Tripod Help on a Budget

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by matseski, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. matseski

    matseski TPF Noob!

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    I having some troubles achieving the results I want due to some limitations in my equipment. I am primarily concerned with shooting with my Canon 50D w/ battery grip and Sigma 150mm as I am trying to put together a collection of abstract macro images. However, due to financial limitations at the time of purchase, I had to forgo a quality tripod and external flash.

    In the meantime, I have been using an old, cheap tripod I found around the house. However, I can only attach my camera within a very limited range of angles because if it tilts too far, the mechanism starts to creep until my camera is vertical. Likewise, the legs start to bend when I put my camera on it...it works to hold it, but just. Also, in order to get the images I am after, I need to be close to my subject, but since my studio space is currently limited to a table with a piece of poster board behind, I need a support solution where the camera can be held beyond the base of the tripod. With this in mind, I checked out Manrotto and found the 190XPROB ($150) and 055XPROB ($180) which seemed like they would suit my needs perfectly.

    For the head I have been looking at geared heads and the 3way pan/tilt as I am looking to be able to precisely position the camera. The two lowest cost solutions here were the 804RC2 ($80) and 808RC4 ($150) (both 3way).

    I looked at Manfrotto mainly because of their reputation of being quality with a "reasonable" price tag; however, if there are other less expensive solutions that offer me the same/comparable capabilities I would be more than interested in looking into them. Any other thoughts on any combination of those pieces would be greatly appreciated.

    I will be purchasing a Canon 430EX II. Does anyone know of a place to/recommend buying used? I do not know what the life expectancy of a flash is to determine if it is worth looking for a well taken care of used one or not.

    Thanks for the help
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I own both Manfrotto 055 and 190 legs and they're excellent. With respect to the head, do you have a particular requirement for a tilt/pan head? Generally I find ball heads more versatile and the 488 head which I use on my 055 legs for a travel/hiking tripod is an outstanding bargain.

    Don't be afraid to buy used and get a little more for your money; tripods are often good bargains on Craig's List and eBay. As far as other brands go, Sunpak, and Velbon among others make decent consumer grade tripods.

    Your guide shouldn't be budget, but capacity. Calculate the maximum weight you'll mount on this unit (body, lens, flash, grip, etc), double it, and look for a tripod that is rated for at least that weight. The device that you're going to use to support thousands of dollars in gear is not the place to save $20!
     
  3. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    I own the Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 legs, and I love them so much.

    I can't really say for sure about their other models, but I know that they make quality tripods.

    Mine is very adjustable. Between the legs going all the way flat and the vertical feature for the center column it is perfect for macro work.

    I hear the Gitzo's are very good as well, and probably a better choice if you are planning to carry it for very long (as they are much lighter).

    Gitzo is more expensive though.
     
  4. matseski

    matseski TPF Noob!

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    I have added it up and with my current lens with a flash it comes to about 2.5kg, so either of those legs should be sufficient (5kg and 7kg). The main reason I was leaning towards the 3way was that it seemed like it would provide a stabler platform at more positions. I currently have a 2way head on the tripod I am using and have found that i have to take my camera off, turn the quick release the other way and put it back on to change the orientation. From what I can see, it looks like the 3way should be able to provide more positions than the ball since the balls appear to be locked in 2 axis, could be wrong though...
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You are! ;) A ball head can be locked in any position. There are two main varieties: Those with panning bases and those without. A panning base will allow you to rotate the whole head infitely around the tripod's vertical axis in whatever postion you have the head locked, and is, IMO, worth the few extra dollars. If the budget allows, the 468 head with separate tension control makes things that much nicer, but is rather pricey.
     
  6. matseski

    matseski TPF Noob!

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    In the ball head line, it looks like the 498RC2 is the one that provides the 360 rotation while the 496RC2 does not. Is that correct?
     
  7. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have the 190xdb with 390RC2(replaced by 391RC2). So far so good, no complaints :D
     
  8. matseski

    matseski TPF Noob!

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    any thoughts on the Benbo tripod legs?
     

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