Specific List of "Needs"- can one tripod fit the bill?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by ilikewinter, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. ilikewinter

    ilikewinter TPF Noob!

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    Hey all-

    I am looking at purchasing a tripod as a gift and know the circumstances under which the tripod will mostly be used for but am not sure what to look for. I've been searching around the internet for a couple of days and am still lost... help? =)

    The camera is a Canon XTi. It is used for both business shots (artwork, sculpture, etc.) and everyday life which includes a lot of mountains and National Parks. It would be nice if the tripod were light enough for hiking/backpacking, but the main concern would be stability and good quality components. This is something that needs to last for a while because of being on student budgets.

    I am not sure of the difference between ball/3-way heads- lots of people seem to prefer ball but I'm not sure if that matters or not? I would love to have the retractable spikes in the feet for the outdoors as there is a lot of ice/snow around here (if they actually make a difference?). Legs that can move independently would be nice (it'll be in rough terrain a lot) as well as a bubble thing (hey, I'm new to this!), and the more height it can get, the better (as long as it is stable). Right now it is only the camera and included lens (lightweight) but eventually there will be macro lenses and telephoto, so I'd like something that can handle a little growth (although once the huge lenses become affordable for him, I'm sure he'll be able to update the tripod!).

    Also, I don't mind if it is a leg/head combo- not set; as long as they fit together and will fit the camera, that is fine.

    Anything like this out there in the $100-$200 range? Or is that asking for a miracle?
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Slightly more than you were looking to spend ($245), but I think this would work nicely.

    Spiked feet too. ;)

    Manfrotto | 055WXNB Wilderness 3-Section Aluminum | 055XWNB804

    edit
    Out of stock right now...but that should change soon.

    edit, again
    Actually, this sounds like exactly the tripod you're looking for.
     
  3. ilikewinter

    ilikewinter TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the quick reply; it will depend on how much is thrown in to the birthday fund (group gift). Right now it looks out of the league, but that might change. Thanks for the heads up on it, though...

    Do you have any preference between ball/3-way head? I am not sure what the pros/cons are of these...
     
  4. jensgt

    jensgt TPF Noob!

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  5. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    There is a general rule with tripods

    Light
    Sturdy
    Cheap

    You can only pick 2 of the above options for your tripod.

    You may want to read this

    Tripods and Ball Heads by Thom Hogan See section Thom's Maxim #2
     
  6. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I personally prefer the pan/tilt 3-way type, but that will mostly come down to personal preference. 3-way would probably be better for landscapes though.
     
  7. ilikewinter

    ilikewinter TPF Noob!

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    Right- so I'm thinking sturdy and cheap are the best options for him... (Is $200 cheap or mid-range?) I'll check out the article- thanks!
     
  8. ilikewinter

    ilikewinter TPF Noob!

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  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ballheads - these are quick to use and great for tracking a moving subject - for sports wildlife and other subjects where you need free motion from the tripod whilst it carries the weight of longe glass the ball head is the best to go for. Many of the upper level ballheads are also very solid in their hold and so they can easily be used well for a solid stable grip on the setup.
    However they are not as precise to adjust as a 3way head - a 3way is more suited to landscape, macro, buildings and other subjects where you might only want to adjust the frame in one of the three axies - a 3way lets you do this whilst a ballhead won't (though the upper level ones will have a panning plate).

    For what you descrive I agree with OIIIIO suggested. A good set of legs and a 3way head setup. Spikes are an attachment and so can always be got at a later date.

    On the lightness side sadly the best you can get in that area is carbon firbre, but expect to pay up to (or more) than double the cost of a base tripod like the one OIIIIO linked to. The best you can do with a heavier tripod is to make sure you have a good strap/bag so that carrying it is not a problem - if not it will quickly become unused and burden.

    Ps for landscape and macro and the future (since its way outside of the budget for now) take a look at the manfrotto junior geared head - fantastic for very precise axis control
     
  10. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    $200 is on the low side for a tripod... Good tripods can be had for $200, but there is a lot of crap out there that you'll have to sift through.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Easily - you just release a pressure screw and the centre colume becomes loose - lift to the desired height and then screw up the screw again to lock it in place (screw has a handle so that its operated by hand). Though I have to admit I try not to use the centre colume and try to get the height out of the legs - since that is the far more sturdy option.

    Also the tripod has a hanging hook - and if out in the field you can hang a camera bag or a bag of rocks (pick the rocks up in the field of course for a lighter carrying load to the shooting site) for added stabilty

    Edit - you could also check out hte second hand market as an option. There are some holder manfrotto (and other brand) tripods which are perfectly good, but just "out of fashion". The older tripods had removable centre colums rather than the newer angled ones (and personally I feel the older has a better design from the aspect of low angle stablity and functionality) but other than that change they are just as solid.
     
  12. ilikewinter

    ilikewinter TPF Noob!

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    I'm all about purchasing quality; according to this article, though, I can't do it for less than around $600. Definitely not in the budget. I know it would be better to get a permanent solution, but I kinda would think a decent-ish tripod (not a $50 Wal-mart tripod) would be better than trying to hold a camera still in darker lighting situations... right? This is great reference though, for in the future (once there are full-time jobs!). =)
     

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