rig that Scott recommended.   Still, do note though that technique is important even w/ tripod setup/use.  The best tripod rig in the world isn't gonna stop you from producing shake induced blurry photos or a broken camera/lens or whatever other badness, if you don't use it properly.  If you understand how things work, you can sometimes get by w/ much less -- that's actually one of the good things about learning photography on a decent compact (vs a machine-gun DSLR) w/ its set of limitations or likewise w/ learning to shoot full manual w/ a fixed focal length (instead of zoom lens), etc.   _Man_
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#40 of 105 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted September 07 2010 - 04:09 PM

I've followed this thread and also need some advice on a tripod.   Currently I'm shooting a Canon 50D and my heaviest lenses would be the 70-200 f/2.8L and the 24-70 f/2.8L.  Although with the tripod collar, the 70-200 really isn't that much of a problem.   I've been using a really cheap aluminum tripod that is not very sturdy at all. And when the 24-70 f/2.8L is attached, the tripod will not keep the lens steady without drooping.   I've looked around online and there are so many types of tripods and price points, I've only succeeded in confusing myself even more.   What would be a good tripod and head combination that would not set me back more than $500, yet would more than handle my heaviest equipment?  I don't shoot from a tripod very often, so spending more isn't something I'm too keen on.  Specific links would very much be appreciated.




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