Recommendation for a tripod?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by blash, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    I have a Nikon D80 with a 50 f/1.8 lens, 55-200 VR crap lens and 18-135 crap kit lens. They do the job for now but I'm looking forward to getting some better glass, so although pretty much any tripod out there will suit my set up right now I'm looking for something I can expand on. Also, as a student beginning a Photography minor next semester, I want to be able to put whatever school equipment I may borrow on this (since this tripod might/likely be superior).

    I heard Bogen/Manfrotto is supposed to be the best in terms of quality so I'm interested in B/M material. I want to buy something that will last me for a very, very long time and hopefully outlast even my camera bodies - if someone, say Gitzmo (why did I say Giotto originally??), can do that better than I'm open to other manufacturers.

    I need to be able to lock single axes (panoramic shots), I heard I can do that with a ball head, if that's the case then I'd like a ball head, otherwise a classic 3-way pan head is good.

    I need to be able to switch from landscape to portrait - a system that can do it on the fly would be nice but not necessary.

    Obviously lighter is better but so long as the body stays stable, weight's not a high priority in consideration with everything else.

    Budget is $250, $300 is the absolute highest I can spend and I better have a pretty darn good reason for doing so. Anything lower is greatly appreciated since I'm a college student and funds are limited.

    This post is mainly brought on by going to B&H's website, looking under Tripods -> Bogen/Manfrotto systems and seeing a heck of a lot of combinations and not really understanding how they differ.

    Thanks a lot :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  2. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Others will undoubtedly chirp in with their own renditions, but my setup is Bogen 055XPROB legs and two heads, the 488RC4 and the 322RC2. I am pleased with all. The center column of the legs will go into a horizontal position and can drop down to 10cm. I am just shy of 5'-10" and I like not having to bend over when the legs are fully deployed. It's not a light combo while on the trail, but it's not unbearable either.
     
  3. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    Ah - yeah I should probably add that I'm 6 ft 2. Sorry that escaped me...

    I'll look at how much that costs.

    edit: those two come down to about $300 not including shipping on B&H - a little out of my price range I think considering I'm hearing it's awesome but no real reason other than, well, sturdy etc. Looks good but I'll wait for more replies before deciding... 488RC2 head drops it to $275 before shipping but still.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  4. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I would agree with the legs and the 322 head. I own both. I would suggest the 488RC2 head instead. The RC4 plate is overkill for 35mm style gear. It is better suited to medium format. Later on down the line when money is not so tight that you look into the arca-swiss style quick release system. More expensive but unsurpassed for build, quality and safety of your gear. You can even get arca-swiss quick release plate heads to retrofit ball heads like the 488RC2.
     
  5. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    does the pano-swivel feature (what I'm really looking for while locking individual axes) work only on the x-axis for the 488RC2 or for y-axis at least as well? How would I be able to switch from landscape to portrait with ease on the 488RC2 head?
     
  6. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    I really like the 3021 Pro legs and I personally use the 488RC4 head because it has degree scales for panning, a bubble level, and I occasionally shoot medium format.

    But for small format, the 488 RC2 midi is just fine, and the 190Xpro legs are slick too, I really like how you can pivot the center column super easy to be parallel with the ground.
     
  7. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    about the 055XPROB - how well does that fit into a carry-on? Would I be able to carry it (folded up and without a camera attached, of course) through security without a problem? Also looking at the 190XPROB legs as a slightly cheaper alternative.

    Just trying to think about how I'm going to shuttle this to and from home while on break - there's my main suitcase for all my clothes, Camelbak for laptop and (not-filled) water bladder, toss my camera into the Camelbak, and then I have the carry-on suitcase that I would toss my Xbox 360 in (hey, I am a college student :p) and I'm a little worried if the tripod only fits into the carry-on diagonally and thus not leave any room for my 360 - or I might be able to toss my 360 into my Camelbak? I don't think I have the room, I just don't want to pack anything expensive into the main suitcase in case of loss/theft etc. as many people learn the hard way.

    Is a tripod bag necessary (i.e. reviews praising the padding of a bag) or is it just superfluous since I'm buying a solid system, or is it a big help with lugging it around? Do I need a bag or are straps alright?

    The extra $5 or so for a 488RC4 looks like a good tradeoff, I seriously doubt I'm not going to do medium format in college and the bubble level is pretty handy. 488RC4 + 055XPROB is a couple bucks under $300 with shipping and looks like a pretty solid system.

    Thanks for answering the newbie questions people :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  8. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have the older version of the 055XPROB in carbon fiber (I think it is/was called the O55MF3). The legs have 3 sections, and when folded, the tripod does NOT fit in a carry-on luggage. It is way too long. The 4 section leg tripod might be shorter and might fit but I don't know for sure. As to decide between the 055 and 190, look at the maximum weight they can support and compare it to your heaviest camera+lens combination. It is also worth comparing maximum height (if that's important to you) as they might be different. If you are planning to take your tripod everywhere, the lighter 190 might be a better choice.

    When I bought my tripod for 35mm and MF cameras I did a lot of research and found the Manfrotto 055MF3 tripod and 460MG head (I don't like ballheads) to be a good compromise between cost, stability and weight.
     
  9. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I use a padded tripod bag for storage and transportation only, for example when the tripod is in the boot of the car. When I am on a walk taking pictures the padded bag is a hindrance as it is fairly big. When on walks, I use a strap or attach the tripod to my camera backpack.
     
  10. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    I have the 055XPROB and the 322RC2 head and I love them. I don't do much hiking with it though. I think if I were looking for a tripod to carry on a trail, I would deffinately get carbon fiber legs. Adorama has the setup that I have along with a bag for $307 right now. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this setup again.
     
  11. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    What do you do for travel then - put it in checked baggage? 055XPROB is 3 sections from the specs. but is listed as 24" long folded. I've got a 22" or so (briggs and riley)... drat. I need to think about this.

    Does anyone else have any suggestions on how to get a tripod + laptop (small - 12" screen but thick since I will be bringing the docking bay with me) + Xbox 360 + camera equipment (in a padded bag) all as a carry-on? Thanks... I'm thinking that I would carry the tripod and try to cram the rest into the carry-on suitcase but I'm not sure.
     
  12. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    1. Get something like this for a bag.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/292331-REG/Lowepro_LP34030_PEF_CompuTrekker_AW_Backpack.html

    2. Leave the Xbox 360 at home.

    3. Ship the tripod UPS or Fedex to the hotel where you are staying and have it waiting for you. Did this when we went to Orlando last fall and the hotel handed me the tripod when we checked in. Cheaper than the $25+ for checked luggage these days and that was with shipping both ways.
     

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