Educate me on Tripods, Heads

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Riggaberto, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Riggaberto

    Riggaberto TPF Noob!

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    This summer, I'm taking a trip to Hawaii, and plan on bringing my photo gear (obviously). I plan on doing some intense hiking, and I want to bring along a nice tripod and head with me so I can take shots in a variety of situations.

    So what should I get? My budget is $300 for tripod and head. I want to get something heavy, but not too heavy because I have to trek around with it and the stuff that you see in my signature. I also want to be able to do panoramas.

    I find myself overwhelmed by the Tripod selection and the various features of the models, and the heads. I'll be damned if some of the ones I saw on BH aren't self-aware. Recommendations with explanation of features and why they're useful are welcome.

    Also, if you know of any just straight up tripod guides, please let me know, thanks everyone!
     
  2. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Have a read of this by Thom Hogan. Makes sense in the broader spectrum.

    However, I have the Bogen/Manfrotto 055XPROB legs and the Bogen 488RC4 Midi Ball Head. Weighs about 5lbs. but is a good combination for me. Sturdy and versital.
     
  3. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

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    Whatever tripod you get, make sure that you can put your biggest lens on it and it won't wobble. A wobbly tripod is worse than useless.

    Ball heads are better than pan and tilt heads. Much more freedom.
     
  4. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    +1 for the legs and I have this head here:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    As for legs the 055XProB is a nice set of legs. My personal choice is the older 3021ProB legs for field work. They are no longer made having been replaced with the 055XProB. They are a good set of legs that work well in most conditions.

    For heads I think that you should consider what you will be using a tripod for the most. There are a lot of people that swear by ball heads. Personally I own three heads and use them all.

    For studio/portrait work I prefer the 322RC2 head pictured above. The side pistol grip is quick, responsive and my preferred head for this type of work. A ball head takes to long to adjust just right as it is touchy and a pan/tilt head is too cumbersum.

    My pan tilt head is and predecessor of the 804RC2 head that is used strictly for detailed work and macro. It is by far the easiest to get set just so or to make those very minor adjustments with. Plus it is a very stable base for a set of macro focusing rails.

    For general field work I prefer the 488RC2 head. To me the 488RC4 is a bit of overkill that is more designed for a medium format body where the RC2 is the same connector as is shown on the 322RC2 above. A ball head is easier to carry around. No protrusions sticking out to grab something. Plus the 488 heads have an independent panning knob allowing you to turn the camera without loosening the ball.

    If you are using big glass, 400, 500, 600mm etc. then a gimble mount is the way to go. Such as the Jobu or Wimberley heads. But then you also would not want something like the 055XProB legs but something that is much sturdier.

    The best thing to do is to go to a photography shop. Look at heads and legs and get a feel for them.
     

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