Quick Advice Appreciated - Tripod and Filters

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by pm63, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I'm off on a trip this Thursday and so would appreciate some quick advice on the following:

    1. I need a good tripod, and would like to spend no more than £100 ($200, though prices vary between here and the US). It will not be carrying things that heavy - my Nikon D40 and 18-55 kit lens, 55-200 and possibly an ultra-wide zoom, when I get round to buying one. Landscape and portrait options. I would like it to be able to go low (let's say 30cm), and at least up to eye level (170cm). Must be reasonably light and 'carry-able', but I acknowledge I won't exactly be getting carbon in this price range.

    2. Is there any point in getting a polariser if the lens I will most be using it on (18-55 kit), has a rotating front element? I would really like it for landscapes.

    3. Reasonably priced ND grads: I've been looking at the Cokin P square system and obviously they are not as expensive as the professional Lee filters, but would they be suitable for a beginning landscaper? Which ones should I get? I've been looking at this company, which makes cheap grads compatible with Cokin P.

    4. Would anyone know of any good camera shops in London, England which will allow me to test this gear and give good advice?

    Any help would be fantastic.
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For your tripod, I would suggest either Bogen/Manfrotto or Benbo. Velbon and Sunpack make a couple of decent ones as well. Your best bet for this will be used. A cheap tripod is likely worse than no tripod at all. Your price range should put you into a nice used medium tripod with a ball head (BTW, go for a ball head vice tilt/pan head).
    There is most definitely a point in getting a CPOL if your front element rotates. Compose the picture the way you want, once your zoomed and focused, then simply rotate the front element of the CPOL until you acheive the desired affect.
    I have used Cokin grads and ND grads for many years now, and have no problems with them. Some people report a purple caste to their images, but I've not seen this. Do not by cheap, offshore filters however. These will very likely degrade your image.
    Unfortunately, I can't help you with the camera shops, but there are lots of UK members here, I'm sure someone can, and don't forget eBay and other on-line sites. Great way to by used gear!
     
  3. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    You might be able to get a tripod for that price, but a good quality ball mount can cost a similar amount. I think, if you want a good pod for that price, you're going to have to go the used route (I bought my bogen 3021 and Gitzo ball mount with quick release for about $250 on ebay ... from separate sources).

    Yes ... get the circular polarizer ...you know that cokin makes one too if you get the P mount for the ND filter.
     
  4. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    OK, so I went around a few shops on lostprophet's reccomendations and tried out various tripods in my price range.

    The two best ones I tried out were:

    > Arena Pro - this is the own-brand of a camera shop in London, but it's actually a Velbon PH-157Q head on Slik 400DX legs.

    > Manfrotto 190XDB + 390RC2.

    Both were very similar, both £100, though the Manfrotto had seperate controls for pan and tilt, the Velbon head could do it all-in-one. Also the Arena had nice padding around the top sections, and was generally sturdier.

    However, the Manfrotto was from one of the dodgy electronics retailers on Tottenham Court Road, the Arena from a reputable photographic store.

    That store also had the cheapest prices on the Cokin P filter system, so I'll probably get all the stuff from there.

    I am now debating on wheather I need the ML-L3 remote for landscapes. My D40 can't take a cable release, and the self timer is long to wait for (2s does not seem long but gets annoying, as does the beeping).
     

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