Lets talk Tri-pods.

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Darton, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. Darton

    Darton TPF Noob!

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    So i've spent the better part of this morning trying to figure out which type of tri-pod to get. I've been using a cheapo aluminum tri-pod from Wally Wrold for about the last three years, and I hate it. It's time to upgrade to a much nicer setup.

    I can't find alot of info on tri-pods. What type should I get? What brands are quality? Which head is better, pan tilt or ball? Do the heads come on the tri-pod or are they usually seperate purchases? Are quick connects standard? Metal or carbon fiber?

    As you can tell I have no idea when it comes to these things. Please help me out here.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Typical advice when talking about tripods:

    1. Light Weight
    2. Strong & Sturdy
    3. Low Price

    You only get to pick two of the three options.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's hard to go wrong with Manfrotto gear. I've got several Manfrotto tripods & light stands etc. and it's quality stuff.

    It's not really a question of 'better', is more of a personal choice. I don't like Pan & tilt for still photo, it's more of a video thing. I like either a 3-way head or a ball head. The pistol grip ball heads are particularly cool.

    When you buy a higher end tripod, the head is usually going to be a separate entity..although they are often sold as a kit.

    Most heads these days, will come with a Quick Release Plate type system. I wouldn't recommend a tripod head that didn't have a QRP...it makes it so much easier.

    Depends on your weight requirements. If you are into long hikes, then the weight savings of a CF tripod might be well worth it. But if you can handle the weight of a metal one, then save your money. Metal ones will tend to feel colder on your skin, when shooting in freezing weather, but many photographers use tape or foam to cover the legs so it's not so cold to hold.
     
  4. ChasK

    ChasK TPF Noob!

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    It depends on what you are going to use it for. If your hiking and going to carry it a distance the weight is a big factor. If your in a studio with wheels on the bottom weight is most likely not an issue. I like the Manfrotto/Bogen brand. I have one that I modified for my use and have had it for over 20 years. Parts have been easy to get and when it needs repair it is simple enough I can do it myself. Heads are sold separately and again it depends on what you are going to use it for and personal preference. For example when I set up in the studio the camera stays on the tripod all day. Quick release is not real attractive, in fact it could cause the camera to come off or loose and get damaged. I'd be glad to recommend a particular group or type if you could tell me more about how you plan to use it.
     
  5. Darton

    Darton TPF Noob!

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    Sorry I didn't mention what type of shooting i'd be using it for. I know that's a "requirement" on TPF. I'll use it for everything :eek:) My wife and I shoot little league football portraits in the fall. I shoot senior, and family Portraits which I usually shoot outdoors. Also I live right outside The Great Smokey Mountains NP I enjoy shooting landscapes and wildlife there. Ohh and I'm working on getting my home studio up and running.
     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Tripods are one place where buying used gear is a very viable option. It is hard to mess up a good pod, and you can get good prices. I got my Bogen 3021 and Gitzo Magnesium head on e-bay for under 50% of new prices. The legs on the pod were a bit scratched, but it works fine, and the head was in mint condition. BTW, the 3021 is the predecessor of the 055 and is an excellent pod -- often available on the used market.

    Several companies sell quick release mounts/plates including Giotto, Really Right Stuff, Kirks, etc.
     
  7. wheresnifty

    wheresnifty TPF Noob!

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    i have been on the same question since i have gotten into photography a little over a year ago. I have finally made up my mind recently and here are my suggestions.

    First i was going with a cheap aluminum setup.

    Amazon.com: Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs (Black): Camera & Photo

    Amazon.com: Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head with Quick Release Replaces Manfrotto 488RC2: Camera & Photo

    ----------------------------
    then i realized that i could get a decent set of carbon fiber legs for not too much more....

    FEISOL CT-3441S with Center Column and a Tripod Bag

    and then i was thinking, well, why dont i get a ballhead that will last me a lifetime?
    Markins: Home of Markins Q-Balls >> Q3T

    -------------------------------------------
    so now i am working on getting the second setup.
     
  8. ChasK

    ChasK TPF Noob!

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    For portraits I use a Manfrotto 3021 (about 20 years old) the bottom legs have been changed with shorter ones that extend only about 12 inches and the center post is a third longer or taller than factory. The shorter legs put it at the right height for me and the taller center post will allow for shoot down at babies in a poser. I like the the round center post on the older tripod as opposed to the triangular shape of the new 3021 or 055. It allows another way for a quick adjustment. Then of course it is what I'm used to, as old habits die hard, may be why I like it better than the newer ones. Hope that helps.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    For portrait work, my absolute favorite for over 20 years has been this tripod
    058 Manfrotto 058 Tripod Legs (Height 17.4 - 85.5", Maximum Load 26.50 lbs)(#3051)

    Why? It is solid and it is VERY,very,very,very rapid in its set-up and adjustment because it is as they call it, "one of the most exciting tripods in the whole Manfrotto line."

    Not wanting to type, I will simply cut and paste the ad copy, "Features patented automatic simultaneous or individual leg release system that permits the legs to be extended, the tripod levelled (spirit level included) and locked in seconds without the need for individual leg adjustment. Rubber feet with retractable spiked feet are standard. This tripod is capable of extremely low camera position with the platform at only 17", yet has the ability to go up and stand over 7 feet!"

    My comments: it goes from low to higher to higher with the squeeze of the triggers. All you need to do is squeeze and lift up, or squeeze and rock down to lower the camera to the appropriate camera height for each subject. THis takes about 2 seconds, not 15 seconds as with twist-lock or flip-lock legs, where there are 3- or 4-section legs.

    This tripod was actually, I am convinced, DESIGNED for fashion/portrait work, where the tripod will be raised or lowered across a wide range of heights, or hundreds of times a day, without the need for tedious unlock-adjust-re-lock BS. It will hold almost 27 pounds,and it has steel lower legs, and aluminum upper legs, so it is bottom-heavy and stable. This is a tripod that's not meant as a backpacker, but as a studio/location "people tripod". I love mine. I have other tripods, but for portrait sessions,or whenever RAPID and EASY re-positioning of the tripod is needed, this tripod is very convenient to use.
     

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